Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring Break Part I

Since the family was separated over spring break (Caleb, Anna, Lydia, Seth, and I at home and Russ and Nicolas in Kentucky with the youth group) I though I would give the spring break report in two posts.  This post is what spring break was like for the stay-at-homers.

We experienced the most beautiful weather we have had all spring during spring break week.   It was it the upper 50s or 60s and sunny all week long.  Only towards the end of the week did we see a few sprinkles of rain.   The tulips began coming up, the crocuses were blooming, and the robins were singing; it just felt and smelled like spring!

The kids were more than ready to take a week off from school work.  I had been pushing them pretty hard and they were ready for a break.   Caleb still needed to attend his college class at Cornerstone (the reason he did not go to Kentucky with the youth group--he had already taken a week off when he went to Guatemala), and he faithfully went to the track every day to do the work-outs his dad/track coach gave him.

We thought of several things to do during spring break, but dismissed almost all of them knowing that since everyone else was also on spring break those places would be busy (Public Museum, Meijer Gardens, etc).  One of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to go to those places during school hours and basically have the place to yourself.   So we didn't do much, but we still had a great week.

1.  PJ Hoffmaster State Park
     We wanted to take cousin Andrew's Flat Stanley to Lake Michigan and let him experience dune climbing.  So when Monday appeared to be a beautiful sunny day, we packed up a few snacks, water, and the camera and headed to P.J. Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon, MI.  Except for a few people way down on the beach, we had the beach and the dune to ourselves.  The lake was thawed by the shore, but several yards out it was still frozen and with the sprinkle of sand on top of the snow, it looked like sand dunes in the middle of the lake.  Caleb (with Seth on his back) and Anna decided to wade the freezing cold water out to the "sand dunes".   Just as Caleb realized these were not sand dunes, but frozen, slushy snow piles, he fell through the ice, just up to his thighs. Since we were the only ones on the beach, he just took off his jeans and spent the rest of the afternoon in his boxer shorts climbing dunes and walking trails with us.  

Those are not sand dunes, just snow and ice piles with a fine layer of sand on them.

A large portion of the lake was still ice covered

Wading out to the faux "sand dunes"

Lydia didn't make it across--the water was just too cold!

From the top of the big dune

Dune climbing!

Caleb wanted to make sure we all knew he wasn't peeing behind a tree; he just didn't want his picture taken with his boxers.

2.  Riverside Park
     We all got up early one morning, ate a quick breakfast and headed to Riverside Park to take Zoe for a walk along the river.  It was such a beautiful morning and we just enjoyed the beauty of the river.  An outing just enough out of the ordinary to be special.

3.  Cleaned up the backyard
     Our backyard looked like a war zone from all the dead twigs and land mines (Zoe poo).  So we all took rakes, gloves and plastic bags and went to work.  Since we all worked together and the weather was so awesome it was actually fun!  We could sit back and appreciate all the work we had done later that night as while we enjoyed the smores we roasted over the fire pit.

4.  Read lots of books
     We made a trip downtown to the Main library where the book selection is quite impressive.  All the kids stocked up and had plenty of reading material over the break.   Caleb recently made a list of books that he wanted to read and was able to cross a few off the list.
5.  Started research on Spring Review Project
     The FRC homeschool group put together a Spring Review for  kids to showcase their schoolwork.  Kids can participate in a handwriting or poster project on a grade assigned topic that will be scored by judges.  They can also display their projects or crafts from the school year (no scoring).  Also, a portion of the evening will be set aside for a program in which the kids can recite, sing, play an instrument, etc.  My three homeschoolers all signed up for a poster project and Lydia would also like to display some of her handwork.  We began to work on these during this week so they didn't seem to be extra work on top of our daily work later.

6.  Babysat Miles and Elin
     On Friday we helped out one of the Bleeker cousins by watching her two little ones for a few hours.  We had a great time with them, and had to laugh when after they left Lydia said, "Little kids are a lot of work!"  

 Next:  Spring Break Part 2  The Kentucky Trip

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