Monday, April 29, 2013

Bird Feeder

This is Oren's bird feeder. I would like to tell you that we worked on it together and he was super excited, but he had nothing to do with it. Nothing. Nada.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Trashy McTrashpants

I will be the first to admit that our yard is not immaculate. We are not immaculate yard kind of people. We do, however, mostly take care of our yard and the outside of our house. We apparently need to try harder because we received this anonymous letter in the mail yesterday:

"I am writing to encourage you to please tend to your yard. This little place has always been a neat member of the neighborhood. It is out of courtesy and respect to and for your neighbors that you should keep your place up. As it is now, it looks like a dump site for toys, wood, trash, etc.

You are young and able bodied so get out there, clean up your yard and be an asset to the neighborhood.

Have your children help you and for goodness sake take some pride in your home.

A frequent passerby."

Lovely, isn't it? Had this letter been dated two weeks earlier, I would have wholeheartedly agreed. There was a bunch of trash in the back yard. We cleaned all of it up and have been outside doing yard work on every nice day, which have been few and far between. I guess the passerby failed to notice. 

I don't appreciate cowards. I don't appreciate a lecture from an anonymous letter. I would be happy to keep stuff more picked up had I been confronted by one of my neighbors. We've been here 10 years and I like my neighbors.

Also, how do they know that I don't take pride in my home? As of the date on this letter, the only things in my front yard were bikes and other moving kid toys. They are not trashy toys. I have kids. Kids have toys. This is their home. We are outside whenever it's nice and enjoy being in the front yard.

I do take pride in my home. That is why we've renovated the damn thing three times. This house was a smoking, cat collectors paradise when we moved in. We've gutted everything in at and have added on.

The top of our driveway IS a dump site for wood. We burn wood for heat. My husband has not chopped any of it yet this year because it's been cold and raining. The wood pile is always going to be there and whomever wrote this letter will just need to avert their eyes when they walk past.

This whole thing makes me mad. The weather has been crappy and there is very little we are going to do outside in the rain. I'm hoping this person saw the kids and I outside planting flowers today like we do every year when it starts getting warm. I have a feeling the letter writer is just pissed because there's kid stuff in our yard and there are no other kids on our street. This is the first year I've put a climber/slide and the kid swing in the front yard and find it ironic that this is the first year I've failed to take pride in my home.

Did the grumps notice all of my new tulips coming up this year? Did they notice that the siding was fixed last fall? Did they notice the new mailbox?

Saturday, April 20, 2013


We spotted this huge, dead turtle in the pond by our house so, naturally, we shoved it into a bucket and lugged it home. And by "we" I mean my friend. My job was to watch all of our kids while she ran to get the bucket and a pair of gloves.

A hunting friend came over one morning to gut the dead turtle. The turtle's head is on a stick by our backyard and the shell is covered in salt and drying out in an unused dog house.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wrapping up Second Grade and Kindergarten

We are starting to finish some of our books. The kids finished their math book today (Singapore 1B) and I'm happy about it. We gave each other several high fives to celebrate. I'll give them a couple of weeks off (maybe) and then start Singapore 2A because I'm fun like that. The plan is to continue school daily until it starts warming up a bit in the mornings. As soon as the weather is nice all day, we'll be done with lessons until the super hot, humid days appear.

Maeve finished Handwriting Without Tears and has started cursive. Finn desperately wants to learn cursive too, but he's not ready. He has sped through his handwriting book and his handwriting still stinks. I do appreciate his love for workbooks, but I'm going to have to buy him another handwriting book.

Both kids are reading from McGuffey's readers and are doing great. Maeve is an excellent reader, but not at all confident. Maeve has started Primary Language Lessons and hates it. We'll keep at it. I see us doing a lot of reading/writing outside in the near future.

My kids are very nature focused and the last week they've finally been able to play outside. We found a huge, dead snapping turtle and are keeping it for observation. Daddy will clean it out at some point, but I imagine the kids will get a kick out of watching the turtle decompose. Yum. We've been busy planting flower seeds, re-potting tomatoes and peppers, and prepping the garden. The kids have spotted a dead squirrel, have noted the signs of spring, have been playing with the chicks, hunted for green grass and worms, and have built squirrel houses out of landscaping bricks.

Oren surprised me a couple of weeks ago by counting to eight. He's finally grasping numbers. He still has no idea or interest in letters, but counting is a good start.

Overall, I'm happy with the progress made since August. I took a less stress approach to school this year and did only the required stuff. Well, mostly. We've done bits and pieces of history, but nothing consistent. Most of science has been everyday stuff. We're like Charlotte Mason unschoolers. Is there such a thing? Learning is a constant process. There is no concrete start and finish for us anymore. I know the kids are learning a lot even on the days we don't do lessons. If they are playing a game and working together, I'm happy. My goal is not to raise the smartest kids on the block, but to raise well rounded kids who appreciate life, who love nature, and who can think for themselves. I started this homeschooling journey with super detailed plans and lists and a binder and that's just not how we work. We're more of a learn as you go and do kind of family. I used to stress about doing school at X time everyday and getting everything done Mon, Tues, Wed, or Thurs. This year, we start school whenever we're done with breakfast and do school whenever it works, which has been several Fridays and Saturdays lately.  I see great value in the outdoors and letting the kids explore their interests. I'm starting to ramble so I'll wrap up, but I've learned a lot this year and homeschooling has become more than just school at home, but our lifestyle. It's kind of neat.