2019/2020 Let Us Begin

As all things go around here, the first week of school did not go as planned.  My plan included beginning school for everyone together this week.  Well, on Saturday I received a call that Sawyer could do her driving portion of driver’s education beginning on Monday-uhm, yes!

Soooo….the first week was off.  I had to driver her back and forth to driver’s education.  We weren’t all together. Some classes haven’t started yet.  I ended up with a couple of appointments, and that is how school started this week.  Luckily, we are flexible.  So here we are,

MGVJ8a%eRjW98e9L68RvyASims is working on eleventh grade this year (OMG! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?).  He is taking most of his classes online.  He is taking Algebra II, Physics and two semester long English courses (one in the fall and one in the spring).  He also plans to take the Wilderness First Responder course in May.  Sims is also planning to look into the local community college to take a class in the spring-maybe.  He is still debating it.  In addition to school work, Sims plans to continue rock climbing on the team.  He began sailing bigger sailboats this summer.  He would like to continue doing that and maybe even rehab a race boat to race in the spring (this is his goal for the year).  He took the Red Cross life guarding class this summer so he may work as a life guard too-just a possibility that he posed this week.

8tq5riLkTkKNiZuSwoFBtgSawyer is working on ninth grade this year.  She is taking Algebra I,  Biology,  English I, World History, and Marine Biology.  She will also participate in the co-op two days a week which is where she will do her biology labs and I am sure many other fun activities.  Sawyer plans to continue rock climbing on the team and to begin climbing outdoors (this is her goal for the year).  Her band dissolved at the end of the school year, so Sawyer is also working on finding a new band to sing with.  On her own, Sawyer will also keep working on her arial silk work.  I guess she will also start driving soon!

DSC_0042Parks is working on seventh grade this year.  He still does not love school or even like the idea of school, so we have to be creative.  He is working on fractions, decimals and percents in math in preparation for pre-algebra.  I think he could do pre-algebra now, but I want it to be very easy when he does it so that he is successful.  He is also going to take a couple of classes on Outschool to learn history of the Middle Ages around the world and possibly some conservation science.  He is very excited about co-op this year because it is student led.  He has some classes that he wants to teach such as soldering.  His goal for this year is to snowboard in Colorado.

As a group this year, we are going to really focus on executive functioning skills!  Yep, we are forgoing our Waldorf traditions to work on planning, goal setting, timing and follow through.  We are going to work on self-reflection and working on how to work and to just get through life (like why are the breakfast dishes still on the counter-it’s mid-afternoon? Smile).

Even though the first week of school didn’t quite go as planned, it went well.  We had fun and ended with a trip to the mountains.  Happy New School Year!

July in Review

Another fun month!  This year, all of the kids ventured off to new experiences.  Sawyer went to UNCG for an art intensive program for high schoolers.  She worked with painting, clay on the wheel and printmaking.  She found a new love in print making (and I love her prints!).   Parks headed to Liberty University in Virginia for snowboarding camp (yes, you read that right.  Liberty Snowflex uses a carpet type material for people to ski and snowboard on).  Finally, Sims flew out to Colorado to climb in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  In between all of the camps and big experiences, we still had some fun times hanging out at the lake, tubing down the river, and enjoying the butterflies (speaking of which, our first monarch of the season arrived this week).  Sawyer and Parks also did the Cranking Engines class where they learned about how to tear apart and rebuild a lawn mower engine.  Sims has also bee working as a counselor at the Lake Norman Community Sailing Center.

Weekly Wrap Up

We are seriously counting down the days now.  We are finishing up our math books.  Writing classes are complete.  We are reading a book on World War I right now which we should finish up in the next two weeks.  Hands on biology is happening all around us.  Our monarch caterpillars are growing like crazy.  We have chicken eggs in an incubator that should hatch in the next couple of weeks.  We went on a field trip to an educational forest where we saw a beaver dam and pond, forest progression, and learned about forest ecology.  We went hiking where we saw wasp eggs (at least we think that is what they are), spider nests wrapped up in ferns, turtles, and lots of beautiful plants.  Oh, I almost forgot.  We also rehomed to our house two black racers.  Our friends did not want them to stay at their houses, so we boxed them up and released them in our yard!

Weekly Wrap Up

Spring is here!  We are loving the weather.  Things are winding down Sawyer and Parks had their last writing class on Tuesday.  Parks had to present his research paper on the history of snowboarding.

Wednesday, we headed on a hike to Boone’s Cave.  We saw lots of critters and beautiful flowers.  Later in the afternoon, a friend of mine came over to bring me some milkweed plants.  We decided to run down to Latta Plantation to check on our butterfly garden that we planted there a few years ago.  While we were there, we found some monarch eggs! Let the fun begin!

We ended the week with our end of year testing, planning for the summer and the end of Sims’s second Brave Writer Class-Essay Prep for the Research Paper.  This class was tough.  There was a lot more work than in the Dynamic Thinking class.  I think he would have benefitted from another two weeks of the class.  He learned a lot, and I think he needed more time to process all of the information inorder to properly complete the paper intended.  We are learning!  Now we are off to play on the lake.

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Monarch Mania

About a month or two ago, we were excited to see a monarch in our butterfly garden.  We have seen several different types of swallow tails and moths, but we have been trying to attract monarchs for a while.  Well now we have tons of monarchs!  Not only do we have monarchs but we have eggs and caterpillars!  We have so many that we are sharing them with others.  So far, four other families are helping to care for some caterpillars.  In our family, we have already had one group of eggs hatch and morph into monarchs.  We have about 35 caterpillars now!  And there are a ton more on our milkweed in the back yard.

Finding Passion-Rock Climbing

A new passion has arisen among two of my three children-rock climbing.  The kids climbed at the US Whitewater Center many times when they were younger.  They always enjoyed the thrill of completing a route.  I remember the first time that Sims climbed with a person belaying him instead of using the autobelay.  I think this is when he became hooked.  He saved up and purchased his own harness, which he passed down to Sawyer and now Parks.

Fast foward a few years…Sims and Sawyer display amazing confidence in the climbing gym and on a rock face.  They both have learned how to read routes and to know how they climb.  They have learned so much about self-control, breathing, mindfulness, and how to work with what you have (short stature, tall stature, less flexibility, anxiety…).  They are learning about safety while climbing outdoors and how to help rescue fellow climbers.

They utilize many of our school lessons while climbing.  Sims researches outdoor climbing areas to learn about the rock type.  His geology lessons from last year are being put to use now.  He understands the importance of weather on the rock.  He discusses the physics behind the different types of gear used and why each is important.  He looks at the terrain to get to the rock faces.  They both train and show true commitment to the sport.  I look forward to watching them grow in this passion!

Charcoal Making

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.

Next, the wood went through pyrolysis.

Finally, the wood turned into charcoal.

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!!