Friday, August 27, 2010

When You Homeschool

There seem to be unique opportunities that can only happen when you are a homeschooler. Some of them come in the form of invitations, some just happen because it is a nice day or you chanced to be there.

After a recent storm, our neighbors (and good friends) called to include the children as guests at a tree-cutting-down-party. A big one had been partially destroyed between their yard and the adjoining one, a team of young men had been summoned to help and it was happening now, at 10 am. I initially declined the invite, as it sounded way too dangerous for children, which way was that tree going to fall anyway? It was repeated throughout the morning, and after receiving reassurance that the tree was so far away as to pose no possible danger, we all ended up across the street. Photos are below. It was fun, and breath-taking to watch, as my vantage point led me to believe that the tree branch could have ended up on top of either the house or the deck of the one next door, where a birthday party was tranquilly being set up, pink balloons, streamers, small guests and all. No one was squished, and did I mention that the guys pulling down the tree were nice-looking?

Around here, the yellow buses are back and school has begun. The neighborhood is emptied of school-age children every morning at 7. We have been busy bike riding each day, especially since the weather is cooler in the mornings now. Our favorite destination these days is an old cemetery. The hilly paths are great, there is a pretty lake with a Japanese bridge and gazebo, and the gravestones offer endless scope for imagination and questioning.

We caught a concert downtown when we were there at lunch hour. We were almost the only spectators, so we were doing each other a favor. The musician was good too; he played both guitar and fiddle while we watched and applauded.

We were able to be home the other day when the monarch burst slowly out of his cocoon, a phenomenon my daughter was able to pinpoint as always happening in the morning. It was the first time we have had the privilege of attending a butterfly birth. As we waited during the longest part without movement, we had the time to read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," by Eric Carle, twice.

On a sadder note, the kids and I drove to Madison for the funeral of my wonderful, great-uncle Fred last week, no school absentees noted. We came home late and slept a little later the next day, then went about our business again, almost as usual.

We have slowly incorporated "school stuff" into our days again. Lily is hard at work on math several hours a day. She has sewn four new dresses for her old doll. The pictures are below, knitted socks with lace edges of her own design included. Aragorn has decided that he needs to play his guitar for five hours a day in order to become a real expert, based on his calculations of his teacher's "10, 000 hours" theory. He is still managing to squeeze in some math and a lot of reading, as usual, but he has given up his computer time to concentrate on guitar. Alienor is listening to books on CD and reading along and she has discovered, "I read better than I thought I did." Arthur is bursting at the seams with energy and ideas for projects, half of them involving playdough and toothpicks, the other half duct tape, wood and staples. And little Puck is about as happy as he can be when he is surrounded by everyone and has enough playdough to roll into something. He spent an hour or more making pink pizzas, cutting them up and serving them on plates to me the other night after the rest of the kids were in bed. We had cheese pizzas, pepperoni pizzas, olive pizzas, and then baked cookies for dessert.

So keep an eye open to the endless opportunities afforded you if you are a homeschooler, watch out for them on the weekend if you are not, thank your neighbors for their kindness and enjoy these autumn days...or spring, if you happen to be "down under". Happy Weekend!

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