SCHOOL: OCTOBER 2019

We really hit our stride in October. Maybe I said that for September? I don’t know, but October felt so full and lazy all at the same time. My ideal blend of goings-on.

We learned a ridiculous amount about Vikings which took up most of our history and geography. Aside from that, we continued to focus on reading, grammar, and math as our core subjects.

Below is a bit more of the additional school-related things.

One big change we’re trying out is rotating days. I teach Mae Mondays and Wednesdays (Grammar, math, reading, writing, sewing, and whatever she adds to it.) and Rae on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Grammar, reading, math, drawing, and whatever she wants to add to it).

They also cook all the meals on their days (especially supper). We meet each day for lunch/tea time and work on Bible lessons, German, and our group read aloud – this month focused on mysteries such as Nancy Drew and Box Car Children.

Fridays, we are all together and accomplish our history, science, and anything else they want to do, like play board games, go for a walk or bake a new-to-us thing. We all cook breakfast and supper together on this day.

It has been so nice having an entire day one-on-one, and I can tell they enjoy a bit of scheduled time alone to work on what they want. Sewing, scrapbooking, crocheting, drawing, painting, Barbies and babydolls, PBS computer games, Legos, and archery have been some of the things they chose during this time. Mae also chose to watch folks make things on youtube. Primitive Technology and Evan and Katelyn are two of her favorites.

Mae read Sarah, Plain and Tall as one of her independent read alouds.

I always love my time listening to her read. I no longer have to chime in with help – unless the writer chooses a strange name – but she is someone who discusses the book all the way through. So many questions and comments come from her. It makes me happy to see what she finds funny.

As a kid, I loved watching the movie at my Vovo’s house, so as a surprise, I ordered the movie to give her when she completed the book. Watching it with her was just as fun! She really liked that most of their words were verbatim from the book. She’s so cool. She was most excited about the scene where they go swimming in the pond. It did not disappoint.

Rae looking very early 2000s. What a cool lady.

While the weather was still decent, we made a point to go on a few picnics a week. We may yet decide to hold some soup and cider picnics before the month is up but with so much rain and snow in the forecast, I may chicken out.

Rae has officially begun typing lessons along with her sister!

We use typing.com and they enjoy it…and enjoy seeing their progress…and having their own account they get to sign into. Ha.

Layers of the atmosphere project.
Mae’s first newspaper.

This month Mae began writing. She has always had a desire to write stories (and tell stories). I decided to forgo the struggle of letting her work through her limited spelling vocabulary and now I type her narration and show her how to use Google docs and format a book, save it and print it so she can ease into doing it all solo.

I had her write a book a week. About two weeks in, we started up the fireplace – which meant we pulled out old newspapers for kindling. She typically saves the newspapers we receive and reads through them and does her best to memorize the weather for the week. One afternoon, she told me she wanted to write a newspaper and already had the day’s hourly weather written up (which she figured out independently). How could I say no? We drew it up in Photoshop and printed four copies, one for each of us (She gave a couple to Zack’s friends, too).

I have given her the job of creating one at the beginning of every month so we know what is going on and what we have to look forward to!

When she was done designing her newspaper, we began her first sewing lesson. She has done a lot of hand sewing and used the machine a ‘tweensy’ bit but she wants to be great at it. So! great she shall be. (And her legs are finally a good length!)

In the first photo, she is getting used to the speed by stitching rows and rows of straight lines while also turning the fabric to make the stitch continuous.

After she felt comfortable and was less mad with power (she makes everything in life hilarious), I helped her make the cutest bento bag for Rae’s American Girl doll.

She wants to open a small shop/sale (yard sale style). I told her if she works hard this winter she can have one with her homemade goods. She knows how to make scrunchies so she will be making a ton of those and bento bags (normal size) and hopefully many more things.

I can already tell that most of her winter schooling will consist of creating anything and everything her beautiful brain thinks up.

We became obsessed with checking in on the bears in Alaska via this live stream. We keep it up at all times and run to see them a few times each day. Sometimes the girls bring their copy work to the desk so they can watch them while they work.

Rae stealing the Terebridae, or auger shell, back for her picture presentation.

We got back into nature journaling! I love drawing natural and true things (my imagination does not exist when it comes to fiction), so I am all for drawing animals, trees, flowers, shells, pinecones, etc…sometimes even people.

Now it is perfect.

After reading and watching Sarah, Plain and Tall, the girls chose sea shells as our nature drawing subject. Rae really wanted me to take a photo of her drawing set up juuuusst right.

She is so detail-oriented when it comes to drawing. Zack and I are constantly in awe of the doodles she brings us.

I don’t have a photo of it, but her colorings of the shells were immaculate and even more detailed.

Mae doesn’t care for drawing or coloring, but she took the time to draw two angles for each shell!

She sighs at the thought of drawing and d r e a d s coloring.

However, she adores writing and Rae loathes it. Haha.

One week, for our composer and painting lesson, we held off until nighttime, ’cause it was somewhat of a spooky one. Some of you may have seen the videos of it in my Instagram stories.

We listened to Night on Bald (Bare) Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky over and over and over while we discussed Mussorgsky, came up with stories for the music, and at the very end of our talks I told them what it was really about – so I didn’t steer their stories.

For the assignment, we all chose a type of mountain and who was climbing up that mountain. Rae chose a pointed snowy mountain with skiers and Santa overhead. Mae chose a candy mountain with gingerbread men climbing up it. I chose a trash mountain with a raccoon climbing on it.

Elwood P. and Miss Maybe joined us, too.

It was kind of windy, so we used the propane lantern instead of candles. It kept us nice and warm, as did the girl’s hot chocolate.

We took many walks about town, but our favorite place was definitely the new addition to the already very long bike trail in town.

A photo one of the girls took of me getting the Bible biz together. Rare.

Mae happened to be sick on Rae’s day at one point. I got her a real nice set up back in the bedroom and thoroughly enjoyed my morning alone with Rae.

We did whatever she wanted to – worksheets, youtube stories, coloring, and Legos…with an episode of Adventure Time to accompany her breakfast. It was so nice hanging out with a six-year-old doing only six-year-old things.

Mae got back into the habit of e-mailing grandmas while she was sick.

We often found ourselves crocheting and knitting while watching cozy fall movies. Some of our favorites were Fly Away home, You’ve Got Mail, Little Women, and Harry Potter.

They also began to find joy in practicing cursive white listening to calm music (by candlelight, of course). They really like soundtracks – Little Women, Wall-E, Inside Out, The Hobbit, Pride and Prejudice, and Downton Abbey are a few favorites.

I am so glad Autumn is just getting started!

VIKINGS

Just as we began this project, some other moms I follow on Instagram posted photos of dragon bread their kids had made. Well, we just had to make some.

I wasn’t happy with the dough we used, but have since found this recipe we will try another day. It tasted and baked fine, it just wasn’t easy to mold.

The girls made clothespin dragons whose wings flap as you open and close the pin.

Viking related books the girls enjoyed:

Elska (Horse Diaries series)
The Viking News
Leif the Lucky

I have too many grand ideas when it comes to themed lessons. Thankfully, Zack also has a habit of dreaming big and graciously helps me with any and all ideas I wish to see through. Like this longhouse.

I had planned for the girls and me to make this at home, like all of our other clay projects, but this needed a mind that understood the ins and outs of how clay sets and the best techniques to use. I wanted this to be both purposeful and last a long time. I designed it to be a candle holder and I’m pretty sure it will look perfect on the school table come Christmas time.

Zack ended up doing ninety-nine point nine percent of the longhouse project. It was a bit too much for the kids on account’a hot glue and dedicate fake moss being the main necessities when it came to aesthetics.

It worked out though because Zack seemed to have fun making it (like, a lot of fun!). It’s not often he gets to create just for the joy of it anymore (although, technically, this was a request he completed for me).

We made leather shoes. (The tutorials are here and here)

Mae says they are “So comfy!” with or without socks.

We also did a ton of research on the internet and read bits from various history books we have around the house.

Some sites we liked include:

This interactive one.
Vikings in a Nutshell via Youtube.
Viking beliefs – pre-Christianity (although I’m not sure they were doing it right…)
Some geography-related composers – Edvard Grieg from Norway and Niels Gade from Denmark.

We may make this Kubb set and learn the game, but I didn’t get around to it before I fully exhausted myself with Viking biz. (Exhausted from enjoying so fully). It is also for sale on Amazon, but that’s kinda cheating and Mae would feel jipped out of a sweet whittling opportunity.

We also had planned on making cardboard helmets (without horns as they did not actually have horns on their helmets) but it wasn’t necessary and cardboard equals kindling during this time of year.

We’re going to take a slight history break and study Abraham again for a little bit. But then, in November we will begin relearning about kings, queens, and medieval times – as well as current monarchy situations around the world. But, I’ma drag those lessons out for a couple of months and pace myself…if I can.

DEAR MAE: YOU AT NINE

Dear Mae,

Today you are nine. Nine! Boy that number suddenly sounds mighty big.

Not nearly as large as the “thirty-two” my mom will hear later this month, but to me, nine sounds major…and really fun!

Here are some things you are currently ‘into’ :

Irish music (their classic folk songs & The Cranberries)

History is still your favorite subject (mine too!). So much so, you have requested we cover some sort of history every day.

Your favorite historical figure is still Abraham Lincoln. You keep a rotation of biographies on Abe by your bed and read them most nights when you’re not quite as tired as Mom would like you to be. (Also, you have a favorite historical figure!)

You have really become interested in reading and we have started a book club for just the two of us. If we’ve dropped this habit, let’s pick it back up again, OK?

Halloween is coming up. I’ve never cared for the holiday. In fact his year I decided we were going to skip the hoopla all together. Your enthusiasm (and constant pleading) got me to change my mind and for the first time in my life, I am genuinely enjoying that part of fall and have even gone so far as to bring candy into the house. You’re very persuasive. (P.S. – I really like your costume choice this year!)

Full House. Good Gracious. You are SO VERY into Full House. You are currently emersed in the final season and will surely have completed the series in the next week or two. You’re deeply invested in each character’s fictional life. It’s adorable to witness. You have even inserted the phrase, “Duh” into your vocabulary. You use it well.

You still love to dance and are the best/funniest dancer. Geez, I really dig your humor.

You D R E A D brushing your hair. I usually don’t make you, but when I do, you take the news like a champ…I kid. You sigh quite loudly, then slowly drag your feet over to the bathroom and finish the dreadful task by chucking the brush and running out of the room while laughing maniacally. You’re a real treat.  

You have become a terrific cook/baker over the past year. Last week you made the BEST pancakes I’ve ever had! You want to cook every meal every day. I’ll try and get better about letting you.

You adore all of your pets and can think of a handful of others you’d like to have. A bird (life long dream), a guinea pig, hedgehog. sheep, and the holy grail of pets – a horse! I hope you get your horse someday.

You are thoughtful. You are empathetic. You are generous. You are sensitive and easily discouraged. You are quick to hug. You are still always up for snuggles (the best!). You are a no-fuss kind of human and the first to smother others in compliments.

I miss you the moment you leave the room. I can’t imagine life without you.

I never tired of looking at you, holding you, hearing your voice – your laughter, feeling your hand in mine, or learning what’s on your mind.

Happy Birthday, Scrambled Egg!

I love you,

Yer Ma.

ELWOOD P.

Our newest cat has had more names than any other animal in the history of animals. S’more. Marshmallow. Toasted Marshmallow. Cinnamon. Pumpkin. Punkin. Weasley. Wonwon (Ron-Ron).

So, we chose a name, Elwood P. (to stick with our Jimmy Stewart theme) and it must stay. Soley for my sanity.

I wasn’t sure about keeping this cat around because it may cause my dearest George or our other cats to no longer be around. So far they still call our house their home. Elwood is not allowed in the house (he isn’t fixed), and maybe that helps. He is so so so lovey. He produces nonstop purrs and leg rubs and will let you pet and hold him forever.

He stays right beside us when we are outside so our other cats have stopped doing so. Big bummer as we love our cats hanging around us wherever we go. Just knowing a cat thinks you’re worthy of their attention is an incredible feeling.
*It’s how Maybe (our dog) seems to feel when I give her undivided attention.

Thankfully Bailey and Katie still hang about indoors all day every day.

Cats are so great. Even with all of the new drama being drawn up because of Elwood, it’s nice having another cat to hang out with. Miss Maybe even seems to think so – but she enjoys the cat drama a bit too much. Haha.

LATELY: SEPTEMBER 2019

September was so wonderful.

The best part has to be the amount of time we have spent with Zack. He has been so busy this past year. He is carving out more and more time for home and we are so thrilled.

I’m not sure if I have written about it here, but over the summer, Rae brought back her pixie cut. She is so so happy about her fresh hair I think it should be documented.

Shelling eggs she boiled.
Making Chicken and Dumplings.

The girls have become so at home in the kitchen! This semester we are having them each cook full meals solo! Depending on the meal I will hover, but they are getting to know recipes and techniques so quickly.

Found a very cool rock at the lake.
My favorite restaurant has become my children’s favorite! Woot!

Zack had to drive three hours south to pick up clay for work. We took the opportunity to take the girls to Springfield – where Mae was born. We haven’t been in two or three years.

I believe it was my favorite visit to the town. Maybe because our girls were old enough to enjoy it?

Some of our favorite places were no longer there but we still managed to feel overwhelmed with nostalgia!

The girls were able to spend time with other kids last weekend at a friend’s birthday party. They are still talking about it. I think I need to get some friends together on a regular basis.

Reading Sarah, Plain and Tall.

The girls have a ‘required’ hour of daily independent reading. As a result, they are always reading. I especially adore when Mae shows up to read to me while I cook, clean, or drive to the grocery store.

Amelia usually comes up and asks me to stop whatever I am up to and go snuggle somewhere while she reads to me.

I am loving this season of mothering.

I wrote two posts about our schooling back here and here – but I believe the reading and cooking should be included! This is going to be such a monumental year where their (and my) growth is concerned, I can tell…