Category Archives: Homeschooling

Birthday buddies, spare ribs, and an end-of-year ceremony

We’re having some lovely spring weather with everything in bloom, and I’ve been taking advantage of them with some daily walks throughout the day. It’s given me the chance to see such interesting sights as sidewalks lined with petals like the world’s longest wedding procession, as well as two funeral processions within minutes of each other on Center Street.

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On Saturday, we celebrated birthdays for August and Jonah down at H.W. Banner Park (without the water features, unfortunately) with a bunch of their little friends. Grammy baked a delicious Mario birthday cake, and the kids had fun picking with parts they got to eat. Mostly, it was a couple hours of the kids getting fresh air on a windy day playing and picking dandelions together before opening presents.

Then on Sunday, our kids learned they’d brought their bibles enough times to earn a couple candy bars in Sunday School. That led to a long and sugared-up afternoon for them.

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On Monday night, Hannah had her fourth annual “end of year” ceremony with her Classical Conversations homeschool here in Bellevue. Grammy came along to watch Hannah get her certificate along with the rest of her class, and each group recited what they’d learned in the form of songs that they’d memorized. Jake in particular earned a “Memory Master” award for memorizing an obscene number of lines from their “timeline song,” along with writing a paper that he recited to those of us in attendance.

The kids had fun playing together afterward, having a few sugary snacks before playing outside and then having an impromptu “glow stick party” down in the church basement when no one was looking.

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Tuesday night was the last Men of God dinner for the season at Wildewood. I went along and brought a few $2 bills for the collection basket just to be funny (and I was out of “normal” cash). Woody brought along his portable grill again and made ribs for us, and then Pastor Ron had us make a list of our “social” contacts and rank them according to which “chair” they sat in, according to the book “4 Chair Discipling” by Dann Spader.

Then on Wednesday, Hannah had a monthly meeting with the local American Heritage Girls troop, where she got to learn how to lead a horse and brush its hair with a few other girls. We’d been looking for a new social group for Hannah to be a part of, since she’s outgrown Prims at BCC, and this seems to be a very good group — more like the Boy Scouts than that other group with all the cookies. We also got her activity book with all the badges she can earn. I’m particularly looking forward to helping her with the ones on the Constitution and Graphic Design.

Tree trimming

The dog days of summer are here as things begin winding down before school starts (in early August, which seems ridiculous) and every week seems to be hot and humid without a drop of rain.

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That didn’t keep us from a hot and steamy picnic on Saturday evening, though. A handful of our friends came by Swanson Park’s pavilion to have some food and unpack our collection of yearbooks, which have been sitting in a box in the midst of the pandemic waiting to be distributed. We’d also brought pens expecting some of the kids to sign each others’ books, but they mostly just had a grand time playing on the playground. Aaron and his little friends also decided to run off and explore the nearby wooded trails, chasing a rabbit and then walking along a fallen tree. We also found a giant dead tree that may have been here long before people settled in the area — who now have houses with ornate backyards facing the creek that runs through the park.

It was a nice little break, but the heat kept many of us huddled in the shade of the pavilion before retreating to our cars to get ice cream at McDonald’s before heading home.

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The next day, I brought the kids down to grandma and grandpa’s house to help trim a tree. The ash in the front yard had some low-hanging branches that needed clipping, so I clipped while the kids gathered them up for the bin in exchange for some chocolate coins from Uncle Jonny (in-between taking pictures). We stayed a little while longer so Hannah and Aaron could play with some of our old Power Ranger toys, which we got in Happy Meals a quarter century ago. Grandma also decided to play dress-up and pretend to be Pop-Pop before we headed for home.

Springtime Fire pit

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On Monday last week, Hannah celebrated her last day with her Classical Conversations classmates for the year. The students and teachers (AKA “tutors”) gave a brief presentation for the grown-ups of the various memory work they’d done that year, and then each the students got a certificate before breaking for refreshments downstairs. I have to admit after two years of homeschooling, I’ve found it has lot more schooling outside of “home” than I expected. Between our two home school groups, Hannah’s been able to enjoy multiple field trips, special guests at her co-op, and extra classes to learn things like sewing outside her standard curriculum. This year, Vivian and I even managed to prepare a real yearbook for all the students (which thankfully we finished in time for them to sign). Aaron still has a few more weeks to go.

Springtime weather seems to be hanging on, despite a cold snap that brought more snow to other parts of the country. As such, I had our first lunchtime rendezvous with Vivian and the kids on Wednesday, taking them to Elmwood Park to play for an hour or two (as Stinson Park is currently being renovated). I got to take a few nice, long lunchtime walks on other days, making my way past some lovely blossoms (and less lovely geese) on the Keystone Trail just to grab some flavored coffee in time for Cinco de Mayo.

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Our own yard had been in bloom as well, with an explosion of tulips we’d planted last October adding to the color of our yard. We also have some lilac ready to bloom in the backyard, which only lasts about a week when we get it (if it blooms at all).

Then on Friday night, we burned off the various branches and sticks that had fallen over the past year in a lovely fire pit. We invited our friends the Mills over to grill hot dogs and roast marshmallows (or vegetables) over the open flame while the kids ran around and played together. Aaron was especially tuckered out, crashing both Friday night and again Saturday afternoon.

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In other news, Hannah and Mommy had a lovely time at the Prims’ Princess party, which happened on Saturday. I’d write more about that if I couldn’t, but it was a girls’ only event. Maybe Mommy will update her blog and tell you more about it.

The Finish Line

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We gorgeous weather on Saturday as the briefest spring in history gives way to summer. We spent much of the day up at Arrowhead Lake in Neola, Iowa, where Vivian, Jessica, Kate, and a few others participated in an obstacle course 5K. I brought along Hannah and Aaron, who got to have some quality outdoor time with Kate’s girls throwing rocks into the lake and finding snails and crawfish washed up along the shore. Vivian and the others traversed a hilly trail in the meantime with various obstacles to climb and traverse on their way back to the finish line.

It took everyone about an hour or so to finish, and then we let the kids have some quality swing time afterward before heading down to Chick-Fil-A in Bellevue to finish off the day. Our friend Dennis also turned 42 and had a cookout at his place, so I dropped by just to say Happy Birthday.

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On Sunday, our old friends Ben and Jillian tied the knot with a small ceremony (and a lot of food — all made by Jillian) at Just Dance in downtown Omaha. I tended to the kids in the meantime and took them to Aldi to get ingredients for a Fruit Party (but I did get some of the leftovers). Then that evening, Aunt Jessica had a fire pit at her parents’ house, so we dropped by to make some s’mores together with Kate and her girls as the sun went down.

The next day, Hannah and her little friends at Classical Conversations had their end-of-year ceremony. They sang a few of their memory songs to demonstrate what they’d learned throughout the year, and everyone got a certificate before heading off stage. It marked the end of an adventurous year of homeschooling for Hannah, and we’re counting on next year being even better.