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Entries in life (177)

Saturday
Sep132014

Fall weekends

Michigan football on Saturdays

Family biking on Sunday mornings, followed by doughnuts and cider at the mill.

And, on occasion, wildlife in the neighborhood (although that has nothing to do with it being a weekend...at least not with this kind of wildlife)

Tuesday
Sep092014

Still not in school

I realize that recently my blogging has become more of a “where have we been” display throughout the summer months. Jon said last night that it looked a bit like Vladimir Putin Action Man: “here is us in Stratford”, “here we are with ice cream”, “and here in front of Mt. Hood”, etc., etc.

The truth is, it was a crazy, whirlwind of a summer. We were gone more weekends than we were home, and even our longer respites in town were filled with various community activities. It wasn’t planned that way; things just kept coming up, and what started as a summer with two trips planned quickly got a tad out of hand. The last few weeks have been our longest stay at home in months, and they've allowed me at least a little time to try and catch up in the garden and the house, but we have one more trip up our sleeves.

In the past we've been year round schoolers, but this year was a little different. When we first started homeschooling we were aiming for a very unschooling environment, and our summers were little different from our falls, winters, and springs, excepting, of course, for the weather. But in the past few years, as our methods have undergone a slow but decided evolution, have found ourselves more on the side of classical schooling. Now, in the fall, winter, and spring, our mornings are often spent at the kitchen table or a like place, studying or creating together. In the summers we continue to start our days with a little dabble of math and Spanish, but the rest of the day is often spent outside doing one thing or another. I guess you could call the cooler months our classical time, and the warmest months our unschooling time.

The truth being, though, that we still live the life of home learners who find "education" in everything we do.

So this fall, with one more trip still waiting in the wings, we are waiting until October to begin our classical learning months, and we are using the first couple of weeks of September to review a bit, and to plan the months ahead. Rather neatly, Calvin is right at the end of several books—Spanish, math, science, and grammar—meaning that when we get home and pick up classical lessons in October, it will be like a fresh start.

But until then, finishing up, reviewing, previewing, and planning ahead.

Saturday
Jul262014

Eleven wonderful years

Monday
Jun302014

Blanket surgery

Through the years Blanket has accompanied Calvin just about everywhere. He's been to play dates, parks, restaurants, Iowa, Disney World, Italy, camping trips. Up and down the stairs, in and out of the car, dragged through just about everything. He has been washed, but probably not as often as the sanitary police would recommend, and I realized just last week that I couldn't actually remember the last time he'd taken a good swim and decided that meant the time had come.

There are actually two Blankets, and one Mini Blanket, that are a pretty important part of our family. Before Calvin was born my Aunt Lonnie made a set of four identical blankets and four matching burp cloths for me. Over the years two of the larger blankets have gone missing (probably somewhere in the house, or a travel bag, etc.), and one of the burp cloths has been appropriated as "Minis". The two remaining blankets have, of course, taken the brunt of Calvin's adoration and devotion. They show all the signs of being greatly loved, bringing to mind stories like The Velveteen Rabbit, or Nothing.

I find something endearing about Calvin's continued besottedness. The bigger he gets, the more I melt when I see him lugging that old friend along without a care or concern, or when I check on him at night and find him clutching all three pieces tightly in his sleep. So when he asked me to fix the fraying edges, of course I went right to work. All three Blanket got the full spa treatment, beginning with a gentle bath in the sink, followed by a relaxing dry in the sun, and finishing with a nip here and a tuck there at the sewing machine. 

Calvin called it Blanket surgery. And just like that, an old friend was restored, and a little boy was delighted.

Have I ever mentioned that on occasion he strongly reminds me of Linus?

Thursday
May222014

The spaces between

Life is punctuated by routine.

Invariably we start the day with breakfast and an adios to Jon on his way to work. Our morning is about table work—the school lessons that we actually sit down and do, like math, spelling, grammar, geography, etc. (and not all homeschoolers do this, by the way, but my kid happens to like the predictability of it). And we squeak in piano, and some time to read, or build, or play. Then there's lunch, and a chance to get outside if the weather is good, or play games, watch videos, read, sing, build, what have you, in the afternoon. Then Jon comes home and we soak up our time with him before going to bed and starting all over again the next day.

This is our routine. It is the punctuation that keeps us on track, and punctuation is good because it keeps you on track. It's also good because it helps you tell or read the story with enough predictability that you can enjoy the unpredictable—the story that happens in the spaces between, like a surprise afternoon in the middle of a work week when our whole family gets to drop what we're doing and head to the park to enjoy the weather together. We like together.

Life happens in the spaces between.