More February Fun



Having a blog title focused on the homeschooling aspect of our lives and limiting my posts to homeschooling summaries has me less than inspired most times. Frankly, I'm bored. Maybe you could already tell?

I'm not sure about a title-change, and I certainly don't want to create ANOTHER blog, so I'll just change the scope of this one and figure out the details later.

One of the things I realized when looking at photos and thinking about our monthly summaries is that I'm missing some wonderful things that I'd like to remember and share.

February, for instance, was chock-full of the family-life kind of moments that I want to include in the blog, but they don't necessarily fit into the "homeschool" box. (Then again, if we claim the attitudeof many homeschoolers - that the world is our classroom and life is our curriculum - we're right on track here.)

So, during Valentine's Day, my sweet boys focused on art. For me.

I returned the favor, of course, working in the mixed media of pastry and sausage.

The highlight of February was spending a week at Stratton Mountain in Vermont. Dh's parents have a place there, so not only do we get to ski, but we come back to Grandma snuggles and wonderful dinners every evening.

Despite being pampered most of the time we weren't on the slopes, I think a week of skiing counts as PE. Dh served as our instuctor, since he can still, at 45, ski downhill backward or doing 180 degree turns (on purpose), while instructing two children (and me).

Those who know me personally know athleticism is not my strong suit. It's not even my weak suit. It's just not a part of me. Despite this, I learned to ski from my husband when I was about thirty, and I'm not entirely awful. What's more, while wearing the right number of layers, I actually enjoy it.

Notice I have a jacket that intentionally makes me a human caution sign. My biggest fear in skiing is human-human collision. This color also allows dh to spot my ANYWHERE on the mountain. (This is only inconvenient when I am hiding near the mid-mountain lodge with cocoa.)

As much as I enjoyed this trip, the children really enjoyed it. Perhaps a bit too much. Bearclaw lacks whatever nerve endings sense cold (strange for a child born and raised in the South), and Shortbread lacks what all babies of the family lack - fear.

So after two-years off of skis, both boys were ready for black diamonds by day two. I had never laid ski on a black diamond slope, but this was a family trip, so...

I meandered down each slope, stopping frequently. Bearclaw would ski close to me, looking back frequently to make sure I was upright. Thank goodness for him. He could have shot ahead - he certainly has the skill.

Shortbread was fine leaving me and everyone else on our own. He would fly past me down the slope until it turned and he was lost from sight. Shortly, our fearless insrtuctor would appear (after some side-trip for heli-skiing or something) and ask "Where is S?"

I, of course, could only point my mitten down the slope with no real sense of how far off small child might be. Dh would then plummet happily downhill and out of sight to find him. Eventually, I would catch up with all three of them as they waited kindly under the next trail sign (probably fearing I'd try to turn off onto a beginner trail).

Look, here they are waiting:

I was so impressed with the boys...and happy to arrive home with them and my knees intact! I think that's enough PE for this year. Why chance it?

February Wrap -Up



Look at that, it's March. Mid-march. Another month to summarize and assess.

The highlight of February, academically, was the poetry recital at the children's hybrid humanities school. Both boys participated, and I was surprised by how excited they were to stand up and share their poems.

Shortbread recited, "A Boy and His Dog"
by Edgar Albert Guest. There he is smiling way across the room as he waits for his turn (so sweet):

Bearclaw's class performed poems by Robert Frost, and Bearclaw offered his version of "Neither Out Far Nor In Deep". I told him I thought it was about television (hey, poetry speaks to each of us in different ways). I'm not sure he appreciated Mr. Frost as much after that.

He looked (and IS) so grown-up as he waits with
his class (he's in the tie):

Prior to the official recital, both boys were able to accompany a group of students from their hybrid school to perform their poems for a local senior citizen center. Bearclaw and two other fourth-grades performed an opening musical number as well. I was able to catch Shortbread waiting to recite at the end of Bearclaw's "concert". The seniors were so sweet and appreciative of the kids' efforts.


In February, we focused on "commitment" as a character trait. This led to the realization that I need to commit to checking Bearclaw's assignment sheet more thoroughly, as we missed the entire commitment activity. It doesn't work to commit to something for a week and record your progress if you don't actually start until the day before it's due. Of course, Bearclaw also needs to follow through here, but I haven't set the best example.

The boys' memorized 1 Kings 8:61 and Psalm 37:5-6. Our evening devotion time is moving along SLOWLY. Evening activities tend to sideline this time, and we've had a lot of them lately.

As we saw World War I come to an end in our study of the modern age with Bearclaw, we spent some time focused on struggles around the post-war world, including Ireland, India, and Italy. (Yes, the "I"s have it, or had it, this month. Sorry.)

While studying Ireland's quest to be out from under British rule, we had to look back at the potato famine. This included some time with the book, Feed the Children First: Irish Memories of the Great Hunger. The artwork, photos and quotes found inside were simply heart-wrenching.

Shortbread focused on Alexander the Great and the growth of his empire. He's moving through the lessons ok, but I think I need to figure out how to engage him more. Bearclaw was always naturally drawn to history - he loves a good story, but Shortbread is less interested in "what happened next". I may have to employ more of those dreaded hands-on activities. Ugh.


Both boys are in the middle of new books, so I can't some up our literature yet. Bearclaw is reading Number the Stars, and Shortbread began Romulus and Remus as his class embarks on their study of ancient Rome.


February was a relatively good math month for Bearclaw. He's moving steadily though Primary Mathematics 4A and I've seen some real improvement in his accuracy. I would imagine that has come from a greater focus on drills. I love the Arithmetic Developed Daily program we are using first thing in the morning for this.

Shortbread will finish his Level 1B book before the end of the year. I think we may take a break from the program then and concentrate on some games and hands-on activities. I'm still mulling that one over...

I continue to discover how very little I know (despite majoring in and teaching science) about astronomy as we work our way through the Real Science 4 Kids program. Bearclaw already knew more than I did before we started; now Shortbread does too.

We had a great time last month as we measured and charted each planet's (in our solar system) orbit around the sun. I had no idea how far out the last four planet are compared to the first four. Amazing!

As the weather grows warmer here in Georgia, we'll have to figure out how to balance our last few astronomy lessons with our nature walks. It's time to get outside!

Hope March is moving along well for everyone...it's more than half over - Yikes!