November Celebrations

November was a busy month for us.  We started the month off celebrating Parks’ eleventh birthday by going to an Imagine Dragons concert.  Sawyer and Parks had a blast at the concert.  I think that they both could imagine themselves up on that big stage.  Sims was along for the ride, but he didn’t love the concert-in fact, he somehow fell asleep!

We then headed up to Chapel Hill, NC for Parks to ride at the skate park on his actual birthday and to celebrate with his cousins.

The following weekend, Sawyer and I headed to the mountains of NC to celebrate her 13th birthday.  She asked to take a glass blowing class for her birthday, so she and a friend spent the weekend learning all about glass and how to work with it.

Next came Thanksgiving.  We hosted 23 people this year for the holiday.  The weather was amazing here in NC.  The kids did a ton to prep for the holiday including cleaning up the yard, baking, flower arranging and decorating.  The results of their hard work definitely paid off!

We ended the month celebrating Sawyer’s actual birthday with cake and rock climbing.  At age 13, a child can get their belay certification at the climbing gym.  Sawyer went on her birthday and passed her test!

I have a lot of fun memories from this month!


2017/2018 Block 3

November was a full month for us without school!  Luckily, we were able to get some school in too.

Grade 5- Geometry

Parks’ third block focused on geometry.  This is the third time that I have done this block and it was by far the best time.  A good compass made all the difference!  I highly recommend investing in a good compass.  We will have our new compass for a long time as it is sturdy.

Grade 7- Wish, Wonder, Surprise

Sawyer’s third block focused on the elements of wish, wonder and surprise.  We used several books to go along with the block.  We discussed the book, “The Alchemist,” and how it contained  all three elements.  We read Gluskabe and the Four Wishes by Brushac, the Fisherman and his Wife-the folk tale, and Wonder to Me by Jill Thieme.  Sawyer is also working with a teacher on a creative writing curriculum.  This month, Sawyer wrote a story about a woman who went on the Titanic and survived.  It had all of the elements of wish, wonder and surprise as well.  Sawyer also did some of the geometry with Parks.

Grade 9-World History

Block three for Sims focused on the Medieval Era.  He has been through the early World History a good bit in his past few years, so this was a good time to bring the big picture together.  We looked at how the geography of the world affected history a good bit as well.


LEAF 2017!

For the past 7 years, our family has gone to the LEAF festival in Black Mountain, NC.  Personally, I LOVE this festival.  There are no phones, no agendas, and no obligations.  There is art, music, crafting, food (oh, the food), classes, people watching, fun activities, and family time.  Sawyer and Parks also work on craft items to sell at the kids area each year, which is a lot of fun to watch.  Even though not much changes year to year at the festival, each year is a completely new experience with so many new memories.

2017/2018: Block 2

Last week we wrapped up our second block.  I think that we are finally starting to get into a groove-yep, it took us two months.  It happens.  I still do not love the rhythm that we have, but the kids enjoy it and it works for them.  Last month I posted that I was not going to do blocks this year-well, things changed.  We are going to continue with blocks.  They just seem to work and they break things up.  Blocks also make the amount of information that I am responsible for more manageable.  I was not able to keep up with the three grades and all of the classes.  I feel that the block system allows us to dive deep and actually have some good discussions.

Grade 5-Ancient Egypt

Parks’ second block revolved around Ancient Egypt.  He read the book,” A Place in the Sun,” by Jill Rubalcaba and “Who was King Tut.”  He also read several of the Egyptian myths throughout the month.  He made a pyramid from clay and watched the pyramid movie by David MacCaulay.  Overall, he really enjoyed Ancient Egypt.  I think that he enjoyed learning about the pyramids the most.

Grade 7-Alchemy

Sawyer’s second block was one of my favorites with Sims, but since she had seen it all before-Sawyer was not all that impressed.  She began the block by reading the book, “Alchemy and Chemistry,” by Stefoff.  She learned about how the main elements were thought to be air, water, fire and earth.  We then looked at chemical processes that use the four elements such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration.  We ended the block playing with fire and learning why some things burn and some do not.  Of course she knew that a rock would not burn, but she did not know that it was due to its lack of carbon atoms.  She also read the book, “The Alchemist,” in preparation for our next block and to go along with this block.

Grade 9-Biology and Cells

So how are we going to do blocks for high school?  Well, Sims and I decided that he would continue with weekly/daily math, writing, forestry, geography and PE.  Then we will do history and biology in blocks.  This month, we continued with biology and the cell.  He learned about the cell membrane, the mitochondria, the nucleus, how ATP is made and used.  He did a lot of hands on work in the beginning of the month at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.  In addition to biology, he finished up studying North America and has started into South America in Geography.  In Forestry, he helped with a Project Learning Tree event for local sixth graders and went on a couple more forest assessments where he has a list of things to document for each plot of land including invasive species, tree types, number of trees over a certain size, undergrowth identification and more.

Finding Passion-Sewing Update

In February of 2016, I wrote about Sawyer’s passion for sewing.  In my mind then, I thought that she had a true talent with sewing-one that I never had.  Well over the past year and a half, she has amazed me even more.  She doesn’t sew all the time, and she is not obsessed with sewing.  However when she does begin working on a project, she works until it is complete.  I am impressed with her perseverance and passion.

Since my last post on her sewing, Sawyer has made huge strides in her abilities.  After a couple of camps and a lot of trial and error, she can sew-for real.  (Sewing is a skill that I imagine that I have, but I have NEVER been able to make anything that I would admit to.  Thus, I love that my daughter can do it.)  Sawyer can see a design in her head, play with the material, and make it.  Now, she is still on simple designs-I am not saying that she is a fashion genius by any means, but she has a gift that she surely did not get from me or her dad.  She can also fix her machine 90% of the time (if you do sew, you know this is a gift in and of itself.  The machine can have a mind of its own, and I have no idea on how it works.  Thankfully, Nick does, and he has taught her a lot).


Finding Passion-Biking

I am not sure why, but I have never thought of biking as one of my kids’ passions.  However, it is probably the longest passion that my boys have had.  Sims started biking well by the time he was three.  He used to ride his little 12 inch bike with me on my long runs.  Parks, of course being three years younger, started riding a bike as soon as he could get on one.  And neither of them has stopped since!  Sawyer rides too, but mainly to keep up with her brothers.

Field Trip Fridays

We have not gone out hiking yet this school year or on too many local field trips.  However, we did make two quick out of town trips.  First we headed west to Asheville, NC to check out Kolo Bike park.  I heard that it was a pretty fun place if you enjoy biking.  Upon pulling into the parking lot of the park, I was far from impressed and was thinking about trying to go find some free mountain biking somewhere close by.  Thankfully, the kids thought it looked great, and they jumped out of the car.  Overall, the trip kept the boys thoroughly entertained.  Sawyer and I, well, we hung out and pretended that we knew how to ride bikes!

Our next trip took us east to Raleigh.  We visited my brother and his family on Thursday night.  Then Friday morning, Parks headed to camp at Daniel Dheirs Action Sports Complex while Sawyer, Sims and I went to the NC Museum of Natural Science.

Overall, two fun field trips days!  Hopefully, we will get on some trails soon too!