We really enjoyed our differentiated Emily Dickinson lesson today, but first things first. I mean, a girl has to celebrate her new shoes, right?

After our morning school session, the kiddos and I headed to Payless to buy Katie some  new sneakers. She chose purple Airwalks—very sturdy, very cute, great price. They will come in handy for the blueberry patch, sandy parks, and various excursions we’re planning for our road trip (Meteor Crater–YES!).

But before the Airwalks, it was shoe love at first sight for this girl:

Katie saw these golden, bejeweled wedge sandals and fell head over, uh, heels with them instantly. She has never picked out her own shoes entirely on her before, not without suggestions or having to choose among those pre-approved by Mommy. Before I knew what she was even doing, she had them out of the box, one of her white sandals off, and was putting one of these on. She looked both cute and beautiful in them, and I saw how independent and big she felt. Although I had only planned to buy the sneakers, I agreed that we would get them for her since she has been working so hard in school this year and has done every assignment I’ve asked of her. (See how I shamelessly play that angle?)

Oh boy, was she excited. She had those shoes on all afternoon, and even wanted to put them back on with her jammies. Major love going on right here.

I swore, back in the day of reading about 4-year-old Suri in people magazine, that I would never let my daughter wear a shoe with any kind of true heel until she was much, much older. Shows what I know!

Anyway, we started the morning with a journal session and circle time. I liked coaching this assignment, because it truly was differentiated. The big puzzle for me lately is how to involve Eric (21.5 months old) in our homeschooling. I fully intend to school him alongside Katie next year. When she does her K work, I will either change it to be level-appropriate for him or find him something else to do.

Today we read a poem by Emily Dickinson, one I love dearly:

If I can stop one heart from breaking, 

I shall not live in vain; 

If I can ease one life the aching, 

Or cool one pain, 

Or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, 

I shall not live in vain. 

We read the poem, discussed it, and both kiddos colored robins (printed off from an image I found after searching Google images).

Then while Katie and I talked about the poem more in depth and she gave me her reader-response, Eric colored the letter “Rr.” She then did a reading-matching activity; I used the same sheet (from Enchanted Learning) for Eric, but he did not do the matching of the pictures to the words—instead, we cut out all the “r” pictures and he glued them around his “Rr.”

Katie’s literary response and analysis delighted me:

“It makes me think of a tree swaying in the wind. She wants us to understand: don’t be bad to somebody. When somebody’s heart breaks, you have to help them. She wants us to help others, play with others, be with others, everything. I loved the poem.”

We also worked on right and left worksheets today, and those were fun! She mostly knows right and left, but these really solidified it. Our ES Stephanie e-mailed me with access/subscriptions purchased by River Springs to several online resources for printables and multi-media. I spent several joyful, nerdytastic hours pouring over as much as I could. So many great printables and lessons to use in prep for our road trip! It is sooooooo addicting to lesson plan and to arrange pieces together. I love it. Teaching is my passion.

What else have we been up to? We went blueberry picking again yesterday. I love this time of year… Katie wore her new dress we made.

After nap time, we went outside and had orange popsicles, just made from freshly squeezed oranges someone gave to us. A good afternoon, pre-dinner treat.

My babies

And Eric helped Boppa with the sprinklers

We had a beautiful weekend, too, catching up with dear friends Gail, Megan, and Desi over lunch at the Cheesecake Factory with Nana and Mrs. Shelly. Gail and Desi were my mom’s friends and neighbors growing up; Megan is Gail’s eldest daughter. I loved meeting Megan: what a down-to-earth, intelligent, and kind person. The time went much too quickly, as always… Definitely need the Star Trek transporter. But there is a good chance that we will pass through their home state and home on our way home from our road trip.

Otherwise, my only other “news” of today is that we attempted quinoa for the first time this evening. Yes, I am late to the party with respect to quinoa. I had been hesitating because I wasn’t sure I’d know what to do with it, but I decided to take the plunge. Even plain, I find it delicious! I decided to work from instinct and just added some ingredients we had on hand: toasted pine nuts, olive oil, golden raisins, Romano cheese, and salt. Eric gobbled it up. At one point he said, “More, more!” Katie picked at parts of it. I could barely stop eating it. I had a big bowl of it with some homemade kale chips (another night, another batch of kale chips—seriously obsessed with them). For the kiddos, I added a turkey hotdog because, I mean, quinoa and kale chips? Kiddos have to have something to anchor that…well, at least for now. 😉

Tomorrow we’re having an at-home day, and maybe we’ll do some painting… We haven’t had a good painting project in awhile. I also want to make some more imm jaddara—and with some of the Valley Center lemons, a lemon and rosemary and Romano focaccia.