Wednesday, November 26, 2014

9 Years Into It

9 years ago, I married a man. He was a young immature man and I was a young immature woman. We had no idea what we were doing and fought a lot. We didn't know how to be a team. We didn't know where we were going or why we wanted to go there. We just had no clue. Thankfully, God knew us well and put us together for a purpose. Slowly over time, God has been revealing that purpose to us, one step at a time. Through all the changes, we're learning to work together, give grace and help one another. I am SO thankful we've made it this far. It's truly a miracle!!

We've been in deep valleys and we've climbed high mountains.

We've made 3 amazing humans and daily, we work together to teach and shepherd these little people.

I know this is just the beginning. As long as we're both alive, we'll be doing life together. We won't always be happy, but we'll be filled with a joy and peace which surpasses all understanding. As long as I live, this man is my man. I am so grateful!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Homeschool Science

I don't use a science curriculum. It's not that I'm against them, I just feel overwhelmed by what's out there. I've found great comfort in reading about Charlotte Mason's philosophy about teaching science.  
I've learned to take advantage of every natural learning experience that comes our way. So far, we've been blessed with trips to farms, extended time with lots of different animals and hiking through the woods and up mountains. One of my favorite natural surprises was being given a dozen owl pellets to dissect!

The video below made us laugh our heads off!

For more information and instructions about dissecting owl pellets, the International Owl Center is pretty helpful.

A few months ago, our art museum hosted an amazing exhibit on Washington State birds. We could have spent hours there!!

The pumpkin farm was a great place to learn about more than just pumpkins. Getting lost in a corn maze is the perfect way to learn about direction, using your senses to guide you and listening to your gut!

Lazarus is drawing this turkey in his nature journal. So many great things to observe here!! We learned here that the wattle of a turkey engorges and turns bright red when they feel enlivened, scared or excited. We could have stayed and watched that turkey all day!

 The changing of seasons bring many opportunities for field trips. This fall, we went apple picking more than once. In fact, it was cheaper, easier and way more enjoyable to hit up the u-pick farm than braving super market traffic. We also got to spend time with friends, win win! The great part about taking a smaller group is that you get lots of time with the farmer-so many questions answered and a private tour of the farm where you learn about more than just apples.

We paired our picking outings with a cider making field trip. Again, small groups makes for great opportunities to learn so much and work hard for your cup-o-juice.

The boys even got to plant an apple tree!

 We were invited to the mountains to forage for mushrooms. Although we had no idea what to look for, we learned a lot and enjoyed finding a new spot to hike.

There it is, the beautiful Chanterelle mushroom.

We ended up with a basket full! And the views were incredible, too.

We are a one car family and on those super rainy/windy/cold days, we lend the car to papa. This means exploring our back yard! Sometimes I feel like there's nothing out there. We live in the city with only two trees and a few bushes in our yard, but the boys always surprise me.

Our most recent science lessons happened at Larrabee State Park. We learned about icicles, deciduous trees vs. evergreens, bark, ferns and cave formations.

With each outing, I'm learning to prepare myself for lots of questions. We're building up our field guide collection and even just recently bought a great bird journal. My boys are at the perfect age for hands on learning and we happen to live in THE perfect environment for learning about natural science. It's also great to be getting so much exercise and fresh mountain air!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getting Lost

Often times, the day starts and I feel lost. It's my own dang fault for not waking up at before the kids and getting my act together. Maybe when my baby starts sleeping through the night again, I will have the energy for bright and early mornings. Until then, I will continue to wake up in a fog and get lost in the day.

The days when it's really bad are the days I decide to let it all go. Sure, we continue with our routine-reading our 5 subjects for 45 minutes (Bible, poetry/Literature, history, geography, math). We sit at the table for half an hour and practice writing and phonics, but then, we're free. Free to find a patch of woods to get lost in. And we all breathe in the fresh air and pretend to be somewhere else, someone else. We get lost in our imaginations. We lose track of time. It's been so so good to just get lost with my little clan.

The Stimpson Family Nature Reserve is a new spot for us. We barely made it half a mile down the trail because of all the interesting stops made along the way. This hike is deep in the mossy forest with mushrooms galore! Two small lakes can also be found and admired from the trail which is super flat. Like I said, we didn't get very far, but we had a great time hunting for bison, bears and even rhinos!!

One of our newest spots to roam in a little trail that crosses through downtown Bellingham. It has convenient little stops near the library and post office. Halfway down the trail beneath a beautiful bridge, there is a rushing waterfall. We love to stand beside it and feel it's power.

Last week, we went a little further down the trail and discovered something pretty special. It just so happened to be salmon run season!! We watched hundreds of big strong salmon swimming upstream while dozens of people fished for them.

We've learned a lot about salmon, their life cycle and how to appropriately fish for them. The boys were interviewing everyone around them!

We've been fortunate to find numerous totem poles throughout the city, which go perfectly with our Native American unit study this month!

The Big Rock Garden is down Sylvan road off Alabama. It's a sculpture park just 5 minutes from our house. Sometimes we meet friends there for a nice walk and some nature journaling. It's been a great place for deep thought and conversation with my boys.

These are just a few of our favorite places in the city. They are prefect for fall weather when the tide is high and the beaches are cold.

And sometimes, you DO just go to the beach because you need a view with more perspective than your dirty kitchen. Boulevard Park is the perfect beach for chilly weather because of the coffee shop nearby. We spend 30 minutes doing school work while sipping on hot chocolate and an hour exploring the beach.

The more we get outside, the harder it is to come back in!