The view west from the homestead

The view west from the homestead

Sweet Chance

Sweet Chance

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Manitou Springs, CO

November 8, 2007

We left Boulder on Monday and headed south to get west. It’s a familiar theme. The truth was, we were torn between heading directly West to Utah and Canyon lands, or South to visit Mission Wolf in Westcliffe, CO which would lead us through Pagosa and into Northern New Mexico. As it turned out, Chris needed a new mountain bike and there was a store in Colorado Springs that had his size. So we trundled South and arrived at the bike store in the dark (thanks to that cheery invention of day light savings time---yes yes, I know, this is how it is supposed to be, but still… is a dreary change). It was also quite nippy, being Colorado in November and all. Chris gave his old pal Greg Jameson a call from the bike store and not only was he around, but happily married to a great woman named Linda, and in possession of a vacant house 3 blocks from Garden of the Gods.

The rest is history. Greg sells his vacant house to someone else in a week, so we can only play house for a few days. But oh my is it nice! After 10 days in Maria and Tim’s house in Boulder, we are truly spending more time in houses than our pop-up. The kids are in heaven, and each house we end up in they want to move in to. It has allowed us to stay North longer than we thought we would be able to and given us a chance to regroup. Here in Manitou Springs, we have the pop-up set up in the driveway, and can access all our things. Ahhhh…

We have also spent a lot of time recreating home school. We bought a dry erase board and have actually become quite organized with schooling. It is working better. Cassidy and Teslin both asked for more structure, and it seems to be more satisfying for all of us. We had a long family council and came up with a schedule that is similar to what they had in school last year (but much shorter!). Teslin typed the schedule onto the computer and we printed it up at Greg’s. It is something that we can use as a guide at the very least. There are countless opportunities to learn as you travel, but it is has been challenging to make anything consistent happen. National Parks are amazing teaching resources, as well as many places we visit. We also have quite a few resources with us….Mavis Beacon for typing, a great Spanish program, Math’s Mate, McGraw Hill’s Spelling books, as well as some things for reading comprehension that we picked up from bookstores along the way. There are also tons of “educational” games that we play since we are hanging out all the time….some of our favorite are Apples to Apples (the adult version has tons of current affair and historical things in it), Cribbage, Scrabble, Cogno (great for basic science and astronomy), Into the Forest Food Chain game, and some games we bought up in Alaska on birds and mammals. And then there is birding……Cassidy and Chris left this morning and are exploring various niches up in the Garden of the Gods. (Teslin is still asleep….it is only 9:45).

Last night we started the Power-Glide Spanish program and we are all having fun with that. We hope that they can make it through all 3 levels before we reach Mexico in January. From there, we will find a language school and spend 2 to 3 weeks studying Spanish before heading out for the rest of our adventures in Mexico. We are looking at a program in San Miguel De Allende . They have a Spanish camp for children and teach the language through games, music, cooking, field trips as well as formal classes. Chris is already fluent, so I will take my own immersion classes while the kids are in camp. Can’t wait!

Yesterday, we went to a bead store in Monument (Bead Corner), about 20 miles North of Colorado Springs. We spent 3 hours there learning to string a bead loom with tiny beads (11/0). Cassidy and Teslin both loved the bead loom projects they did at Hilltown last year and wanted to get back into it. We bought a rather ingenious loom that was designed by a local man. A wonderfully patient woman named Elaine helped the kids start projects they had designed the night before and they were able to string them both on the same loom. The loom is large enough to do larger projects like beaded bags, so who knows what will happen. Thanks to Laurel at Hilltown for starting this!

The grand finale yesterday was an in-house rock concert by Chris and Cassidy. Cassidy was playing Smoke on the Water and Chris figured out how to get the drums going on the keyboard. Oh man were they jamming. You know what…….they sounded GOOOD! I’m sure it is just the beginning of many debaucherous jams. Thanks again Elliot for the keyboard… is beyond beyond.

Pike’s Peak is right out the window to the West and just has a dusting of snow on it. It is sunny and heading up into the 60’s already. A few moments ago there were 4 deer in the yard… is no wonder the mountain lions are happy around here! They seem to be doing quite well…. Nothing like a predator to make the food chain healthy!

Ta ta for now, Anny

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