I packed up my kids and drove two hours away to wonderful Sebastopol, CA (which was even more hot) and took them apple picking with our home school co-op. There were great moments; statue climbing, Screamin' Mimi's Ice Cream, a super cool Johnny Apple Seed sculpture, learning about Apple farming, spending quality time with other young families.Aaaand there were some not-so-great moments; Johnny Apple Seed's apple being kicked off the sculpture and rolling down the road, the 101 degree heat, the dust everywhere, and my favorite Sebastopol coffee shop that sells my favorite drink ever (iced horchata latte) being out of horchata. Emma summed her feelings up through tears: "I don't like this day at all!."
Then we got home to find Dylan (and Grandpa David, Uncle Dan, Matt, Uncle Craig and Uncle Charles) doing this on the hottest day ever: POURING OUR NEW PATIO!!!!!!!!
11.5 months after the initial digging out of our back hillside and moving the hot tub, we now have a patio! And just in the nick of time- Dylan told me I could turn the hot tub on on October 1st and that is the first day we'll be able to walk on the concrete.
Finally, gone are the days of walking in the pitch black night around a corner and across old fence boards laid across the mud to get to the hot tub. I'll be able to flip on a light switch, walk out from my bedroom through the french doors, down a step, across the patio and into the hot tub! Oh man, what a life of luxury I'll live this winter!
And I'm thinking some winter weather (or at least fall weather) sounds pretty good right about now!
1. I should never, ever go to Costco again. I always spend too much money there- and not even on fun stuff. Julia would not be very proud of me.
2. Because of #1, I wonder if I can go a month without grocery shopping- other than buying milk and fresh produce? Anyone want to challenge me to see if I can?
3. I don't appreciate it when people have nut allergies. I have to buy snacks for Emma's soccer team and since there's a kid with nut allergies, I can't buy them anything other than sugary snacks or chips or crackers. No trail mix or granola bars with nuts. Lame-o.
4. For as long as I can remember, our church's weekly Bible study was on Thursday nights. Two years ago they switched it to Wednesday nights, yet I still wake up the morning after Bible study excited that it's Friday. Every time. What a let down when I realize that it's only Thursday.
7:10am - wake up. get mad at your parents when they tell you that you're 3 today.
7:15am - get excited because you realize that you're big and so now you can wear your sister's clothes. get mad because your parents inform you that you still can't wear her clothes because they're girl clothes.
7:30am - still mad at the world but you get to watch the fireman movie before breakfast.
8:00am - your mom made you delicious buttermilk pancakes and put a #3 candle in it for you. you're still mad so you refuse to eat. 8:30am - decide to eat the pancake, and then 4 more. things are looking up.
9:00am- get dressed all by yourself in your #3 shirt and not-so-much matching camo shorts so that you can go outside and play with Grant. 11:00am- decorate a big envelope for the mail
11:30am - collect pacifiers from their various hiding places around the house and put them in the envelope because big 3-year-olds don't need pacifiers anymore. suck one of them one last time.
11:40am - put the envelope full of pacifiers in the mail to send them away 12:00pm - eat mac n cheese and apple slices for lunch, per your request
12:30pm - read the book about moods and then decide you're in a pretty good mood afterall. tell your sister that it's not her birthday- it's YOUR birthday!
1:00pm - naptime. without pacifiers :( you get the new big huge blue stuffed dog that you picked out at the store as a consolation prize. you're not quite sure about it.
1:10pm - come out of your room and inform your mom that you want your pacifiers and that you don't want to be 3. mom puts you back to bed and snuggles with you.
2:30pm - wake up from the shortest nap ever. eat a snack.
4:30pm - load up bikes and hit the town for your birthday dinner 5:00pm - first stop: Round Table Pizza 5:15pm - next stop: a park for a picnic5:45pm - attempted kite flying. the wind died down so that didn't work out too well6:15pm- don't cooperate for a family photo op. start the ride home. 7:14pm- home and tucked into bed with your sister's gigantic stuffed dog to snuggle with since the blue one you picked out wasn't quite good enough. snuggle with your dad as he prays that you'll be able to sleep.
We're two whole weeks into official homeschooling around here and here are my answers to your FAQ's (you know you were wondering!):
(first day of Kindergarten)
Q: Oh, you're homeschooling. How do you do that?
A: I teach my kid. At home, in the car, at the store. Don't you? We're not talking physics here. She's in kindergarten. So we're learning about safety and adding and social skills and coloring.
Q: How do you do school with the other kids around?
A: I include them. When Emma is playing with pattern blocks, so is Grady. And when Emma is brainstorming a list of things that grow on trees, so is Grady. And when we read a story, they all sit on my lap. And when she is working on writing lowercase letters, Grady and Landon are playing Lincoln Logs on the floor right next to us.
Q: Where did you make a classroom in your house?
A: I didn't. We have a cupboard that houses our books and supplies. Otherwise, we use our dining room table, and livingroom floor, and backyard, and laundryroom, and the grocery store, and the zoo, and Mt. Diablo. Basically, the world around us is our classroom. (Does that sound Hippy or what!?!)
Q: What about socializing with other kids?
A: Well, lucky for Emma, we don't live in a cave. We live in a community, and have friends on our street, and friends on her soccer team and friends at church.
Q: Homeschoolers are weird. Do you really want your kids to be weird?
A: Um, do you think I'm weird? Well, I mean, I know I'm a little weird- but aren't we all? Well, I was homeschooled for 8 whole years of my life and I was able to acclimate into normal public school life just fine. And I was never classified as a loner. And I don't have any weird twitches. And I am able to make eye contact with people. And I don't wear prairie dresses and bonnets.
Q: When do you have time for yourself? Don't you ever get a break? Aren't you going crazy?
A: Well, honestly, this was a concern of mine. I mean, with three kids at home, I'm bound to get a bit stir crazy every now and again. However, being more intentional in teaching my kids has helped me establish more of a routine for our days and also helped me to get out and do more activities that we normally wouldn't have done. And when I have a routine, it helps me to function better and be happier. So it's been great. I also have a mother and mother-in-law who are more than willing to give me a break whenever I ask. Finally, I believe that it is my God given responsibility to care for and nurture and raise up my children. And if it means that I don't have a bunch of free time and "me" time, if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, that's okay!
I read an article this morning that pretty much summed up the way that we want education to look like in our home. You can click here for the whole article, but here's an excerpt: "We generally start our days the way we normally would- eating breakfast, playing, reading. To this, I gradually add on any schoolwork- half and hour of math here, a science project there, as they fit throughout the week. If life happens to collide (say, a birthday party, get together with friends, or a massive pile of laundry in need of putting away, then we just go with it.
After all, the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility- we aren't necessarily chained to a schedule.... In an average week, we balance traditional schoolwork with everyday activities."