Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lilah's Bookshelf


Lilah has always been a reader, an avid one at that.  She began reading at age 4 and her love has grown continuously, just as she has.  At times it is hard to find books that appeal to her, yet are age appropriate, and well written.  She abhors plots that are similar to others and feels like the current YA trends in reading are bogus.  She can take hours to choose books.  Put her in a bookstore and she is in heaven.

Here are some of her recent reads and her "to be read" books:






And here is her new “thing”, her new blog, Lilah’s Bookshelf.  She recently expressed interest in being a blogger.  Not a blogger like me, for family record keeping and posterity, but a money making, brand creating blogger.  She will begin to explore how to blow up a blog into something bigger, something sustainable and marketable.  She has poured hours and hours into this project and she has made some lovely connections with other girls who share her interests. 

Here is the link: Lilah's Bookshelf (click to visit)






Monday, May 9, 2016

Ding Darling

Another thing that will be added to Biology is the guided tour we took through Ding Darling Nature Reserve when we were in Sanibel in April.  The highlight of this excursion was coming very close to the resident alligator!  We also saw some manatee frolicking but they were too far away to capture on film.  We learned about tree crabs, the mangrove forest ecosystem, natural fish hatcheries, osprey nesting habits, and of course, alligators.  





Friday, May 6, 2016

Marsh Walk

One of these days I need to sit down with a cup of coffee and update course descriptions.  I don’t think I’ve looked at them for several months which is not good.  One thing I will add to Biology is a marsh walk we did in town.  


The marsh is the largest in the state.  It is generally off limits to visitors.  While it is federally protected, it is not restricted. However, the residents in this neighborhood are very protective of it and have been known to chase people away with threats to involve the police for trespassing.   A marsh walk is a 4th grade public school field trip.  Grace was able to experience this walk before she was withdrawn, but Lilah was not so I jumped at the opportunity for a guided tour by a fellow homeschooling mom who is a member of our town’s conservation committee and a guide.





We already knew that the marsh is a protective barrier between Long Island sound and our town.  We knew that it filters thousands of gallons of water during each tide cycle.  We knew it is an estuary ecosystem and home to many nesting and predatory birds.  



We did not know that there was a Native American settlement here and artifacts have been found.  Nor did we know that the grass, which settlers used to thatch their roofs, has been piled up 20 feet deep and shakes when you walk on it which can be quite unsettling!  We did not realize that it is the tides that carry in ocean debris and were saddened to see a fair amount of trash carried in.  


In my last post I wrote about being behind and having to work hard to finish up some core subjects.  However, I have been at this long enough to know that if I push and push and push and do not temper it with fun and exploration and social events we will be one unhappy family.  Like the wolf class, this too will be added to Biology as a supplement.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May

So I thought about abandoning this blog many times for I thought I lost the desire to write.  I used to write all the time.  I wrote through the entire first year of being a stay at home mom after Grace was born and I wrote through the entire year of becoming a homeschooling stay at home mom.  I wrote about what we were up to, the classes we were taking, the places we were going, and all the beautiful things we were learning.  Blog books fill an entire shelf of my bookshelf as a literary history of my family.  I wrote when I was happy and when I was sad.  I wrote when I was frustrated and when I was eager to begin a new chapter of my life.  Suddenly the writing stopped.  The words literally dried up and faded away.  

This year has been a hard year.  When I look back at last year (2014-2015) it is filled with the very best of homeschooling.  It is filled with high school portfolios, internships, new musical opportunities, new travel and wonderful moments that came from rich learning experiences like book clubs, writing groups, art classes, horseback riding lessons, and new puppies.  When I look back at this year (2015-2016) I see three things: pneumonia, the flu, and surgery.  Our year was derailed.  Sickness and the investment into our health took time and travel.  Time was lost on the couch and in the car going to doctor after doctor after doctor.  Sickness came in waves.  Just when we thought we were back on our feet another wave came over us and swept us out again.

Here it is May and we should be finishing up subjects but we can’t, not yet.  We have some catching up to do.  

Tucked in the trenches of motherhood were some sparkling moments, moments that hopefully shine so brightly they will shade out the not so great memories from this year.  

Wolf Conservation Class.  Oh my how we loved this class.  It was a high school level class conducted on site at a wolf conservation center in New York.  We watched documentaries, researched animals on the endangered list and presented findings as a brochure, worked on a lapbook about wolves, learned tracking technology, and as a result feel deeply connected to the plight of the wolf in the US.  This was not time intensive enough to qualify as a stand alone class, so it will supplement Biology.

Photography.  No words needed here.  Instagram communicates more clearly than my words ever could.  

One Year Adventure Novel.  We are ALMOST done!  Chapter 11 is almost done for both girls.  I am dreaming of the day when these stories will be printed and bound.  They are good, so good.  

Christian Movies.  For Confirmation preparation, Lilah had to work on the curriculum Decision Point.  The app is free and the videos are worthy of our time.  The accompanying workbook can be personalized any way the author wants.  We decided to use the workbook as a scrapbook of her year.  We began watching movies and we watched The War Room, Miracles from Heaven, Once I was A Beehive, What If, God’s Not Dead, Brother White, Grace Unplugged, Saving Christmas, When The Game Stands Tall, Heaven Is For Real.  Along with this came a love for worship bands.  We saw Kutless and 7th Time Down in concert and this summer we will see Chris Tomlin.  We play music 24/7 and when we encounter a hard moment in our day we bust out into song.  Grace has joined a high school youth group and learned Good Father on the piano.  We attended a missions conference and Lilah used scripture to help her get through surgery.  If I put academics aside, this area has been the biggest area of growth for not only the girls, but for our whole family and I can honestly say that I am filled with the Holy Spirit and He is working through our family.

Math.  We found Math U See, a curriculum that is working for us.  Grace has an A average in geometry.  She is studying and working hard to finish this curriculum by September.  That may not be possible, but it is our goal.  Lilah is working in pre-algebra, also with an A average, and her ability to grasp concepts has come so far this year despite not doing as much daily practice as I would have liked.  


So perhaps I will blog a bit more and see where the rest of the year brings us.  Teachable moments happen all the time, we just have to open our eyes to them and stop and appreciate them for what they are.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Kent Falls




Valentine's has never been a huge day for us.  My philosophy is that if you need a special day to celebrate your love, you’re not loving right.  This year Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday and we were able to sleep in a bit, go to church, and then tackle photography homework, as a family.  

Grace asked if we could take a ride to Kent Falls to photograph the frozen waterfall.  She had an idea in her head of what she wanted to capture and felt compelled to try to match the picture in her head to the picture on her camera.  Mind you, it was 8 degrees with a windchill of well below zero.  Normally this kind of weather will keep me on the couch in front of the fire with a book or a good movie, not hiking up a hill, breathing in air so cold, it hurts your lungs.  But that is just what we did.  We hiked half way up, stopping for pictures at each landing.  


Sadly, the captures were not quite what she wanted.  This week’s theme is black and white and she was hoping for just a bit more unfrozen water to capture the moment with a long exposure.  The ice came out a bit grainy and she fears this is not going to impress her instructor. 



Lilah found a cool “cake house” which may have been some kind of pumping station along the Housatonic River.  She is going to turn it into her black and white abstract photo.  




All in all, it was a beautiful Valentine’s Day.  There may not have been flowers or candy or cards, but there was love, so much love.  


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