For many years now, I have started our homeschool year on September 1st to coincide with the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year.  We tend to have school year round so that we can have breaks whenever we visit family or when family visits us.  As September roles around, we change out our math workbooks, put away our portfolios which have collected a year’s worth of work, and put an empty, new portfolio binder in their school cubby.

This year, I’m slightly behind given the birth of our precious little Gabriel.  I’ve been working on our curricula for months now and I’m almost finished.  In addition, I’m changing some organizational tidbits around here as well.  (More on that in a future post)  Daddy kindly volunteered to teach school the first three days of our new school year – and he started out with a BANG!

On September 1st, dad took the big boys flying.  (An airplane owner at his work offered to let Les use his plane for an hour for free.  Les turn down free flight time especially when he can take his family – I don’t think so!)  😉  If you’ve ever heard Les talk about flying, you’ll effortlessly learn something every time as he tells his stories.  All those years of flight instructing haven’t left him and the boys learned all sorts of things while they went flying with their dad such as the physics of flight, weather, and more!

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 Zach logging some flight time

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My big boys

The boys worked on a project in the backyard with dad yesterday and today.  I have had ideas for an outdoor play area for the boys for months now inspired by Pinterest.  (You can see my collection of “Outdoor Fun” pins here.)

The boys went with Les to the store yesterday to buy a few supplies but the goal was to predominantly use items we already have around the house from previous projects.

The first project was to transform the old playground set into The Owlery.  We took down most of the playground set when we first moved into the house because it was run down and just plain dangerous.  We left the bare minimum of the old club house because I was inspired by a trip to Disney World to have my own hanging garden.  It didn’t turn out so well.  We have too much shade in the backyard from all of our trees to have a garden there.

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We tend to name rooms and spaces around our house.  We have a room that we genuinely call The Room of Requirement.  This room has morphed so many times since we’ve lived here to fit our needs (guest room, play room, storage room, extension of the classroom, pantry, and folding room) and we got confused trying to rename it each time that we decided to end all the confusion and just call it The Room of Requirement.  It stuck and that’s what we call it now.  Seriously.  We also have a room that we call Spare Oom from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  It teeters back and forth from an office to a guest room to an office.  I hope to one day have a Secret Garden in the back half of our yard in the forest.  One day….   So, the boys named their outdoor space The Owlery because they can leave messages for each other on the chalkboard they made with dad.

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Les primed and painted the chalkboard for the kids

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The boys painted the outside of the board with leftover outdoor paint we had in the barn to protect it from rain and snow

After this was finished, they worked on the swing set.  Between the swings and balance beams, I now have great tools for me to use as an aide for their sensory therapy.

Les went over angles and measurement with the boys as they constructed The Owlery and swing set.

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Then my personal favorite part of the day was watching Les test out the strength of the swing set.  I’m impressed that he could not only jump up to the top beam but then pull himself up there because I definitely couldn’t do it anymore.  This is when our kids say “Ewwwww!” as I say , “Les is so cute!  I love him!”

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From left over lumber, they made balance beams

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Gabriel and I peeked out periodically from school prep to take pictures of the boys and daddy

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Then dad taught them about simple machines.  I missed the demonstration on a wedge and screw since I was inside but I got photos of the rest.

Lever:

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Pulley:

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Inclined Plane:

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  Wheel and axle:

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Ta Da!  We’re done!

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