Monday, December 31, 2018

End of the year, Part 1

My last post was too many photos before I started to explain what they were all about, especially since they involved two different houses!
This time I'll try to provide some context for what I'm sharing.
We finished our lessons earlier in December and took one week as an exam/review week. I used as my guide the Exams provided on the Ambleside Online website. I don't do everything they suggest, but pick and choose what I want to explore with my kids. Laura records many of her exam narrations on our tablet since she's not ready to write her own written narrations. Her exams also require her to draw pictures, write some lines of poetry from memory and complete math questions. Seth types his narrations and is not interested in recording himself anymore on the tablet. I know that he will likely want to listen to these recordings someday when he is 'mature' so I will likely push for him to give a few more recordings if nothing else as good feedback for elocution practice.
After exam week was complete we gave ourselves over to cleaning and organizing the unpacked and neglected areas of our home, mostly the finished basement. I put together the disassembled Playmobil sets following some online manuals and hunted down bits and pieces for all scattered parts. I glued several items and reunited figures with their hair and their hats. All in all, it was time-intensive work, but also very satisfying.
Solo Christmas shopping trips also took me out for the morning or the afternoon and I took great pleasure in rummaging in the second hand shops for clothes, toys and vintage items as well as hitting the local toy shops for other items on my list.
Shane's work had their annual Christmas party and this time the venue was an art museum in the city. We battled an hour of traffic on the highway and made it just in time for drinks and hors d'oeuvres and awkward conversations before finding our assigned table for a three course meal and dessert. Then a local band that has been hired in previous years started playing and people hit the dance floor and others played some of the jumbo board games that had been set up. I wandered around part of the art museum before we headed out.

They started excavating the lots next to us and had to bring in a bull ram to jackhammer through the bedrock. Yes, it was disturbing, distressing and also amazing to see them dig the giant holes needed for these homes. So much earth and shattered rock has to be moved out and around and then back in after the foundations have been poured and the heavy machinery all around our house is both loud and intriguing. I'm sure they must see me standing by my bathroom window snapping away with my camera or peering out from my covered porch as a giant dump truck sneaks past.
Thankfully the framing will go fast and the outside work will settle down as they work on putting the insides of the houses together.

While I can't share the photos with you, I can tell you of the wonderful times we share with our church family and other homeschooling families.
I share the teaching responsibilities of a Sunday School class with my homeschooling friend Katie. We take turns going over the Bible lesson and we find ways for the children to respond and retell the Bible story through different forms of narration. We spent our last Sunday for this year in early December retelling the Christmas story of Jesus' birth and then sharing Christmas cookies and a craft with them. We work with the six and seven year olds and also my Kate and we have sweet fellowship with them.
We also have homeschool friends who we meet with for various learning activities, nature study and outdoor play and we ended our fall session with a Christmas recital and party hosted by one of the families.
In other homeschooling circles, we meet with two other families for Shakespeare, nature study and more outdoor play. While we were not able to all be together for a Christmas party, we did host some of the children for an afternoon of play at our house. I am so very thankful for all these families who give our family friendship, encouragement and camaraderie.
Kate turned eleven this year and we celebrated her birthday with good friends coming to see us at different times all in one day. She was gifted her favorites of doll clothes and clothes for her. She also received a jeep to share with Laura for their dolls and stuffed animals. She had a wonderful weekend and was well-wished by friends and family, near and far.

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