May! It’s May! How did that happen? Seriously, it was just August of 2017. I really wish that I had done a weekly wrap up throughout the year. Even though there isn’t much exciting to report on, I would like the record of what we did. Well, its better to start now than to never start at all.
Last weekend was full. You know those kind of crazy weekends when you need another set of parents to get everything done? That is what we had. Sims and Sawyer had a climbing competition at the same time that Parks had his first day of sailing team practice. Next, Sawyer had to be about an hour away to sing at Catawba College. Her voice instructor brought all of the bands that she worked with this year to come play as part of her senior project.
Sawyer singing at Catawba College
Sims, Sawyer and a friend checking out the routes.
Sawyer on her final climb
We had a bit of an off week of school this week. Parks was supposed to participate in the Starbase Program at our local Department of Defense. Unfortunately, the class did not work out for him-but it was a week long camp and I had plans with the older two. I know, I know. Plans are meant to be flexible. Tuesday, Parks headed to his ecology class at Latta Plantation while Sims, Sawyer and I took Bella on her first official walk/hike. Then we went to the Discovery Place in Charlotte for Sims to take a class on cell biology.
Bella’s first “hike.”
Sawyer and Parks checking out the DaVinci Exhibit at Discovery Place
Wednesday, Sawyer and Parks went to their drawing class. They are learning to draw what they see and not what they imagine. They both love to draw, but this class is really challenging them to step outside of their box with their art. Thursday, Sims and Sawyer met with their writing teacher. They are both wrapping up their writing programs for the year.
Friday, we hit the trails. We met up with two other families and hike Stephens Road Nature Preserve. Hiking was the perfect wrap up for the week. The forest had lots of fun finds. Then we ended the week with a performance of Parks’s band at a local spring fling and the Avengers movie.
Honey Suckles are blooming@
Tasty treats on the trail
Stephens Road Nature Preserve
Stevens road Nature Preserve
Northern Water snake-one of our fun finds on the trail.
Parks playing drums at a local spring fling
We spent a lot of time playing with this little one too.
Playing with Bella
Bella 10 weeks
We decided to join/start up a new 4H group in our area this year. We didn’t do a whole lot as a group this year, but we did try out a few activities and plan to do a lot more next year. One activity we did was charcoal making-you can read about that here. In addition to primitive skills, we tried out an anatomy and physiology class. Two other moms and I split up the systems and went to work. We grouped the systems into -systems for movement, systems for nutrient delivery, and systems for nutrient absorption and excretion.
Systems for Movement
We started with the skeletal system, learning the anatomy of the bones and the skeleton and the physiology of the bones. Then we moved to the muscular system. We wrapped up this group with the nervous system.
Looking at the anatomy of bone
Matching bones to bone names
Matching bone names to bones
Labeling joint names and types
Layers of the bone
How the nervous system and muscular system works with balance
Learning the importance of cerebrospinal fluid for our brains.
Systems for Nutrient Delivery
This unit began with the circulatory system and finished up with the respiratory system.
Dissecting a heart
red blood cells
putting it all together
Lots of hands on, but there was some lecture too. 🙂
Learning about how cigarets put tar on your lungs and the effects of smoking.
Systems for Nutrient Absorption and Excretion
The kids went into the depths of the digestive system, and they loved it.
The importance of saliva.
Learning the importance of enzymes in the digestive system
The mechanical aspect of digestion
The small intestine
Getting the digestive system ready.
The class concluded with each child presenting on a disease, disorder or condition that they researched. We had a fantastic array of information. The list included pulmonary fibrosis, autism, diarrhea, strokes, heart attacks, pace makers, hemophilia, central core disorder, celiac disease, and Paget’s disease.
Parks presented on hemophilia.
He used bike tires with slime in it to demonstrate how the body should clot and then used a regular bike tire to show how a person with hemophilia bleeds-there was water in each of the tires.
Sims teaching about heart attacks.
He had some people with normal “hearts” and some people with enlarged “hearts” to teach about some of the precursors to heart attack
Sawyer teaching about central core disease.
I really enjoyed teaching this group of systems and tying them together in this manner. I felt that the kids were able to put the systems together and realize that they are never separate from each other. The kids also really learned the importance of taking care of your body and how ignoring one body system can really effect more than that one system.
I have a difficult time believing it, but my little boy turned 15 last week. He took driver’s education over spring break and will hopefully have his permit by summer. During his 14th year, he has become quite the rock climber and sailor. He loves his animals and the water and pretty much any adventure that you dare to put in front of him. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings!
Gearing up to climb in divisional
Fun in the snow
Belaying his sister
Skiing in Utah
Sims on Nelson
Rain gear for sailing!
Birthday Cake made by his sister!
What was his wish?
Sims on the Lake Norman Composite mountain bike team
Jumping at Kolo
A boy and his dog
Enjoying the falls
On the mountain
Working on engines
These two met in kindergarten and have homeschooled together through the 6 years! All grown up!
The spring is on its way! It is not completely here yet, but it is close (I will post on the signs of spring when it does!). On Friday, we had a perfect spring day. The weather was perfect for riding in the field.
Heading to the pasture
Sims on Nelson-typically, Nelson gets very anxious leaving the barn area and arena. He did great today.
Sawyer on Sky. Sky is licking her lips- a sign that she is enjoying herself.
Parks galloping on Oliver. Oliver enjoyed the open field.
After riding we headed to the lake to hang out. The neighborhood that the lake house is in is beautiful this time of year. The azaleas and the dogwoods are blooming.
Then while I was working out, our newest family member arrived! Meet Bella Puddles. She is an eight week-old blue healer border collie mix.. We have been watching her and her sibling for the past few weeks. Parks has fallen in love with her.
We recently began a 4H group in our area which has opened up some new opportunities for us. One new opportunity is primitive studies. Charcoal making initiated the series. One of the fathers of the group taught the class. Everyone had a can filled with a various type of wood-MDF, plywood, pine, oak, black maple, cedar, cherry and cotton (not a wood, but we did make charcoal with it). We placed them in the fire and waited…and waited…and waited. Initially, we only saw the steam come out of the containers.
Lining up to poke a hole in the lid of the can
Warming the cans
Starting to steam
Next, the wood went through pyrolysis.
Looks like a candle!
Finally, the wood turned into charcoal.
Black maple that turned to ash because we opened the can and exposed it to air too soon
Checking out the cotton.
The class was absolutely fascinating. We saw how tar is a byproduct of burning (and had a lesson on how tar can coat your lungs from a burning cigaret). We are looking forward to using the coal to smith some iron next!!
I realize that I have gone a little MIA on the blog lately. I guess that I am not exactly sure what to write or show. I don’t have too many pictures, and we have just been doing the same old thing.
Parks has completed two blocks since I last wrote. He did a block on Ancient China and a block on Ancient Greece. He is now working on trying to get a skatepark built in our town. He went to a town meeting. He has contacted a few towns that have public skateparks for information, and he plans on working on that for a bit.
Sawyer completed a block on China during the Middle Ages. As a group we read the books, The Starry River of the Sky and The Odyssey (a revised version). Then Sawyer and I read, Along the River: A Chinese Cinderella Novel by Adeline Yen Mah. We both LOVED this book. Sawyer has also been sewing up a storm. She has made a dress and a jean skirt and experimenting with different materials.
Sims completed a block on Chinese and Russian geography. He is also working through Biology and World History now on a daily basis. The block system hasn’t worked as well as we had hoped for high school.
We haven’t gotten out for a hike in a while. Hopefully, we will start back up again soon. Parks has visited several skateparks over the past few months. He has gained quite a few skills on the scooter and his bike. Sims and Sawyer are both rock climbing competitively right now. Although, Sims prefers to climb outside. Although the blog has been quiet, our lives have been far from it. We are staying busy.
As the year starts wrapping up, I should have a little more to post on. We are starting an anatomy and physiology class. The air is warming up so I know that we will be outside a good bit more.
When the kids turn 10, Nick told them that they could pick out a spot to visit. Sims chose Puerto Rico. Sawyer originally chose Italy, but this was not in the budget. She got a surprise trip to the Florida Keys. Parks turned 10 in 2016, but he didn’t know where he wanted to go. Over the past year, he finally decided that he wanted to visit the western United States. Thus, we headed to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Nick and I visited there 18 years ago and loved it. We were excited to share the city with the kids. We headed out on a Tuesday morning and arrived Tuesday evening. After a long day in the plane, we checked into our air bnb, found a local restaurant for some dinner, and hit the grocery store.
We arrived in Salt Lake City as the moon was coming up. It was a full, super, blue moon. It was amazing! (Not a great photo as it was taken in the car as we were going down the road)
While in Salt Lake, we took the kids skiing. We had a blast watching them hit the slopes. They have all skied since they were about 3 or 4. However, they learned in North Carolina-a big difference from Utah! They all rocked the slopes! We may have ruined them forever. 🙂
At the top of the mountain.
Taking a little break.
We also found several skate parks in the area for Parks to play at. He brought his scooter along.
Jordan Skate Park
Fairmont Skate Park
We also headed out to the actual Great Salt Lake and learned some of the history and science of the area.
Nick and Sharon
Playing on the shore
On the deck of the nature center
Checking out the critters in the shallows
Overall, a fun and very relaxing trip. The weather was perfect for hanging out-not great for snow fall, but there was enough snow on the mountains to enjoy the skiing. These days are going by too fast! It is times like these that I realize how quickly the time is going. I love that I get the opportunity to share these memories with my kids.