Well, I figure since it is officially the first day of summer, I should wrap up what we did for most of spring.
These three resources really brought music study to life for my kiddos. My kids can proudly identify Beethoven's Fifth and many of the instruments in the orchestra thanks to the book Welcome to the Symphony. We listened to Beethoven Lives Upstairs several times as well as selection of Beethoven's music. They have been humming the fifth for months now. I can't recommend these enough. Thanks, Torchlight!
We went on our first camping trip of the year down at Virginia Beach, at First Landing State Park. It was an amazing campground and fantastic experience camping with friends. It was chilly, but we all had a blast.
We combined History Unboxed and Pin it Maps for our studies about Plymouth, Jamestown, and St. Augustine. My kids really enjoy looking at maps, so even though they are young, we've had fun with Pin it Maps so far. The timeline in the picture is the one from History Unboxed.
One morning, I woke up and asked AW what she wanted to do. "Go see the bluebells!" she told me. So we dressed for the rainy, muddy weather, and headed to a local park with a bluebell trail. It was very muddy and flooded in places, and eventually we had to turn back because the water was too deep on the trail (connected to rushing water). We enjoyed ourselves immensely. Rain pants are my new favorite thing: the kids got super muddy (I even fell in the mud), and we just stripped them off before getting in the car.
We bought some new games, did some science, and enjoyed lots of time on our front porch. We did our morning time out on the porch more than once, and did reading lessons with chalk.
Then, in May, I had a really bad day. I completely lost it. I got ugly. Everyone cried. I had to leave the house. It was my lowest parenting moment ever. So, what did I decide to do the next day? Take three children 5 and under on the Metro, by myself, to the National Gallery of Art where they would have to be on good behavior.
Himself thought I was crazy. Maybe I did too.
But it was exactly what we needed. It was a brand new experience. I went with low expectations and a plan for how to make it work. It was pouring rain, and we all got a little damp walking the few blocks to the museum. Then, we started with lunch (the most important part of the plan being well fed children). After we ate (an extremely expensive lunch), we stopped in the gift shop to buy a few postcards of Impressionist works from the museum. We used them to have a fantastic scavenger hunt. When we had been walking around for about an hour, the kids were done, and we high-tailed it out of there. We spent three hours getting there, two hours total at the museum, and three hours getting home. But it was totally worth it. We had a great time, the kids got excited about seeing art we'd read about in the Katie books by James Mayhew, and we reconnected.
Speaking of art, AW asked to have more lessons in art. I've been trying to meet that need. She did these portraits of girls from her dance class as gifts for them at the end of the year. She gave them each their typical hairstyle, in the correct hair color. Each one is in a different ballet pose. I just love them.
After dance, we did one round of swim classes. I was so proud of these kiddos and their hard work. DC especially made huge progress.
CE turned one, learned to walk, ate ice cream, and basically did everything she could to keep up with her big sibling. We've used sign language with all three kids, and she has taken to it the most of all three. Her current signs are: dog, nurse, more, eat, water, shoes, hat, and down. She understands a few more, and a whole lot of what we say.
I also rearranged the library/schoolroom. I realized that one reason we weren't using it was because we didn't have a sofa to curl up and read together. The other reason was because we didn't have a table we could all sit at together. I bought a new sofa for the basement for $20 on Facebook marketplace (yay) and brought up our old brown couch which fit perfectly. We've had the drop leaf table for awhile, but it needed organization and a new orientation before it could work for us. CE has been tearing our game and school shelf apart for a little while, and I have another child who can be extremely destructive with any art/school supplies. So, now it's all locked up when we aren't using it. But when we are in this space together, it feels quite cozy and intentional. We just used it for the first time today, because I've been sick all week (still not at 100%), and I really liked it. We cleaned up before closing the doors each time, a habit I'd like to maintain. AW said school was the best part of her day today.
That's about it for now! We school year round, but our "new school year" will start in July. We'll likely leave off math and reading for a bit longer, just because we're traveling. We have another week before we take a wee break.
It's also getting time to make us super duper homeschool official: this will be the first school year that I am required to notify the school district of our intent to homeschool and provide proof of progress at the end of the year. It will be AW's official Kindergarten year (we are really calling it Kindergarten Part Two). I'm excited for a good year ahead. Although we didn't *have* to start school when we did, I've enjoyed the learning experiences of the past year(s), and I feel like I've learned a lot about who we are as a homeschooling family. I know lots will change in the years ahead, and I can't predict what our family will need from year to year. Still, I'm feeling pretty good.