Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Florida Visit May-June 2020


We are visiting Dwayne's parents.

Every morning, weather permitting, we drag the girls out of bed if they aren't already up and we take a walk on the beach before breakfast. We come back tired and hungry and ready for breakfasts and showers. It's a lovely way to start the day.

We have found several treasures that we are identifying and labeling using our book of sea beans and our seashells guide.


One night, I didn't sleep well, so I was up early and went out to the beach in prima luca. I found these perfect measled cowreies and considered them a gift divine.


We found lightning walks and their egg cases. 


We found a mermaid's purse (the egg sack of a skate.)


The beach is so dynamic that some days the waves are huge and other days, the ocean is as still as a lake. The surf brings new things in every tide.

One morning there were at least one hundred flawless cockle shells of various sizes down the beach. We gathered a group of half a dozen or more that fit together like Russian dolls.

We brought great books to read aloud to each other and books to read silently to ourselves. 

We are reading The Warden and the Wolf King out loud with Mom and Dad after dinner. I have read Macbeth and Northanger Abbey already this trip. I am reading now Jaber Crow and Hamlet and Another Sort of Education (for a second time.) Norah's reading Adorning the Dark and The Fiddler's Gun (for a second time.)  Dwayne is Out of The Ashes by Esolen. Avril is reading aloud to Adele from The Green Ember books.   


And outloud to the girls, Grandma is reading from Sheep Tales:The Bible According to the Animals That Were There.


Grandma or Grandpa or both Grandma and Grandpa together will play card games like Uno, Old Maid, Go Fish, etc. with the girls. (Something about cards brings the young and the old together.) Hearing them play and laugh while I work in another room is one of my greatest joys.



In preparation for directing Challenge 3 next year, I am working on Chemistry and Latin faithfully, making real progress. I brought some philosophy, and music theory, and my next Lost Tools essay on The Tempest for Circe, too, and I am dabbling in those.


We go to the beach in the afternoon everyday as long as weather permits. Note: We did skip one day out of sunburn and sheer exhaustion. Playing hard can hurt. I was actually missing skin from a sand burn, too, so I was letting that scab over.

But we have caught some amazing waves with our boogie board.

We don't actually swim if there is a rip current warning, but we will go out anyway to greet the ocean and soak up its beauty and splash carefully and build castles or walk, etc.




The girls are drawing and writing poetry in their free time.

 More card games

I brought three bathing suits, because I had room in my suitcase. I'm wearing them on rotation and they are all being well used, evidence that we are doing things right.


 Norah likes to make sand sculptures. This one is a warrior angel. Note: She said she used my arm as a model for the angel's muscular arm, which makes me smile.


 Mexican Train dominoes after dinner- We are working our way from double twelves in the center down to double blanks.  Last night, we played the game with double fives, so we're making progress.


Dwayne is working from Dad's office in the back bedroom, but he takes off and goes to the beach with us on nice afternoons or on weekends.



We are enjoying lots of downtime, so there is time for silliness.


Grandma and Grandpa have a variety of old toys like tops and interesting instruments that they have set out for the girls.

I picked up some awesome beach themed coloring and activity books.



We left a kite here one of the last times we visited and we also added a new kite this year, so now we have two to fly.



Norah made a Phoenix in the sand one day. Avril helped collect the shells and seaweed, etc.



Norah calls this a Spiderwick Rock. Apparently, in those books, you can only see the creatures through a hole made naturally in a rock.

We have seen squirrels, pelicans, dolphins, sharks, fish, rabbits, cranes, sandpipers, jelly fish, snakes, and crabs...
More card games


Monday, May 18, 2020

Gallows Hill Natural Area

Yesterday we took another hike from the Redding trails book, this one at Gallows Hill. 










Sunday, May 17, 2020

Flannel Board


I've been using spare moments to cut out my flannel board pieces- for years.


Recently, while we watch church during quarantine, I've been getting a lot more done.


I finally finished cutting all the pieces I have today while watching church, so we took the time to put the pieces in their places and then put each sheet neatly into the storage box.

My plan is to read a Bible story and let the girls narrate it back to me.

The little ones can choose the right pieces and retell it to us using the flannel board.

I want my children to know all (or most) of the Bible stories.

They hear some stories in church, of course.

They know about David, but I am not sure they know much about Samuel or Saul.

So if I want my kids to have a broader and deeper knowledge of Scripture, it falls to me to take action.



Saturday, May 16, 2020

Limekiln Natural Area

Yesterday, we took another hike on another nearby trail, the Limekiln Natural Area, The Marcus Gift, and Todd's Woods.  

 This is the split rock.

This tree is growing out of another tree's roots. It's up several feet off the ground. I'm wondering how this will work out. The larger tree is bound to decay. What will the younger tree's base end up looking like?  



We got turned around, but we stayed on the trails. We eventually got to a section of the trail that allowed us to get reoriented to the map and our vehicle.


We were all mightily exhausted, thirsty, and hungry.  I'm ready to go again.  

Friday, May 15, 2020

Plishner Preserve


We have a book of Redding Trails that we got at the library book sale.


The weather was divine, so I took the book off the shelf and found a trail to explore.


The Plishner Preserve is close to home and joins up with the trails of Putnam Park where we walk all the time.


 I love the rocks and mosses in New England woods.



There are many quiet ponds like this in low places.  They're enchanting and remind me of the wood between the worlds in Narnia.


Quartz crystals everywhere!


This tree is growing over the rock!


From far away, the girls thought these were flowers. Upon closer inspection, we determined these were baby trees growing right onto the base of their mother tree. Here was the only place to find purchase and put down roots without being swamped, since all around the ground everywhere else was quite muddy.  We looked up this massive trunk and the immature branches had smaller leaves reddish like this on the edges and they appeared to be the same shape, only bigger. The most mature branches and leaves way up top were fully green.


Rock crawling, scrambling, climbing, etc. These kids have hinds feet.

 Owl pellets!

These smelled paradisal. Not sure what they are yet.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Challenge 3 Prep


I'm directing Challenge 3 next year.  Our homeschool year is over, basically, and we're all under quarantine, so I'm using the extra time to read and/ or work through the books. The books are arranged in stacks by subject around the edge of our round dining room table. I do a bit of History, Music theory, Latin, Chemistry, Math, Shakespeare, Philosophy, etc. and then rotate through the subjects again. I work while the girls are reading silently, or reading out loud, or practicing piano, or playing outside, or when they are watching movies or playing video games after dinner, which adds up to a few hours a day.  It's my goal to simply be a student of the material for now.