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Entries in school (6)

Friday
Mar222019

Day 81/365

Couldn't find a good way to photograph this fantastic wire cat, but still wanted to capture this wonderful achievement.

Wednesday
Feb132019

Photo 44/365

We have had more snow days this year than, well, than the last time we were visited by the polar vortex a few years ago. From a kid's perspective, the term "snow day" brings to mind cozy days stolen away from school and spent cozied up in pajamas, watching the snow fall and fall outside the window. The truth this year has been a little less traditional. We've had multiple "cold days", when the temperature was too low (negative 45 degree wind chill low) for kids to wait safely at bus stops; we've had multiple ice days, when every outdoor surface was encased in at least a quarter inch of solid, stubborn ice; we've had "the storm is coming days" and "the storm is only during the bus travel time" days, and we've had traditional snow days. Since the second week of January the kids in our district haven't had a single week without at least one weather day off of school, usually more than one.

For a homeschooler a snow day can be what they make it. We usually hold to regularly scheduled school day, which, for Calvin, who spends afternoons at the public school, means at least a few extra hours off for hot chocoloate, or snow play (if it's warm enough, and snowy, not icy), or whole days spent in pajamas. They are stolen days of warmth and comfort and self care during a brutal winter.

But that's for the school kids. 

For the families who got puppies for Christmas, snow days are a whole different situation. A whole different, problematic situation. 

After Gimli's first two-hour long puppy play date at the local boarding facility, the staff told us that he was delightful and brilliant, but also the only puppy they'd ever had that never slowed down. The whole two hours and he never slowed down. Then, at his last puppy class the trainer told us how impressed he was with Gimli, but also that he'd never—never—had another puppy in his class with this much energy. One thing that puppy parents often overlook is a puppy's exercise requirements. It varies from dog to dog, depending somewhat on breed, but even more so on the individual, but for a puppy to be healthy, happy, connected, and trainable, he needs his exercise needs met in full. For a puppy with the apparently extreme energy that Gimli had, that means a lot of exercise and entertainment, which is really, really hard to make happen when going outside is dangerous.

The answer? Enrichment. Because exercise means mental as well as physical. Of course, no amount of one type of exercise can eliminate the need for the other, but there's a lot of gray area, or overlap, in the middle. So while the outside has been a complicated place we've had to up our mental stimulation game. We've added tricks to the training sessions, we've tried new games, and we're doing a lot with food. Gimli hasn't eaten out o a bowl in weeks. Instead we are using puzzle feeders and treaters, some store bought, some homemade. Here you see Gimli "finding" his meal, which is hidden in some of the cupcake tins. 

When they say getting a puppy in the winter is hard, they're not just a-kidding.

Wednesday
Sep052018

Photo 248/365

Today was a BIG first in our household. While lots of moms sent their kids to school for their FIRST first days back when they were in kindergarten, I considered today, to be Calvin's FIRST first day as he went off to our public middle school for the elective hours. It's true that I dropped him off at the intermediate school for band class a couple of days each week for the last two years, but then he was just slipping into and out of the band room and I was dropping him off and picking him up. This year he is taking not just band, but also a second elective class (to change every quarter), which means putting his stuff in a locker, keeping track of homework, and even...get this...riding the bus home.

I'll admit. I was worried. The bus when I was in middle school was no pleasant place to be. Actually, neither was the school most of the time. I remember middle school as a veritable obstacle course of social missteps and catastrophes. There were a few good times, of course, but what stands out the most in my mind was the overall awkwardness of those years. So when I dropped Calvin off after lunch today for his first day of classes I think I had more first day jitters than he did. 

And actually, he came home all smiles. He loved the classes—band was a given, of course, but he also loved his other class which is sculpture this quarter. More surprisingly, he loved riding the bus. And finally, after all these years, I have some of the actual first day of school pictures to add to my collection!


Tuesday
Sep042018

Photo 247/365

Lunch and shopping with my parents has been a self-renewing event on our calendar for nearly twelve years now. I think it started originally as just a lunch or two a month, scattered here and there to celebrate little milestones, like "oh, he's one month old!" or "first day of mommy and me music". As the months went by, the "celebrations" became more frequent and narrowed down to just mom and us, since my dad was still working. They were my break from the monotony of "momhood" and an extra chance for some adult conversation during the day. Somewhere along the way we added grocery shopping after lunch, and later, after he retired we added my dad back in. The day of week has moved around, and trips here or there put things on hold for a week or two at a time, but for pretty much all of Calvin's life that event has been a constant. Until now. This year Calvin is at the public school for about two hours every afternoon, and at the same time he's embarking on more in-depth subject studies, so our mornings have had to be more disciplined, meaning, at least for now, the lunch and shopping tradition is on hold. Today was a our last trip together for a while.

This year has brought lots of changes to our schedule, our way of living, our home...and while change is often freeing and growth-inducing, sometimes it can also feel like the jaws of an alligator closing around a susceptible finger. 

Tuesday
Aug282018

Photo 240/365

While most kids in our county are enjoying one last week of summer vacation, Calvin and I have embarked on a "soft start" for our school year. Why? Because this year brings something new for us that will take some getting used to. That something is middle school, after a fashion.

Calvin has been taking band at the local public school for two years now. The first year it was a twice weekly class, last year it was a thrice weekly class, now this year it is daily, and not the same time daily throughout the year, but, thanks to a middle school block schedule, it jumps, hops, and skips back and forth from one elective hour to the next every quarter. Now, if you drop your kid off at school every morning and pick him up at the end of the day you don't much care how the day to day, or quarter to quarter, schedule varies, but for our purposes this was going to be a lot to manage, so Calvin decided he was interested in taking the other elective as well. Since the two elective hours are the last in the day, that means I don't have to know which class is when, I just drop him off for the elective block every day. 

That also means that school is getting in the way of our schooling! We've always been pretty loose about our day to day schedule. Some days we did school from sunrise to sunset, other days we took almost entirely off. We had standing weekly dates with his grandparents and our homeschooling group, we took extended lunch breaks, we went for impromptu hikes or field trips. Most of that will now probably come to a screeching halt, a sudden change that will take some adjustment. So we are taking this week to see how our full homeschool day fits in around the public school day when we still have the freedom to make mistakes because there isn't a class bell ringing and a teacher marking him late.

Pictures here from middle school orientation night. (OMG he has a locker!)