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. =)

Mesa Verde

We began our school year with a really fun field trip.  My Aunt Melanie is homeschooling her youngest son and is studying Colorado history this year and she asked if we would be interested in going to Mesa Verde with them.  We jumped at the opportunity since we are studying ancient history!  And we were even more thrilled when my Mom agreed to fly out and join us!

The park wasn’t too busy or too hot, so this season was awesome for our trip.  (We also planned it around Mike’s trip to Phoenix where he saw his family and also spent time with his friends for his fantasy football draft.)  We listened to Fablehaven on the drive there and back; it received mixed reviews but we all agreed that it helped to pass the time!  We stayed at the Fair View Lodge within the park and ate all of our meals inside the park, too.  Here are some pics from the trip and at our lodge:

We spent two full days exploring the cliff dwellings, which were beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they have stood there for over 800 years already!  Here are some pictures of the dwellings and our hikes in and around them:

On the way out, Micah and Matthew completed their Jr Ranger’s program and then we had an incredible breakfast at Absolute Bakery – highly recommend – in Mancos.  The boys each enjoyed a can of Sprite – milestone! – on the drive back to Denver.

We LOVED this opportunity to travel with family and explore our distant backyard.  Thanks to my Auntie for driving us and organizing everything.  And thanks to my Mom for making the trip out to join us!  Let’s do it again!!

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from Mikey’s trip to Phoenix.  He tells me he had a great time!  It’s a lovely gift that the draft takes place where he can also have some special time with his Mom (and grandparents, too!).

Field Day

Ethan participated in his first Field Day while my parents were in town.  It was a huge group of kiddos from various PE+ groups throughout the city.  I would guess there were 150 kids participating, but I am not great with number estimates.  I have lots of thoughts about this day, but most of them are not necessary.  So, let’s just suffice it to say that Ethan had a great time and I was really glad my parents were there to help and to capture all of the fun!

Photo cred goes to my dad, of course, for pretty much all of these pictures.

Field Trips

You know we are nearing the end of the school year when you see lots of field trips popping up!  We actually completed our state requirements a couple weeks ago already, but I have a few things we want to finish before the end of our school year next week.  So these field trips have just been chances to get together with other families or to see/do things that seemed like fun. =)

We went with a bunch of CC families to see the Dead Sea Scrolls a couple weeks ago.  I think I got the most out of this one, but I took a very casual approach to this day – allowing them to explore the things that most interested them and not forcing too much reading.  It’s a cool exhibit, for sure, but it’s a lot of reading and that’s not very attention-grabbing for our boys right now. 😉

Over the weekend, Daddio joined us at Living History.  We had done this with my parents at the beginning of the year, too, but this time the boys got to build their own muskets.  They were pretty thrilled about doing that.

The next week, we celebrated reaching our reading goals for the month with cheese-in-the-crust pizza at the library.  We love stopping at pizza hut before heading over for a library visit and just eating outside.  And I told the boys about how I remember when cheese-in-the-crust commercials started and how they always showed the kids eating from the crust first.  So we took some pictures to recreate that. =D

We also went to the Celestial Seasonings tour in Boulder with some CC friends.  Sadly, they were in the middle of inventory, so we didn’t get to see the machines working on the tour, but it was still really interesting!  The boys mostly enjoyed seeing friends and drinking lots of tea.

 

Homeschool Edition

We finished CC a couple weeks ago now, but that doesn’t mean we are done with school, yet.  (Although, I did just calculate our hours and we technically only have about 35 school hours to go until we’ve reached the official Colorado mandated hours…but I can tell you that we will surpass that since I am estimating our last day of school to be Friday, May 18th.)

We’ve been having some fun taking schooling outside on the nice weather days:

And we’ve had some fun indoors, too.  One day, for instance, we made a homemade game that outlined all of the main happenings in “The Hobbit” – including losing a turn when doing riddles with Gollum and other such things.

You’re seeing lots of books in my pictures because we are really loving read-aloud time.  Some of our more recent books: The Sign of the Beaver (boys loved it!); My Father’s Dragon (again, boys loved it – especially Micah as it’s a much shorter chapter book with pictures often); The Green Ember books (Ethan and I – and sometimes Micah – are reading the third book in the series); and A Wrinkle in Time (E and I hope to go to the theater to see this when it comes to the cheap one near us).

Butterfly Pavilion

As promised, here are some pictures from our field trip to the Butterfly Pavilion.  We stopped in there before heading to the fair trade conference to see Jen and J.  Both boys held Rosie, the tarantula.  Micah had done so once before, but this was Ethan’s first time. We learned a new fact – no one has ever died because of a tarantula, but there have been 3 known deaths from hamsters.  =D

Micah took most of the pictures (or requested them) this day.  He likes to find beautiful things to capture which makes me smile.

Micah had a beautiful butterfly land on his head!  So fun!

And, lastly, we’re pointing to the fair trade conference from where we were at the Butterfly Pavilion:

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First Stop: Minnesota

We drove to Minneapolis the week before Christmas and spent a few days there.  The boys are fantastic travelers, thankfully.  They keep themselves busy with coloring, looking at books, and listening to audiobooks.  And, of course, having tic tacs or gum all day long. =)

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Mike worked while we were there, of course, so the boys and I kept ourselves occupied throughout the day.  One day we spent exploring the “tubes”.  We made it all the way to Mike’s office and had some kombucha on tap there and also grabbed some lunch with our guy.

Most of the rest of the time we hung around the hotel and played a lot of billiards. =)  We also got in some “work outs”, drank hot chocolate, did some school and played some games.  In retrospect, I would have scheduled another outing (like a children’s museum or something!), but the boys had seemed so content to hang at the hotel so we did that this time around.  We also always had dinner with Mikey when he was done at the office.

The main reason we went to Minneapolis was to attend the family Christmas party.  It was pretty fun and a really unique location!  Ethan played at least 3 games of mini-golf on a cool course designed by various artists.  Micah and I played a whole lot of arcade games from the 60s, like bowling and foos ball.

We had a great time in Minneapolis, but by Friday afternoon we were headed to Wisconsin for some family time!