SCHOOL SUMMER 2021

This summer we stuck to a loose schedule with schooling. When we were home for a full day, and reading, discussions, and art nearly every day even if it was in the evenings after supper.

We began a new topic for history to begin for the year, as well as fresh artists and historical figures to study…which could be grouped with history, but we expand everything we learn into so many types of learning – hands-on art, music, writing, reading, geography, and science. It makes it difficult to set any one of those subjects apart from the rest.

So, below are some of the things we accomplished, but not all. I only write about what I photograph. Hope everyone else had a lovely covid-free summer.

Some mornings we kept up with eating breakfast outside. Sometimes, like above, it was just Mae and I when we were both wide awake very early, and on occasion, Dad even joined us for tea and scones, or waffles.

They found so many graphic novels they liked this year and only a couple they didn’t!

We made trips to the library, for all sorts of books and the occasional movie. Every week outside of our trip to the Carolinas.

Building herself a dollhouse bedroom. Here she is working on a side table for a lamp.

The neighbors’ cat always joined us for outside school as well as lessons in the workspace/messy school room…and sometimes joined me while I read outside very early in the morning while the rest of the house slept.

I’m really not sure he ever goes home. We don’t want him to (except that I’m allergic to him), but I would feel bad if George ever claimed another family.

^ From a mum-daughter day. Origami (or as we say, ‘oragarmi’), two-player Animal Crossing, and baking a blueberry cobbler.

When we studied The Dressmakers (or The Seamstresses), I had the girls paint the two of them doing something they enjoy doing together.

Above is Mae’s painting of her and Rae in their bed (snuggles and sneaking Barbies). Rae painted the two of them playing Barbies – out in the open during the day, haha.

We worked through a couple of artist/painting studies over the summer.

For Miner’s Wives, we discussed political art, as well as his technique…and Shahn himself.

Rae drew a woman who, when China took over her country, got to keep her culture, while Mae drew Native women walking the Trail of Tears against the cold wind. Then they painted them and outlined the drawings with pen ink and Indian ink using paintbrushes.

I really liked the way Mae chose to illustrate this narration.

We worked on art (any types they wanted to work on – not assigned) by candlelight at least once a week. We listen to instrumental music of all sorts, talk and talk and talk, and work on our own projects. Always painting for me. Usually drawing for them.

We completed a few biographies – Lin Manuel Miranda, Jean-Édouard Vuillard, Winslow Homer, and Taylor Swift (because, “I hear her name all the time, but I don’t know anything about her.”Mae.)

We began learning about Native American people pre-colonization. This should take the entire school year. We will learn about each tribe, their homes, their cultures, their food, crafts/skills, stories, their lives now, etc.

Mae chose to build a Chickasaw’s Chickee stilt home out of popsicle sticks, skewers, corner scraps from Dad, hot glue, and long blades of grass from the yard. Rae built one out of Lego!

They have illustrated a few of the home types. We will also build more models as we go.

We took some clay/red dirt from Alabama when we went last spring. It was for Zack to use for pottery, but we used a bag to make their own clay. The goal was to create something that went along with the lessons we had on Pamunkey pottery.

They crushed and sifted the dirt. They slowly added water to get the right consistency.

The clay turned out to have too much sand in it. It isn’t the texture we are used to, and it may never dry out or may crumble in the kiln – which we were going to attempt the old-fashioned way in our firepit (like Primitive Technology guy).

…so this will probably be a failed project, or we’ll mix in chopped straw to cover a model of a future native home.

They made corn husk dolls – this time with hair and headscarves.

We made god’s eyes. In years past, we used twigs from the yard. This time, we used crafting sticks, and boy it was nice to not have to avoid knobs in the natural sticks. We also researched god’s eyes and had a discussion about them.

We have all begun attempting punch-needling. It is harder than the tutorials make it out to be, but we have gotten the gist of it.

They also practiced weaving with paper. They have always used our lap looms and carboard looms we made for car travel. They really enjoyed this craft.

We brought painting outside one evening. Got covered in mosquito bites. We will not attempt in summer again.

The girls have been building worlds. Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Age of Empires, and the newly discovered, Minecraft. They created me an Animal Crossing character, which they use sometimes and I play with them as a two or three-player game. I typically just sit and watch them work. They have the coolest ideas and the funniest commentary.

We read through the Wind in the Willows as our largest read-aloud of the summer. It was so much fun. They both really got attached to the characters. Rat and Mole’s friendship is my favorite part. Badger is mine and Mae’s favorite character. I really liked his lifestyle. Rae adored Toad and found him to be completely hilarious and adorable.

They narrated certain parts along the way, designed burrows, made trading cards. Mae would love to make some needle-felt dolls of the characters someday.

Afterward, we rented the 1984 movie from the library. We all found it to be delightful but way too short for the girls. They would’ve loved a Peter Jackson-style three-part series.

Mae and I picked skateboarding back up this summer!

After years of searching, I found a longboard I wanted. Mae got the hang of it immediately, so I got her her own from Walmart. As she gets older, I’d like to get her a custom board – maybe an extra-long board like mine.

My sister came by one day and got long-boarding lessons. Mae loved skating with her aunt. She also has a couple of friends and cousins who took up skating this year as well! August was too hot for our liking, but we will take our lessons out and about this fall.

*We are just into cruising. No tricks, fishbowls, or stair rails in our near future.

I’m going to put recycling in the school category. It is an important habit they’re building. We try and take it to a local recycling center every two weeks when we are already heading to the library and grocery shopping.

Lastly, here is Rae teaching her students. George joined the class all on his own and was enthralled before I showed up.

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