Sunday, September 11, 2011

History Comes Alive

Somewhere along the way I decided to try doing year-round homeschooling instead of the traditional model.  Our routine is very flexible and fluid.  We're not bound to a rigid schedule of trying to get it all done by a certain time.  It gives us the freedom to go whenever and where ever we want; and it saves us from having to gear up for school, get back in routine, and relearn/teach all the stuff we went over last year but forgot over the summer.

Anyway, it seems to be going really well right now.  Back in May, continuing on with a little bit of Horizons Math and Reading/Phonics, we added early American history from Adventures In My Father's World.  Boy, I'm learning so much - it's great!!  I hope the kids are too.

We started with Leif Ericson the Viking and then Christopher Columbus. We made the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and sailed them in our turtle pool.

We've also studied the first English colonies to the New World, George Washington, Daniel Boone, Eli Whitney and Robert Fulton to just name a few.  We've built a wigwam, a pioneer's house, and tried to pick cotton seeds out of cotton balls.  We've read stories and tried to do things that really make history come alive for the kids.

Most recently, we went camping over Labor Day weekend we a group called the Powderhorn Clan.  They're a "primitive" club dedicated to the preservation of the old American firearms and lifestyle of those who would've used them pre-1840. 

Talk about history coming alive.  For three days we hung around these amazing (and very friendly) people that were all dressed up in period clothing, camping out in period lean-tos, half-shelters, and even one teepee.  Tom and the kids got to participate in throwing a hawk and knife.  Tom also got to shoot some black powder guns which he thought was very fun.

The kids were even given camp names.  Sammy and Ben charged around the camp with their "knives" (sticks) and "threatened" one of the clan leaders.  They were given the names "Big Knife" and "Little Knife".  Livvy spent most of her time with two older women.  She sat with them almost all day long chatting, listening, watching them knit and weave, and even helped them wash potatoes and turnips for dinner.  She was given the name "Half Pint" after her favorite real-life pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder (she's read all of the little Laura books).

We had so much fun!  I'm not sure how involved we can be in the future, but we're going to try to progress (go primitive) and meet up with them again in the future.

Our camp.
 One of their camps.
The Powderhorn Clan.
 Livvy with Anna.
 Cow-Catcher teaching Tom how to start a fire with flint and steel.
Tom shooting a percussion pistol.
Big Knife watching Rumpshot start a fire with flint and steel.
 Little Knife hanging out with Cow-Catcher.
 Little Knife and his beloved Giraffey - not primitive at all.
 Livvy throwing the hawk.
 Big Knife shooting a compound bow that our good friends the Ketters brought. Might not be primitive, but close enough for us.
 Jon hanging out his Bumbo - again, not so primitive but very handy.
Half of the Cutlip and Ketter kids all lined up watching how it used to be done.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


How come it is that when I have time to blog, I can't seem to find anything to say?  But when I'm in the midst of everything else, my mind is a constant running dialog of things that I want to blog about.  Crazy.

And, wouldn't you know it, the juices are starting to flow and now I'm out of time.  Go figure.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just Thinking

I found this post in my drafts.  I'm not sure why it never got published, but here it is, 1-1/2 years later:

Sometimes I can get myself overwhelmed.  I think what it truly is is that I think too much.  It becomes a problem when I let myself think too much on all the wrong things.  Thankfully I don't feel like it defines my life or that I'm constantly battling wrong thoughts, but there are those moments.

Moments when I start comparing:
This mom over here prepares very healthy meals for kids.  They are strong and healthy.  This other mom is so creative with homeschooling, so organized and on top of everything.  Her kids love school and are thriving.  And yet another mom has such well-mannered, obedient children.  She's sweet with them and they listen happily.

Moments when the kids are all acting up at the same time. I think, what the heck am I doing?! Something is not working. If we can't get it right with the ones that we have, we have no business having more.

Moments when I think, how can anybody go on after losing a child?  And then I remember that our sweet little baby died.  We lost a baby.  What am I supposed to do?  How can this happen?

My heart starts to race and I start feeling panicky.  Fear creeps in.

Usually these little worry sessions don't last long.  I try to remember that:
1.) You/I should never compare.  All those moms that I am comparing myself to might be better in that area than I am.  But they might lack in another.  We're all in process.

Deep breath.  Nobody is perfect.  One thing at a time.

2.) Children are a blessing.  Yes, they are currently behaving like rabid monkeys, but...  Just like it is hard for me to unlearn bad habits and stop thinking that this world revolves around me, how much more so with their limited understanding is it hard for them to stop being selfish.  Without getting frustrated and angry with them, I need to lovingly guide and train them time and time again.  And apologize when I don't do it right and start over again. 

Deep breath.  Children aren't perfect - not one of them.

3.)  God is good.  Even when "bad" things happen God is still speaking and God is still good.  He doesn't lose His goodness just because I don't understand or don't agree.  His plans for me are good.  He leads me beside still waters.  He leads me into the valley of the shadow of death.  And He prepares a table for me.

Deep breath.  God is perfect.  He is near to those who call upon Him.  He will comfort those who mourn.

Jonathan - 5 months

Well, it's that time again.  Another month has gone by.  He continues to be an angel baby.  He can roll from his back to belly but not the reverse yet...though it looks like he's trying to figure it out. Last week or so he found his thumbs, both of them, but mostly it's the left one that gets in there.

He does more talking/babbling these days.  And on occasion, cussing.  Or at least that's what it sounds like when he's really hungry or tired.

He' still a little squirt, average for length but in the low percentile for weight.  I'm hoping that I can improve my milk supply (increase how many domperidone I take) and in another month or so when he starts eating solids that I can get a little more meat on his bones.  Either way, we're not worried.  He's a very active bubbly, bright-eyed little guy.  We love him so!!