FIELD TRIP : : LINCOLN MUSEUM

We got our first field trip of 2018 taken care of last week!

The girls spent quite a bit of time last fall learning about Abraham Lincoln. A subject they requested. We finally had some time to breathe and decided to fill that breath with a treck to Illinois.

My friend from high school, Ven, and her boys joined us. So grateful for the company and conversation!!

This girl, agh! She soaked every bit up. She was so happy to be in this place.

Zack and I brought her here when she was a year and a half old, or so. She obviously didn’t remember a thing, but it was so nice from my perspective seeing her observe everything this time around. Grasping the importance of his accomplishments.

With the exception of the logs she sat on, Rae looked at everything with her eyes not her hands! Such a hard task for a five-year-old.

^ Just look at her!! Inspecting every inch.

KILLS. ME.

Rae strolled through at a brisk pace…until she got here. She stared at Abe for a good long while, as I stared at her for a good long while.

Above: an outhouse with THREE toilets. All at different heights! You know you’ve made it when…

We toured Lincoln’s home. It’s just down the road from the museum -and its free! His tomb is free also but it was raining and getting cold, so we skipped that.

His home still has some original things in it. Doors, a toilet, wallpaper in one of the rooms, and the banister. Oh, that beautiful banister.

Now, between Lincoln’s stories of loss and achievement, the slaves’ own stories and watching my girls experiencing it all, I got tear boulders lodged in my ducts quite a few times throughout the day – BUT none quite so large as the ones brought about by that generically crafted banister.

As we neared the portion of the home tour where it was time to head on upstairs, the guide mentioned that the banister was original to the home.

“It’s as close to shaking the hand of Abe Lincoln himself as you can get!” 

I could see Mae hold her breath. Her smile grew and her gaze made it over to mine. I knew what she was thinking. Boulders began to form.

As we rounded the corner into the foyer, her eyes grew. I made sure to walk behind her. She slowly raised her hand, making sure to never take her eyes off the banister. She slowly walked up the staircase. I knew she was imagining Abraham Lincoln walking up those very steps holding onto that very banister. She was in heaven. As a result, I was too.

Before heading to my mother-in-law’s for the night. We braved the great ice storm of 2018 (apparently it’s not too early in the year to proclaim such a thing), and enjoyed a “fancy meal” at McAllister’s together. Just me and my ‘gails’.

As we waited for our fancy food to arrive, we received several texts and calls from people making sure we were still alive. We were. As we made the five-minute journey to Shari’s we saw no ice and had the roads all to ourselves. Not a bad way to end the day!

– Mae (on the left) is holding her face like that for the photo. I held the phone up for a ridiculous length of time to see how long she’d hold it. She didn’t budge. Definitely, her Daddy’s girl…

DECEMBER PAINTINGS

Typically I include our homeschool work in my monthly round-up, but December became pretty full, so this is a separate post for a few of their paintings I particularly liked. The rest of their work is filed away. They typically do a verse painting a day, and we did quite a few on people involved with Christmas.

Mae’s St. Nicholas is the title photo and Rae’s is the one just above. Mae wrote facts on the back of hers. Rae wandered off somewhere. I believe hers has a word and a half completed. Her painting is pretty sweet though. Really diggin’ the square noses all of her portraits have lately.

Mae wants to write in cursive. She is getting pretty good! Usually, an easy tell as to whos work is whos. Mary is so happy!

Rae’s Jesus is sending off a John the Baptist vibe. Love it.

Mae got fancy with her illustrations.

Check out that thatch roof, ya’ll! Not how it would’ve been, I’m sure, but she’s shading!

LATELY : : NOVEMBER 2017

We began the month of November celebrating this lady’s birth. She’s FIVE now!

You can read about that here and here.

We have spent months car shopping while desperately clinging to the hopes our lemon would get its act together and somehow last us another year. We had it for seven years and drove it one billion miles. We can’t really complain…

After looking at various vans, trucks, and SUVs, we decided on this beauty. Basically a spaceship. My mother-in-law said it needed a name, so we went with Norrin Radd.

The girls spent hours digging holes and raking leaves in the yard. The leaves just blew back from whence they came, but the holes will stick around making sure to trip us when we least expect it.

We took a trip to “The Diamond Store,” to pick up some chalkboard paint and continue our hunt for 12″ duct pipe things. I dunno. We’re going to order those online, but we did get some paint and a video that makes me chuckle.

The chalk wall completed, above. It took a day of sanding, three days of priming, and about five coats of chalkboard paint.

We followed up Lowes with a trip to Taco Bell. Normally, that wouldn’t grant a spot here (maybe it would?) but the girls were such turkeys, I want to remember it.

We spent nearly every day learning about Separatists (Pilgrims).

Their timeline, hymns they enjoyed, work they would’ve done every day, what schooling was like, life in Holland, as well as what Native American lives were like before settlers and just after settlers arrived.

We read stories of all of the above in their American history book, in a colonial times book, and listened to Stories of the Pilgrims while we did paintings, crochet practice, and a bit in the car. It was very good as an audiobook!

The girls prepared Johnny cakes as a snack one day, made construction paper hornbooks, and dried apples to hang and use this winter. We also attempted making rag dolls, but just couldn’t find the time.

We read Thanksgiving related chapter books – Nate the Great Talks Turkey and some Felicity books. while Mae crocheted and Rae drew photos or just snuggled.

The girls take art and singing lessons at the high school once a week. Zack teaches them the art (obviously?), and they made these choose-a-face pictures. I didn’t take photos of theirs (but we kept them), so here ^^ is Zack’s example.

The girls and I joined in on art club’s Thanksgiving party. We enjoyed good food, painting, video games, and a visit to Aunt Teresa (who had a table tennis match going on with her own students. Imagine that. I bet she whooped ’em all! Suckers.).

Rae also cashed in on her free birthday smoothie from the student cafe while we were there.

Mae took a fall, chipping her left front tooth in the process.

That first photo was taken moments before. Poor sweet girl.

While we did Bible studies, we only did a painting on the story of Babel. Simply because Mae really wanted to.

We only had time for one poem painting this month. It was about a windy November. Perfect for our November.

Mae also learned about a couple “lady scientists.” (We used this book)

Science is her “favorite thing everrrr!” so we focused a bit more on it, despite being busy enough with other subjects.

Buckey Boy!

Rae taped everything in sight. I got her rolls of tape for her birthday since she likes tape so much. I’m regretting it, but she is so happy and rarely stops creating with it.

Mae practiced on her new piano nearly every day she was home.

Despite my best efforts, Christmas made its way into our lives.

That lovely stomach flu showed up. Zack and I missed it, but there’s still time.

Zack and I spent a weekend in St. Louis at a Missouri Youth Fellowship event with our church. SO GOOD!

Can you find Zack and Rae??? AGH!

The girls spent that weekend down the road a bit at Grandma Shari’s house. They were able to catch the tail end of the final sermon and ride home with us on the bus.

Buckey spent that weekend with our cousin Marsha. He rode home with his bum in the back and head in my lap. It’s nice to be missed.

As Rae is getting more independent, it seems I’m getting frequent one on one time with this ham.

Zack’s Thanksgiving board made me very happy.

Rae and I took a trip to the mall – not as dreadful as I expected! We seemed to have the whole place to ourselves. She had birthday money to spend and found so many things she wanted to buy for her sister.

Sadie, Mae, and I took Buckey to the dog park. He just hung out with his momma and not the twenty other dogs. I can totally relate, B.

Afterwards, we took him to PetSmart to let him pick out a bone. He did visit with the dogs at the store. Most of them looked like cats, though. He’s used to cats.

I posted our Thanksgiving day back here.

Video games at 10 pm by the fire. Hooray for long weekends!

It has been warm. I wore a tank top, sandals, and shorts the day I typed this sentence. Stupid. Get cold or at least rainy already! Just kidding…?

My girls are loving the heat while wanting snow at the same time. Not totally out of the question here in the Ozarks, but I’m not holding my breath.

These fellas. Never far away.

We started our (probably too in-depth) lessons on Christmas. Here they’re writing and illustration Isaiah 11:1.

Still haven’t painted the trim ^ ^. We’ll get it done in the next year or two…

Mae has one more rehearsal next week – and THEN! – the recital. So glad my child has confidence in front of a crowd.

We’re ready for December, and hopefully, the cold weather that comes with it!

SCHOOL, LATELY

I started schooling Mae when she was three. Rae was a year old, and took a lot of naps, so Mae and I had quite a bit of one on one time for school and play.

Fast forward four years and we’ve made it back to that glorious time together.

This time around, however, she can read and write. What a difference that makes.

She asks questions that stop me in my tracks. She’s always been an “old soul,” but now I am seeing a new version of what that means for her. She absorbs information, ideas, and theories so brilliantly. Constantly in awe of her. – Maybe this is normal for a nearly seven year old, but I don’t remember being seven, so I’ma ganna gush on m’lady like its a new thing. Thanks for indulging.

She is very interested in science. All things science. Anatomy (of humans, animals, and bugs), Astronomy, experiments (baking soda + vinegar type biz), studying nature, and weather. If she gets interested in time travel, Daddy will be tackling that nonsense.

On Rae’s school days, we pick a spot outside – a park, a river, a cemetery or a lake. We get formal school work done, and then fill the rest of our time by exploring.

If we’re at a park, we’ll hike, follow squirrels as quickly and as far as we can, or simply collect nuts, bugs, and leaves.

If we’re at a cemetery, we’ll spend our time reading the oldest headstones and making up an interesting life story or researching origins of surnames.

If we’re at a lake or river we’ll fish, and observe spider webs and tadpoles.

Climbing a tree is an option everywhere we go. We love ourselves a good, low branch.

We also hit up the library at least once a week. We usually read a chapter book a day (3 days a week), and it’s quickly become one of our favorite ways to spend time together. Ya’ll know I can’t pass up a chance to snuggle – especially if it’s with a fellow snuggle enthusiast.

This past week, we read Kylie Jean – Cooking Queen (The Kylie Jean books are her favorite right now), Spiderwick Chronicles – Book 1, and Princess Poesy and the Crazy Lazy Vacation. We finished that last one is 15 minutes, and I take my sweet time reading books! I need to find more of those Princess Posey books! Even Rae can sit through that.

 

HIKING BEFORE BREAKFAST

Rain has become a regular visitor here. It wasn’t raining when we woke up Friday, so we ran out of the house with a bag of blueberry muffins we’d made the night before and went for a hike…really, just a stroll along a bike trail.

Mae brought her phone (She usually just listens to music on it at home while she does chores. It doesn’t do anything beyond the camera without Wi-Fi). She wanted to take photos, like Mama. She managed to get in a few before the battery died. I enjoyed observing what she found interesting.

As a rule, we only really take photos the first few minutes of any given outing, if that, and then put the phones away, although this was the first outing we’ve taken photos in a while.

The photo we sent to Zack on his break ^ Would’ve been more fun with him there!

Blurry, but, man does she look old. Ugh. Time really does fly on this side of childhood.

We saw a dung beetle on our way back to the car. Both Zack and I had no idea “we” had dung beetles. Mae painted this gem while watching the episode of Puffin Rock that features Dung Beetles.

SCHOOL PHOTOS – PRESCHOOL / KINDERGARTEN

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(Naturally, we had to include a nature walk!)

This year Rae is starting kindergarten ‘curriculum’ just as Mae did at her age, and Mae is doing 1st and 2nd, depending on the subject.

We’re to the point with Mae of reading a chapter book a day! I’m having to pace myself. We have a read a book, buy a book system so the cost can add up quick. Its worth the money, obviously, or we wouldn’t have the reward system. We’ve just started the Magic Tree House series. I love her attention to detail, and the questions she comes up with as we read. (We’ve read some Ivy and Bean books, Kylie Jean – which she loves – and we started with classics when she was three)

Rae is incredible with numbers. Really, anything to do with math.
She d r e a d s writing, but picked it up quick and completes her work in 5 minutes no matter how much a give her. I think she just doesn’t see the point in yet, so it bores her. I’ve started to only do writing with Rae once a week, and math with Mae once a week.

Mae still finds maps, American history, the Bible, and world cultures interesting.
Rae enjoys learning about the Bible, world cultures, animals / /nature.

We’re almost 2 months into this school year, and so far it’s a great one!

BACK TO SCHOOL

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Papers organized, pencils sharpened, goals to achieve scribbled on a scrap piece of paper (Clearly I’m going to follow through with each and every goal), daily schedule assembled and lightly written in a fresh planner.

Day one: Mae becomes frustrated that she writes bigger than the prescribed amount of practice space. School work for the day is cut in half. Glance at Rae to see her progress. Papers covered in scribbles, crayons snapped in half and lying naked next to piles of wrappings.

We’ll get back into the swing of things. Tomorrow.

PRESCHOOL: : POLAR BEARS

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As I took my sweet time getting out of bed Monday morning, I decided “Today is the day we’re going to start getting this girl learned, and have fun doing it!”

I noticed several of the homeschooling “helpful hints” I had found on Pinterest,  had lesson schedules which were set around a theme, and included “exercise breaks.” So I gathered up some things and we had a wonderful experience with it!

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After breakfast I made a bridge. The game was you have to crawl under it and run around the couch. We were sweating and I, and only I , was exhausted within ten minutes.  She had a blast with it!

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Penelope took a photo of Amelia tumbling for me. Looks quite a bit like a blurry fan to me, but it’s the though that counts, right?

We tumbled (summersaults) after the bridge game. Amelia clapped after each of her turns and crawled back to my lap for another.

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We began the schooling part of the day by reading “Just One More Swim.”

We followed it up with learning about polar bears on a Planet Earth DVD and snacking on gold fish (because they eat fish).

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As I made lunch, she colored a page about a polar bear cub. She used the book as a reference. It ended up blue and purple though. 🙂

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After her nap, we continued our lesson with a craft. We made a polar bear face.

Materials: :

Plate – plastic or paper

White tissue paper

White yogurt cup or clear fruit cup

Glue

Scissors

White + black paper

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She was most excited about placing the eyes on it.

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I cut out some ears (free hand) and glue them to the back of the plate.

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I crumpled then shredded the tissue paper, and swirled glue around the plate (and plastic cup for nose). Penelope then placed the pieces of paper and pushed the paper down.

If you decide to do this, and use a white yogurt cup, you don’t have to cover it in tissue paper.

I glued a larger piece of tissue paper down in the center of the plate so the nose cup would stick to the plastic plate better, but I’m sure this isn’t necessary for a paper plate.

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We then “finally” put the eyes and tip of the nose on our bear. – oh, and smile!

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She can’t stop talking about her bear plate, and it will soon have a home on a wall around here!

We also watched a web cam video of a live polar bear and and danced to a polar bear song.

Penelope informed me multiple times at supper that she does not like carrots, so tomorrow we will be learning about carrots. What they are good for, how to grow them, painting a giant carrot to put on the fridge, etc. She has already been informed of one fact: No matter if she likes them or not, she still has to eat them! I don’t like carrots either, and I eat them simply to avoid being a hypocrite.

I really enjoyed this preschool thing! I hope this goes well and I don’t find excuses to stop doing it!