First week of the new school year (8.15-8.21.2016)

We are back to school at home 🙂 Kids had their fill of summer and were begging to start school since pretty much the end of July and since our co-op was due to start on the 19th, we decided to get a head start and begin our school at home on the 15th.

The beginning of the school year for us coincided with the house project that extended well beyond our initial timeline.

First day at home was idyllic, we sat at our new table next to our new bookcase and got everything done. The rest of the week required more flexibility. We still managed to finish most of the things that were planned, but had to improvise a lot too.

Tuesday was our “Anything can happen” day, I am hoping to have at least a couple of those each month to shake up the routine, take our learning outside and delight the kids who made the most of our first Anything can happen Tuesday. We went to Denver Museum of Nature and Science and although there are no special exhibits at the moment, kids paid a lot of attention in the regular ones, they took notes, talked to docents and discussed their findings afterward.

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Friday was first day at co-op and kids had tons of fun there (and mom got a much needed break), D. also had bootcamp with his choir on Friday and Saturday. The choir is even more serious business for him this year, because it’s the concert choir at last and the workload and responsibility has increased. On Friday D. turned 11, it was a very emotional day for me, because he was just a newborn and BOOM! I have a pre-teen on my hands. Reminded me once again how fast the time goes by really, and how tall kids grow when we’re not looking.

Sunday was my birthday, seventeen times two is no joke, although I think I’ve changed so much since I was seventeen that it didn’t quite feel like a blink of an eye. But still, years went by rather fast, seventeen times three might see me a grandma. We went for a hike in our beloved Roxborough State Park (which we haven’t visited since spring, so hot it was this summer). It is gorgeous as always and full of colors- yellow and purple of flowers, reds and greens of berries and leaves…

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Kids read : D. – Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt and Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table book which he got for his birthday. C. reads “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate, she loves animals and it’s a perfect book for her.

Overall it was a good week, and I believe we can call our first week of school a success. I feel I am better prepared this time around, mainly because kids’ activities fell into place nicely (I finally have both kids doing the same thing at the same place on the same day, YAY!), and I make rest a priority this year. (Another lovely article on rhythm helped me cement this decision) D. is  often tired and dizzy, which I am told is normal because his body is getting ready for changes, he grows fast now too. I was very tired last year, I couldn’t have a conversation without complaining about being tired and sick all the time. I am determined not to let it happen this year.District’s schedule is rather cruel- an odd day off here and there and no big breaks until Thanksgiving, we followed it last year and got promptly burned out. So this year I am hoping to take a longer break  every three or four weeks if kids feel like it or a full week off in the beginning-middle of October. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, the temperature goes down (especially at night), yellow leaves are starting to appear and we are mentally ready for the fall.

Hope the rest of August is kind for everyone and happy learning to those that are back to school (or starting soon)!

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.

display

 

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!

 

 

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

september

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

Goodbye June and savoring July

This is going to be a lazy post. I haven’t updated in two weeks and I can’t bring myself to do a full list of things we did and places we went. We had a great time with friends, we were on our own a little, we got sick and are recovering…we are trying to have  a slow summer, but at the same time trying not to be bored out of our minds. I am staying away from devices as much as I can (the record is July 1st when I haven’t opened my laptop until 8 pm), trying to read a lot and only for fun, to craft. I am drawing and painting daily, the little things, but doing it brings so much joy. Kids are being creative without any prompts…A few shots from the past two weeks, our golden moments:

catching that morning ray of sun

catching that morning ray of sun

catching a glimpse of a duck with ducklings

catching a glimpse of a duck with ducklings

our first results of drying flowers

our first results of drying flowers

staying up to look at the moon

staying up to look at the crazy full  moon

Overall life is good. I am trying to find a new balance in our lives, and hoping to bring it into our schoolyear too. I am trying to re-learn how to be a calm mom, and stop being someone ruled by schedules and necessity to be somewhere else.

More birds

We had an awesome mini lesson about birds on Monday, but weren’t very lucky locating any nests around our house. So Tuesday we headed to Audubon Center at Chatfield to try and see if we can spot some there.

We got lucky almost immediately and saw a swallow’s nest right on the eave of public restroom:

swallow's nest

Parents were nearby, one watching us:

swallow

Another one carrying things into the nest, feathers mostly:

swallow

After that we walked around in tall grass

C. seems so tiny

C. seems so tiny

Admired flowers all around us

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Were amazed by the amount of water that transformed a realtively calm little river. Indeed, after reading Rain by Cynthia Barnett I can’t stop thinking about blessing and horror that rain brings, and how precarious human relationship with rain really is.

It has spilled on trails even

It has spilled on trails even

a year or two ago our children could cross it hopping from rock to rock and now it's just angry mass that can sweep you up in seconds

a year or two ago our children could cross it hopping from rock to rock and now it’s just angry mass that can sweep you up in seconds

And at last listened to some amazing birdsong amongst the trees.

Audubon center chatfield

Other critters we saw: a lizard, a frog, multiple birds…what a great hike it was.

Two Weeks Roundup: Goodbye May and first week of June, 2015

Sunflowerous summer is in full mode!

Such a bliss to wake up on some days and not have any plans at all!

Picture of the week:

our summer playground aka Roxborough State Park

our summer playground aka Roxborough State Park

What we’ve been up to so far:

Continue reading

Digging the earth, talking to the plants

What a bliss, no plans, no engagements…we had most wonderful start of the week.

sunflowerous days summer 2015

During breakfast on Monday we decided that we will definitely try to make a tiny container garden this year. There were less successful attempts before, but this time we are determined.

But first we read a little bit about plants.

A Seed is Sleepy by Diana Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long is one of the most beloved and most beautiful books about plants we have, and even though we have read it before, we marveled again at the beauty and complexity of a seed coming to life.

The Where, the Why and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science is a recent addition to our home library and it was this book that answered questions of whether trees do or do not talk to each other and how long do trees live. Also whether plants eat animals and why, this was especially fascinating to children.

books about plants

Second we went out on the patio and started digging. We turned the soil in all our pots and added some new. We planted tiny seeds for herbs and flowers (not sure if flowers will come up actually). We moved our poor lavender (which we though had died, but it came back to life) into a roomier pot. C. was so good about planting and replanting. She sang to plants, and wished them to grow strong and be well. She was the first one today to rush and check if the soil dried up.

digging the earth

planting seeds

Today we continued our adventures as we purchased a geranium and a viola and our patio instantly looks more cheerful.

But the most important thing we did is we started! our very first! FAIRY GARDEN! Can you tell how excited I am. I regret not doing it earlier, as D. is turning 10 this summer, and I am not sure if this very first fairy garden might also be his only one. Anyway…

I got small shallow pots as I wasn’t sure if children will be into it at all or not, and now we are thinking to add a couple more. We put some dirt, some pebbles and some moss in it. We got a tiny strawberry plant and some ground cover plant from the nursery today and added to a landscape. C. got a tiny table for fairies to have their cake. Kids added shells for additional seating options and some glass pebbles for festivity. I don’t think they are finished yet, so it is work in progress, but boy does it look cute.

D.'s garden

D.’s garden

C.'s garden

C.’s garden

We also watched a fascinating documentary What Plants Talk About on PBS (it is also on youtube for those that can’t access PBS) , and some things blew our minds like plants sending distress signals (little C. was very aware to plants “screaming for help” today, so if you have a child that is easily impressed or is very young, please use caution), or a network of communication between plants of the forest. Very very interesting.

Today we also visited local working farm/museum  and were surprised to see how far along their garden is. I guess the fact that it is almost June haven’t caught up with us yet 😀 We sat in the shade of big trees, kids happily got into mud, ran around and looked at all the animals. We saw dear friends who joined us in our walk.

littleton museum

piggy

always something new to discover! we didn't realize there was a pond there

always something new to discover! we didn’t realize there was a pond there

Lovely, long days, perfect and carefree, how I missed those!