This week we have a lot going on. I decided not to stress about our “regular school day” and just go with the flow. Which is fine, because lately I haven’t had much motivation. Sometimes I just need to decompress and take a break. I love homeschooling, but it can be pretty intensive trying to accomplish everything like some sort of non-caped SuperMom!

I would love to change things up, but I’m not sure what to do to accomplish that. Mostly because I am not sure what I want to change!

So, I figured you might like to see some of the stuff we have worked on lately and see how a “day off” works in our house.

Every morning, “school day” or not, the boys must accomplish certain things. These are non-negotiable. Snow days, holidays, or random days off? These things still get done. We call it “Morning Work” and it involves such things as Scriptures, copying, music, chores.

Today for morning work, the boys finished a book, Richard of Jamestown. They both agreed what they liked most about this book was that it centered around two boys. Gee, I wonder why they liked that?

They decided that since we have some nice weather this week, pretty rare for February, they wanted to do some imagine-play based off Richard of Jamestown. They came up with all sorts of scenarios in the backyard they could act out. So they plan to play: Caramon and Joram of Jamestown.

The good news is that they are so excited about this story, that they are anxious to go see Jamestown. My next step is to teach them our family history with Jamestown. My father’s family actually came over with the Jamestown settlers, which is very neat. Yes, we’ve lived in VA a very long time!

The good thing is that this will be a fun journey as I plan to tell them about the people and have the boys research their ancestors. I think history really comes to life when you make it personal.

And someday we’ll go to Jamestown, we’ll be armed with all this knowledge, and it will be all the more “cool”.

Sometimes we like to mix up where we do school so we head off to the library or the book store. Often, if it is nice, we just head outside with a blanket.

Our dog, Nephi, takes an active part in the school day. As you can see in the picture above, he decided it was time for Minion School. He works daily to train his junior minions in the fine art of chihuahua care. Techniques such as the proper way to scratch a Nephi as well as the best way to rub the Nephi Ears. These are important skills for all minions!

However, our Minion School was disturbed! Someone invaded Nephi’s turf!

Good thing we have Nephi for a watchdog. He scared off the turf invaders by showing his ferocious side!

Owning a chihuahua has definitely been an adventure in learning. We had no idea what good watchdogs they made. They are little dogs with BIG personalities and they will protect their kingdom within an inch of their little lives. Nephi’s definition of “my turf” is: Anything I can see. So watch out!

One of the things we enjoy most, in case you couldn’t tell from our lengthy reading lists, is “free reading”. I’m a mean mommy and I insist they read books for fun. *GASP* I know. It’s torture, right? of course, I only ask for half an hour of reading a day (above and beyond schoolwork). The boys like to earn Pizza Hut night with Book It. For that they must each complete 6 books. (But I’m lax, I let them count books completed for school.)

Today Joram decided to start reading one of our Encyclopedia Brown books. I loved these books growing up! He chose to sit at our table.

More often than not, you’ll find someone sprawled out on a sofa or a bed just reading away. Caramon’s current read is The Road to Oz. Ozma highly approves!!! He looks pretty comfy, don’t ya think?

We recently got a new keyboard. The old one worked fine, but this was a great sale and my husband didn’t want to pass it up. We were really hoping for a new guitar for Joram, but that sold out too fast. Rats. Sir Megabyte insisted this was a good buy instead.

The old keyboard is fine, but I got it when I was probably around Caramon or Joram’s age. So it’s bare bones, but it does have full sized keys. I love that about it. Now we have TWO keyboards! Which is good, because there’s less fighting.

What sold us on this keyboard is that it has lessons included with it. There’s a nice little screen and it will show you on a treble and base clef what note you are playing. It has a stack of songs for you to learn through a three-prong approach.

Caramon took piano lessons at one point in time, but stopped. He now practices daily on music he picks out. He’s never going to be Mozart, but he enjoys playing music he knows. That is fine by us. Our goal is to foster a love of music, and we seem to be succeeding.

Joram wants to learn, but he enjoys doing it himself and has no desire to really take lessons. He’s taken to this keyboard thing like a fish to water. He’s got the right hand to Amazing Grace down pat and will start the left hand soon. He now knows how to read music at an OK level.

It is fun to see the boys playing their keyboard each day and they are so excited about it again. So I’m happy with the purchase. If only we had a stand…

Caramon is playing the new keyboard at the bar in our kitchen. Lucky me, he decided to perform for me! Ode to Joy, one of my favourite pieces.

Even Sir Megabyte and I play the new keyboard and are working on our skills. I took lessons very exceedingly briefly when I was little, so I’m confused by the lesson thing on the keyboard, but am getting the hang of it.

We’ve even decided to have a family recital at some point. Everyone is practicing music for it. So lately a LOT of our day has shoved regular school aside to do music. We’re researching composers, listening to a variety of different music, and picking out songs.

The other instrument we all enjoy playing is the guitar. We each have one! Caramon and I enjoy our electric guitars while Joram plays an acoustic. Sir Megabyte’s guitar is a lovely acoustic with electric pickup. I have a grand total of two songs down and am working on more. My guitar was a fluke gift a while back. (Actually when we bought my husband his acoustic with electric pickup on such a fantastic sale the two guitars were awesome and the price together was what I’d budgeted for his. Yay me!) I felt a bit silly getting a guitar since I never even thought about playing, but I have to admit… I love it! We’re all self taught, but the guitar is so easy to learn and so much fun! Especially for tiny hands like mine. (I have trouble on the keyboard because of how small my hands are!)

Joram is strumming his six string in the above picture. He really wants a ukulele. We are hoping to pick him up one someday soon. Maybe for his birthday this year? I dunno.

Joram also has a drum pad and he practices with that from time to time. Though we recently got Rock Band and all but Caramon LOVE the guitar simulator on there. We’ve caught the bug!

In upcoming months we are hoping to build our own instrument. We saw a Theramin on a recent trip and it is so fascinating and we love the idea of actually building it ourselves. Don’t worry, it’ll be a blog post.

Today, Joram decided to explore castles. He’s been learning all sorts of things about them with some software we got a long time ago. Caramon wanted to work on his whole “CSI career”. Of late, that is his ambition for adulthood. He loves crime and begs me to let him watch Bones. Currently, he is working on his crime prevention merit badge. I think tomorrow he’s going to do more fingerprinting adventures. He got some kits for both a while back.

So that’s our adventures today. Fun, for sure!

And I’d like to officially say that today’s photos were brought to you by Ozma’s New Canon Rebel XSi! Yes, boys and girls! I’m back in action!

–Lady O