Tuesday, August 29, 2006

School is In, and Not a Moment Too Soon

Yesterday was the first day of our fall semester. This will be my first year teaching two little sillies. The Goose is now in 3rd grade, and The Boy is doing K4. The Flea is majoring in Mischievous Studies, and is producing a dissertation on "The Deconstruction of the Blankie: One Fingerful at a Time." She is a diligent researcher.

I don't feel quite ready for our school year -- still some ancillary things I haven't gotten around to ordering, and our science curriculum arrived just yesterday. But man, these kids have grown stir-crazy, being out of their regular routine! The time has come!

I always looked forward to the beginning of the school year when I was a kid. New books, new supplies, new school clothes. In my mind's eye I can still hold my Mickey Mouse Club metal lunchbox, redolent of peanut butter. But around here Day One arrived with little anticipation. We'd worn ourselves out with swimming lessons instead of shopping sprees. Our Friday lunchboxes probably won't be on sale anymore by the time I make it to Target.

But one of the coolest things about homeschooling is taking off after school to spend the afternoon and evening at Six Flags with my dad and brother. I NEVER got to do that when I was a kid.

We've had a light schedule the past two days, but you'd never know it by looking at my third-grader's face. Every math assignment is greeted with grimaces of despair and disgust. (And these Singapore Math books are the same ones she loudly and eagerly awaited only two months ago.)

Writing words inside a 1" high box is a task beyond her ability, since she's incapable -- INCAPABLE, I tell you -- of writing letters smaller than 2" high. It's pathetically comical. Finally I have enough days of homeschooling under my belt that I can respond to this annual ritual with bemusement instead of worry. This phase will run its course, and not a moment too soon.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What About the "Good" People?

Tim Challies has a great post entitled, "Does Anyone Choose Hell?" Lots of good discussion going on. Here's a snippet of my comments:

My dad used to "worry" for years about "the pygmies in Africa" -- why is it just for God to send them to hell if they've never heard the gospel? It was a long time before I realized he was asking the wrong question. Instead of asking, "Why are some condemned to hell?", he should have been asking, "Why are any granted mercy?"

Friday, August 18, 2006

Book Shopping Draws to a Close

I'm finally finishing my history book planning, and it turns out I won't be buying as many history books as I'd planned. I'll actually have to set foot in the public library this year, LOL. Things would've been different if we hadn't decided to buy the 58-book set of Hardy Boys books for The Goose's birthday this month. I also ordered our chemistry curriculum this week, so that's another set of books I've bought. It just means that I'm closer to being done than I thought.

It's a good thing. Once I sat down and matched the titles I've been collecting over the past year with the relevant chapters in SOTW3, I've got about 13 chapters covered. We'll buy a few more books -- several on church history and a few fiction classics -- but most of the rest will be on audio or borrowed from the library. I figure if we're doing extra reading for 18-20 chapters in SOTW3, we're doing well.

We thought The Goose would take about a year to finish the Hardy Boys series, but she's finishing a volume about every three days. I hope that pace will slow a bit as we transfer much of her reading time to school. The books are still in the treasure chest dh designed for her birthday (a mystery theme party, of course). They desperately need a permanent home. I've got some serious book rearranging to do before we start on the 28th.

That Thud You Just Heard...

...is my jaw hitting the floor. My mom bought me this thing at Ross for $4, and it actually works! Normally when she buys us stuff it's things like dollar-store Power Rangers that disintegrate on contact, but this one's a find. The Goose is thrilled. Brushing her hair is painful for both of us.

Of course, all this could change in a week when it dies a dollar-store death. But I'm cautiously optimistic.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Well, I missed all the hullabaloo from the Carnival of Homeschooling. My "always on" DSL connection has been "at the pleasure of Verizon" again. Today they like me, so I have service. Ten minutes from now, it's anyone's guess.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Stuff You'd (Probably) Never Say Before Having Kids

"OK, everyone! Parking lot hands!"
"Your shirt is not a napkin." (A few of you ladies may have to say this to your men.)
"Turn off the lights and go to sleep NOW!" (My dh tells me a polite version of this whenever I'm up late click-clacking on the computer.)

On Humor

Let me give you two different scenarios:

The Roast
You are the founder of a club. Some of the other members you know well, others are only acquaintances. But one day the members all decide to get together and have a "roast" for you. At the black-tie rubber-chicken dinner, a couple of members put on a skit. The skit includes jokes and gags that poke fun at your club, and one person does a dead-on impression of the guest of honor (you). Everyone in the room is ROTFL and having a great time. It's the highlight of the evening, and everyone in the club talks about it for years afterward.

The Coals
You are a girl in junior high school (that's "middle school" for you young'uns). In your history class is another girl. She seems smart -- always ready with the right answer when called upon, asks thoughtful questions. You've said hello, chatted a couple of times. She's nice and polite. One day about midyear, you're walking to lunch and you see her talking to her friends, with her back toward you. You're within earshot just as your acquaintance does a dead-on impression of one of the slower kids in your history class. The whole group erupts into laughter, and your acquaintance says, "Yeah, all the kids in that class are so ----ing stupid. They make me want to ----ing gag."

Both of the attempts at humor I've just described involve truth. After all, nothing's really funny if it doesn't ring true. But to borrow a line from Sesame Street, "one of these things is not like the other." The difference is intent. One's harmless fun, and the other is malicious gossip.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Not Funny Anymore

In the midst of our three-week heat wave, I got the kids signed up for swimming lessons. This week was the first week of class. Every single day was overcast, about 70 degrees in the middle of the day until it burned off in the afternoon. Today we had DRIZZLE. "OK, Lord, I get the joke. Hot/cold, ha ha. But this isn't funny anymore. We're freezing our hineys off in the water." "And why couldn't we have this weather when we got married 11 years ago?!" Not the most reverent attitude, I know.

On the bright side, dh brought me a dozen long-stemmed roses for our anniversary tomor-- today! I really needed them, too. I'm in the process of banishing all the toys from the kids' room, sparing only the dinosaurs. (The circumstances surrounding this project are less than happy.) The Power Rangers made an early exit to the garage last week. Now I've got fifty boxes of toys in my living room, and they won't fit in the garage. DH suggested taping them shut and putting them back in the room. I think that'll work. The kids can gradually earn the toys back as they prove their room-cleaning abilities, or as soon as I grow out these bald spots I got from tearing my hair out.

Stuff You'd Never Say Before Having Kids

I'm starting a new feature, recurring as often as I find material for it. Title should be self-explanatory. First entries below:

"No sword-fighting with the popsicles!"
"Why is this drawer open again?" (Just realized that's also applicable to people with Alzheimer's or dementia. Either way, it describes me well.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006