Homeschool lessons

Once again my child is making me a better person. It is, of course, an exhausting process.

One of the oddest compliments my mother ever paid me was after M was born and had terrible allergies and I’d given up all wheat and dairy for months in order to breastfeed him. She said that, having known me my whole life, she never would have thought that I’d have the patience! And, no offense taken, I am a pretty selfish and lazy person at heart. I don’t mean that in a bad way (necessarily) but I do like my comfort and enjoy laying around and *love* being waited on. And I do try to structure my life in such a way that I get most of my needs met.

I will say that the weight falls off of you when you don’t eat wheat or dairy (and now that diet is all the rage) but it was terrible at the time. So I learned a little bit about self-sacrifice, as mothers do.

Both my boys are very high-energy so I’ve learned to think about getting exercise every day, as well as getting ya-ya’s out before sitting-type events (or events with a high potential embarrassment factor).

So, now with homeschooling, I am forced to freelance again, which I always enjoyed. I hate the technical aspects of the home office., that’s for sure, but I love bopping around town (with company!), keeping track of hours, checking off a to-do list, and generally feeling productive and useful. Now that I am once again largely responsible for the care and upkeep of one little person, day in and day out, I am pushed into developing better habits for myself. Good stuff!

Day 3

Spending the last three days doing pretty intensive school-at-home with M, I’ll say it’s been exhausting and very instructive.

My many homeschooling friends are, to a one, much more relaxed in their approach with their actual styles being all over the map. I can see the appeal but do believe it’s just what he and I both need right now.

It is fun to teach him things that I think are important like write a hand-written letter, answer the phone politely, to organize things and plans, and so forth. At the same time we’re learning all this 4th grade stuff together and being pretty far away from 4th grade myself, it is vaguely familiar and boring yet interesting at the same time.

The structure is working for me (somewhat) right now. At the same time it has given me something powerful to do. Compared to my feelings of loss and slight panic last fall, I am worn out and somewhat melancholy (loving summer and hating cold weather) but, on the whole, quite serene.

He really seems to be enjoying my company, which is a delight. When I got home from my lifeguard in-service (front active approach, rear passive approach, backboarding) I had to get my laundry in from off the line. He came popping out of the house to keep my company and offered to take some things off for me. And then ran off again.

Big D seems to be bearing up to first grade just fine. He got his first library book today and we were both pleased that the librarian recognized him — although it’s his first year at the school, he came with me once or twice when I volunteered there last year.

On the whole, so far so good. Thrilled to be coming up to a long weekend all the same.

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First Day

I’ve told a number of people that I’d intended to start writing (and publishing) my blog with the new school year since my life has grown sort of blog-worthy of late. I’m taking the excellent advice of a friend who often tells herself, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

With that, younger brother went off to first grade today:

while big brother started off his first day of “school at home:”


It was exhausting. I got up two hours earlier than I have any day this summer and put in a long day with little downtime. Tomorrow is an even busier day since we need to get schoolwork done early (and I need to think of clever things he can do in the afternoon with my mother that can count as school — write letters, watch a nature film, etc.). I’m doing a demo of Dancing for Birth for my fellow educators tomorrow and need to prepare for that at some point as well.

Luckily for me, I have a date tonight to take my mind off the day-to-day…

Some cute stuff

Danny says, “Won Ton soup is the goodest soup there ever was!”

He also told me, “Your heart is the most important thing in your body — it keeps your life, it keeps your love, it keeps your blood. It’s really important! It keeps you alive.”

And I’m wondering how and when Miles developed an interest in acid jazz. We were listening to the internet radio the other night and he says, “Do you mind if I put on some jazz?” Um, no. Sure enough, there is an acid jazz station he likes. I’ve hoped that they would develop their own eclectic taste in music but I didn’t imagine it happening at age nine (and without my influence).

Change is comin’

Last night I had a very grown-up dinner with my suddenly very grown-up Miles. We ate at Eat ‘n’ Park and he came up to the salad bar with me to keep me company. We chit-chatted about school and he also spent time reading his new library book, a dictionary of reptiles and amphibians. It was a very pleasant dinner with a cute and charming companion.

Time was we couldn’t go to a restaurant at all with Miles — for years. He couldn’t sit still, he was bored, he was noisy. Our first Christmas as a new family ¬†we went out to dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Montclair. I was thrilled to be alone because we had been inundated with guests (including my brother’s dog!) for the first four weeks of Miles’s life. Anyway, we happily ate sushi in the nearly empty restaurant and even then Miles was not content to sit still in his little baby seat as most babies are — he wiggled and squirmed until we took him out and cuddled him.

This was nine years ago.

Some December-y updates

A few notable things have happened in the last 24 hours and rather than just posting them to Facebook (as I have already done) to amuse my friends there only to be lost, more or less, forever, I thought I’d put them here, too. Perhaps this will help me get this blog rolling for sure.

First of all, I finally finished the Skully!

Michael has been wanting this sweater for years — in fact, I think he wanted me to learn how to knit so that I could make it for him. I thought it was kind of silly-looking and resisted making it for a while longer but finally decided that I love him so much that I could be bothered to make it after all (sappy and selfish, that’s me!). I started it last fall (that is, fall of 2009) thinking that I could get it finished by Christmas, and tried, I really tried! but had to give him a pile of knitted yarn instead. I was over it for the rest of the winter, and then it was so hot and then … and then … and then it was almost Christmas again! With lots of help from Peggy at Cast On Cafe I finished it last night and brought it home to Michael’s immense delight. I can’t believe it’s done! I love how much he loves it.

So, now I’m sick and I was yelling at the kids this morning because they were being distinctly unhelpful but then five minutes later Miles was pulling out Danny’s loose tooth and it was awfully cute. This was just the second tooth Danny has lost — the first one became loose and then fell out all in about five minutes at lunchtime at school so he didn’t have time to worry about it. This morning it was really bothering him and he didn’t feel like he could eat his cereal so I suggested that I pull it out and he agreed. My fingers were too big and Miles volunteered and a few seconds later, it was done! This is their re-enactment:

Finally, Danny was talking about something happening “a million years from now” and speculating that he would be a dad or a grandfather by then. I asked him how many children he’d have (four), how many boys and how many girls (three boys and a girl), and what their names would be. And the answer is Psycho, Pony (the girl), Point, and Rhino. I love that boy!

Hello world!

I was reading my old MySpace blog the other day and was charmed. Time to start anew. I’ve been meaning to do this forever.

It’s summer, my super favorite time of the year — there’s nothing about it I don’t like, including hazy, hot and humid days. I hate wearing socks — I love wearing shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. I love the beach and the pool and the sunshine and the fresh fruit and the baseball games.

And the beach. It is so great to go there with the boys and have nothing better to do than read, eat cherries, and watch them have fun. I know this time is short and I’m digging every moment of it.

Fairport Harbor, June 23, 2010