Bringing Summer to a Close

Monday afternoon, we took a group out on the boat to watch the solar eclipse.  The eclipse turned out to be an excellent event to bring the summer to a close and the school year into the fore front.  We were all excited about the eclipse and engaged in actively learning about the unusual phenomenon (not that unusual as it happens every 18 months somewhere in the world-one of the facts that we learned).  At the last minute, we found out that my friend had three pairs of glasses that we could use

IMG_3987for the event.  The glasses were amazing!  Although, we had some boxes to use too.  Nick really enjoyed his box viewer!


The rest of the month, we truly just took every moment enjoying our friends and family.  We went tubing down the Catawba River.  I had several play dates with my nieces and nephews.  We basked in the sun at the lake and the beach.  We made an attempt to win the cardboard boat race in the neighborhood.

Now, I am buckling down and getting everything ready for the kids to start back to some academic work.




The Perfect Summer Month

IMG_3625Just like June, July came and went fairly quickly.  I guess that is how it goes when you do not have an agenda to fill.  When I envision a perfect summer, I envision almost exactly what our July looked like.  (I know that I hate it when other bloggers say stuff like that, but I now know that it can be true!  In the past, our summers were fun but not without a lot of sibling stress and the stress of no schedule.  This year, everyone got along and went along with the no-schedule ride.)

July included visits from lots of friends and family, which meant lots of floating in the lake, playing behind the boat, and lemonade stands, .


We also made a couple trips up to the mountains where we kayaked the Green River in Saluda, NC  (by kayak, I mean float in big tubes that look like kayaks-no real skill involved) with friends who visited from Florida and hiked with local friends in DuPont Forest.

The kids had camp again this month.  Parks and Nick headed off to scout camp where they repelled, biked, swam and had a ton of adventures.  Parks also went to sailing camp with some friends.  Sawyer participated in a costuming camp where she helped make the costumes for the play “The Crucible,” in our town theater.  Sims headed to the mountains to climb outdoors for a week.

In between all of this, we simply enjoyed the pool and the lake every moment that we could.  It was hot and the water felt amazing.

And last but not least, I celebrated my 40th birthday with my family on the last day of the month!

Wacky Wednesday-Kayaking LKN

Before the cold weather sets in, we decided to get in a kayak.  We paddled over to a blue heron sanctuary to explore and look for bones.  It is one of our favorite spots to explore.

Picture Post-Signs of Summer in the Garden

Our Produce is starting to come it!  So far we have only gotten zucchini but the others are growing well!

Pops of color all around!

Even the animals are enjoying the summer weather!

Building Self-Confidence

Don’t you love watching those little moments of self-confidence growing in your kids?

I had one of those moments today.  For the past six weeks, the kids participated in a sailing class.  Sims loves sailing, and he makes it look easy and fun.  So much so that Sawyer and Parks asked if they could take the class this spring with him.

sail 1Being new to sailing and younger than Sims, they learned to sail on smaller boats than Sims.  The smaller boats required them to sail independently.  Neither of the kids enjoyed sailing on these boats.  In fact, I wasn’t sure that they were going to complete the class.  Luckily on Tuesday, they took a make-up class that changed their opinions of sailing completely around.

The best part came tonight.  The class was small so the instructor decided to take out the bigger boats which required two people to each boat.  Sawyer started out the class very nervous and unsure of herself.  She was excited to have another person on the boat with her.  What she didn’t know was that her partner was just as new to sailing as she was or more so!  Tonight I watched as she skippered the boat, performed problem-solving, and instructed her crew.  She found out how much she really did know about sailing.

sail 2

To many people, Sawyer appears to be very self-confident.  We know her at home to doubt herself at times.  As she gets older and is on her own more, I want her to know how to trust her instincts and to be confident in who she is and what she does.  I see her confidence growing at the barn each week, but that is an area that she feels comfortable.  I enjoyed watching her rise to moment tonight in a situation that she did not feel comfortable in and with people who she does not know well.

sky 1

Block 2

Believe it or not, we have actually schooled throughout the fall.  Unfortunately, I have not updated my blog on our progress!  Well so far, we have completed 4 blocks.  I plan to get up to date as soon as possible.  Let’s start with block 2!

Block two included shelters, botany and alchemy.  All fun blocks!  Parks worked through his first block on shelters.  For this block, he memorized the poem Here is the House.  He also used this poem as his copy work for the the month.  He learned about the different types of houses around the world and used the different types of house names to practice alphabetical order.  The second week, Parks looked at the different ways that we protect ourselves from the environment. Then he wanted to learn about animal shelters and Native American shelters, so we researched both of these for the remainder of the block.

Sawyer began her education on botany during this block.  We began botany by discussing all of the essential nutrients and life giving elements of the soil and the air.  We discussed the importance of dark and light for plants.  We then went into the parts of a flower and plant nomenclature  Overall, we followed the Charles Kovacs Botany book and followed plant life from the simplest up to the most complex.  Thus, we started by discussing mushrooms/fungi progressed to mosses and ferns and finished with flowering trees.  We watched tulips open and close with the light.  We examined moss under magnifying glasses.  We went to the local nursery and looked at all types of plants.  Overall, we both are looking forward to delve more into the topic of botany in the spring!

Sims’ second block was a favorite.  We ALL enjoyed it.  He studied the history of alchemy and chemistry.  Beginning with the book Alchemy and Chemistry by Stefoff, he learned some important definitions and the journey of field.  From alchemy, we discussed the elements of earth, fire, water and air and some of the most natural chemical reactions-photosynthesis and respiration.  He also used the book Photosynthesis by Silverstein throughout this week. The last two weeks of the block were filled with lab experiments using fire.  We all gathered around candles and the fire pit as Sims worked through his experiments. In preparation for next month, Sims also read “The Alchemist.”

In addition to their main lessons, everyone continued to work through their math-u-see work, spelling, Latin and reading.

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Monarch Garden


Beginning in the spring and through the summer, we love watching butterflies.  This year, we decided to join our friends with the monarch migration.  The monarchs migrate from Texas and Mexico north through NC.  Along the migration path, monarchs rely on varieties of milkweed to lay their eggs.  The young caterpillars then munch away on the leaves as they prepare to transform!


Monarch Chrysalis

We found a nice spot in the front yard of the Latta Plantation Nature Center.  First we had to clear out all of the poke berry bushes and weeds.

Next we planted many different varieties of milkweed for our flying friends to land on!

Now we will watch it grow!  Hopefully, we will have the privilege of being a stop on the long journey of the monarch!