We have turned the corner into June and the summer weather has arrived. With an out of town trip and several other events, we have a busy few weeks. I told the kids that their learning requirements for school days this month was one lesson of math and some kind of writing. We also signed up for the summer reading program at the local library, so that is the motivator to keep any reluctant readers plodding forward (and a great excitement for those enthusiastic ones).
Today after morning chores were complete several of the kids disappeared out to the barn. Elsie settled in to read. She will read anything that is laying around! Today that was the Ultimate Survival Guide that we had brought home from our weekend trip to Oklahoma, where our sixteen year old presented at a homestead expo on raising and butchering meat rabbits.
Several of the kids have become interested in tanning animal hides, so they had saved some of the hides from the last rabbit butchering that was done at our house. Today Bella listened to podcasts while continuing to work on that process. She enjoys podcasts on homesteading, and her latest favorite is one put out by Melissa K. Norris.
This past weekend was the first time Bella had ever spoken before a large group. She was nervous at first, but once she began the information flowed out of her. She had made an outline to help her stay on track with what she wanted to cover, but presented without a written speech, just from the knowledge she’s accumulated over the years. I could see that those hundreds of hours spent listening to podcasts had really benefited her when it came to the details of how to speak publicly in an informative yet engaging way.
While the older children were occupied with their activities I had some school time with the five and three year olds. Whether or not it is a “school day” I find it is helpful to spend a little bit of time doing some learning with these two. They greatly benefit from the routine of this time together, so I try to make it a priority.
Today I did a reading lesson with James and worked in a dollar store workbook with Lydia. I buy stacks of these to keep on hand for her, since she wants to do “big kid schoolwork” like the others. If I ever need to keep her busy I just hand her a book that’s too hard for her to actually complete, and tell her to circle everything on the page! She does it with gusto.
Benjamin occupied himself by dumping out all sorts of things that I would rather not be dumped, and Elsie sat down to play with him a bit before she too disappeared outside to work on a project.
After a short time of play the little ones started getting fussy so we went for a walk through the garden then took a visit to the barn to see what the boys were up to. Samuel and Jeremiah were working on making a holster belt out of leather. They had watched a YouTube video on it earlier that day to get ideas on how to make it happen.
Silas was working in the barn as well, doing a little repair on a favorite toy before he went back inside and picked up the Survival Guide to read for his daily “summer reading club” goal. For some of my kids reading isn’t a favorite activity, so having a goal is helpful to make sure it actually happens.
Leo came in from working on his project he was doing for Jason (regreasing the axles on the trailer) and I unlocked the computer for him to begin his algebra lesson. He mostly works independently through these lessons, which I’m thankful for since algebra is not my favorite subject! Leo also has been interested in studying Latin, and after we saw how serious he was, we purchased the Latin course from Compass Classroom. He has really enjoyed it!
I went outside to deliver some peanut butter honey sandwiches because I’d rather kids stay happy outside then come in the house! Elsie showed me the tiny village she is making out of things she’s found laying around. She helped me pick some garlic scapes and I brought them in the house to chop up for dinner. Fried rice sauteed with chicken, garlic, and snow peas from the garden was the plan.
In the afternoon kids wandered in from the barn so I set them up with math. They also worked a bit on some penpal letters, which covered writing for the day. I had a couple boys fighting so I sent them to have some rest time in their beds and turned on a story podcast for them to listen to. The girls finished their schoolwork on the couch.
Afternoon soon turned to evening with family dinner and chores. There had been much unstructured learning and play accomplished and we were all ready to end the day with a chapter from our current read aloud before heading to bed.
Check out this list of some of our favorite book series to keep kids engaged with quality books.
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