The Wednesday Wars

Last year we read The Wednesday Wars by Newberry Honor writer, Gary Schmidt.  He is a local writer, and we were learning about The Vietnam War and also Shakespeare (just one of those bunny trails we often follow when one of the kids becomes interested in something).  This novel intertwines both subjects, so how could we not read it?!

A local college , the same one the author teaches at, was doing a stage production of The Wednesday Wars.

It was fabulous!

I think we might be revisiting Shakespeare this coming week…



Scenes From South Africa: Avy’s Favorites

Singing at the shanty town school.

Seeing all the baby animals on safari.

Dancing in the market.

Swimming with the cousins.

Feeding the birds at Montecasino Bird Gardens.

Seeing our friends, the DiCocco’s and trying paap and chaukalaka, a traditional South African meal.

Seeing these beautiful Zulu woman on our trip through Soweto,

and stopping at the street vendors for these snacks.

But the best part…spending each and every day with these guys!

Safari Elephant

We have had lots of people wanting to see the video of our big elephant from one of our safari drives, so here it is!


Scenes from South Africa: Asher’s Favorites

The best breakfast ever, declares Asher!

Cinnamon and sugar crepes with ice cream and hot chocolate!

Had at the safari restaurant twice!

Swimming with the frogs

that would come to the pool every night.

Planning out the day’s safari route with cousin Clay.

Seeing the house where Nelson Mandela grew up, in Soweto.

Getting to stand in the solstice sunlight which poured down

a shaft in the Kromdraai Gold Mine, the 2nd oldest gold mine

in South Africa.

Lemon Twist pop, the “best pop ever made!”

Sadly, not available in the U.S.

But, of course, the best part was spending each and every day with all of these guys!

Martin Luther King Jr Day (from last year-2010)

Today started by having the kids choose a piece a paper. One said “Colored” and the other said “White” (to use language from the time). For the next 2 hours, Avy was “colored” and had to use the “Colored Only Water” (from the tap), and the “Colored Only Toilet” (the downstairs cold one).



Asher being “white” got to use the cold water from the fridge and the warm bathroom. I then gave each of the kids the same job to do – clean a toilet. The “white” person received more money for the job. They later used that money to buy lunch. By that time, the kids had switched who they were and Asher had to eat at the “Colored Diner” (the kitchen) while Avy ate in the “Whites Only Diner” (the dining room).


Yes, I think this is probably how they felt too.

After a few minutes we called an end to our experience and invited him to eat with us. We also watched a video about MLKJ and segregation and started the book “Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice”, which coincidentally was just named a Newberry Honor book this morning.

Scenes from South Africa – Elephants

So, back in November we started studying the huge continent of Africa.

We spent a significant amount of time on one country in particular.

Because in December we took a little field trip to the above mentioned country.

We spent 2 glorious weeks with family and friends.

We went camping for 4 days at Pilanesburg National Park where we saw 4 of the big 5 and plenty more!

Like this fella.

Now this guy was HUGE!

He was just casually strolling down the road towards us.

We all, that is the grown-ups, pleaded with Greg’s brother Steve to back up the truck.

He refused.

As he walked by us, I could of put my hand out the window and touched him.

Thinking back, I’m not sure why I had my window down.

On another day, Steve somehow got our Land Rover (and all 10 of us in it) surrounded by a herd of mamas and babies.

We all thought it was cute when this baby mock charged us.

Not so much when the mama did it.

Remind me to never go on safari with Steve again.

(just kidding Steve, life is never boring around you)

Happiness is…

Happiness is…

watching a movie about someone’s life…

and then going to hear her speak.

She was fascinating.  And amazing.

And she spoke about such relevant things.

Gosh, I love this homeschooling life!