A Week, Briefly (6/4/18)

*Pixie left for Girls' Camp as a Youth Camp Leader (YCL) early Monday morning.
*Rose Red left for the Bahamas on Tuesday morning before dawn, but before that, she left our house on Monday evening to stay the night with the friends with whom she is traveling.
*Sir Walter Scott spent Monday night awake while on overnight patrol duty at Girls' Camp.
*Super Star and Belle joined Pixie at Girls' Camp early Tuesday morning.

That means the Elementary 8 and I spent most of the week as "just us."

And while I know it sounds pretentious to say that having only 8 kids at home is so easy . . . it is . . . compared to the usual 12. :)

Without teens, there's no one up late at night, very little emotional drama, and we all fit at the "little" table in the kitchen, so the dining room is closed for the week.  Laundry is cut nearly in half, and no one takes food that was intended for a meal later in the week, so I have fewer last minute panic attacks about how I'm going to adapt a meal with missing ingredients!

I worked on clearing the side yard that we've neglected for 4 years.  As I worked the kids yelled and hooted a lot to see if their voices would carry across the trees and brush.

(They did.)

Ladybug is still on her semi-permanent time-in, so she had to stay near where I was working.  There wasn't a whole lot to do once she was tired of yelling (no, she may not use a shovel or pruning shears in order to help me!), so she settled into storytelling.

For nearly 2 hours she told fairy-tale after fairy-tale.  Sometimes Mister Man would correct the details or tidy up some of her sentence structure, but mostly she told stories on her own.

What an amazing narration experience--and completely self-directed!

Charlotte Mason says:

“As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should ‘tell back’ after a single reading or hearing . . . A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages” (Vol. 6, preface).

But I see in my adopted kids the need to hear stories over and over and over again before they can narrate.  Beowulf can barely answer a yes/no question about a story that he's heard only once, but with enough repetition, he can tell me what it is about and answer simple questions about the characters.

Listening to Ladybug tell the fairy tales to her younger siblings--of her own volition and quite engagingly--convinces me that while Charlotte Mason's advice might be wise for most children, it is for me to recognize my children's individual needs and adapt accordingly.

And we went to the zoo park for a little while.  Lola climbed to the very top.  People are always scared for her because she's tiny, but she's perfectly stable and capable.

After dropping Super Star and Belle off at camp, the Elementary 8 and I went to the zoo.

The new stingray touch tank is open!

I pulled out enough change to pay for the privilege of offering a stingray a fish.  He/She surely liked it a lot and made rather a fuss about eating it!

The afternoon included Boy Time ("camp" for the 4 little boys, run by Nature Angel) and Girl Time ("camp" for the 2 little girls, run by Little Princess).

I got a stomach bug.  I spent most of the night and day in the bathroom.  Nature Angel was a champion helper!  We did make it to the library for a brief grab-and-go, and the kids looked or read books most of the day.

We also watched High School Musical 3.

And I found out that I didn't protect myself well enough when I'd been clearing brush out of the side yard.  I have poison ivy on both arms!!!

One of the leaders texted this photo of the girls ready for skit night.

We went to the lake.

It was . . . so perfect.

We went early enough that we had the entire beach to ourselves for a couple of hours.

The birds were searching our bags for food . . . but I was on to them and didn't have any they could get to!

Peace found its way back into my soul.

Educational experiences we had included:

*Watching a blue heron
*Watching and trying and failing to catch something that lives in the mud in the shallows of the lake that makes a lot of bubbles
*Playing frisbee and catch--I had no idea that Mister Man didn't know how to throw a ball overhand with any accuracy!  I taught him how to cock his elbow up, and his aim improved 100%.  He was so proud!
*Building castles and fairy houses, constructing dams and rivers, sculpting with clay and sand, drawing in the sand
*Watching a water snake
*Improving swimming skills

A simple day . . . met with friends at the park, finished our audio book The Little Duke, quiet time, and then the last day of Boy Time/Girl Time.

Making egg carton caterpillars

Giving instructions about how to make tissue paper butterflies

The teens came home from camp.

This is Belle after camp:

Pixie and Super Star look the same.

We finished the day off with some water play.

Tomorrow is going to be busy with babysitting, play rehearsal, choir practice, dance lessons, Dad at work, and a wedding of an old and dear friend.

Temps in the 90s every single day for the foreseeable future.

(linking here)


  1. I am so sorry about the poison ivy. That is no good. But the rest of the week looks like it was fun.

  2. You always have such interesting experiences outside for the kids. I want to be like you when I grow up! I'm much happier indoors...sigh. I'm trying to get the kids outside more (we took little waterguns outside yesterday to cool off because it was around 90). We just live in an area of town that isn't the best, so kids can't be out without an adult.

    You are very right, the dynamics change so much when a couple kids are gone!

    1. Funny, I want to be like you every time I read your posts about science experiments and poetry tea times and other things you are very good at. :)

    2. I’m so happy you got this week of peace and respite. (Too bad it had to include a stomach bug!) But it sounds like such a good interlude of quiet when you needed it. _Relative_ quiet, of course! Ha ha. Since your “easier 8” is my “maximum”! Still, I hope it was nice to pause and take a breath.


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