We started the week with birthday celebrations at the park.
There was a lot of candy . . . but the cousins had a grand time together. My sister and I brainstormed a way to get together more often (75 miles is farther in reality than it is in theory); we're going to have a monthly Cousins' Book Club next school year. Between us we have 14 children ages 0-15. We'll take turns hosting, and the children will take turns choosing the book and planning the activities/food.
I'm already excited.
We continued our nature studies by reading/narrating from the BSA nature merit badge handbook. We also pulled out a current state department of conservation magazine and worked on memorizing the features and habits of the Western Kingbird. We're hoping to spot one when we go camping next weekend.
We're having days of sun interspersed with days of rain, and the little girls are spending untold hours in our little creek catching crawdads and getting muddy. I am aching to follow them one day and just revel in their joys, but I've not been successful yet. We have some serious rain in the forecast, so perhaps when the sun comes out again I'll try again.
S12 found a freshly molted cicada one day and took these incredible pictures:
Then the cat ate it!
We're still reading from Across America on an Emigrant Train. It is an engaging read, and we're learning a lot about the U.S. and rail travel in the late 1800's, from Robert Louis Stevenson's perspective. My one complaint is that Stevenson was making the trip to meet up with his sweetheart who was a married mother of two. Infidelity is a subject that cannot be ignored, and it gives us some real meat for discussion, but the author's tolerant attitude (actually the author kind of defends Stevenson for his behavior) is not okay with me. There certainly must be other engaging books on this subject, and I'm disappointed in the Simply Charlotte Mason site that recommended this one.
We're loving A Girl of the Limberlost. The kids beg me to read longer each day, and I did indulge them with extra reading on Friday. It also covers the subject of infidelity, but at least infidelity is clearly condemned in this book! We're having lots of meaty discussions around here about agency, accountability, hard work, true love, and God's commandments. The kids harumph and scowl each time I pause in our reading to ask questions (they'd rather I just kept reading), but I'm undeterred, and I can tell that our pauses are helpful because of things I catch the kids joking about later in the day or week.
The big girls all got a lot of math done this week.
And E15 is more than half way through her grammar book.
A8 continues to work by the hour on her journal.
I3 loves the little Kumon cutting book I purchased for him at the homeschool conference last month.
And the littles play and play and play together. I3 was especially honored to get to play Barbies when he made a solemn promise to be gentle and treat his sisters' dollies with respect. He honored his promise all day!
Dusting is a favorite chore around here--more of an acrobatic feat than a chore for the little girls.
Big sisters can't help using Baby L as a prop for their fun. (He does look remarkably like his sisters once there is a bow on his head!)
He's getting better at using his hands every day. We all delight to tempt him with objects to grab, watching and willing him to succeed.
The end-of-season spring sports banquet was Thursday night. It was as long and dull as all awards banquets have a tendency to be, but I'm glad we went for the girls' sake. I took the camera with me but took no pictures because by the time everyone had eaten and the girls' soccer awards were being handed out, Baby L and I3 were tired and cranky.
Our garden is planted. It is small and simple: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, and a single watermelon vine. It will do for this first year of gardening in this new house.
I saw this picture of I3 and realized how long and lanky he's getting . . . losing his preschool proportions and looking like a boy instead of a baby.
The thread had has tied the week together for us has been our worry over E15 and S12's birthmother. She had a new baby a week ago--another girl. She is unstable and homeless. E15 pretends she doesn't care, but S12 is openly fretting over the safety of her newest little sister and the birthmother that is a puzzle to her. Dad and I are trying to work out a plan for him to take these two on a road trip to visit Birthmom and Baby N, but it will be a month before that can happen.
They are in a homeless shelter now. We don't know where they will be in a month.
In the mean time, we are praying for their safety and for peace in our hearts. I know we can trust our Heavenly Father, but that trust is being sorely tested right now. E15 and S12 are still in the earliest stages of learning to trust Him. Dad and I are daily having to bear witness to our fragile girls that having faith in God is essential, rewarding, and relieving.
Math, grammar and science lessons pale in comparison.