Goodbye Summer- Hello New School Year!

We are saying goodbye to another summer. Last summer of my son’s tweens, as he’s turning 13 tomorrow. Last school year was incredibly busy, and quite stressful for us with intense extra curricular activities. But the summer was sweet (but short).
We hiked,played with friends and visited new places in our state. We made lovely memories.

 

 

IMG_3919

Colorado National Monument

 

IMG_3921

Rocky Mountain National Park

IMG_3920

Golden Gate Canyon State Park

This week we have started school at home and at the homeschool program my kids attended for many years now. D. started grade 8 and C. started grade 5.

This school year at home will be different for us as D. will take all of his core subjects at the program and I will support and supplement at home, which is completely new, as it used to be the other way around. He wanted to take Algebra and Physical Science and I wanted to make sure that he gets the best possible instruction. I don’t mind these, but they are not my favorites. He also takes English there, US History and STEAM. His classes are twice a week.

C. still goes once a week to the program taking English, Colorado History, Science and Coding there, most of her school is done at home.

Both kids continue to sing with Young Voices of Colorado, D. is now in advanced male choir and considers Music Theory Exam in the end of the school year. C. is in second level of training choirs.

Both are still doing karate with D. being a junior black belt and C.- solid green.

At home my goal for this year is taking a calm approach (1st week was a failure in that term) . We are trying out Book Shark Curriculum for Language Arts and Science/History. Singapore math for C., D. is doing Saxon for the first time in the program (we used to do Singapore with him). We continue doing our Russian lessons, and D. is taking Spanish in addition to that. He is very excited.

My plate is full with my illustration work  and the commitments I made for volunteering at children’s choir.

It will be a very very busy year. I do miss the early grades and the lovely slow days we had.  But I also welcome the challenge of having a full schedule and measure our time to do both work and play. I hope we can spend enough time in nature, will have more read-alouds as a family.

 

Here’s to 2018-2019 school year, out 10th year of homeschooling.

Advertisements

September Round Up + First Week of October

September flew by and first week of October is also gone.

What was our September like?

-We were quite busy with school and extracurricular activities. After we settled in the routine our tempo picked up a little bit. Both kids had their MAPS testing, still awaiting the results, but  I am confident they did well. Both kids had their camps at choir. D. also participated in Songs of Holocaust event with his choir. Both got through the first bad cold (I got it too, ugh).  There were a couple of outings- we went to the Ice Core Lab and learned about Antarctic Ice and the process of getting it, it was very interesting, we got to go to the lab itself, the temperature was very low, kids got to learn first hand what it must be like to do a work of getting the ice from Antarctica.

We also went to Denver Botanic Gardens, which we try to do every year around the same time (many thanks to our friends for taking us along). The flowers and trees were absolutely beautiful and all of us got to sketch a little right there in the gardens.

dsc_0502-collage

Fall is truly here now, especially comparing the the first week of September with it’s “still summer” warmth.

-First week of October was very special for us as we had dear friends visiting. It also coincided with our first break this school year.  We went to the mountains and saw some first snowflakes and to Colorado Springs to the Garden of the Gods. It was absolutely lovely to have them over and we are truly thankful they came to visit.

dsc_1374-collage

-I am working more and more on my art, I had some good things happen in September and I hope October is even better. Etsy shop is coming soon too.

 

What were my kids reading:

This list runs from beginning of school and through the month of September. I only count new books, something they haven’t read before. But as usual there were tons of re-reads.

D. read:

Fiction: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pye, Matilda by Roald Dahl

Non Fiction: How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba

Russian: Скифы в Остроконечных Шапках С. Фингарет, Каштанка и другие рассказы А.П. Чехов, М. Горбовцев “Мишкино Детство”

slide1

C. read:

Ollie’s Odyssey by William Joyce, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole, The Fantastic Flying Journey by Gerald Durrell

In Russian:Сельма Лагерлёф “Путешествие Нильса с дикими гусями”,  “В Лесу” М.С. Соколов-Микитов

slide2

 

Overall, the month of September was good to us, let’s hope October will be even better.

 

 

 

Goodbye June, Hello July

June flew by, it seems to me time picks up the speed no matter how hard I try to slow it down. We did manage to rest though. June meant a total freedom for kids-we hiked as a family, they played outside for hours with their friends, they read what they wished (not a single suggestion from me). It was a welcome break for me as well, I was honestly way too tired and too close to a burn-out. June was also crazy hot. So I am very happy to have upper 60s and rain on the first day of July. I am also more productive when the weather is like this, and I need to be productive-our school year starts in only a month and a half (first day in co-op is the 19th, and I will have to start at home on the 15th to ease kids into rhythm) . I have barely started my planning and now have to catch up.

Anyway, how was our June:

We visited a new park Eldorado Canyon State Park in Boulder, CO, we had explored but a small part of it, we need to come back there soon

DSC_0077-COLLAGE

Another new destination for us was Mount Falcon Park, a true wonder located mere 25 minutes away from our home, and to think it’s the first time for us going there!

DSC_0119-COLLAGE

In addition to these places we did a 9 mile loop in our beloved Staunton State Park, Matthews Winters Park and went to Audubon Center at Chatfield.

 

DSC_0146-COLLAGE

 

Kids were also proud to see the Water Conservation display they did with their friends from our Homeschool Group for Roots and Shoots project.

display

 

In the kitchen, we made popsicles- bananas+avocado (1/2)+blueberries +strawberries+ raspberries+ coconut water +orange juice+ flax seeds for crunchiness. Delicious!

DSC_0180

 

Reading: D. has completed The Inheritance Cycle books, loved it to pieces. C. read a lot of Bad Kitty books, which she still adores. We watched A Lego Brickumentary which revived kids’ interest in Lego.

I had a productive month for drawing, all about it here

So yeah, life is good. July will be a little bit busier as my husband’s schedule changes again, I have a tiny solo trip ahead of me, kids are getting ready for their first sleepover at friends’ house…Planning is the main thing on my mind though, so I will focus my attention on that a lot.

Happy July to everyone!

 

 

It’s been a while…

May is almost done, and last time I talked about how we’re doing was the beginning of March. Where did the time go?

Seriously, though, we had a rather intense spring–  field trips and museum visits, kids participated in Roots and Shoots program focusing on cleaning up local water ways. Both kids had their concerts with choir and ballet. Both had their testing and although I am still waiting for the final numbers, I am fairly sure they did well. D. got silver at karate tournament and got promoted into next level at his choir, C. joins his choir next year as well.

13112999_10208118692063048_842555801274571226_o

great horned owl- mama

13221303_10208118687662938_2112902303819704379_o

baby horned owl

 

 

 

Looking back at our school year, I can say that it was probably the toughest one we had in 7+ years of homeschooling. There were too many activities, and although I scaled back a little in the very beginning of the school year, it still was a lot. There were positive changes in kids’ learning- C. especially made a huge leap with her spelling and story telling skills. She is fantastic with math too, she really loves it. C. also took some Spanish classes and enjoyed it immensely. D. focused on basics and out of all extra subjects he enjoyed science the most. We are a little bit behind on our history studies, the last month was just so crazy, but we will catch up during the summer.

DSC_1644

I already know kids’ schedules in co-op for the following school year. I am more or less certain what our extra curricular activities will look like. It was a tough decision for me to choose what stays and what goes, especially because kids wanted to do it all and they are good at what they want to do. But we will take a break from some things and hope it will be a little bit slower.

My things- I have a positive change in my life as I am able at last to make a little bit of money with my art.  It’s not something huge (yet), but the response is positive and I am looking forward to expanding in the future. I am also painting walls in C’s room, replacing stickers with drawings. Husband changed jobs and still has some school left for the fall semester. Summer is for resting.

 

What I hope we’ll do this summer?  TAKE IT SLOW please. I am looking forward to lazy mornings, to books, and paint and yoga, but most of all outings in nature. Slowing down. Reconnecting. I am not sure if we will be able to take any far away trips this summer and I don’t have anything planned as of right now (although I would love to see ocean again)

Tuesday Night Playtime : Little Boats

This is our last Tuesday Night Play for a while as D’s choir starts again next week.

This week we took opportunity to play with some walnut shells and created a sea adventure. Initially we hoped to make mini candles so we have floating lights, but those didn’t work out.

DSC_0430

kids were very free with the beeswax 😀

We ended up just sticking little flags made out of washi tape into the shells and let them float.

DSC_0460

kids also added glass beads, plastic snowflakes, ice and even a stray cranberry for more dramatic set-up. A candle served for the setting sun

Later children added an island- one of D’s earlier ceramic creations, and some animals to liven up the scene.

12615142_10207201399131298_1322068766650720906_o

mysterious island

DSC_0468

and a baby hippo guarding the treasure (love how kids picked turquoise tissue paper to put underneath our glass bowl, creating a lovely tropical beach)

 

So here is our Tuesday Night Play, I loved seeing kids play small worlds again. A little bit sad because D. is slowly leaving it behind (they grow up so fast). Stay tuned for more, we will definitely keep this tradition, if not on Tuesdays, there are 3 more free nights in the week 🙂

 

 

THE BEST SEASON OF ALL 2015: Days 15-23

Another week went by, and lo! It’s almost Christmas!

 

What we’ve been up to December 15-23:

Letter to Santa, as always D. is all about Star Wars and C. had some unexpected wishes which I am not sure Santa can make happen.

We made homemade gingerbread cookies, kids’ dad made the dough and we did the baking. Kids refused to decorate them, though so they look a bit plain. But so delicious!

TBSOA 2015: gingerbread

 

We got so much snow!!! Fun with friends, games, giggles and sledding!

TBSOA: Snow Day!

 

C. turned 7! Hard to believe that my baby is so big already. We had a quiet celebration at home, plus C’s Spanish class at homeschool program had Las Posadas party. We also went to look at holiday lights displays nearby.

She chose Yule Log for her birthday cake :D I didn't bake it obviously

She chose Yule Log for her birthday cake 😀 I didn’t bake it obviously

 

blurry pic, but those were very very pretty lights

blurry pic, but those were very very pretty lights

Family game night! Dixit rules our lives, C. is getting better at submitting her cards too.

Kids made a holiday mobile and decorated candles

 

TBSOA 2015 : mobile

nothing fancy- mod podge and glitter

nothing fancy- mod podge and glitter

We had a joined birthday party with C’s friend L. Their birthdays are very close. Fun, warmth and yummy food.

each girl got a little letter art from me

each girl got a little letter art from me

C. made some clay keychains to give out to her friends and D. read holiday books out loud to us (Ollie’s Ski Trip remains a favorite after so many years)

very abstract but each hasa backstory :D

very abstract but each has a backstory 😀

 

So here we are, it’s Christmas Eve, I am hoping for a quiet and sweet evening, the morning will most likely be a chaos :DDD

TBSOA 2015: 3 weeks of December

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays!

 

THE BEST SEASON OF ALL 2015: Days 4-7

Our season of small celebrations continues.

Day 4: Family movie night! Kids watched Home Alone for the first time, I haven’t seen this movie in more than 20 years so it was nice to return to childhood for a little bit (but I do admit I cringed at injuries of unlucky thieves, ugh).

Day 5: We put a little bit of lights outside

TBSOA 2015- lights outside

 

Day 6: D. and his choir performed in Christmas Concert and it was absolutely amazing. Well done once again!

TBSOA 2015- CHoir

 

Day 7: It was our “Winter Art” day. We read one of our most beloved winter books – “Buying Mittens” by Nankichi Niimi, such a lovely, kind tale and Kurai Ken’s illustrations are gorgeous!

Kids then painted their own illustrations- splitting the task, D. painted background and made a tissue paper foxes applique on it and C. created mittens for the little fox.

TBSOA 2015- winter art

 

I did a little bit of winter art myself, comparing forest scenery and what it’s like in the city

more at instagram

We listened to a lot of holiday tunes, kids also watched Russian movie “The Snow Queen”, beautiful fairy tale.

The song of the first week of holiday celebrations is Ukranian song Shchedryk (more known to English speaking friends as “Carol of the Bells”