Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Escaping the heat and the labels

Well, it finally cooled down. It's been so bizarre, several days of 104 weather followed by several days of mid-70s and windy! Our poor bodies don't really know how to react to that. Today the wind is so strong that Cameron is worried about tornadoes. His daddy has an irrational fear of wind (resulting from some memories from his days as a latch-key kid) and I think some of it has rubbed off. (The other day there was a spider on the ground and Greyson was trying to pet it and I had to stop DH from running over and screaming "Don't touch it!! OMG, don't touch it!!" LOL, silly men.) I think I finally convinced him here that a 4-ft dust devil is about the worst we're ever going to see in this area... though there *have* been bigger ones. Those are of course the ones he can't get out of his head. Anyway...

Sunday went really well despite the crazy schedule. My meeting was fun and Greyson behaved himself reasonably well. We met in the patio of a coffee house and Grey had a good time splashing in the fountain that we were seated next to. LOL. Luckily it was a hot day and everyone appreciated it. I learned that sunblock applied to one's own back leaves an interesting pattern. I also volunteered for yet another thing that I probably don't have time for. Luckily, the other ladies were smart enough to keep me from going completely overboard and taking on even more. ;) Thanks, Girls!!

Next we drove to the pool party where DH had C&C. Grey fell asleep in the car during the 7 minute drive over (and we all knew he would!) so DH and I just tag-teamed it. He went home with the Sleepy Guy and I went into the pool with the Big Kids. Ahhh, that pool felt nice after sitting in the sun for two and a half hours! But then the wind kicked up and I spent most of the time just chatting up the other moms. Well, that and eating cake. Chocolate cake with vanilla cream filling. Mmmmmmm. Maybe I'll make some pudding today. Vanilla, or better yet tapioca, pudding sounds really good all of a sudden. Oh, where was I? Oh yes, the party. So we ended up closing out the pool and didn't get home until about 6:30. Leftovers for dinner!

Monday was an interesting day. The morning went SO WELL! I decided, since we got the house really clean over the weekend and I am determined to keep it that way for a change, to reinstate our chore chart. The kids were actually super excited to do that too and we breezed through all our morning chores. The kids were pumped and ready for the last morning chore "do schoolwork" by about 9:30. I, however, was not ready, lol. It took me another hour or so to shower and straighten my bedroom and such and then I was ready too. One one hand, I hate the connotation of schoolwork being a chore, but on the other hand, I love having it listed in black and white as just another thing to do. It works well.

Phonics went ok. It was another one of those days where he read just fine when he actually bothered to look at the words, but getting him to do that was a chore. Cassia, unfortunately, has picked up that same Don't-Want-To attitude. She always says that she wants to do phonics but then when it's time to read the words, the stories especially, she groans and avoids it and guesses. But she is the one who is always pulling out books and looking at them and asking me to read things to her. I know she is going to be my reader. I think I need a new method with her. I've been using a very dry approach with her and OPGTR though. I haven't used the flash cards or the magnetic letters much, I always skip the games. I really can't blame her for not being excited there. OK, note to self: Don't forget to have FUN!

Grammar was great. We reviewed action verbs and the pronoun "I." I decided to actually do the copywork this time and they both started groaning at the thought. Remember when I had them write sentences as a punishment several months ago? LOL, they were thinking of that and thought that copywork meant writing sentences over and over. They were relieved to find that they only had to write it once and that their sentences were really fun. Cassia's was, "The baby and I crawl." Cameron's was, "The baby and I crawl, wallow, and giggle together." The both did excellently and Cassia even came up to me later in the day and said, "I loved doing copywork today!" Yay! Math was simple for them both - changing dollars to cents for Cameron and writing numbers 15 through 20 for Cassia. For history I read a SOTW chapter about Greek Gods while they colored pictures from a Dover coloring book on Greek gods. Cameron colored Zeus and Cassia colored Athena. Do you think their choices tell you anything about their personalities? ;) We've also been listening to d'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths on tape and it was nice to find a little overlap between the two. Being familiar with the story always helps.

And then I don't know what happened. We were done with schoolwork. We were done with chores. We were done with lunch. And somehow it all went wrong. Cameron played his hour of video games and stopped as soon as the timer went off, I was so happy. But then when I suggested that we do our afternoon chores (which are SO simple if you've done your morning chores) they both just balked. I couldn't get either of them to do a thing and we ended up late to gymnastics. The boys and I ran to the library while Cassia was in class. We picked up a pressure cooker cookbook and Cameron picked out a really easy reader (one of the Otto series) and a book of Jewish folk tales. I was a little surprised by that one. He brought it to me and said, "Is this a history book? I want this one." LOL, ok, whatever. I never said he had to get a history book, but I'm thrilled that he wanted to get one. We made it back to the gym just in time and then he went in for his class. I grabbed Cassia and then we headed out to the grocery store. I really only meant to grab a couple things, take them home, grab Cameron's baseball uniform, and then head back to the gym but I bought a LOT of stuff and we didn't have time to go back home. So I grabbed Cam, rushed home, put the groceries away while he changed, and then rushed out to the ball field. Phew!

On the way out of the garage again, I noticed this guy across the street with the hood of his car up. His car wasn't that old so I thought it was a little odd. He also wasn't looking under his hood. He was also pointing his cell phone at my house. Like he was taking a picture. He noticed me looking at him and quickly moved to look under his hood. Maybe I'm just paranoid but it was a little weird, like he was staking it out and waiting for me to leave. So once we got to the ball field and got all settled, I called the cops. They said they'd drive by and nothing ever came of it but it was just weird.

Cam's game went pretty good. They didn't play that well (the coach especially was lamenting that fact) but both teams were in crazy-over-tired mode so it was understandable. Evening games suck. But Cameron was less crazy than many of the other kids and Greyson was asleep for at least half of it so I was happy, lol. So in writing it all out, it appears that the afternoon didn't really go too badly but I was SO worn out. Exhausted beyond belief. Leftovers for dinner again and then I fell asleep on the couch at 9pm. I can't remember the last time I fell asleep at 9.

Tuesday I did something bold. Bold for me anyway. I took the plunge. I called myself an Unschooler. I joined our local unschooling group and met them at the park. I've been lamenting this decision for over a year now, I think. I don't know why it is so hard for me to accept a label. I mean, if I hate the labels and think they're pointless and confining, why can't I just ignore them and hang out with who I want to? Who knows, but it's a big issue for me. The funny thing though is that I had less of a problem being the deviant Classical Schooler. It was actually kind of cool to be the one to stray and let my children lead. To be the one who wasn't afraid to throw the schedule to the wind and just enjoy our lives. I was the tree-hugging hippy chick who just couldn't follow the rules. Cool. That's always been me. But to be the Unschooler who makes her kids learn phonics when they don't really want to? To be the one who says, "We are not leaving this house until your schoolwork is done!" Well, that doesn't make me cool. It makes me the mean one. Being the strict one has NEVER been my cuppa. Kind of weird. Am I any different? Has my approach changed? Absolutely not, but now I feel like the mean one because I joined an unschooling group.

But I'm working past that. I'm not hiding my Classical Tendencies from the group. In reply to my intro, one of the founders of the group said something to the effect of "it's great to get a peek into how the other side lives." That had a little sting to it, but I think I'm just still a bit sensitive. I'm going to assume that she meant the other side of the spectrum of unschooling, since she is a radical unschooler, rather than the other side of homeschooling in general. It's still hard to feel like I fit in sometimes, but again, I'm sure it's just my insecurities with "the labels." I may make a few excuses for myself now and then, but I will never pretend to be something I am not. My kids ARE happy. They are following their passions. I just gave Cameron a haircut like Link from The Legend of Zelda...
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... and if that's not child-led than I don't know what is. ;)

Anyway, the park was FABULOUS. As I suspected, most of the kids there were our friends - most from Friday's science class! - and we had a blast. We talked, they played, the day disappeared in the blink of an eye. Greyson was so adorable. I don't know what it is, but his cute factor went up by about ten times since his birthday. This is how I remember Cameron being too - an emotional challenge at 18 months, adorable at age 2, and then a crazy monster at 3, lol. So if that's the case, we have a good year ahead of us. ;) But anyway, I'm very glad we went to the park. (I even got a fabulous massage after my back started hurting from sitting on the ground too long!) I'm glad I joined and I'm looking forward to lots of fun activities with them in the future. :)

1 comment:

Gillian said...

See, now YOU're deserting ME. Unschooler.

Seriously though, I think waaaay too many of us get caught up in labels. The whole point of homeschooling, to me, is to follow our own paths, whatever those paths may be. We've really been enjoying our branching off into Waldorf-y stuff. So just see where your path takes you!

Darn, I miss park days....