Saying Goodbye

I'm sitting in my regular writing spot on the couch to write this but something is different. I normally have a soft warm fluffy cat taking up more than her fair share so I have to write with my arm all scrunched. I would gladly scrunch my arm tonight but tonight I have more room than I'd like because unfortunately, we had to put her down today.

What are doing to me? I don't like my picture taken, didn't you learn that even before you adopted me?!

If you're a very long time reader, you might remember when we first got Zeeba. Or even before that we fell in love with her (and we learned about her anti-photography stance) while volunteering.  We thought she was a boy then and she had a different name but she was just as friendly. And pretty. I know I'm biased but she really was a very pretty cat. She's even had her own post at least once.

Lucy gets a good morning greeting. 

We've known for a few months that the end was getting close but it was still harder than I expected and I'm a mess right now. She was my nap time companion and the only one other than Craig who attended all three of my births. And all three of those kids had kitty as one of their first words. She was a daily part of our lives for 10 years and I already miss her so much.

One last quiet time bible study session with my favorite study buddy. She's got her grumpy face on. Perhaps she wasn't a fan of what John was saying? 

I'm not the only one who is having a rough time. Jonah and Lucy are both feeling the loss but in vastly different ways. Jonah's just five and trying to understand it all and it comes out - blunt. But I also know he's hurting inside. And oh my poor Lucy. She's so tender-hearted and is old enough to really get it so this is her first major loss like that. We had a few days notice and I knew she'd do better with some processing time and she and I have had some good discussions together as we both prepared. It's been such a good reminder of what a privilege it is to be given these three blessings to raise. Good but really hard.

I've had at least my fair share of grieving in my life so far. I don't know what awaits them but I know I can't shield them from loss no matter how hard I try. I can't shield them, but I can equip them. So we talked - about death and sin and its impact on the world, about how are feelings aren't bad and its okay to be sad and okay to cry and okay to be distracted and go play with our friends and okay to come back and be sad again. About how feelings can't always be trusted either. We didn't want to say goodbye to Zeeba yet and our feelings said to keep her with us but we couldn't trust that, we had a responsibility to her and not just ourselves. And we don't just talk, we grieve and do life together. We all said goodbye together. Lucy helped me put away Zeeba's cat tree and bowls. Jonah helped Craig dig her grave. I use the word "help" quite loosely but he was there and he got dirty so it counts. We all buried her together and said a prayer thanking God for giving her to us. It's been a hard week but you can't get all that from a character traits curriculum.

I'm pretty sure she's thinking "Ah, Chin rubs from one of my human slaves. This is the life."

Jonah asked if we could get another cat. Lucy's gone from never wanting to get another pet ever to changing her mind and then changing her mind again. And that's all okay. I feel the same way. Everytime I've said goodbye to a pet, I wonder why I do it. But I do know. Because Zeeba brought us joy for a decade. And in her passing, she's brought us growth. And it was worth it.

Zeeba, you were worth it. You were loved and we will miss you.


Classics Challenge - Fellowship of the Ring

I'm doing well on my Classics Challenge reads, not so well on my posting about it. I actually finished this a while ago. Notice I didn't say finished "reading" this because I actually listened to it. I think that was a mistake. I listened to Kay Ray's version over on her website and while she does a fantastic job and you certainly can't beat the price (free), I struggle with audiobooks under all but very specific circumstances. And I struggle with long descriptive passages. So why did I think an audiobook version of a book with a lot of long descriptive passages would be a good fit for me? Clearly, I didn't think.

That said, I enjoyed it when I could stay awake. And while staying focused on some sections was difficult for me, I probably would have done a lot of skimming if I read it so maybe being forced to slow down with the audio did me some good. Maybe. Not enough to listen to the next. I mean, I do want to continue the series but this time I'll stick with print. It's hard to know what else to say because

1) This is the Lord of the Rings! It's certainly a modern classic but it's not like you need a overview of what it's about. I actually don't understand why I have never read these. I've read the Hobbit multiple times but I started reading that when I was really too young for the LOTR so they didn't really seem totally connected and I never kept going like I may have it I had first read the Hobbit as a teenager or older.

2) It's technically three books but its not like the story stops here at all really. I'm basically 1/3 of the way through a really long story and I'm looking forward to seeing the real whole story play out and not just the movie version and to see what new connections I make, especially as the action picks up a bit.

The Fellowship of the Ring was my Back to the Classics 20th Century Classic selection. For more Back to the Classics Reviews, head over to Karen's blog Books and Chocolate.


5 years old!

Dear Jonah,

You're five now! A whole hand. This year has been rough on you in some ways but you've also grown so much. Not only are you bigger (finally into size 4T!) but you've gained a lot of self control and I've seen you start to master your will. You're starting to become independent with things like morning chores and helping around the house.

Not staged. You really were climbing up those rocks but paused to tell me I could take your picture if I wanted to. 

You've grown much more outgoing this past year. You've struck up a friendship with an older man at church and you love to find rocks to bring him and I've been told have even started answering questions in Children's church! You love to help out Norah and are such a good big brother. If she needs help, I'll see you put your hand on her back and say "Come on, baby girl, I'll help you" and I just melt. You're still working on some of your little brother skills but despite your quarrels, you and Lucy are best friends. 

Norah loves her Belle dress so you want to be The Beast with her for Halloween and so you can dance with her. 

You love to write and draw and your pictures are really getting good. You love school time, both table time as a family and math and reading with just me. You're doing great with your Bob books and you absolutely love math. You love Legos and "making machines." Speech at the school down the road is one of your favorite times and both your teacher and I can tell how hard you work and how much progress you've made since this spring. You love Superheros and Knights and all sorts of brave strong men. 

You love St. George and the Dragon so were excited to see another book about knights!

You're very loud. And busy. And a great mess maker. And either very fast or very slow. I can't count the number of times I say "Jonah, inside voice" or "Let's think for a second. Is that a good idea?" (Answer: No. If I ask that question. I'm pretty sure the answer is NO!) or "If it isn't clean yet then you need to keep cleaning." But our house would be very different with you in it and I don't even want to imagine it. You made me a boy mama and it's good for the soul. This age is so great. You're a big kid that I can have great conversations with but you still like to climb into bed with me in the morning and snuggle. Best of both worlds!

So I think you're pretty great. Now let's hear what YOU think about yourself. 

My favorite pirate!

What is your favorite color? Black and Grey

What is your favorite toy? Remote Control (Truck)

What is your favorite game? Chess

What is your favorite song? Nothing But the Blood of Jesus

What is your favorite animal? Lion and Dog

What is your favorite book? That's hard. The Book with No Pictures

What do you like to snuggle with at night? Lion

What is your favorite movie? Moana

What is your favorite thing to eat? Spaghetti

Where is your favorite place to go? Shaw Nature Center

What is your favorite outfit? One of my batman shirts. 

What do you like to learn about? Reading

What have you learned in the last year? Math and how to read

What is hard for you? Climb a tree and put on lego people onto the machines I make. 

What is your favorite thing to do as a family? Watch a movie

What do you like about Mommy? That you teach me stuff you 

What do you like about Daddy? That he watches over us sometimes. 

What do you like about Lucy?  She's my sister. And that she plays games with me, like pretending kinda stuff. 

What do you like about Norah? That's she's so silly. 

What do you like about yourself? That I'm in Kindergarten

What do you want to be when you grow up? Be a farmer. 


Year 2 Term 2 Exams and Portfolio

These seem to be pretty popular posts and I have to admit, I love seeing other people's exams and getting ideas so I'll keep sharing as long as Lucy approves. It's based on the posted AO exams but has some questions I gleaned from Celeste and a few I made up myself. 

Wow, last term seemed to drag on because I just needed it to end but this one seems to have speed by and I can hardly believe it's over. But even so, I'm ready for our fall break. We've got some fun stuff planned for our family and Lucy gets a bit of treat herself when her Grandpa and Gigi whisk her away next week for a trip to Disneyworld. So she certainly had a good motivation to get this work done! We always love exams and I make them pretty low key but this year I realized I maybe took that to the extreme. She was giving me pretty lax answers. Nothing atrocious and depending on what kid I had, I might be completely satisfied with her answers but I knew she was capable of much more and I was surprised by her lack of effort. A simple reminder that I wanted her very best effort because I write them down so we can record how we learned all term and make changes if things need work and bam - much better answers! I pick and choose questions for each day instead of going straight down the list so you might be able to pick out which questions were from day 1 and which were from day 2.


Tell the story of Ishmael, OR the sacrifice of Isaac.
So God told Abraham to sacrifice his son and Abraham was sad but he did what God told him to do. And when he was about to kill his son Isaac an Angel said “Stop, don’t kill your son!” and then they killed a lamb instead.

Tell about Jacob and Esau.
So they were brothers. Jacob cooked soup and Esau was hungry and he said “Can you give me some of that soup” and Jacob said “No, not unless you give me your birthright” and Esau was so hungry that he gave Jacob his birthright and Esau had the soup and later on, their father Isaac said come here Esau so I may bless you and bring me some food. And he went to get some food but Jacob went to their mom and said “dress me up like Esau and give me some food to send to my dad” and Jacob dressed up like Esau and he puts skin on to be like, so that his father would think he was Esau and he said “Here I am Father, I brought you some food” and he said “You are the oldest son and blessed him” and when Esau came back he was sad because Jacob had taken his birthright AND his blessing and he was angry and said he would kill Jacob so Jacob ran away he camped and when he grew up and Esau came to Jacob and Jacob was afraid he would kill him but he didn’t, Esau said “I am so glad to see you!” and Jacob said “take these gifts” and Esau said “No, you can have them” so they argued over that which is a bit foolish to argue over that and Esau took them and that was that.       

What are two of the seven parables Jesus told about His kingdom? Tell about them.

The one about the lamb. If someone has 100 sheep and he loses one, he leaves the 99 and goes and finds the sheep that is lost and then he comes back and has a party and says “Look at my sheep that I found!”

If seeds fall on rocks they grow but don’t have dirt. If seeds fall on weeds, then they won’t be able to grown but if seeds grow on good ground they will be able to grow. And that’s like the kingdom of Heaven (…How so?) The seeds that fall on rocks are ones that know about Jesus but then they change their minds, well, and then Satan talks to them and they change their minds. And the seeds that fall on weeds that people that don’t believe in God and the people on good ground are like the people that trust God.

Tell about the feeding of the four thousand, OR about the Canaanite woman.
So Jesus was talking to the people and they were hungry and they said “the nearest town is a long way off, what are we going to do?” and Jesus said “does any of you have any food?” and someone said “I have some food” and Jesus broke it into several pieces and handed it to the people and there was 12 baskets left over after everyone had eaten as much as they wanted. Like they ate as much as they could and there were still 12 baskets!


     Copy "The Badger strode up the steps."


What do you know about Richard Coeur de Lion?

People liked him. And he died because he got shot by an arrow. He was king of England. He was like a lion because he was strong and brave. His brother was wicked King John.

Why was John Wicked?

King John was a bad king because he was mean to the people of England. He made them pay too much money. The Pope and the people made him sign the charter and he did but he broke his promise. And the people of England did not like him!

Tell about the Siege of Calais or Wat Tyler's rebellion.

So, the Siege of Calais was when Edward III surrounded the city of France and said “Fight or I won’t let any water or food go in” and everyone was getting so thirsty and hungry and the governor said “we have no food left or water left, what are we supposed to do” and the guards said we will go talk to Edward III and Edward III said “Bring 6 men to me with the keys of the city and then the rest of the city will be free” and everyone was trying to decide which 6 men would go and one of the men said “I will go” and another said “I will go” until there were six men. And he said “I demand them to be killed” and everyone said “No” and then the queen said ‘Please don’t kill them” and the king said “Fine, I will give them to you and you can do whatever you want with them” and she let them go back to their own city.


Tell me what you remember about All's Well That Ends Well or Cymbeline.  (She did get stuck on this but honestly, so did I. We love Shakespeare but there are a lot of characters and names. So I pulled up Wikipedia and listed a few of the characters from each until something clicked. Once she got started, she did great. I do like including it in exams though because it is a favorite of hers. Next time I think I will keep the little paper doll characters she makes in envelopes and let her pull them out and give her exam narration with that help.)

All’s Well that Ends Well. So Helena lived with this other lady and she loved this guy but he was really rich and she was poor and she said “he’ll never want to marry me” and he was with the king of France and the King of France was sick and she had this little stuff that could make anyone well so she went to France and everyone was saying if you can cure the king of France than you can marry the prince you want and it worked. So then she was going to choose and she choose the person she had always wanted to marry, that guy. Then he said “No, I’m not going to marry you, I don’t want to marry you, you’re a poor girl” and then she was sad and she met another woman and her daughter and that guy that Helena wanted to marry loved this other woman’s daughter. But Helena and that guy she wanted to marry were already married even though he didn’t want to marry her but now he wanted to marry that other man but she was like “go away, your already married” and then Helena dressed up like that other women’s daughter and she said “I will marry you’ and then they talked and he was like “I guess she decided to marry me’ and then they were going to get married and he gave this bracelet to Helena and then when they were going to get married, Helena came in and said “you really talked to me, you said you would marry me” and they were happy.

Tell what you know about Vanity Fair or Doubting Castle. (This was a day 1 question!)

Christian and Hopeful were walking and the people there killed Hopeful and then Christian went on his way and all there was countries to sell and women and children and...

Mom interrupts: Okay, wait, let’s start at the beginning and try to go in the right order and use details. Pretend I’d never heard this story before.

So Christian and Hopeful got to Vanity Fair and all the people were looking at them because they were dressed differently and everyone got confused and they blamed Christian and Hopeful and some people got on their side and then they got confused again and blamed them and then they killed Hopeful because they were mad and then Christian started walking on with Hopeful. Wait, Oops, I messed up, his first friend was Faithful. He went to heaven.

Draw your favorite part of the Wind in the Willows and explain your picture to me.

Here is Toad dressed up in his washerwoman clothes and here is the washing tub and he’s looking at it. And he doesn’t want to wash clothes even though he’s pretending to be a washerwoman and here is the lady and she’s laughing at him because he doesn’t want to wash even though he said he loves to wash. And she’s pointing at him and laughing. And he’s frowning. It’s so funny.

 Tragedy strikes! Norah the toddler destroyer ripped up her drawing. Her first pictures was so funny too. Oh well, toddlers happen. She wanted to draw a different scene this time so she narrated that one as well.  But both are from the same chapter. It took her a while to warm up to this book but she loved it by the end. 

Toad is riding on the horse that he stole from the other woman and he’s in his washerwoman clothes and a gypsy is saying hi and says “do you want to sell that horse” and Toad says “sure, but you have to give me lots of money and as much breakfast as I can possible eat” and the gypsy give him money and breakfast and then Toad gives him the horse and walks away.

Can you tell me about the dragon fly grub story from Parables of Nature?

Yes. So, there was a dragon flu grub who wanted to go out of the water. And he was asking “what’s out of the water? What’s out of the water?” and he was poking about and asking questions until they got annoyed and said "go away you don’t belong out of the water". And some of the other asked, "wait he’s right" and they asked questions too. Then a frog who had been out of the water said “I could take you on your back but you better hold on, you don’t want to fall off” and he got on his back and he said “ah!!” and fell back in the water. And said ‘that frog tricked me, you can’t breathe out there” but that’s just because he couldn’t breathe out of water. Then the dragonfly said “I feel like I’m going to go out of the water’”so he went out of the water and he turned into a dragonfly! But before he said , “I will come back to you” but but of course, he couldn’t because when he tried now he felt the same shock went he tried to go out before. Then his brother came out and his brother until all the grubs were turned into dragonflies.


Santa Fe Trail Map Drill

This is the first time I did a map drill like this but I just printed off the fresh blank map and a page of answers. I sat with her while she went though it. When she got stuck on a few states, we left them behind and I gave her the rivers and cities. And I accidently included a state we hadn't learned and put down Mississippi river as the term but the blank was for the state but we fixed it together and she did end up getting them all in the end. 

Below is the map we added to as we read during the term. It will go in her portfolio too. I didn't do much at all for this last term but it picked up a lot at the end. I'm still getting my bearings on what to do for Geography and Map drills but I'm getting there. 

Find Greenland on the world map and tell me what you know about it.

X It’s very cold and icy. 

Can you describe what happened during the solar eclipse
The moon covered the sun bit by bit and we looked through it with glasses and it got dark and the sun if you looked through it with the glasses looked like the half moons.

Can you explain why the sun never seems to remain still in the same place?
Because the Earth goes around it and because the Earth spins around while it goes around it.

Natural History and General Science

Tell me about one of the animals from the Carnivora order. You can look at our tree to see what choices you have.

Glutton the Wolverine is hated by man and hated by other beasts. No one likes him because they fear him and he is mean. He is greedy. He can just tear down doors of houses if he wants to get inside He’s so smart he can avoid traps and then hunters think “Why is this trap gone” and no one likes him.

Oh wait, Reddy fox is supposed to be there but we didn’t put the sticker up yet, can I do him too? (Sure)

Reddy Fox is a more common fox. If a red fox has a baby red fox that isn’t red, I mean doesn’t have red fur on it, it’s black or silver and hunters like to catch it because it’s pretty and they can sell it for lots of money. But it normally looks red and white. It lives in rock caves, underground, and likes to be in places where no one can dig them out. It likes to eat Peter rabbit and mice and grasshoppers and toads and fish, although he can’t fish them himself he eats ones from the shore (I’m not sure about that last part about Reddy and the fish or if Glutton can really tear down doors but I’ve learned not to doubt her too much during exams unless I’m sure she’s wrong).

The tree. Still doesn't have the foxes on it because we did those in the car on our day of fake camping.

Can you explain how you knew that the animal we found in the backyard was a shrew and not a mouse or a vole or a mole?

Well, first of all, I couldn’t see its tail and it would have had a long tail if it was a mouse. And it was really small. We looked at it’s nose. It’s kinda hard to describe my thinking. I looked at the color and we looked in the book and I was right.

Describe from memory something you drew in your Nature Notebook.

Golden rod is a golden flower. The leaves are fuzzy and they are getting smaller towards the top. They have little round buds and they open up into tiny flowers and there is little stems branching off the main.

So I had the notebook in my hands while she did this so I know she couldn't see it but I'm amazed at home what she said to me was exactly what she had written down! Probably more amazed that I should be. 

A few more natural journal entries. 

The comment about the sticking to your nose! Let it never be said that nature journals are impersonal!

Some larva things she found and wants to save. I think they will grow up to be mosquitoes. Fun!

Describe a butterfly’s life cycle. Include pictures if you want.

Starts as an egg and then it turns into a caterpillar. Then it started to hang upside down and makes a chrysalis around itself and then when it comes out, it’s a butterfly.  
Describe what makes an insect an insect. (I didn’t require diagram as we had just done one the previous week).

They have six legs. Three body parts – head, thorax and abdomen. And they have two antennas. That’s all that makes any insect an insect. And that’s what they are when they are grown-up. Like a caterpillar isn’t a caterpillar, it’s a butterfly. They sort of change into the insect form but I don’t remember that word.

Last week's diagram. 

Reading Skill
     Father or friend should select a passage for student to read aloud.

Math: Revision Pages from MEP

Foreign Language

x Copy my actions and tell me what you are doing.
a.     I brush my teeth
b.    I comb my hair
c.    I get dressed.

x Look at this picture of your family and tell me who they all are? (Jonah is my brother, dad is my dad, mom is my mom, Norah is my sister)

Picture Study

Describe your favorite picture from this term's picture study (Whistler)

Well, nothing is really my favorite. I didn’t like him. But I liked the girl best I guess. It’s a girl dressed in white and she’s holding this plant in her hand.

Nobody is our family really liked Whistler but we actually moved on to Peter Paul Rubens a few weeks ago and everyone is happy although they have yet to learn his name completely. Every week I ask and last week Jonah shouted out "I know, it's disciple disciple something!" We do the same artists and composers  and songs as AO but we don't always stay right matched up with our terms, we just keep going until we're done. Not a big deal for school purposes but it makes exams tricky. I think she really wanted to pick a Rubens for her favorite.


     Father should choose a poem, and two Bible verses learned this term for student to recite.


     Sing your favorite folksong and hymn from this term.

X Nothing but the blood of Jesus
X Will ye go, Lassie, go
X Solfa Review Page (handmade based on what we're learning from her Rod and Staff Music curriculum and Youtube Channel Children of the Open Air)

And that's a wrap on the term! I can't believe we only have one more term of year 2. We'll probably split term 3 with a holiday break but I don't really want to spend that break prepping for year 3 so I'll try to do it over the next month or so and then it's time to start buying year 3 books,  I know it's repetitive but I can't believe it!


Ambleside for Adults - Year 7

As you might know, I started working through Ambleside Online's Year 7 for myself at the beginning of the year, right when Lucy started year 2 which covers a similar period of history. I've seen a few questions pop up about this on the AO forum and facebook page so I thought I'd relate my experience.

What I did:

I didn't do the full year. I'm good with my middle school science already, some books I had read in  the last few years and I was only partially sure that I would be able to stick with this committment so I mostly stuck with the History and Literature selections that were public domain or available from my library. I wish I had done the geography because those look really interesting but my library didn't have them. I also didn't do Beowulf because I had my Epic Poetry quota filled with Fierce Loves with the AO forum. Even so, it was quite a committment for someone who didn't used to plan her yearly reading at all. But I did it. I finished*!

*One exception. I didn't finish Henty's In Freedom's Cause in Term 2. I just found that book so boring. I don't think a 7th grade boy would find it boring but I don't share the same motivation as a middle school boy and I think it would be a good choice for that age range. I'm such a rule keeper thought that I might just go back and read them to say that I really really did do it. Those un-highlighted squares make me so sad.

Those are the modified Ambleside Online charts I used, simple cut out and stuck in my bullet journal. I treated each week as a unit and just worked my way through. Easy Peasy. Well, the scheduling part was easy. The readings weren't so easy. And I have to be honest, none of these books were ones I'd just pick up and read on my own. That's kinda the point. I am and have always been a prolific reader and I don't just read twaddle or light books either. I do tend to stick with what I like and know because I know it and I like it. (How's that for a profound statement!). The few books from year 7 that seemed really interesting were the ones I choose to read last year when the AO forum read them. So putting myself on this reading plan forced me to read beyond myself. A bit of accountability and a outside source to give me the motivation to choose Churchill when I was tired after a long day and finally put the kids to bed and really just wanted to go back to a Austen or Bronte or a classic murder mystery story was just what I wanted and needed. And it worked!

What I Learned

I just love this curriculum and how much I learned. I feel like I've got a really good handle on this time period now and I'm excited to see how my understanding of America's history starts to change with that better introduction. Churchill's Birth of Britain was a growth book for me. The first term I was struggling to get through and it was slow going. But by the end, it was my favorite.

I started this simple kings chart when Lucy was in Year 1 just to help me remind her but it took on a life of it's own once I started BoB. It's quite unassuming but I'm not sure I would have made it through the book without it.

Mark Twain's Joan of Arc was another one that grew on me. If you've seen my review, you'll know that I can't say Ivanhoe was ever a favorite and Age of Chivalry was still a struggle at the end BUT I am glad I read both, especially in the context of the this whole year of reading. The nice thing about the weeks/unit format and slow reading approach is that even if I really didn't like a book, most of the time I could just push through a chapter or two knowing I'd have several more days until I'd cycle back around that one again. That's actually how I decided to stop with the Henty book. I would stall when I hit that reading each time because I didn't want to read it and it was really slowing the whole thing down. Taking it out solved that problem. Ah, the perks of being an adult who technically already has completed 7th grade!

My biggest takeaway from this experiment. I'm always making connections between books I read and things I'm experiencing, that's what is so great about living books filled with ideas. But embarking on a actual course of study that's already put together just enhances that experiences.  I am seeing some great themes, especially those contrasting medieval times and modernity. And ideas of government versus individual and responsibilities. So many ideas! The curriculum is obviously well designed but it doesn't stop with just these books (and Lucy's year 2 ones that in the same time period). It's amazing all the connections I'm seeing with all the other things I happen to pick up. ,Modern non-fiction books, a Bonhoeffer biography and an article in the latest Circe magazine seem to mesh perfectly.

Next time?

Yes, there will be a next time. I am taking the rest of the year to finish up some other books and hopefully get to a few more of the free reads (The only free read I got to was The Fellowship of the Ring, which is an accomplishment but there are several more I'd like to read). I hope to start Year 8 in this January. Now that I'm pretty sure I will actually do it and that my kids will eventually need those books as well, I don't feel bad purchasing the ones we don't own.

Look, it's a BOC entry! I have this Book of Centuries in Bonded Leather. It is so beautiful. Which is great. And awful as I was afraid to mess it up. For the longest time it only had my kid's birthday in it ( I was fairly certain that nothing would trump those events in that year). I've made a lot of progress this year, in overcoming fears if not in number of entries!

 I won't be holding myself to getting through that one in just a year as I'm thinking over plans on how to do a bit more keeping with the year 8 reads. Exactly how I will be doing that is unknown but I think it will be an attempt to really replicate what I would have a y8 student actually doing, with maybe some note keeping for my future self the y8 teacher's sake. I hesitate to call this Pre-Reading because I was doing it for my own sake but if I'm taking the time to read all the books now, I'd like to be able to use that knowledge down the road somehow and listening to the Schole Sisters podcast on pre-reading has my wheels turning with ideas. My kings and highlights timeline (Doesn't that sound so officially when it was really just a piece of paper I used to keep my brain from exploding!) worked this year and I did add some events to my Book of Centuries and quotes to my commonplace book but I want to challenge myself to be more consistent. I don't think I'm brave enough to try any exams but you never know!

Fake Camping Day!

I love fall weather and spending time outside in September and October but try as we might, it didn't seem like Craig and I could find a weekend in September to go camping. But we figured we could spare a day. So he shifted a day off to a Wednesday and off we went!

First stop was Missouri Mines museum to learn about the history of mining in our state. The outside is run down and desolate but in a sorta pretty way. Makes me want to take somebody's senior picture.

We got to see the old equipment they used.

I wish we had gone to this place when we were studying rocks and minerals last spring. They had a huge collection of rocks from all over the world. Very interesting. I thought I took a picture of one specific one that amazed me but I can't find it. It had all these spikes that looked so delicate and thin but it came all the way from India and I couldn't imagine how they transported it unless it was stronger than it looked. But I'm pretty sure my kid could have destroyed it in about 2 seconds.

I love how our poor screen deprived kids are were so excited to watch the 12 minutes movie made in the 1950s. Yes, it was literally made in the 50s. And even if it hadn't told me that, I would have know instantly. Something about the narrators voice. It painted a pretty rosey picture of the process as the men entered the mine all happy and smiling and carrying their little metal lunch pails but was is interesting about that is that in this day and age, I seem to only get the opposite. It always good to see a different point of view. 

Craig's gotta get his instagram shot it ;-)

Okay, see this deer of rust? Something must have been on the original sign to cause it to rust that way but what? Inquiring minds want to know!

Overall, it was a bit pathetic. I mean, the combination of run down rusty buildings and empty museum (we didn't see any other visitors while we were there) was just so sad. But not your fault, little museum, we enjoyed you. But it was time to head on to...

Elephant Rock

Before we got too far down the hike, I realized this would be a great place for Fall pictures so I called each kid off for a mini photo session. I know I'm biased but could they be any cuter? Although I do wish I had done a better job of wiping the PB&J rom Norah's mouth before we started!

I've been practicing and I'm getting better with my portraits but I think I need to get faster with my candid shots. These kids just move so fast. I have about 10 cute pictures of Jonah but he's fuzzy in the them all because he cant' be still and my flash was being wonky. Oh well, next time!

I'm pretty sure Norah is thinking "Finally, time to hike and climb without mommy stopping us for pictures!" 

We are working on Insects as our nature topic of the season and Lucy is working on her American Heritage Badge for that subject too so we looked for as many kinds of insects as we could find. It wasn't a super warm day and I was worried we wouldn't find many but I think our end count was 14 different types!  Jonah kept counting non-bug things which messed me up so it might have been 16 but I'm sure about 14. We couldn't identify them all but I'm quite happy with that!

And this is why I took individual pictures at the beginning. It doesn't take long before Jonah is done cooperating with picture time. 

The view at the top is great. But they found a tiny fly floating in a puddle of water so they couldn't really be bothered by stopping and enjoying it. 

Craig teaching Norah to stick her hand in unknown holes in nature. Hmm, not sure about that. 

So we saw rocks and bugs and played at the playground but the fun didn't stop there. Last state park - St. Joe's. The kid's favorite part of a real camping trip is just playing and scootering around while we sit. So we went to the day use area and because it was a Wednesday afternoon, it was pretty deserted. They scootered around the playground and empty parking lot and played at the playground while Craig and I tried to relax and read in the few minutes between taking someone to the bathroom, pushing someone on the swing and taking on or off someone's helmet. It was very relaxing ;-)

We finished the day with some hotdogs and then s'mores on the grill. I have to say that I think roasting a marshmellow over charcoal is better than over wood. It goes slower so the middle melts without the outside getting too done. A bit more scootering and bug hunting then we changed everyone into jammies before heading home to bed. I gotta say, a day of camping fun but still being able to take a shower and sleep in my own bed is not a bad thing!