Charlotte Mason · Family & Fun · Homeschooling · Nature · Nature Journals · Nature study · Nature Walks

We’re Still Here…..and We’re Still Happily Occupied!

That’s right.  Even if this blog has been quiet lately, we’ve been keeping ourselves busily occupied as always.  I somehow have just not found the time to let you all know about it!  So I’ll do a little catch up post.  Here goes:

We came home from our summer vacation to find half of our garden taken over by volunteer gourd vines.  The girls got their heads together and decided to set up a little stand at the edge of our front yard, right along the gravel road that goes past our farm, to see if they could sell any – 50 cents apiece.  Sure enough…..friends, neighbors, family, and passersby dropped enough money in the can ($25.00+) to pay for an official aquarium for our pet newts.

You see, the kids had found these two pretty little critters while at a lake late this summer, and they had been keeping them in a plastic jug aquarium, feeding them earthworms.  For two months they had thrived in captivity, and so it was time to give them a real deal home.  So we made a trip in to Petco and picked out an aquarium, a floating dock, and a pretty, scenic background.  We already had a collection of fake plants and pretty pebbles from our (late) Betta fish’s bowl.

These are red-spotted newts.  And from our research we’ve found that they are supposed to be quite easy and fun to keep as pets.  So far so good!

gourd and newt collage


Autumn in the Shenandoah valley is a beautiful time of year indeed!  We’ve so much enjoyed watching the leaves turn, as we do every year, wishing we could hold on to the fleeting beauty of the colors just a little longer.  A few weeks ago we took a hike on Skyline Drive (in Shenandoah National Park) with some friends from church (and fellow homeschoolers) on a sunny Friday afternoon.  The kids had a great time running around, exploring all the fun rocks to climb on, picking up pretty fall leaves, and finding just the right stick to use as a walking stick.  The moms couldn’t get enough of the peaceful beauty and brilliant colors.

skyline drive collage


Our most recent excitement has come in the form of a cute little 4-month-old lab puppy.  We got Maggie this past Saturday, after weeks (no, months) of begging from the kids to get a dog.  Maggie is just the right kind of dog for our family.  She fits right in as a sweet and playful friend.  She had a great time tagging along with us on our nature walk the other day.  She loved rolling around in the lush, green barley.



And, of course, we have been busy with school.  Over these first several weeks of this school year, I’ve jiggled and jaggled  our curriculum and schedule (as I always do at the beginning of a year), trying to find what works best for the kids at the stages they are in.  I’ve updated my post about our 2013-14 curriculum choices, so you might want to go over and take a look at that (scroll down to the bottom of the post for the update).  Our main diet is still the regular reading of quality, well written books of all kinds, followed by narration.

Some other highlights of this year include:  a study of hymns, using the book Then Sings My Soul ; memorizing the entire book of James (!) –  so far we’ve memorized the first chapter;  coloring and journaling with note-booking pages for our history reading.

Homeschool HIghlights Collage


I’ve taken a more relaxed approach to nature study so far this year.  Instead of learning about a particular topic during school time, then walking to find and observe that topic, I’ve more or less let the kids draw whatever strikes their fancy.  I have given them some guidelines on a couple of our walks, though.  Pictured here are the results of our Fall Color Nature Walk, and our Fall Seed Pod Nature Walk.  I think Fall is the best time of the year for nature study, personally!

PicMonkey Collage

fall seed pod collage

So there’s a tour of the last several weeks in the lives of these homebodies.  I hope to post more regularly in the coming days.  Look for posts on easy, delicious meals; what Carmen has been up to in pre-school this year; what a homeschool schedule with 5 kids, pre-school to 8th grade looks like; house-keeping tips; and other such “homey” kinds of topics.   Thanks for reading!



14 thoughts on “We’re Still Here…..and We’re Still Happily Occupied!

  1. I have that “Then Sings My Soul” book too! I had actually forgotten about it. I need to dig it out for next year’s hymn study. We usually learn two hymns and two folk songs throughout each term. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  2. If Maggie turns up missing, it’s certainly NOT b/c I sneaked onto the farm in the dead-of-night and kidnapped her. 😉

  3. Love your gourd stand project! B thinks he wants to do this next summer. He’s been collecting seeds from the garden so he won’t have to pay for packages and he can keep all the money he earns!! We are quite secluded on our gravel road, but you’ve given me hope that he could make it work! 🙂

  4. Loved it! So glad you are doing Bible memo. We did that and it blessed so many, so often. Posted about it, too. Such a blessing! And how wonderful for you to experience fellow home schoolers in your church! 🙂

    1. I’m very glad we’re memorizing so much Scripture. The suggestion was in my teacher’s guide this year, and I decided we’d take the challenge. I love having that much of God’s Word in my heart and mind, ready to be called up whenever needed!

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