Homework and Life

My son doesn’t understand what it is like to have homework.

He is seven – almost eight – and finishing up second grade.

He attends a virtual charter school where we very much function as a homeschooling family.

He knows that school work goes until it is done.

He understands working ahead to take a day off.

He understands that some subjects take longer than others.

He doesn’t understand why his friends can’t play in the evening because of homework.

I told him the other day: “Homework just gets in the way of life.”

Now he is repeating it to me about everything.

“Vision therapy just gets in the way of life” is his favorite one to say right now.

And now I must interrupt his break between lessons (as I write this on Monday afternoon).

Because we don’t want homework tonight.

Homework just gets in the way of life!

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

love of music

This weekend we interrupted our baseball life for some music.

My oldest son, Kory and I went  to a community band concert. We didn’t randomly pick it. Kory’s former piano teacher plays in the horn section and had a featured piano solo. Since we hadn’t seen her for a few months and she was hoping for some familiar faces in the crowd, Kory and I decided to drive the hour or so to see her concert.

It was amazing. As I sat there with my son listening to the various parts, I had so many things rush through my head.  All the piano practicing I did through 10 plus years of lessons. Accompanying school choirs and ensembles. Playing the clarinet and oboe. The music appreciation classes focusing on concert etiquette. The concerts my parents and grandparents attended to listen to me play. The early morning band class at college that I only did for one semester. That first college concert when I looked out into the crowd and realized my parents, siblings and grandparents weren’t there anymore to watch me because I was 12 hours from home. It just wasn’t worth it when it had nothing to do with my major. I stopped playing clarinet. I stopped playing oboe. I only tinkered on the piano.

As I  sat in the middle school auditorium turned concert hall, I felt my eyes tear up at the beauty of the notes and rhythms. The beauty that someone created this music from nothing. I thought of my grandfather’s explanation of tears as a little boy when he heard the music in church, “sometimes the music just touches me.” It was touching me.

The concert was a perfect time to snuggle with my son who had kicked off his flip flops and curled up in his chair.  We listened to the music together. We tapped out the beats and rhythms. We softly whispered how pieces sounded like they belonged on an episode of  Tom and Jerry cartoons or featured in a video game. I whispered explanations on why the lady with the black straight horn came out to tune everyone up before the concert started. I whispered how to tell when the conductor was done and we could clap. This is one of the reasons I love to homeschool. He wasn’t learning about music in a classroom with a textbook. He was learning it in real life.

I watched the lady next to me close her eyes and sway to the music. I watched the boy in front of my gently play with his mother’s hair. I saw the lady in the row in front of me win a cash prize in the concert’s raffle.  I saw her generously and discreetly decline the winnings and instead hand them over to the featured music organization raising funds that night.  I saw the organization’s spokes lady gush with “thank you. thank you. thank you.”

I saw my son close his eyes and absorb the music through the night. “It is okay if you feel sleepy. The music is relaxing, isn’t it,” I told him. I felt him snuggled up next to me and tap out the beat. I watched him clap at the right times. I watched him pretend he was playing the horn.

“Mommy, I really liked that,” I heard him say at the end.

“Me too, Kory. Me too,” I responded back.

That night he didn’t beg for more snuggles at bedtime. He didn’t tell me his snuggle-meter was only registering to his ankles.

We got our snuggles in earlier as we both further developed our love of music.

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers.

Poetry, my son, a cow and the moon

I was supposed to teach my son about poetry.  The lesson plan had the poems to use.  I glanced at them and thought they looked boring. If you are new to my blog, you may have missed an earlier blog post of mine. Basically, I don’t like poetry, much. I’m getting better at that though.

Instead of using the “boring” poems from the lesson, I decided to use my real-life friend, Maria’s poems. She has been writing some great ones this past month. I thought if I used poems by someone my son knows, he (and I) might enjoy the poetry even more.

Instead, my son surprised me. I didn’t teach from the poems in the lessons. I didn’t teach from Maria’s poems; although, we will glance at her poems later today.  My son, instead, taught me about poems.

“Mommy, Can you listen to my story?” he asked me as I was cleaning up the kitchen between lessons.

“Sure. Tell me your story,” I said while I wiped down the counter.

And that is when he went off with a poem. Creating one line at a time.  A cow. A moon. He giggled while sharing his words with me.

“Kory,I really like that, but is it a story or a poem?”

“A poem, mommy.”

Here is Kory’s poem – as he told it to me a second time.  It is a bit different from the first original piece that he shared with me, but it is close to the original.  It’s all Kory.

The cow jumped over the moon (that is the title, mommy)

I saw a cow jump over the moon.

I hope it’s not a hound.

I hope I’m not a clown.

I wonder what I would feel like if I was a cow.

I watched the cow jump over the moon.

I bring out my bucket and I go under the moon.

And I think the cow will squirt milk into this bucket.

But instead he put rocks in my bucket.

I looked at the cow and he said moo.

I wonder how he can jump that high.

I always wonder that whenever daddy throws me in the water.

And I wonder what I would be like if I was a cow.

What would you feel like?

Here is Kory’s drawing to go with his poem. I’ll also be sharing your comments with my son.

I’m posting every Tuesday as part of the weekly Slice of Life over at Two Writing Teachers

The places they will go

“Mommy, you go to so many cool places. More than I do.”

“No, Kory, I didn’t travel to most of  those places until I was much older. You have been many more places than I had at your age. You will get there.”

I wonder why he says this to me during our history lesson. Then I realize. While we learn about Vikings and Normandy, I tell him, Kory, I have been to this part of France as I point to the map.

Earlier in the school year, we studied stained glass windows and cathedrals in an arts class.  The lesson featured pictures of the Notre Dame cathedral. I stood under that stain glass window, I told him.  How many other lessons have I added, “and I’ve been here.”

Oh the places I have been. Paris. Northern France. Mexico. 34 states. I am missing the most random  ones. North Dakota. Michigan. I’m begging my husband to cross over an exit into the state next time we travel to Minnesota since I am sure we are looking into Michigan from the interstate. Rhode Island. New Mexico. And my list of where I have traveled is no where near my brother’s exhaustive and very cool list!

Oh, the Places You Will Go. My  favorite Dr. Seuss book – in close tie with Horton, Hears A Who! I think it will become our family gift to those who graduate from high school.

He will get there. He will travel to different states. He will travel to different countries.

Already he has been to 29 states and DC. Much more than I had visited by the age of almost eight.

And this year, I’m going to get him and his brother their very first passports. It is time I renew the one I used to get to Paris. The one with a photograph of a 16-year old me. Keith already has a password from travels to Canada for work a few years ago.

Oh the places we will go.  Oh the places they will go.

No Distinction of Age

He sat with the second graders during the opening announcements.

He sat with a fourth grader at the end of the day.

He walked up and started a conversation with a sophomore one week.

He sat in with the fourth and fifth grade class while he drew and chatted away with those at his table.

He stood up and shared his drawing in front of the same fourth and fifth grade class.

He sat with the preschool class.

He called a sixth grader his friend.

He wants to invite his fifth grade friend to his birthday party.

He sat in the seventh grade row next to the big kids.

He is my homeschooled son.

Did I mention he is only three?!?

I love how he sees no distinction of age.

All he sees are friends.

I’m attempting to take part in the “The Fifth Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge” through the month of March. The challenge is run by Two Writing Teachers.

Last day of co-op

Today is the last day of our spring session of the homeschool co-op we are a part of during the school year.

We always come to this final day with a little bit of sadness and a little bit of relief. It is the day of wearing pajamas as per co-op “rules.” It is the day my boys say goodbye to some of their friends until next fall. It is the day that playdate promises are given.

It is the day I realize I can now reclaim four hours a week of focusing on our curriculum. It is the day I realize how important this group of homeschool moms, I mean friends, is to me in this homeschool adventure we choose. It is the day I make promises that our contact will not just be limited to emails, Facebook and text exchanges over the next few months.

It is the day I watch the final creativity of students in a joint comic book writing and comic book art class, that I teach with the creative Pamela Hodges. By the way, she is also taking part in the daily Slice of Life challenge so check out her blog too. It is the day I realize I will have to put a bit more effort into these friendships over the summer. It is the day I realize how important this group is to my family.

It is the day I realize I no longer have to pack co-op bags and snacks on Wednesday nights. It is the day that signals to me the school year is soon coming to an end. It is the day I realize that the next time we meet for co-op classes my boys will be a bit older. It is the day I realize how much I truly enjoy our homeschool life.

The last day of co-op is a day I truly treasure with a bit of sadness and a bit of relief. Now to find my slippers to go with my pjs for the day.

I’m attempting to take part in the “The Fifth Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge” through the month of March. The challenge is run by Two Writing Teachers.

A Good Day of Homeschooling

A good day of homeschooling for us equals:

a lot of progress made in our curriculum.

missed phone calls.

a lot of hours tracked for the day.

a very messy house.

a slow response on emails.

a table full of papers, notes and pencils.

a short slice.

I’m attempting to take part in the “The Fifth Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge” through the month of March. The challenge is run by Two Writing Teachers.

Random Thoughts

Here are some of the random thoughts that went through my head Monday morning into early afternoon. I was going to continue through the afternoon and evening, but I didn’t realize how many random thoughts quickly go through my head!

I really should get up. I’m so spoiled with sleeping in on days like this.

Oh, great. Keith came home early from work because he got sick.

Oh no. The lady who delivers our mail is at our door, and I’m in my pjs. Hope I look presentable.

Exactly how does my kitchen floor get so dirty. I just swept it the other day.

Oh I hope I don’t get sick today. Wednesday would be a good day to get sick instead.

I should get Kory started on school today.  Math, Language Arts, Science and Vision Therapy. What independent work can I start him on first?  Math.

UGH!  Kory’s school-issued laptop is crashing again. Now to call in for the fourth time to have this resolved.  This time I am asking, no demanding, a replacement laptop instead of having repairs done as has happened the past three times. Do I start with nice Jessica or mean Jessica on the phone?

Back to schoolwork. Let’s start with a language arts.

Oh I have to start thinking about making lunch.  I think mac and cheese will work for today.  If they went to a “real” school, I wouldn’t have to worry about their lunches. LOL!

Oh this vein on my knee is starting to look gross. UGH. Are genetics catching up to me!!?

Will Kory just hurry up on his math already.

What to make for Keith for lunch. Chicken broth. Noodles. Done

Oh I have to leave in two hours for errands and vision therapy.  What do I have clean to wear today?

How many times do I have to remind my 3 year old to keep his hands out of his pajama pants.

Mentally calculate how to get the three of us ready to leave in an hour – and notice all the dirty dishes over the counter. They can wait until later.

Oh I wonder if that shirt hanging in my closet will finally fit this year. Yeah – it does!

Is that a bird I hear chirping? Spring. Spring. Spring.

Ugh. I really need to unpack my suitcase since we have been home for over a week now.

What random thoughts crossed through your head today?

I’m attempting to take part in the “The Fifth Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge” through the month of March. The challenge is run by Two Writing Teachers.

Field Trip Day

Today I don’t have a witty post. I don’t have a deep and insightful post.

Today I simply post that it is FIELD TRIP DAY in our homeschool life.  Off to a science museum we go with some of our homeschool friends. 

Who knows what wonders we will discover. 

Who knows what inspiration I will find for tomorrow’s post.

I’m attempting to take part in the “The Fifth Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge” through the month of March. The challenge is run by Two Writing Teachers.

Ready. Set. Go. Thursdays!

My google calendar email did not say “you have no events scheduled today.”

It’s a Thursday.  I know our days are full without even looking at my email or my calendar.

Ready. Set. Go.

Our morning will be spent at a homeschool co-op that meets weekly for eight weeks in the fall and in the spring. One of the best investments of time and energy in our homeschool life!

I will teach a comic book writing class with a wonderful assistant, Pamela, who can be found over at “would, could, should.” I will then assist in her comic book art class. It has been a great combination of our writing and art backgrounds! 🙂  Kory will learn about geography and culture through a missionaries class, the middle ages through a history class and then run wild with a p.e. class. Oh wait, I think he runs wild first and then calms down for classes.  Cade will learn about stories and crafts, run wild in a p.e. class and learn about geography and culture through a missionaries class.

And the best part –  we will be surrounded by other homeschool families and friends who have become our extended homeschool family. They just “get” those homeschool, and sometimes those non-homeschool, parts of our lives! 🙂

After a quick lunch, we will go straight to swimming lessons for the boys.  A brief stop at home and then gymnastics for Kory, who is in a beginner boys gymnastic class.

Then we will come home. Maybe we will get in vision therapy homework.  Maybe we will get in reading a story. Most likely we will just crash!

I’m attempting to take part in the “The Fifth Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge” through the month of March. The challenge is run by Two Writing Teachers.