Chemistry – Buckyballs

We are diving back into chemistry with Will’s current Moving Beyond the Page 10-12 unit centering around “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. Yesterday was one of those leisurely days when we did not have piano or sports practice or a class to run off to, so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted on schoolwork. Will is loving “The Giver”. The variety of projects thus far have really gotten him excited about the unit and science and chemistry!

For his first project he designed his own utopia using collage as a medium. He had a ton of fun with it.


And yesterday he spent time using Microsoft Word’s drawing functions to show what an oxygen atom would look like complete with its protons, neutrons, and electrons in more realistic cloud form rather than the typical concentric circle illustration.

Next, we read about Buckyballs and had the opportunity to build one with gum drops and tooth picks.


The final product…looked an awful lot like Will’s beloved soccer balls 😉


We are both VERY happy with the the recommended book, Amazing Kitchen Chemistry Projects You Can Build Yourself” by Cynthia Light Brown. Brown makes the concepts both easy to understand and interesting for both mom and tween.

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Coop, The Family Under The Bridge, And Girls Lacrosse

Every Tuesday morning, the kids and I head down to our local library for our homeschool coop day. We are fortunate to live close enough that we can walk or bike back and forth easily.

On coop days the kids have yoga, Spanish lessons, and a chess master from the community who spends the morning teaching the kids chess strategy. Parents then rotate supplying a craft project to fill in the time between classes. Today’s project was a really neat. We all learned how to make Ukrainian eggs using wax and a tool called a kistky. The mom who led the project bought her supplies from Hearthsong – she started out with the Ukrainian Egg Decorating Kit and then added individual supplies (a couple of extra kistkies, more wax, etc. from there…). I highly recommend this project.



Following coop, we typically head home for a late lunch and some school work time. Yesterday, Molly started reading the book, The Family Under The Bridge, for her latest unit.


Finally, after a last minute trip to a local sporting goods store to grab a mouthguard that would work over Esme’s braces, we arrived at the kids lacrosse practice early enough to practice outside for a while…


While Will has been pretty much playing lacrosse year round with a different travel team, this was the girls’ first practice. They did great!


We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Schoolwork And Extracurricular Commitments

There are some days when I ponder how much more schoolwork we could get accomplished if we weren’t always running off to practices and other extra enrichment activities…


But the fact is that we are able to more easily participate in these various extracurriculars, especially with the long distances we now need to drive to attend all these wonderful enrichment opportunities, thanks to homeschooling this year. Rural Vermont living mixed with making it a priority to keep the kids involved in many of the things they love is requiring us to put many miles on our cars. While we do our fair share of “carschooling”…


We also manage to fit in plenty of more traditional table work…


As well as floor work (this one shows Molly working while waiting her turn for piano lessons)…


Somehow we are managing to fit in most of what we have prioritized as important for our family.

Seven months of this homeschooling gig under our belts and we couldn’t be happier with the decision.

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Thinking Ahead On The First Day Of Spring

This is what we did today…


We spent the bulk of the day driving back and forth to pick up segments of a large shed. It had been torn down to clear space for solar panels to be installed in a field across the street from my husband’s work. He was told that we could have the shed if we could come and take it away. So that was our family task on this Sunday – the first day of spring.

Our plan is that the old cement pad on the left in this picture will become the site of the reassembly project with the intent of creating a summer building to house…goats!

The children are beyond excited at the prospect 🙂

Knowing the limited amount of home project time that we realistically have in our life these days, the goat acquisition will probably not happen until next spring. It is a good lesson in patience as well as the importance of making certain that we are fully prepared to bring home and care for these new animals. In addition to this summer out building, we also know that we need to secure strong fencing as well as a winter housing space appropriate for goats within our existing barn. It will be fun to dream and read about new farm pets…

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Spring Nature Field Trip And Lacrosse Clinic For Giants

Well, we certainly were not stuck inside all winter – we skied more than we have ever skied – having two of the three kids on an alpine ski team for the first time.

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But, I must say, with most of the snow gone and grass showing everywhere, we are experiencing a bit of spring fever. So, with the girls finished with their most recent unit studies and Will quite close to being finished with his, yesterday we headed off to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) for the morning.

First, we spent some time checking out the art installation in the VINS meadow consisting of  life-sized ice age mammals from the Pleistocene era. Mammals that could have walked in this very Vermont meadow included the Woolly Mammoth, the Dire Wolf, the Short-Faced Bear, the Western Camel (who knew there were camels in the Americas??), the American Lion (and lions??), and Clovis Hunters…



We hung with Turt the Turtle and asked lots of wood turtle questions of the VINS representative…



We also explored the raptor area, completing a raptor scavenger hunt and being completely wowed by the different types of owls, the Bald Eagles, and the Peregrine Falcons – up close and personal!


The best part was that we practically had the place to ourselves since it was a school day.

Today was the first Saturday in many months that we did not have to get up at the crack of dawn to gather ski gear and pack lunches and head to the mountain. But, Will and I did head to Williston to a lacrosse clinic – most lacrosse events are for kids his own age, but this defense clinic was open to all ages and I got the biggest kick out of how short he looks (he’s the short kid in blue standing behind all the high schoolers in this picture!)


Now off to do a bit of prep for the start of new learning units on Monday, then bed. Looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and enjoying a leisurely breakfast. I think we will make some bacon and eggs…

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Long break…

So I wasn’t planning to take such a long break from blogging, but life has been so busy this winter… Wonderfully busy – lots of family time, more skiing than any of us have ever done (despite the bleak snow accumulation here in VT), oh, and this homeschooling journey…

Well, I just set the blogging aside for a bit.

But, we are still here. Still so grateful for this amazing opportunity to learn at home as a family. Still enjoying rural Vermont lifestyle.

Miss Molly has just finished up a unit on Charlotte’s Web and life cycles. Esme just completed her unit on Hugo Cabret and inventions. And Will is in the middle of wrapping up his Roar of Thunder, Here Me Cry/Civil Rights unit. We are struck on a daily basis by the excitement for learning that homeschooling as a family retains.

Feeling truly blessed.


Molly’s two older siblings were super supportive this afternoon of her first teaching opportunity – she taught them a lesson on the properties of water and the water cycle as part of her unit final project.

Love Moving Beyond the Page!

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Grateful For Flexibility

Today, I am feeling grateful for flexibility in when and where we learn…



…for being able to start formal learning later in the day if a grandparent is visiting and we have the opportunity to play games late into a school night and play music together all morning on a weekday…




…for plenty of fresh eggs from happy, free-ranging hens in the back yard…



…and for time this week to take it slow, knit, read, and spend time together before heading to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving with extended family…



We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Immersed in the Civil War


My oldest has had lots of opportunities over the last couple of weeks to really dive into the American Civil War.  I regularly reflect on what a blessing this is that we are homeschooling this year – allowing him to focus in depth in a hands-on, kinesthetic, multi-sensory, and creative manner.  He is totally digging it!  A trip to Gettysburg is looking like it is in the cards for this summer 😉


His younger sister (an amateur seamstress) helped him throw together a haversack to carry all the Civil War-ish costume supplies he has been collecting.


Late last week he even made hard tack…


…and ginger molasses cookies…


Yum – they both came out GREAT!  And each were quickly wrapped in paper and added to his haversack – along with a bible, a knife, a metal drinking cup, and a few additional vintage supplies.

Quite a striking counterbalance to his alpine ski team dry land training in the afternoons!




We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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I had forgotten how much I like the game Boggle.  I have strong memories of playing it with my grandmother growing up.  Now, my kids have discovered it.  I try to pull out “new” games, books, puzzles, etc. on a regular basis.  In fact, Boggle has been hiding in the back of the game cabinet for years, but somehow I hadn’t gotten it out yet.  What a gem.  Any number of people can play.  It is easily transported to car, restaurant, doctor’s office waiting room…and our household dictionary – as well as our brains! – is/are getting a mighty fine workout!

If you have not played Boggle lately, go pull it out of the back of your closet.  Your kids will love it.

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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Enjoying the Ryhthm

So, yesterday, my youngest had her first dry land training for alpine ski team – she was so nervous, but ended up having a total blast – phew!  She loved the other kids, adored her coaches, and got to play soccer, capture the flag, hike on trails, and visit a local ski jump off season.  What’s not to like?!


And…we stopped for really great bread at the King Arthur cafe.  You know, to go with that carrot ginger soup I made from all those carrots I pulled the other day?!  And the kids got a special drink treat to celebrate M’s first successful training afternoon 😉   Here they are sporting their new ski team jackets that have now been confiscated until Christmas.


Today was one of those incredible days when we experienced the gift of simply staying home.  Plenty of activity happened, but there was no sense of rushing.  All necessary work was accomplished – at home, interspersed with naps in the sun, coming and going from various projects…indeed, there were a few frustrations (the pellet stove igniter seems to be on the fritz, my ancient smart phone died on my morning run so I didn’t have the satisfaction of logging what I have a hunch may have been my fastest pace in weeks – it’s the small things, I know) – but I can’t tell you how many times throughout the day, I had a sense of peacefulness and a sense of accomplishment and a sense of rightness in this home schooling thing that we have decided to engage in as a family.   Here are few vignettes from the slow rhythm of today’s “school” day at home…

A new spot to do spelling – the bedroom 🙂


A whole lot of sewing happened once E got her schoolwork completed…


She is very proud of her first dress!


A nap in the sun for the littlest one…she is recovering from a very busy weekend!


A little after dinner craft project – E is starting to get into the holiday spirit!



And a little after dinner dance party!


Looking forward to what tomorrow brings 🙂

We home school using Moving Beyond The Page curriculum and love it 🙂

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