In the blink of an eye

This guy. He surprises me at every turn. Just when I think I have him figured out he throws me a curve ball. Yesterday, while I tore through the contents of a million christmas boxes from the garage, he busied himself with an exercise DVD. He got out the yoga mat, popped in the DVD and spent some quality time sweating it out with Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser. Why? I have no idea. It likely has something to do with his obsession with all things hockey these days. I guess he’s trying to squeeze in a little off-ice training. And then, when he was done, he asked to do this.

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And of course, Mr. Thistle obliged. (There’s no blade in that razor, of course). I guess he was just feeling a little more grown up this weekend. And I caught a glimpse of my future. It was as sad as it was cute to this mama’s heart. He’s 7. But I’ll blink and he’ll be 17.

But don’t worry. Little brother brought me right back to toddler life by getting a lego stuck up his nose before I even had my coffee this morning. The days are long but the years are short, mamas.

November 24, 2014 - 11:55 am

Jen Wilmoth - You are so right! The years really are so short. Before you know it, he will be shaving for real!

Observing Trees with Nancy Larson Science 1

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Since it’s a dreary day here and much of the country has already seen snow on the ground, I thought we’d look back at a much warmer view of our homeschool days. We finished up our lesson with Nancy Larson Science 1 on Observing Trees a couple of weeks ago. And just in time, too. The weather has been crazy here in Tennessee with a couple dustings of snow, a little ice, wind advisories, and rain, rain, rain. Outdoor studies were a little tricky with our ever-changing weather. But we managed to sneak in a lovely hike before the trees lost all their leaves and fruit and beauty. Equipped with our Peterson’s Tree Field Guide that came with our Nancy Larson Science 1 kit, we headed out for a hike. We hiked deep into the woods and came to a lovely clearing with mature persimmon trees and the lovely smell of fermenting fruit on the ground. There was plenty to explore from bugs and fermentation to leaves and bark. We took our time exploring our field guide each time we came across a tree someone was interested in. We climbed trees and observed the bees, wasps, ladybugs, and flies that kept us company there. And we spent the next few weeks discussing what we observed during our hike from the comfort of our classroom. Each time there was a break in the crazy weather we would observe the trees and shrubs in our own yard. Other times we would observe what we could through our classroom window. And, now, even though we’re technically finished with the lesson, we’ll extend it a little when we cut our Christmas tree this week and bring it home. We’ll observe how the tree will survive over the next few weeks without the roots we learned about at the beginning of the unit and how it responds to being cut through oozing of sap. We’ll watch it drop it’s needles and discuss it’s fragrance. It’ll be an easy, organic review of the information during the crazy holiday season.

**And of course, I lugged my big camera out on the hike with me only to realize I had left the memory card at home. Thank goodness for smart phones!**

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Schooling in season

I’d normally start this post with “So we’ve been hard at work with Mother Goose Time….”, but that’s just not the case this month. Sure we started out strong. But it wasn’t long before we lost momentum. Sure we still love it. But it just didn’t work for us this month. That’s just how it goes sometimes. November’s theme was still super cute and covered all of the typical things covered in a month of Mother Goose Time. But the month’s theme focused on all things rainforest. That turned out to be a problem for us in this particular month. Academically speaking there’s nothing wrong with the material. But with all the pumpkin spice in the air and snow falling twice already outside our window none of us could get in the “tropical” mood. Our minds have been on pilgrims and leaves and turkeys and Native Americans and harvests. We’re just a very seasonal family. We like to eat in season when possible and soak up the sights and sounds unique to each season. Perhaps it’s the farming spirit coming out in us all, but we’ve grown accustomed to appreciating each season for what it has to offer.

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We tried to get into frogs and jaguars and canopies and emergent layers of the rainforest. But it just never stuck. We were just going through the motions. So, I put my carefully and neatly organized Mother Goose Time binder aside and embraced the kids’ (and my own) desire to nurture the holiday spirit.

 

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Last year’s holidays were such a whirlwind for us with all the farmhouse business happening and the unexpected move to another state 3 days after Christmas. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s were a total blur and exhausting. We weren’t able to embrace any of the traditions and special moments that come with those holidays because our minds were too caught up on our giant to-do lists. We simply survived them.

So, this year, when we felt the spirit of the holidays coming on early we ditched the curriculum and the lesson planner and we started our holiday enjoyment the first week of November. We’ll still be “doing school” but it will involve lots of baking and crafting and harvest/christmas/winter themed material. We’re squeezing every bit of thankfulness out of this season that we can.

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I’m excited for December’s theme with Mother Goose time because I think it will be easier to incorporate into our relaxed holiday themed school. Winter Wonderland sounds like just what we need to “school in season.” Even though it’s not technically “holiday” themed I think it will be easier to embrace lessons about the cold while it’s cold outside our window. And, while the kids are little I think it’s important to nurture their interests. And this year, they have a very big holiday interest. I think they’ll likely squeeze in all the activities we missed last holiday season with what’s already planned for this year.

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I won’t even mention how many times we’ve already watched A Charlie Brown Christmas or Home Alone on DVD. Or how much egg nog is already in my fridge.

**Update: Our Winter Wonderland box arrived right after I wrote this post and it is JUST what we needed. Oh man. I’m so pumped. The country of the month is Nepal and I’m already dreaming of prayer flags strung up across our schoolroom and Yukon Cornelius and Abominable Snowman as our holiday/Himalaya tie-in for the month. I can’t wait to show you the awesome map book I picked up the other day at the library that serendipitously has the BEST map of Nepal ever, ever, amen. I’m going right now to map out the month!

November 21, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Jen Wilmoth - We have done the same thing. We put the MGT down for the most part this month to embrace the season and holidays for school. :-)

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