A Week, Briefly (In Which we Rest from our Usual Labors)

We dumped traditional school (we kept our Morning Meeting and evening reading) in favor of celebrating the season.

Monday:  We hiked a 2 mile loop outside the nature center.  We dawdled and observed--taking 3 hours to complete the loop.  Then we spent an hour our so at the zoo.

Just before we hit the trail.

Finding acorns was a major highlight of this hike.

We stopped to play on the limestone boulders.
Working up the courage to jump to the next boulder.

Super Star was our trail leader and finder of cool stuff to do.  Everyone stopped to have a turn swinging on this vine.

Tuesday:  We hiked around one of 7 or 8 lakes at a nearby memorial wildlife area.  I think we took even longer to complete this approximately 2 mile walk!  Then we drove around some of the other lakes searching for the paddleboat rentals . . . until we realized that it is technically autumn, and the paddleboats are probably put away until next summer.

Super Star was our super trail leader yet again. :)

All of the kids but Rose Red . . . the stinker!

Cute shot of Pixie because she's never in pictures because she's always behind the camera!
Sweet sisters/best friends
Sir Walter Scott caught this tiny bluegill with his bare hands--making him even more of a hero to the littles.
It was such a peaceful day . . .

Wednesday:  We shopped for Halloween in the morning while Brother and Ladybug were at therapy, then we took advantage of hugely discounted rates for Homeschool Week at the National WWI Museum.  Ladybug, Brother, and Little Brother didn't do very well--neither did the babies.  I left early to take them outside to play while the rest of the family stayed to explore the wonderful exhibits.   When the family was reunited, we ate caramel apple cookie bars, took silly pictures, and headed home, stopping along the way at our favorite park to play for a bit to get the carseat wiggles out.
Poor Super Star!  Her shoe broke just as we arrived at the museum.  Clever girl!  She fixed it with a couple of band aids.
The poppies under the floor represent fallen soldiers in the war.

Thursday:  Awesome thunderstorms kept us inside all morning.  Pixie worked on sewing Halloween costumes while I helped the littles write in their journals about our hiking days.  They dictated, I transcribed, and then they illustrated their stories.  We went to dance practice after lunch.  In the late afternoon, the sun came out so the littles rode bikes while I swept the back patio and the older girls worked some more on Halloween costumes.  Nature Angel is writing another story; this one is about a girl and a dragon.  Our reading of David Copperfield that night was punctuated with oohs and aahs over the incredible lightning display going on in the sky as the storms rolled back in.

Friday:  It was 45 degrees outside when we woke up.  I went hunting for the winter gear only to discover that I accidentally gave Sir Walter Scott permission to take the bag full of my coats and the older girls' coats to the DAV.

I won't even try to explain how that happened.

It just did.

The good thing is that the coats for everyone 10 and under were intact and all still fit this year.

So they played happily outside for 3 hours.

I made an emergency run to the thrift store with the older girls and found coats for each of us.  I also struck the motherlode on winter boots and rain boots--I think I bought 12 pairs.  (Most of the boots we'd used up to this point were simply worn out.)

In the afternoon we headed off to our church camp out.  We walked a little nature trail, visited with friends, and roasted marshmallows for s'mores.  Only Sir Walter Scott and 5 of the older girls camped.  Rose Red and the littles came home with me once the babies got tired.  I hope the campers stay warm!!  I sent them with at least 2 dozen blankets and sleeping bags, but 45 degrees is cold!

After sleeping warmly and soundly here at home, we wusses will head back to the camp out for the big group breakfast and help cart everyone/everything home.

In General:  This week was a treat for us all.  Pixie admitted to waking up Monday morning with a sense of heaviness in her heart about facing another week of school.  I'd felt similarly.  The others haven't voiced opinions one way or another, but I think they felt much the same.  It was a good rest from our usual school labors.

Part of me wishes we could live every day this way--just waking up and seizing the day--but I saw flaws (among others, keeping the older kids intellectually stimulated* and keeping Ladybug from regressing to negative behaviors) that remind me that we need at-home structure and routine and hard work balanced with easygoing outdoor adventures in order to thrive.

That said, there are still half a dozen autumn adventures I'd like to have with the kids, and I have to report for jury duty on Wednesday next week (they denied every plea I entered for postponement), so I'm not sure we'll return to our regular schedule on Monday and Tuesday before seeing what happens on Wednesday.

The preschool book of the week was Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm.

We're at 72% in David Copperfield.  Uriah Heep makes our skin crawl--the wretch!  And we are in agonies over David and Agnes.   What does he see in Dora?!?!?!

Two more completed African-inspired textile projects from last week: 

Nature Angel

*I know that outdoor studies can be decidedly intellectually stimulating, but I don't have the skills myself to mentor my older kids this way.  We'd need additional help.

(Linking here)


  1. What a perfectly wonderful homeschool week and a respite for all. I remember the deep need for rest when we were dealing with so many heavy feelings. Those days off were priceless.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Wow! How awesome to get out and enjoy the world and refresh yourselves for getting back to book work. I admire the way you recognize when something is not working for your kids and take them out of that situation. I'm not sure I'd be as in tune with the needs of a struggling child in a "we're here having fun that I paid for" type situation.

  3. I love the picture of you and Sir Walter Scott with one of your munchkins. I'm so, so glad you had a peaceful day. May you have many more.

  4. Fun to see Sir Walter Scott in some pictures. Funny story about the coats!

  5. What a beautiful week! Makes me want to take the day off and go on a nature hike!

  6. Wow! What a fun week! It's good to have those every once in a while to help reset everyone and get back into the routines again.


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