It’s taking us about three hours a day to do it all. I feel like we’re in a decent groove right now. Broken record alert, but we adore Beautiful Feet Early American History. Any interest in an in depth review?
History Storytime is a fun new podcast we discovered that shares 10 minute stories and they are delightful and very kid-friendly. The girls enjoy them on car rides.
I feel it’s possible we are finally hitting our stride with math. Singapore Primary US version is working well for us all. We are still using Horizons workbooks here and there and was just sent Beast Academy text and workbooks to check out which totally through me off because I did not know they are in comic book form. I plan to play around with these and report back.
I decided we need more writing in our days. I’m trying to choose between buying a Bravewriter Dart or Boomerang to do or IEW Fables, Myths, and Fairytales writing lessons.
The more I’m off social media, the happier I am. That pains me to say because I love the ease of connecting on Instagram and the friends I have on the app, but sometimes it just feels like a lot of noise and I sometimes wonder what I’m contributing to the space besides just more noise… and dinner pictures 😋
I also sometimes get too sucked into my phone and out of my real life. I’m forever trying to find the right balance of living life and sharing it. No answers here; just an observation.
Spring Science Fun
I bought this butterfly kit and am really impressed with it. Unlike ant farms we’ve had in the past, the caterpillars are shipped right to you with the kit. Ours are growing quickly and we are having such a fun time with them. The girls have named them all.
We also planted our seeds (in this awesome seed starting set) and are crossing our fingers they sprout!
We have been busy bees around the house. We’ve ordered new lighting fixtures for the kitchen, dining room, and entry way. I prepped the garden and we cleaned the dock and set up fake snakes to keep the geese from “visiting” there. So far, it seems to be working.
David took down the girls’ old playset (they cared not at all) and we spent hours shoveling gravel under the back deck, part of which will serve as the girls’ official Nature Girl Headquarters. Nature Girls is their favorite outside game to play and involved making magic potions and saving worms.
We are also soon undergoing a big project to take off all the siding on our house and replace it with hardie board. We’ll be adding some stone, doing new lights, and a new front door, too. It’s exciting!
I don’t know if I’ll ever want to write about my grief. It surprises me because it’s so present in my life and writing is a way I work through things, but I still can’t make sense of it and certainly don’t have any eloquent words to say about it. Some moments I’m totally fine but in others it almost feels like the earth opens up beneath my feet and I fall into a pit of realization that my life, and Mom and Kris’ lives, will never be the same. I worry that admitting that may sound dramatic and it makes me feel super vulnerable and that’s how I know I’m not ready to talk about it. I’m not ready for outside input on this personal process.
But at least now that the constant rain has given way to more sunny days, my mental health is so much better. I never believed I had seasonal affective disorder, but maybe I have a touch of it?
My mom, brother, and I are planning my dad’s celebration of life ceremony this weekend. We are going to have the ceremony on his birthday weekend in May, just shy of a year of the anniversary of his passing (since the state of the world prevented any such event last year).
I’m simultaneously looking forward to spending time with mom and Kris, sick to stomach about having to put the details of that day together, and at the same time ready to properly have a time to celebrate, remember, and mourn him with the people who all loved him so much. In so many ways, I still can’t believe he is really gone, and in other ways it feels like he has been gone for so long. Tears are falling down my face, so it’s all I’m going to share about that for now.
I can’t end on tears, especially when for the most part I feel so much joy lately (thank you, sunshine!). The spark of planning for our family’s future is back, after being thrown off by a year of loss, from my Grandma Betty, to Dad, to our house contract(s) falling through.
Furthermore, I truly love how I am spending my days. While the girls wear me flat out more days than not, learning beside them, strengthening our bond, and watching them grow is the honor of my life. Cliché alert- it goes so fast.
Hailey is almost 9 1/2 and amazes me more each day. I am seeing glimpses of the young woman she is becoming, in the form of both big emotions and frustrations, but also the gentleness she possesses and depth of her heart. I’m a lucky mama.
Goose is losing teeth and playing soccer and rocking her math like it ain’t no thing. But when she curls up in bed I still seem glimpses of her toddler self, too, and I savor it.
And the unsung hero who doesn’t get much mention is David. I freaking love that funny, handsome man and should mention him more than I do. He works his tail off not only at work stuff, but around the house, too, whether it’s shoveling gravel or often cleaning the kitchen after dinner while the girls and I retreat to read Harry Potter on the couch. We’re still dedicated work out buddies, rocking Madeline Moves, and really in sync at the moment, though we’re both ready for warmer weather and some outdoor date night adventures (boating, kayaking, and cocktails, oh my!).
Activity season is kicking back up around here, too. The girls have soccer, Hailey is going to do Girls on the Run, we’ve registered for swim team, and Hailey is signed up for a sewing camp, too. I’m ready for it and for the feeling that comes with “springing” back to life.
Because ending with food is always a good idea. I made this old recipe (now that I can find old recipes in the archive finally with the new design…) this past week and the family loved it! If you’re looking for a new (easy!) weeknight dinner to try next week, click over and print it out.
And that’s life in a nutshell around here right now. If you’re open to sharing, I’d love to hear… what’s something going on in your life at the moment?
We are doing Beautiful Feet Around the World with Picture Books Part 2 and loving it! We also put a pause on our right start math to try beast academy and my almost 8 year old daughter is loving it! Also, big fans of Brave Writer Dart over here!
We are also looking forward to more spring like weather!
Brittany Dixon says
I hear so many good things about Beast Academy- do you use an online component or just the text and workbooks?
Sounds like we have a similar homeschool style. We also adore BF history!!
One of my children is very math-minded and loves Beast Academy. (We use Singapore also). I would say Beast Academy moves faster and is more challenging than Singapore, but it has a similar focus on problem solving and mental math. We used the books for a solid year, working through all of level 2 before adding the online component (which I allow my child to explore at his pace, for enrichment, mostly). We are currently working BA 3 and Singapore 3 in tandem, and Singapore 3 is like a review after BA 2.
I’m also considering using Bravewriter Dart for writing next year, so I’d be very interested in a review of that, or IEW Fables. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a trial dart in May.
We are big fans of Blossom and Root science and nature study also – their 30 percent off sale starts 3/15!
Brittany Dixon says
This is so interesting to me because I feel like Singapore is a fairly advanced curriculum (we use Horizons work books as a review of Singapore). Can you tell me… with Beast Academy, do you just read through the comic then do the workbook? I need to look more into it but I’m intrigued.
I was looking at BW single darts and we’ve already read so many of those books that I might lean IEW, but shoot, knowing me, I’ll probably just try and do both- ha.
I’ll check out Blossom and Root, too- thank you!
I will preface this by saying one of my children (Beast Academy user) is very naturally adept at and interested in math. He picks up on concepts quickly, extrapolates them independently to other situations, and doesn’t need a ton of review. He’s also a naturally persistent personality who is not easily rattled by failure. He does math all the time, for fun, and has since a young age.
The other child I’m currently schooling does need things more broken down, repeated to master, and tends toward perfectionism. He’s creative and sensitive to correction. I use Singapore only (require he do it) with that child and we take it at his pace.
As a family, when I use BA, we read the comic books together, which they all enjoy. We do the workbooks “collaboration” style. Kid who loves it joins me. Kid who doesn’t may or may not. The workbooks are set up to be more puzzle/brainteaser style. BA 2 focused a lot on mental strategies for manipulating bigger numbers in your head and ascertaining the relationship between numbers quickly and easily. There are honestly not a ton of practice problems in the workbooks, but the ones there are move fast and are challenging. Some of the “extra challenge” problems I had to really work at to solve, and I wouldn’t consider myself a math-minded person, but I’m reasonably intelligent and have a master’s degree.
I love that it’s giving my kids challenge and depth of thinking. I think it’s fantastic for making the real life applications of math accessible and giving kids permission to try, fail, persist, and think outside the box. It may not be a good fit for a kid who needs a lot of repetition, is easily overwhelmed by challenge, or just straight up does not enjoy critical thinking/problem solving yet.
As I said, we worked straight through BA2 (all 4 books) before diving into the online. Like you, we don’t do a ton a screen time, but I’m making forays into allowing 30-60 minutes per day, especially in winter (long cold winter here). We used the free month last spring and purchased a year subscription this past October. You can control which lessons your child accesses/does, but I have it set up for my child so that he can access any level he chooses or play whatever game he sees fit. It’s mostly for enrichment and fun for him so I don’t feel the need to control this. He’s taught himself all about geometry on his own accord, which doesn’t appear until the later books. The online has a puzzle lab, games, (some of which appear in the book, some which don’t), and you can also access video tutorials (real people walking you through the problem or skill).
We have been very pleased with it, and have chosen to keep up with Singapore too, for the time being. They cover different skill sets at different times and work nicely together.
I *think* I’m gonna go all in on the Dart/Arrow. I know what you mean about having read all the books – we’ve read about half of the Dart books too. I’m hoping that next year’s will have some fresh ones, and between the 2 lists I’ll be able to fill. Or, maybe we will try an Arrow level after a few Darts under our belt. I have younger children also so a reread of Charlotte’s Web probably wouldn’t be too bad anyway! I’m also really torn on Partnership Writing vs. Jot it Down. I’ve got one kid firmly in each stage, I think. But don’t want to do both.
Hope this isn’t too forward or weird, but feel free to email me any time. Your blog is the only one I’ve followed consistently throughout the years, and I resonate with so much of what you’ve posted about parenting and homeschool, from the initial decision, to seasonal rhythm, to savoring childhood. I’m a former classroom teacher and my perspective on teaching and learning and what education even is has shifted and broadened since having my own kids. I love to read, talk and learn about all things homeschool!
Anyway, hope that was helpful and wishing you a happy spring!
Thanks for sharing Brittany. This was just so nice to read. I’ve felt so anxious this week about the future and what not and this post just brought me back to reality and all the good things in life right now like; the approach of spring & warmer temps, activities starting back up like swim lessons and the possibility of a summer vacation. Thanks again, I really needed to read this today.
Brittany Dixon says
Sending you a big ol internet hug, Krista! I hope you had a nice weekend and I hope warm temperatures arrive soon for us all; what a difference they make <3
Heather Long says
One more month until my surprise quarantine baby arrives! I am a little nervous since it’s been almost 7 years since my son, and I am 42, but I know it will also be great!
Brittany Dixon says
Let the countdown begin! What an exciting blessing! I’m sure it will be crazy (isn’t it always?!) but incredibly wonderful. I’m so happy for you!
Love posts like this one 🙂 The BIG thing that happened this week here is that after 355 days our kids finally went back to in-person school!!! I know that virtual school and being stuck at home during a pandemic isn’t what true homeschool looks like, but gosh I really don’t know how you do it every day!! To say that we were all excited for school is the understatement of the century. It’s only for 2.5 hours a day now, but that time away from each other makes the time spent together sweeter for us. Other than that we are looking for a small camper and hoping to buy one soon, and we’ve already planned several camping trips for the summer. Warmer weather can’t come soon enough!!
Brittany Dixon says
Hooray for being back in school!! It’s crazy how different the set up is around the country. I have friends here that have been in school the whole time, others that have been two days, and others that have been fully virtual. What a crazy year for all the moms out there making it work somehow.
And I feel ya, bring on the warm weather! 🙂
Oh we love the butterfly project, I am adding that to our spring science list (again) because my children love it so much.
We also are planning our gardens, our outdoor projects and all of the adventures for this summer. So excited for warmer weather and all of the spring sports. volleyball, soccer and t-ball for my active three.
We are getting baby chicks in a month and I am so excited. Also, gardening. All of the gardening. Outside time gives me life and my kids are both finally old enough that I don’t need to watch them all of the time. Your house projects inspire me…I need to take care of our early 2000s light fixtures. Please don’t get up insta, but if you do, I understand. Have a great weekend!
Brittany Dixon says
We are in the same phase where we can all be outside and enjoy that time without me having to watch them like a hawk 🙂 The chicks sound so fun; I’ll have some one day, for sure. Enjoy and happy (almost) spring!
We love “Beautiful Feet” too! I think you should do a review–there aren’t that many out there.
One tip I could recommend for others if you included tips would be to look for the curriculum used–I found most of the books at half price, and our library had a few so I didn’t have to buy the whole set. That might help someone who likes the idea, but is deterred by the cost. (However–for those who want to spend the money–these are the kinds of books you want in your library!)
We also do a lot of narration related to this curriculum, and started (and eventually abandoned because I was sick of harping on the kids to make them) a giant timeline made of illustrated index cards with facts about each character/time period we explored!
Great family pics and updates. Something new in our family life is that I am 18 weeks pregnant. I saw someone else below commented about a surprise baby. I could relate. 🙂 I am enjoying going through your pregnancy posts.
Brittany Dixon says
First of all…. AHHHH CONGRATULATIONS!!! <3 I'm thrilled for you and your whole family; how exciting!
And secondly, great tip to look around for the books elsewhere. It is definitely my splurge curriculum 🙂
Your girls’ Nature Girl game reminds me of when I decided I wanted to be “Earth Girl” for Halloween when I was maybe 8 or 9. It wasn’t some obscure cartoon I had seen or a character from a book I’d read – just really liked the outdoors and being in nature. I remember my parents being a bit perplexed, but they just bought me a big sweatshirt and some glittery puff paint and let me go bananas decorating it with “earth” designs. It was a difficult one to explain to people while trick or treating, but at least it was budget-friendly haha!
What’s new for me right now is the home-buying process. My husband and I are set to close on our first home in just a couple of weeks, and we are ecstatic! We’ve been living with his parents for the past two months after arriving here (military move), so we may be a little extra excited due to the space/privacy we’ve missed during our months as quasi-squatters with my in-laws. 😉
Also just had to share that my heart went out to you as I read what you had to say about the grief process. As a long time reader, I often saw your dad’s comments and even read his blog a few times. My dad is a psychologist and I’m a therapist, so it was always neat to read your dad’s perspective on clinical/interpersonal matters, on top of just admiring how supportive he clearly was. Saying an little prayer for you today.
Brittany Dixon says
Congratulations on (almost!) buying your first home!! That’s such an exciting time and I’m so happy for you.
Thank you for your kind words, too. I often joked I’ve been in therapy my whole life because my dad was a family/marriage/relationship psychologist so I appreciate the work you do so much <3 🙂
Hi, Brittany! I would very much love to see a full review of the Beautiful Feet history curriculum you’re using with your girls. As someone else commented, there aren’t many in-depth reviews around on the internet, but it looks like a valuable program and I’d love to learn more before making the investment.
Wishing the best to you and your family as you spring into warmer weather and abundant sunshine!
Brittany Dixon says
Awesome, I will definitely review it once we get further along in it. I just posted the BF Around the World review, so hopefully that will be helpful to get an idea of what their literary based programs are like. I also shared a look into the BF Early American History Vikings unit (the first one in the book). Until I get to the whole thing, I hope it’s helpful! 🙂
What a fun, inspiring, informative, and real post to read. Our lives will never be the same but they still can be very good (that’s what I keep telling myself :)).
Thanks for sharing your life and heart. The girls and David are sure fortunate to have you as a mom and wife/best friend!
Brittany Dixon says
I’m grateful we have exciting things on the calendar to look forward to! Love you so much, mama <3
Beth Gipson says
Oh Brittany…My heart goes out to you in a way only a little girl who has lost her own daddy could. I am 38 years old, I have a 10 year old and a 7 year old, and we all live across a field from my mom and my dad. I have one sister and her family lives on the other side of my parents and we were all so close…and then one day, four years ago, I found my daddy in his recliner. He had died from a massive heart attack. The shock and the pain are like nothing I have ever experienced in this life. And you describing how one moment you’re fine and one second later, the earth has opened up and you’re falling and you honestly don’t know if you will ever stop…YES. SO TRUE.
The good news that I can tell you, and I know you won’t believe me right now because I didn’t believe it when someone told me, is that time will heal. The scars and the pain will always be there, but four years removed now, they are easier to bear. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my dad or how proud he would be of all his grands, but with each day, the bitter turns just a tish sweeter, and while I can still burst into tears thinking about my dad at any given moment, those moments are fewer and further in between.
And PRAISE JESUS, I know I will see my daddy again one day. And that hope is like nothing else in this life…It’s a peace that certainly passes all understanding.
Brittany Dixon says
Thank you for sharing, Beth. I have tears in my eyes as I read your story. <3
You chose the right word to describe what I sometimes feel, too- bitter. I've never been a bitter person but it hurts so bad sometimes to know how much he loved us and how much he wanted to be here with us and watch his grandkids grow and I just feel he got cheated out of that. It's such a bitter and ugly viewpoint and I cringe even writing it out and instead try to cling to the gratitude I have of the beautiful memories we shared for so many years. Somedays it's easier than others.
Your kindness and offering of hope that the edges of the pain soften with time is encouraging. From one daddy's girl to another, thank you so much <3
Toni Samuelu says
I loved reading this today. And I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, and I love you and am so inspired by you, friend! xxo
Brittany Dixon says
Thank you so much, my friend! And I am inspired by you! <3