January 2018 Adventures in Homeschooling

Two years ago we began homeschooling Lucy (8), Hattie (6), Beatrice (3), and Arlo (1). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

JAPAN:

We continued our world tour this month with a “trip” to Japan. This was definitely one of our favorite countries/cultures yet! I surprised the girls by setting up a Japanese style low table in the middle of our dining room with zen inspired decorations and gave them each a silk kimono (twelve dollars on amazon!).

We had a Japanese tea party –

We practiced calligraphy and mark making with these lovely Teagas water scrolls –

We played with origami –

And REALLy loved getting to try all these yummy Japanese snacks from our TopMunch box!

  Watched fascinating videos about silkworms and zen gardens –  

We of course went out for sushi at the end of the month!

SNOW:

A reoccuring theme for January for us is “Snow”! Thanks Colorado!

A day at the best sledding hill –

All the snow books –

Building a funny snow man (snow deer?)

Painting snowy scenes

READING:

Lots of letter play for this little one –

The two big girls joined the Secret Society of Letter Writers

And for Harriet this month we worked REALLY hard to read every day. She has been doing so great!

Polymer Clay and Stop Motion:

We had lots of fun making some little stop motion videos with my iphone and also made lots of oven bake figures.

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ART:

So many fun art projects this month. Buzzy helping me do the underpainting on a canvas –

Painting owls inspired by Owl Moon

Painting our to-do list clip boards

Face painting fun

And a really cool art show up at the university

BOOK CLUB:

For book club this month, we read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

We got to experience Chinese Hot Pot

 

Went on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon

Had a great discussion

And celebrated the Year of the Dog

DINOSAURS:

Our Natural History Museum at a really cool touring exhibit of dinosaur skeletons, so we adventured to Denver to check it out.

Digging for dinosaur fossils

HOMEMAKING:

Some days, when the chaos is winning, it is best to take the morning off from normal homeschool and learn about the lost arts of homemaking. Headphones and fun music help (Annie soundtrack all the way for these girls)

Harriet came up with her own recipe for Orange Cake. Turned out pretty tasty!

A dinner Lucy and Harriet made.

One day Lucy really wanted to build something. So they designed, built, and painted this shelf with a cup holder for next to their bed.

March 2018 Desktop Wallpaper

We almost bought a house last week. We put an put an offer in, dreamed about flipping a dusty ugly place into something beautiful, had our offer turned down, put another offer in, cried a lot about the emotion of leaving a house we love, started the process of getting ready to list our house, talked to the kids about moving, talked the kids down from both crazy excitement and mourning, worried about all the money bits, and worried more. And then, after all that, had our offer turned down in favor of a lower one (without a contingency).

Still not sure why we had to go through all of that emotional wreckage, or where it will lead. Obviously my hopelessly optimistic heart would like it to mean there is something better out there waiting for us… But that is yet to come.

So this months image is about homes – past and future. The bones that we live within. Our migration of moving. Packing our belongings and moving from one structure to the next. Taking and making home where we land.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

The poem this month is one that Tim found while running when we were first married. It was taped to an overpass on a scrap of paper. It was only recently that we discovered that it was from a Jewel lyric.

Joy, Pure Joy, I am

What I always wanted

to grow up and be

Things are becoming

more of a dream with

each waking day-

The heavy brows of Daily Life

are becoming encrusted

with glitter and the shaking finger

of consequence is

beginning to giggle

Grumpy old men

have wings

Burns sport Halos

and everyday dullness

has begun to breathe

as I remember the

incredible lightness

of living

Jewel lyrics from “On Moving into my Van”

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

 

And don’t forget! Our new album is finally available for preorder – here!! 

December 2017 Adventures in Homeschooling

Last year we began homeschooling Lucy (8), Hattie (6), Beatrice (3), and Arlo (1). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

Cardboard Fun:

With all the Christmas shipments (and a couple of new tool purchases for art projects), we found ourselves with an awesome stash of large cardboard boxes.

As well as revisiting this favorite book –

We made all sorts of fun structures.

A castle with multiple rooms and a draw bridge –

A gingerbread house –

Handmade Gifts:

We had a lot of fun making homemade gifts this year. For grandparents, the kids designed and made wood cut out paintings. It was neat listening to them decide what image to make for each person. A fish for grandpa ed because he loves painting, a pie for grandmama because she is the queen of pie making, a girl with a dress for grandma DiDi because she loves buying little girl’s dresses, etc.

As part of our science club, we made bath bombs. So easy and fun! Next time I want to try hiding little surprises in the middle!

Bookclub! A Step back in History…

Our homeschool bookclub is turning into this magical much anticipated event. This month we read Benjamin West and his cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry. A historical fiction story about the father of American painting.

We experimented with making our own colors our of clay and charcoal, made quill pens out of turkey feathers, and practice life drawings of cats.

We feasted on homemade porridge at the “Door Latch Inn”

And even tried Peas with Honey (a funny reference from the books)

And learned how to play Blindman’s Bluff

Some Tinkering Engineering Play:

Hydraulics, robotics, and engineering. What a fun world we live in. So many cool topics to explore and neat things to make. And so thankful for grandparents gift subscriptions, uncles sending cool robots, and libraries sharing their resources.

Homemaking & Home Baking:

We have started having one day a month of learning about simple home making skills – how to fold laundry, how to iron, things like that.

We didn’t make huge batches of Christmas cookies for neighbors this year because our kitchen was torn up for most of December (an unexpected dishwasher replacement) and an expected and much anticipated new countertop and backsplash!

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But when it was finally done, we broke the new kitchen in with a glorious sugar cookie explosion of awesomeness with the help of Grandma DiDi.

Snapshots of Christmas Goodness:

I love this time of year so much it makes my heart hurt. Here are a few moments from December that I want to remember.

   

New Years Eve:

Instead of heading to KS this year, we had a little staycation (and played ALOT of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey) and then had a fun night with friends on New Years Eve

Happy New Year Friends! May your 2018 be as fresh and beautiful as these paper whites, but hopefully not nearly as stinky.

January 2018 Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

 

Happy New Year friends! It’s a new day. A whole new year. Everything is waiting for you.

I am going to try something a little different this year for my desktop wallpapers. The theme of “MIGRATION” keeps coming back to me, so I am going to try out having a connecting thread for the wallpaper artwork.  I love this idea of movement from one place to another, of traveling great distances, of coming back home. Each desktop this year will be exploring that theme.

Secondly, I want to include a poem/writing that inspires the artwork – a centering writing to reflect on for the month. We heard this piece by David Whyte on the On Being podcast. It is a beautiful piece for a new year.  “Or the window latch grants you freedom” is the line that inspired my artwork.


For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.


“Everything Is Waiting for You”

 Your great mistake is to act the drama
 as if you were alone. As if life
 were a progressive and cunning crime
 with no witness to the tiny hidden
 transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
 the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
 even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
 the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
 out your solo voice. You must note
 the way the soap dish enables you,
 or the window latch grants you freedom.
 Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
 The stairs are your mentor of things
 to come, the doors have always been there
 to frighten you and invite you,
 and the tiny speaker in the phone
 is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the
 conversation. The kettle is singing
 even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
 have left their arrogant aloofness and
 seen the good in you at last. All the birds
 and creatures of the world are unutterably
 themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

November 2017 Adventures in Homeschooling

Last year we began homeschooling Lucy (8), Hattie (6), Beatrice (3), and Arlo (1). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

Writing and Letter Forms:

As part of our history reading, we learned about Cuneiforms which then led to making our own fonts and lettering.

Harriet had her first show and tell at her Homeschool Access kindergarten class. She worked very hard filling out her “Read All About Me” Poster.

Arlo’s 1st Birthday:

On November 18th, this handsome, ornery, little dude turned One!! I can’t even believe it. He has discovered the joy of food.

He always seems to have a mischievous little twinkle in his eyes.

His tiny makeshift snowman birthday cake made out of cake pops.

Enjoying his cake pop under his new name banner (a one year old tradition for all the kids)

And another birthday celebration with grandparents in Kansas.

Playing with a birthday gift from his Aunt and Uncle. 

Around the World:

To learn the continents, we made our own fun version of pin it maps, really enjoyed this Hopscotch song about the continents, and played map games.

We kept adding to our museum of world monuments by making a great wall of China, a Statue of Liberty, and a Sphinx.

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We took the Statue of Liberty downtown to visit our own tiny Statue of Liberty (right after reading Her Right Foot – which was so great).

We enjoyed another Top Munch box – this time from Germany!

Science Club:

We started an impromptu science club. Our first experiment was to remove the chlorophyll from leaves, then we did some experiments with old Halloween candy, and finally we made lungs out of old plastic bottles and balloons! So fun!

Art and Crafting:

Lucy immediately decided our house was not festive enough and added tiny hats, trees, reindeer antlers, and presents to all the photos/artwork.

 

We made handprint turkeys

Someone got over her fear of the hot glue gun.

I made a ridiculous thing. Peg dolls for days….

Lots of late night sketching

Decorating paper christmas trees

 

Gaming:

I like for November to be our family game night. So I usually add a few new games to our collections. This year I found these beautiful spectrum cards.

This silly but awesome game called “There’s a Moose in my House”

And my current favorite, Qwirkle

In the Kitchen:

Would it even be November without lots of wonderful goodies to bake?

Two books really dominated our kitchen decision making this November. Baking Class for the kids, and Bravetart for me. Both are great.

   

Homemade graham crackers from Bravetart.

Practicing knife skills

Lucy baking braided bread

And Lucy making her first original contribution to the Thanksgiving feast

And Music:

Music always together. Usually with a little brother crowding in on the fun.

In the Prairie and Great Outdoors:

We got to go home to Kansas for Thanksgiving this year which meant lots of beautiful walks on the farm/prairie.

 

 

A couple of woodworking projects –

we built a teeter toter just for fun out of random scrap boards.

 

And I worked on cutting pieces for an upcoming project in Houston

Thanksgiving:

We feasted and celebrated. It was beautiful. We are full.

Matching Thanksgiving outfits from Grandma DiDi and Grandpa Ed

 

Discovering and Rediscovering the magic of Calvin and Hobbs together.

Our thankful tree

And an adorable pilgrim girl

 

Much love from us,

October’s Adventures in Homeschooling

Last year we began homeschooling Lucy (8), Hattie (6), Beatrice (3), and Arlo (1). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

Anatomy and Physiology:

For October we did a whole anatomy and physiology exploration because – skeletons!
Our favorite layered body puzzle. We all really love this, lovely wood pieces.

I picked up this cool skeleton model at Target on clearance a few years ago. Its great for learning all the organs and bones.

Some magic school bus reading –

Looking at diagrams of the different systems of the body as well as playing with some cool body rubber stamps I found at a yard sale over the summer. (Book is the Firefly Visual Dictionary)

Art:

The girls helped me get my moon painted for my installation piece for the Children’s Museum in Denver.

And helped celebrate the closing of my time as Artist in Residence.

We learned about Leonardo Da Vinci and the Mona Lisa. Here is lucy with her Mona Lisa, smiling her Mona Lisa smile.

Harriet “painting the world blue” at the Children’s Museum’s VW bug installation.

 

Buzzy (and Lucy) painting at easels at the museum

Harriet putting on a shadow puppet show for Arlo

 

 

Lucy and I participated in Inktober (a fun instagram challenge to paint one ink sketch a day for the month of October)

Autumn Goodness:

We collected leaves and tried our hand at preserving them by dipping them in beeswax. Which we then made into a lovely wall hanging.

Collecting and breaking acorns to make acorn flour.

Learning about Andy Goldsworthy (watch this documentary if you haven’t!) and collecting a spectrum of leaves.

A trip to a local farm for fall festivities –

 

 

Our first snow of the year!

Enjoying the fallen leaves by making “leaf angels”

Apple picking!!

Halloween:

And alllllllll the halloween goodness.

Carving jack-o-lanterns

 

 

Howl-o-ween at Centennial Village

 

 

 

Lucy bobbing for an apple –

A trip to Pumpkin-Pickers-Paradise –

 

And we made our own scary movie – “Nightmare Mansion”! Complete with all kinds of cool special effects.

Making Halloween decorations

And our yearly reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven (made better by pop up books)

India/Diwali:

Thanks to a delicious Top Munch box, we learned about Diwali and got to taste all kinds of traditional Indian snacks. (and dressed up in costumes…)

Making a mandala from rice and beans –

Coloring India on our giant world map –

Reading Club:

We had our very first Homeschool book club! Our book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was so so fun.

Homemade “golden ticket” invitations –

Picking out candy favors for the party at Rocket Fizz candy shop –

The whole crew with their candy sculptures! –

We ended the night with Chocolate fondue! (a melted river of Wonka’s chocolate)

 

 

Lucy’s homemade candy factory machine –   

Mazes and Labyrinths:

Visiting the corn maze (where we tried the Left hand on the wall trick, and it failed, ha ha because of this bridge in the middle!)

We tried it again at the pumpkin patches maze and this time it worked, phew.

 

A favorite game – Labyrinth! (Master Labyrinth is really fun too)

And we had a blast solving all the mysteries in Graham Bases “Mysterium” book

Electronics:

We got our first Tinker Crate in the mail and it was so fun! The girls built their own spin art machine! So well designed and educational! Can’t wait to do more of these. Thanks grandmama!!

We also have been having a blast with Snap Circuits – a very cool electronics kit for kids. This is Lucy making an FM radio! It worked!

 

Miscellaneous :

I missed posting this in August, but here is our yearly newspaper, the Coons Delivery

Harriet Orchard lost her first tooth!

The tooth fairy brought her this homemade doll – her name is Sky

The girls made a play dough feast out of a batch of homemade play dough we made.

And finally, we took the girls out to their first experience in really fancy dining at Acorn in Denver to celebrate my time at the Children’s Museum. They did a great job trying lots of new foods. Not a great photo, sorry, I was too busy snarfing down all the things…

November 2017 Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

November is my favorite transition month. The days moving from autumn into winter. Enjoy this cozy new wallpaper for your screens. Much love,

Betony

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers:

September’s Adventures in Homeschooling

Last year we began homeschooling Lucy (8), Hattie (6), Beatrice (3), and Arlo (10 months). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

I am a little behind and trying to get caught up (four kids man…) so this month is mostly just a picture journal. Enjoy the show!

School and ABCs:

One day a week homeschool enrichment program started up for Lucy and Harriet (her first time!)

Baby schooling for Arlo ha ha –

Letter play for Beatrice

Front porch reading/tea time

Beautiful new alphabet tracing board from Treasures from Jennifer

All sorts of alphabet play (An Artist’s Alphabet by Messenger, Animalia by Graeme Base)

Animal name alphabet matching

Such a weird and silly book!

Africa/Geography/History:

Did a little general Africa study this month

Building sand and rock maps as part of our history study.

Architecture:

We read several fun books about famous building and then made our own popsicle stick houses – which turned into troll houses and led to endless play with their tiny troll dolls (“Branch” and “Lily”)

 

The girls also built some epic block structures

Art:

Buzzy created her first paintings.

Lucy had a great time drawing fairies

They also visited me at the Children’s museum and had a great time exploring all the cool things there. Here is Lucy trying out my stage art piece

A little “Greeley Gothic”

I sorted all my old jewelry making supplies which led to several days of jewelry making for the girls.

And lastly, we found a really cool velvet embossing kit at the thrift store. Such a fun and easy process!

Kansas and the State Fair:

We took a mid month trip back to Kansas and spent the week having a blast at the State Fair there.

Riding all the rides –

The beautiful quilts on display in the Domestic Arts Building –

Experiencing what it is like to milk a cow –

Sunflowers!

Fun on the giant slide

Arlo meeting Daisy the sheep

Math:

Our very favorite math books – Beast Academy. So So fun.

In Beast Academy we are learning all about shapes, so we played with Tangrams

and some Teddy Bear math –

Music:

Piano lessons started up – although practicing is made a little more difficult by younger siblings.

So that is when we have to get out the tiny piano

Listening to a marching band parade in KS

We listened to Classical Kids “Vivaldi: Ring of Mystery” and learned about different instruments in the orchestra and also learned about the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura – so neat!!

PE:

Playing mini golf in Hutchinson, KS!

Dance classes kicked off and somebody is finally old enough to have her own class!

Autumn Fun Outside:

Learning how to fish with Grandpa Ed

Picking apples

Enjoying the animals at a petting zoo in downtown Greeley during Ag Fest

Poudre river trail races

We read My Side of the Mountain which led to all kinds of nature collecting, learning about eating in the wild, and tree walks to find edible nature finds.

Lucy also picked up whittling

Seed Study:

I love this series of books by Aston/Long – This month we focused on A Seed is Sleepy and had a lovely afternoon collecting all different kinds of seeds.

Garden Gathering:

We enjoyed the last fruits and veggies of the garden.

Birthdays:

We have two important birthdays in September. Buzzy turned 3 and Harriet turned 6!

 

August Homeschooling Journal Catch up…

This is a homeschooling photo journal of Lucy (8), Hattie (5), Beatrice (2), and Arlo (8 months). We’re including this on our Giants & Pilgrims blog as all our family adventures seem to impact our art & music so much! Also, we just like sharing the stories. So we’ll be sharing posts on the themes we’ve been covering each month and calling the adventure “ABACUS”! Our hope is that these posts will help spark creative direction and inspiration for your family as well as giving us somewhere to be document and record our experiences.

Escape to the Lake:

Photos from “camp” at Under the Radar’s Escape to the Lake – a festival Tim and I get to play at in late August.

Rock climbing wall –

Lucy helped Tim lead “Rootbeer & Hymns” on her little red ukelele

Kayaking on the lake –

Playing in the sand –

A stop off on the way home to visit Mark Twain’s boyhood home

And a little bakery education –

First Day of Homeschool and ABC’s:

The night before our first day of homeschool. I got the kids each a new library bag from Out of Print Books.

Making a set of felt alphabet cards together –

A first day of school picture on the front porch – can’t win them all 🙂

Harriet practicing her letter sounds

Farmyard:

One of our themes for August was everything Farm! We kicked it off with a really fun visit to Deanna Rose Farmstead Park in Overland Park Kansas.

Pony rides –

Bottle feeding baby goats –

Tractor racing –

Picking grapes at our own tiny farm –

Homemade farmers market –

Making their own play farm (complete with bunny pen)

Sneaky farm math –

Pig pancakes to kick off our Charlottes Web read-aloud –

Cutting practice –

“Milking” a cow –

Play at our own farm park in Greeley –

Eclipse:

All sorts of wonderful Eclipse fun since we were very close to the zone of Totality –

Eclipse paintings –

A piece of artwork I painted live at a house concert –

Viewing the eclipse –

crescent shaped shadows

Eerie light mid day –

Art/Art History:

Amazing art installation at UNC gallery –

“Cave explorers” discovering the cave paintings at Lascaux

   

History:

Before digging into our fun new history book we did a little looking back at the kids histories in their keepsake albums.

And we did an interview of Grandma Didi to look at our own family history –

Geography:

For Geography we tried out a TopMunch box (snacks, music, and history curated from somewhere in the world) – this month was all about Paris

Reading and Robots:

More robot building for this little engineer –

And SO SO many books read –

All of us enjoyed getting back to our morning tea time on the front porch with stories –

October 2017 Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy October friends! Goodbye summer!

I been enjoying reading this Mary Oliver Poem called Song for Autumn

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think
 
of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

 

Much love,

Betony

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the image you want. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen or both.

iphone wallpapers: