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Weekly Wrap-Up: Nature, Learning, and Books

Jack in the Pulpit. You can just see the brown ‘Jack’ in the old-fashioned ‘pulpit.’ It is an amazing plant!

In my life these weeks

Spring, gardening, walks, playing in the ice cold river, wild flowers, a March for Life, and more.  It has been a busy time, but we’ve enjoyed so much.  We even visited an organic farm that had cows, sheep, and goats with bells on!

In our homeschool

Mr. 18 is working hard as he nears the end of his high school career. He’s focusing on the sciences and math, and for happy breaks we read our Dutch novel aloud together.

Miss 15 is managing to do some logic and science again, as well as a lot of reading, but she’s still often tired.

The Little Misses are working less and less as they near the end of the school year.  Sigh!

Miss 12 wrote her first math competition.  The studying and the actual competition itself were great math learning as well as valuable life experience.  The rest of her schoolwork, however, seem like a burden to her.  Reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes seems so much more fun and useful.  And why do science if you could be making up complicated codes?

Miss 10 finds it harder than ever to focus on bookwork with this beautiful weather.  She wanders far away to read her books out loud to the dogs near a creek surrounded by wild flowers.  She tries to put bug hats on the dogs who are suffering from black flies.  She hides in the rhubarb bushes, just for fun, and is trying to make a kite. We do insist on the basics every day, but I’m so tempted to drop the rest and just let her be busy outside.  She always uses her time well and would be an excellent candidate for unschooling.

For Picture Study we’re doing Velazquez, using the Ambleside Online picture suggestions.  Why Velazquez?  Because we just read I, Juan de Pareja out loud, about Velazquez’s servant and friend.  If you want an introduction to long-ago life in Spain and Italy, this book is superb, and it will make the artist come alive too.

Our Nature Study:  I finally photographed a Jack-in-the-pulpit properly, which is difficult because the ‘pulpit’ part is always surrounded by 6 leaves. The trilliums are just opening, and the adder’s tongues just closing. A pileated wood pecker’s call filled the morning air, and different birds are everywhere.  An enormous raccoon clambered around one of our trees for a while, to the dismay of a black squirrel.  Miss 10 painted a rock dove for her nature notebook.  We watched huge birds, probably turkey vultures, soar on thermals and saw a heron in the meadow.  Miss 10 also saw another bird, black, the size of a heron but with a beak curved downwards.  We have not yet identified it.

In our garden… the rhubarb and asparagus are ready, carrots and onions are coming up, and the herb garden really needs cleaning.  I’m continuing my campaign against Creeping Charlie, an invasive little plant that destroys lawns.  We have Rosa Rugosa suckers coming up near our flower bed and they need to be transplanted to a hedge, but they are terribly prickly and difficult to move.  We have cheerful yellow dandelions everywhere, but have not yet managed to make Dandelion Fritters.  We also missed the fiddleheads this year, but yesterday we had nettles in our chicken soup and it was delicious.

Some of my favorite things were

  • Sunshine, fresh air, and working in the garden.
  • Seeing the wild flowers bloom, each in their own turn.
  • Playing in the ice cold river.
  • All those cheerful sunny dandelions.
  • My new mail-order prescription glasses.
  • Rhubarb sorbet (from the Celebrations cookbook), asparagus, cheesecake.
  • When people are trying to hack my blog, my host protects me so well even I can’t get on.  I’m happy about that level of protection

Questions/thoughts I have…  When conventional doctors say they can do nothing to improve a child’s energy levels, a mom needs to explore other avenues.  There are so many options to explore, though, and each of them is so complicated.  Most likely we’ll try the Adele Davis / Nourishing Traditions route first, since it focuses on plain, healthy foods.  Of course, we also need to work on exercise, coping techniques, and more.

Fitness…  Since I’ve retired Fit Mommy Fridays, I’ll mention a few fitness highlights in my weekly wrap up.  My average number of steps this week was over 10,000 steps, but I did no formal exercise.  After taking several weeks off formal exercise and increasing my walking instead, I can no longer do all the exercises anymore.  Obviously.  But of course I forgot that fact, so now I’m taking it easy for a day or two to recover.  I’ll need to build up slowly again, without cutting back on the walking.  Sigh!

Things I’ve been working on

  • Homeschooling.
  • Remembering to relax, eat well, and walk.
  • Reading. Reviewing. Thinking.
  • Pondering the next few years’ focus in schoolwork, blogging, and other opportunities, and making decisions.  The end of Fit Mommy Fridays was bittersweet. Who knows what other unexpected happenings may suddenly seem to be the only sensible choice.
  • We’ve cleaned up our guest room and a young friend is living there for the summer.  Now I have to organize all the stuff we took out of the guest room, and that’s happening slowly but surely.
  • Yard work, out in the sunshine, with bird song all around.

We’re watching… We finished Navigating History: Egypt, an enjoyable look at history from a Christian perspective, and also watched Temple Grandin, a truly inspiring movie. The girls had a Scarlet Pimpernel party, and Mr. 18 and his friends enjoyed the latest Iron Man movie.

I’m reading… Job. I finished Decisive, Adoring Addie, Sweet Mercy, and am reading Mennonite Girls Can Cook:  Celebration, and Is College Worth It? and listening to Les Miserables, an audiodrama.

Reading Aloud… We’re reading 2 Kings and Madame Curie, an inspiring book that is definitely over Miss 10’s head. The Little Misses and I finished In de Zoete Suikerbol#1 and immediately began the second volume. We’re also reading the Illustrated Family Bible (Miss 10 and Miss 12), Pioneers in het Wilde Westen (Mr. 18), and the Kijk Bijbel (Miss 15).

When my husband is home for meals we’re reading Matthew.

I’m grateful for …Green and blue, the colors of the outdoors.

Quote or link to share….  Ten astronomy videos we enjoyed.

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up and to HomeSchool High.


  1. Thanks for sharing the astronomy videos with your readers!

  2. hsmominmo says:

    Looks like a wonderful and fulfilling week in your home and homeschool. Loved your favorite things list. I enjoy these peeks so many share with us each week. Thank you for the encouragement. Have a wonderful week!

  3. Jenn says:

    Another great week! Our studies are slowing down, too, well not my oldest’s. It is excellent that you support and see value in Miss 10 wanting to be outside. Also, your step count is fantastic. I think you are doing great. I remember not to long ago you had to rest a lot more.

  4. JoAnn says:

    Sounds like a great week. So sorry that your daughter still deals with low energy. That has to be hard. Sounds like you had a great week with your fitness, which is great. You live in such a beautiful sounding area. 🙂

  5. Laraba says:

    AnnieKate, can you direct me to the career survey you were going to do with your big girls? I’ve lost track of the post…I think it was some kind of online instrument or a book that the kids can use to give them career direction? Thanks, Laraba

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Thanks, Jenn. I try to be positive about Miss 10’s love of the outdoors, but I had to ground her after we ‘lost’ her. She has to stay on our property unless she has permission to go wandering around…so now she climbs trees instead and hangs out there. 🙂

      Yes, JoAnn, we live in a small bit of paradise. I can’t believe how blessed we are!

      Laraba, the career survey is here: http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2009/09/homeschool-crew-review-college-and-career-guide/
      I’ve also written a summary post of a lot of different college/career resources: http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2012/07/thinking-about-college-and-career-choices/

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