Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Outside In...

It's very hot. Our townhouse is heating up, slowly but surely. We have not used the air conditioner yet, which is good news for our hydro bill.

Soccer continues twice a week. This will be the first year that Rai has playoff games. His team's improvement over the course of the season is very apparent. That's all that matters to me: that he loves playing and continues to learn the game.

Swimming continues twice a week. Kori has advanced a level, much to her enjoyment. She's very proud of herself. Again for both kids, skills are improving and there is much enjoyment - what else can I ask for?

There hasn't been very much helicopter flying for Brian due to the persistent wind. However, Brian can distract himself a wee bit by watching his jalapeno peppers grow. They're doing very well. I foresee lots of cheese sauce, nachos and salsa this winter.

Corn on the cob season is upon us. I've been to the market a couple of times. Today, the kids and I drove out to a local farm and bought fresh corn, new potatoes, onions and a cucumber. I'd have bought beans as they are ready and lovely looking, but noone but me likes to eat them. I hope to make the fresh, seasonal produce a regular habit. It really does taste better. And besides, I'd rather have to wash off local pesticides than eat something shrivelled and foreign - which has been the state of much of the grocery store produce lately.

We have a new bird feeder in the backyard. It's a little close to the back door, but the birds are getting used to it. The small birds don't have a problem, but the starlings are absolutely hilarious to watch. They try to stand on the very narrow perch and have to resort to a mad flutter when dipping down to retrieve a seed. After a few tries, they hop over to the fence. I'm guessing they're waiting for the swaying feeder to settle down before they do it all over again.

I've had a couple of visitors lately. I actually had a girlfriend come over one day for the simple task of chatting. It was rather nice. I had my sister come watch the kids last night and Brian and I had the Cheapest Date Ever. We went to see Harry Potter #5 at the theatre on half-price night. $8.40 was all it cost as there was no way I was going to have a drink and popcorn for $13. Who dreams up these prices?!? We were home by 9:10pm and Sister was able to catch the second half of her husband's soccer game. I really have to appreciate my sister. She comes to babysit, I don't pay her and it costs her $10. She very nicely treated the kids to some gelato at the new shop by our house. Nice eh? However, I do have a little suspicion due to her parting comment: Oh, it's not problem, Bonni...I like watching your kids. Don't worry, one day your time will come. As if she's going to one day employ my sisterly services in child minding. Hm. Wouldn't that be nice? If it happened before I'm 80?

Road trip tomorrow: Kids have dental appointments. It's always fun going to the big city. They have a toy store with schoolish stuff and good books. Oh, and the hobby shop where I must remember to stop as Brian needs more glue and some explosive things so he and Raiden launch rockets.

I have officially entered panic mode, Bonni style. This causes me to grind to a halt in most areas. It is normally preceded by a period of strict procrastination. True to form, I spent July buried in mindless paperback reading. Here we are, cresting August and I am tired of procrastinating.

Do you know that I now have children who are 'in' grade3 and 5!? When did this happen?? And who told the kids!? I'm a little undone at their proclamations, as it happens. This is a major factor in my panicking. You see, normally, I try to fight the Back-To-School madness with every tooth and nail I can muster. It's proving a bit more difficult this year as the kids are so excited. I'm in Grade 5 now! says Kori proudly. I'm doing grade 3, boasts Raiden. In our homeschooling career, I think I can count on both hands the number of times that I may have mentioned grade levels to someone who insists, incredulously, that the children must have a grade level. After all, what kind of homeschooling mother am I?!

I've enjoyed these past few years without grades. We read what is interesting. We write what we want. We practice that which we are motivated to practice. We don't particularly need grades. Or at least, I didn't.

I suppose this 'grades' talk comes from being around schooled friends who are focused on the final aspect of school. The all-important, self-defining Report Card. I suppose Kori and Raiden just want to have some aspect of the conversation they can identify with. It's not particularly exciting for them to announce their teacher come September. They don't have As and Bs to count and proclaim. So Grades it is. Apparently Grade 3 and 5. Honestly, I don't think it will last. So for now, I just smile and nod and outwardly rejoice with them over their new found grade.

Inwardly, I cringe. Can I teach Grade 5? Aren't kids supposed to learn cursive in Grade 3? What about Science Fair projects? They're both 'behind' in math. We're still reading Story of the World: Volume One. Kori's not done Public Speaking and Raiden thinks reading out loud is dumb. Arrgh!

This week I have begun to talk myself down. I've even started reading things I would classify as 'worthwhile'. The house is relatively clean and the school shelf has been decluttered and organized (<-- things crucial to my sanity, I believe). I will now focus my efforts at a bit of planning. There are resources on the shelf that we've not yet used, but they're ready to go. I am pretty impressed that I can mentally come up with a rough list of resources that I will need to purchase. So I am panicking over What and How to Plan for Grades 5 and 3. This is not my strong suit.

I will need to balance the family schedule of activities with my unschoolish tendencies with the kids' requests for schoolish work with my Type B personality. I need to compose a schedule that is not too ambitious, that is flexible, that I can stick with for longer than three days. Said schedule will need to consume the resources I have so I can free up some space because, after all, I have a kid in grade 5 and one in grade 3 now and I will need more appropriate material. (You read that with a wee bit of cynicism/sarcasm, I hope?). Said schedule will need to leave us with copious amounts of free time so we don't feel over-worked or deprived of our individual pursuits. I don't want to have to buy a System or generate amounts of paperwork in order to accomplish all of this. I've been pulled into that trap before. The only thing I want to have to use is looseleaf and my large-squared calendar.

So, that's an outline, right? I'm well on my way right? Please tell me I'm not doomed for failure because I missed the seminar on Planning The School Year at last Spring's conference.

1 comment:

oom said...

No worries. Cursive starts later....like late Grade 4/Grade 5 in our school ;-).

While you may wonder if your children are 'behind' in some areas, compared to kids who are in a formalized school setting ....I guarantee, there are many ways K and R are much, much farther ahead.

How was HP5?