A Week, Briefly (In Which We Build Small Cabins)

We dove into our full schedule.


It was a big day.

Preschool story of the week:  Hansel and Gretel

Morning Meeting:  we're still working our way through the same January materials that we've worked with off and on this month.  We did sing The Living Christ, though, and Ladybug sang with so much of her heart and soul that we couldn't hear the accompaniment.

I smiled.

The older girls scowled.

They just can't remember when they sang with the same enthusiasm.

Small, quiet moments with Dad are such a treat!
Ladybug loved, loved starting up her phonics and math again.

Mister Man and I read a chapter from Bowser the Hound.  I asked him if he wanted a piano lesson because he'd told me a few weeks ago that he wanted to learn to play the piano, but he preferred to build with the Playmags instead.

The older girls thought having a full, uninterrupted morning to work was a dream come true.  Pixie said, "I can't believe how much I've gotten done this morning!"

Little Princess spent a long time working on Times-Alive, learned about diagramming subjects and verbs, and wrote a paragraph about why she likes to read.

Nature Angel has finished the Times-Alive program already, so she returned to her Math-U-See multiplication drills, but she also did a full Saxon 5/4 lesson.  She picked up on her language arts program, and faithfully completed everything but dictation.  "Mom, can I just wait until tomorrow to do dictation, so I can have an easier first day?"

I couldn't say no.

Academy was energetic as we practiced letter identification and letter sounds with Baymax's new floor ABC puzzle and a set of ABC activity cards.  We cooled off by reading about bears and hedgehogs (both hibernating animals) in our animal encyclopedia.  We're also enjoying a poem together this week--even though there's no snow on the ground.  Kids can dream, right?

Symposium was so lovely to conduct while the younger crowd had quiet time.  We still had toddler antics distracting us courtesy of Lola and Baymax,

but overall it was so, so, so much easier to read, talk, and write than it was last semester.   We did dump On This Day, and we skipped poetry work, but we did a lot of history review, filled in a map of Asia (Pixie was still able to correctly label every country, but the other kids mostly moaned and groaned about how much they'd forgotten), worked on Spanish with Rockalingua and SchoolhouseTeachers.com, read about cartoons and tapestry weaving via What Makes a Raphael a Raphael, and studied a bit of Beowulf.

Brother is hooked on Playmags right now.  He's learning a lot about geometry and engineering every time he plays.
 The sun came out in the afternoon, so the under 10s bundled up and played outside.  After I moved some laundry and did a bit of dinner prep, I put on my own coat, grabbed Theo and his leash, and took the kids on a walk.  We focused on signs of winter and played a game in which we spied items that are brown.

And Theo is turning out to be a therapy dog.

These two are learning monumental lessons in caring for a living creature, overcoming fears, and finding personal peace and centeredness as they interact with our darling puppy.

The evening got really hard when one of Pixie's youth leaders at church continued to be judgmental and unkind to Pixie--even when Pixie went to her and formally forgave her for a previous offense.  We spent a long time crying and talking and searching the scriptures for comfort and counsel.  We are well aware that the Lord uses imperfect people to do His perfect work.  We accept that challenges to our testimonies are a part of this life.  We also trust Paul's teaching that "all things work together for good to them that love God."

But, oh!  It can be so hard to live through the hurt!

Our evening reading provided a safe, comforting ritual to prepare us all for bed.

More of the same--minus the growing pains, plus a few unique moments of its own.

In Academy we focused on science--hibernating bears need fat to stay warm.  We greased one hand with shortening and left the other bare.  We plunged our hands in ice water to see which hand stayed warmer.

During Symposium we studied Moorish Spain.  I showed pictures of walled cities and mosques that I actually visited 25 years ago when my dad took us kids to Europe for a 90 day backpacking tour.  My kids said, "You've been everywhere!"

That's not actually true, but I do hope to inspire them to travel someday.

I wish I could take them all on a 90-day backpacking tour through Europe now. . . but only when I pretend it wouldn't be hard.

After a rapid trip to the library, I piled the kids and Theo into the van for an afternoon at the park.

Honestly, even the trees are starting to think it's spring around here!  It's going to be a slap in the face when winter comes back.

Another good, solid school day.

Mister Man is enjoying doing lots of math for his school.

During Academy we continued our study of hibernation by "foraging for food" (searching out hidden graham crackers) to get nice and fat and then curling up in a den (blankets over the living room couches) to sleep.  Once we finished our lesson, the kids extended the imaginary play on their own for another 45 minutes or so while I made lunch.

After our usual map study, Spanish practice, and art appreciation, the older kids and I finished our lesson on Moorish Spain.  The highlight of our Symposium was when I asked the kids to narrate what they could remember about a portrait by Raphael, and Little Princess, after sharing her insights during her own turn, whispered a second answer into Rose Red's ear because she was stuck.

Rose Red was good natured about the ribbing she received.

Ladybug has been loving looking at books with Lola and Baymax this week.
Later in the day I reviewed some of Rose Red's schoolwork (she's currently reading Our Island Story, working in a Math Mammoth workbook about decimals and percents, and has begun an Economics course).   It turned out that she'd skipped the assigned vocabulary words, and I was firm in having her complete her assignments correctly.  I handed her a dictionary and went to the kitchen to do some dishes only to hear her say, "Supply and demand; definition."

I peeked out to see what she was doing, and she had her phone out and was giving it verbal instructions to look up her vocabulary words.

I smiled.

Actually, I look up words online most of the time, too.

Don't know why I even thought to hand her a dictionary.

I put the dictionary away and left her to her work.

She got it all done.

In the evening, Sir Walter Scott stayed home with the 5 youngest, while I took the others to the church with me for New Beginnings and Activity Days.  Little Princess and Ladybug enjoyed watching the big girls in their element (but they enjoyed the ice cream afterward most of all), and I was really impressed with how well Pixie conducted herself around the youth leader that has been hurting her.  She was always polite and respectful and accomplished her goal of setting a good example for the younger girls.

She also received her Honor Bee!

She's already begun to work on her second YW Medallion.

These awards are simply an outward manifestation of the true goodness in her heart.

Before lunch we did lots of independent work, and Academy was a very simple journal narration session.  The kids either told me about bears/hibernation or about our nature walks this week or about the activities we did.  I like hearing from them, and they seem to like watching their words appear on paper.

Theo the puppy at work teaching our toddlers to be both gentle and brave.
I mentioned on Wednesday that Mister Man is loving math . . . well, on Thursday he completed 8 full math lessons just because he wanted to.  He's really, really loving math right now!

After lunch we headed off to our first day of dance for the semester.  It went very, very well.  My class of miniature students seemed to mature by leaps and bounds over the break; they were able to pay attention and follow directions with me for 25 full minutes, allowing us to review our whole dance and still be good natured by the end. ;)

As joyful as it was, we still came home drained, so we ate an early dinner, read stories, and headed gratefully off to bed.

I noticed in myself a sense of contentment that has long been missing.

I made sure to thank Heavenly Father for such a gift.

Cousins' Book Club day!

We read Tree of Freedom back in November when we were supposed to have this meeting, but life happened, and our meeting happened now instead.

I'd planned to run through a mostly normal morning and then adjust our afternoon when our cousins arrived, but what happened was that we ran through a kind of normal morning, making room for new experiences as they arrived.

Nature Angel and Ladybug bundled up (25 degrees outside) and gathered 4 crates of sticks.  They tried to cut the sticks themselves, but it was too hard, so I did the cutting while they did the holding.  I found out it was sunny and gorgeous outside as long as proper winter clothes were on, so I cancelled Academy, calling the little boys away from the Playmags and outside to play.

Pixie created a coloring page and did as much of her independent school as she could.

Sir Walter Scott ran to the store for apples and canned biscuits (for apple turnovers).

Belle took Theo out to exercise then did as much of her independent school as she could before lunch.

So did Super Star

Rose Red wrote her economics essay twice, but when I asked for another revision, she balked.  So I gave her a final grade on what she'd produced. 

I guess that's how it is in college, so it's good practice now.

(I tell myself that to keep from feeling discouraged.)

Ladybug did a reading assessment that is part of her curriculum and worked very, very hard to understand that counting numbers follows a pattern.

Mister Man did a whole lot more math.

Little Princess did all of her usual school and then entertained Lola and Baymax (see, I'm trying not to call them "the babies") for a couple of hours.  She was such a sweet, attentive little sitter.

The cousins arrived after lunch.

We reviewed some plot elements and talked a bit about symbols in the story.  Then we broke to 3 different stations.

Station 1:  Build a log cabin out of stick and playdough
Station 2:  Color the coloring page Pixie made
Station 3:  Make apple turnovers

After all that was done we just talked and played as family.

I love my family.

And now I am crazy tired. . . happy . . . and tired.

Ready for the change of pace the weekend brings before a new week starts again.

(linking here)


  1. I could almost feel a sigh of relief for a better week! Praying you get rest and have energy for another week of family life.

  2. What a nice improvement in your week. I am sure it was a great relief. I hope you all have a peaceful weekend.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. I'm in awe that you can remember it all. I always download my pictures on Friday and go, "oh yeah, we did that, and that, and that." I'm not sure I could recreate a week day by day. Unless I was super intentional about taking photos of everything, lol.

    I miss "babies" (or toddlers, or preschoolers) in the house. :sigh:

  4. I'm always in awe of how much you fit in every week. I love the photos of the different kids with Theo. A pet really can teach them so many important life lessons. Hope thing pick up for Pixie soon, It sounds like a tough situation to have to learn to deal with.

  5. Smart, beautiful children; wonderfully stimulating/fun activities; bounteous, wholesome foods; and therapy and healthy doses of things spiritual to help make the hard parts doable. What a week!

  6. You do so so much. I'm glad you had a good week. Those cabins look like so much fun.

  7. You get so much accomplished every week! I love the log cabins!


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