2020-21 School Year–Week One

Hymn of the Week: “Earth and All Stars” (Lutheran Service Book #817)

The first week of the 2020-21 school year is complete! We kind of eased into things…we did get to all our new subjects, just not all on the same day…we had to save something new for next week! Our first day was especially fun, and the Fab Five like the new Lego Architecture set of Dubai we added to our collection!

This year, our religion studies will be done together as a group, as it is a curriculum of my own making. We’re using Lutheran Service Book: Companion to the Hymns, along with the hymnal, to learn about a new hymn each week (see above), as well as the author, and the changes made to it over the years. We’re also using the school room keyboard to learn to play at least the basic melody line of the hymns…since choir is on the back burner due to COVID-19, it’s nice to add some music to our school days!

Turkey and Bunny started calculus with a whirlwind review of everything they’ve learned in math in the last three years. I guess it all stuck, because they both received perfect scores on their first test! They also reviewed basic concepts from biology in their advanced biology course. Their psychology class, which like advanced biology is an AP class, was full of new information at a very quick pace, which is going to take some getting used to. They began reading Macbeth this week, and also the first book I chose for our study of American geography and culture, 1491.

Ladybug also did review in algebra, and I was happy to see that she, too, retained what she had learned last year over the summer. We had a little hiccup in her physical science course, because I hadn’t realized that the updated text is basically an entirely new book, and the workbook that goes with it is incompatible with the old text we have. So we decided to study weather until the new book arrives. She and Chickadee learned about Queen Victoria and the British Empire to begin the fourth year of the history cycle. Her first literature study is one of my favorite of Shakespeare’s works…As You Like It.

While I’m not responsible for teaching Moose, it has been interesting to see what he’s been up to in his distance-learning. He is taking and algebra and biology this year, in addition to world geography and English. I’m curious to see exactly how band is going to work out, but they’re giving it a try, and Moose was very excited to discover that the first piece he gets to learn is a medley from Hamilton!

Chickadee is probably the most enthusiastic of my students (shocking, I know!). Like her older siblings, her math was review this week, and she also remembered everything she was supposed to. Her first literature study is Farmer Boy, which is my favorite of the Little House books (although the endless descriptions of food make me hungry!). She is learning cursive this year, and it’s not as difficult as she expected so far. Science for this year is all about winged creatures, and she’s looking forward to learning about everything except bugs!

I chose a motto from Doctor Who for this school year: “Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up. Never give in.” I also picked two Bible verses (because I couldn’t decide)…Psalm 27: 13-14 (I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!), and Hebrews 12:1-2 (Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.). This year is kind of A Big Deal, as it is Turkey’s and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling before college and adulthood, and I pray that we all learn a lot, and enjoy this time together, especially with Moose home during this very unusual year!

The First Day of School 2020

We were up bright and early this morning to begin our 13th year of homeschooling!

For once, we all started school on the same day in the same place, as Moose started his freshman year of high school today via distance-learning. Turkey and Bunny are, of course, seniors this year, Ladybug is in eighth grade, and Chickadee is in third. The motto for the day was:

“I cannot be everywhere at once, people
I’m in dire need of assistance.”

As always, I had schultüte waiting for the Fab Five when the bell rang:

Our other favorite first-day-of-school tradition is building a Lego set…this time, the skyline of Dubai. I especially love the Burj Al Arab.

We all had Animal Crossing shirts this year…even me!

This year is going to be different from any we’ve had before, and I imagine it will be challenging, but we’re going to take things one day at a time and try not to look too far into the future, while learning as much as we can!

Ready for the First Day of School?

I’m not going to lie…I’m not really sure that I’m ready for the 2020-21 school year. If I’m totally honest, I’m kind of dreading it for several reasons, and the top reason actually has nothing to do with COVID-19. Instead, I’m apprehensive because it’s Turkey and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling. That’s right…this experiment that we began in 2008 when they started kindergarten is now coming to a close, at least for them. And I’m afraid I’m going to spend the entire school year crying, as each “last time” comes up.

But, our homeschooling experiment is far from over, especially now that Moose is joining us at home while doing distance-learning for at least the first semester of his first year of high school (which, again if I’m honest, is a little scary to me), so one way or another, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for our most unique and challenging year of homeschooling (which includes two twelfth graders, a 9th grader, an 8th grader, and a 3rd grader) yet!

First, a look at some of the fun we’ve had in the last week of summer vacation, including Lego-building and cookie-baking. We may not have been able to travel this summer, or even do the usual local stuff we would during the summer, but we still managed to have fun experiences!

Tonight was our annual “Farewell to Summer” dinner, this time a mail-order meal from Portillo’s, which mirrors a dinner we had shortly before summer break began.

A summer classic for dessert…root beer floats:

Plus some Frango mints, another little taste of Chicago:

This year’s first-day-of-school outfits are Animal Crossing themed. It’s a good reflection of our summer, and they were pretty easy to get in a time when clothes shopping can be a little challenging.

The school room has been cleaned and organized…it looks pretty much like it did for most of last year, with the keyboard being the most recent (but not really new anymore) addition:

I prepared the schultüte for tomorrow, too:

So that’s pretty much it. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be, and our 13th year of homeschooling begins bright and early tomorrow morning!

2019-20 School Year–Week Thirty-Five

And so ends another school year.

It was a fairly low-key week, with no field trips (obviously), and several subjects already wrapped up. We continued taking our daily pre-lunch two mile walk around our neighborhood, and while I miss playing tennis, I have to say that time of walking and talking together has probably been my favorite thing to come out of our modified schedule, and I’ll be sad when it gets hot and we won’t want to do it anymore.

Turkey and Bunny read about the fall of Constantinople in world history, and we finished US history, with most of our attention on FDR and WWII, and a brief race through the decades following. They worked with limits of a function in pre-calculus. They also finished reviewing various comma rules in grammar, and read an ode by Phyllis Wheatley.

Ladybug wrote a 1,200 word paper on one of her favorite books to finish her writing curriculum for the year. Her final chapter in history focused on the California Gold Rush. She finished science by learning about the five senses. She also read about Paul’s final missionary journey in religion.

Chickadee finished reading The Sword in the Tree. We also finished My Father’s Dragon. She wrapped up her study of astronomy. Her math lessons were mostly review, although some more complicated borrowing when subtracting was a fun surprise for her.

Today we built a Lego set, as we always do on the last day of school. It was nice that Moose was able to be with us for our last day, even though he won’t be done (and graduated from eighth grade!), until the middle of next week. This time it was the Lego Ideas ISS, which goes well with all of our other Lego space sets!

This is the most anti-climatic last day of school I can remember, and I have to admit, it was kind of a sad day for me. I had so many things that I wanted to do in the last few months…visiting the Van Gogh exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum, touring the Mississippi River exhibit at the Missouri History Museum, spending many lovely hours walking around the Missouri Botanical Garden and sketching the spring blooms, enjoying tulip time in Forest Park, and visiting the St. Louis Zoo were all on my list. Obviously, none of that could happen, and we also haven’t been able to look forward to our annual trip to Chicago that we were supposed to take next week. I’m also trying not to think ahead to the future too much, because it scares me a little when I think of what the beginning of our next school year, Turkey and Bunny’s last year of homeschooling, could look like. I’m trying really hard to focus on the positive, so I’ll leave you with some pictures from Wednesday, when we got to play with dry ice, something we probably wouldn’t have gotten to do if it wasn’t for this weird time of isolation:

Lego Corner Garage–The Second Half

Time to take a look at the second half of the build for the Lego Corner Garage!

The second floor contains a vet’s office, which includes both the waiting and examination rooms. There were a lot of cool little builds in this section, including a neat desk lamp and a heat lamp for a frog. Two minifigs were included this time…the vet himself, and a child, who I assume is taking her pet (possibly the rabbit) for a check-up.

As always, the amazing sense of humor the Lego Group has is obvious…Dr. Jones Animal Care…No snakes!

The windows on the second floor were fun to build, too!

The third floor is home to the minifig that came in the fifth set of bags. It’s a nice little studio apartment, and it contains something hard to find on our Main Street…a BATHROOM! I especially loved building the little TV.

Even without the roof, it’s an impressive building!

The sixth set of bags was a quick an easy build…just the roof, with a nice little garden, and a place to lay out and catch some rays:

Even though I wasn’t necessarily thrilled with adding a garage of all things to my Main Street, I have to admit, it’s a nice-looking building, and I love having another corner to add to my modular grouping!

As soon as I’m certain I’m happy with the layout, I’ll shared a picture of my updated modular Main Street!

Lego Corner Garage–The First Half

Now that I’ve finished the Lego modular Bookshop, I figured I should get to work on the Corner Garage, a set I’ve had for almost a year, but hadn’t found the time to build yet. I decided that even though this building doesn’t split nicely down the middle, I’d stick with building it in two sections. Here’s a look a the first half, which included the bags numbered one through three.

As always, the bags for part one built the foundation for the set, which isn’t always too exciting. This set, however, had a very interesting feature right off the bat…a moving rack for cars to be lifted on! Also included were a mechanic and a very good boy.

The rest of the garage (and the downstairs entrance to the vet’s office located on the second floor) was built in the second set of bags. I love the moving garage door, and all of the little details in this part of the build.

The third set of bags contained the pieces to build the gas pump (and its overhang) plus the tow truck.

The tow truck gave me some fits. Because it has more moving parts than a regular Lego vehicle, it was a more complicated build, and I had to bring Turkey in to help me complete it!

Possibly my favorite part of the whole set is this sign…that is some excellent humor!

Here’s a look at the set, about half-done:

Up next…the second half of the build, including the vet’s office and an upstairs apartment, which actually contains an elusive Lego bathroom!

Lego Bookshop–The Second Half

Time for the second half of the newest Lego modular building! After building the side for which the set gets its name (the bookshop), I turned my attention to the attached apartment building. The fifth set of bags contained a minifig and the foundation for the home, which included an awesome staircase!

A second minifig was included in the sixth set of bags, and the main living space for the home, including a lovely cabinet and charming tea set, plus a really cool window, were added:

Structurally, the seventh set of bags didn’t add a lot…mostly it was just a framework, with some pretty big gaps. But it did include the bedroom, with a fun build of a bed, and a cute little dresser. (It did not include a bathroom, which is troubling to me, because I really don’t feel there are enough bathrooms for all of the minifigs that frequent my modular Main Street!)

The final set of bags finished off the exterior of the bedroom, and included a fun little balcony, plus an amazing way to build some shingles for the front side of the building around the windows:

Probably my favorite part about this set is that the two halves can be separated and displayed however you want. I mixed them up here, just to show how each arrangement looks, but in the end, when I finish my modular Main Street (for this year, anyway), I’ll have them in two completely different locations, and not connected to each other at all!

I still have last year’s modular garage to build…I’ve been holding on to it for almost a year, and I’m hoping to get started on it soon, so I can add it to the Main Street, as well, and share an updated photo of my current design!

Lego Bookshop–The First Half

I’m taking a departure from my usual Lego modular building summaries to try something new. Since the new bookshop splits down the middle into two buildings, I’m going to look at the building process for each half. First up, the eponymous bookshop. The first set of bags (there are four sets for each part), contains one minifig and builds the foundation for both the shop and the birch tree out front:

The second set of bags finishes off the first floor of the building and contains another minifig:

No additional minifigs in the third set of bags, but the second floor does contain the living area of the upstairs apartment, including a really cool grandfather clock build:

The fourth and final set of bags does introduce another minifig (the bookshop owner and resident of the aforementioned upstairs apartment), and my favorite parts of the whole build so far, the bedroom, which includes a really cool chameleon piece with a tank, a lovely autumn birch tree, and an awesome roof!

The other half of the building is residential, which my modular Main Street really needs…I’m looking forward to putting it together!

The Twenty-Fourth Day of Advent

And just like that, Advent 2019 has come to an end!

The Fab Five had only one bag of pieces to add to Lego Hogwarts Castle today…#37:

There really weren’t too many details added since Saturday…mainly some more stained glass, and the roof and tower pieces:

Turkey joined the two parts of the set together, and even though we knew what they looked like separately, I think we were all shocked by how immense (not to mention beautiful!) the entire set is!

It was quite a project, and I think a fun one!

I finished off Advent with a Prosecco from Italy:

And of course I wore my standard Christmas Eve brooch:

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving 2019

A ton of hard work went into it, but just like that, our traditional three-day Thanksgiving celebration has already come and gone!

I started baking pies bright and early Wednesday morning, while we watched some of our favorite Thanksgiving shows. As always, everyone chose a pie for our dessert table. Bunny made the caramel apple pie, and I made the other six (with some help from various children). Our lineup this year was fairly standard…pumpkin, caramel apple, cranberry apple, butterscotch, pecan, s’mores, and one new addition, peanut butter brownie, which may be the finest pie I’ve ever made!

Before I closed down the kitchen for the day on Wednesday, I also made the cranberry sauce and the stuffing, plus prepped for the turkey soup we had tonight. I was back to work Thursday morning while we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the National Dog Show (we were so excited that chonky Thor won!), but I did take a break to enjoy a cranberry beer from a local brewery:

Our dinner was actually ready a little early, which was nice, because everyone was hungry! The menu was fairly standard…turkey and gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower (a new addition to our Thanksgiving dinner), cranberry sauce, and rolls:

I love making the table look pretty!

It was a delicious dinner!

After cleaning up and watching Holiday Inn, we had pie. Lots and lots of pie:

I always have cranberry apple on Thanksgiving evening:

We always have pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving, so I got to try the peanut butter brownie pie this morning:

And we got to see Moose play with his school band in the town Santa Parade:

As always, the Fab Five built a Lego set following our lunch of turkey sandwiches. This year, it was the Winter Village Fire Station, and it’s a really nice set!

I got to build a Lego set, too…a nice free-with-purchase Christmas tree that is the perfect addition to my modular Main Street:

Tonight’s dinner was another Thanksgiving favorite…turkey soup. I really think the day after Thanksgiving has better food than the actual holiday!

And I finally tried the pumpkin pie tonight:

Yes, I did work hard, but I have to admit, after doing Thanksgiving on a broken ankle last year, it seemed a lot easier this time around!