Summer School

We have been trying to finish up some reading. I have come to the conclusion that one book will be shelved without finishing it. And that is OK! 🙂 Wow, that felt great!!!

In addition to reading and playing games more than usual (which is quite a lot anyway), we have been working on Bible Bee studying. This year, they changed it a bit according to my neighbor who got us into this! It is really tough, but definitely not wasted effort. I told our children they can spend their time on nothing more important this summer than Bible study and Scripture memorization. I am proud of their efforts and Curly is really giving it a go. He has already learned 10 of the 25 long passages. Larry and Mo are trying too, though they could put forth a bit more effort. 😉 EDITED TO ADD: We did NOT participate in the Bible Bee Challenge. It was way too much and it was just not organized well. Lesson learned, but again, not wasted effort as they were in the Word!

Despite the miserable, oppressive heat this summer, we have enjoyed being outside plenty. The first Saturday in June, I took four of our children to the zoo. The Prez was at home with our oldest son getting our camper ready for a long trip the next week, and Li’l Bro was at my parents where he’d spent the night for his birthday. It was already hot then, but none of us could have known how hot it would get! I don’t think I ever posted any photos including the ones of the dinosaur exhibit they talked me into (it is temporary and costs extra and it might have scared Li’l Bit … oy, not my best parenting moment for her but the other three enjoyed it so much we went back through a 2nd time and she actually seemed to enjoy it sort of the 2nd time through) And the large icees which we never get … I treated them that day as it was hot and we shared, and they were refillable. Let’s just say we refilled quite a few times!

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While that day at the zoo was 90-degree hot, it amazes me (and stifles me) to know how much hotter 10 degree is. Last week not one day was below 105 degrees. We’ve not had a drop of rain in more than a month now, so it truly is oppressive heat here now. Our baby girl can’t take it for long periods, and I’ve noticed her naps are longer and longer. I know the heat just zaps her; bless her precious and hard-working little heart. Did you know your heart is about the size of your fist? I took the following photos after taking her for a morning walk. I think she got too hot. 😦 I haven’t been able to take her at all on walks lately, and she loves them so much so this makes me so sad. But she just can’t take the heat right now sadly.

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Speaking of our garden, it is in sad shape now. 😦 I took the following photos on June 12 and June 14. Just look at how amazing it looks.

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It is so depressing and frustrating to watch it die in this heat. We were watering it early in the mornings and again after the sun went down but it just wasn’t enough in this heat. I had high hopes for lots of refrigerator pickles with our cucumber as did our children. I feel most sad for our oldest Curly, because he enjoys making and eating those pickles so much. Here he is with assistant Mo making the one and only batch we got out of the cucumber plants (just one quart jar).

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He likes the squash ones OK, but the pickled cucumber is his favorite. You can’t find fresh ones anywhere around here because they are all burnt up. The trailing vines just are too vulnerable in this heat and dry conditions. I took these photos on July 1, just 2 1/2 weeks after the above ones. Our cucumbers should have been in peak by now; instead they are dead. 😦

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Our tomatoes are doing OK as well as our dill and cilantro, and the heat is good for tomatoes. We still need some rain though for them, but for now the watering is enough for them. Our corn is also done I think unfortunately. It is just such a disappointment, not to mention it puts a real dent into our grocery budget to NOT have this planned-for food.

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The corn alone was a staple last summer and I bagged up countless gallon ziplocs of our corn last summer that lasted all winter long. I doubt our okra is going to make it either. I cannot remember a summer since The Prez and I’ve been married (17 years this summer) that we’ve NOT HAD our own crop of okra and plenty of messes to fry up.

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It is just not to be this year I suppose. When I get down about it, I think of the farmers and one family we know well. They grow a lot of corn, and I can’t imagine the frustration they must feel as they gaze out at their dying corn crop. All because we have no rain. It is so bad that I do find myself questioning why the Lord won’t send any rain our way.

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The last few days we have been teased, almost seems merciless, with thunder and lightning, sometimes for hours on end. But the skies never open up and bring forth the water we desperately need. It has caused me to do a lot of reflection. I took the following photo yesterday, but nothing ever came of it over our spot on the globe except rumblings of thunder and a few flashes of lightning. Just groanings.

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Mo’s chickens are faring well in the heat thanks in large part to Papa’s continual watch over them; they are growing huge thanks to the Prez not skimping on their diet. At this rate, it would take our chickens oh about 20 years to become profitable LOL! It is hard to take care of chickens that are not at your house, but we do the best we can.

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We so desperately would love to have some land, but it is so expensive around here and we are not in a position to go into more debt at the moment. If we move out, then we have to think of how we’d manage our trips to the hospital. But anyway, for now, the chickens are doing well and Mo has learned they are a big responsibility (much bigger than he anticipated I think).

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We will officially start our new 2012-2013 school year on July 16. I am excited that we will be following a more year-round schedule. I introduced it this year with continuing our studies into June. As June has wound down, so have our lessons as we’ve finished things, but next year I will plan the same as well. We will be doing 4-5 weeks ON and then take 1 week “off” (using the term loosely here because we will still do field trips and reading and maybe a camping trip here and there that usually always involves nature study of some sort).

Speaking of nature study, we’ve had plenty of that going on around here. What with this snake skin Mo found in our back yard. OK, let’s just say we have some snakes who love our yard. They better just stay in the yard …

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One day I took them all down to the creek in our neighborhood. Despite the heat and thanks to the neighbors sharing their net, we still managed to find some tiny minnows and crawfish. Li’l Bit is NOT afraid of live creatures. These photos were taken the DAY AFTER he heart cath (as in the day she came home from an overnight hospital stay! amazing!).

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Li’l Miss has thoroughly enjoyed the fireflies this year. She has had nature nightlights more than once, but again, with the heat, they just haven’t been the same this year. I took these photos of the girls running around trying to catch some one night. You might see the mighty BB gunners in the background.

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Just today, Mo came in with a caterpillar on his shirt, and his sisters couldn’t wait to have a turn with it on their shirts. This is not unusual for Mo to come find me with a creature he has found (and it is not unusual for him to be holding it), but this was one cool-colored creature. He is now in the critter carrier under observation. Mo graciously and humanely provided him/her with some dill, which is where the creature was found (and should have known better than to be eating our dill; shame on that caterpillar!).

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I have 9 solid weeks planned, and I have them planned with t’s crossed and i’s dotted (literally I have made weekly lesson plans for each of our three oldest and loose plans for our 3 youngest). I do not intend to hand-hold the three older boys, but on the other hand I need to set some clearer expectations this year. I predict I will be able to back off as the year progresses and give them more freedom to choose to get the proper work done on each day, but we’ll see.

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Back to our summer school, I am going to finish up with these other pics of just random activities including our July 4th Field Trip to Carnton Plantation (yes, one child is missing because he has been at Boy Scout Camp all week; can’t wait to see him tomorrow night!).

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(right after this photo, I figured out how to loosen a set of straps so she wasn’t quite so closed in LOL!; I am usually the one who carries her so we had adjusted it just that day)

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A Very Large and OLD Tree!
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I snapped this photo while four of our children (one was sick) were working on 4H projects for the County Fair. I’ll do a post all to itself to showcase some of their wonderful masterpieces!

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And here is Li’l Miss working on that Silent E! She is not totally there yet, but she is remembering it more and more when she reads. Yeah!

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Li’l Bit continues to keep me hopping. Oh my. I must have forgotten what 2-year-olds are like or she is really inquisitive or some of both? I don’t know but I better have a BIG “Busy Box” for her come July 16. I will actually be utilizing scheduled babysitting times for our three oldest with her so that I can get some one-on-one time with each of them and our two 1st graders. Her favorite activity at present is transferring. Doesn’t matter what as long as she can move objects (or liquids) from one place to another (preferably not to the toilet or trash can; just saying).

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Tonight, I pulled a very LARGE map out from behind our game cabinet. It was put there offhandedly after it was gifted to me by a friend from church. I couldn’t find anywhere to hang it and so I just stuck it here and promptly forgot about it. I was planning to send it on its way, but my Critter Whisperer wouldn’t hear of it so I told him to push pin it to his wall. I went upstairs awhile later to find this …

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It is a cool map of the world that has animals in their native habitats. The legend shares many interesting facts, and each animal is labeled accordingly. When I snapped these photos, a discussion was ensuing about which animals had “asexual reproduction” LOL!

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The night before last, we all assured the Prez that yes, seahorses don’t mate in the old-fashioned sense. He didn’t believe us, so we got out the encyclopedia. And yes, the Daddy seahorse does in fact carry the young. The way I was hearing it explained though in the discussion above … well I bowed out when I heard “so they don’t actually get together you know?” All of our older boys have heard the “talk” from the Prez in his workshop, and it is aptly named “The Workshop Talk”, but it was just funny hearing these two clowns discussing very seriously how this works (or rather doesn’t).

3 thoughts on “Summer School

  1. Oh Leslie I am BEHIND. Please forgive me! I *think* I’ve caught up on all your wonderful posts and wonderful NEWS about Sallie’s heart being operable! Oh what blessed words!

    I so enjoy checking in on your family…and since you’ve gone private I don’t get the updates. Is there anyway wordpress will email me updates when you post them or is that not gonna happen since your site is private?

    Anyway, your family is precious! So thankful I can peek in at your lives! Let me know if you ever come south….

  2. Your garden looks like ours!! So sad to see everything dying due to lack of rain!

    Sallie is getting so big! Oh my!!! What a glorious summer you are having!! Love to catch up with all that has been going on in your home.

    love Naomi

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