October

Beautiful shots from various walks throughout October:

October meant a field trip to a pumpkin patch and corn maze with some friends. I think Micah’s goal was to find the biggest pumpkin he could carry. =)

October also brought the end of the flag football season. Someone affiliated with one of Ethan’s coaches snapped some nice shots of their final games. So I’ll share some of those pics:

Some of us enjoyed dressing up as book characters at our CC community one day this month. There were a couple of fun same-book-costume-pairs happening, like Lucy and the White Witch and Jo Shanks and Red Eye Garlackson from The Green Ember. And there were some who chose to be themselves as featured in their autobiographies. =D

And Ethan participated in a middle school youth group activity at church making meals for others to give away. I think they all enjoyed wearing their special bakers hats.

One of the highlights for the month for me was spending a whole Saturday hiking with my bestie. We usually go on a weekend retreat twice each year and haven’t done so for a very.long.time. This was long-overdue and so good for our hearts! (side note – we gave our hearts a good scare when we were warned away from our lunching bench by a massive rattlesnake)

Weekly Rhythms

This post will feature pictures that capture a typical week around here.

We start our week off in community. Mike is attending Essentials with Micah (as is another dear friend/dad of ours) while I direct Ethan’s Challenge A class.

Homeschool life (Micah working on Essentials grammar charts; Ethan researching for his weekly research paper; Micah playing LEGO while I read a book to him and review memory work; Ethan waiting for me to get ready to do our Latin exercises side by side):

Piano practice and lessons:

Krav Maga fits in here twice a week, but I don’t take pictures every week and I think I’ve probably already posted the ones I have.

Our weekends lately include flag football games (this past weekend Auntie and Uncle cheered them on!):

And many of our evenings include games (some more peaceful than others) and listening to Daddio read to us. Sometimes E and I like to play the same game of Sudoku and see who can complete it the most quickly.

A short, but sweet visit

Jen, Jason and Salina came out to visit us this past weekend for the first time since Salina was about 6 weeks old. This trip was supposed to happen last fall, but their concert was cancelled (reasons obvious) and rescheduled for this past weekend. It was a delight to host them, but it sure was a whirlwind!

Some highlights included ukulele-playing, puzzle-finishing, zucchini bread-making, Watermelon Run-participating (both boys ran really well and Jen was very sweet to keep me and my wretched knees company), ice cream-eating, Packer picnicking and watching Salina (and snuggling with her) while her mom and dad *finally* attended their much-anticipated concert at Red Rocks!

We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast at our Auntie and Uncle’s house. Salina was exceptionally excited about seeing Matthew.

On Monday we rushed out the door to get to our CC community day and they enjoyed one of my favorite easy hikes!

Thanks for coming out to see us again! It was such a pleasure to have you!

Our 7th year…

of homeschooling is underway. It’s probably the smoothest transition we’ve had from summer to school to date! (except maybe in those first years when everything we did was fun and no one had anything to complain about. =P) We seem to enjoy the structure and we are all rising to new challenges this year.

E and I started Challenge a week before Micah began Foundations/Essentials. But we all have at least a week under our belts now. Our community opted to meet outdoors again this year, but it’s expanded in size and is now meeting outside of our usual church (as opposed to in our backyard). I can’t tell you how much fun it is to do this outside! What a gift!

Our community is also doing monthly field trips this year. August brought us to Bluff Lake Nature Center and a little outdoor ice cream treat at the end! Here are a bunch of the guys checking out birds together.

Here are some pictures I snapped throughout the past couple of weeks around the house:

E is learning how to play our song version of Proverbs 25 on the ukulele. He picked it up very quickly and also already has all of that Proverb memorized (I still have 12 weeks to memorize it, so I’ll catch up…). Mike plans to teach the boys subjects of their choice on Wednesday afternoons for a bit. I suspect they will be learning about finances, stocks, etc. from him. Also, we switched Math for both boys (E switched to Saxon already last year) and it’s been SO much better for us.

Here’s a look at Ethan’s first day of CC back in 2015. In the middle picture Micah was only old enough to go to nursery. When he started CC, he started midyear and I can’t seem to find his official first day picture. (Sorry, buddy. It’s got to be out there somewhere!) But I did find a picture of him giving his presentation to Ethan’s class when he used to get too nervous to stay in his own classroom for the whole day. =D

We are thankful for the opportunity to do this and can hardly believe this is our 7th official year homeschooling with CC. Time is flying by!

Starting the school year

The school year is just around the corner and we’ve given ourselves a light start this week. Monday will mark the first day of Challenge A for Ethan (and me) and the following Monday will be the first day of Foundations/Essentials for Micah.

We had a really fun park orientation day with our CC community last weekend. We’ll be meeting outdoors for class again this year, but we’ve got more families joining us this time around. This is SUCH a sweet group! I’m very excited about the intentional and beautiful community we have around us as we homeschool for our 7th official year.

As usual, we’ve recorded heights and weights for the boys. I expect they will grow quite a bit over this school year.

Ethan: nearly 5’2″ and 103 lbs; he is starting his 7th grade year, which is called Challenge A in our CC world.

Micah: 4’8″ and 70 lbs; he is a 4th grader this year.

And here are a few pictures I snapped during our first *light* week of school. One boy likes pictures a lot more than the other.

And I’m pretty excited about our schedule for the year. I am CERTAIN this will shift and change as we figure out how much time each subject actually takes, but it’s fun to have something to shoot for in the meantime! (I’m posting it here so that I don’t forget to do this in the years to come! You don’t even need to pay any attention to it.)

Finishing up the school year

We delayed our final community day by a couple weeks in hopes we’d have a beautiful, sunny day. It worked out wonderfully! We had a great last day in the backyard and then a couple of days later we had a field day together. So much fun! Fred and Mallory joined us in the middle of our memory work time. Micah showed off his new camera for his final presentation and Ethan played a song on the piano while the audience listened from the deck. And E enjoyed playing a “final” game of National Number Knockout during Essentials – a favorite of his!

We also had our final online presentation time with the other families who opted to do CC from home. This was such a unique, but really special experience. Ethan especially loved wow-ing his friends with his latest pictures of birds via the share screen option.

Later we had a really fun celebration outdoors with our friends. The students all read their Faces and Places papers (Ethan did Teddy Roosevelt; Micah did George Washington) and then enjoyed ice-blocking and a big game of kickball. One dear mom made birthday cookies for Ethan (and others with summer birthdays) since she had done so for the other students in our backyard group throughout the year. He was so impressed with her artistic talent making colorful birds for him!

The next week we finished up some schooling, including end of year testing and a geography overview. This was Micah’s first time doing any testing and he was not a big fan. We’ve learned that I never refuse to help them when something is confusing or hard for them and I can’t help during testing…so that was hard for both of us!

We celebrated with ice pops and a ping pong tournament.

Final day pictures of both boys:

Ethan will begin Challenge A (which is the equivalent of 7th grade) next year (thus the darling shirt about laying his Foundation and adding the Essentials before rising to the Challenge) and Micah will officially start Essentials and his final three years in Foundations. Hard to imagine we’ve just finished our 6th year already!

Finishing up March

March brought with it the arrival of Mallory, our beloved Mallard. We believe she’s got a new fella’ with her this spring, but we’re still calling him Fred. She’s back to her usual antics of peaking in the window and waiting on our step for corn and cooked rice. They have both ventured to the back on a couple of occasions.

March has also brought warmer weather – the kind where we spend hours outside: working, schooling, biking, playing ping pong, and going for hikes. Mike took the boys biking to Cherry Creek Reservoir recently while I did some CC work for next year.

The weekend before Easter we headed out to Upper Cheesman Reservoir for a really neat hike. I think it was about 4 miles total (out and back). Mike said it was one of his favorite hikes!

Other note-worthy events that I captured on camera from this month included another round of “cat business” (AKA watching the cats for our neighbors) – I snapped this picture of them coming home chatting, a birthday FaceTime with Grandpa Russ, Micah and Grandma having a business meeting about making cards, watching a Duck-umentary (twice), and art at the co

And, of course, some pictures from school life these days. The boys wrote a story together to do as their virtual presentation with our slightly broader CC community. It was hilarious.

We are down to only 2 weeks of backyard CC and we’re all kind of bummed to have it end. It’s been such a blast! Ethan painted a hummingbird, in the style (sort of) of Georgia O’Keeffe. The boys worked on vocabulary stories where they took a well-known fairy tale and re-wrote it using as many vocabulary words from Essentials as possible. I believe they both ended up using more than 50 of their vocabulary words. I snapped a picture of the words we were still trying to sneak into their stories with each boy so that I would remember which words needed to go with which boy. =D

And the last two pictures were to remind me to mention in passing that E and Micah do school in very different ways. Micah likes to include snacks and a stuffed animal and also always turns math problems into artistic masterpieces. =P