You may be wondering what the picture above is all about, besides it being a very helpful homeschool resource site of course, well... read on....
This August we ventured on the yearly Amick trip to South Dakota where Mike's "roots" are and therefore countless relatives. On the way down we made a two day stop at my place of birth in Graceville, MN for my cousin's wedding. There we saw many relatives and had a lovely time. Gabriella and Ruby were dressed in beautiful light blue matching dresses to be part of special photos taken with all the other little girl cousins - all wearing the same dress in various pastel hues. The wedding itself was lovely and fun was had by all. I think my childrens' favorite part of the day (and maybe mine too?) was the large chocolate fountain at the reception, surrounded by huge strawberries, marshmallows, etc for dipping... mmmmmmm
Next.. off to SD to see Mike's Dad, Several Grandparents, Mother, and a few friends. It was a full couple of days filled with dining out, grilling, visiting the park and watching the national geographic & discovery channels with Grandpa Mark & Grandma Shirley, followed by quick visits to Mike's friend Sheila's house and the Mitchell nursing home to see Grandpa & Grandma Stach.
Last, but not least was our arrival at Sioux Falls to spend time with Mike's mom and help her have an impromtu garage sale. After a late night of sorting and prep we greeted the public the next morning and began the sale while I continued sorting items to bring out. Since we had not advertised, we had to be creative to draw in cutomers. Mike and the kids all dressed up in fun items we found during the sorting process and definitely caught the eye of those driving by - not to mention that Mike was not only quite goofy looking, but had a sign and was standing on a busy street waving people in as they came driving by - shockingly it really worked! Maybe it was the pink striped silk shirt and old fur hat he was wearing (?) - that somebody actually bought off of his head! At the days end we were an exhausted crew, but had success in selling and giving away a good amount of stuff! We departed the next day and arrived home wiped out and ready for bed!
Now, you may be wondering to yourself "Where does homeschool loot fit into this story?" Let me tell you.. Since starting this blog site, a number of relatives have read it - especially the entry on the surprising homeschool goals for this year. Within days I had emails and phone calls from family offering typewriters, computers, books and more - all wanting to help out with our homeschooling needs! We were absolutely amazed and ever so thankful for all the consideration. So, since we were seeing almost all of our relatives, they all brought us stuff --- actually so much stuff, we could not fit it all in or on top of the van and had to decline some of it (or leave our children behind.... hmmmmm.. somewhat tempting considering parts of the van trip!).
We arrived home safe and sound with every inch inside of and on top of our van FULL. Below is a list (although not complete) of our "Homeschool Loot":
*My aunt Connie gave the kids 2 computers (1 Mac) and an assortment of items - including some walkman stereos, a desk lamp, and a lovely troll doll collection that Ruby has taken an odd liking too! Sadly, we had to leave one computer behind - no room in the van, we kept the Apple which came with a great kids typing program (perfect for Elliot) as well as an assortment of education programs. She also gave us a mission bench for Ruby's room - which filled the entire back of our van. It's now near Ruby's bedrom window so she can sit and see outside and it houses her toys inside.
My aunt Ann (a 3rd grade teacher) gave us several boxes of books including many literature classics. The kids had a grand time going through the boxes our first night there and of course wanted them all. Again we had to leave some behind due to space issues, but brought the majority home. They are already being read & enjoyed by the kids.
Grandpa Mark had some nature magazines and calanders for us, as well as a dead locust along with its molted part for microscope work. The kids were quite excited to see a locust - I was too since I had never seen one before.
At Grandma Marilyn's (as we sorted for the sale) we were given TONS of clothes for mom, new phonics toys, tons of old stuff for dress up to use for skits, play acting etc, craft items, an old typewriter, and Mike's old record player and record collection he had when he was a little boy. It is so incredibly cute! The kids were all spellbound as he showed them the records and taught them how to put them on the player. They listened to them all morning and had a joyous time.
Last, but not least - among the clothes I received from Marilyn was a brand new... denim jumper! All of these years of homeschooling and I still did not own one until now - it must mean that this will be our best school year yet!!??? For those of you who are not in the homeschooling "know" you may be wondering "What's up with the denim jumper anyway??" Well, in homeschool circles the unofficial homeschool mom "uniform" has always been the denim jumper. Go to a homeschool convention and you're likely to see a sea of denim jumpers. It's something we've joked about in a friendly way in the past, and it's become a recognized symbol of homeschooling. It's what you'd call an inside joke with homeschool moms. Anyway, now I too own one - I dunno if I'm a denim jumper gal though... I guess we'll see what tranpires this school year!
(Oh, for those of you who know my mother in law, I know you are asking yourself "WHY did Marilyn own a denim jumper EVER????????!!!!!! Yes, I know - it's SOOOOOO not her. I'm still asking myself this very question too - as I'm sure she is as well.)
So, the trip was a roaring success - we went, we saw many and we returned home more fully equipped! I guess the famous movie quote is not far from reality..."Build it and they will come" (Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner -remember that one?) In our case it was "Blog it and it will come.." and it surely did!
** For those of you who love the old childrens' records from our youth and want your kids to be able to enjoy them too - check out the following websites. Our kids have enjoyed listening to the same stories/records Mike & I did as kids. We found these sites a few months ago - so for them, seeing the real machine & records now adds a whole new element to the "history lesson"!
You can listen online or download them - all for free. There are a number of educational ones on the list as well.