Regular life but a great day.

April 30, 2011|12:25 am

Today started with the sadness of a calf dying. But after taking care of it and getting the rest of the animals taken care it was off to the MN Horse Expo with my girls and Jeffrey.

What a fun relaxed day! We had another friend (also horse crazy ) attend with us so the four children, Dané and I made a full day of it. We made pie in the sky wish lists of the types of horses we would love to have in our barn. Oohhed and ahhed at pretty tack and cute little horse carts. Watched the Parade of Breeds from start to finish. Found out that a community college not too far from here has a potential program for the middle horsy girl and just had an all around fun time. God has blessed me !

I am so grateful to Ben and Isaac for holding down the fort with our little guys and the grandsons!

Happy Resurrection Day

April 24, 2011|3:27 pm

Job 19:25 ~ “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”

Praying everyone enjoys the full beauty and meaning of this special Holy day!

Spring… Spring… a Wondrous Thing

April 22, 2011|10:50 pm

The highs today were only in the 40’s. The sun was hidden by dark gray clouds laden with rain that fell off and on all day. But here on the Hiniker farm it felt like spring. Pat’s goal for the weekend is to make our chickens another condominium. So off to Menards we went with a stop planned for TSC to check out the cost of supplies for feeding a couple of jersey calves if we got them to raise for beef.

Well we didn’t make it very far as there were adorable little bunnies at TSC.. and they just happened to be Satins.. at that just happens to be a kind of rabbit that Bethany is interested in raising,, and they just happened to be within the range of the money planned for her birthday present.

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Their names are Black prince and Princess Snow.. can you guess which one is which?

Well of course, we had to bring them home and then headed back to town after lunch. This time we made it to Menards for our supplies. Hmm not having any supplies left at home is going to make this chicken tractor a bit more expensive than the others. Pat never did get a chance to work on it though as we had to go borrow a live stock trailer and pick up Lunch and Dinner.

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Aren’t they adorable?

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They will need to be bottle fed for awhile and we will introduce them to solid food later as they are only three days old. We do intend to eventually eat them as grass fed beef in our freezer is a luxury we will enjoy. In the mean time Lunch and Dinner will be living a luxurious life here at the farm with much attention from our children and grandchildren.. oh and the horses!

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Goals and goal setting

April 21, 2011|2:58 pm

I asked another mom recently what her goals for her homeschool looked like. What she wanted to accomplish with the curricula she was looking for, as she was ready for a change from the textbook approach she was using. She was quickly able to rattle off several things including “produce scholars” . Her goals and dreams for her children were quite articulate and included enough things that I could suggest a couple of styles of homeschooling and specific items for her to look at.

Fast forward a couple of days and glimpse into my dining room where piles of curricula are growing. I am ready to move forward with lesson plans for our new school year as we have.. for the second year in a row.. pretty much finished up what I had planned for this year. A huge goal met for me!

Yes, there were a couple of things that I modified as we went. My history co-op course was altered as many  (read: almost all) of the parents didn’t follow the curriculum. Which was fine in theory, but I found myself confusing the children as we hopped around on stories and figures from history to which they had no exposure. Plans altered and we went back and talked through more of the basics of the Revolutionary War instead of moving forward to cover the Declaration of Independence. Consequently we will stop here in history for this year. Our last co-op project will be a big one and will hopefully make connections in the children’s’  minds and pull it together for them. We are going to spend three weeks making scrapbook pages of the event the child found the most intriguing about the war. That combined with the cool History cards project from this past month will go a long way in exposing the children.. here at home and at co-op.. to the people and events of the Revolutionary war. The other thing modified in my school year was Math. We chose to spend a section of our tax return on Aleks math. Purchased through it was really quite doable for my eldest 5 and has taken a huge teaching burden responsibility from my shoulders.

Anyway: back to the dining room. My breakfast nook is absolutely covered in various curricula, books and of course lesson planners. There is a box of items loosely organized on the floor next to me and there is a dining room chair across the way that holds many of the shiny new catalogs that publishers of homeschool items send at this time of year. Even the buffet holds a few stacks of papers and books! Quite the cluttered look right now. And I just realized that a bag holdiing my CM planner from Simply Charlotte Mason got left at the church after co-op on Monday. Horrors.. I will need that book. Oh I bought it as a pdf so maybe I can use the back up copy until we are back out at church. With a 20 minute drive each way I wasn’t looking forward to spending the gas to go over there.

I have several goals for this upcoming school year but haven’t taken the time to write them out. So here goes:

1. Continue to school all year so trips, events like our reenacting, visits from family and friends and harvest time do not delay our progress. Yes I do count many of those activities as real life school but I like the feeling of accomplishment of finishing as much of a curricula as needed to cover a subject!

2. Keeping in mind the depression era saying of Use it up..wear it out.. Make do, or do without, I want to pull first and foremost out of the abundant supplies I have here. For someone who started homeschooling over 15 years ago with a borrowed copy of KONOS Volume 1, I have more shelves, boxes and totes of curricula than almost anyone else I know!

3. This needs to be an academic year. While I do believe that there are times and places for unschooling style and child led learning I also think I have done some of my older children a disservice by not requiring more. I know that it flies in the face of TJed style and could be argued against by anyone half way proficient in the understanding of true unschooling homeschooling but I have several children in our homeschool who are looking at colleges that will require strong, quantifiable academic records.

4. I really want to utilize the skills my children have to bless their younger siblings. This is an area we already do well in but not all the children are responsible for someone elses learning.

5. Somehow we have dropped studying God’s Word as a family. It is a high priority to regain this in our school lives.


What do you have planned for next year?

3 Little Duckies

April 18, 2011|6:52 pm

came to live at our house this last week.

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And today they joined us at school. They were the subject of Nature Study class.

just a fun sign of spring, isn’t it?

Chicken tractors

April 17, 2011|8:05 pm

For quite a while (we are talking years here) I have wanted to have chicken tractors for our flock. I love fresh eggs from contented chickens and our old chicken coop was a bit dark and dreary.

While I was in Germany, Pat decided to build our little flock a new home.

First he made a simple tractor..but then he sort of caught the vision and built a second one we are now referring to as the Chicken Condo:

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This is the first one. And here is the second one.

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Aren’t these awesome?

And the birds seem to really enjoy the fresh grass and bugs to munch on.

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The Haircut

April 15, 2011|8:38 am

Not since his dad sported wavy long locks in 1979- 1980 has any of the guys in my family experimented with long hair. (well I know my grandson Paul prefers his longer but not Grandpa Pat in the early years long!)

Isaac decided his needed to go recently so I decided to document the change.

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And now the new Isaac..


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Home is best…

April 14, 2011|6:10 am

I have been home for almost three days now and am just catching up on sleep and hugs from children.

Europe is a wonderful place to visit but I sure wouldn’t want to live there! At least not for any extended amount of time. Visiting there however, gives a person a serious appreciation for what we have here in America. It can also challenge you to rethink some of what we have in America. More on that later.

It will take me MANY posts to share even a few wonderful sights we saw But I thought I’d start with a picture or two from Paris. This was actually the last six days of our trip.


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The Eiffel tower is of course, one of the most famous land marks in France. Word of advice: If you are claustrophobic.. the elevators are packed.  Think Carefully about getting on.

Further words of wisdom: If you are afraid of heights do not listen to the son who says “Mom, you’ll most likely never be here again. Ride to the top.” Just heed your own instincts. That way you won’t make a slight scene as you quickly exit the elevator.. the all glass elevator moving sideways and upwards at the same time .. past steel girders that realize will sway in a slight you exit at the first level. Of course if you do make it this far, you can tell your family to go on without you and they can meet you down stairs on the ground level. I did after calming my racing heart really enjoy the view from the first level up.  I don’t have any pictures from that level because my camera was at the top.. with everyone else.


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My mother in love.. Ruth. Top of the Eiffel tower April 2011.