Wednesday, September 15, 2010


A little something to watch for any who might care to know a little something of a secret I've been keeping...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Life's a Beach

Well here I am sitting in a hotel room in Ocean Shores WA for our annual family vacation to the beach. My five little ones are asleep in the adjoining room behind me and my dad and hubby are off doing guy stuff for the evening so I'm here in the hotel room with nothing but my 6 year old's box of soccer fundraising candy and my hubby's laptop. I have no dishes to clean and no laundry to fold so I thought I'd use my time to do something I find little time to do at home (where there are ALWAYS dishes to wash and underwear to fold!) and post a little something here on my mostly neglected blog. ;o)

So first I'll talk about our first week back at school. We had a really great week - which is saying a lot since more days than not we had one or two sickies floating around the house. On Monday poor Girly Pie had that awful fever, and I think it was Wednesday when Goose was down. Friday was our mellow day with school when we did our first nature walk but Finny ended up getting hit that day. Punky didn't get it until the weekend, but at least they all got it and got over it BEFORE our trip to the beach. Phew. God sure came through on THAT prayer! But even with the breaks for fever checks and vomit and potty runs (oh yes - it was that kind of bug!) we still managed to get everything on our list done for the week. And more than just getting stuff done - the kids and I really enjoyed all that we did! History was fun with some timeline work and a couple of maps. We did a quick overview of Vikings and their discovery of North America and what sick kid doesn't want to watch an hour or two of Nova Viking videos on the couch? ;o) Art was great, science was interesting. It was all good stuff.

I didn't really realize Finny was as sick as he was until after we had already begun our nature walk on Friday - poor kid got home and measured 102 or something awful like that. But he was so cute: On the way to the walk he told me he didn't really want to go and that he didn't think nature walks would be fun. But as he sat there drawing his very detailed sketch of the slug he chose to observe for his object in nature he said to me, "Nature walks are fun. I didn't think I'd like them but I actually do." Cute boy. I realized afterwords that his reluctance to go was mostly due to the fact that he was so sick. But still.

So Week One is finished and I'm looking forward to the weeks to come. I can't say what a blessing it has been to me to see God's hand in choosing our curriculum this year. I had no idea when praying over the coming year what it would really look like for us, but I can already see how much I really needed an open-and-go kind of curriculum. I LOVE the idea of planning each little thing out and customizing each topic to each child's needs and learning styles. But the reality is that I have five children, a house, a husband, a few friends, a church, meals to cook, rooms to clean, the list goes on. And the amount of energy and time it takes me personally to research the educational options, then plot out what to learn and when to learn it, then to study up on the topics enough to know how to even put together a unit on anything we decide to study pretty much takes up all that I have for the piece of my pie I have available to devote to homeschooling. And that doesn't even include the actual time spent TEACHING the stuff to my kids! And I also have to remind myself that all those hours I pour into schooling right now are really only benefitting one of my children, possibly two if you count that I mostly have Finny sit in on Punky's stuff. Of my five kids, only one is really at the age where that kind of education hits home. So my other four (or three if you just lump 6 year old Finny up in the school age category) are left with that much less of me - and they are at ages where they really do still need a lot of me!

So it's no wonder I was feeling burned out by the end of last year. I had put so much pressure on myself to do it all, but I think I had somehow gotten the idea that the only way to homeschool was to do it all like that. But now I can just have my library books ready, do school and enjoy it during the time I've scheduled for school with the two bigger boys, and the rest of my time can be spent reading stories to little guys and watching Little Bug take his first crawling steps and cleaning and cooking - and, you know, sleeping and breathing and actually making eye contact with my husband. Little things like that.

I know the open-and-go style isn't for everyone, and it might not even work for me beyond this year. I'm sure when more of my kids are school-age than not it will be much easier for me to justify all those hours in the day being devoted to that one part of our life. But for now I still feel so blessed that God knew just what would work for us this year and that He so faithfully led me to it when I sought him out in prayer.

So that's school stuff. I might go to bed soon but first I'll just add that we're having a GREAT time here at the ocean! The weather is cool and windy - but it's the Washington coast. I think it's pretty much always cool and windy so we're pretty well used to that. The kids have spent the past day and a half swimming like crazy in the hotel pool and running and digging and exploring the beach and the dunes. No major sand castles have yet been constructed, but they did dig a well and try to fill it with sea water. But you can imagine how well that worked out. At low tide. With two small buckets and one deep hole in the sand. And a little brother filling the well with sand when no one was looking. ;o)

We also found a dead sea otter. My dad laughed out loud after he told me he'd found it. My first question was, "Is it gross-and-nasty-kind-of-dead or go-get-the-kids-and-show-them-kind-of-dead?" Apparently he was thinking like a protective adult, not like a home educating mother of boys. I mean what young boy wouldn't want the chance to see a big sea creature up close, dead or not? And yes, we did go see it. And yes, it was fascinating. And no, it wasn't all old and rotten which is how I could stomach taking them to look. ;o)

So still to come in the week is a trip to the local mini-golf place and a night out at the "fancy" restaurant in town (like an up-class Denny's I'd say, or a low-class Keg) and a whole lot more beach combing and pool swimming. We'll make ourselves sick on fish n chips and continental breakfast waffles and by the time Friday rolls around we'll be cranky, sandy, exhausted and ready to head home - and completely content and refreshed after a wonderfully long week of family fun!

So that's life around here in a nutshell. Hopefully I can post some pictures of the ocean once I get home and clean all the vacation laundry. ;o)