I went home, to find that Rob was still not back from work. Poor guy. I piddled on the computer for an hour, as I almost always do to start my day, and he arrived home during that time. I was hoping he'd finish cleaning up the kitchen so I could make my banana breads, but he was exhausted and pretty much knocked out immediately. The laundry monster was once again taking over our upstairs, so I resigned myself to a day of washing, drying, folding, and putting away.
And that I did.
I colored my hair in the beginning - I'm a little crunchy, but not so granola that I won't use chemicals to hide my roots, man - set my iPod to my latest obsession (the soundtrack from The Princess and the Frog), and got to work. First, I had to finish putting together all the girls' Spring/Summer outfits and hanging them in their closets (school clothes in Sophia's and non-school clothes, ie., dresses and short shorts with tank tops, in Chloë's, since they're both wearing a size 5T). Then it was time to tackle the rest of the wash. I had about four or five loads to launder, and about that many loads of clean ones to fold and put away. I showered, rinsed out my hair, dressed and straighened my 'do, but otherwise I worked on laundry straight up until the bus came at 1530. And I'm STILL NOT DONE. Oy-to-the-vey.
The laundry, it drives me to the crazy place.
As usual, once the kids came home, we were on the move. I had to wake up Rob then - but by that point, he'd gotten more sleep than I had, at least 7 or 8 hours, so I didn't feel awful about it - to take charge of The Littles, so they wouldn't have to accompany Chloë and me to Ballet class. She and I left late, because she took forever to change into her leotard, and arrived a few minutes after the start time. I know that irks her teachers, but I do the best I can.
I worked on knitting Luke's shorties during dance class. It was slow going; the yarn had gotten all messed up in my bag, somehow. Peas and carrots, that drives me nuts. I managed to get a couple inches knit up, anyhow, and soon enough I'll be needing to get some size 8 DPNs so that I can work the legs. Don't have 'em; it always surprises me to need a needle I don't have, since I have so many already! (Thanks to MIL for that, mostly.) :D
Immediately after we came home, we had to get ready for Chloë's Author Party. She and her classmates each wrote fables and published these Studentreasure books. I was going to show you the cover of her story, "The Cheetah and the Leopard," but my scanner is being a piece of dirty bathwater. It's cute, though.
Sadly, I don't have anything to show you from the party - during which the kids all read their books - because I couldn't go, and Rob had camnesia. Apparently Chloë did a really good job. However, I have the book, and without the author's permission, I am going to share her fable with you here:
"The Cheetah and the Leopard"
A Fable by Chloë
Dedicated to My Mom and Dad
Once there was a cheetah and a leopard. They were very good friends,
but one day they had a really hard test.
During the test leopard and cheetah needed help, but they didn't ask for any.
They missed every question on the test. The next week they had some of the same questions.
This time they asked for help and got them all right.
Moral: If you need help ask!
"About the Author"
Hi! My name is Chloe Odette. I have a brother and his name is Jack. He is in first grade. I have a sister and her name is Sophia. She is in Early Discoveries. My dad works in the Navy. My mom is a substitute teacher. [snort] I am in third grade. I hope you like my book.
Cute, right?? Not the most fabulous story in the world, but maybe we can finesse that in homeschool next year.
Apparently there was cake and punch at the party, but Daddy didn't let them have any. I told him that he should have let them have a small piece, but he said nope! because they didn't have dinner yet.
Before the party, Rob and the kids had dropped me off at the Girl Scout Leader meeting down the road. I'm officially a Daisy leader now, for Sophia's troop! We even have our troop number assigned, and I have my approval letter. Exciting! I'm nervous about that, too, but somehow it'll all come together, I'm sure.
I had lots to take care of at the meeting. I needed to act as Treasurer and write the check for the Brownies (well, they'll be bridging to Juniors) to pre-register for next year, and submit the packet with all of their forms. I needed to get and fill out a pre-reg for Sophia and submit that along with Miss Nikki's youngest daughter's pre-reg, and pay for that. (I didn't have to pay for Chloë, because she earned it from selling cookies!) I had to take notes, since Nikki doesn't attend the Leader meetings, and I'll be acting as Leader of the Daisies and Co-Leader of the Juniors next year. And there was a lot more I needed to do, but I forget what now. I got a present, too! A little lanyard thing with a carabiner on it, for my keys. I got one for Nikki as well. A little gift for all the Leaders, from the Service Unit chairwoman. It says something about being a Girl Scout volunteer on it.
So I thought about homeschooling all day, while I was folding laundry.
First, I decided our little school should have a name, so it will be called Sweet Pea Academy, after the planned name of our boat. (That plan may be on hold for a while, but I can't spill the beans yet on just why right now. Hopefully soon!) Do you like the name? Well, I do.
(Oh, it was funny. I told Chloë about our new school name on the way home from Ballet. I jokingly told her I was going to print up t-shirts with the name and logo on them, for each of the kids to wear every day to school. Then she said, "Oh, and we can make up a poster and put it on the front door, so other kids can come to our school, too!" I told her that the school was just for the three of them, and she wanted to know why. I said, "Well, first of all, they'd have to PAY me to attend, and second of all, I'd want to at least practice on you guys for a year or so, so I can figure out if I even know what I'm doing!" She replied, "Of COURSE you know what you're doing - you have THREE books!!!!" I cracked up laughing and said, "You mean the ones from the library?" She rolled her eyes and said, "Yeah, they're HUGE!"
Too funny. Well, at least she has the confidence in me, so that was reassuring!)
Most of what I was thinking about, though, was curriculum. I already know what they want to work on, so I thought I'd expand it a bit. For Jack, we'll not just learn about cars and boats, but we'll work on Transportation in general. We can study so many things, and I know he will just love it. The library will be our best friend. In time, we'll learn about not just boats and cars, but planes, trains, and every other form of locomotion we can think of. We can take field trips to look at these things, I hope, and it will be just the funnest thing for him.
Chloë wants to study animals, and Sophia wants to study birds. I have a thick binder or two filled with beginner information on all sorts of animals, so I thought we'd pick one each (day? week?) to discover and learn more about in detail. I want to get some sort of family membership, either to the zoo or the aquarium or the children's musuem or something, but I'm thinking the zoo will be good for this area of study. I'd love to have family memberships to all of them, but I just don't think we can afford it. But think of it, we could go to the zoo all the time! It will be great.
Chloë also stressed learning about art and music. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do about music, but I'm going to talk to my friend Shana, who IS a music teacher, and see if she has any recommendations. But we are going to explore so many kinds of art. I'm going to teach them to knit and crochet! We have painting jobs that need doing in the house, so I'll do that with the kids and explore painting with them! There's a ceramics studio just down the road, so I thought I'd take them to that for one or more of our field trips. I'm also going to encourage them to keep a journal - not just for writing, but for drawing, too.
For physical education, and to boost our study of the natural world, we'll go on lots of nature walks and stuff. I'm also going to find out if the gym(s) on the Navy base(s) have anything for kids, so we can go and exercise for free. If not, I'm hoping we can find room in the budget for either a family membership to the YMCA or the local rec centers, which are pretty good. We used to be members, but we hardly ever used it; I'm determined to have them be physically active, though. Of course, the girls will stay in their dance classes, and I'm hoping to get Jack involved in something, too. Maybe karate?
For socialization, of course the Scouts (Daisies, Cubs and Juniors) and athletic pursuits will help fill that void. There are also a number of homeschooling groups in the Hampton Roads area, and I'm planning on contacting the ones that seem like a good fit soon, to find out how and when they meet up, what they do, etc. They'll get plenty of interaction with other people.
Of course, that all takes care of many things, but what about math? Reading and writing? Well, I'm still working on that. If you couldn't tell, I'm definitely not the unschooling type, I don't think. I mean, some of what we'll be doing IS considered unschooling, but I have a concern about math and language. I need the children to learn those things. I can't have them NOT learn those things. It's important to me that they do, and so they will. I'll make it as fun as possible, without a billion worksheets and with a lot of hands-on manipulation, but they will learn. I'm going to go to the TAPS store and see what resources I can find there, I'm going to see what I can get from Mindware and elsewhere online... I want to make this whole experience as fun and painless as possible for them, but they WILL learn to read, write and do math. I insist upon it!
We're going to learn other things, too. As a family, we're going to tear up our backyard and make it more nature-friendly. Right now, it's a morass and only the dog is really able to use that. I want to change that. I want to rent a rototiller and tear up all the grass and then plant as much of our own local and natural and organic and sustainable food as we can. And we are FINALLY going to have a compost pile. Or heap. Or whatever you call it. I've been throwing out our compostable food scraps behind the bushes in the front of the house for too long. It's time to change that and make it 'official.' Yay, I can't wait!
We're going to learn new recipes, and spend lots of time in the kitchen. They will become proficient at cooking and baking, and using what's local and at-hand to make a nutritious, wholesome meal. No more Red # 40 dye, no more high fructose corn syrup, no more genetically-modified whoosy-whatsit. We'll can our food and freeze it for later, when there are no crops.
We'll go camping. Fishing. If Rob wants to take them hunting, so be it, but if they want to become semi-vegetarians like their mama, I'll be pleased with that, too. We'll learn how to live a "greener" life. We're going to learn more about conservation and taking care of the planet.
And taking care of each other, too. We're going to learn how to be not only global citizens but community menbers. We'll visit the elderly, bring cookies to the firefighters and police, maybe work in a soup kitchen.
I'm terribly excited. I can't wait to start. Bring on the Sweet Pea Academy!!