Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow Week

The snow this week has been perfect snowman snow!


We spent most of our time this week outside or peeling wallpaper (that stuff is more difficult to remove than I expected!), but did manage a fair amount of math.




e's geometric paintings:







And her mystery knit! She loves guessing as she goes. This is Clam the otter.

It has been nice to stay in, but I am definitely looking forward to swim lessons and a play date tomorrow!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015


It is always a wonderful affirmation to find out E already knows the math material I plan to teach. Teaching Textbooks only appears to progress slowly! This turned out to be easy review.


Today dawned 22 degrees, so e and I decided it was a good day for a frost painting. The last time we did a frost painting was in Alaska at 42 degrees below zero! Would it come out different? Indeed. Beautifully large crystals formed!


While those crystals were forming, we headed to the pool. The kids took a deep water test, passing easily, and spent two whole hours swimming laps, diving, and inventing variations of flips and twists under water. As we were leaving, the lifeguard (also e's swim teacher) stopped me to say that e had definitely passed level 3. Excellent! She has one more class this weekend before she starts a stroke clinic to prepare her for a summer swim team. She has progressed very fast, as she always does. But swimming is something she has been begging for since... well, babyhood. And she likes every single thing about it. Perhaps she has found her thing.

Speaking of finding what makes one's heart sing...E continues to thrive in gymnastics. The head coach has been working all season on easing E into Future Stars. He pulled E for the training, taught him the routines, all without telling E why. Now he's encouraging E to attend the Future Stars camp in June, and has told E he will be at least a level 7 next season. Maybe 8. That means training with the big boys! Coach has pulled E a few times in the past few weeks to train with levels 7-10, and E had a blast. I wonder if the coach is trying to build E's confidence as we lead up to state...but whatever his purpose, E is absolutely thrilled.


But back to school. The planners are working beautifully! I added a list to the front of each to remind us all what needs to happen each day:

I'm also trying to once again stick to the plan. A do-over. I don't know if E has calmed down any, but his behavior is once again 'normal'. As in we have gotten used to it, so we don't over-react, so E doesn't escalate. Usually. He is acting much less anxious, too. Bit by bit, there is progress!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!


The girls took their babies for a sled,

Made snappy dragons from The Birthday Book,

and designed and sewed their own sheep hand puppets! Happy Year of the Sheep!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Long Weekend

Snow day today! I actually hauled out my real camera. Our house being so dim and the weather being so cold and windy, I haven't used it much lately. I also just recently discovered how to enlarge pictures in Blogsy, so I'm including a few different sized photos for comparison in this post. :)

The kids ran outside first thing, then ran back to the door yelling "MOM! It's tundra snow!" You know, the snow in Alaska that is blown into solid layers that then make excellent blocks for use in igloo-making. Days like this make me miss Alaska! Anyway, the kids enjoyed walking on top of the snow crust for a while before it melted just a bit and began to give way. E declared it much more dramatic to fall through four feet of snow as we did in Alaska than the measly four inches here, though.


Eventually E turned the cracking crust into a game. He laid down and pulled himself from hole to hole as fast as he could, which was pretty speedily. No need for a sled or a hill here, the kids slid around the yard for over an hour this way!

e has begun her set of art lessons Grandad gifted her with for Christmas. A happy squirrel is in the works!

e made exactly one Valentine this year, and what a science lesson it turned out to be! She found the pine cones a few weeks ago on a walk, and pushed them together. They sat on our deck in the cold for several days. When e brought them inside, they had closed...still stuck together! She brought them inside and painted them. Over the course of 5 days, they opened, starting at the large end. Each day another few rows had opened, until finally they were fully open again.

My birthday was this weekend as well, and e woke me with a treasure hunt! There were berries and whipped coconut cream for cake, and my most favorite tea. Spaghetti squash (with a bow) and chicken for dinner. I didn't have to wash a single dish or make breakfast (the most time-consuming meal in our house). I finished several small projects and finally sewed up the ripped seam in E's favorite gym shorts. It was a lovely day.

Last week's lessons included St. Valentine, whom e was shocked to find out was a man. ;) Love and hearts would be a woman, no?

Circle vocabulary. He's been seeing most of these words for a few years in Teaching Textbooks, so nothing super new.

E's handwriting, one line a week...

We haven't done school in days and days. Tomorrow we get back at it!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It's a Beautiful Day

I finally, finally cleared my craft table enough for a work space. It has been piled high for a long time! Now I can disappear for a few quiet-ish moments rather than sit at the dining room table in the very center of everything. Except that my quiet spot is in G's room, so she tends to then sit on my feet and tug at my pant leg, thinking I'm there to feed her.


We had a beautiful Sunday- sunshine, warm weather....we finally got the bike rack onto the car, figured out how to attach the bikes, and I took the kids to the botanical gardens for a ride. e was quite excited, but E seemed determined to ruin the experience purely because we had never done this before. The bike rack was new, the air pump was new, the warm weather was new, to be on a bike at the gardens was new, daddy working a girls' gym meet instead of me was new, the purple gymnastics shirt daddy was wearing was new.... But everyone survived. e kept singing Jamie Grace's song "It's a Beautiful Day" in between yelling at E for going too slow and listening to squirrels rustling in the bushes as we rode past. I'm glad I pushed through and got us there, because the next day blew in COLD!


E's fun with geometry is continuing nicely.

Notice the date? I didn't take the picture upside down...he actually wrote the date that way. He reminds me of myself sometimes. When I was in middle and high school, I took the majority of my notes in what my kids call 'mirror writing'.....just because I could.


My favorite quote from e's time with St. Brigid is this: "Mom, I like St. Brigid because she glew. That must have been beautiful."

This is how geometry is done:

e has been enjoying an old Explode the Code during quiet time.

G and e have been snuggling in the mornings, when G has cold paws...

Yesterday, I took the kids swimming. I usually bring planning material and get in an hour of school prep while the kids play, but this week I decided to get in. I wanted to give e a chance in deeper water to practice her new swimming skills. I ended up swimming 12 laps; 6 with each child. Whew! Then I stood at the drop off point while E figured out new ways to tread water beside me and e swam from the wall to me, me to the wall, never stopping. Back and forth in front crawl for another 15 minutes or so. Best part is that she wasn't even tired at the end! Summer swim team, here she comes!


Friday, February 6, 2015

Borders and Circles

e has discovered the fun of using running forms as borders! The decorations are hers alone; I required only the date and the math facts.


GEOMETRY! This block by Waldorf Essentials is the best thing ever. E can't wait for 1:30 and then races through his math and spelling in an effort to get to this quicker. Emphasis is on beauty and form and is totally freehand. We are also reading through String, Straightedge, and Shadow: the Story of Geometry.





Love, love, love.


I re-worked our daily rhythm to give e a constant lesson time. I hope she likes early morning!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 4, and starting over

The week, as well as the month, is over. Here are the final assignments from E:

Not what it was a few weeks ago. I feel sad looking at the differences. I want him to be able to do the more detailed, careful work he obviously can do, but why? At what cost? I have to once again put my focus on the main goals: a love of learning and a solid relationship.


e and s enjoyed a sleepover this weekend, complete with an evening spent playing in the woods.

The girls made Cartesian Divers with S last week. Mesmerizing to watch the pipettes sink and rise.

As we continue on into new blocks (freehand geometry and math squirrels) with our new rhythm, I have to remember this:

Right? So I'm working on getting enough exercise and enough sleep. How about you?