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.)

Other notable events of the past couple of weeks include haircuts for Ethan (his first in well over a year!) and Mike!

We’ve gone on quite a few birding excursions, including one on “Global Big Day” and another just today with some friends to see owls:

Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A flew out for a wedding and we were happy to spend a couple evenings outside with them! It, of course, wasn’t a typical trip with them but we were excited to *finally* see them again! Something is definitely better than nothing!

We celebrated Mother’s Day – sweet time back at our church for worship with my littlest guy, followed by sushi for lunch and Italian for dinner the following night. The boys also did a little coin trading while I napped. =D

Other highlights: Ethan and I enjoyed a native plant gardening class online. Mike was back in Missouri visiting his dad for a week and we enjoyed Skyping with them. And we did another variety show with the family over a Sunday afternoon zoom call. Ethan and I played our duet (we’ll be playing in an outdoor recital on Saturday, too!). Uncle Ger played “His Cheeseburger” on the ukulele. Ger and Grandma did a duet with the cello and uke and Grandma and Grandpa did a trombone/piano duet. Others showed LEGO creations. And I’m probably missing some other fun parts. So much fun!

And now we’re in summer mode. This means we are still doing some schooling, but are a lot more laid back. We’ve done some cleaning and organizing (including taking down a wall poster of the US), some math games, and the boys have their own version of slack where they write notes back and forth and make plans for how to use the playroom. =D

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!

Fall in Colorado

Fall is my favorite season! It’s been my favorite season everywhere I’ve lived. Wisconsin, Georgia, and Colorado. I especially love fall in Colorado because you really never know what kind of weather you’re going to experience from one day to the next. One day you are wearing shorts and t-shirts and the next day you are sledding, sometimes literally. The weather swings will be very evident in this post. =)

Summer weather…reading in the sunshine while the boys play football with Daddio:

Winter weather…snow, sledding and days of fires (even on school days)!

Summer weather…windows wide open while the boys send messages and snacks back and forth and then later play snow baseball.

Other happenings unrelated to the weather, but related to school instead: Micah reading his paragraph to Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Sal; various pics of schoolwork at the house; and CC dress like a book character day.

More happenings, this time related to various ‘celebrations’ within our home (Dodgers winning, my virtual book club – I finished a fantastic, but long book about the Great Migration, Packers picnics, our democracy and a new president):

Other happenings from life in general (working on balance; a fun comparison pic of Ethan 6 years ago in preschool as a pirate and Ethan now trying to figure out how to keep his hair out of his eyes; Micah’s ship; the boys reading at night before sleeping; Micah playing piano for Grandma Cleve; boys wrestling with Daddio; and more relaxation by the fire):

It’s a good life we’re living. Lots of things that bring us joy. Some days we have to look harder to find the light, but it’s always there.

Some updates from the first half of September.

Pictures from homeschooling – a visual representation of the differences between E and M being asked to write the same science question and answer; our math books were backordered (we finally got Ethan’s, but Micah’s is still not here) so I’ve been doing random workbooks for Math; Ethan is editing a Bible verse, then drawing a picture for our Essentials vocabulary game, and then working on a report for piano; Micah has started using the iPad for fun math games while waiting for his math book to arrive; and Micah watches art classes on YouTube with me while Daddio teaches Ethan something solo (E does typing when Micah has his lesson with Dad).

Pictures from our CC community day in the backyard – Ethan did a presentation on cold showers; Micah talked about the Rush Revere book we finished (thanks, Grandpa Russ!); I taught Fine Arts (drawing upside down); and Ethan made a grumpy face at me when he missed his shot from the review game:

Pictures from fun at home – Mike mowing the lawn in a mask because of all the smoke in the air; Micah looking a picture while listening to Grandma reading; the boys taking ice baths; playing ping pong on Sunday afternoons after church (photo credit goes to Ethan for that darling one of Micah); boys enjoying some special treats from friends and family who had heard we were under the weather; birding in the chilly mornings; working on books for our in-home library; and finally the two pictures of Mike and I are from the book reading event at our library (I read my book, “Alvin the Brave” in a British accent, much to the amusement of the fam):