I got up to run this morning, stepped outside, and it was raining. So, I find myself with an extra 45 minutes. Let's do a Wednesday Hodgepodge!
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Monday, August 7, 2017
I am not too good at dreaming because this thing called reality always seems to be at the forefront. I am a realist. I just am. Period. That doesn't mean that I don't have dreams, though. In fact, I had a pretty big, deep-seeded dream to own a small hobby farm. I am one of those who might be able to be Amish, sans the hot skirts and lack of air conditioning in the summer. I'm not afraid of work, even hard work. Would I enjoy every second of it? No. I don't enjoy every second of the work I do here around my house, either. But I always do what needs to be done. There is something so idyllic about waking early with the sunrise, tending the small animals, working in the garden, preserving food, baking bread, providing meals for my family, and sitting on the porch in the evenings enjoying the sunset.
About a year ago we took the first step toward that dream. We purchased 17 acres about 2 miles outside of our small town. It was the perfect location and I could see our constructed farmhouse, barn, animals, and the like. We knew we would have a few years before we could start building, but the dreaming definitely started. I even started a Pinterest Board called Farm Living.
Around Easter we realized that going forward with this dream was not going to be a good move for us. We also decided that we were either going to have to put some significant money into our current home (a 1918 bungalow that we bought on a foreclosure 5 years ago for $30,000 and made some cosmetic changes to make it home) or we needed to sell it and buy something a little sturdier and more functional.
So, we put our house on the market and actually found a farmhouse in town, just a block away from our current home, with 2000 square feet for $90,000. We put in an offer and started showing our house.
But as time went by, and with each showing, I started to become more and more sad about the thought of leaving this house. I started to realize that the farmhouse life, even one technically in town, was not for me. Even the farmhouse decorating started to get on my nerves. And the thought started to occur to me that if we were going to pay an additional $60,000 for a different house, that the same amount of money (probably much less) could go into our current home to make it all that we want.
Strangely, the kids confirmed that they did not want to move, either, even though they were going to get bigger bedrooms, their own bathroom, and an upstairs.
So we discussed the renovations we would like to make to this house, started collecting bids for the work, backed out of our contract, and took our home off the market with plans to stay here forever. We are going to replace the roof, tear down our garage, erect an 8 foot privacy fence, put in new central air and heat, buy a nice shed, gut and completely remodel our one bathroom, turn our attic into a 450 square foot master suite with sitting area, add a bathroom in the upstairs suite, move Brynne into our current master bedroom, and do a couple of small updates to our kitchen.
In the meantime, during all of these topsy turvy decisions, two of my friends who have taken on the hobby farm life have expressed to me how much time and money (more than they ever thought) it has taken to make their dreams a reality. I started to realize that my reality is that I was only dreaming when it came to this whole farm life thing.
I want a more simple life as I age, not to add anything else to my plate.
I do not want to take care of even one. more. thing.
I have carved out a peaceful life doing exactly what makes me happy. Why would I change that?
The kids are happy. Why do I want to disrupt them?
We can have everything we want right where we are. I can even get some chickens someday if I desire.
In our society we continually want more and different. I do not want to do that anymore. I want to be settled and comfortable and live a quiet life. Ever since the final decisions have been made, I have been at total peace.
Sometimes we have to move toward what we want to realize we don't really want it after all.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
We are just a couple of weeks away from starting back to full-time school. We have enjoyed a more relaxed school schedule this summer, concentrating on math and reading. But it's about time to jump back into our other subjects.
At the last minute I completely changed what we are going to be studying for social studies/history. I had planned for us to tackle the ancients, but Eli has had a recent interest in cartography. Since he is my only student at home this year, I decided to listen to where his interests are taking him and changed things up to a study of geography and cartography. Plus, I think a year of this will actually make the ancients come more alive the following year.
Eli will be in the 8th grade this year, and he will study the following:
MathThis summer Eli attended and completed a Pre-Algebra Readiness course with Mr. D's Math. In my opinion, Mr. D is the Holy Grail of math and worth every penny. Any math course that leaves my son with dimples showing at the end of a quiz is the one for me. Eli is enrolled in Pre-Algebra for this school year.
WritingEli and I are both going to participate in his writing program this year and have decided to each make a magazine using Cover Story. I believe his topic is going to be dinosaurs. I am thinking mine may be simple living. It's going to be a fun course!
ReadingEvery day Eli reads out of a book of his choice for 30 minutes to an hour. He is currently reading the books in the Halo series. I really do not care what he reads as long as he is reading.
GrammarWe will continue with Fix-It Grammar by IEW. It has been an excellent fit for us, and this will be our third year and volume of this curriculum. It will have Eli very well prepared to take the Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive B course next year.
McGuffeyEvery morning we start our school day by reading a selection out of McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. We will be reading out of the Fifth volume this year.
GeologyEli has expressed an interest in Archaeology. So, we will backtrack a bit and start our science year studying Geology. We will be relying on the Geology Unit Study by Cindy Downes using The Geology Book by Dr. John D. Morris as our spine, along with additional activities from Geology (Thematic Unit). We will also be reading Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and watching videos from Geology Kitchen and Earth Revealed.
GeographyThe spine of our Geography lessons will be Mapping the World with Art by Ellen McHenry. Eli will study the history of maps, will draw maps, and then will do other fun activities from that text. Additionally, he will be tracing maps using Scholastic's Super Book of Outline Maps. We will also move through Charting the World: Geography and Maps from Cave Paintings to GPS with 21 Activities (we used a volume of this book in our WWII studies and it was excellent).
LiteratureRead alouds are still a very important part of our day. We will start by reading several books with a geography spin, including:
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
OtherEli will continue to bowl in his weekly league, will attend speech therapy once a week, and we have plans to join a once-a-month geology club. Here and there we will study other topics, things like the upcoming Solar Eclipse and Perseid Meteor Shower. Later in the year we will pick back up with some enjoyable studies launching off the television shows Timeless (American History) and The Zoo from Animal Planet (animal science). Who knows what else will grab our attention.
This will be a very exciting year for us as it is down to just Eli and me. Brynne will have her own adventures in public school. To everything ... turn, turn, turn ... there is a season ... turn, turn, turn ...