Candy Mountain Academy – memorable moments from week 1

Well, our first week back to school (after a two month break for Christmas and moving) is complete!  We even came up with a new name for our homeschool — Candy Mountain Academy.  How does that sound?  Fun, yet somehow sophisticated, I hope.  No, it has nothing to do with actual candy (Charlotte Mason would be mortified at that! 😉 What we draw them with, we draw them to, right?). It actually comes from the location of our new home.  It has been so good to dive back into lessons this week.  I always find it daunting after a long break, but the routine is so good for us.  It’s especially good for me right now as I am feeling somewhat “aimless” these days…not really sure where I fit and what my role here in this place is yet. 

I’ve gone back to getting up in the dark.  I find when we’re doing school that I have to get up no later than 6am in order to spend some quiet time with Jesus, enjoy my coffee, do a fifteen minute stretching routine to limber up for the day, and get myself ready for breakfast.  I’ve also reinstituted my afternoon walks where I put on my audio Bible and get outside alone for about twenty minutes.  Yesterday on my walk, God gave me a beautiful sight to behold — a gift in the mist.  Strutting across the road in front of me was a gorgeous male ring-necked pheasant.  Of course I had to look him up in some bird books when I got home.  Turns out he’s not from around here either!  He’s a transplant like me…although one that reaches back to the late 19th century.  All the pheasant species in North America come from Asia and were introduced here for hunting purposes.  

Then we had another exciting animal spotting this morning.  I was upstairs in our ensuite bathroom doing my morning stretches (I know, strange spot, but our new bathroom is about the size of our old bedroom and the coldest room in the house, so it’s perfect for setting up my mat and not overheating while I do my Pilates).  Anyway, I looked out the window and down towards the lake and I saw something dark on the ice.  A couple of seagulls flew in to see what was up, and then the dark blob dove back under the ice.  He kept coming up for air every few minutes, and we eventually figured out it was a seal.  He was just a few feet out from where our dock will sit in the summer.

Speaking of animals, we found the perfect piece of counter space in our new house for working on puzzles.  What does that have to do with animals?  Well, our “Christmas” puzzle this year was a backyard birds one, and we never did break it open over the holidays.  But this was the week that we finally tackled it.  What a fantastic way to learn some common backyard birds.  Anyone who has worked on this puzzle will forever be able to identify a Tufted Titmouse or a Cedar Waxwing I think.  It would be a beautiful one to frame!  I chose this puzzle because I am focussing on birds with Little Mister all year this year, reading from the Burgess Bird Book, among other things. 

Another highlight of our first week back to school was starting a new literature selection with Little Mister.  We are reading The Wind in the Willows this term, just a chapter a week.  I think he’d like to pick up the pace though.  He is so invested in the story already and was asking to read it again today.  I love reading aloud to him.  It’s so fun to read to a kid who doesn’t veil their enthusiasm.  His enjoyment of a good story is contagious.

We have never had a dedicated school room until now.  Eight years into this homeschooling adventure and we finally have a school room.  Truth be told though, we still do most things around the dining room table.  But I did enjoy curling up in our cozy school room for some afternoon lessons this week with Belle and Little Mister.  We might have been tucked away in the corner of our house in Mineville, but in our imaginations we were miles away as we read about America’s growth in the first half of the nineteenth century and then dipped down into Mexico to visit Chichen Itza.

Belle has taken up a couple of new hobbies lately.  Since C-Bear got a new ukulele for Christmas, my old one from elementary school was up for grabs again, and Belle thought she’d give it a try.  She can play “Jesus Loves Me” already.  She’s also pretty pumped about felting these days and made a sweet little bunny for Boo for her birthday.

Yes, we have our first birthday celebration at Candy Mountain Road tonight.  Boo is turning 14 next week!  We are very sad that it will be her first birthday without a special cake from Baddy.  My Mom has traditionally made an elaborate cake for each of our children’s birthdays, but since Covid keeps us a province apart, that won’t be happening for tonight’s party.  And I am NOT a baker!  So a yummy cake from Costco will have to do.  We’re all looking forward to trying a local pizza place for supper too — The Crazy Weasel (apparently the only weasel around here you can trust, or so their tag line says).  

As I think about my big girls getting bigger, my breath catches when I realize C-Bear only has two years left at Candy Mountain Academy.  Where has the time gone?!  My big girls amaze me with their depth and breadth of knowledge…and not just knowledge, but wisdom.  The passages they chose for dictation this week from their readings will help to illustrate.  In a chapter discussing the differences between common (discovered) law versus political law, Boo loved this quote from James Madison:

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

And C-Bear wanted me to dictate this passage from Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law”:

“But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

Can I just say, I was not reading centuries old source documents like this in high school. And even if I had been, I doubt I could have remotely understood them. Where these girls get their interest in politics and philosophy confounds me. I just sit back in awe and watch them soar above me in so many different subject areas. Total proof that real education is indeed self-education and not simply dependent on a teacher “downloading” everything he/she knows to the brains of their students.

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