Tuesday, November 29

what a camp is....

One of the places we're steadily growing to love is "camp".  It's where we work, it's where we play.  We fellowship, practice, and prepare our faith within it's confines. 

It's a place we're inviting you to share, as well!



The hiking is really great!  And the friends are pretty good, too!

Saturday, November 26

turkey lurkey

The Thanksgiving Day turkey flew the coop here as 1) we had ham (a second choice over Subway) for Thursday dinner and 2) we're cutting down a Christmas tree from our own back yard and hanging the mistletoe today.

We've had an amazingly productive AND relaxing holiday break and are ready to take on the Christmas season in full joy, being fully blessed!

Merry, merry!

Monday, November 21

unplanned curriculum

I'd say 1/3 of the curriculum we work on at homeschool has been books and materials that have come to us freely.  Whether friends/family pass things along that they have found or used and didn't need any more or they've come from a certain camp related storage house that shall remain nameless, they are free to us none the less. 

Jack started the year off with Teaching Textbooks for math, but I wanted him to have a bit of book ciphering (sounds like prairie school) as well.  We have the time in our day for both and I like the idea of pencil to paper in computation.  How else can a homeschool kid get the phrase "SHOW YOUR WORK" emblazoned into his brain like we did as kids!

The Multicultural Math Classroom: Bringing in the World

So while the last few years we've worked through Saxon Math we started this year out with a free to us book called "Multicultural Math."  Thus far, he's worked in every area of concentration within mathematics in levels ranging from too easy to too hard (yeah, like, I can't even figure it out WITH the answer key!!).  For the most part, I've been most thrilled with the diligence with which HE has had to pursue the topics... for instance, looking through examples to figure out how to solve a problem. 

He's got a month or so left on the book before it's back to the "same 'ol" routine.  But it's been a fun way to kick off the fourth grade year!

Thursday, November 17

Future Home

I've been working on this in my brain for a while.  Finally I got the colored pencils out and put it down on paper and made the list of what needs to be accomplished.  I hung this on the door and when I passed by later I found Jack had written "Future Home" on the paper.  Funny.  You don't think the colors are too "bad newsy" rivals from the south, do you? 

Anyway, Jack is mostly excited about painting a green score box (ala Pottery Barn Kids on pinterest) on the closet doors before the Pack wins another Superbowl this season.  Why on the closet you ask?  If I hadn't mentioned it before, this house is really textured...as in textured walls and ceilings.  I thought the scoreboard would work better to actually use it on the smooth closet surface. 

It's the plan to work on it over the long four day weekend upcoming. 

Do you hear that boys?  I've put a completion date on it!!

Monday, November 14

okay, not

You're starting to catch on to me, now.  I have w-a-y more pictures than inclination to share them.  Thus the back log of summer pics as we near winter.  I'm trying to get more "real time" in our blogging; like, we work on something at home and *bam* up it goes on the blog the NEXT day.  Until then, enjoy the summer pictures and soak up the last of that summer sun.
This place, sadly, was NOT one of our summer favorites, but we're hoping it will grow on us, since it occurs just down our road.
Yes, it is an antique tractor pull.  Did you guess that?
We tortured the children through the slowly moving farm vehicles for about 45 minutes.  They were unconvinced there was really a contest going on as the tractors literally moved as slow as snails.
There were no flames coming out of the smoke pipes and no sinister names like "freakin' farmers" on the sides of the tractors (yes I mean you Walworth Co Fair). 
And while the earmuffs were great for photographing, the tractor noise barely grew beyond the sound of my children whining "can we go now."

And so we go....

Wednesday, November 9

and so it begins

You have to feel if you make it to early November without snow in the midwest, you are doing pretty good.  That brings winter to a solid 6 months(Nov-April).  Doable (no more no less)! 


Though this one won't stick, it sure sets a mood! 

Late school start.  Play time in pajamas.

A teensy bit of Jingle Bells hummed in the background.  Hot cocoa for snack.


Sunday, November 6

Fall is Fair

The fair here isn't Indian Summer weekend, but truly fall. 

Thus the hoods!

Not suprisingly, fair food STILL tastes good even at a fall fair!

Let me tell you, though, midwesterners are VERY loyal to their county fairs.

Despite the fun, it will take me another year or so to really pack away the memories of our "old" fair get on board with the "new"!

Friday, November 4

Meet Me

Right now we are just plugging along like the little engine that could.  We count each small success a victory in training attitudes and minds.
Jack is just reading like the plague (?!?).  He is doing a really interesting math book which cares less for computation and more for the process.  It's been a challenge for him to work long and hard on some different mathematical ideas.  For a concrete thinking kid, it is good growth!  His cursive and typing and spanish are some extra activities on the outside of the three "R's".  I've heard some talk of not bothering with cursive anymore because of typing, but the kids really enjoy that "fancy" writing, so we're sticking with it for some things.  Meeting new friends around town has taken up a lot of his thinking and time this fall and it's been fun to see how he relates to the numerous friends he's made.  He's also been as diligent at helping around the house as ever.  He says he prefers inside work (like using a knife for ANYTHING in the kitchen or mixing concrete for window frames) to outside work, but we plant them outside for a time each tolerable day nonetheless.

Lena prefers learning to read with trade books so we've put aside our "100 Easy Lessons" book for Dr. Seuss.  We were getting a bit lost in the lengthier pictureless stories of the text and the focus and interest go out the window as the frustration sets in.  She says she likes math and is learning more concrete ideas of computation.  Lena is doing a lot of writing, which has added benefit to boost her reading and doesn't groan at the journal writing as she did even at the beginning of the year.  She's involved in several activities outside the home and has made a few nice girl friends.  So far most of the crowd we're running with is comprised of boys her age, but we've made a point to schedule play dates with the girlies when we find ones!

PJ is still just cracking us up.  He's still wearing his bat costume from Monday night...yes, even for naps and meals.  Though I put my foot down at bedtime!  At 3, he is getting a lot of color, shape, and number ideas.  He occasionally gets letters correct, too, and I think, "Oh, NO, not yet!!!"  Just play for another year or so, okay!!!

We're adding in art, nature study, and science as often as we can (right now averaging once a week).  Still, we're just reveling in some of these nicer warm days (in between the sleet and cold days) and trying to soak in all the outside time we can before the big chill sets up in the driftless region.

Make sure to drop us a line if you haven't in a while!  We like to know you're out there, too!

Wednesday, November 2


You decide who is being trained here: the puppy or the boy.

Point puppy for getting ahold of the leash.

Point boy for reigning it in.

Point boy for taking charge.

Oooh, point puppy for taking boy down.

Point boy for not giving up!

Everyone's still smiling and/or wagging, so call it completed lesson for the day!