A Week, Briefly (1/4/21)

 Well, Sir Walter Scott felt sick on Saturday night.  On Sunday he ran over to the hospital for a covid test (available to staff), and it came back positive!
Mine came back positive the next morning!
He was more tired than I was.
But I had a runnier nose and more of a cough.
We figure the runny noses and coughs that all of the kids had were also covid . . . but we're not testing all of the kids.
Super Star felt sick this week and got a test; her test came back negative.
So she waited 2 days and got tested again . . . negative!
How crazy is that?!?!?
Maybe we should test everyone . . . but we all feel better, so I don't think it's worth it.
Little Mister Frog was sick with us, so, with our enthusiastic consent, his mom brought him over all week.  She and her partner had covid back in the spring, and they've stayed healthy through it all. 
The Munchkin's family opted to stay clear of us (I don't blame them!) and Dad has reported that the family test results are negative.  If we all continue to feel well, our quarantine will end early in the coming week, and we'll have The Munchkin (and maybe his baby sister) with us. :)

I thought I was all better over the weekend, but I pushed myself to exhaustion every day, and felt yucky each night.  I also lost my sense of smell! 

But honestly, it's been very mild, and we're grateful.

Our moon books have inspired a great deal of independent (or semi-independent) reading.  We've read about lots of Apollo missions, Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Neil Anderson, moon phases, moon poetry, space suits, and more.  It's been such a fun study!

We've chosen to quarantine both indoors and out.  We've been very careful to stay clear of other people, and the weather has meant the trails have been empty except for us.  I am confident that we have been respectful of keeping other people safe from contagion via our family.

Our funniest thought through it all has been the fact that Sir Walter Scott is banned from working at the hospital on the covid unit because he has covid!!!

Our best moment this week came when Sir Walter Scott was able to go minister to a member of our church congregation with covid and pneumonia because he has covid.

There are silver linings everywhere!

We made awesome progress on our 300 Mile Walking Goal:
Monday--3 miles Unity Village
Tuesday--2 miles Little Blue Trace
Wednesday--.8 mile around the block (picked up 2 bags of trash)
Thursday--2.8 miles neighborhood hike (picked up 4 bags of trash)
Total for the week:  8.6 miles
Total for the year:  8.6 + 1.9 = 10.5 miles

We had 3 goals while we were out on our walks:
1.  Find goldenrod galls
2.  Follow a set of animal tracks
3.  Find evidence of animals feeding

We actually accomplished all 3 goals!!!!

Here's the week in pictures.
We slid down every hill we could.  Some (most of the kids) were better sliders than others (me).

This is the Natural Land Bridge at Unity Village.  The kids divvied themselves up across the gap and had a hilarious snowball fight.

Any opportunity to get close to water . . .

Up close, they could see water still running behind the icicles.

Raccoon tracks were awesomely clear in the melting snow.

Mister Man and Belle talked Greek mythology the whole walk--quizzing each other on names, events, and relationships.

One of our studies this week was supposed to have been identifying various evergreen trees.  I never got that study further off the ground than having the kids examine these Eastern Red Cedar branches.  We'll develop that study further next week . . . or the week after!

Ice!  Everywhere ice at Little Blue Trace!  Warm daytime temperatures melted most of the snow, but the water was slow to soak into the ground.  It made for hours of fun for my crew.

We played in the ice a lot more than we did anything else, but we did find lots of evidence of deer and rabbit feeding.  In addition, we found bloodstained snow, wonky rabbit tracks, fox scat, a bit of rabbit fur, and broken branches--all telling us a real life story.

Before we set out to simply walk around the block and get a little bit of fresh air before settling down to some writing and drawing, Lola continued to find ice.  Seconds after I took this picture of her, she dropped her ice.  Poor little lady!  She was so sad!

Ta-da!!!  We finally found a goldenrod gall!  After our walk, we studied the gall fly and its winter predators.

The juxtaposition of our wild walk below and the urban power lines above strikes me with wonder and gratitude.

On Friday we had a lichen hunt instead of a mileage walk.  We stuck to our own yard, walking  the 200 or so feet of creek bed we "own."

Before we went out we watched several videos about lichens.  Then we had a quick snack for energy.

Three kinds of lichen are represented on this branch!!!

We don't know if the brown blobs are a regular fungus or jelly lichen, but even without knowing that, we can see at least 4 other kinds of lichen on this branch.

Her boot tops are under the top of the water--she's drenched--and it was a whopping 33 degrees out there!

That's our JoyJoy that Little Princess is holding.  She followed us on our hunt.  And Mister Man is wearing pink bibbies because his black ones were in the laundry!

Everyone drew what they could see, and then wrote or narrated to me what they learned about lichen that day.

Nature Angel's drawing

I found a book at the library called Mosses and Lichens.  I reserved it thinking it would teach us a bit about mosses and lichens.  

But it was a book of poetry.

Few of the poems were kid-appropriate, but I found 4 that actually had messages of beauty and evoked pictures of nature.  And one poem was a retelling of Daedalus and Icarus that reduced me to tears.  I read these poems to the kids during lunch after our lichen hunt, and it was magic.

All week the 3 older girls did additional research about whatever we studied that day.  They wrote moon poems, wrote essays about the moon and/or space program, narrated one of our nature walks, researched an animal whose tracks we followed, etc.. 

I know I am particularly enjoying having the whole family study together, and I'm seeing Belle come back to life from her tech addiction.  Figuring out high school credits will be challenging, but she's reading and researching and writing and exercising, so I know it will balance out.

Each morning we spend 1 hour on independent book work.  (This schedule will need to change when Sir Walter Scott goes back to work and Mr. S-- is cleared to come back over.  I think we'll have to get out first thing and save our book work for late morning.)  Some of the kids focus exclusively on one subject per day, others bounce around from book to book.  Either way, more progress is made in an hour than I previously thought possible--even though it is not as much as we made when we did several hours of book work per day.  

Baymax engaged in some voluntary reading practice.

Ladybug finished this spelling book!!!  I can honestly say that her spelling has improved for using this course.  We're taking a break from formal spelling lessons for now, but she will keep practicing through her daily narrations.

And I can't believe it, but we finished pulling down the wall paper in the dining room!!!!  There's a lot of repair work to do, but we're doing it, and our room is changing for the better.

They pulled out the old baseboards, and I've got a mostly clean slate on which to work.

 Beowulf is doing better.  I do think his behavior flare-up was covid-related.  Sir Walter Scott's personal experience with covid (no studies, no research, just observations during 7 months of caring for covid patients) is that covid seems to exacerbate pre-existing conditions.  And in our family we've seen further examples of his observations.  It's so fun to see Beowulf feeling better!
This week our school days have been productive, simple, beautiful, and sustainable. 

We will keep this up as long as it works.
(And I will post a picture of our moon/space books next week.)


  1. So glad you all are doing well with COVID. It is a crazy disease. I know some people who had no pre existing conditions who have been bedridden for weeks and others who had serious conditions and were only sick for a few days.
    Hopefully you all will be all better soon. Good job on the dining room. What color are you thinking of painting it?
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. I'm so happy to have access to this family educational documentation--so glad you make the effort to do it! The ice freaks me out now that I'm old; I was walking by myself around the block--all on dry surfaces--but stepped on one little spot that I thought was melting snow and was down in an instant!--smack on my hip! (good thing it was my 'new' hip!). COVID had a profound affect on the irritability level of those who had it in this household!

  3. Very glad Beowulf is doing better.

    Your space study sounds awesome! I wish you were local; I'd loan you or space toob and cards. We had some fun when I taught astronomy to Eli and Jack one year. Really simple craft idea? Cover the end of a TP tube with black construction paper and use a pin to poke holes in the shape of a constellation. When you look through the other end, the light shines through the tiny holes like stars.

    I reserved the middle school version of Hidden Figures for my girls, but I've heard it's a little dry, so I'll probably get them the younger kid version, too. I read the adult book last year.

    Congrats on finishing the spelling book! We finished a book last week, too, and I totally forgot to mention it on my blog.


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