Week Ending 8-13-23 Starting School, Ending Blueberries

by Marcie
kids do art on the picnic table outside

First Week of the School Year

Back to school we go! We finished April 28 last year so it’s been awhile and it felt so good to get back to school. Last May Alexis was here and then in June and July we had various camps or staying with Lori. Next week Alexis and Kylie come home for a few weeks and then I know I’ll want to take off October because the weather is so gorgeous. Then Madalyn comes home in November and there are the holidays. So maybe we should just wait until January to start school this year! Haha. There’s always something going on in a family of 10 kids and a good reason not to do school.

However, every day is a school day in our family and on our farm, really. And I don’t worry too much considering the first 4 kids got scholarships to great universities. But I do LOVE teaching my children formally, the routine of the school day, and learning right alongside my young’uns. So here’s to the 2023-2024 school year!

6 year old practicing the piano

On Monday, the first day of school, Talea announced she was going to play the piano every day and learn a new song every day. So far she’s 5 for 5! She uses “Teaching Little Fingers to Play,” the piano book I used when I was her age. She is catching on quickly and I love her dedication to practicing every day and checking it off her checklist. I can’t believe my baby is playing the piano. Now I have 10 little pianists!

girl on a couch listening to an audio book

Talea also announced she was going to listen to at least one audio book a week. She’s never done audio books before, but Kaitlyn listens to a lot while milking the cow and cutting the grass. This week Talea listened to all of Betsy-Tacy and next week will listen to Betsy, Tacy and Tib. It’s the sweetest childhood series ever.

mom and daughter doing art on the picnic table

One afternoon Talea asked if we could do art together. We collected leaves and glued them onto our paper to make fairies. Soon the other kids joined us. Who can resist a beautiful day doing art outside?

kids do art on the picnic table outside
a girl draws on a piece of paper at the picnic table

Makenna drawing dragons for her stories.

6 year old does art outside

Talea doing leaf rubbings and leaf hammering, one of our favorite outside art projects. My leaf fairy is to her right.

5 children pose in front of the bookmobile with the librarian

We gotta make a trip to the bookmobile the first week of school. 🙂 Someone from the newspaper was there and took this picture. Kaitlyn has had Bells Palsy for 5 weeks now. If you’re wondering why she can’t smile, that’s why. Poor girl. Pray that it goes away soon.

two sisters play at the top of the playground

I rode scooters at the park with Tilly, the boys played cars, these two wrote their books on the playground for several hours.

Thomas’s Sweet Sixteen!

Thomas is my 5th child and oldest at home. He’s handy to fix things, consult with to make decisions, and is super sweet to every sibling. I’ve never seen him lose his temper or heard him say a cross word. He doesn’t volunteer to help or notice when things need to be done, but he will do anything I ask him to even if it’s a miserable chore. And not complain one bit. He enjoys writing music, computer programming, acting, singing, and playing his cello.

We cleaned the house all morning then he made us grilled cheese for lunch and brownies and ice cream for treats afterward.

teens eating pizza on the front porch of a country house

He had 5 friends over from church and they all enjoyed eating, jumping on the trampoline, and playing tetherball.

brothers playing a little digital piano

Thomas wanted his own digital piano so that he could compose music all the time. So I got him this one from the program I belong to where I get free stuff for posting reviews on Amazon. The obvious question is when is he getting his licnese? Today I wish! The law in Virginia is 16 and 3 months which is absolutely stupid. I hate it. He’s had his permit for 6 months. He’s done with drivers ed. He’s a great driver. I would love for him to take the kids to play practice so I could stay home and write curriculum to sell to support my family. But no, I have to take them. I would also love for him to drive himself and Kaitlyn to seminary in the morning so that I could stay home and get the other kids up, start laundry, milk the cow, etc. Guess I have to be patient.

Closing the Blueberry Patch

three sisters showing their blueberry buckets

Tuesday night the 4 of us picked a bunch of berries. Talea insisted on picking into tin pails so that they could go “keplunk, keplink!” like in “Blueberries for Sal.” Of course when we own our own Blueberry Hill we have to read that book all summer!

Saturday we all went out to pick the very last berries off the bushes. Talea and Anderson started making up a game that they were hungry orphans looking for something to eat and found these blueberries. After that they ate more than they picked. 🙂

Seven kids stand by their blueberry cash box on Blueberry Hill

We only got 3 containers so it’s time to close it down. The kids are fabulous helpers. I’m so proud of them. Right now they are ages 6, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 16. (And we had Isla Wednesday through Sunday. She turns 1 next week.)

trunk of a minivan with blueberry signs in it

We took down the cash box stand and all the signs and headed down our driveway. We didn’t earn much money but I’m still super glad we’ve put in so many hours cleaning up the patch. It’s a dream come true for me and we’ll definitely keep it up. I can’t wait to have it looking even better next year.

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