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Archive for February, 2009

What’s our goal?

I’ve been asking this question recently. I’ve always asked myself. Incessantly. Constantly. Obsessively even.  I’ve decided to share the love.  I asked my sweet hubby what his goals were for the kids yesterday.  Pretty simple.  Study the Donner Party for our possible road trip over Donner Pass this summer and improve the kids swimming skills.   Easy peesy. 

Today, I asked the kids their goals for the day.  The Fairy wanted to work on her Young Chautauqua performance and Choir homework.  Since she’s been working so hard on handwriting and since we read for over an hour last night, I decided to forgo those things.  I added some multiplication practice to the list via times attack and a rousing game of King of the Mountain.

Young Chautauqua is this great program where children research a historical figure and create a monologue as that figure. The Fairy chose Annie Oakley.  The challenge with Annie Oakley is that she is so legendary, that it’s hard to find the truth behind the legend.  Following the advice of a past YC family, we’ve chosen one spine as our resource.  It’s quick to point out legends vs facts.  Problem is, its an adult book and requires a fair amount of my time to keep her on track.  It’s good but tough to squeeze in while the Hero sits in the background begging for someone to play.   We’re getting there but the great thing is she’s starting to take some initiative and dive into the big book. I hadn’t expected this and was holding her back without knowing it.  How often do I do this as a parent? As a teacher?  Hopefully less with time.

The choir is for Options, our lovely one day a week enrichment program.  The choir teacher is an angel on earth and the children love her. They can do things for her that baffle the mind.  Harmonies and songs with multiple parts singing at the same time.

Ah, and King of the Mountain. I just made it up. Darn, I love doing this stuff. It’s flash cards and not much more. The kids stand on the floor each doing flashcards at their level.  For each answer they get right, they move up one step.  Today the Hero won and the Fairy was a bit frustrated, but the sweetness of the Hero shone thorough.  He started calling out ridiculous answers.  We both knew he knew the answer.  But he wanted his sister to be where he was.  Of course, I had to give the ‘adult answer’ of ‘nobody wants to win because you hold back’ and ‘always do your best’, but inside I was tickled at what a sweet boy he was. He knew his sister was frustrated and he wanted to ease her frustration and have her join the fun again. 

For his goals, the Hero wanted to do a timed test.  This is a new idea for the Hero.  He’s watched the Fairy work on these but now it’s his turn.    He was so excited to be a big boy homeschooler doing timed tests and insisted on doing 2 timed tests, one addition and one subtraction.  We started on minus 1 and 0.  After all, he is just in Kindy and he finished all of them on time. He was beaming.   Honey, if you love timed tests we can do them all the time!

Of course, I added his daily reading practice to his goal list for the day.  As we sat down to do his reading I realized that he is well on the path. I felt it more than anything;  an ease, an understanding, a lack of strain or force.  He’s still working on bob books and not quite to Lord of the Rings, but the path, while not flat, is now at least paved.  It was my turn to beam.  Two kids on the reading path.  What more could a homeschooling mom want?

Now if only my goals were so simple.  A perfect balance of  happiness, work, play, school, effort, rest, peace, intensity.  At least I can say that I’m meeting my families goals and I guess that since my goals are really all about meeting their needs that my ginormous list of goals didn’t need to be so ginormous after all.

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Glorious Winter Day

I got to see myself as a child today.  Really. In real life.  It was time travel.  Must have been. 

I took the kids roller blading on our great bike path. It was a beautiful winter day. Warm, sunny.   So roller blading and biking was the order of the day.  The Hero is getting so good on his bike, but he still likes to stop and chatter. The Fairy on the other hand wants to feel the wind on her face and fly as fast as she can on her wheels. 

At one point, we stopped at one of our city’s sweet art displays. This is a platform with a sign that says ‘Gather people to equal the weight of 50 infants or xyz butterflies’…and basically the art sculpture would move.  Of course xyz was a number. But as a mommy and birth junkie, I knew how much babies weighed and had no clue what butterflies weigh.  The fairy and I assumed 50 8 pound babies and came up with 400 pounds. Between the Fairy, Hero and myself, we figured we had about 235 of those pounds.  So, we stalked anybody walking past and asked them to join us in our quest to  reach 400 pounds.  Not too hard we thought.  We did have two people join us.  They clearly weighed more than the 165 pounds we needed.  No movement.  We grabbed a few more folks.  Still no movement. Finally, with one more rollerblader, it moved. We had to jump up and down and think heavy, but it moved. Very exciting.  We enjoyed our adventure, our gathering of community and our mini math lesson.  Tomorrow I think we’ll figure out how much the artist thinks an infant weighs.  Thank goodness it wasn’t my infant. Ouch!

With happy hearts at our accomplishment, we headed back to the car.  I felt a woosh of time travel when I saw the fairy blading like a long, leggy deer.  Bell bottom jeans, a 70’s inspired shirt and a grace and confidence that I remember from my young ‘wheelie’ days. Only difference is my wheels were quads.  She definitely looked cooler in her blades.

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