Friday, June 27, 2008

Three days was the limit.

LOL, looks like my 3-day streak was about all we could manage. Cameron actually said today, "Funny how we got in the habit of doing schoolwork everyday for only a few days and now we're not doing it anymore." Sometimes I think kid years are like dog years... two days of no schoolwork is a really, really long time, lol. Actually we really only skipped one day because I can't remember the last time we did schoolwork on a Friday!

But since I was mentioning my blog to some unschooling friends, let me focus on the real learning that has been going on in the past two days. :)

Thursday there was a really interesting discussion on an homeschool group that I belong to. They were discussing how to make the charter school rules and regulations work with unschooling and whether or not that was worth it. It was so interesting to see how the same situation affects different families due to their different histories and different ideals. But that's what sucked up most of my day. I just can't resist a good online conversation. :)

The kids were... gosh, I cannot remember. I know they were doing something really cool while I was involved in that conversation but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. That was another thing that came up - how blogging helps this horrific memory of mine from losing all the most important parts of our lives... the little details that mean so much to me (and probably bore the rest of you to death, lol). I do know that we went to the post office, Trader Joe's, and then the library. The main point of going to the library this week, besides returning those overdue Greek books, was for Cameron to browse through the kids' magazines. We've decided that once he finishes his phonics book that we will drop all formal reading, phonics, and spelling if he agrees to read for 15 minutes a day. Knowing him as well as I do, I know that he will agree but never comply if it is books that he has to read. Several people have suggested magazines because the clumps of words are so much less intimidating and the topics are meant to grab your attention right away. So we agreed to get him a magazine subscription of his choice for reading material. The library didn't have the best selection of magazines but he was able to look through National Geographic for Kids, Sports Illustrated Kids, Ranger Rick, and a few others that he wouldn't even open (Cricket, Family Fun, etc). I think we've decided on the NatGeo. He actually picked the SI first, but when I looked at it I realized he would never actually read it. It was aimed at a much higher age range/reading level. So, fingers crossed that that works and doesn't just become more clutter laying around the house.

Once we were at home, I was just beat. Life has been kicking my butt the last few days so I just kind of crashed on the couch in front of the tv. I watched my Days of Our Lives while the big kids rode scooters out back and Grey napped. That hour just wasn't enough for me to recuperate though so I flipped on Deadliest Catch. That isn't something that I normally watch while they're awake (neither is Days but they have just about zero interest in it so I can pretty much guarantee that they'll leave the room) but I just couldn't convince myself to do anything else but sit there so I figured it would be a harmless enough show. I don't know what it was about that show but they were drawn in instantly! Within minutes they were both sitting next to me, open mouthed and begging to know what was going on. It was a really dramatic episode and they were both sitting on the edge of their seats watching. LOL, who would've known! I finally dragged myself off the couch afterward to start dinner and they both ran outside to their scooters. Suddenly I hear...

"How many crab did you catch?"
"I caught twenty hundred dozen. How many did you catch?"
"Oh, I caught a million pounds! My ship is called the American Sword Swinger. What's yours?"
"Mine is the Olympia I. Oh look, there's more crab!"

A few minutes later they pulled their crab boats (aka scooters) off to the side yard to offload their crab and then went right back out to catch more. I think there was a big storm too. LOL. Do you think public school kids play Deadliest Catch or is that strictly a joy reserved for homeschoolers? My guess is that public school kids would be more likely to imitate the bad language and poor familial relations than the actual fishing. ;) But I may be prejudiced.

After dinner, me again exhausted from the effort, I flipped on Animal Cops and we all enjoyed an hour of kitty rescues. Unfortunately, Cameron woke up later in the night saying that he kept dreaming of all those poor cats! Of all the shows to give nightmares, I never would have predicted it would be Animal Cops. It wasn't even an episode with any abuse in it. It was mostly cats stuck up in trees or down drain pipes. I guess those simple, daily dangers were too accessible to his poor little subconscious.

Friday was Favorite Park Day. We were supposed to get there a little earlier than usual because just about everyone who was going to be there was had to leave early. I planned to leave at 11:30 and get there at noon. Of course that meant that we didn't get into the car until 12:15, lol. It was one of those mornings where nothing seemed to go right and everyone was getting hurt from stupid things. (C&C hooked a leash up to Greyson's shirt to play doggie but then were too rough and yanked him over, flat on his back on the kitchen floor. Cassia was climbing through a folding chair (don't ask me why) which collapsed on her giving her a big bump on her head. Cameron ran full speed into a corner.) Finally we got everything together to go, but THEN... click, click, click. Dead battery. *sigh* The second one in about 3 or 4 months. I actually debated whether or not I should call AAA for a minute or two. Missing the park day that we had been looking forward to all week after having been kept inside by all that smoky air seemed like a perfect natural consequence for them messing around with the lights in the car AGAIN. But I wanted to get out of the house as much as they did, so I called. Good thing too because the guy, Triple A (as Cassia named him), decided to test the battery's charge and found it to be on it's last leg. The charge was down to 9 volts from the full 12.6, which isn't too horribly bad, but there was this other number that was supposed to be 550 that was only 56. He said that even if he charged it up to it's full 12 volts that it wouldn't hold the charge very long and we'd likely be calling him back in a couple weeks. So, I guess it wasn't the kids afterall and I'm glad I called.

Amazingly, after all that, we finally made it to the park by 1:30. There were three families there and they all had to leave by 3:00!! An hour and a half at the park may seem like a long time to most people, but for us, Favorite Park Day is an all day affair. We were planning on 3 hours and even that would've felt short. At about 2:45 another family showed up so that gave us an excuse to hang out a little longer - and I am so glad we did! The little boy from this family is generally very shy and rarely interacts with the big group games that usually happen there. Usually, if he interacts with anyone at all, it is with Greyson. The two of them have really hit it off for some reason. I think it's because they both speak to each other with an unspoken language, you know? I had always assumed this boy, F, was about 5 but I found out today that he's only a few months younger than Cameron! He was a completely different child today. He was outgoing and combative (have to be around my two!) and he and Cameron and Cassia had the BEST time. After more than a year of playing with this boy, we finally feel like we know him.

The best game of the day was Sea Turtle. Cassia dug a big hole in the sandbox and announced that she was going to lay her eggs there. I could not help laughing very loudly when she lifted her skirt and squatted over the hole. ROFL. She sat there for a while laying them and then hopped off and carefully covered them with sand. Next F and Greyson swooped in like predatory dogs and started trying to eat her eggs, lol. She started to get mad and take it very personally but I reminded her that that's why sea turtles lay so many eggs and so then it became a great game to see how many they could steal from her. The funniest part of the whole game was probably the very beginning when she announced that she was a jaguar laying her eggs in the sand! So, yeah, there was science. All through the game each of the kids took pride in spouting off different facts that they had picked up about jaguars, sea turtles, and predators. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole thing. :)

By the time we left, F was truly a friend rather than just a long-time acquaintance. Cassia didn't want to leave so I asked F if he'd like a new sister. ;) He seriously thought about it for a minute and after telling us that his mother couldn't give him a sister because she was too old, lol, he agreed to take Cassia. LOL, I think he happily would have too. She looked a bit shocked though. After a few minutes of talking, F decided to just invite us all over for a sleepover instead! It cracks me up how often these kids suggest sleepovers. It's always the entire family too. What a riot that would be - I think they live in a communal living complex (aka very small place).

I know I'm forgetting something very, very cool and very significant that Greyson did recently but I cannot remember what it was. Something to do with how incredibly brilliant he is for his age. ;) Just know that he is a boy genius and that will be fine. Oh and just for fun, here is Cassia's PicMe page from Sprout Online. Make sure you watch the video - it's just too cute.


Meesh said...

OK that was cute!

Hey so how many different park days do you have that you go to regularly? I know you always mention Favorite park Day on Fridays- which leads me to think there are Not So Much Our Favorite But We Go Anyway Park days too.

I have two that we have gone to in the past but now we stick to just the one on Thursday. It is in the "mountain" park (aka the foothills) and we get there around 1 and rarely leave before 4. My kids are filthy and I mean that in the most literal sense- grime covered faces, dirt and dust embedded into their clothes, snargly hair- the works. last week my friend called to say that she found 3 ticks on her crew. Yikes! I alsway feel sort of bad for the non homeschool kids whose parents bring them to the park for an hour the leave just as they are really getting a feel for the dynamics and the kids at large. we have a group of boys 98 or so of them) who regularly traverse the hill in intense light saber battles. I really need to video it sometime.

gosh I should have typed all this as a blog entry!

Jenny said...

98 of them??? Your description sounds exactly like how my kids come home from the park too. LOL. And I totally agree about the "other kids" being park deprived. In fact, I think I have blogged that same sentiment many times.

Favorite Park Day is the only one we go to right now. There is also Our Town Park Day that we went to for a while, but the love just isn't there, ya know? And then there was Unschooler Park Day but by the time we made it to that one, they quit for the summer. And then there's Lake Park Day, but I have too many small children for that one this year - though we went a few times last summer b/c Grey would just sleep through it and I could leave him on a blanket with another mom while I stayed with Cassia... but this year there's no way. I hear the lifeguards will fine you $250 for being farther than arm's length from a child less than some height. No thanks!

Meesh said...

OOOPPPPSS um ok no that was supposed to be 8 or 9 of them. our PD is all of 5-10 families on average. 98- Yikes that would be a battle to behold!

G said...

3 days seems to be about our limit most weeks too. That unschooling/charter school conversation WAS a good one, and I got a lot of good thoughts out of it.

Maybe see you at the next Favorite Park Day? I actually have the whole day off!

Vanessa said...

"Do you think public school kids play Deadliest Catch or is that strictly a joy reserved for homeschoolers? My guess is that public school kids would be more likely to imitate the bad language and poor familial relations than the actual fishing. ;)"

Well, my public-school kid manages to put down her syringe full of drugs and wipe the drool off her chin long enough to play an imagination game at least once a day, so I think it's safe to assume that others do as well. ;)

Jenny said...

Ouch! Sorry Vanessa. It's too easy to be smug... especially after having been raised in the Los Angeles County school system.

Anyone who's read your blog knows that G has PLENTY of imagination (and a little drool too, lol - kidding!). I'll try to keep my foot out of my mouth from now on.

Jenny said...

And not to be too defensive, but I just wanted to share that I just, ironically, got an email from a friend whose homeschooled kids were at Science camp all week with the science teacher who had been doing the science workshops with us the last few months. The camp was in a school's rec room and the "campers" were primarily public school kids in need of summer care. My friend's kids both had their first experience of being flipped off there. Nice, huh?

Anyway, stories like that are where my prejudices and generalizations are coming from.