Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Like Crowns

But not just any crowns. Just some of them, the ones that move me.

For years I've wanted a crown to wear on my birthday. Since before I had children! (Ancient days.) Seriously, if I'd had one, I'd have sat in my apartment reading a book and wearing my crown all day long. I'd probably have had hot chocolate topped with whip cream, with little crenelating peaks around the edges of the cream.

And now that I've got kids, I'd wear my crown on my birthday, on Mother's day, and on any other day I felt like it. My kids like crowns too. I would loan them mine to wear. Until they'd gotten their own.

So, what kind of crowns do I like? Well, heavy ones, that are meant to sit outside in the garden keeping royal plants happy. And funky, light and airy fairy crowns, sometimes, it depends. I've never actually found a crown that I wanted to wear on my head, hence my still not having one.

But check out these ring sets. They make me drool. Polite, royal, crown worthy drool, to be sure.

Simple, sturdy, stately crown on top, one thin silver band, and then the columns on the bottom. Speaks to my Roman roots, and I think shows I'd be a strong yet benevolent ruler.

And look at this one:

This is the set I lust after. Delicate, but royal crown, ruby jewels, and the masculine and strong band one up from the bottom. Just those three.

Have I mentioned I don't wear a wedding ring? I would, for these.

Rings by Cathy Waterman - "Love of My Life"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is THAT why I bought the specimen kit? I think not.

When I finally sat down to relax last night, Seamus the cat walked into the room with a huge preserved frog! From the Biology specimen kit! The frog that was previously in a sealed bag!

The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Seamus, what have you got there?"

Seamus: (says nothing, too busy walking with giant preserved frog between his front legs)

Me: "No! Nooo! Noooooooooooo!"

As the horror of the mess that must await me in the other room grew, the 'no's got louder and longer.

It was definitely an Arrested Development moment. "And that is why... You always store the specimens where the cat can't reach!"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Check-off Sheets: Are they worth it?

Sitting on the couch in the sun so that I am near Ayeka (16) and can talk with her about the AP test she’s reading about online, I use tweezers to pull out the industrial size staplers in the Physical Science Teacher’s book, in preparation of three-hole punching it. When I’m done I get up with loose pages, free staples, and tweezers, then see a pair of sock s I need to return to my bedroom so I grab those too.

Socks on the bed, I head towards the bathroom to put the tweezers away, and notice the printer is on. It reminds me that I still need to print out the kids’ check-off sheets for this week’s home education. Tweezers put away, I grab toilet paper for my runny nose.

Back in the kitchen/dining where we do our homeschooling, I put down the loose papers, blow my nose, and head to the kitchen trash can. It is under the kitchen sink which is right beside the Spin-X. Seeing the Spin-X reminds me I need to put the clothes in it into the dryer, and get the second half of the wash load into the Spin-X and spinning. I make a quick run to the dryer with the spun clothes, and back to the kitchen with more clothes which I set to spinning.

At the kitchen table I hole-punch the teacher’s book and put it in the binder. There on the table is an old check-off sheet which reminds once again that I need to print out the new check-off sheets, but before I can do that the Spin-X stops which means the last of the clothing is ready for the dryer. I get up to get the clothes and see Sasame (10) heading to a vacant expanse of floor with a giant puzzle, and I tell her she hasn’t finished her math yet. She sighs loudly. Halfway to the dryer Ayeka, who is now typing up a paper for English, asks me, “How do I get out of editing the Header and back to the main body?” We figure it out together, but not before I’ve address the lump on the couch which is Sasame under her blanket. “Really? You’d rather do nothing, than finish your math and be able to do whatever you want?”

Back from the dryer I see that Sasame has escaped to the great outdoors.

I sit down to print out the check-off sheets, but Ayeka calls out that the Header is showing up on each page and she needs it on only the first. I go back to her and show her how to do a Google search to find where some kind soul has explained to some desperate student how to do exactly that. (So much faster than mucking through Word’s “Help”.)

On my way to my laptop I see that I have to leave in three minutes to pick up my son from school. I ask you,

Is it any wonder my brain can’t hold on to a single thought? That I enter a room to turn on the printer, and instead unplug the modem? That there are moments where my mind goes completely blank and I’ve no clue what I set out to do?

Home with Aku (14), I promptly sit down and print out check-off sheets for this week and the next. Happy that the printer is spewing them out, I smile at my son. He smiles and tells me the weight lifting sessions are going to start tomorrow after school. Then he hands me the pre-season basketball work-out schedule. If he’s to participate in the open gym basketball games, he won’t be home on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, which means he won’t be able to do Physical Science with his sister on those nights. I wonder where in the world I can squeeze in two more hours of study during the week. Then I remember that the time he spends lifting weights and swimming for pre-season conditioning will easily fulfill his PE requirements, and that I can use the time I had set aside for PE to give him an hour for science on Tuesday and Thursday during the day before he heads off to the school. Whew! And then it hits me: The check-off sheets I just printed out for him will need to be changed.

Monday, September 27, 2010

An update on Latin

I just read my old, old post. An udpate is in order.

No Latin t-shirt was needed! By the end of the year Aku was leaning towards taking the next Latin class, but not ready to commit. Then his class ended and he missed it. He missed it!

Then he said he wanted to continue. I checked in with him several times before paying the tuition for the next year, but he was adamant.

And he's been enjoying it. : )

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Value of a Latin T-shirt

My two oldest have been taking Latin online this year.

Freshman Ayeka is taking Latin 1. The pace is quick at two weeks per chapter, but Ayeka enjoys it. At the start of the school year I was ahead of her in Latin. By Christmas she was ahead of me.

Aku is taking J.H. Latin 1. I was worried at first that this class wouldn't challenge him enough, as he'd had some Latin already, and this class took four weeks for each chapter, but it has been a great fit. He has needed the extra time to assimilate the grammar.

Ayeka loves Latin, loves learning Latin. She has thanked me many times for starting her in Latin and finding the online class.

Aku has enjoyed answering questions correctly in this his first ever academic class with other students. He has said to me many times, "Can I quit?" and, "Tell me again why I'm studying Latin?"

Would he stop right now if I let him? Yes. But we have a policy that once a class (academic or sport) is paid for, the child must follow through and put forth effort. It hasn't helped that his class starts at
7:30 in the morning, and he is not a morning person. It didn't help when he missed early morning basketball practice for his Latin class, and it doesn't help now that he misses early morning weight lifting with the other junior high kids because of his Latin class.

As I type this I'm reminded that partway through the equestrian year last year, Aku asked to stop. He was the only boy in our local club and this played a part in his wanting to quit. I reminded him that because of his choice to learn this he'd committed to the year and we'd paid his fees and paid for his lessons. He then chose to follow through, had fun, took pride in his growing skill, and when we went to Rally - he was the only boy there and got a kick out of hearing the girls say things like, "There's the boy!" Even so, at the end of summer Aku was undecided about doing it for another year, and I suspected he wouldn't.

Then a new school year started and my son took his first class at public school - PE. He knew several of the kids from having participated in basketball, but still had a period of adjusting to the ways of kids in mass quantities. One day he wore his Pony Club shirt to PE.

Boy: "Pony Club? PONY club?"
Aku: "Yeah."
Other kids gather around.
Boy: "But Pony Club. I mean, PONY?"
Aku: "Yeah, I ride horses."
Boy: "But it says PONY. I mean, PONY! You're a guy."
Aku: "I jump things. On a horse."

He was asked how high he could jump (not very, it was his first year) and if he'd ever fallen (yes, and it hurt). Soon after this he told me he wanted to do equestrian sports for another year.

So who knows. Maybe if I buy him a Latin shirt...

If you buy the boy a Latin shirt, he’ll wear it to PE

And when he wears it to PE, a student will try to embarrass him

And when a student tries to embarrass him, the boy will have fun answering

And when the boy has fun answering, maybe, just maybe

An awareness will come, unbidden and without conscious thought

“This is something I value”

And maybe it’s all just wishful thinking by a mother who loves Latin.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Serious Dilemma

Aku: I have a serious dilemma. I don't want to do school, but I don't want to be an idiot when I grow up either.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What value this? Finding balance

I had a call scheduled for this morning, one that occurs weekly. Typically during this time the kids do whatever - finish morning chores, play, read. I had the *great* idea to schedule "Art" for this hour and fifteen minutes I'd be on the phone.

Aku decided to paint warhammer. Ayeka and Sasame both chose to work in Fimo. When I arrived at the end of my call all three were deep into their projects. Aku couldn't decide between a head or a helmet for his Fire Warrior, Sasame had only the stand, legs, and torso for her Ood, and Princess Ayeka had only the stand and one foot of her miniature Master.

(Ayeka has been making an entire collection of Dr. Who characters in miniature. So far she has two Tardae, The Doctor, Rose, three pig-slaves, a dalek, and an unfinished Cassandra. Master's legs and stand have at this point been baked and she is working on Martha's legs.)

By my schedule, it was time for clean up, to be followed by Math, and Math by Science, and Science by - but I couldn't do it. I value art, the whole process that leads to creation. But it goes beyond that. I have a weakness for the learning that takes place unforced, unplanned, the moments (hours) where my children follow their own paths unencumbered by grade requirements, state tests, and my desire that they be Latin scholars. And yet -

They have goals beyond this day. The oldest have goals for high school, thoughts for college. Meeting grade requirements is good. Doing well on tests is good. Knowing Latin (a subject they bloth love) is good.

I would like to end this post by telling you how we follow these passions and it all works out, it always does. Or perhaps the ending where I explain how we balance these hours of self chosen exploration and expression by making the time for studying subjects and meeting pesky grade requirements on other days, weekends, the oddest and most incredible moments. But it wouldn't be true. I am constantly striving for balance.