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Hung At The Hips

Science class today.
Proper calf presentation at birth. How lungs are cleared out when they hang like this. And most importantly…
Will he ever actually come out?

 

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Still Schooling

It’s been busy around here. Although we are just starting this having school at home thing it is going pretty well. That might change after a few weeks 😉

We’ve fallen into a bit of a routine, wake up and eat with my husband before he heads off to work. School is being taught at home and someone needs to make that possible and be there to support the teachers just like when they were teaching from the school.

Then we go feed cows. With school going this wasn’t mandatory, now it is. After feeding we check the pasture for new calves. Back home we do our school work. Short bursts and lots of reward for their work. My daughter is blogging as part of her schooling. She needed work on her writing, how better to learn than to talk about her experiences of the day. My son, in preschool, is doing his sisters math homework. Why not take something he likes and is good at and concentrate on it? We can tailor their learning to their individual wants and needs far better than a school that has to keep the whole class together in their learning.

Then free time on the computer or outside.

The rest of the day is spent playing, working, learning. Who says any one of those is separate from the other?

I firmly believe in the importance of play as learning, now we get to do it. Checking cows we learn about science, how a body works, what is inside of us, or cattle, how calves are born, what happens when things die. We use math, counting new calves, remembering what number we were on  clear until we find another calf.

They’ve been helping get the garden ready to plant, digging the remaining, still very edible, carrots from last year, helping clean out the greenhouse, and they will soon help plant the seeds of cold weather plants.

We’ve had in depth computer science classes, something we are lucky to be in the unique position to be able to offer much better than schools are. They, and the cousins, have helped build a computer and make repairs.

They’ve gotten better about playing together, learning about team work, as long as they think they are causing trouble. Hauling old posts out of one pile and stacking them in  the middle of the garden. They learn so much in that little act of defiance 😆

 

My Side Of The Story

We were looking through the calves. My daughter was on the fourwheeler behind me. My father in law was putting out bales of hay for the calves.

As we drove across the pen I said look a chipmunk! It was hopping across the pen, big and grey with it’s long scaly tail stuck straight in the air.

That wasn’t a chipmunk! It was a rat!

Daisy was on the fourwheeler behind us. She’s a good rat dog. I started calling to her, trying  to get her to notice the rodent.

It was getting away though. I floored the fourwheeler and we aimed at the rat. It disapeared beneath us.

Slamming on the breaks I turned to look behind.  It was still running. Leaping off the fourwheeler I ran for it still calling Daisy.  She wasn’t caught up yet, I was there, I did it. My dad always told a story about him stomping a rat that ran under him while he stood talking along Lower Wacker in  downtown  Chicago. I had to  do it, the rat was under my feet already. I forced myself to stomp. The rat squirmed, wrapping  up around my boot. I could feel it. Screaming in  fear and horror at what I was doing I kept stomping, to keep it from  crawling up my leg as much as anything.

Daisy finally got there. I stepped back  and let her finish up.

The Goblin Child was cackling historically on the fourwheeler then hopped off to come see it for herself. Upon inspecting the now very dead rat she shrugged and we walked back  to the fourwheeler and home.

Daisy was  left with her prize. She carried it off the other direction.

Country School

It’s official now. School is canceled for the next two weeks. To start with.

On the first day today the staff had to go in, we don’t have any cases anywhere near us, this is just an excess of caution. School is going to go on from a distance. They went in and got prepared.

The cousins came over since their mom had to go in.

We started the day by checking cows. Calving is starting and they need a close eye kept on them. They can be watched even closer if there are many children here who need kept busy. We followed the path that is safe to get through, avoiding deep snow drifts and any hill that is too steep. Talked about exactly what needs to be looked for in the cows and to be sure to check the far corners for any cow that wanders off alone. For the rest of the day it was their job to go make sure there were no new calves.

When there are new calves they will get to learn  about anatomy, science, even sex ed. Something farm kids generally have covered. They learn about what to look for when a cow is having trouble, how to tell if a calf has nursed. Maybe they’ll get to help pull a calf as the season goes on.

Inside there was computer time. I love watching them play together, together online and together in  the same room. They jump up and down  running to each others computers, they talk and plan, It’s a very social undertaking.

In between games they wrestled and played. Games were invited that had never been heard of before. The laughed and spread toys from one end of the house to the other. Or we all went outside. They disappeared off to climb hay bales while I  worked a horse, then wandered back muddy and bedraggled.

Late afternoon as everyone got tired and hungry we made cookies. 8 wanted to make sugar cookies. Make them in a pattern, square, star, square star. I  was sad to tell him we didn’t have a square cookie cutter.

But, who needs a pattern to follow!

We could cut out our own! We could make his square, we could make triangles, we could make any shape we wanted. It could be geometry!

Together the kids figured out measurements and ran the beater. Then, armed with the roller, butter knives and forks we began  to role out the cookie dough. Flour went everywhere, except on the table. Dough stuck to the roller. Little fingers scraped it free of the table. There was nothing square about the squares. The tip was cut off a triangle. The Goblin child held it up. Look! It’s a…   What’s the name of that shape again?

We made some guesses. No, No, not that. Oh yeah, trapezoid! Well if you say so dear. I have no clue.

One of the misshapen shapes looked like the state of Alabama! We were off on a new kick. I pointed at a square, look we have Colorado too! Or maybe it’s Wyoming? I can’t tell for sure. The others morphed into Illinois and Nebraska.

There did even end up being some stars.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll make it as far as getting some of them frosted, there might be a few left.

The teachers are getting homework together to send out. I’m hoping we can  continue on with it in  our small group. The older ones can help the younger ones. Nothing helps cement learning like teaching it to someone else. The younger ones may even be able to help the older ones. With geometry at least.

It will be like the old country schools, all the grades together. Learning, playing, working.

A few extra pictures of all the kids playing together along with our homeschool day.

 

 

Christmas Day ’19

 

 

Christmas Pictures

It was  the perfect winter day. Warm but snowing. I had picked up a Santa hat the day before and wanted to get some video of Rusty dressed up for Christmas. The kids came out to play and it turned into a family photo shoot. I thought this was much more fun than sitting on a human Santa’s lap!

 

Thanksgiving Vacation

We went to Missouri  for Thanksgiving to see, well, everyone!

Uncle Justin came down with his children and Grammy, uncle Tim and Shelly came down and we all went to see The Greatest Grandma.

It was a full house. The first night the children all ran wild through her house terrorizing her glass baubles. There was only one fatality, a heavy glass bowl of Christmas ornaments that had sat under the dining room table. 8 pushed them off with his foot right onto Grandma’s feet. The cousins loved each other though and were happy to play until we hauled them off to the hotel pool so the adults could talk in peace.

The next day brought more pool time then lunch and an afternoon spent at BassPro shop. We all splintered in different directions with so much to look at. 8 and The Goblin Child liked the escalator best and ran  laps, down the stairs, up the escalator, down the stairs, up the escalator until I was exhausted. The we met up with Justin  and children again to play with all the toys and the carousel. Finally exhausted we retreated to the hotel, without swimming.

The next day there was more swimming then we collected Grandma and were off to Silver Dollar City. It was a beautiful day and the streets were packed with people. We managed to get a few rides in though. Both kids rode their first real roller coaster. The Goblin Child loved it. 8 not so much. Then it was a mad rush through the park, total sensory overload as they tried to take everything in. I think the favorite ride was the pirate ship that swung back and forth. They both begged to ride it over and over again until grammy and I begged to stop. The Goblin Child loved Fire in the Hole! as much as I did when I was young. 8 loved the swings that went around and around.

I loved Silver Dollar City so much when I was little it was good to see them get to enjoy it too. By the end of the night they were exhausted. Again.

The next day it was time to go already. Everyone was sad for the trip to be over. We had long drives home though and needed to get going. The children had one last chance to wreak havoc on Grandma’s house as we said  our good byes.  We drove half way home and stayed at Tim and Shelly’s, mom and Justin had to drive the whole way. It was a long trip with tired grouchy children but it was sure good to be home!

 

 

 

Ice Skating

We went ice skating the other day.

It was one of those perfect fall days. Warm and sunny. A light jacket would have been good but of course they wouldn’t wear anything like that. We went to check the cows and found the windmill pond still frozen over from the cold days earlier in the week. It was somewhat frozen at least. Jumping on the ice and watching water squirt up through the holes was the best part. It wouldn’t have been disastrous if they had fallen through, it’s a shallow pond.

It was nice to get to ice skate here at home. We’ll have to get back there, play a little more.

 

 

Gymnastics

Gymnastics are still going very well. It’s so much fun to watch the kids out there doing their thing. They’re very good. They spend lots of time swinging and climbing and walking the balance beam.

This last week they started working on a routine on the balance beam instead of practicing pointing toes and touching them to their knees. It was much harder.