Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Pyramid Lake Fish Ladder

A few weeks ago my friend Tara and I took our gaggle of kids out to Pyramid Lake to have a tour of the fish ladder. It was a cold, windy, grey, and wet day without any fish ready to go up into the Truckee River but it was still a great outing! We learned about the native variety of trout, the Lahontan cutthroat trout (threatened) along with the native Cui-ui a lakesucker (endangered). 

After touring the fish ladder facility with an awesome Dept. of Wildlife Ranger we went over to Popcorn beach to see the pelicans waiting on the fish and to have a bit of a picnic. There were a ton of pelicans and we learned that one of the small islands there is the largest pelican rookery in North America! Popcorn Rock is a bulbous tufa formation like the pyramid in the lake that it is named for!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

2015-16 School Year Blogging Bust...

This school years blogging was a complete bust! School was not, thankfully! We are in our final 4 weeks of our school year which is behind when we usually finish up. But you know those "Homeschooling in Crisis" articles and posts. Well this year we have lived it. We have had plenty of hard years, some which could even fit the "crisis" label in the past, hard pregnancies and new babies, moves, unemployment, homelessness (without our own but family took us in)...we have run the gamut of life experience. Going into this year I knew we would need to be flexible, in April of 2015 my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She did treatment all summer, we went back and forth to help through those months, I expected to do that through out the school year. We pushed back starting school a couple extra weeks when she needed more care, I spent two weeks with her leaving my family behind at the end of August/beginning of September. With this in mind I was proactive and prepared everything ahead of time, including my handy dandy book I make each year. But I was not prepared for a phone call two weeks after retuning home saying I needed to come now. The three hardest phone calls I've ever had to make and an hour and a half later my kids and I were on the road for the 10 hour drive. And then she died. That was not the plan. The plan was to take care of her all school year. Not for school to be interrupted with death and estate needs and memorial travels. But it did. And we have four weeks left.

That said I have something more to share. All those crisis articles were good, it was stored up knowledge I had but there is something they did not cover. Homeschooling was an anchor. Yes I gave myself permission to be easy with myself, yes there were days I could not even muster enough to feed my family but schooling was an escape of sorts. We could compartmentalize the grief and open a book to escape and learn. I could be ok for that time I taught Leili the letter families, I could be ok while dusting off the parts of my brain that use to know how to do 5th grade math, I could be ok while learning about the beautiful art of the Renaissance. And those moments of being ok got us through. Homeschooling is an added responsibility when crisis comes but it can also be comfort and and anchor.

My handy dandy school book!
The kids on our first day of the school year.
This was an instagram photo of mine dated just 10 days after she died. I captioned it, "The tornado of a homeschooling morning and it's effects on my family room. Whew...I survived. This time." Looking back on any kind of journaling is interesting, I can see that I was not talking about homeschooling I was just surviving. But I was doing it through homeschooling.
A smattering of books from this week.
This weeks pages of schooling, Riley's are blank because he was taking online classes and finished the week before.
And the kids now...older, wiser, and more compassionate for the year we have had.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Mom School!

During the holidays when our studies where a little lighter and I wanted to share something interesting with the kids we did a couple weeks of learning about Julia Childs! I love to cook and I have a couple kids who enjoy cooking and well we all LOVE to eat good food so this turned out to be tons of fun! 
We watched a few episodes of her original black and white show, and some of the newer ones. PBS has some available and there a lots on youtube too!
This was such a treasure...so much so I *almost* was a bad library lover and did not return it. It was an original first edition! The Potato-Leek soup was VERY tasty and very yummy!
This was a fun comic style book all about her life, Bon Appetit! ~ the kids enjoyed it.
They also though she was wildly hysterical!!
This was the kids favorite book we read about her, Minette's Feast ~ its all about her cat!
And then we fell in love with her a little more when we turned to this picture at the back of the book...Minette was a tortie! It takes a special person to love and be loved by a tortie!!

Riley was so gung-ho to make crepes but being knowing their reputation I was a little nervous so I kept putting him off...so he just jumped right in not knowing that they can be tricky and made GREAT crepes! He even followed her directions and was flipping them in the air! It was awesome!
Another great resource is that her kitchen is in the Smithsonian and you can take a virtual tour.
Not to share as a family but on my own I read My Life in France and Julie and Julia, (and watched the movie) which is what started this whole interest in Julia Childs! They were both interesting reads in their own ways. 
Do you have a favorite Julia Childs recipe?
Bon App├ętit! 

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


Just a couple little snippets of schooling to share today!
Our fall nature table is always one of my most favorite!
We had the most amazing science class right out our front door. A monarch butterfly came out of it's chrysalis on our front porch in one of my plants. The kids named it Dotty!
Homeschool co-op went well, Fern my artist loved her second ceramics class.
Leili and I have been going through the capital letters, we are having a lot of fun (some of it sentimental as I think this is the last time I will do this)!!
My knitting class at our homeschool co-op finished up my dyeing yarn with kool-aid! 
Some friends and I started a littles outdoor school once a week for our 5 year olds, it is so nice to have a whole morning outside with these fun kids.

Fern and I did a little research on our foraging and Fern made it into a bar graph. Rose hips for us!

And a little peek at our table, we don't always work at the table but sometimes it works well for us. I am thinking it will soon be time to spend a day a week doing our school work in the downtown library where it is full of plants, all warm and green!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Good Beginnings!

We started up our school year and what a couple weeks we've had!
We officially started school and I tried to get a picture with the kids all showing what grade they were in (I tried to get Leili to sign "K" but really it just looked like she was flashing gang signs...)!
Leili was up at the crack of dawn asking if she was a kindergartner yet, she got all of her school work done before any of the older kids were out of bed! Just she and mama.
The first week we of course started with the letter A, I can remember doing this with the other kids. It is sad that this is my last kindergartener.
We also made a morning candle for while we say our verses and do some finger plays. Leili really enjoyed this!
Leili and I also made bees for our nature table. We have so many bees this year!
And then we started homeschool co-op.This session we are taking all 3 hours, this is a big change for us and quite a commitment!!!
I am hoping this good start is a good omen for the year!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014-15 Ready to Roll!

Well here we go shoving off into the new school year! How is it that I have all 4 kids school age this year?!? Yes my little one is kindergarten so not major academics, but still this is crazy! Here is a look into this years mama's school book, things get wiggled a bit but for the most part this is the plan for the year. (Sorry some of the photos came out blurry I have no idea how that happened!)

As usual we are using Oak Meadow for the majority of the subjects, we do not do their social studies or history. It is just easier on this mama to do that together as a group. I am considering doing Fern and Jake's science together to also help with the amount of material I am teaching and time. As you can see there is also a little Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling and TJed thrown in too! I have learned over the years that homeschool labels are generally just narrowing and constricting and so I don't label our philosophy. We take what works for our family from wherever we find it and call it good!
If you have any questions let me know! I'm happy to share!