Monday, March 3, 2014

Language Lessons


We decided about a year ago that we would begin learning Latin American Spanish as a family. We bought the Rosetta Stone homeschool edition at a great price and Josh and I began. After a few weeks we realized that we had a problem. Since both of us had studied German in school, Josh studied it for 4 years and I studied for 5 with neither of us mastering it at all, we kept confusing Spanish and German words and phrases. As we were shown a picture of a horse and asked to say what it was we would answer das Pferd instead of el Caballo.

About a month ago we had a great offer on the Rosetta Stone homeschool edition for German and decided that we would purchase it. Our goal has always been to introduce the children to other languages as early as we could and give them an opportunity to learn to speak and understand several. There are 5 languages that we would like the children to be able to understand to some extent. German, Spanish, Latin, Hebrew and Greek.

German and Spanish are important to our family because both Josh and I are very much German and would like to visit Germany to see where our families come from. Josh’s Oma, having been born and raised in Germany, speaks German and we hope to be able to practice speaking with and writing letters to her.

Spanish is such a helpful language to know because it is everywhere and there are so many Spanish speaking people that we see everyday. It would also be helpful if God ever called one or more of our children to missions because there are so many Spanish speaking countries.

A knowledge of Latin will help them be better spellers, and also be able to grasp other languages more easily. Hebrew and Greek are also important so they will have the tools to be able to interpret and understand the Bible in it’s original language. (Josh already has begun teaching the kids the Greek Alphabet.)

James began his German lessons with Josh and me as soon as we received the program in the mail. He is doing very well – much better than either Josh or I ever anticipated! Last week I found an App for the Ipad (it is also available for Android) called DuoLingo that lets you learn and practice languages completely free! They also have a free website. You can find it at and they offer Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese. They also offer English for native speakers of other languages. Josh and I signed up. It’s a little too advanced for James right now because you must be able to correctly spell and write dictated sentences. We love the format. It makes learning German like a game, but not in a bad way. It is very fun AND very challenging. And in a year or so will be an excellent supplement to James’ German lessons.

I remember when I was in high school, another student in my class took a trip over the summer to Germany so she could practice her skills through immersion. She came back and told the class about her experience. She said that since she had come back to the United States she was now thinking and even dreaming in German, it was so natural to her! My German teacher was very please, of course, because before this particular student’s trip she was the worst student in the class!

Well, last night I was dreaming in German! And I have found myself occasionally thinking “auf Deutsch”! I’m sure my grammar is incorrect and I am probably not forming my sentences exactly right, but that is still a very exciting milestone to me.

So…if you have been wanting to learn one of those languages, or you have been thinking about incorporating a foreign language into your homeschool lessons, check out DuoLingo. It has been so helpful to us in just one week!! (No, I’m not being paid by DuoLingo or receiving any compensation. I just wanted to share how much we love this App!)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What’s New

It was a busy week for us, Eads! And a nice, busy Saturday to end it too! We arrived back home in Nashville from our trip to Florida last Saturday evening. Exhausted and, I have to admit, a little grumpy. Funny how too many hours in a sedan crammed full with people and their things can do that to you. We had a crazy drive through a bad snow and ice storm to get there, and once we were there it was non-stop busy – but tons of fun and wonderful times visiting with family and friends. Josh began having some heart issues half-way through, so I took him to our doctor in Fort Myers – the one who helped me when I was so sick during my pregnancy for Lydia. They fixed him up and he’s feeling much better! Then off to Atlanta to get some more use out of our season passes to Stone Mountain Park…had an amazing dinner at a little Cuban place called Mojitos in downtown-wherever-we-were outside of Atlanta, and finally back home.

Monday was unpack, unwind, and get back into the swing of things day. Tuesday night we had some new friends over for dinner. I am still amazed at how we fit 4 adults around a wobbly card table and 5 children (6 years old and under) in our kitchen to eat a meal, but we did it. And it was a great time! Wednesday we dropped Josh off at work so I could make it to a prenatal appointment and run some errands. Thursday the kids all had check-ups with their new pediatrician. They did awesome!! Josh and I laughed because they are all very tall for their ages, and very lean! I guess the tall comes from my side, and the lean from his? Last night we spent the time we had together after the kids went to bed trolling Craigslist for minivans and violin lessons…keep reading!

Now that James is 6, he is old enough (in our opinion) to begin music lessons. We had previously decided that the children would begin with piano, and then we would allow them to take lessons on another instrument if they wanted. We decided that since we do not have room for a piano in our apartment, nor do we want to have to MOVE a piano when we buy a house, James could begin with a more portable instrument. Violin, it is!

We began our morning by perusing the shelves at our new favorite place…McKay’s Used Books and Music. Sadly, the bacon truck was nowhere to be found today. We picked up some good books though, were disappointed at not finding a few we were really hoping to get our hands on, and then visited the free bins outside the front doors. We were so excited at a few of the things we found there. Book hunting is so exhilarating!

After McKay’s we went to Nashville Violins. I brought with us my great-grandfather’s violin. It was in pretty bad shape, and they have some luthiers that are skilled in repairing them. We figured we would give it a try. Also, we wanted to ask about violin lessons for James AND Josh. Josh really wants to learn how to play Adagio for Strings before he dies. (I personally think 29 is too early for a bucket list.) It will be encouraging for James to be able to practice with his Daddy, and it will give them so alone time together on Thursday nights. We found out that it would be $150 to fix the violin and $100 for the bow. It is NOT a Stradivarius. Oh well. But it is somewhere around 100 years old, they think. The inscriptions on the inside are not legible, so we can’t know for sure. Nashville Violins had some of the best rates for violin lessons, they offer a family discount, as well as repair, sell and rent instruments. They were great and the boys are really excited about their first lesson this Thursday.

Next we visited one of the car dealerships we found through Craigslist to look at a few of their minivans. Everything was in pretty bad shape, and the prices weren’t very good either. We left and headed towards another dealer. Josh liked a minivan there so much that he took it for a test drive. Unfortunately, it seemed like it needed some work and we went home for dinner. The dealer told Josh that they are expecting a few more vans in early this week and to check back then. He was really very nice and seemed to be honest.

James will officially begin his 1st Grade workbook on Monday and he is very excited. Both James and JoyAnna are doing really well in school. I’ve been so amazed at the things they have been learning. I began teaching them about graphing this week. When Josh came home from work and they told him what they had done in school he looked at me and asked, “Isn’t that a little advanced?” I told him that they understood it right away and really enjoyed it and I planned to give them more graphing lessons.

Lydia is talking. all. the. time. She repeats everything she hears. And she does it with the most hysterical inflections in her voice. The weather here has been warming up. It was in the low 50’s today and the birds were so happy they were singing the most beautiful songs. Yesterday we stood in the window and watched a robin hunting worms in the grass between our apartment and the parking lot. He got quite a few. I used it as an opportunity to teach the kids a little bit about robins. Here in Tennessee, they never left for the winter. Growing up in New Jersey, we were always excited to try to spot the first robin in the Spring. It wasn’t officially Spring until there were robins around. And we always tried to be the first one to see one. Can’t do that here. Kinda weird. At McKay’s, I found a nice book about robins this morning, so I picked it up. Good find!

My challenge for this week is to go through James’ closet and pull out all of the baby clothes for this boy. I need to wash and sort and repackage in nice plastic bins. Right now they are in disintegrating diaper boxes. No, baby still does not have a name. We are still considering Gideon and Job, but now we’ve also added Titus, Malachi and Simeon to the mix. I have been having Braxton Hicks contractions. I’ve never experienced those before. I am not a fan.

Well, since we’re all done with dinner and it’s only 6:15pm Daddy has declared that we will now play a board game. JoyAnna was chosen to pick the game. The Chronicles of Narnia was chosen. Definitely my LEAST favorite board game. I always lose. Badly. But we all have a good laugh at my expense. It is very comical, I suppose. Smile