Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poor kitty!

No, he's not doing what it looks like.

Look again. Zhenya was actually cooling his backside in his water dish (and drooling). It would have been hilarious, if he hadn't been so miserable. Our poor cat had kidney stones. We didn't know what was wrong, but it was obvious that he was in agony and was trying anything for relief. I thought he was going to die. On Monday Will took him to the vet. He had to stay and help, and apparently it was terrible! Poor Zhenya wouldn't have lasted much longer without treatment. It looks like he's on the mend now, though.

Will is going to be qualified to work as a veterinary assistant after all this. Zhenya has to have oral medicine every two hours and four shots a day. Will is taking care of all that. We had no idea that a little street kitten could be so much trouble! So far, he's had a terrible time with one surgery, fallen off the balcony, developed a very sensitive stomach, and now he's had kidney stones. I don't believe in babying animals, but just being a good pet owner is a challenge with this one. Sigh.

He is a good little kitty, when he's not driving us crazy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September birthdays, part 1

Asya's birthday was yesterday, but I'll write about Jaan's first. His special day came at the end of our dacha week. The days leading up to it had been rainy, but the sun came out for his birthday. First there was a...

...special breakfast.

The beginning of the treasure hunt
After breakfast I started them on a treasure hunt. They had to do eight tasks to get to Jaan's present.

One of the tasks

"Climb as high as you can." (See Jaan?)

A treasure hidden in the dark, scary chicken house


"Fishing in the swamp"
He finally found his present hanging from a string in "the swamp." (It's really not swampy; tall, pretty grass just grows there, so they call it the swamp.) Jaan had been saying for ages that he wanted a flashlight for his birthday. Then, he happened to see a real Maglight in a store in Zaporozhye, and he kept talking about it. He thought it was an impossible dream, but Papa made a special, secret trip the day before Jaan's birthday.

A birthday s'more, instead of cake

The next day he also took a cake to Sunday school and celebrated there, but I don't have any photos of that. And now he's EIGHT!

Monday, September 19, 2011

An average school day

I enjoyed my new internet friend's average day post, so I'm doing one of my own here. The photos mixed in might not be entirely an average day. They're all from school time during our dacha week. They do show how portable our school is. Just imagine most of them transposed to an apartment with slightly cleaner children, and they'll be a little more average.

We start each school day over breakfast, usually at the table, but the dacha variation was around the campfire. I read Bible stories to them, alternating between passages from the New Testament and Old, every other day. We also alternate languages, every other term. Right now we're reading in English, so we use The Child's Story Bible for OT and The Children's Bible (on Kindle!) for NT. When we read in Russian, we go straight from the Bible.

After Bible, we read poetry: Walter de la Mare for Jaan in Year 2, A Child's Garden of Verses for Year 0, and Тютчев for Russian. Then we sing hymns and folk songs. This is the first term that I've seen them really getting into the songs, enjoying them and learning the words well.

Jaan had smoke in his eyes; Asya was SINGING

Jaan and Raia then repeat their memory work. Asya has had a part of that for the past few weeks, too, as we've been getting ready for Zhatva.

Three ragamuffins recite a poem

All that is "morning school." Then they're free (usually to play outside) until after lunch. When lunch is over, Asya has rest time. We're transitioning her out of actually napping, but she still falls asleep most days while listening to an audio book.

Resting with Pushkin on the iPod

While Asya rests, I do school with Raia and Jaan, each separately. The one who's not working, either reads (Jaan), or listens some with Asya, or does some other quiet activity. Raia's school consists of reading books from the Ambleside Online Year 0 book list and working on other accomplishments.

Practicing handwriting

So, I read to her, usually while she draws, then we do some kind of activity. During that dacha week I read The Little House, The Little Engine that Could, Ox-Cart Man, Ferdinand and Make Way for Ducklings to her. She worked on recognizing number groups (attainment #3), a lesson from our reading book (#4), copying her name (#5), learned about directions by making a sun compass and playing with a magnetic compass (#6), and dictated a description of our dacha property (#7). Remember, one of those activities for each day, not all at once!

Using a compass

Then it's Jaan's turn. Or, actually, on the three days of the week that he has music school, he goes first. He has a good bit more work to do. I have a chart that we go through, with places for me to check off or write in what lessons we did in math, reading (phonics), Russian, copywork, and Ukrainian. In between those subjects, I read AO selections to him, and he narrates them back to me. We don't have a set order or schedule. I just try to vary types of activities and work on the harder parts before he gets tired.


The whole time we're doing afternoon school, Bogdan either...


...or listens.
He actually really loves to listen in. He seems to follow all the reading aloud very intently.

And that pretty much summarizes an average day in Hunsucker Homeschool. Oh, one more photo, just because I like it:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer prayer letter

The pretty, printable version is here.

Dear family and friends,
This summer has been a little different than what are used to. There was no church camp, and our family didn't spend much time at our dacha. Instead, we just kept busy with a more usual round of things, mixed in with special events. All summer long, Will kept up the twice-weekly “youth” meetings (for people of all ages), plus he preached almost every week and went to choir practices and leaders meetings. Two of the youth have started taking Bible college classes, and they're excited about traveling and visiting other churches. So far, we've gone on one of those trips, and another one is in the works.

Right after the wedding on the other side of Ukraine that I mentioned in our last letter, we were able to help with another wedding here. A young couple from a village nearby wanted to use the church here, for their wedding. We didn't know them well beforehand, but we and the youth here got to know them some during the preparations, wedding day, and in the time after.

Like I said, we didn't have camp here, but Will took Jaan and another little boy to a Christian camp down on the Azov Sea. They had a wonderful time! Also, just when I was thinking that this would be the first summer in years when I didn't have anything to do with camp at all, we were invited to a short day camp that another church was putting on. I went with our children, and we all really enjoyed that. A big highlight of the summer was a visit from a friend who lives in Moscow. We spent two weeks enjoying her company, swimming, talking, and being encouraged by time together.

As far as family news: Jaan went to camp, like I already said. Raia turned six years old, and she also broke her arm. That was the first big injury in our family and a new experience for us, but God carried us through it all with special peace and ease. She's fine now. I don't know that Asya had any big highlights to her summer, but she's a very happy little girl who spends most of her time pretending to be Cinderella or living some other fairy tale and saying things that make us laugh. Just now, she pointed out a dead spider and told me that it is really Sleeping Beauty. Bogdan is almost six months old; he's a big, happy, mostly easy-going baby, who loves to smile at everyone.

Please do lift up our prayer requests and also let us know how we can pray for you!
Love and prayers,
Will and Phyllis Hunsucker
Jaan, Raia, Asya and Bogdan

Prayer requests:
• Will's parents are coming to visit! Pray for safe travels, a good visit, and health.
• Homeschool, Sunday School, music school: please pray for all three.
• Zhatva (harvest holiday) will be Sept. 18.
• The weekly round for Will: Bible studies, sermons and prep.
• Grace and unity in this church.
• Translating: Will is doing this for Gospelink again.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First day of school

We had our first few days of school, then our first week--which was also a dacha week--and now we're home and into the second week. I wanted to write about our first day, before it's ancient history, and I'd also like to write about the whole first week. Anyway, first day: I already posted my one favorite photo from the day, but I hope you're ready for a bunch more!

On the morning of September 1, Raia was the first one up, but the others soon followed her. Raia ran straight to the calendar to see if the long-awaited day had arrived. And this is how that day went:

Checking the calendar: yes! today is the day!

Pancake breakfast, encouragement from the Bible, and fun
(I also "interviewed" them. I need to get their answers typed up here....)

Official opening of the school table

Pictures in the park

A stop at the music school

First lessons!

Celebratory tea

Happy little student

He wants to study applesauce!

Monday, September 05, 2011

"Do you like my hat?"

I meant to write today, but they day got away from me. Instead, I'll just share a smile with you.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

С Днем Знаний!

Happy first day of school! Hunsucker Homeschool (and the rest of Eastern Europe) started school today.

I'll try to write details about our day sometime soon.