The school year thus far…

We’ve been having a very hot-and-cold school year thus far.  Some days are loads of fun and we are feeling on top of the world.  Other days we battle with effort and attitude in every moment of the day!  The smiles you see in these pictures are the result of a whole lotta prayer and perseverance on some days and on other days they are just shining through the whole day!

Thought I would highlight some CC stuff we’ve been doing.  Ethan started Essentials this year and it’s been going really well.  It’s definitely challenging, but he’s been reading his papers in front of the class, working on diagramming sentences, learning to speed up his math skills and is loving playing “board slam”.  Micah sits in during Essentials and he’s been picking up on little things here and there, too, which is super fun!

Micah has been going to his CC Foundations class regularly now and he loves it!  And I am really enjoying the class I am tutoring this year, too.  Here are some pictures from this past week.  We were doing abstract art!

Here are some pictures from around the house.  Ethan started keeping a reading journal.  We have one as a family, too, for our bigger read aloud books.  And I started one in August as well.  We just finished “The Bronze Bow” – we all loved it.  We also watched an author interview online, but it didn’t thrill the boys.  We’ll give it a go another time. =)

Sometimes we play school…during our homeschooling day.  It makes me laugh.

We also had the opportunity to play at Top Golf for free with a bunch of other homeschoolers in the area – many of them our friends!  This happens every month, so we’ll be taking advantage of the opportunity again!!

If you know our family well, you may know that our highs are high and our lows feel pretty low.  There’s not a whole lotta big trials, but the little day-to-day difficulties take their toll on our moods.  So, our emotions seem to run pretty deep around here.  There are not a lot of just plain good days. 😉  Our school year follows suit.  One moment we are LOVING homeschooling with all of our hearts, but the next we are wishing the boys went to school.  I was going a little insane – trying the same things over and over and expecting different results.  Then, finally, we implemented some new techniques.  One day we spent time making a poster to keep nearby highlighting the benefits of homeschooling.  I also made to-do lists that I can fill out and they can check off as we go.  I really think the Lord gave me a little rhyme to keep nearby for my own attitude check – “quick to sit, not to quit” – it reminds me to sit with or lean into the annoyances and frustrations and to not be so quick to quit and look for a way out.  And, lastly, I made an attitude/effort chart.  We’ve seen a lot of improvement in all of us. =)

First Two Weeks of School

The first two weeks of school were a bit of a whirlwind, as these pics might attest.  Our first day of school was actually on Monday, August 20th (not the 22nd like I accidentally wrote on our super rushed “first day of school” pics).  And I didn’t weigh the boys until today and still haven’t measured them for their height.  Our first day was also our first of Classical Conversations community day and we had a lot to pack in order to get out the door (thus the picture of our list).

Micah sat in my class for the first week of CC and has chosen to stay with us during Essentials (the afternoon program focused on English grammar, math facts, and writing).  Ethan gave his presentation on our big summer trip – he just highlighted Yosemite for this one.  Micah, since he wasn’t in his class, gave a presentation to our family about his shark tooth and getting it removed at the dentist this summer.  He may use that presentation again when he’s in his real class.

My mom was here for a field trip visit – she arrived in the middle of CC and spent some time with her sister until we were ready.  I’ll include more pictures from her visit and our field trip in another post.  But here are a couple fun ones from around the house (before and after the Mesa Verde field trip):

Mesa Verde occupied most of our first week of school.  This week, however, we had a more typical school week.  Micah went to his CC class and had SO much fun.  His tutor said that he was “GREAT!” in class.  He now calls CC days the “fun day” of the week and plans to attend his class every week.  Ethan, meanwhile, has been an all-star in our class.  I’ve been really impressed with his quiet leadership and kindness.  He’s been participating well, taking chances in Essentials even when he feels way out of his comfort zone, and being a very good example to others around him.  What a treat!  Speaking of treats, we treated the boys to ice cream after such a wonderful second day at CC!  And then I even had the energy to *finally* get them their rewards for all of the books they read over the summer.

And here are some shots I took from around the house during our homeschool days.  Ethan is doing 4th grade math this year and Micah is starting his first Singapore Math book with 1st grade work.  I’ve discovered that he really likes to be artistic during math, so he will never just circle when he could color. =)  Just today Micah asked if we could do harder math…which was such an encouragement to me because he’s not always one to want to be challenged.  I assured him that this book would get more tricky in the coming weeks and that he should just enjoy the easy lessons while he has them.  We also are taking advantage of borrowing “Code Names” from my Mom and playing variations of it with vocab and sight words.

Lastly, here are the current weights of the guys:

Summer Updates

I’m going to lump a bunch of summer pictures/stories into this post in an effort to catch up to present day updates quickly.

The boys each ended up getting much-needed (in my opinion, as Micah likes to remind me often) hair cuts.  Ethan went first and then after a day of seeing how great he looked, Micah was ready to cut his, too. =)

The day Micah got his haircut was a pretty big day for him.  He also had his front tooth pulled out and sealants put on two other teeth (that part was the least comfortable for him).  I had it in my head that he was going to be unconscious for all of this, which scared him plenty, but then it turned out that he just had the laughing gas and was perfectly wide awake and aware the whole time.  He was incredibly brave and held my hand the whole time (except apparently when I gave my phone to Ethan to take a picture), with little tears running down his cheeks for part of it.

We love spending time at our park.  The sprinklers are loads of fun to run through, the hills are fun to scooter, and it’s fascinating to see how much the big storms transform the whole park.

We’ve had some fun playdates – most don’t have pictures.

We’ve been reading lots of books and finishing lots of paint-by-stickers.

We attended the annual CC Practicum.  Micah went to one day of his Geo Draw class, but then opted to pay me back for the other day of classes, rather than attending any more. Sigh.  Last year, you may recall, he didn’t attend any days…so I guess that’s progress. 😉  Thankfully, he sits quietly for hours and hours while I attend the trainings so I really can’t complain.  Ethan participated in his first Latin camp with the older class and seemed to have lots of fun!  We saw him for lunch, but he sat with friends and played sports with them the whole break!  It was fun to watch him running around with the guys.

We built a Lego display bookshelf for the boys’ room:

Ethan had a summer piano lesson and Micah and I enjoyed exploring in a creek nearby:

And the boys “built” a table outside for snacks and “poison-making”.

Mini Memory Masters

In Classical Conversations, there is a great goal of becoming a Memory Master at the end of the school year.  A Memory Master is someone who can recite, without any mistakes (unless they are corrected on their own), every piece of memory work from the 24 weeks of CC.  This includes the timeline (a 13 minute long song spanning from creation to present day events), history, science, math, english, latin, and geography.  It’s a pretty incredible feat and one that we will *hopefully* someday accomplish.  We’re working our way towards it. =D

This year, Ethan chose to memorize all 24 history sentences, all 24 weeks of math facts and all 24 science sentences.  Mike was the judge and he said Ethan did it!  I wasn’t allowed to be present for his test because I tend to give things away without realizing it because I’m busy trying to memorize it all, too! =)  Sadly, I only snapped one picture during and one afterwards.  We are super proud of this guy!  His memory is unreal and we loved seeing the hard work he put into this goal!!

This was Micah’s first full year in CC and he had a giant goal, too.  He wanted to memorize all 24 history sentences and all 24 science sentences.  This is a pretty tricky cycle to memorize as every history sentence begins with a date and many of the science sentences have to do with various parts of the body (i.e. what are some parts of the digestive system?).  Micah did an excellent job memorizing and working hard this year and we rewarded him for his hard work, too!  He was able to get every sentence with very minor help (i.e. “does it start with a date?” “yes, in 1898…” and he’d take it from there).  Below are two videos of his favorite history sentences.

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Both boys were awarded with lego sets and dinner out!  We wanted to reward hard work and perseverance more than even accomplishing the goal, because that means more to us than knowing a bunch of facts.  We were very pleased with their effort!!

Early April

This has been a pretty fun month.  I really enjoy spring in Colorado because you never know what the weather will bring and it means we’re closing in on the last bit of school so things start relaxing around here.  It’s a lot of fun.

One weekend in early April when Mike was in Canada for work, the boys and I joined Aunt Ashley and her family at their new place for dinner.  The boys especially enjoyed seeing their dog, Gracey, and getting to play Wii (I think that’s what it was…) games with Uncle Zach.  This was Micah’s first video game ever and he was beaming with pride!  Thanks, Zach, for patiently walking them through it and keeping it fun for them!

That Sunday evening we went to a birthday party for a kiddo in Micah’s CC class.  The boys especially enjoyed trying rock climbing for the first time (milestone alert!).  I think both would enjoy it more if they had longer to try it and get the hang of it.  Ethan was especially nervous about the height, but he kept getting higher the more attempts he made.  And Micah used his arms a lot more than his legs, so he’d benefit from a little more coaching.  But, seriously, they loved it and did great!

A few nights later, I went out with my dear friend for some rock climbing at a rock climbing gym we enjoy.  It had been a good year+ since we had gone, so it was fun to get back out there again…even if I was pretty rusty/weak.  The boys asked for a picture of me reaching the top – so we made an awesome video of my whole climb up one of the easier runs.  It’s a good 2 minutes long, so I trimmed it for your benefit.  Now you can just laugh with me at my ridiculous attempts to impress the boys…by running into the wall:

While I was out rock-climbing, the guys were busy welcoming our new-to-us piano into our home.  Ethan was especially excited about this and said it was “one of the best days of his life”.  He snapped lots of pictures.  Micah attempted to snap a bunch, too, but sadly his camera ran out of batteries.  He was pretty devastated about it.

We had our final day of CC on April 5th and then had our end of year party/celebration on the 12th in the evening.  Each class does a little presentation in front of everyone (about 80 people were in attendance this evening) about something we’ve been learning. Micah’s class sang the preamble to the US Constitution – thus the patriotic theme.  Sweet Micah told me that evening when getting tucked in for bed that he accomplished one of his goals – he sang up in front of everyone without needing to have me next to him!  The Lord has done so much healing on his sweet heart and mind!  We are thankful!!!  Ethan (and my) class sang the first 12 elements in the periodic table.  Then all of the classes did an orchestra song in a round together.  We have videos of all three, but they won’t upload because they are pretty long!  We’ll be glad to share them in person or through email sometime as per your requests. =D

We also had a really lovely weekend with Daddio back in town.  We played a lot of games and just relaxed together, which was so nice!!  Milestone alert: Micah learned how to play chess!

 

Life in the Meantime

Just wanted to post some pictures from some of the other things going on in our world over the last couple of weeks.

Mike and Micah have been doing some bonding…playing made-up games of “basketball” and doing some stretching.

A sneak peak at homeschooling life in community and at home:

Kiwi Crates (these come every month – our Christmas present to the boys – and while they are not super sturdy, the boys have lots and lots of fun with them).  See above that the boys presented on their kiwi crate creations for CC that week. =)

Snapshots from around the house (the posed ones were taken for Grandpa Russ’ happy birthday wishes)…complete with all the mess that is life these days:

Also, we love living in Denver where you can have a snowstorm followed by 70 degree weather.  These pictures were taken 10 hours apart:

And, in conclusion, this week marked our final day of CC.  My class ended with lots of smiles and laughs and a whole lotta energy. =)

 

Quick updates

Before I get to weekend updates, I wanted to do a quick update on life from last week.

Ethan competed in his first pinewood derby race.  His car didn’t do all that well, so he was a bit disappointed.  We had some good chats about trying something new, learning from the past, asking people for their guidance in the future, etc. etc.  Anyway, I think it was a great experience and it was lots of fun to see all of the cars!

We finished week 22 of CC (only 2 weeks left!!).  Ethan gave a presentation on “The Hobbit” – our most recent read-aloud book.  It’s not his most flattering picture, but I really like his outfit and can’t get over how old he looks!

Micah gave his presentation on some of his Legos.  I received this email from his tutor afterwards: “His presentation made my day yesterday.  It went on for at least ten minutes and his face was completely lit up the whole time.  My favorite part was his explanation of the ninja warriors fighting the city people (one of whom was in a wheelchair).  :)”

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Micah sometimes wears these glasses for school because they make everything look prettier:

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Last Friday, Aunt Ashley and Caleb came over for a little picnic and time at the park!  Caleb went down the slide by himself and had Ethan to catch him.  He was cracking us up with all of his, “uh oh!” remarks anytime the boys fell or pretended to fall.

Next up…my retreat!