This week we attempted a lesson on estimation at the grocery store, learned about Saint Juvenaly, traced our impending route south for a wedding, took dad hiking at the nature reserve, sent and received our nature pal exchange packages, had a visit from Flat Stanley, and dressed up as our patron saints.

Life Skills: Estimation at the Grocery Store

With clipboards, paper, and pencils in hand for the three older boys, we headed off to the grocery store to get some needed groceries and a little lesson in estimating.  Before we left the house, we had about a 15 minute lesson on estimation and why we use it at the grocery store.  I told the boys that it was something I do every time I go to the store – I estimate how much the groceries in my cart will cost so I make sure I have enough money to buy them when I check out.  (We’ll get into budgeting later.  We’re not there yet.)

I didn’t expect them to keep a running tally in their head like I do so I told them to round up the cost of each item I put into the cart (which would help us estimate for tax as well), write it down on their paper, and add it up.

Let’s just say…I will need to repeat this lesson many, many times in the future.  One child did okay with it but he insisted it was stupid so I’m not sure that he’ll actually use it on his own when given the opportunity.  “We should just add the exact amount.”  The other two completely didn’t understand estimating.  Forget thinking it’s stupid, they didn’t understand estimation at all.

This is one of those things that I find incredibly easy as I keep a running total of my cart in my head as I shop, so I’m having to really think about how this would be broken down into steps in order to teach this to the boys.  Maybe this is one of those things where I’ll have to teach them to use a calculator and have them bring it to the store with them when they shop.  Which means I either need to teach them how to add tax at the end using the calculator or how to estimate in order to account for the tax.

This one needs tweaking…but it will be revisited again until we get this!

Big Stuff!

Oh mom!

Such a rough life there Gabriel

North American Saints: Saint Juvenaly

We learned about Saint Juvenaly of Alaska this week.  While many of the other saints of Alaska lived and worked along the coast or on the Aleutian Islands, Saint Juvenaly did a lot of this work on the mainland of Alaska.  He was the first American martyr.  He was killed by non-Christian native Alaskans.  There are two stories about how he was killed and ultimately we probably will never be certain which one is correct.

We also practiced our Saint Herman song again.  It’s coming along nicely.

Maps: Upcoming Travels

Les’ sister is getting married and we will be traveling south to the wedding soon.  We studied a map of the United States and determined the route we will be driving to get there – which interstates we’ll use, how many and which states will we drive through, how long will it take us to get there, where will we spend the night, and discussed whether or not we’d be changing time zones during any part of our trip.

Liturgy & Co-op:

We had our mid-semester break from co-op this week.  So, we all went to liturgy in the morning and then went to the nature reserve afterwards.  Les had to fly this weekend to finish out his 100 hours of flying for training (and he finished!!!!!!!) and legally had to take the day off so we decided to have a family day and after church went hiking.

Living in God’s Creation: Nature Pal Exchange & Flat Stanley

We sent off our Nature Pal Exchange package earlier this week.  We all really enjoyed collecting flowers, leaves, seeds, and nuts from our yard to send across the country.

We sent these items for our Nature Pal Exchange

Pressed and dried Butterfly Bush


Catalpa Leaf

We also received our Nature Pal Exchange package later this week.  My boys were giddy going through the box.  The other family had individually wrapped each of the items so my kids felt like it was homeschool Christmas over here.

Nature Pal Exchange Box we received this week

My niece sent us a Flat Stanley from Oklahoma.  (Essentially, a cartoon man the kids cut out and color, send him in the mail, and he comes back to tell the child about his travels.)

He took a little longer than expected in the mail and arrived the day before he needed to return.  We had a quick visit with him and taught him all about black walnuts and dyeing with them.


Look Flat Stanley! This is a black walnut tree.

These are what the black walnut shells look like

These are the walnuts growing on the tree

Safe travels home! Thanks for coming to see us Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley collected many black walnuts

Then we taught him how to hull them

Exploring Our City: Family Night at Our Parish (Dress Up as Your Favorite Saint)

My big boys decided they would each dress up as their patron saints.  I didn’t have the ability to really go out and buy anything for costumes (except the beards that Zach and Chris begged for), so we improvised with whatever we had around the house.


Saint Christopher: A very short summary – He carried a young child (Christ) across a river but almost drowned because the child was so heavy.  St. Christopher asked the child why it felt like he had just carried the weight of the world on his shoulders as he crossed through the water and the child replied that he hadn’t carried the weight of the world but rather the One who created the world.  Thus we thought it was appropriate to have Gabriel be the child on St. Christopher’s back that you see in the icon.


Chris did such an excellent job retelling the story of St. Christopher at the church party!  He almost retold the entire story.  All three of the boys did excellent with their public speaking.  Once again, as always, the best comes out of my boys when we’re at church or God is the focus.  I had a smile on my face as I watched them remember the story of their patron saints with clarity and how at ease they appeared why talking in front of so many people.


Prophet Zacharias: He is the father of St. John the Baptist.  He was rendered mute because of his disbelief that his wife was pregnant at such an elderly age.  Zacharias finally got his speech back when he wrote down that the child would be named John.  Symeon filled in as St. John for the party.



St. Justin: He was a scholarly man who wrote quite a lot in defense of Christianity.  He was martyred (killed) for his unwavering faith in God.