Joseph: Hey!

Janet: Hay is for horses.

Joseph: I said “hey” with an ‘e’ not with an ‘a.’



6 year molar (bottom right)

Backward jump rope with a piece of hose (extra piece cut off from our hose)

6 year molar upper right

2 loose teeth! (July 11)

Ties shoes on own


“I don’t want to drop trash. Dexter will choke.  No one in Switzerland should be like the Gambians.” (Joseph is looking over my shoulder as I type.  He saw I had written “dump” and said “That’s a type-o.  I said ‘drop’ not ‘dump.’  Sure enough, that’s what the note says . . . this was from over a month ago!)


“People might be therapods.”


“They have two legs and two hands.”


Janet to Stephan: What’s “kreidezeit” in English?

Joseph: cretaceous period!



“Does that embrass you?”


Joseph discovered The Unschoolers Handbook book that was in my room and read it when I didn’t know.  I found out because he said something about it’s great to homeschool because he can fix his mistakes and redo his work rather than just getting it wrong.


August 8th he lost his first tooth! Lower left


Inspired by a friend, we’ve been using the Yousician app for learning piano.  Joseph was regular with it (daily) until he started to teach himself to read real notation (around August 9th) and discovered the “lessons” function of our keyboard.  He taught himself the right hand of amazing grace and can read simples pieces out of our Faber and Faber piano method for kids.

Nothing replaces a human teacher, but sometimes the right technology can give the right start!  I’m excited to share music with him!


Joseph is now in homeschool 1st grade.  We started doing some official “lessons” together with all the kids and he’s really taken to it.  Since he was 1 ½ and teaching himself the alphabet and how to write it I learned not to direct his learning because he had his own strong direction and shut down when I interfered.  I pegged him as “does not like adult-led teaching” and there he remained (I had plenty of additional evidence, too).  Whether I’ve learned to change my style or he’s grown or something else, one thing is clear: he no longer fits in that box and it is therefore very dangerous to put a person in a box – they might just change!  He enjoys the short inputs and the guidance I’m giving – and he still has lots of time to direct his own learning.


His current passion is dinosaurs.


It’s a pleasure to be Joseph’s mother and teacher!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 6:40 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 831 times | Comments (2)
Category Children: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

From our notes:


After hearing thunder outside Vivienne asked “Is that a dinosaur?”  You can tell what the kids are into these days . . .



She wrote her full name (Vivienne Linda Stücklin).  She writes her first name on a regular basis at home and at Sunday school.


In the Hello Kitty activity book she got from Grandma and Joy, Vivienne enjoys doing the paint-by-numbers.  After a few of them over the course of a few days she was able to read part of the instructions herself (“green” and “blue”).


She read the “LEO” sign on the road, but we think that was just remembering.


Vivienne is enthusiastic when we do our school lessons and is happy to trace letters, draw, sing, and she’s become a real monkey in our home “gym.”  She likes to hang by one arm and twist around – she does look like a monkey!


Vivienne loves doing things with me and often chooses to help me with work rather than play, though she is also growing more able at playing on her own.  She much prefers to play with her siblings or neighbors, though.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 6:41 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 613 times | Comments (0)
Category Children: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Ellie has grown so much!  She now chooses walking as a mode of transportation more often than not.  She uses many signs throughout the day including toilet, eat, water, please, milk, thank you, cheese, and want.  She is a communicator.  It is amazing to watch as she is by far the earliest and best communicator (as we can remember).


From our notes:


Ellie says “baba” for Bappe (Stephan).

Signs “water” and “more”


She stopped using the potty for a while, but now that she knows the sign for “toilet” she’s more willing to try but in any case she is aware of when she goes in her diaper because she’ll stop and use the sign.



Daniel spilled and Ellie brought us a rag to help clean it up without being asked.  I said “thanks” and she signed “thanks” back with a big smile.


She started choosing to walk some.


We have a ritual of apology and forgiveness where the kids give a hug when they say “I forgive you.”  I had asked Daniel to apologize for hurting Ellie and she gave him an “I forgive you” hug.  How do I know it?  I don’t know – she’s just a clear communicator!


At 13 months and not comfortable walking, she climbed up the bracciation ladder confidently and quickly.  She went high enough to hit her head on the cross ladder and then came down on her own.  I was nervous, and when it was over we were all proud!  (Of course she chose to do this when we were trying to get to bed – the kids always know when to pull out their greatest feats of physical and intellectual growth.)


I placed a pizza baking sheet near her and she said something that clearly sounded like “don’t touch.”  Her signs are often accompanied by vocalizations (tzs for please, for example).


She drew on the gym mat and I gave her a cloth and she wiped it up.


The best signs she knows are “yes” and “no” which she just does with a nod or a shake.  It is a wonderful blessing to have a 14 month-old who can clearly express “yes” and “no.”


She signed “father” and said “dada.”


Once she started crawling up the stairs thought we were all in the living room.  I asked if she wanted to go to bed. She shook her head “no.”  I asked if she needed to pee and she nodded “yes.”  I took her to the pot and she peed!  This was the beginning of her reawakening of interest in using the bathroom.


In a word, she’s a charmer and I’m enjoying each stage so much more than I ever was able to before (by choice and experience).  I write that so when I look back later I can assure myself that I DID enjoy my kids when they were little!

Posted by harp on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Edit
Permalink | Read 576 times | Comments (0)
Category Children: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Daniel is three!  It’s hard to believe he’s only three.  He’s been talking for so long and so well and plays with his older siblings in much the same ways they do.  Sure, he drags his feet when it comes time to use the bathroom or put on his shoes, but he’s capable, just likes to take his time . . .


We had family over for his birthday and enjoyed warm sunny weather and play outdoors and in.  He didn’t talk as much about his birthday coming up as Vivienne did, but he did keep saying “When I am three, I’m three.”  That’s for sure!


From our notes:



He can climb in and out of the play pen (just for fun – Ellie sleeps there).


He is more of a deliberate speaker, but will still substitute English if he doesn’t know the German.  For example, “Ich bin share-a das for Ellie.”


Some German grammar spills over to English for a while before getting corrected.  “I’ll put it there in.”



He wrote his name!  I wrote in all caps and he copied.  So fun!


Once Ellie fell and nobody saw it but Daniel.  She was bleeding from the mouth and we asked him what happened.  He was able, after a few attempts, to describe and show us what happened.  That was quite impressive for a not-yet-three-year-old!


Speaking of deliberate speech, I had told Daniel that on his third birthday the potty would disappear and he would use the toilet because three-year-olds don’t need potties.  The next day he said “When I am three years old the potty will . . . disatape . . . disappear!”


He often thinks before he talks, which makes it very easy to interrupt him because nobody knows he’s trying to say something.  We are more aware of this, however, and that helps.  It was quite frustrating for a while to have him suddenly burst out in frustration saying “I’m talking!!” when he had been completely silent!


Daniel loves jumping on our trampoline (indoor, but fairly large and with bungie cords not springs) and running after balls.


He plays very well with Ellie and she loves playing with him.  He is still sometimes too rough with her, but not very often, and will apologize right away if he’s hurt her.  He was one of the first people Ellie would walk to.


Daniel has started drawing people and making pictures to give to others.  He currently saves all of his money (except for some occasional very generous gifts to God) and has over 10 Francs in his savings.


Joseph says he gave Daniel a gorgosaurus for his birthday.


Daniel is quite social and likes people with people, and also hanging out with the grown-ups when they talk.


He is quite deliberate (i.e. slow) in eating, dressing, and all manner of things that adults would rather he be quicker at, but his laid-back nature is a good thing when it comes to sibling difficulties.  He can still get quite upset, and he can sometimes use his calm to intentionally push his siblings buttons, but for the most part he is willing to play “peaceably.”


Daniel got a tricycle for his birthday because we realized that thought he can balance just fine on his pedalless bike, he doesn’t know how to pedal.


We are so happy you are part of our family, Daniel!  We love you!

Posted by harp on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 10:35 am | Edit
Permalink | Read 742 times | Comments (1)
Category Children: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]
Go to page: