Category Archives: Homeschooling
I was hoping to have time to write a good, long, funny entry (so maybe I should keep it short in that case) but I hear breathing and the shuffling of feet which can only mean people upstairs are awake. The breathing might be me. Yes.
This is officially the busiest summer on record. We have gone non-stop for the last two weeks and I rolled over and looked at my calendar at 6 am this morning and we don’t stop until the first week of JULY.
NO!! Now I hear actual footsteps! I hope it’s Henry, he’s less high maintenance. Nope, Rhys. He scares me to death. He’ll stand at the bottom of the stairs and hiss/whisper (hisper?),
and it’s so faint I’m not actually sure I’m hearing it, which makes me question my sanity. Again.
Anyway, I signed Henry up for a Lego/robotics camp without doing much research on it because a friend recommended it and I trusted her judgement and figured it would be fine. I Paypalled the guy my money and I think I just made up a new word, there. Mailed in Henry’s info and waiver form (how is he going to get hurt building a Lego robot with other 7-year-olds?!) and then my crazy brain started thinking. This was my train of thought: there are two guys running the camp and they have the same last name. How is this possible when gay marriage is illegal in NC? I have just enrolled my son into Mr. Garrison’s Lego Robotics camp and given them quite a sum of money and they will teach him to dance on a pole in a sequined bikini and furry legwarmers like I saw that guy do on YouTube (accidentally) and also, how to twerk, again, an accident but wow, that guy could do a split between two chairs, which he will fail at because he has no body fat. How am I going to tell Dave?
In reality, after READING THE WEBSITE it became clear that one of the alleged twerkers is a high schooler who has done Lego League for years and wanted to share his skills with kids who were just getting old enough to join Lego League. The other guy? His dad. Probably not a twerker, or a pole dancer or a former member of the Village People or any other wild stereotype.
But what if I had to sign that waiver so he could spin on the pole?
It’s officially sprummer and I am so excited! You know the season where one day you’re excited because you can wear a short sleeved shirt, but you have to settle for pants, the next day your fishing a heavy sweater out of the tupperware tote bin you thought you wouldn’t have to lay eyes on until next winter? And then SURPRISE! Just when you didn’t bother to shave your legs, the next day it’s 95*F outside! So you sweat in your jeans, or wear really low capris and sit with your ankles crossed and hope no one looks down.
I’ve gotten some cool and inexpensive things this spring to liven up my post-maternity wardrobe (yeah, she’s turning two and we’re not having anymore so it’s about time). I got a green 3/4-length sweater set from Ann Taylor, a bunch of tee-shirts from Target (love! But if you buy one with writing on it, go UP a size, they are not stretchy!), some shorts from Target, two pair of Lucky Brand sandals (Milan 2 – canvas and canvas/blue stripe – LOVE the latter), and a new whitish/creamish purse and some scarves to mix in with older pieces so they look newer. I think that’s it. Part of that was for Mother’s day, part was my “Teacher of the Year” award. *snicker*
I think the pollen is finally gone. Why did I type that? It’s like an automatic electronic groundhog burrowing in and cursing us with six more weeks of pollen. Maybe I should erase that.
So many things have happened since I last blogged I’m not sure where to start. Not huge things, just tiny little things that are hilarious, that I should record daily HERE instead of Facebook, where they’re lost forever. Lots of funny quotes from the kids, silly acts I’ve caught them committing, that sort of thing.
They’re all bursting with excitement because Grandma is coming up today to spend today through Wednesday or (I suspect) Thursday with us. I’m going to the Classical Conversations praciticum in Durham from Monday through Wednesday (so if you read this and I’ve never met you and you are going to be there – please introduce yourself!!! I’ll be the one that looks like me!) I’m only staying half a day. It says the second half is about Challenge and Henry is only going to be seven this summer. We may all be dead before he hits Challenge and he’ll be the first so…yeah. I’d rather spend the afternoon with my mom. When I say “we” might all be dead I mean all of us, not my mom. I realize that sounded bad; Jesus could be here within that time frame, you know? Not trying to kill you off. Or a plane could land on our house. We could be stampeded by buffalo as we drive down I-85. I could kill us with my cooking some day, I am always afraid of undercooking pork, that’s why our chops usually feel like cutting into frisbees.
I’ve gone to several CC meetings recently and met a lot of nice new ladies who will be joining us next year. I’m going to end this entry now so I can type up a new entry on what curriculums I’m using next year (and a bit about the practicum) in hopes it might help – or overwhelm, hopefully not! – and encourage and get them excited about next year’s homeschooling adventure!
NOTE: I fell directly asleep after I wrote this. And I wrote it at 6 am so if you read it’s first incarnation, it was full of errors! Fixed now.
Our little orchestra has been practicing and here are the fruits of our labors:
Today was week 23 of the program and there was a sense of urgency in the air, to spend time with those you will miss, to talk to those you haven’t seen much, to find the elusive tissue in your purse and avoid the dreaded pollen that was killing half the group. We had a great time. I can’t believe next week is our final week – then on to Cycle TWO!
Today was CC day and I thought I’d tape the boys’ presentations. I particularly wanted to tape Rhys’ since he was reciting poems, so I thought I shouldn’t exclude Henry.
First up, Rhys reciting three poems: ”The Caterpillar” by Christina G. Rosetti, “Hearts Are Like Doors” by Anonymous, and “Work” by Anonymous.
I think he was a little nervous at first because he knows “The Caterpillar” the best and he messed it up a bit. But once he got over his nerves he did fine. I am so proud of my Rhysie! There’s no way I could have stood up in front of a group and recited poems when I was four – and these are poems he’s learned by hanging around the table while Henry does his school work, they are from Henry’s book, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise (a great book, by the way).
Now for Henry. We finished up Little House on the Prairie last night so I coaxed him into taking it in today as his presentation. He was going to take “The Odyssey” in but since we haven’t read it yet he didn’t have anything to say about it. The Little House book just made a lot more sense. We’ve found a lot of other CC’ers reading the series, so we’re either spoiling it for them or we’re getting spoilers ourselves. It’s kind of funny. ”CLOSE YOUR EARS!” Gosh, I hope no one tells them Mary goes blind, that’s a biggie.
This is one thing I really love about the CC program. Notice how the presentations evolve and mature between Rhys’ class and Henry’s class. Both classes use the same method (child stands at the front, introduces himself – mother doesn’t get the camera on quickly enough…) and then addresses the class with their presentation. When it’s complete, they know to ask if there are any questions. They call on the question askers and answer the best they can. Usually there isn’t any chaos. Usually
This type of presentation (in Rhys’ room it’s more like show-and-tell most weeks) starts them on the road to public speaking, giving them the ability to speak clearly and confidently in front of a group of peers and adults starting at four years of age. By the time they’re ten, they’re poised, confident and old pros at public speaking. I’m 36, never had this kind of opportunity and I want to stammer and stare at my feet when I have to speak to a group. Where was this when I was growing up?!
Oh and fever and auge is malaria. Sorry we never clarified that, but you probably guessed it.
Part of our fine arts curriculum this cycle of Classical Conversations is learning the “Orchestra Song.” I first saw it performed way back in…gosh, when would that have been? 2011, I guess, at the Durham, NC Classical Conversations group when we visited one day. The group is divided up into “instruments” and they each “play” a part with their voices. Rhys’ class is the violin and Henry’s class is the trumpet. There are also drums, clarinets, and the horns. I think that’s it, I hope I’m not missing anyone!
Today was the first time we put our vocal orchestra together and we sounded pretty good if I say so myself! The video will show everyone singing after a brief glimpse at my jeans, shoes and purse.
Today is a sick day so I got a few minutes to myself to blog. This should automatically clue you in that it’s not a stomach virus.
I hadn’t felt well Monday, my stomach hurt like my (non-existent) belt was on too tight and I didn’t eat much. Yes, this in and of itself is astounding. This morning I woke up to Rhys beside me in bed and then I looked down and Henry was curled up at my feet like a cat. He said he’d been there half the night and felt awful but didn’t want to interrupt my sleep because “he was brave” and could handle this himself. Aww. I felt his head and he was burning up, said his stomach still hurt but he didn’t feel like he was going to get sick.
So he’s laying on the couch with his pillow and I’m trying to do 14 things at once.
And this blog entry was one of them. It’s now 6 pm, I started at 9 am and I typed three paragraphs of nothing.
I’m having homeschool malaise. I have so many ambitions but we always end up doing our schoolwork aaaaand….that’s it. We’ve been slowly working on this awesome CC lapbook that I will be reviewing sometime soon. I feel like an Egyptian slave driver “CUT FASTER! GLUE FASTER! NO, NO EXTRA BRADS, DO IT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE, ISRAELITE!” because we need to get it finished but it’s my fault we’re behind because I don’t make them work on it every day.
Several friends at CC recommended a website called edHelper.com and it’s come in handy the small bit I’ve used it. So far I’ve made several hidden word searches with Henry’s spelling words and printed out a book for him to read and color (waste – he did not color it. What a surprise). I tried to print out some stuff for Rhys but the printer sort of flaked out and it was indecipherable. I think I need a new ink cartridge. Time to cash in that 5-year CD.
Ah! We finished Farmer Boy and we’re on to Little House on the Prairie tonight. Averaging a chapter a night, I think it will take until October to finish the series unless they get bored and want to mix things up – or I do!
Two Henry funnies and then I am off to lay down because I think he’s given me his funk:
Yesterday he told me that robins enjoy being in the rain because they get moisturized. I knew he was paying attention to shopNBC the other night when I was watching a segment on eye creams! I knew it!
Last night as we were reading in Mark, we came across the story of the man whose son was possessed by a demon that would throw him into fire and water and do all sorts of horrid things – Jesus said if you have faith he will be healed and the man said “I have faith. Help me with my faith!” (I wonder how many people notice this as they read the story?). At any rate, Henry asks again,
“Can I be possessed by a demon?”
“Why? Because only the Holy Spirit is partying up in here?” Points to self.
“Yes and haa!”
Welp, the elderberry syrup was sort of a disaster. I am so disappointed. I’m going to try again, but I’ll show you what happened anyway. First, let me explain the title.
I think there may be a pox on my house when it comes to natural remedies. There’s this elderberry flop, the Classical Conversations Information Night Hindenburg Situation and then the more recent Christmas Eve Master Tonic Bomb.
Out of self-respect I never wrote about the Classical Conversations Information Night Hindenburg Situation but I may as well come clean as it falls into the “natural remedy fail” category. Back in August, on one of those days that it was about four thousand degrees, we had a meeting for potential families who were interested in joining our particular CC group. I was to be a greeter along with my friend Anna. We just had to stand out in the vestibule of the church and direct people to the room where the meeting was to take place. Easy, right? It should have been a breeze but there should NOT have been a self-created breeze coming from the back of my tent dress. But there was.
I’d decided earlier in the day that I was done with kombucha. It was a pain, I was sick of dealing with making huge quantities of tea and I decided I’d just buy BioKult from Amazon and take that as my probiotic instead. I’d consumed all the tea-like kombucha in the jars and all that remained was the starter and the SCOBY. I used the scobies to fertilize my plants around the mailbox but I couldn’t let that starter go to waste. My tolerance for sour had gone waaaaaaay up – I could drink apple cider vinegar straight – so I decided to pour all the left over starter into a cup and drink it. I’d say it was eh…close to 10 ounces, maybe 15. It was a good bit. Oh it was sour and SO strong. It was almost too strong for me, keeping in mind I could drink vinegar straight. It never occurred to me that it might inadvertently start a cleanse in my colon.
I drank it about 2 pm. The meeting was at 6, I believe. Around 4 pm I noticed that my stomach had blown up like a basketball and I looked pregnant. It hurt. I could feel air moving around, I could HEAR air moving around inside. Dave got home and I had to take a shower and get ready. That’s when the air started coming out. Oh my goodness. I almost drove myself out of the shower. Eye-watering, gag-inducing, “who pelted my bathroom wall with a dozen rotten eggs?” air was escaping from my body! WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO?! I HAD TO GREET PEOPLE!
“Hello, can I kill you with my gas? Wouldn’t you like to join our group? You might end up in my class!”
I was so bloated none of my pants would fit, not even my go-to fat jeans that always fit. My J Crew capri pants I can always count on cut me in half like a blob of play dough and my gut stuck above and below the waistband like a cartoonish park ranger. I only had one item in my closet that might work and I shuddered at the thought of actually wearing it in public as an actual garment.
My black swim cover-up.
It could pass as a maxi-dress but it was a $12 swim cover from Target. There’s no denying, it was not a dress, not meant to be worn without a bathing suit underneath. But it was the only thing that would conceal my gut, allow the gas inside to bubble and roil and make me entirely miserable. So I put it on and threw on a short-sleeved crocheted jacket and went on my way.
No one seemed to notice. The dress anyway. I had to run outside a few times and hide in the bushes and pretend to “look” for something, sighing in relief and shaking out my swim cover/dress, hoping it didn’t carry my dirty secret with me. Then we had to sit still in chairs for an hour in a very small, packed room.
Buns of steel. That’s all I’m saying. Nothing embarrassing happened, thank the LORD!!
Then I went home and let it rip. And I will never, ever drink kombucha starter ever again. Ever. Unless I am going to be trapped in a small room with an enemy.
End of Part I
Have you ever tried to get your kids’ attention and failed? I think I might have found the key to getting Henry’s, and it’s actually allowed me to have fun in the process.
A few days ago, Rhys was about to climb onto the kitchen cabinet, right in front of the coffee pot. I don’t want him on my cabinets, he’s not a cat. I don’t want a cat on my cabinets, that’s the only reason we don’t have one. If I found a cat that was scared of heights, we could have a beautiful relationship. But I digress. Rhys was about to climb on the counter, right in front of the coffee pot which was full of HOT HOT HOT coffee. Danger. There were also a few knives laying about having just been washed. Basically no kid needs to be standing on my counters, ever. They are utilitarian in nature, not a playground for the elementary/preschool crowd.
As he put one foot (gross!) on my cabinet, I shrieked “RHYS! Get down! There’s hot coffee and knives and carrots up there and they are DANGEROUS!”
Did Dave blink? No. Did Rhys? No, but he did get down – so I got his attention too, but not in the way I intended, he is just a rule-follower for the most part. Only my Henry gave pause and then said incredulously, “Carrots?”
That’s my boy. He listens and picks up oddities, he laughs, he gets it. And so goes correction at our house, at least from mama.