Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Even homeschoolers get sucked in

To the homework game, that is.

Middle(7) has been signed up for a zoo school this year targeted to homeschoolers. They meet ten times, once a month, for two hours at a time. We were “assured” that one of the leaders had been a teacher and was up-to-date on curriculum standards and all that. Some of the moms laughed and whispered among ourselves that that wasn’t what was important to us. I should have known then . . . .

Zoo school has provided him with some opportunities, but it has also provided him with homework. For reasons that I haven’t completely figured out, he never wants to go, but he also has never regretted going or seemed at all upset when I picked him up. So I really didn’t want to push the homework thing. It was hard enough to get him there (Oldest, 9, informed me that I was using too much bribery) without also getting the homework done. Also, at his age and reading and writing level (three letter words and barely) guess who is actually doing the homework?

Yesterday was the second-to-last class, and there were assignments due – a game that he was supposed to create, a paper or poster on an animal he picked, and animal cards with facts on different animals for when he shows us around the zoo at the last class. We had some animal cards, but it’s not clear to me how he is going to use them since he can’t read them. He could hand them to us to read, but then he’s not showing us around the zoo, but just giving us information to read that I have probably gathered and added to the cards.

The game assignment didn’t call to him, but this was the assignment that sucked me in. I got myself in a dither about it. Last month (when I thought it was due) I cut out a safari game that we had in PDF form, but of course it wasn't a game that Middle had created. He was worried too, and between us, we worked ourselves into a bit of a dither, with him saying he didn’t want to do it (with a mulish expression on his face), and me resentfully busting my ass to create a simple game for him.

Fortunately, I had to go out in the middle of the afternoon, and I had a chance to recognize what was happening. He wasn’t interested in completing the assignment. I didn’t think it was a good assignment (although it could be, for the right child), and I wasn’t particularly interested in completing it either. One of the reasons my kids don’t go to school is so that I don’t have to make them do stuff (or do it myself!) that none of us thinks is worth doing. I had been sucked into a situation that I always intended to avoid, and now I needed to extricate myself.

When I got back home I asked him what he wanted to do, and he said, “I don’t want to make a game.” I was okay with that and told him so. As it turned out, when I checked him in we were asked if he had the game and the report, and I could answer “no” and hopefully made it clear that I was fine with that. At any rate, he was happy when I picked him up, and I look forward to seeing the zoo through his eyes next month.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A day

I woke up a bit late and wasn't out of the shower until after nine. I fed the unfed children and set up the Bosch to grind wheat. The two older kids played outside, but Youngest noticed scissors in a holster on a website I was looking at, and wanted some. So we cut out felt the right size and he sewed it (by hand) with my help to make a little blue scissor holster.

I mixed up two loaves of mostly whole wheat No Knead Bread (which I actually knead in my Bosche). It will be ready to cook tomorrow. Then I mixed up three loaves of Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread, somewhat making up the recipe.

I found the potholder loom that I'd hidden -- it needed only two more loops to be ready to finish, so Middle (7) and I worked on that so that Youngest (5) could use the loom. In the meantime, I'd given Oldest (9) some math to do, which freaked him out. For the record this was the problem: use all nine digits only once each to create an addition problem (i.e. four hundred something plus six hundred something equals one thousand something). That took pretty much forever, and I probably helped him too much. This morning he was reading something -- Pokemon I think. Later I asked him to finish reading A Lion To Guard Us which he did, despite the fact that only feet away his brothers were playing annoying tunes on a toy electric guitar.

After at least some of us had had lunch I sat outside on the swing and finished reading Yonie Wondernose to Middle (7) and Youngest (5). Then we read a story from D'Aulaire's Norse Myths. I went inside to put the bread in the oven, do a few dishes, and make a cup of coffee and collected all the boys (Oldest was finishing up drawing a cartoon) to squeeze onto the outdoor swinging loveseat for the first act of Virginia Lee Burton's Life Story (which is a history of the earth and life on it).

Then I released them just in time for computer time (which is available starting at 3) and took the bread out of the oven. Youngest reminded me he hadn't had lunch so I made him a peanut butter sandwich. I took my knitting back out to the swing to do a couple of rows on my almost finished socks. Then I remembered to call the plumber about the leak in the mudroom which dh just doesn't have time to get to, so I went to do that (took awhile to track down his number). He'll come by tomorrow.

Then I watched a YouTube video about homebirth: Part 1 and Part 2.

Still on the list is making pizza dough with the rest of the freshly ground flour, and sewing the straps on the slowest sewing project ever, my Spring Ruffle Top. Two more sessions and it might be done. So far it's taken probably six separate sessions in the sewing room to get to this point.

Tonight is supposed to be the first ultimate frisbee practice if the weather holds, so I need to make and pack up dinner for the kids to eat at the field and see if I can find my cleats. My mother called to check in. She had her pre-op appointment yesterday for her hip replacement operation in ten days. I'm going down for a week to help her out. And tomorrow I just noticed I have a Jericho Road meeting (a board that I am on) at 9am, but I haven't arranged childcare yet . . . .

Carnival of Homeschooling

Be sure to check out the Carnival of Homeschooling this week -- one of my posts is included! This week's host is Jacque Dixon of Walking Therein. You will find it here: COH #176: Some Things Moms Love.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Go To Cookbook

My sister-in-law has written a terrific cookbook that I am enjoying. About 15 months ago a I did a raw vegan detox. A few months later I was going to do it again, but the friend who was going to do it with me bagged out. I wasn't brave enough to go it alone, but I did want to do something different with my diet, so I stopped eating meat. I have found that the effects of the detox, in that I look for more fresh food in my diet, have lasted, and they didn't seem to be when I returned to an omnivorish diet in the months after the detox.

At any rate, there is the detail of what, exactly, to eat and I've found that Tess's cookbook, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, is very helpful when I'm trying to figure out what to eat. I enjoy her spring roll recipes, and now use the ingredients from the Mango Cucumber spring roll as a salad -- no fat and delicious! I've also made and truly enjoyed the Mulligatawny Soup, the Aloo Gobi Chole, and The Fresh Greek Delight. You can find some recipes at her blog. If you like them, consider buying the cookbook! Tess is a homeschooling, self-publishing WAHM, and you can be sure that your money will go to good use, and you'll get a cookbook you'll love in the bargain!