Sunday, August 28, 2005

Will we ever learn?

Cris asked me tonight: "if we were flying out on Tuesday instead of Monday, would we still be running around at the last minute getting things done?" I believe the answer is yes. We always think we have more time than we actually have.

So, off to finish the laundry and get the clothes packed! This time tomorrow we'll be on the plane, so anything left unfinished will have to stay that way.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Girly girls and their dolls...

This has nothing to do with homeschooling and everything to do with it.

Eleanor is getting ready to drop her doll, Sarah, off with friends to care for while we are away. (We decided that we wouldn't want to leave Sarah on a train, or in a hotel room. Also, Sarah can be a little high-maintenance and I didn't want to deal with her. But Eleanor doesn't have to know that part.)

So it's a little bit of a sad time for her. Today we went to the grocery store and oh, the sweet looks she got from the old ladies as she walked through the store, holding Sarah in her blanket, just like a good new Mama. Then she decided Sarah should ride in the cart, so she spread out the blanket and gently sat Sarah in the seat, then strapped her in safely. (Actually, I had to remind her not to put the strap around her neck, but rather under her arms. No chokeholds, please.)

I was thinking about the way our culture encourages girls to grow up so fast, with sophisticated clothing to wear and icky Bratz dolls to play with. Then I realized I'm happy to have her assume the role of Mama to her baby doll. That's growing up too. But it's a world of difference, isn't it?

Heat Wave

I've been looking forward to cool weather on this vacation. Everyone who's known me for very long knows I don't like heat. London average temps are about 70 in August and 66 in September - that's F, not C. (Hey! Another learning opportunity coming up! Better find a conversion chart to bring along.) But the day we arrive the forecast says 77, and rising over the next few days as high as 86!

I know, I know... quit complaining. It's not a serious complaint. Believe me, I will be happy whatever the weather. Cris and I have been talking about this trip almost since we first met. It's very thrilling that it's happening now, and we get to show our kids these wonderful places!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Now Comes the Hard Part...

The clothing is all piled on the floor, ready to go in the suitcases... most of the housecleaning is done... laundry is under control...

Now, what should I take to read?

I think it's down to: Sense and Sensibility (Austen), Johnson and Boswell's Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides With Samuel Johnson, The Heart of Homeschooling (Klicka; a freebie from joining HSLDA) and of course my Bible and new study book Becoming a Woman of Prayer. Oh, a Tabletalk magazine, too. We've been getting it for a while, though I never read it. Now's the time. Maybe.

For the readalouds with the kids: Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers (Bond; a re-read but we may get to visit the real city in which the fictional story takes place), Black Beauty (Sewell), and The Enchanted Castle (Nesbit). Wanted to take Duncan's War (Bond, story of Scottish Covenanters) but there don't appear to be any girls in it, so Eleanor would object.

Of course I suppose it's possible we might find a book or two to buy while we are there.

See What I Mean?

Someone asked me: "Why slacker? You're not a slacker." Well, here it is, two days into this and I've already missed a day. So it goes with all my attempts at journaling - I start, I stop, I try a new method. (Well, except for those mid-twenties angst-filled journals I shredded a couple of years ago. Those were just chock-full of over-emotional... stuff.)

One way to describe my life right now is sporadic. That's something I want to work out while we're on vacation. "Are you studying Latin yet?" Well, we have this word-roots book we use sporadically. "How are you teaching grammar?" Well, we use First Language Lessons... sporadically. Even my attempts at new discipline methods fail because I forget to use them. The Penny Jars were a great idea. 2 jars per kid, each with 25 pennies. Do something good, move a penny from - to +. Do something wrong... you get the idea. Get the + jar filled, and get a "prize." (I hate that term.) It worked till the jars disappeared behind a pile of books...

Oh, and let's not forget the Bible study and prayer with the kids. If there's one area in which I should not be sporadic, this is it!

Well, maybe getting the house cleaned up and somewhat organized will help (she said hopefully). When we get back... ah, the promise of "when we get back." We'll get on track, keep the house clean and organized, wake up early every morning, cheerful and ready to work, study and... or maybe we'll just snuggle back under the covers with a good book.

Now it's time to get those last-minute errands run and finish cleaning the house. It will be nice to walk away knowing the house is clean snd a little elf (our friend Leslie) will be taking good care of it, so it'll still be clean and uncluttered when we get home. I should start taking bets on how long it'll take the kids to trash the place with their toys when we get home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Well, now I've started this... what's next? Why do I want to do this anyway? Maybe I want to be a published writer... a famous blogger... or maybe I just have a lot of thoughts bashing around in my head that I want to get out.

Right now we're getting ready for our trip-of-a-lifetime - a month (just about) traveling in England and Scotland. The "schoolwork" I'd planned to do this summer has been tossed aside in favor of a crash course in English and Scottish history (hey, that's educational!), and getting the place ready for a housesitter. Ever look around your house and wonder how it would look to someone else living in it? For the first time in 7 years, the cabinet under my kitchen sink is beautifully clean and organized!

While we're away, I hope to continue to work out my thoughts on what education really means for my family and how to balance the desire to let my kids follow their own interests, at their own paces, with the need to pass those pesky standardized tests. And how to establish some nice, flowing routines so our days have some semblance of order and there's time to do all the many many things we want to do each day!

And, I hope to get some lovely wool and do some knitting! Something other than a dishcloth, even!