Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tapestry of Grace: Year One, Unit 3

We just wrapped up Unit 3 of our Tapestry of Grace curriculum. You can read about Unit 1 and Unit 2 as well. This unit walked us through Ancient Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Persia and into Ancient Greece.

Fun fact: The ancient Assyrians actually invented wheels with spokes. They figured out that having spokes made the wheels lighter and faster. Caleb thought it was so cool that he could thank the ancient Assyrians for the spokes on his wheelchair wheels!

Here are a few of the activities we did over the last 9 weeks.

We learned that ancient armies would create banners or flags that they would carry into battle. We made our own flags. 

From left to right: I made our official homeschool flag for "McLelland Academy". The boys thought this was awesome. Caleb made the middle flag and Benjamin did the one on the right.

We learned about ancient relief carvings and made our own using bars of soap.

We studied Babylon and the Ishtar Gate. King Nebuchadnezzar was behind this amazing architectural construction. It was fascinating to learn about.  We made our own, much smaller version of the Ishtar gate using clay.

Finished Ishtar gates. Benjamin's is blue, Caleb's is orange.

We spent some time on the book of Esther while we learned about the Persian Empire. We learned the history behind the Jewish celebration of Purim and we attempted to make Hamantashen which is a traditional dessert served during this holiday. They are supposed to look like this:

Our's looked like this:

Nailed it!

Despite the appearance, they actually tasted pretty good. Don't judge a book by it's cover people. And don't judge a cookie just because it's insides are running out.

We also made our version of the "Cyrus Cylinder". The original Cyrus cylinder tells how King Cyrus captured Babylon and let all the captives return to their homeland. It was basically a declaration by the King.

Benjamin's Declaration: "I, Benjamin McLelland, declare that everyone must be creative with Legos. You must practice building everyday with Legos. No instructions allowed. You must be creative in a certain way."

Caleb's Declaration: "I, Caleb McLelland, am the bird  man. I love birds and you should too! You should do what the bird man says!"

Love it.

We made our own seals. These would have been dipped in wax and then used to seal important documents.

Once we got to Ancient Greece we started learning about famous mathematicians like Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Eratosthenes. We made our own Platonic bodies.

We also explored the concepts of geometry by making a Stomachion.

First we created a grid and drew shapes. The shapes were then colored and cut out.

The shapes could then be arranged to create pictures.

The boys used Legos to build a labyrinth. They had to see if they could get a marble through the maze.

We learned about Greek theater.
Comedy and Tragedy masks.

Astrology was very important to the ancient Greeks. They were able to chart more than 800 stars during that time. They even designed a planetarium. We made our own constellarium (a smaller version of a planetarium) using a toilet paper role and black construction paper.

And we completed another lapbook!

I continue to love this curriculum. We only have one more unit left and we will have officially survived our first year of Tapestry of Grace! I will definitely continue with this curriculum next year. I have absolutely loved it. I love learning history in the light of God's plan. It's been amazing to read and really study how history just lines up perfectly with the Bible. The two are not separate. I've learned so much...and I think the boys have too. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Every spring bluebonnets appear all over Texas. They line the highways and there are fields of beautiful bluebonnets. They are gorgeous. Unfortunately, they only last a few weeks so you have to take advantage and get some photos before they disappear.

Rollin' on the trails.

A field of bluebonnets.

Um, I guess Benjamin needed to pee or something....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

To walk or not to walk...that is the question

Every 6 months Caleb's physical therapist does a re-evaluation. Caleb's progress over the last few months is discussed and goals are reviewed. I've always hated therapy evaluations but I understand they are necessary for insurance. Therapists have to be able to show that there is progress and evaluations make that possible. Currently Caleb has a therapy goal of being able to walk in his KAFO's for 5 minutes without stopping.

Caleb can do it...but he hates it. He doesn't like walking with his KAFO's. He doesn't like walking. It's hard, awkward, and cumbersome. Honestly, it's not's simply walking for the sake of walking. He hates it. 

As we are getting ready for a therapy re-evaluation next week and knowing that we will have to set goals, I asked Caleb if walking is important to him. 

His answer without hesitation: No. 

Walking is not important to him. He's 9 years old and I think he is old enough to be a part of his goal planning. He should get a say. And he says "no" to walking. I get it. I really do. Walking is really hard work for him. And he needs a lot of support to do it. Even when he was walking really well (before the tethered cord surgery 3 years, has it been 3 years?!) he would choose his wheels over his walker when given the choice. After that surgery he lost everything. He had to start all over. He's had to work so hard to gain back even some of what he lost. I was hopeful that he would gain back the ability to walk but then weeks turned to months...and now years. I'm not so hopeful now. And honestly, I'm okay with that. I've never had a problem with his need for a wheelchair. I love his wheelchair. It is independence, speed, confidence and mobility. It is a blessing. 

I'm okay if he never walks again. But I want him to be okay with that. I think he is. Walking isn't important to him. I respect that. I'm actually relieved to hear him say it. I feel like a weight has been lifted. 

I think he felt the same way. 

I'm glad I asked.


I love having zoo passes! We can go to the zoo whenever we want, even at a moments notice. We made a spontaneous afternoon trip to the zoo this past weekend. We even had daddy with us this time.

The boys refused to pose behind the sign. So daddy did.

The boys refused to sit on the gorilla. So daddy did.

Porcupines are very strange looking creatures. Proof God has a sense of humor.

Admiring a vulture.

"Stairs! Really!"
I love the look on his face. 

He was all about posing for the camera. 

Leaning on a tree pose. 

We had a great afternoon at the zoo! 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

WCMX and scooter ridin'!

We took the boys out to the skate ramps again this week. 

Benjamin was all over the place with his scooter. He had so much fun.

He got brave and attempted some new ramps this week. 

I love how his little curls are peeking out from his helmet. 

Caleb isn't a daredevil usually (which is so fine with me) but even he attempted some new ramps. 

Love this. Love him.

Showin' off. 

Easter at Granny and Paw-Paw's

We had our annual cook-out and egg hunt at Granny and Paw-Paw's this past weekend. The boys absolutely love going out there and, as expected, they had a great day. It was a full day of cousins, food, exploring, egg-hunting, and basketball.

Nikki always gets a fair share of love.

Caleb pretty much played basketball the entire day. 

The kids loved the horses next door.

The day included a lot of adventuring and exploring with cousins.

Egg hunt.

This kid found the "golden egg" with $10 inside. He was so excited.

The child pretty much ran all day long. 

Caleb was able to feed the horse a carrot.

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