Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Fall is in the air!

This week marks our second week back since our break, which was so very nice; Loverly Husband was able to take the latter half of the week off as well, so we went with some friends down to Galveston for a day spent on the beach – so much fun!

Last week was pretty easy-going – just a normal school week, but the weather… oh, the weather! We had our first cool front of the season come through on Oct. 1st, which has been so amazing! I have been ready for sweater-weather since, oh… May… and so far the weather is holding in the 60’s-80’s range and I am in heaven.

I am peppering this post with lovely fall foliage because here down South, we don’t get the kinds of color changes that the Northern states get. Even though I have lived in the South my whole life, I miss fall foliage. I feel like it’s something that I had once and have lost – it’s such a weird feeling! So this is as close as I am going to get.

Like I mentioned above, we spent a lot of time on the beach when we were out of school. The weather is perfect to beachy-time fun – not blisteringly hot, and the water is right on the cusp of cold. It makes for such a great day. The place that we’ve been going is nice, too. It’s a city-kept park, so the sand is clean (well, as clean as sand can be, I suppose) and swept – only bad thing about that is the lack of collectibles – they all get swept away. But the water is nice, too – no seaweed touching me under the waves – I actually went out chest-deep in the water with the kids to play.

We took a field trip to Lutcher Theater in Orange to see ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’, a story about a man who lived in  a barren area of France and spent his time herding sheep and planting acorns. Eventually, the acorns grew, and turned the desolate plain into a lush forest. This particular performance was by the Edinburgh-based Puppet State Theatre Company, which is known for  its clever combination of puppetry, storytelling, choreography as a multi-sensory experience. I have to say that this is one of my favorite performances we’ve been to in a while. Since it was a small play; just the two gentlemen pictured and a small set with a handful of puppets and props, the theater opted to hold the performance backstage – so the kids got to see how ‘behind the scenes’ works. It was such a nice, intimate feeling.

The artists, themselves were amazing. Very calm and they just made it such a great experience! They sprinkled lavender essential oil on a huge fan and wafted the scent through the theater, spritzed the kids with water-guns, waved birds on strings right over our heads and wrapped up with the scent of fresh mint. It was really a wonderful performance!

If you’re interested in seeing the story, there’s an animated version of the book on Vimeo here. A slight content warnings from 7:00 to 7:40; 14:00 to 14:15,  if you have sensitive littles, but other than that, it’s very similar to the performance. There’s a study guide for the performance at Lutcher Theater’s website here, if you’re interested in using this as a unit study.

From a secular viewpoint, there are a couple of mentions of God and creation, but depending on your viewpoint, this could be simply a figure of speech shaped by culture, especially in light of a comment made about ‘man being as effective at God in something other than destruction’, and about Elzéard Bouffier’s accomplishments ‘being worthy of God’. There are references to Lazarus emerging from the tomb, and to the land of Canaan – again, this could be a literary reference rather than a religious one.

In other news, Loverly Husband and I also both had belt tests this past week – I’m a yellow belt and he is an orange belt now. That makes everyone in our family officially a ‘colored’ belt! The kids will both (hopefully) test in December.

This week, we went with our homeschool group to the Fire Museum of Texas in celebration of Fire Safety Week. Their theme this year is ‘have 2 ways out’, so we talked about the door as our primary escape route, and how to safely exit a window – our house is old and the windows are hard to open, so just open and exit wouldn’t work. They’d need to break the glass safely (eyes away from the window), and to lay a towel or blanket over the sill and shoes or another blanket to cover the ground below the window in order to avoid cut feet. We reviewed all of our fire safety plan for our house and checked the alarms and batteries; between this and the recent 911 Operations Center field trip, the kids are well-rehearsed in what to do in case of an emergency!

One of the things I really wanted to work on this year was community service oriented projects. So far, we’ve participated in the Adopt-A-Beach program at Sea Rim State Park, and spent an afternoon making get well cards to Houston veterans; up next is part of the kids’ environmental science curriculum. I’m really proud of how the boys have stepped up and made these projects fun to do.

They’ve chosen the Save A Manatee Club as their beneficiary and are raising funds to adopt a manatee through their program. They need a total of $70 to meet their goal; with fundraising season being in full swing in the public school system (we’ve bought cookie dough from several kids in our dojo, and contributed to Jump Rope for Heart), I figure now is a s good a time as any for the boys to work on their campaign. All of the funds raised, both in person and online will go to the Save A Manatee Club in Florida.

The boys have each chosen a manatee that they’d like to adopt this year. PeaGreen chose NICK, who is a small adult male who was first identified in 1977. His movements have been tracked by radio telemetry, producing information on behavior such as going north, rather than south, in midwinter — hence his nickname, “Crazy Nick.” http://www.savethemanatee.org/adopt_blue_spring.htm; and LBB chose BAMA, a manatee who made history in September 2009 when she became the first manatee ever captured and tagged in Alabama waters by Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network. Now a local attraction in Mobile Bay in the spring and summer, Bama has migrated from Alabama to Crystal River, Florida each winter. http://www.savethemanatee.org/adopt_alabama.html

Looking at the age ranges of some of these animals, I am surprised at how old they are, and at how long they’ve been being tracked. Some of them are travelers, too! We’re starting a lapbook on manatees as well, to go with this project (so look for that to be posted soon)!

Click the picture to be taken to our GoFundMe page if you’d like to donate to help the boys meet their goal!

Unfortunately, my computer in the school room (where I normally compose my blog posts) is acting up, or I’d have more pictures for this post – I’ll either update this post or just make a new one when I get that computer up (hopefully this evening).

This coming week is full of fun stuff – Vampire Diaries premiere  … and a bunch of other stuff. The main thing is the VampDiaries season premiere though. {wink} I’m hosting a silly fangirl party for all of my thirty-something girlfriends to come squee like 15 year olds, lol. Silly, indulgent fun, that. Looking forward to it!

Hope your week is busy being awesome!
Warmly,
~h

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