A Week, Briefly (2015-16 Final Week)

Well, we'll be tying up loose ends into the summer, but this was our final official week of the school year.

Monday was a little bit off because after Morning Meeting we spent 2 hours on house cleaning to make up for the fact that we weren't home for Saturday chores on Saturday.  The littles helped wash windows and pick up toys; the middles cleaned their rooms and scrubbed bathtubs; the oldest mowed, dusted, folded, washed, tidied, organized, swept, and vacuumed.  In 2 hours, we did not get everything done, but we made a grand dent in the waiting work.

We sat down to lunch with a sigh of satisfaction.

After lunch:
Pixie did OT with Brother
Belle did math with Ladybug and Mister Man
I helped Nature Angel through a grammar lesson and Little Princess through a spelling lesson
I listened to Mister Man read
Belle, Pixie, and Super Star all completed a minimum of 2 math lessons
Rose Red continued to work through The Republic and Roots of American Order (She finished The Bronze Bow and Mainspring of Human Progress last week).
I helped Rose Red review some math concepts she'd forgotten this year

Then we grocery shopped.

Mister Man leads Ladybug in a reading lesson.
 For our evening reading, we're getting to the exciting parts of The Castle in the Attic--an old favorite that the middles had yet to hear.  The older girls are loving hearing it again.

Tuesday morning was sunny and clear all the way to 6:30 am when Belle and I stepped out the door to go running.  We were half a block from home when we heard the first grumblings of thunder.  We continued our walking warm up while we debated continuing on versus going home when we heard the next grumblings.  We turned reluctantly around, but I was still trying to come up with a small loop near the house that we could use to do laps so that we were near enough to run home for shelter but that still allowed us an outdoor run.  Then the lightning came hard and fast followed almost immediately by a powerful crack of thunder.

We ran straight home. :)

And we did a walking video while the thunderstorm raged outside.

As we were able to successfully sing "All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir" in the car on our trip to the camping site last week, we decided that we know it well enough put it away and start learning a new son during Morning Meeting.  We chose this darling "Peanut Butter and Jelly" song.

It was out last official day of school for the 2015-16 school year.  Congratulations to Belle for finishing 2 full Saxon math texts in a single year!

Nature Angel and I did some grammar, reading comprehension, and geography.

Little Princess did some art appreciation, spelling, and reading.

She chose to trace and color a Grandma Moses painting.
 Mister Man and Ladybug were so completely engrossed with Little Brother in their game of  "Princess, Knight, and Dragon" that I never pulled them away to do formal school.  That kind of make believe is my favorite sort of preschool "school."  I could not lead them in any better exercise of their minds than the hours-long story-spinning they were working on that also included lots and lots of critical thinking skills as they organized costuming, props, and how to fairly trade roles around.

I love that Little Brother is the princess and Ladybug is the knight!  We all laughed so hard when we saw him.
Then, of course, Mister Man wanted a turn in the limelight.
Brother went to therapy and then helped Sir Walter Scott shop at Costco, so he was gone much of the day.

Then Sir Walter Scott raced Nature Angel off to her final dermatology visit for the alopecia issue we've been fighting since last summer.  She's done with her treatment and has lots of new hair now.  It is our job to simply watch to see that the hair keeps growing.

Rose Red and I are stumped for what do do about math. For our last day of math for a while, we reviewed another set of skills that were utterly lost to her--even though we've reviewed them regularly this year.  It is quite clear that there is organic damage to her brain where certain math skills would/should be stored.  Part of me wants to keep doing math over the summer so that she stands a chance at forming new neural pathways and can finally hold on to what she's learning, but the other part of me realizes that she needs a break--badly--from the work and confusion and sense of shame she feels over not being able to do what the average 6th grader can.

I have a friend who teaches math in the public school system to kids just like my girl.  I've picked her brain once before, but I think I need to turn to her yet again.

We had the missionaries over for dinner, and they treated us to an inspiring message about seeking the wisdom of the Lord.

Inspired by a homeschool blog, we celebrated our first day of "summer" with a trip to a strawberry farm.  We picked well over 40 lbs of strawberries and ate about 10 of those pounds that very day.  They were indescribably better than grocery store berries!

We had our Morning Meeting in the van on the way to the farm.  I love it when we all sing and recite together when we're on the road.

It was rather muddy.

I wish we had one of these!
In the afternoon we read stories and played in the wading pools.

And Pixie did a chapter of her math--Saxon Algebra 1/2.  She has 14 lessons to go to finish her book, so she's plugging away in spite of the summer break.

We stayed home and had a "boring" day on Thursday.  Ladybug, Brother, and Little Brother were clearly unsettled by our field trip (even though they liked it), and their coping skills were low.  We had Morning Meeting at home around the dining table, as usual, played with trains, read stories, had reading lessons, and generally acted as if it were February instead of May.

I am grateful to say that even though there were many tantrums and melt downs, they were shorter in duration than they used to be.  Their coping skills are improving!

Because I didn't have to supervise lessons with the older kids, I had time to start filing away completed school work for the year.  And, lest I give an untrue impression of myself, let me explain that my "filing" consists of labeling a box with the school year and dumping whatever papers I can find into the box.

I still find it tiring and frustrating.

Organizing stuff does not come naturally to me.

We finished The Castle in the Attic and started Mother Carey's Chickens for our Evening Read-Aloud session.  I'm not sure how I feel about Mother Carey--she's one of those too-good-to-be-true mothers that makes me feel inadequate, but there might be just enough joy and truth to cut the sap and make this book a good experience.

Friday dawned clear and crisp after the rainstorms of the previous day.  Feeling a strong need to maintain the routines that make our young ones feel safe, we started another "boring" day:

Basket Duty
Morning Meeting
   Opening Song
   Primary Scripture
   Scripture Mastery
   Paragraph 7 of the Family Proclamation (we're getting it!)
   Alma 1 (we finished Mosiah this week!)
   Family Chant (as taught to us by one of our therapists)
   Poetry memorization ("Come Out to Play" --Mother Goose)
   Sing the "Peanut Butter and Jelly" song
   Bedtime Math

Pixie tried introducing the piano to Brother for OT but quickly found out that pressing the keys individually is way, way, way beyond his current skills.  We'll return to play dough, cutting practice,  beads, and finger spelling as our focus for a season.

I called and got Rose Red on the waiting list for a learning disability assessment.  We've never bothered because we don't need labels to make adjustments at home, but she's only a couple of years away from college now, and we need an official label in order to qualify for accommodations in college that will help her succeed (e.g. untimed tests).

Sir Walter Scott took the 4 oldest off to participate in a camp fundraiser while I worked with the littles at home.

Mister Man and Ladybug enjoyed reading with me.

But then Nature Angel revealed what she'd been working on all week in the basement:  She's crafted, planned, and organized a 4 day preschool for the week the older girls will be gone at camp!  She asked if she could give the kids a preview, and I said, "Yes!"  She--at 9 years old--organized and taught and entertained the younger crew for over an hour!

So I focused on the babies, "filing" more school stuff, and making lunch.

After lunch we went outside to play (little kids) and do some yard work (Sir Walter Scott, me, and the older kids).  Pixie did a couple of math lessons (only 10 to go to finish her book!).  Rose Red worked on Roots of American Order and The Republic.  I think Super Star did one of her math lessons, too.

Then Sir Walter Scott and I left the littles in the capable hands of our older girls and headed out the door to run errands and have dinner together.  We ate a picnic dinner at a park and laughed together.

I love him.

We came home in time to tuck small people into bed and read a few more chapters of Mother Carey's Chickens with the not-as-small people.

Saturday was the day we put in the garden.

We're at least a month late.

But I'm in better-late-than-never mode.

We are tired . . . good tired . . . for most of us anyway.  Our fragile 3 are tantruming and not coping well with the field trip earlier this week coupled with a full day of hard outdoor work that is different from the usual.  In spite of my best efforts to get them outdoors regularly and encourage active play, they still struggle with the fact that the day was different. 

I am praying sincerely for a rest and renewal tomorrow.

Linking here.


  1. It always makes me grateful to read your posts because I can see that everyone's life gets a bit crazy... :) It has been ssssooooo nice to have reached the 'summer' portion of the school year for us this week. High school track is over, swim lessons are finishing up next week for 5 kids, and we're between therapies for a tiny bit here. Praying you all have a relaxing Sabbath and good first week of summer!

    We enjoyed Castle in the Attic recently too. Then we read The Inventor's Secret in the Cragbridge Hall series. Now we're going with Stuart Little.

    1. I haven't read The Inventor's Secret. I'll have to check it out! Wishing you a joyful summer ahead!

  2. Yum! Strawberry picking! We don't have them available yet around here but I CAN NOT WAIT! We love strawberries and the ones fresh from the field taste so much better than those in the stores.

  3. Yum! Strawberry picking! We don't have them available yet around here but I CAN NOT WAIT! We love strawberries and the ones fresh from the field taste so much better than those in the stores.

    1. I'm amazed at the difference in flavor. Here's hoping you get some yummy berry experiences yourself this spring.

  4. I know how frustrating it is when a child is Just. Not. Getting. a concept. :( I hope the break does you both good and that Rose Red is ready to make a mathematical leap in the fall.

  5. Thanks for visiting & commenting on my blog. I'm surprised you actually got home with any strawberries...

    1. Over 40 pounds of them? Yes, we got home with a few! We've crushed them and eaten them over pancakes. Soooo good.

  6. Hooray for the end of the school year! I love the pics of the children dressed up.. So sweet!!!

    We have never read Castle in the Attic but it sounds like a book my children would love.

  7. See if you can have your daughter evaluated for a learning disability called "Dyscalculia". It's like dyslexia, but with numbers (and other spatial relationships). It can also manifest in a poor sense of direction, difficulty in telling left from right, etc. It's not all that uncommon but I think only recently recognized as a learning disability on its own. Good luck!

  8. Wow, what a fun filled week! I love the pictures of the strawberry picking and gardening.

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