Welcome to TwoCowgirls, the blog about our crazy life in Downtown Saint Paul!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Year With No Winter Doldrums

Looking back on our past few years of homeschooling, I have found that I'm always hit with a pretty bad case of the winter doldrums.  The intensity of my winter doldrums has seemed to increase over the years.

This year, I haven't had them.

I think there are two reasons why.

1) Winter getaway to Florida.  It helped to leave the frozen tundra of Minnesota for a couple weeks of sun and beaches.

2)  Scheduling time, not content.   We started implementing a few "ingredients" from the book The Phases of Learning by Rachel and Oliver DeMille.  While we're not following their plan perfectly (we're newbies!), I have picked a few things that were fairly easy to implement.  The main one, is doing "kid school" every day.  Kid school runs between 30 minutes to an hour per kid (depending on what we've got going on that day), and we use that time to work on topics I feel they need to work on.

Elise loves math and language arts, so we end up spending most of our time on that.  She seems to be a natural speller, so I don't feel too bad taking it slow (or ignoring altogether) with the spelling curriculum.

Millie doesn't like math anymore, so I've been introducing her to games, and fun activities that introduce and reinforce concepts.  Math Geek Mama is my new favorite resource!!  I had no idea there we fun ways to introduce advanced concepts at the middle school and high school level!!

After kid school, the girls do independent work.  They have been learning about the fall of Rome, and the beginning of the dark ages.  Millie is researching ponds and streams, and Elise is researching weaving.  They read about their topics, and then present what they've learned at the end of the week, during our Friday tea party.

They seem like such easy changes, but they really have (I believe) been the biggest contributing factor to my lack of winter doldrums.

Here are some pictures from the past two weeks:

Welcome to the family, Lily Rose Bun Bun!

Final snow storm of the year (we hope)

First Communion!

Weisman Art Museum

Find out what other homeschoolers were up to, here!  

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Thing About My Plan...

It's funny that I wrote a post about A Day in Our Life, a few weeks ago.  I was so happy with the way things were going, we had a great routine.

Then, we went on our Florida vacation, and I had a LOT of time to do a lot of thinking, soul searching, and planning.

I had been dabbling in Thomas Jefferson Education, but I didn't really "get it."  A couple days before we returned from Florida, I ordered Phases of Learning, and it was ready and waiting for me on my front stoop when we arrived home.  It didn't take long for me to read it, and it changed everything.

Now, my schedule is quite different.  It's really great.  I'll do another Day in Our Life post when the dust settles (probably next school year!).

Here's what we've been up to since we got home:

Jr. First Lego League

Meet the Masters Art Class

SciGirls class

It's hard to do school when the weather is so nice!

Font making class

Center for Book Arts

Lots of neighbor kid time

4-H Shooting Sports

First bonfire of the season!  Bye bye Christmas tree!

A Trip of a Lifetime

After 15 years of NO vacations (and for my girls and I, our first family vacation EVER), we finally had the opportunity to leave for Florida for two weeks!  It was a fantastic break from life.  We spent a lot of time with our families, and made a lot of really great memories.  I came back with a clear head, and lots of ambition :)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our trip:

Savannah Georgia (so beautiful!  The Spanish moss is gorgeous!)

About to leave for our first trip to Disney World!

Our first time seeing the ocean!  Hello Atlantic :)  

Naples with the inlaws.  So much fun!!

A walk with a ranger in the Everglades

Lots of outdoorsy fun with with my mommy & daddy

A day trip to Clearwater to see Winter the dolphin and the beach

Siesta Key.  In hindsight, I'd tell us to apply more sunscreen.  We were all SO burned!

The sand at this beach is so cool!  It's all crushed up shells.

Hunting for shark teeth

Santa Fe teaching zoo on the way home to visit Millie & Elise's beloved babysitter.

Finally, a trip to the City Museum in St. Louis.  This place is craaaazy amazing!

There we go!  It was such an amazing trip. Next up:  Yellowstone!  Hopefully we won't wait another 15 years...