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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 –

August 2017 Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

August feels like something new, doesn’t it? The beginning of fresh adventures. Setting sail into the unknown. Looking skyward.
I hope that you enjoy this month’s artwork and that it brings a little serenity to your days.

Love,

Betony

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


High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:

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:

 

Big 33 List

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Every year for my birthday I have this funny little tradition of making a “Big ___ List” (insert number of years old). Each year, I make a bucketlist of goals/activities to try for the following year. There is one list item for each year old I turn.

(By the way, the Garden Arch picture is up there because it was an item on my Big 32 List!)

BIG 33 List:

  1. Get a Hammock
  2. Plant a fruit tree
  3. Read a Classic (I always put this one on the list, but I need a suggestion)
  4. Have a baby boy/4th Child (pretty inevitable this November… 🙂
  5. Make homemade croissants
  6. Go Camping with the whole family
  7. Have a “no spending month”
  8. Get awesomely fit after pregnancy
  9. Go see a musical in Denver
  10. See another cirque du soleil show
  11. Visit a new place
  12. Finish the Bellwether series
  13. Create/design a “sacred space”
  14. Go to the KS State Fair
  15. Finish the dining room redo
  16. Have a great solid first year of homeschooling
  17. Keep moving towards “Clearing” and minimalism in our house
  18. Complete the UNC tree walk and learn some new tree names
  19. Do the Nature Pal Exchange with the kids
  20. Finish my braided rug
  21. Finish my sunshine quilt (I hate to admit but this has been on at least 4 years of lists)
  22. Always make a double batch when cooking
  23. Be a better friend when it comes to birthdays/gifts
  24. Get something published in Uppercase Magazine
  25. Stop texting and looking at my phone while driving
  26. Redo my kitchen countertops
  27. Keep in monthly blog log of our homeschooling adventures
  28. Learn how to wire a light.
  29. Drive the Poudre Canyon road during the peak of fall colors.
  30. Eat at Acorn in Denver (or….. other suggestions?)
  31. Eat more vegetables/Get my kids to eat more vegetables
  32. Apply for an artist in residence program
  33. Don’t cut my hair so I can actually grow it out

Our First Month’s Adventure in Homeschool: August Abacus

For a lot of reasons that I am not going to dig into here yet, we decided to homeschool this year. I am so excited to share our monthly explorations and adventures here with you. I will keep everything under the tab “Abacus”.  I have been nerding out on everything “home education” – reading all sorts of parenting books, learning about all the different approaches, coming up with monthly themes, etc. I have been particularly inspired by Elle Garrels blog The New Domestic, ambleside online, and everything Charlotte Mason. That said, we are starting by exploring a mix of different approaches and mostly just exploring and having fun with it. We have also done a whole space “redo” of our dining room as our homeschooling space, that once it is fully done I promise to share pictures of here as well.

Part of my purpose of sharing our monthly activities and themes here is to keep a record for myself. Especially for those days when it feels extra hard to get anything done – and to be able to look back on for fun.

Here is our photo journal of our August:

The “First Day” photo:

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All our goodies set out on the work table for our first day + a garden bouquet with tansy and chamomile:
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The girls looking very studious:
It’s funny, because we got some math books to just “play around” in. At first Harriet did not want anything to do with it. But now, I can’t get her to stop. Not sure what caused the switch, but I’m not complaining!

One of the things I am excited to do this year is our Passport idea for Geography/World Cultures. I picked up some of these play passports on Amazon . We are going to be “visiting” a different country every month – exploring the food, culture, dress, arts, and music through themed activities. We also got this really great giant map of the world and the plan is to slowly color it in as we visit the different countries.

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Thanks to the Olympics, we chose Brazil as our first country to visit.

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For our Brazil themed activities for the month, we watched The Boy & The World (a beautifully animated Brazilian film), listened to Brazilian music and tried our hand at Samba beats, ate Brazilian food for our monthly cooking club, watched the Brazil olympics opening ceremony, and made our own gold medals out of Clay.
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For our outdoor/P.E. activities, we practiced lots of swimming, learned how to slack line, and went on a glorious family adventure bike ride along the Katy Trail in MO.

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For our nature/science explorations, we are going to be doing a once a week nature day where we mostly just have a lot of time outside to explore and follow our curiosity. But, the plan is also to always bring nature journals and field guides and see what sparks our interest. This last week we spent a peaceful refreshing morning at Homestead Nature park in Greeley.

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No week at the Coons’ house would be complete without art projects and painting.

 

 

 

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For writing, we created our second issue of “The Coons Delivery.” This funny family newspaper is completely conceptualized and written by the girls. All I do is type up there dictation. They even have a hand in the fonts and layout. All the photos and pictures are taken/drawn by them (with the exception of the comic which Lucy insisted I drew but she described everything how she wanted it to be).

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Here were our reading books for this month –

The Blue Fairy Book for Literature (we read Beauty and the Beast), Leif the Lucky for History (we are following Beautiful Feet History’s Early American List), and Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy just for fun.

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For our reading time, we have a new favorite ritual. We bring tea, blankets and a snack on the front porch. We have been trying out the Charlotte Mason idea of living books/narration – really loving it so far.

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August Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy August!

August is a month for enjoying the bountiful farmer’s markets, eating picnics in parks, and getting excited for everything “Back to School.”

We are packing to head off to Kansas for family fun and Indiana for the wonderful Escape to the Lake this month and then we will be diving into the adventure of officially starting homeschooling our kids + new work for Tim.

Enjoy!

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 iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:

AUGUST 2016 desktop

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August Ideas and Activities Around the Theme “Newspaper”

For this entire year I’ve been doing an at home curriculum with the family (Lucy 6, Hattie 3, Beatrice 10 months). Tim and I call the project “Abacus” and we’re sharing it each month for the fun, challenge, and community of it. Each month we choose a theme and then come up with a bunch of activities around that theme.
Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.
Explore past months themes here.

This one is going to be a little different. When I threw out the idea of “Newspaper” as a theme, my sister said “What?” But I love it because it has a lot of creative directions you can go.

Below is our comprehensive NEWSPAPER activities list. Choose a couple to do with your kids to enrich the month or try to accomplish the whole list! What would you add? I would love to hear your ideas and plans for the month.

Unless you count S’mores day (August 10th), there are no major holidays in August, which is actually kind of lovely. It makes August a month that isn’t defined by its holidays. It can be what you make it.

August Dates to Take Note of:

August 10th –S’mores day
August 2 – Sister Day
August 7 – National Lighthouse Day
August 12 – Vinyl Record Day (I love any excuse to get out our record player)

Local Greeley, CO events:

August 4-8 – High Plains Chautauqua – if you are in greeley and haven’t experienced this, it is a must
August 4 – Family Bike Ride
August 7 – Neighborhood Nights – Paddington Bear
Aug 14 – Neighborhood Nights -Big
August 22 – Agriculture Fest and Feast

List of Ideas and Inspiration for NEWSPAPER:

Each section of a newspaper lends itself well to all kids of activities. Try to do something for each category.

Sports
Life
News
Weather
Editorials
Food
Entertainment

We are going to make our own newspaper – interviews, comics, stories, page layout, etc. – hopefully we will print a few and actually send it out to grandmas and friends.

I love this because it has lots of important elements –

Writing Stories – Who, What, When, Where, Why, How
Interviews
Typing
Graphic Design
Photography
Documenting
Taking Notes

I am not sure how exactly this will play out, but I am excited to give it space and just experiment with the idea and see where it takes us.

Maybe we will print some of it on our very own Printing Press

 

COMICS:

Do you remember reading the “Funny Pages” as kids? All sorts of great comic strips to dig in to.
Calvin and Hobbes
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Peanuts
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Garfield
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Far Side
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And, if we are looking at comics, we should definitely try our hand and writing and illustrating our own comic strips.
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I also want to be sure to find some Sunday paper comics to enjoy.
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EXPLORE:
Take a tour of our the local paper
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Take a look at old newspapers and how they are a little snapshot of history – like this cool one we found in our crawl space when we moved into our current house.
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ART:

Make a fort out of rolled newspaper
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Make newspaper beads
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Weave newspaper baskets
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Make paper boats and hats
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Make something with paper mache  (there are some great fun animal tutorials where you start with a balloon)

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Make some Newspaper fashion! (Their is a fabulous Project Runway unconventional episode where they have to use newspapers to make clothes)
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READ:

The Greeley Tribune
The New York Times
USA Today

The Onion (grown ups)

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs
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Black and White by David Macaulay
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WATCH:

Newsies
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It Happened One Night
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PLAY:

Crosswords

Anybody remember The Mini Page?
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Have fun reporting!

August Calendar Free Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

It is August! Sometimes I think this month is one of the most unnoticed months of all. The main thing it seems to be know for is “Back to School”. August doesn’t have any major holidays, it isn’t the beginning of a new season, it’s just not that memorable. But (and I might be slightly biased seeing as it’s my birthday month), I think August needs some new PR. Our theme for August is “Newspaper.” This month is going to be about Journalism, telling stories, noticing the little things, and all things “black-and-white-and-read-all-over”.  Enjoy!  For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen. For the desktop, click on the small thumbnail below to view the large size image. (Technically the first moon landing was July 20, 1969, but I wanted a little collection of feel good articles and clippings for August, and come on, it’s the moon!)

By the way, on a fun little note, we found the “Moon is Won” newspaper in the crawl space of our house when we moved in.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:
August 2015 desktop

Two choices for iPhone Wallpaper:

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Theme for August and Poetic Intro: “Branches”

Whenever I think of August I think of it in terms of the last summer month- the last days of hot sun with everything growing and flourishing all around. I also think of family reunions. If they haven’t happened yet during the usual break people take in summer, then they will this month. Lastly, but not really lastly in these thoughts towards this wide-catching theme, I think about swings and long hours of play outside in August.

So for our Almanac this month we decided on the theme of “branches”. The growth, the roots of family and influence, play… Here’s a poem that hails all that is August!

Branches

August is a family tree
a reunion

an examining of roots
and an amazement at just how high, tall and wide
these things
can grow

The deep heat of the summer is passing
and all that sun, all that water
has given way to life on the edge of harvest,
a marvel of stretching and greenery

and the summer pause gives room for aunts and uncles and cousins
it gives room for the rumination of root and where all this comes from
it gives room in that open, blue sky for 

branches

to stretch and angle themselves closer and closer

to the light