Then, because we're a little crazy, we continued driving northwest and camped at Badlands National Park for the week. We hiked a little, visited Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, a soddy, and spotted lots of prairie dogs.
We drove west even more to spend a day in the Black Hills (way too short a time). We toured Wind Cave (where the fourth grade pass gets the fourth grader's parents and siblings in free!), spent an insane but well-enjoyed amount of money at Reptile Gardens, and arrived at Mount Rushmore just at dusk. With Badlands and Wind Cave, we're now visited 15 national parks (and lots more monuments, preserves, and historical sites).
Kansas Dad, First Son, and First Daughter successfully hiked the five mile Castle Trail through the Badlands while I took the two younger ones on a couple of easy short hikes.
We arrived home on Friday in time for dinner and giving Kansas Dad just a few hours to finish preparing for his semester.
Then we began our first week of bookwork (week 1). We managed to take first day of school pictures before abandoning our books an hour into the day for dentist appointments for the whole gang.
|First Son, 8th grade|
|First Daughter, 5th grade|
|Second Daughter, 3rd grade|
|Second Son, 1st grade|
|Everyone, kind-of-sort-of ready for school|
Other highlights from the week:
Second Daughter mastered addition on xtramath without any complaints. I switched her to the extended time (6 seconds instead of 3 seconds) and it's decreased her stress over it immeasurably.
First Daughter read through the first two independent reading books (which took First Son weeks) in less than a week. She's on a third I pulled from our shelves late on Friday.
We had our first nature study - a lovely walk by the river. We saw a dead cicada being eaten by ants and owl pellets. First Son drew a decent dead cicada and then charred the exoskeleton with his magnifying glass. Second Daughter caught two different tiny mud-colored frogs. I think I saw a bald eagle.
|Second Son by the river we'll visit throughout the year for his Rivers and Oceans study.|
We signed Second Son up for soccer and attended the first meeting.
We celebrated Second Daughter's baptismal anniversary with cheeseburgers (two for each child!), crunchy Cheetos, microwave nachos, and apple crisp sundaes (made by First Daughter!), all as requested by Second Daughter. She also requested (and received) a mouthful of spray whipped cream, which is now apparently a baptismal anniversary tradition.
We went to First Friday Mass with our homeschool group followed by a nice picnic for which Kansas Dad joined us.
Three of the children worked together to complete a collection of Star Wars Infinity figures and First Son organized a display of them at a library in town. We spent a good hour there on Friday setting it up.
There were plenty of "lowlights" but we won't mention those. Moving on to week 2...