A Week, Briefly (#12)

In preschool we danced to the William Tell Overture again.  We tried Flight of the Bumblebees, but it wasn't very fun, so we switched over to The Ride of the Valkyries.  Then we ended with a waltz . . . a week later none of us can remember which waltz it was, but it helped us settle down after such an exciting dancing experience.

I took a video, but I think I called out some of the kids' names, so that fun will stay private. :)

Pixie finished Saxon Math 8/7 and started Algebra 1/2!

The bigger kids finished their murals.  It took a long time!  But I think it was well worth it.

The only colors the kids had were black, white, dark yellow, brown, and dark red.  With those, they managed to create greens, pinks, and shades of blue.  Remarkable!

They're hanging on the wall of our formal living room/music room.  They're breathtaking in real life.
In preschool we used a bean bag to play with the letter sounds B and D and did lesson #4 in Behold Your Little Ones--about how Heavenly Father and Jesus love each of them.  They loved finding their own faces in the mirror and hearing me tell them how much they are loved.

In our family school we began our week of bird study.  We watched cool bird videos and focused our study on beaks and feet.

This was a feeding game using a variety of implements as beaks.  This jump started our discussion about what beaks are best for which birds and why.
At the end of the lesson we invented our own birds.  The only requirement was that the birds had to have logical parts for their habitat and feeding style.

Super Star's bird lives in Africa and is so clever that it can use its tail to cover its tracks from potential predators.

Pixie's bird, while odd-looking, had a perfectly logical explanation for each body part.

Little Princess refused to tell us about her bird.  We are left to guess about it's habitat and lifestyle.

Belle's bird had 3 beaks--one in the chest for filter feeding from swamps, one on the face for cracking grain kernels, and one on top for self-defense. :)  The cool wing/tail is cup-shaped for holding this bird's eggs as it doesn't build a nest. 

Nature Angel's had lots and lots to say about her bird.  I loved hearing the invented natural history she came up with.
Rose Red was reluctant at first, but she really got into her story as she warmed up.  This is a male Kingbird--you can tell by his crest.
I don't think we had preschool because Ladybug needed a trip to the doctor's office for what we thought was an asthma attack, but our warm up family school activity included everyone who stayed home.  We used our "beaks" to pick up bits of string and "twigs" to build nests.

When we talked about feathers we did crayon rubbings to demonstrate how oils keep water at bay.  The kids (even the big ones) were fascinated to see how the paper stayed totally dry under the crayon.
 Later we watched videos about egg strength and tried to crush some eggs ourselves. 

Eggs are awfully strong . . .

 . . . but they do have a breaking point!

I told the kids to put on jackets and get in the car so we could head over to a local nature center to sketch bird nests, but Rose Red said, "No!  Let's do it here!  I know where a bunch of nests are."  She then went outside and came back in 5 minutes later with a robin's nest, a cardinal's nest, and a song sparrow's nest.  This was infinitely more satisfying than a trip to the nature center because we could touch and explore the nests to our hearts' content.
Nature Angel is pointing out how the robin used a bit of plastic grocery sack in its nest.
Later in the afternoon I passed out pumpkin shapes tucked into clear sheet protectors, shared out dry erase markers and erasers, and let the kids have a blast decorating the pumpkins.

Nature Angel used her pumpkin shape to write stories.
No school because while Ladybug's breathing issue turned out to not be asthma, it did turn out to be allergies which necessitated medication that left her feeling crummy.  She asked to go to school, so I let her, only to be called to pick her up just as we were about to start our school day.  By the time I got to her school and back, it was time to leave for dance practice.  We called it good by watching a movie called Storm Surfers--about a bunch of guys who travel the world in search of giant waves.  It wasn't as educational as I hoped, but it was interesting.

For a little quiet time in the afternoon, the BOTS strung cereal on pipe cleaners.  (Many thanks to Picmonkey for helping me to post pictures while keeping our foster darlings anonymous.)  
Another afternoon--I can't remember which one, so I'll just stick the photo here, the BOTS played with tweezers and pom-poms.  At first it was just Little Brother, but within minutes all 3 of them were equipped and happily practicing fine-motor skills.

Oh!  And Rose Red got an "A" on her first speech for her dual-enrollment class!!!  One of only 2 "A"s in the class.  She'll find out the result of her first exam next week.

Our preschool focused on the ABCs--playing with large letter sheets to practice letter names and sounds.  We also reviewed fingerspelling letters A-D.  And this was our first week of learning Article of Faith #3--we'll work on it again next week.

For family school we wrapped up our bird study by dissecting owl pellets.  The kids were totally grossed out at first, but once they started finding bones, they really got into it.

Lower jawbone of a vole . . . or shrew.

The younger kids were allowed to just explore, but the older kids had to actually try to identify some of the bones they found.  It was hard, but captivating.
In the afternoon Dad took the 6 medium-little kids to the park, while I put the babies down for naps, and the big girls made these cute treats:
Friday night was the homeschool teen dance.  The girls won "Most Likely to Make Martha Stewart Proud" award for these candied apple ghosts.
And they won "Best Group Costume" for their social media costumes. :)
**On a personal note--our homeschool looks so easy in pictures.  

In real life it isn't.

The owl pellet dissection was completed by the kids with me mostly out of the room dealing with a tantruming Little Brother who was throwing toys and furniture around, hitting, kicking, screaming, and spitting.   The pictures in this post represent about all I got to see of the whole affair.

Ladybug had a crazy tantrum at dance because I wouldn't get her a second winter coat (Nature Angel received a much-needed hand-me-down coat from a friend there).  We spent the last 15 minutes of practice with her strapped in a car seat (with the windows open for fresh air) while I fed Little Sister and watched Mister Man and Little Brother in the parking lot.  This left the rest of my girls responsible for getting all of our stuff and the other little kids out to the car.  It also meant I didn't help any of the other moms clean up at all.

The murals were painted while I fed and put babies down for naps, arbitrated arguments between preschoolers, and tried to get dinner started.

The parent educator was late for our appointment, then showed up just after I left to run errands for the older girls.

I forgot about the CASA visit, and she showed up while I was on the phone with Ladybug's therapist, and the whole living room was filled with all of the outdoor toys that I'd confiscated from the BOTs for throwing them off the deck to break on the ground below.

The girls social media costumes were almost impossible to make as the iron-on transfer paper I bought was faulty.  It took serious ingenuity and team work by all of us to get those little logos on those shirts.

Sir Walter Scott hasn't felt well in weeks, and his exhaustion and discouragement is affecting all of us.  He's a good man, trying hard, doing much to bless us--we are so grateful for him!  He's just wiped out.  I haven't the faintest idea how to help him right now.

I don't mean to complain--just to document a bit of reality so that when we look back someday on these golden days, it isn't fool's gold we're wishing for.

Oh!  And we have a discharge date for Ladybug!  She'll be home full time with us after November 20th.


  1. I love that you shared the 'real life' behind the photos. It is so true, when we just peek at highlights through photos it is easy to think "well she has it all together and those kids get along so well and do their work without complaining and the littles never interrupt or cause mayhem". We are so quick to forget that a full, real, messy life is being lived out minute by minute and the pictures don't tell the whole story. ((HUGS))

    Glad you got an official date for Ladybug's discharge!

    On my end - I'm still pregnant. Due tomorrow and it looks like after 7 babies coming 3 days-2weeks before their due date this little boy will be after his, like biggest sister was. So weird. I'm trying to find a good balance between tackling projects, keeping the house cleaned and groceries stocked, and getting rest. We're homeschooling lightly and very ready for baby to arrive so we can take our break!

    I hope you have a lovely last day of October and a wonderful November!

  2. The murals look gorgeous!!!

    Everyone's life can look so appealing from the outside. Even when we try to show real life it is difficult on a blog. So many interruptions, so many lessons that just don't go as planned. So many messes. So many interruptions (it just had to be said twice.) I read our history lesson today over top of a 4 year old having a tantrum because she didn't get to sit where she wanted to!


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