Wednesday, June 09, 2021

School's IN for summer!

Due to circumstances currently beyond our control, in addition to circumstances we wanted to get control of, we had our first day of school on Monday. 

For one thing, we'll be having a baby sometime in November or December (but most likely November (unless I'm jinxing myself because I've never made it to my due date before; but I'll likely be diagnosed with gestational diabetes and then they won't let me go to my due date, anyway,'ll most likely be November)) and I imagine we'll want to take some time off then. Probably more than we would, otherwise, at any rate. Especially because I'll be going to school full time, myself. 

For another thing, the kids haven't been giving me a moment of peace! There's always a constant stream of them wanting this or that: Play with me. Get me a snack. Read me this book. Look at what I made....

No amount of interacting with them seemed to stem the flow. They just always wanted something. 

And while we're not poor, we certainly aren't rich enough to, like, send our kids off to camp for a month (besides which I'd miss them too much; plus there's still a pandemic on (contrary to popular belief)). So they're just home...all the time...and I'm the only one to field their requests and complains and whatever (because somehow the kids all respect Andrew's designated work space and time) and it's been exhausting.

I was thinking about it and I thought, "You know, doing our lessons takes about the same amount of energy from me as fielding their all-day requests. Sure, I spend a few good hours with them—reading and instructing and discussing and playing—but then, once we're finished...they're sick of me. They want to go off and do their own thing, play their own games. And that gives me a few hours to do what I want (and/or need) to do without interruption every five minutes!"

So that's my secondary (somewhat sneaky) reason for starting school so early. But also, it's another pandemic summer and there's little to do with all our unvaccinated little ones and I'm preparing for a maternity leave of sorts (how a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom actually prepares for maternity leave...I don't know...but I imagine it has to look something like front-loading school days).

Anyway, we started school on Monday. And things have been going fairly well. We're reading Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth, which I initially thought was a little...dense...when it arrived (not dense as in 'stupid,' but dense as in...robust...heavy...more cerebral than the kids could manage), even though the recommended grades is 7–12 (which, I realize is more directed at Rachel and Miriam than the younger three, but I figure the younger three can sit through it since I do story time with them at various other times of the day). Anyway, yes, I realize it's recommended for middle school on up. But even then the book just seemed denser when I flipped through it. But it's been a joy to read so far. Even Benjamin likes it. 

It's made up of poems and short essays and things like that, so we can pause to talk about things quite easily, which has been great.

Anyway, it's been a wonderful read so far. We're also deep into our math books, with Benjamin learning about angles, and Zoë learning about equations, and the older girls in their algebra and geometry textbooks. Here are the little ones working on their math for the day:

For science the girls chose to study biology and human anatomy. They're doing an online course, supplemented by a few biology and anatomy books (one specifically about pregnancy). So that should be fun for them to learn all about. 

The younger kids haven't done much science this week. We're planning a beach trip later in the summer, so we've been learning a bit about the ocean. Here are the kids organizing and identifying shells, for example (good practice with classification—they have to recognize which are gastropods and which are bivalves, and so forth):

We'll get into our "real" science curriculum in a little while, after the beach, and after the kids finish with their dragon podcast. 

In spite of spending a few hours with our noses in our books (which I do think is an important part of education—books, I mean, and learning from them), we've had plenty of time to enjoy summertime activities this week as well. We went to the pool on Tuesday and when we arrived were practically the only ones there (there was one other family there and we took turns playing in the deep and shallow ends).

The kids were excited that they had replaced the diving board. I don't know what happened to it, but it was broken and roped off after Memorial Day weekend, so the kids were very excited to see that a brand new board was up and open!

They all wanted a turn to go off and Zoë took a running start toward the end of the board, lost her balance, and then bounced around on the board a few times before finally catching herself. She limped to the end, jumped in, and swam to the side, where we found she was cut up all over! The sandpaper-ish texture of the diving boards does help prevent slippage, but if you lose your balance and fall (and then bounce and bounce and bounce on that sandpaper-ish texture) it really does a number. 

This is what one of her poor little feeties looks like, but she has cuts like this up and down both of her legs:

She was a brave/tough little thing, though!

Alexander was, perhaps, even braver because after watching Zoë's fiasco on the diving board, Alexander decided that it would be a good day for him to go off the diving board by himself for the first time this summer (I honestly can't remember if he ever went off by himself last year). I didn't get to capture his very first time because he had to hold my hand to the end of the board.

He let Rachel hold his hand to the end of the board on his second jump while I filmed it:

Pretty soon he was going off all by himself:

Anyway, in the video you can see that the lifeguard made it to the pool (she's cleaning out the drains), which means that I got my 15-minutes of adult swim time in. It, unfortunately, also meant that the afternoon rush was about to hit. More and more families started trickling in, so we eventually decided to leave. 

I think we'll get a good mix of fun and learning in this summer (and we'll be sure to enjoy our long winter break)!

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