A Week, Briefly (9/18/17)

I'm tired of coming up with titles . . . and I'm tired of not knowing which post to look at when I need to go back and find information about our schooling.

So, until I'm bored or inspired, the Monday date of the week will do. :)

A much better day than the previous two Mondays.

I no longer think I must change our whole schedule in order to survive.

Playing in the rain--and shaking the mulberry tree to make it rain harder!

It was a little rough around the edges because of the homeschool campout over the weekend and because it was a little bit drizzly, but all of the kids managed their emotions and impulses enough for us to read and imagine and talk a bit together.

Our snack--all stacked up.  Gf bread, df "butter" and sliced salami.  Rose Red thought it was for just me when she saw me stacking it up!  But it was just to make it easier to carry downstairs to the picnic table.

The littles and I studied our big tree for our sit spot time.  Then we stood up and held out our arms to be the tree and imagine all of the things our tree has seen over its lifetime.   We tried to tell stories as if we were the tree . . . with varying degrees of success at imagining, storytelling, and listening.

But that's what school is about: trying and learning.

The teens and I had good meetings.  Super Star needed particular encouragement about her math disability, and I rallied my inner cheerleader to give her a much-needed pep talk.  We both cried.

The teens have their Shane essays (Movies as Literature has morphed from Rose Red's assignment to an all-teen assignment) due on Wednesday, so they re-watched the movie with notebooks in hand, taking notes and copying quotes to support their theses.

Then they finished the final hour of MacBeth (gruesome!).  They all agree it is one powerful play, and they are still interested in another Shakespeare intensive ASAP.

Ladybug and I had a little reading session together; I helped a few kids with math; I encouraged practicing the piano; and I made a grocery run.

We all read together in the evening and called it a day.

I took the elementary 8 off to Cave Spring in the drizzly morning.  We wore our boots to protect us from the mud and hat to protect us from the drizzle (turns out that Beowulf has major issues with rain touching his head--how this can be I don't know, but he wigged out on Monday when I encouraged  some rain play).

We did a little math, a little reading, and a lot of hiking and slipping and sliding and splashing.

Brother is learning his first sight word.  It's going to open up a whole new world for him!

Beowulf is starting to practice the sounds of the alphabet.

After practicing with me, Brother walked away and spelled his new word all by himself.  At first it was perfectly backwards--down to the "E" facing the wrong way.  We helped him turn everything the right way, and he was so, so, so proud!

We spent so long trying to find a name for this flower!!  The closest match we could find was Heliopsis helianthoides or ox-eye.  But the leaves on our flower are longer, and the blossoms smaller.  That could be because this particular plant is growing in a rocky, shady area, but we're left with lots of questions about plant identification!

Washing muddy boots in the stream

A bit of nature art

Dead cicada for Mister Man's collection.  He says this one is a female because the males are more green.  Who am I to question?

We found so, so, so many fun painted rocks hidden in the area.  This cool sting ray rock was my personal favorite. 

We found a trail we'd never followed before, and in spite of 9 of us crashing through the underbrush, we saw a doe and a fawn.  We froze; they froze.  We all watched one another for close to 10 minutes before the spell broke.

Too lovely.

Nature Angel and Little Princess went to the dentist.

Rose Red and Pixie worked all day.

Super Star and Belle did school work.

I gave half a dozen piano lessons and tutored math.

In the evening the teens went off to the church for youth activities, and I discovered that the basement drain in our utility closet (the one the AC drains into) is clogged and was flooding our basement hallway.

Poor Sir Walter Scott--he'd already spent the day trying to simultaneously figure out why our electricity was flickering on Monday night and fix the upstairs shower drain, only to have this problem added to his plate.

He thinks it is not a little fix.

I'm praying it is.

I took 10 kids and a dog fishing.  Super Star and Belle knew what they were doing, so I purchased a license for myself (I'm the only one old enough to need one), and off we went.

(Rose Red went to have her wisdom teeth removed, and Pixie stayed home to do book work and babysit our little friend.)

Poor Rose Red.  Face down on the folded laundry and her ice pack.  Oral surgery is harder than she thought it would be!

The lake was perfect, a breeze was blowing, and I took the littles off on an exploring walk while Super Star and Belle set up.

Life is at its fullest.  People say spring is the lively season, but I never see as much activity as I do in the autumn!  Every step we took resulted in grasshoppers, frogs, and other forms of life leaping out of our way.  We hardly knew where to look next, there was so much to see.

Ultimately, we pulled out the field guides and immersed ourselves in the hunt for names for these creatures and growing things.

Mostly we focused on wildflowers.

Morning Glory, and Field Bindweed particularly caught our attention, as did a tiny, tiny orchid we couldn't find a proper name for.

We talked about seed dispersion when the kids found my skirt absolutely covered in sticky seed pods and when Nature Angel found a fluffy, floating milkweed seed.

We talked about the term peninsula when we found a small one poking out into the lake.

And then we fished.

We had 4 poles to share among 10 kids, so we had to take turns.  I gave reading lessons to Ladybug and Brother; Beowulf found a stick shaped like a T, so that was perfect for us to continue practicing /t/.

Brother practiced simple addition and patterning.

We had some bites, but nothing came of them.

Then Super Star started yelling, "I've got something!  I've got something huge!"  We all ran over, and it was clear that something was really pulling on her pole.  She was fighting with everything she had, and Belle joined her in holding the pole so that Super Star could work on reeling it in.

We cheered and hollered and watched the fight, speculating about what on earth she could have caught.

Suddenly, her line snapped, and the fish was gone.

Hook, bobber, sinker, everything . . . just a piece of loose fishing line dangled from the end of her pole.

Oh!  The agony of the one that got away!

In the afternoon, we had a good time laughing over Rose Red's goofy behavior while under the influence of the drugs the oral surgeon gave her, and the teens watched a movie version of Jane Eyre.  I tutored small people in math, and some piano practicing took place.

Nature Angel is reviewing Greek after a long break, and Little Princess is totally absorbed in the math she swore she hated 10 minutes earlier. :)

Lola is really bad at sleeping.  Here she is passed out after waking from a nap long before she'd gotten the sleep she needed.

The teens (except Rose Red) turned in their Shane essays.

We'll have plenty to talk about in our meetings on Monday.

We read together in the evening, and called it a day . . . with lots of begging by the littles, "Can we go fishing again?  When?"

Ugh!  Art projects!

I totally thought this one would be good--painting rocks.

It was good at first.

The kids found rocks.  Washed rocks.  Dried rocks.

I set up palettes, brushes, paints, work stations.

Then they got to work.

And it was still good.

Then kids started getting bored, but they claimed they weren't done, and when I finally insisted they were done because splashing in the rinse water didn't count as painting, they threw tantrums.

Two-year old tantrums are no big deal.  It was the 4 and 5 year old tantrums that were the problem.

And Brother broke our best tricycle because he was mad at me . . . or just because he doesn't know how to be careful and.  Perhaps I should be careful when assigning motive.  Either way, he knew he had been told to stay off the little trikes because he'd outgrown them, and he didn't obey.


At least we did it, and now we can hide our rocks around the park and imagine other kids finding them and loving them.

Rose Red turned in her Shane essay.  She sat icing her face and typing out her essay all through the morning.  I tried to be annoyed with her for not writing it ahead of time, but I couldn't do it.

Knocked out on pain pills

Dance was good . . . a little bit hard, but good.  I found out that our director, who also adopted a sibling group via foster care, is having every bit as hard a time (or harder) as I have mothering her challenging children.  I offered what sympathy I could and tried to simply listen.  Sometimes it's enough just to have an outlet and a believing ear.

Pixie was gone to dance, but the rest of us read quietly at home in the evening.


Off to the fishing pond we went, our hopes ever so high.

But it was rough.

Belle and I spent the whole time mending rods--broken lines, lost hooks and bobbers, tangled reels.  It was never-ending problem-solving. 

Ultimately I took extra line, hooks, weights, and bait to make 4 little stick fishing poles.  The little boys thought they'd died and gone to heaven.

We did some bookish school, but not much.

We used these leaves to talk about photosynthesis and clorophyll.

Nature Angel did some sketching and writing when the fishing discouragement got to be too much.

We got a few bites, but nothing took.

It was mostly a lesson in patience and perseverance.

An incredibly discouraged Super Star!  She'd tried so hard--even catching local insects as bait--but nothing worked.

There were hundreds of fish all over the place, but we couldn't catch a single one.  We need to ask some questions of a fisherman with experience . . . and probably try a different kind of bait.

The evening was quiet--we were spent from the day's efforts outside.

The weekend is before us, and I am happy, happy, happy to be attending the General Women's Meeting for General Conference tonight with half a dozen of my daughters. :)

(linking here)


  1. What a lovely week. I love all of the fantastic things you did. I have never had the patience for fishing.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Amazing how much learning happens in your outdoor time. Such a shame about the one that got away. I imagine Movies as Lit works well with a small group - poor Miss 16 had to make do with me. Hope Rose Red has recovered from the oral surgery.

  3. Sure wish I knew what was at the end of that line--the one that got away! Maybe an old car at the bottom of the lake? :)

  4. I get tired of coming up with post names, also! But each of your posts is lovely and fun to read. You do so much with your kiddos. They are so blessed to have you for their mama! My youngest daughter had her wisdom teeth out this past summer. Not fun! Happy Autumn. Looks like it's lovely there.


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