Well, we’ve officially made the shift from summer weather to fall. It’s typical Colorado, though, so we’ve got days in the high 70s followed by days in the 50s. We managed to go a long time without using any AC or heat, but we finally had to heat up the place when we were doing school in hats and lots of layers just to stay warm. I think the house got down to 60 degrees and that’s just a wee bit chilly for us. =D We also had to pick all of our tomatoes after it dropped to below freezing for a few nights and that means we have a lot of green tomatoes gracing our counters.

Our friends snapped some pictures of the boys playing flag football up the street and I’m finally remembering to post them. We’ve got the final games happening this weekend!

Other happenings include celebrating Mike’s company acquiring another company with root beer floats. We found it hilarious that Ethan was wearing a disciple equals freedom shirt while drinking a massive root beer float. =)

Ethan finished invisalign and now just has to wear a retainer for 10 weeks (I think we’re down to 8 already; then he’ll wear it only at night). We celebrated with ice cream.

Most weekends we do a family workout on Saturday mornings. We each take turns leading the group in a workout. The pictures from this one were from a workout led by Micah.

A couple of weekends ago, we went for a nearby hike and then enjoyed some time in Golden with our favorite treats – açaí bowls!

This past weekend we spent a day in the mountains with our church family. The weather was lovely! E went on a solo hike with one of his buddies. Mike and Micah did a lot of archery competitions. (and E and I found out we are both dominant in our left eyes and had to figure out how to shoot left handed) We all learned how to play shuffleboard. We had a great time!

And here are some pictures from around the house over the past couple of weeks: Micah trying new vegetarian recipes (since he might like to become a vegetarian), playing football in their jammies, reading books, LEGO master competition (make something featuring water and a battle – Micah’s won), Ethan showing Micah some ukulele chords, Micah diagraming sentences and also listening to his book while playing Colorku.

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.

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!

You’ll see more evidence of the crazy Colorado weather in this post. We’ve had warm enough temps to hang out in shorts and we’ve had more snow storms again. =)

Here are some schooling outside pics:

Spending time as a family outside (including our darling pet Mallards). The boys were working on plans for bird boxes to make when my parents get here and Ethan was doing research for his bird jeopardy game he was creating for us in that picture of us outside and him on the computer.

We’ve had birding excursions with various parties. I have gone out with just Ethan a couple of times and we’ve done some full family trips, too. We really enjoyed going to the Denver Audubon Nature Center for some hiking and photography. (Fun benefit of having two boys taking pictures – we get more pictures of just the two of us. Micah took the one below.)

More updates from around the house include Mallory watching the boys play LEGO and going on the roof to get our attention for more food; finishing up the timeline with Grandpa, Grandma and Auntie Sal; and watching a bird course from Great Courses. Micah has finished level 3 of his reading program and is working on the fourth and final level now! We are finishing up the school year officially on May 7, but may do some learning throughout the summer, too, as usual.

We’ve spent the last two weeks watching Jeopardy as a family after dinner because Aaron Rodgers was hosting it. Turns out we all really enjoyed doing it! And we’ve since made some jeopardy boards of our own. Ethan did one on birds and I did one with CC memory work.

We celebrated Masters Sunday for Mikey with egg salad sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and pimento cheese sandwiches. We all agreed that the pimento cheese in Denver is super lame. But we had a great time!

Our home is filled with music much of the time. Micah has decided to take 5 lessons over the summer to decide whether he might like to continue in the fall. Ethan and I are working on a fun duet for an upcoming recital. And Micah and E just came up with a little duet this morning! Here’s a link to a short video of it.

The boys went to the orthodontist (at our regular dentist office! yay!) and E will be getting invisaline (braces-ish) soon. Micah will get it when all of his adult teeth are in. Both will need to wear the invisaline for a year and then should be all set. We’ve reached that fun stage in reading when Micah just reads for enjoyment!! He read most of this chapter book at the orthodontist and then spent an evening reading an entire chapter book to me a few nights later by the fire! I started reading a book about the teenage brain by that same fire. Is it really possible that E is almost a teenager?!

We participated in our first town hall meeting on Zoom with our Senator. It was lots of fun. Ethan was invited to it since he has sent in a few emails to our Senator for various environmental causes he cares about. We got ice cream and made it a very exciting evening!

A final update is that we have a new member of the family – Eleanor Grace was born last week and is adored by her whole family!

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.