Goodbye July, Hello August!

July is done. I am not sorry to see it go, relieved to welcome August at last.

How was our July? It was hot, oh so hot. I think we got spoiled by all the summers with cool and rainy afternoons we had previously and the heat felt mostly unbearable.

I had a tiny solo trip in the beginning of the month, only one day of San Francisco. I haven’t traveled by myself for such a long time, it felt weird, yet amazing too. I didn’t need to hurry, didn’t need to worry about bathrooms, food, people getting wet in the bay or tired from all the walking. I stopped at every single place I was hoping to visit and even caught a glimpse of places we lived in back in the days of D’s infancy. I am now asking myself why was I in such a rush to get back home on the first plane next day…because I should have stayed a little bit longer. Next time for sure.

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The rest of July was spent mostly indoors during the hottest parts of the day, kids played outside in the evening and before noon. We went to the garden nearby to enjoy the abundance of flowers and frogs!

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There are various projects in the house that got done (and a couple of more are about to be started), wish us luck.

Kids read a lot , D. especially enjoyed The Wings of Fire books and Mysterious Benedict Society. C. was all about Calvin and Hobbes, she grew into such an active reader. D. usually reads in one sitting and doesn’t ask questions at all until it’s time for us to discuss the book, C. on the other hand stops,asks what the word means, and then discusses meaning of the word for her and for me (i.e. “predestined”, boy, that was quite a conversation), and only after that she goes back to the story. I absolutely love this.

I read “The Court of Thorns and Roses” and “The Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas. While it was entertaining, it was also a little too racy for my taste. Not putting it on D’s to be read pile for a good while, despite it being fantasy genre which he adores.

Planning, oh planning….I had such a hard time with it. I still do, despite us being 2 weeks away from the beginning of everything -school at home, school at co-op, activities… I planned the first month in daily details, and rough drafted the rest of the school year, and then got stuck. Even the way I planned out first few weeks feels wrong, feels like it’s too much. So I’m shuffling things around again, and at the same time worry if I’m cutting too much off. I guess it doesn’t get easier in the 8th year of homeschooling. Or maybe I am simply overthinking everything. Another thing to focus on is rhythm and there are awesome articles on how I want it to be (The Parenting Passageway for example , and Cedar Ring Mama’s post  was absolutely lovely), but what will it be in reality, I don’t know at all. It will be D’s 6th grade and potentially last year of homeschooling if he decides to give junior high a try next year. I want to keep him at home and at the same time worry if I can handle it. Oh, the times of transitions…

Anyway, August is here, time for a deep breath before another school year begins, I hope this month is kind to everybody.

 

 

 

 

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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

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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!

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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.

 

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

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

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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!

 

 

Goodbye May, Hello June

May is over, June is here. Summer, at last. We are slowing down, trying to sort our thoughts, calm our minds and let our bodies truly rest.

We still had some activities going and there are some ahead of us yet, but it’s nice to know that we can take a step back if it gets unbearable. I was re-evaluating our school year and decided to scale back on activities. Kids loved what they did, I loved watching them try hard and excel, but on the other hand, their schedule took over our life and affected my health. Clocking in 200 miles per week in activities driving alone was difficult for me and I was sick a lot. I also want to have more slow afternoons, more unstructured play time for kids and especially more chances to get out and be in nature. So next year I will lighten up our schedule and combine kids’ activities where I can. I must admit, I do feel guilty about cutting things, but I believe ultimately it will all be for the best.

This past week brought great joy for us– we finally went for a hike (we haven’t been on a proper one since October). Just breathing in all the fresh air, getting our faces washed by gentle spring rain, oh it was a blessing indeed.

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Meyer Ranch Park in Conifer, CO

Another lovely outing was in nearby Audubon Center, we enjoyed a wonderful display of Redwing Blackbirds, swallows were going crazy and flying around us on the eye level, the birdsong was incredible.

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Kids are reading with gusto, now that they have all this time. C. re-read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo (maaan, I read the ending when she was done and cried, again). D. is completely immersed in The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. He is done with first three books and halfway through the final, fourth one.

I am re-reading “The Enchanted April” by Elizabeth Von Arnim, probably because it is full of something I’ve been craving desperately- rest and flowers.

 

Mama makes:

I have made a new keychain out of polymer clay and finally painted an initial letter for my studio upstairs. Very happy with both projects.

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Week’s Roundup: August 31-September 6, 2015

Second week of our new school year flew by.

Picture of the week:

Thursday morning we went to the kitchen and an amazing stack of most delicious crepes was awaiting on the table. Kids did it all by themselves!

Thursday morning we went to the kitchen and an amazing stack of most delicious crepes was awaiting on the table. Kids did it all by themselves!

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Fall is my favorite time of the year, no doubt about that. And September, the time of transition is so much more special because the fall is nearly there, and getting closer every day. I wake up, look at the clouds and tell myself “almost sweater weather!”. Something to look forward to. September is also time when we are already in sync with each other in terms of school, but the novelty hasn’t worn out yet. And it’s a perfect time to have spontanneous outside lessons. Oh, how I love these days when the world is the classroom!

We intended just a short hike, but kids grabbed vials, zip baggies, pincers and announced they are going to have a science adventure! And so they did.

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We haven’t been to this park since June probably, and of course so many things changed, flowers are going out, and only remnants of the berries here and there, but the water is still singing its sonf, and the moss is ever so green. A light rain started to fall as we made our way up the trail, pure bliss.

D. collected water from 1)a puddle 2) creek downstream and 3)creek upstream to compare

D. collected water from 1)a puddle 2) creek downstream and 3)creek upstream to compare

wild raspberries

there were hardly any insects around, apart from some hardworking bees

there were hardly any insects around, apart from some hardworking bees

so soothing

so soothing

Autumn made her first steps in the forest

Autumn made her first steps in the forest

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At home children pulled out their microscope and compared the water they collected. So happy to see tiny grains of sand in the downstream water, cloudy bluish colors of the puddle water and clearness of the upstream water. C. mixed them up afterwards too.

microscope water

Our microscope isn’t powerful enough to see the real action, but we remembered a tiny dapne we saw at the museum earlier this week and wondered if such creatures could be living in the srtream.

dmns expedition health

And finally, our day ended with a lovely sunset

colorado sunset

Week’s Roundup : Goodbye August

Summer moved on…

Picture of the week:

Oh these late summer golden hours, with lacy shadows on my walls and book pages...

Oh these late summer golden hours, with lacy shadows on my walls and book pages…

What were we up to?

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Haiku

End of August/September is a special time. Time of transition from summer to autumn, time when the cricket outside our window sings with all its might, time when the weather changes five times a day, time of shadows getting longer and sun changing angle, so the golden light lasts well into the morning. Time of the nights getting chillier, time of asking ourselves whether we should get our comforters out or maybe we can get by for another week or two. Time of longing for a season that is to come and time for saying goodbye to summer with its delights. In other words – a haiku time!

We had a good haiku week in Sunflowerous House:

learning about haiku1. We read haiku books:

Hi, Koo: A Year of Seasons by John J. Muth, absolute delight– soft and sweet illustrations, quiet thoughtful poems

Hi Koo

Don’t Step on The Sky: A Handful of Haiku by Miriam Chaikin, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata a lovely collection of poems, mostly summer theme so it brought to mind memories that are still fresh

don't step on the sky

Cool Melons–Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone, a book about great haiku master Issa, his life story and poems

cool melons turn to frogs

The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons by Sid Farrar, illustrated by Ilse Plume, another wonderful collection, with a few poems dedicated to each season

a year comes round

2. Haiku are amazing because they are an embodiment of mindfulness,  each moment so wonderfully concentrated. The task I gave to kids first was to go outside and carefully observe the world around them. They brought back the news of first fallen leaves, of a stray cat sneaking into the grass, of a toy forgotten in the middle of the lawn, that there are fewer bees comparing to a month ago…

D. then sat down and write a couple of haiku of his own

D' s haiku 5th grade

3. We learned about haiga (an artwork based on a haiku) and looked at some beautiful haiga paintings in The Art of Haiku book, there is a video too

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(Long but interesting article on haiga can be found here). Then I asked kids to either make a haiku or pick a favorite one from a book and illustrate it. Both made their own:

C's haiga

C’s haiga
“Beautiful and Purple Flower”

D's Bees fly over bush Basking in the sun An early sunset.

D’s
Bees fly over bush
Basking in the sun
An early sunset.

I chose to illustrate a poem by Kodoujin

kodoujin three drops art

We are going to continue reading and writing haiku, it is a wonderful exercise in mindfulness, a great reason to pause and look around, it is one of the most relaxing poetry forms to me

Favorite books in addition to The Art of Haiku mentioned above:

The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology, this book was a great find, it has most famous haiku, as well as less known, notes on poets and Japanese versions in romaji included.

the classic tradition of haiku

Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years is another book I love to read by myself and aloud

haiku in english

When I think about visual equivalent of haiku– how a mundane moment becomes a beautiful art, Makoto Shinkai’s work comes to mind immediately, so when I am in my “haiku mood” I love to rewatch

5 centimeters per second

and

The Garden of Words