Reflections on the last two weeks

School stuff: the workbooks are a good level for both of them. Since we only do them four days a week, but they are designed for five days, we skip parts of some lessons, or an entire lesson. Emmett would rather not write out any sentences in his grammar lessons, but it is good handwriting practice, so we still do it. The first grammar test is next week! Spelling is not too challenging, but is another chance to practice writing, and gives them a weekly quiz with which they can feel successful.

Things to improve: I love mentoring them with art, but it is so difficult with a baby trying to grab things (like jars of watercolor, yikes). Lots of sewing projects, which will have to get done in bits here and there in the evenings (as if Sulien goes to sleep before us). Finding time for exercise (note: bringing Emmett on his bike is fun, and gets him some exercise). Getting a plan (menu, things in the freezer) for lunches, especially on Thursdays.

Kitchen efficiency: Successful meals included baked beans, having a daily breakfast plan (we soak the grains the night before): Monday (hot cereal with compote), Tuesday (fruit and yogurt and nuts/seeds), Wednesday (chia pudding, or other raw pudding), Thursday (hot cereal with fruit), Friday (see Tuesday), Saturday (baked oatmeal), Sunday (eggs and toast). Making dinner right after lunch, to cut down on cleaning up time. Making yogurt right after picking up the milk on Fridays, and separating cream out then too.

Repurposing/thrifting: redoing our sturdy screen door for another door (McGuckins has galvanized screen!), looking for thrifted winter boots and snow pants BEFORE winter, finding a wool sweater to turn in to pants for Sulien (except Matt snatched it up for himself, so doing this will have to wait), finding a backpack to keep stocked with hats, diapers, etc for trips to town, hiking, etc.

Week of September 7

Week 3 has been more successful school-wise! Emmett was nearly enthusiastic about doing work some days. Monday we hiked the Ceran St. Vrain trail, with, apparently, everyone who had Labor Day off. It appears to be a heavily used trail, but I think this was exceptional. E and G loved their “dirt slide”, and Sulien kept wanting to go in the St. Vrain–brr! The trail is shady, and has large campsites, though they aren’t exactly secluded.

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We went to the library and the Egyptian store, since we are reading about ancient Egypt, and got a kit to make papyrus. The process can take two weeks! I am not impressed by the history book Emmett’s class is using, Story of the World by Bauer, but the chapters are short, so we have plenty of time for other books on the subject. Glory lead Wednesday craft time, and we made paper puppets (her own invention). Piano is going well for Emmett; he seems to really like it.

I finished their art smocks, and used some scraps to make Sulien a reversible sun hat. Both projects are from Oliver + S: Things to Sew. This book doesn’t have any of their awesome clothing patterns, but the projects in it are as well-written as their single patterns.

Nature Friday was close to home, with a walk to Golden Ponds and the river. Emmett found some claws, and we saw the cutest frog in the world. Saturday had horse riding, and the finishing of the house being painted! Now we are taking apart our old screen door to use on the back door, and have gotten some lovely red oak to make a storm door. Three cheers for being able to avoid Home Depot.

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Week of August 31

Week three! Sulien is concentrating on P.E., walking all over, and trying out the bike trailer for our library trip.

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We’ve begun history, now that Emmett has his book, and have started on Egypt. Piano is going well for all of us, despite an exuberant Sulien who likes to play along with whomever is practicing. Emmett would read books all day if he could (except the workbooks). Nighttime reading is My Friend Flicka, which I realized takes place just over the Wyoming border.  APEX went well, though I’m still waiting for the week in which Glory will use the toilet there. Sulien and I stay close to the telephone on those days–sigh.

We celebrated Lavender’s third birthday (again?) with some banana bread

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Other highlights: roasting marshmallows with a bonfire, and riding

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Matt’s birthday party was a little picnic at Sandstone Ranch.

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Nature Friday is moved to tomorrow (Monday)…

Crafty project: art smocks! Pictures to follow once I get the last parts of them finished.

Week of August 24

Week two brings us the start of attending APEX once a week. Glory is doing kindergarten, which they require because she is five, and Emmett takes a day of classes: Ancient history, science, art, robotics, piano, and Passport to the World. The teachers are awesome, the classes are fun and give us a path to explore in more depth (for example, history). Once a week classes (there are no grades) are great for E and G, who like to self-teach and move along at their own pace.

The home part of home schooling has been a bit stressful. Emmett continues to hope for no school as his school. We continue to hope that he will stop protesting for hours to do work that takes a fraction of the time, and is actually useful. He does, however, greatly enjoy lunch, recess, art, field trips, silent reading, and stories.

We felted wool roving to make decorations for our nature table, went swimming, painted, rode horses, went for a short hike at Chautauqua Park, and visited the very fun annual tractor show–twice!

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Glory's favorite vehicle at the tractor show.

Glory’s favorite vehicle at the tractor show.

Nature Fridays

We went to Gold Hill for a coffee at the Gold Hill General Store (they have lunch and pie, too!) and then for a lovely little hike off of Rainbow Lake Road. We went home through Nederland, so we had to stop at the carousel, which Glory recently announced was her “favorite place in the whole world”.

Jill, Sulien, Emmett, and Horsie in the little Aspen forest.

Jill, Sulien, Emmett, and Horsie in the little Aspen forest.

Glory on the trail.

Glory on the trail.

Emmett and Horsie next to a tiny Christmas tree.

Emmett and Horsie next to a tiny Christmas tree.

August 23 reflections

Flowers on Gold Hill's Main Street seen on Nature Friday.

Flowers on Gold Hill’s Main Street seen on Nature Friday.

Successes this week include: Glory delving in to her academics and loving it, juggling teaching kids with a busy baby-toddler, getting out there for Nature Fridays, and sitting down with a latte to plan the next week and reflect upon this one (thank you sweet!)

Struggles: getting Emmett to do his work, which is not too long, boring, or too difficult. Everything gets easier with practice, as Glory has already seen, so we will forge onward and hope he will realize this soon!

Awesome things: Sparkle Stories (you can subscribe, plus listen to lots of free stories!) my planner (Mead weekly/monthly planner)

Projects/places: papier-mache, library, horse riding, mountains, Dougherty Museum, Sunset pool.

Here we go!

Our homeschooling journey is here, as we begin our first week. There will be more later about our books and supplies used, philosophies, hopes, and other information in the near future. But first, some pictures!

Our sweet little room, and making the daily schedule board.

Sulien putting final touches on the daily schedule board.

Sulien putting final touches on the daily schedule board.

Monday is Art Day. We did papier-mache, and Sulien busied himself in the yard.

Glory and lots of paint.

Glory and lots of paint.

Sulien picked some garlic.

Sulien picked some garlic.

Sulien had his first encounter with crayons.

Sulien having fun coloring.

Sulien having fun coloring.

Emmett spent quiet time reading outside.

Emmett reading in the cool backyard shade.

Emmett reading in the cool backyard shade.

And, the magic of the blog:

Emmett nicely doing his work--a rarety this week.

Emmett nicely doing his work–a rarity this week.

I’d like to say that workbook time always looks this peaceful.  The “academic” part of our day is 2 or 3 hours (not including whining time); the workbook part (grammar, spelling, and math) takes perhaps an hour of that, and the other part is me reading history to them and that sort of thing. The vast majority of our day is art, hiking, exploring, reading, and creating. (And did I mention riding horses?) This is certainly a better deal than the 32.5 hours per week of conventional school, plus homework, right? After the…intense complaining…he finally accepts that we are going to actually write things down (groan! ugh! injustice!) he’s just fine and flies through his work. Let’s hope for a week soon where we don’t encounter this.