Monthly Archives: February 2008

It’s Not Just Me

I received this email from my mother yesterday, and was so relieved to know that it’s not just me that does this stuff.

I needed to take the soiled dishcloth and deposit it into the clothes hamper, and I needed to go potty. So I went into the bathroom, lifted the lid of the hamper, threw the dishcloth in and froze. It just didn’t look right. There was water in there. Then realized I had sailed past the hamper and lifted the toilet lid and flung the dishcloth in. I laughed myself silly.

Then I went back to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. True to normal routine, I picked up the kettle to empty out yesterday’s water into the sink, turned my head to look at my timer to see how much time I had to go before I could eat breakfast, (my meds have to be taken 30min. before food) and turned back again to the job in hand, to find I had emptied the kettle onto the counter top and all down the cupboard to the floor. Well, I only have TWO sinks to choose from but…. I laughed myself silly again.

Sidney (her dog) is mystified.

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More Turks


Emily liked the Ottoman Turks so much, she kept drawing. I can’t wait to see what she makes of the Knights of the Round Table….

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Invasion of the Turks


So this week we studied the Crusades, and then talked about how the Ottoman Turks invaded Constantinople and put an end to the Byzantine Empire. Emily, 12, seemed quite taken with the lesson, and as she tends to express herself best through art, I encouraged her to draw a picture of something we had talked about. Here it is. Sigh.

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Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse (Photo credit: Peter Neish)

I got a call today from my friend Cathy, who loves teaching science to my kids (while I love teaching writing to hers). She said it behooved her as my kids’ science teacher to point out that we were having a lunar eclipse tonight (okay, so she probably didn’t say “behooved.” I think I’m the only one weird enough to say that).

So we rushed out front at the appropriate time to look at it, only to find that the trees down the block obscured our view. So we rushed back inside, through the house and out the back door, hoping for a better view from the backyard. I dissolved into a coughing fit halfway through all this rushing and decided that I was just going to have to wait for the next lunar eclipse, what with my Beastly Cold and all. Between coughs I tried to convince my 7yo that she really did need shoes on if she was going outside. She happily put them on and then donned not one but two sweaters and a beanie hat, but I wasn’t making much headway with the 5yo, who just doesn’t feel cold, ever.

It was at that point that my wise and thoughtful husband quietly pointed out that we could see the eclipse just fine from the master bedroom windows. Off came the shoes and we all jostled each other for the best view at the two windows. Talk about Family Fun Night. A buncha nerds, some may point out, getting all excited about a lunar eclipse, but then this may explain why my 7th and 8th graders score WAY above grade level for science, the one class in which I regularly fail to crack open a book. Science books bore me and experiments frustrate the heck out of me because they never work the way they are supposed to. I know that that’s the point, and that we all learn from our failures… come to think of it, I just had an article published in Homeschool Enrichment Magazine about dealing with failure, which said that very thing. So I know all that. But that silly little perfectionist in me just won’t let me get excited about a subject in which I’m 80% sure I’m going to fail miserably. So I have a hard time teaching it. And apparently that means nothing, in terms of my kids’ school careers, because my husband loves all things scientific, so we LIVE our science lessons without me even realizing it. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps if I were aware we were doing science, I would ruin it by pulling out a book.

I haven’t interviewed any of my neighbors, but I’m sure they have some opinions about our family’s scientific habits. For instance, on any given evening, the front door of my house may burst open as three or four of us rush out to the street to see the sunset. When it rains, we’re usually out stomping in the puddles and watching the water go into the storm drain. And when there’s an eclipse… well, if it hadn’t been so cold tonight, we’d have been out there with digital cameras and telescopes and lawn chairs. In fact, one of us WAS out there.- the other child who doesn’t feel the cold. She spent a blissful 20 minutes watching the eclipse, feeling the wind blow and listening to the silence… ON THE ROOF.

Then again, once the excitement had passed and the other kids were happily occupied elsewhere, I spent a blissful five minutes watching the eclipse through my bedroom window while playing Mannheim Steamroller, Beethoven and Debussy on my keyboard. Kinda hard to play and look at the moon the whole time, so it wasn’t my best performance, but it sure was relaxing.

I do take comfort in the fact that we’re not the only weird homeschoolers to make an event out of the moon. Besides my friend who told me about the eclipse and undoubtedly had a lovely family time watching it from her front yard down the street, I have it on good authority that my homeschooling friend in Idaho spent a blissful few minutes out in the cold with her neighbors, eating dark chocolate and watching the eclipse.

Solitude, classical music, dark chocolate and lunar eclipses… life don’t get much better than that.

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Homeschooling Without A Voice

No, this isn’t a political diatribe. It’s just me whining about having a sore throat.

For instance, it’s really hard to get your teenage daughter out of bed when you can’t holler at her. Pulling the blankets off is a good second to that, but the exertion makes me dizzy.

So then I notice, after the room has stopped spinning, that there are CLOTHES on the floor. This would be the floor that we spent the entire weekend uncovering. Not that there was carpet there – we just removed the clothes, trash and toys and found the wood floor again. And here it is, Tuesday morning, and the stuff is beginning to creep back. So I wagged my index finger at her and pointed at it. And I glared. She didn’t seem to be getting it and merely pulled the blanket back up, so I wagged BOTH index fingers at her and screwed up my mouth while glaring. She laughed and said I looked like the scary farmer’s wife in Ladyhawke. So I pulled the blanket off her again, which made her yelp, but I’m not convinced even now that she actually has both feet on the floor yet. I think I’ll grab the squirt bottle of water we use to discipline the dog and revisit her.

As for the other kids, who are up but have not found their books yet, I think I’ll ring a bell at them. That’ll teach ’em.

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