Mid-April

We had a very exciting visitor to our backyard.  Ethan actually captured the best picture of it, but I haven’t snagged it off of his camera, yet.  This big guy hung out in our yard for a good 5 minutes, scrounging around for worms!  He also visited our neighbors’ backyard, which is when the boys were allowed outside for pictures.  A couple of days later, we saw a duck in the yard.  Fun!

Micah sang in front of our CBS class with his class.  It was pretty darling.  I only made one short video of it, but I’d be happy to share it with you if you’d like to see him singing, “I Wanna Walk, Walk like Jesus”.  His buddy (and my friend’s kid) is on the far right and Micah is on the far left.

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Here are some shots from homeschooling:

Most days we drink tea and read a book out loud.  This last picture was taken during one of our little meetings to decide what book to read next.  I’ve gotta say, though, “The Wind in the Willows” has been a hard one for us to get into…I’m hoping the coloring books I got last week will help.  =/

Mike was also out of town for work in the middle of the month, so I made sure to take walks at the park each day.  The boys just played in the trees or around the middle of the park while I walked around.  It was lovely.  And Mikey sent flowers to let me know he was thinking of me – and they have lasted over a week!!

Lastly, a quick video of Ethan playing some piano:

Valentine’s Day

So, Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday and we rarely do much to celebrate it.  But, in general, I am a big fan of traditions and in celebrating.  I also seem to really like themes (who knew?!) and decorations.  I didn’t do much for this one, but I changed out our normal boxes for hearts on our homeschool to-do list and we made some heart decorations for around the house.  Ethan copied down each part of the definition of love from 1 Cor. 13.  Micah made a heart paper chain.  The cool Jesus watch was from CBS (which everyone is loving btw!).  Also, I got a pretty amazing card for tutoring for CC – isn’t that so clever??  We had the pleasure of hosting Grandpa Russ and Aunt Ashley and Caleb for dinner on Valentine’s Day.  I made Grandma Cleve’s lasagna recipe – a hit with everyone, of course.  Plus – lasagna is red.  Win!

Grandpa Russ was in town only briefly on his way to Mexico for Mike’s brother’s wedding.  Mike flew out with him the day after Valentine’s Day and Ashley joined them the following day.  It sounds like everyone had a lovely time.

Meanwhile, Micah reached a milestone: he competed the whole monkey bar set at the park by our house.  I didn’t get a video of him actually completing it, but he did it a bunch of times that day.  Did I mention that the weather here that weekend was amazing?!  We had 70 degree weather on Sunday.  The next day…3 inches of snow!  We love Colorado! =)  I didn’t snap any pictures of E because he was busy playing football with neighborhood kids.

Also, we made cookies and put ice cream in them…yum!  And we watched Fantastia – the old one – and were not incredibly impressed.  It was okay, but pretty dull. =)

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Advent Activities 1-4

You may recall that this season of preparation and waiting is my favorite.  I love it.  And I love making each day filled with little activities keeping our hearts and minds focused on the real meaning of Christmas.  I’m feeling a little stretched thin this year, so the planning isn’t what I would like it to be…but I’m just trying to move forward without the pressure of doing everything memorably. =)  If the boys have a general joy-filled sense that the Christmas season is about celebrating Jesus’ first coming and anticipating His second one, I’ll be pleased.

We are using Advent Calendar workbooks given by Grandma Cleve this year as our study (thank you, Grandma Cleve!!!). And Micah is coloring a picture for each day from his CBS teacher (Side note – CBS is his favorite day of the week now!  How far we’ve come by the grace of God!!).

Day 1 – make snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling in the boys’ room:

Day 2 – watch a Christmas movie:

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Day 3 – breakfast for dinner (Micah’s birthday): WAFFLES (thanks, Amy, for the waffle-maker!)

Day 4 – Red and green dinner (one of my personal favorites!):

 

Daily Grind: Homeschool Edition

Videos often motivate the boys in learning their CC memory work and I think they end up being a kind of fun way for others to get a glimpse into how the unique world of classically educating the boys looks.

Here are some more shots from around the house learning:

We take it on the road a bit, too.  Micah does some work in the gym while Ethan participates in PE+ (a gym class for homeschool kids).  And our very best days are spent at the park.  We ride for about a mile and a half and then break for some schooling, then we continue on for another half mile until we reach the park where we do some more schooling and also some playing.

The boys have gotten very interested in painting as of late.  We are using water color right now.  We put on some classical music and paint until they tire of it.  I finished a frame for displaying their artwork and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

In fact, Ethan presented his painting in CC today.  Micah talked about his camera.  We also enjoyed our new art project of using perspective in drawing – the Washington Monument and the Reflective Pool.

I won’t go into the lots of details here, but we are praising the Lord this week.  Suffice it to say, Micah has a difficult time leaving me.  This week, however, he went to CBS without any tears.  We definitely celebrated his bravery!

His sweet teacher sent this picture to me later to confirm that he was, in fact, smiling during class, too! =)

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Lastly, we finished our audiobook of “Anne of Green Gables”.  I literally happy (and sad) cried my way through the whole book.  I had never read it before, but I grew up LOVING (and hating for some of the parts…) watching “Anne of Green Gables” with Megan Follows.  I highly recommend the book and found the audiobook to be delightful!!  Tonight we watched the first half of the movie and the boys loved it.

Side note: when I was younger, our family went on a trip to Prince Edward Island to see Green Gables (among other things).  That whole trip was easily one of my favorite family vacations.  I only just learned that my sister and dad had been reading the books together prior to it!  How fun!  I have a picture…somewhere…of me in front of Green Gables, but I can’t seem to find it now.  I’d like to show it to the boys!

 

Homeschool Life

If ever I complain about my life as a homeschooling mom, remind me to GET OUTSIDE with the boys.  We finally biked to the pond for homeschool last week and it was the most refreshing day of homeschool of the year.  Both boys were asking what they should do next and no one complained about anything being too hard.  Tears were minimal, dare I even say non-existent?? Anyway, it was lovely.  Note to self – get outside as often as possible!

Even after a blissful day outside, I still chose to do homeschool indoors the following day.  It wasn’t nearly as fun, but we made it! =)

Community Bible Study is a part of our homeschooling each week.  Micah did a little bit better this week than the first week, so I took them out for cookies afterwards to celebrate.  Yep, I am not above bribery if it means less tears on these mornings. 😉  E was busy working on his lesson already today – he seems to really enjoy it!

Here are some pics from CC this week.  E presented on his camera and Micah talked about the overnight ferry we stayed on from Denmark to Norway.  The kids both said that the abstract art project was their favorite part of the CC day.

Piano has now become a big part of our days, too.  Ethan was the star student of the week last week because of how much he practiced and played the app “piano maestro”.  He is really loving piano and wishes he could have lessons more than once a week.  Micah has started playing around with the keyboard, too!

Since E loves playing this game on the iPad, we wanted to give Micah some more time on it, too.  So, he’s been doing a Bible app, a letters app and playing matching games. =)

Life Lately

Wanted to spend a minute to upload some pics from recent weeks.  I’ll start with some homeschool shots:

Some explanations: Micah bought that huge pencil with his own money when we were in Norway.  We listen to Story of the World at least once a week and draw pictures of whatever we are learning about that day.  Any folks interested in history, I highly recommend these audiobooks, but I do so with a word of caution: listen with your kids because some things may need some explaining (i.e. when they talk about other religions or ways of viewing the world – these are great times to explain your family’s beliefs and explain differences, otherwise, they may walk away thinking that everything described in there is truth).  Ethan loves working on his cursive and asks daily if he can use the iPad to do some piano lesson practice.  He loves it!

I live only 10 minutes away from one of my dear friends, but see her only every couple of months. =/  We walked to dinner this night and she snapped a pic.  I’ve known her since college days (picture #1) and now we both have two children!

Ethan started the Cadets program at our church this past week.  I didn’t get a picture of him that evening, but I ran across this picture of Mikey and me from when I was a GEMS leader (the girls version of the cadets program) at our church.  We went to a father-daughter barn dance together. =)  (Side note: one of the girls I used to teach is now engaged and working as a pediatric nurse at children’s hospital.  What?!)  I just wanted to include this as a milestone marker for the week that Ethan began Cadets.  He liked it a lot the first week. =)

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Our family spent some time at the reservoir on Labor Day kayaking and renting a stand up paddle board.  We had a blast and it has renewed our passion for getting out there more often!

The boys and I have officially begun Community Bible Study (aka CBS)!  We are doing this Bible study during the day with friends from various places (church, CC, and my dear friend, Amy) and so far it’s been great.  Micah met his sweet teacher the weekend before so that she could help him feel more comfortable with the transition.  He had a super hard time still, but she’s wonderful and makes the struggle worth it!

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Speaking of CC, here’s what the boys and I learned this week:

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The picture of all the kiddos features our upside down drawings we made of the Mayflower.  I was so impressed with their tenacity – it was a really hard art project!  Ethan presented his bottle cap collection; Micah sort of presented on our most recent field trip (more on that in the next blog).

Thankful for the phenomenal people the Lord has put in my life.

First Week of Homeschool

We started our school year this past Monday (8.21) in conjunction with the solar eclipse and the start of Classical Conversations (8.24).  I’ve learned some things over the past two years and opted to start this third year slowly easing into the routine.  I just barely started math and writing this week, but will hopefully have both going full force next week.  It takes some time to get used to not playing all day and when you don’t switch locations (like you do when going to school), it can be a little extra difficult. =)

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Monday was a fun day.  We went for a family walk to get smoothies and cereal boxes (for enjoying and then making our solar eclipse boxes) in the morning.  We also took some first day of school pictures and did most of our measurements (I’m still missing Micah’s height).  We watched solar eclipse videos and made our boxes.  Then we headed to the park to read, play on the playground and get ready for the eclipse.  We ended up coming back to our yard for that and were able to use our neighbors’ eclipse glasses!!

Measurements:
Ethan is now weighing in at 65.6 lbs.  He’s 4.5 feet tall.

Micah weighs 43.4 lbs now and is probably about 3.5 feet tall, but I’ll have to confirm that next week!

Tuesday was another fun day.  We made slime – thanks Uncle Brad and Aunt Sal for the kit!!  We also did some fun Math and English outside with sidewalk chalk.  And the boys worked in their notebooks writing “All About Me” pages and drawing pictures of themselves.

Wednesday was a chill day.  We spent much of the morning at the park meeting Ethan’s class for CBS (Community Bible Study).  I didn’t take any pictures from the day, but we did school work around the house, too.

Thursday was our first day of CC for the year.  We have new kiddos in each of the classes this year.  I’m Ethan’s tutor again.  We had hoped it would work out that I could do Micah’s class, but that didn’t work out this time.  He spent the day in my class, but I’m hopeful he’ll get comfortable in his class soon.  Thankfully he behaves incredibly well and participates the whole time, so he’s not a distraction to me.

Friday was spent here at the house.  We did some CC review, listened to “Anne of Green Gables” (which I am personally LOVING) on audiobook, spent time writing, and did some drawing.  Ethan finished his first chapter book of the school year, “The One and Only Ivan” and he’s now calling it his favorite book.

We made our first CC videos of the year.  This was only day 2 of learning our memory work, so there’s a lot of room for improvement.  Micah made up drawings to “help him remember” the science sentence…I’m not sure how helpful they really were, but he wanted a video showing them. =)

It was a good first week of school.  Overall it was pretty painless, even if I did have a cold for a chunk of it.  I’m finding my rhythm and am hopeful that this will be a fantastic year of growth for all of us.