A Week Briefly (In Which We Weave and Hike)

It is Friday afternoon.  Nature Angel is at the orthopedist's office for a check to see if she's ready to have her cast taken off.  In a couple of hours, the teens and I are headed up north to our book club meeting about The Scarlet Letter.

I cancelled Symposium today because of the book club meeting.

I cancelled Academy today because our sand was delivered, and as soon as Sir Walter Scott gets the lining down, the littles will spend the rest of the day filling our sand pit.

This week we got a lot of schoolwork done.

Starting from the youngest:

Baymax and Lola have kept busy playing, growing, and getting into stuff.  They love having turns to "read" scriptures or "offer" prayers.  In both cases they repeat what we tell them word for word and then laugh and clap for themselves.  We can't help laughing and clapping, too.

Looking at a pair of mallard ducks at the pond.

Little Brother listens to stories and plays a lot.  Sir Walter Scott and I have spent much time discussing his needs this week as it is clear that he is learning, but that our babies are learning faster--they're gaining on him.  He's also increasingly jumpy and stiff and unable to stay focused on anything but building with Playmags or the train set.  This week I asked him to put a piece of trash in the garbage can and later a piece of paper in the recycling bin.  He has done both jobs correctly before; this time I found both items in the kitchen sink.  I don't think he's being deliberately disobedient.

He's using his fingers as a beak so that he can weave a nest like birds do--such a fun and revelatory Academy activity!

Rose Red reminded us (when she walked in on one of our conversations) that we had similar concerns about Brother when he was 4, and she's right to a certain degree.  We may just need to let him grow into himself for another year or so.

A major triumph for him is that this week he graduated from pull-ups to training underwear.  He's stayed dry most of the time!!!

Brother worked on Ff this week.  He still confuses it with Tt, but he catches himself and he loves, loves, loves reading and writing.

Nature Angel helps Brother understand how to weave over-under-over-under.

Mister Man is thriving with his new curriculum plan.  He completed daily lessons in Life of Fred: Apples.  He thinks it is hilarious and he handles the math with total aplomb.  He loves reading poems, and has been walking around sharing animal facts with any sibling who will listen to him.  I love his enthusiasm for reading and drawing responses to The Book of Mormon, too.

Mister Man tries to use his feet to help him weave a nest the way birds do.

Ladybug wants 100% of my attention when it is her school time.   I tried to have her complete her handwriting sheet or copywork while I worked with Brother, because it feels so counter-productive to sit next to her doing nothing but watching her make letters on a page.  However, she kept talking and/or doing the work wrong and fussing in order to get me to look at her.  I went back to making sure she had all of me (unless a baby was on my lap) even during boring moments like copywork, and she went back to doing good work.  She's completed 16 (out of 32) phonics readers, and her reading fluidity is improving.  She's utterly confused about writing the "teen" numbers--she wants to make them backward--but she is genuinely thinking and trying, and I see progress in her understanding.

No front teeth for Ladybug!  She has the cutest lisp right now.

Little Princess wrote 2 essays this week--one was a compare/contrast essay about two wonderful books (Lumbercamp Library and Prairie School), and one was a personal narrative.  For the personal narrative she opted to write about being born; this means that I kind of wrote the essay, but she interviewed me and was genuinely tickled to hear the story and tell it back to me.  For both essays I had her narrate while I wrote, then she typed them up on the computer.  She's loving Life of Fred: Kidneys.  The multiplication and division are beyond her, but she's learning the concepts of both and is getting lots of practice talking the math work through with me.

Little Princess got really, really frustrated with trying to build a nest with only her "beak and feet."  She happily tied some leaves together once she used her hands.

Nature Angel is done with her school by about 9:30 every morning.  I'd have her do more, but I don't have time to write more narrations.  She's faithful about reading from her books and bringing her notebook to me to narrate.  Her eyes light up as she talks, and while I don't want her stuck in a cast any longer, I'll be perfectly happy to keep doing school with her this way for a good while longer.

In their free play, Nature Angel tried to organize the kids into being able to balance their weight exactly.  She tried all kinds of kid configurations for a long time.  In the end she succeeded!

Belle is frustrated with Theo.  She loves him, but he's 4 months old, now and can escape from almost all of the gates we have in the house.  She came to me daily in tears, "Mom!  I can't do school with Theo!"  In addition, on one of their walks, they were chased by 6 different dogs!  She's been afraid to walk ever since.  She takes him up to the field to run around, but it's not enough for this healthy, active puppy.  On Thursday I took them and most of the littles on a hike at our favorite nature area.  We need to figure out how to get them safely out walking a couple of times a day.   She is faithfully training him, so hopefully the gate issue will fade out in time, and though he'll always need lots of exercise, we look forward to our crazy puppy growing up into an obedient dog.

Oh, how they love each other!

She's lost her joy in Latin, but she's plugging away at it anyway.  She's learning a lot, and though I don't like forcing an unloved subject on a kid, I feel this is important.  She's sweet about listening to my reasoning, but we're shopping around for a different curriculum for next year.  She's about 30 lessons away from finishing Saxon Math 8/7.  She's faithful in her personal daily scripture study.  And she's happily reading All Creatures Great and Small for literature.

Super Star had minor surgery on her feet on Monday, and that knocked her for a loop, but she's done 4 days of math, read a ton, and picked up an awesome icthyology textbook from interlibrary loan.  It won't renew, so she's making the most of our loan term by reading it deeply.  It's pricey, but we may end up purchasing it for her so she can deeply study for the long haul.  She's progressing nicely in her daily French lessons, and now she gets to start a computer class that we have the privilege of reviewing.  She only had time to participate in the pre-class webinar this week and will start the class properly next week.

This is her "I can't believe you're taking my picture like this!" face.  She's healing well.

Pixie continues to be such a faithful student, sometimes working all the way through the day to dinnertime to get her work done.  This week Algebra has been giving her fits with having to figure out graphing formulas given a picture of a graph.  We've sat down together each day to work through the details, and she's kind of panicked, but she's trying to stay calm so she can keep her mind open.  I'm thinking that any kid that can divide algebraic equations can figure out how to relate x- and y- axes, so I'm not worried.  She's really enjoying The Diary of Anne Frank, and today she's conducting video interviews with a couple of siblings to explore the meaning of one of Anne's diary entries.  I hope to post the interviews shortly.

Hurrah for Pixie!  She's driven twice, and she loves it!

She and Belle auditioned their clogging routine (no Super Star because of her surgery, and no Nature Angel because I'm only taking the teens) for a homeschool talent show at a conference we're attending in Omaha next week.  We spent well over an hour on Thursday morning making the audition video.  They were accepted!!!!!!  They'll get to dance for the biggest audience in their experience so far.

Rose Red still vacillates between being wonderful and awful.  Some days she's focused and a great student.  Today . . . not so much.  She gets angry when she can't understand things instantly.  It takes much soothing and much parental control to keep her going.  She's working hard at learning the Greek alphabet.  A quiz today showed she's at about 70% mastery, so she'll keep studying it to 100% before moving on to verb conjugations.  Neither of us feels that 70% is comfortable enough to progress effectively through the lessons.  She's taking a break from working on percents to focus on the metric system, and she's enjoying how simple the lessons are--not needing me to hold her hand through each lesson has been a boost to her self-esteem.  She's also working her way steadily through Economics--she hates the vocabulary, but she kind of likes thinking about the concepts.  This week she told me she's picked The 7  Habits of Highly Effective Teens again (after starting it a few months ago and giving up on it) and has been working her way through the reading and exercises.

She made time to take a selfie and update her Facebook profile picture . . .

In General 
We had 5 Morning Meetings, 1 Academy, 2 reading marathons so we could finish The Scarlet Letter, 1 Symposium (formal and informal address, DaVinci's sketches, Zimbabwe, Wenceslas),  1 dance day, 5 mornings of reading The Shoemaker and the Elves, 2 driving lessons, 7 nights of read aloud time with the younger kids, 5 nights with the older ones, 1 "Eight is Great" meeting (Little Princess will be baptized later this year), 3 art projects (Little Princess and Nature Angel), 5 school days, and 1 really good hike with a few of the middle and little kids . . .

(linking here)


  1. Congrats to Pixie for the driver's permit! Also to Pixie and Belle for acceptance of their dance performance--would love to see it! The pictures are all wonderful; thanks for sharing.

  2. Sounds like a good week. Lots of achievements. Trying to make a nest with feet or a beak sounds difficult. :)

  3. I love the full reports child by child - and seeing their pictures. Looks like a good week all around.

  4. What a wonderful report on each child. That tree is a marvelous jungle gym. I love natural jungle gyms the best.
    Blessings, Dawn

  5. Looks like another great week. Hope that things with Theo settle down soon.

  6. You have wonderful insights into your children. I hope the feet and the hand heal quickly! I love the photographs!


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