Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Snowed Under in September

   It's not yet October and I feel like I've been plowed under and snowed over by 6th grade. It's been awhile since we've home schooled and I forgot how all consuming it is. It's so much more fun to be the field trip coordinator than the main teacher. I keep reminding myself how rewarding teaching is, but not feeling it yet. And truly, I see myself as more of a facilitator. Is that me shirking responsibility again? I'm acutely aware that if we hold her back from her potential for learning it will be my fault alone. She is raring to go and ready to learn. She's an easy, generally early riser, and usually has a book in hand by 8 a.m., though sometimes we have to redirect from Calvin and Hobbes. She's loving Latin, while I have yet to dust off the text book.

    I did finally get those books ordered, but made the mistake of having Amazon “bundle them”, so we wait. School has been adjusted already and this week is school a bit lite with LONG play practices at night. She has FLL robotics; we are so excited about our focus on architecture this year. She also has Latin and IEW once a week and it's great someone else is teaching; she stays motivated to get the work done. She wrote about Robert Grosseteste this week. Who knew? 

    We are working through math while at the same time, trying to regroup. She's doing a bit more online at Khan Academy right now, though I believe in the value of paper seat work, while I assess a few different textbooks. We registered for MATHCOUNTS.

    Spelling? What's spelling? We have been consistent with Grammar, but reviewing world civilizations has been BORING. We are no longer at the builds models stage and make fun hand puppets, so how does one review the ancients in meaningful ways when you don't have a week to build a small scale replica of a pyramid or city walled in by watery moats/ponds to collect water? Though, we get the water/moat thing this week with the rain having arrived. I'm going quiz her on the ancients next week and see where we need to bulk up on our review before moving on to other subject matter. I'm torn between the Middle Ages to early Modern Times which is what Veritas studies and American History, Modern Americas, and Modern Times which is the focus of What Your 6th Grader Needs to Know. We are working through plate tectonics and also not having much fun, but we have objectives and we are working through them. She keeps reminding me she wants to blow stuff up. She wants to mix iron and nickel and make a molten core. Lovely. Anyone have ideas of where a 6th grader can blow stuff up for science? They have watched to many videos on the University of Nottingham Periodic Table site. Unfortunately, our own doing, but I did catch her reading Extreme Biology today. Maybe we can just focus on pond bugs asap without the bugs. Like I said, I have decided to test early this year to see where we need to focus most and see what she has a good handle on and where we can move on. It feels like we are flying by the seat of our pants, but there's a plan people. Really. Still working to find it, but He promises to put us on the path!

    Robinhood is making an appearance in town this week. No, not the world premiere we saw last year at OSF, but none-the-less Robinhood. Sister is one of the merry band and brother is a forester and the play shall go on. Ready or not, here we come.

    I fall into bed by 9:45 each night. Well, except tonight. Here's to that 6 a.m. casting call. Anyone for life unleashed early in the morning? Not without coffee, thank you.

    The rain has come and now I must mow the summer's weeds and burn piles of left over limbs from a bunch of woods work we had done at the house. Maybe we can light stuff on fire this weekend?

    We are praying and pondering Safe Families. We are pondering and praying what kind of future car we may need to carry possible littles. Humbly burying my head in the sand and proceeding naively and with faith God will guide the path. This vision is definitely bigger than us. It will burst our bubble. If we do this. If He calls. If we hear. If we get brave. Pray with us? Pray for us?

    Brother too, is busy with school. He's not quite the same chipper early riser, but he's yet to have a bad day at school. He loves school. He loves soccer. He wasn't so sure about Robinhood. He shed tears about missing soccer when play practice arrived this week, even though I had cleared this with him ahead of time and he was originally excited. But Monday arrived and he realized he was going to miss games and practices with his buddies and he was checking back tears and still a few fell. He went to the audition intending to do his worst, “so I won't get a part in the play and can play soccer.” He still got cast as a forester. (It runs in the family.) AND THEN, he came home shedding tears that he didn't get Robinhood. How does a parent say, “I'm sure you did your best at the audition,” while sharing, “well, I thought you said you were going to do your worst so you could play soccer Saturday instead?” What a catch-22. He's getting over it, but he's tired tonight. He's enjoying the chance to put his extensive play acting to use, i.e., various Calvin and Hobbes situations to try on his play mates when he has a chance to improvise.

    Did I tell you he put a water balloon under the toilet seat recently? He didn't get me, but got J good. They have a new club, he and she. They call it POP: Pranks on Parents. And the notebook is full of pranks to prepare and execute. And summaries about how actual events took place and went down.

    Did I mention I'm tired of Calvin and Hobbes? Though I must say the other day, when I read the one where Calvin burps enormously at the table and his mother says, “WHAT DO YOU SAY?” and he Calvin says, “A BARGE COMING THROUGH!” I laughed. Thank you, Bill Watterson for a laugh when I want to dislike you so much. Some days I'm sure the sass is entirely your fault.

    Brother is pondering talking to God ALOT right now and wondering if he is worthy. I am so tempted to talk him through these moments with mom talk when what I need to do most is pull out the WORD and read with him. Tonight, we talked and prayed and read Mathew 5, “those who hunger and thirst for God's righteousness shall be filled.” He wants to know what hearing the voice of God is like. He's not sure if he's hearing. He's not sure if he's worthy. Oh, the questions we ask, so young, but aren't they just hard wired into us? The searching for truth, and grace, and love to wrap ourselves in? I hear his very big heart wanting to understand God and yet trying to wrap his mind around something that any one of us can just barely contain and yet understand and sometimes it's not for us to know. Can our human minds really comprehend the vastness of God's love when we most need it? I believe so, but it requires a great stillness. It requires a great hunger. We don't like to be hungry, thirsty, or still. The questions are big, but not for God. But sometimes it's not even the questions we are asking, it's the love we are seeking. We prayed and talked and prayed some more and chose to plant some feet in faith that those who knock on the door shall be answered, and that perfect love casts out fear, and then he fell asleep. Rest.

    The Rover is in the shop. This Rover Girl dislikes her rental intensely, all while reminding herself to be thankful for something to steer her through life. It's brand new. It smells. It has zero visibility, but it's much faster. Much faster is not better. Rover Girl needs to go slower, so she can see the hawks and doves on her drive. Thankful for very old wheels back, come Friday.

    As for the house, the mess has caught up with me, and I cannot catch up with it. The piles seem to renew each day with people in the house busy learning and mucking things up!

    Then there's this new rain thing after months of dry. During September, the pets have become simply pets. Sister keeps reminding me to spend time with the dog. I booked him a hair cut, does that count? Now, I find two sets of paw prints and 8 feet to wipe and mud in the garage, which invariably comes in the house. Two pets and eight feet, that's enough. But, then Jack brought home a shrew this morning. Then there were 12 muddy feet to deal with. Lovely. Just lovely. Then the added guilt of not giving the poor shrew a proper burial weighed on me today and knowing if kids knew they would be disappointed in you.

    We have escaped for a few hikes, but I've forgotten my camera for coloring catching. Tonight, while the kids are at play practice, I escaped to my least favorite mall, keeping in mind, that I don't like malls, only to find that the Macy's discount store had closed. Boo. So I went to the coffee shop to write. At least that's something. I reworked a Land Rover article vetoed by mon amore. Maybe my grim editor will like the new one.

    But maybe, I re-found the written word within tonight. I've been reminded that words come with prayer and time for creativity. Alone. With God. One writes from reservoirs not emptiness. I only write from a place of fullness and when the brain is on drain and the body is tired few words come. I need to rest, renew, and re-look at the world with new wonder. Working on it. Slowly. One day at a time. Sometimes, being snowed in helps you do that.

(And no, I didn't edit this one. At all. We'll survive the mess. We shall.)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Smoke and Fire

The land is hot, parched, and thirsty. 
Windows shutter.
A sweet scent deceives, portending death, where blows it thick. 

The sheriff's office calls.
Don't call us. Call for flames. The fire is north.

Gravel crunches. A generator runs. A cricket chirps. Melancholy?
 A barely blue hovers above the tree line. Lazy firs sway, ever sanguine.

It's time for rain. Doesn't Nature know? 
She does, but we desecrate her.
 Her nature. Altered. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

One Hour Unfiltered

One hour. Unfiltered.
Read Breaking Stalin's Nose for Middle School Book Group.
Work on discussion guides for book group.
 Roast a tray of eggplant, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes.
Learn to conjugate "amo" in Latin.
Pay bills. 
Grade daughter's Saxon Math 8/7. Realize she's doing all of it mentally.
Put the scientific calculator she wants for Christmas on the "list".
Weed wack the yard.
Work on the wood pile.
Pick remaining veggies from a very dry garden.
Dehydrate plums and apples.
Send a card and picture. 
Work on a proposal about beauty.
Practice spelling and math with a 9 year old. 
Work on a car book series for kids.
Make homemade lactose free yogurt.
Decorate the porch for a dinner party.
Pick flowers and the last of the blackberries.
Kick a soccer ball with a boy.
Visit with loved ones.
Listen to How to Eat Friend Worms at bed time.
Pick a bucket (or four) of apples. Give away.
Clean the fridge.
Process and freeze vegetables.
Listen to this sermon series on Friending. (Excellent)
Read sections of the Gospel of John for morning devotions.
Email exchange student friend and request a get together.
Watch soccer practice.
Diagram some sentences. Do some grammar.
Watch a history video on Mesopotamia.
Attend a co-op meeting. 
Swim for one hour with daughter. 
Bus a few tables at community dinner.
Work on a book about an obscure botanist/ornithologist.
Talk on the phone with your sister.
Attend Writing Critique Group. (Oops, that's 3 hours.)
Visit library. Pay fines.
Make changes writing critique suggested. Groan. Work it out.
Run on the creek while a child bikes.
Apply Biofreeze
Make dinner.
Map the 12 main tectonic plates.
Smash a Snickers bar together. Understand tectonic plate movement.
Read the Encyclopedia of Earth and make diagrams.  
Doctor appointment.
Show up on time.
Feed chickens, check on bees, feed pets.
Make gluten free/dairy free chocolate chip cookies.
Time is precious.
Tell a story. 
Live a story. 
Make a memory.
Live the small moments. 
Small moments make a life.