Diary of a Homeschool Dad: Week 2
Last week you got to meet the main characters in our play, and as the weeks go by we'll figure out if the tale will be drama, comedy, or action. I'm betting it will eventually include all three, like some grand epic that Cecil B. DeMille or David O. Selznick would be proud to produce. Starting with last weekend, let's get into how this cycle went down.
Saturday - Girly had a cello lesson in the morning, which is always a good way to burn off the early part of the day (and when you're talking a SE Texas August, "burn" is the appropriate word choice). Speaking of our oldest kid and driving, this is the day she began taking driver's ed online. We're doing the at-home option, because these days who is really excited about jumping into a car with a stranger and breathing the potentially-Covid-inducing air? Now we wait and see how long it will take her to get the requisite 6 hours of instruction before she's ready to schedule a DPS visit to obtain a permit. When she does, she'll have a little more hardware to show off in her picture, as she went today to get some new ornamentation - a cartilage piercing in each ear.
Sunday - Here's a nice change of pace - being in church for church! Our campus isn't opening for services for a couple more weeks, but since I'm in the orchestra they invited me to play on stage with a string ensemble for a prelude and a couple hymns. It's actually enjoyable to get up early and get dressed in something nice, plus seeing a few members of the church family was a sorely-missed blessing. After the service was over, we hit I-10 and cruised east out towards Beaumont. We did the "Baptist thing" and ate at a Luby's along the way, which was actually the friendliest place I've been to eat in a long time. Everyone seemed happy to see everyone else, from the servers in line to the wait staff to the other patrons. But why were we out near the Louisiana state line in the first place? Well, we were dropping off Whirly for a couple of days to let her grandmother take a turn with her schooling. My mom homeschooled two of her own kids for seven years, and then team-taught my oldest daughter with Mrs. Geographist for a year in 2nd grade, so she definitely knows the ropes. After a few hours of socializing it was back in the car for our remaining crew to head home.
Monday - Chore day! What else should I do when left alone at the house? Pulled out a weed whacker to do some edging around the yard, and then let the local stylist pull out her own weed whacker to give me a haircut. After keeping a beard since January, I also decided to chop off all the facial hair. Wouldn't you know it, neither of my kids noticed the difference when I picked them up. Go figure. Took care of some vacuuming and laundry while all the ladies were out. I tried my hand at cooking some T-bones for dinner, which is a new cut for me to try on our grill. The seasoning was nearly perfect, but the steaks were a bit too thin for the technique I used, resulting in things getting a bit overcooked. The dog was more than happy to help with the bones and scraps.
Tuesday - Uh oh, Curly has the sniffles. Making a kid go to class with a runny nose when she has to wear a mask pretty much all day just seems cruel. Plus the entire world is a little "on edge" about everyone else's health, so she stayed home for the day. I packed up my work laptop and took it to the kitchen table so she could use the computer (and then went digging around to find some spray disinfectant for when she was done). She even drew me a lovely picture of Mickey Mouse while I did some requests that had come in from my office. But don't worry, I still had two girls to pick up from school, because after getting Girly home it was time for me to get back on the road to retrieve Whirly. Local sports helped pass the drive time nicely, as the Astros won in extra innings right as I was arriving at my parents house, and then the Rockets began their playoff run with a win as we headed back home.
Wednesday - Let's get back to normal, shall we? Mrs. Geo off to her school, Girly and Curly back to their school, and Whirly home with me. After a busy morning of rediscovering our groove (including some time spying on a few types of reptiles online), I figured lunchtime was a perfect moment to pull out a fun experiment. I pulled out a pie pan and a built a fire in it out on the back porch. Then we took a marshmallow and tossed it in, feeding the flames more and more twigs and letting it go until all that was left was ash. Our Bible lesson had been on the effects of sin and I was trying to give her a visual to explain why sin can't coexist with a perfect, holy God (hence the flaming mallow). We also did a smelling experiment to explore how we sometimes guess wrong when our senses don't give us all of the needed information. In the picture below, she guessed "candy" when it was really a candle that had a raspberry bar scent. Today's kitchen experiment was shepherd's pie - cooking is not my strongest suit, but with a decent recipe I can follow directions reasonably well.
Thursday - Whirly seemed quite motivated today and we mowed through our subjects pretty quickly. We did have a bit of emotional drama with handwriting because I kept making her erase and re-write one of her letters until she did it right. When it was clear she was about to go over the edge about it, we hit the pause button and switched subjects until both of us could reset our attitudes about the whole thing. No day is ever perfect, but it's great that she has the flexibility to rearrange things as necessary in order to get them all completed. Curly decided that she'd be switching from general music, art, and foreign language (some sort of "wheel class", I think they call it) to band every day at school. Since she takes piano lessons, this also means a change of instruments. I told her not to bring it up at Thursday's lesson until we had details a little more settled. No need to create drama if none will be needed.
Friday - Does any adult out there understand Roblox? I sure don't. But Whirly only had two assignments left to polish off her week, so she got a little extra time playing this particular online game while teacher/Dad folded some laundry and got a bit of office work done. Since we have to make sure the screen doesn't completely monopolize her day, it was also necessary for us to bake up some banana bread muffins together. Yummy! Mrs. Geo had a parking lot parade version of "meet the teacher" for all the kids who start up classes on Monday. I was able to hit the grill again, this time with some sausages, and found an interesting recipe for a spinach cauliflower casserole. I thought it would be cheesy enough to win over the crew, but it honestly wasn't really a crowd-pleaser. Oh well, you win some and lose some...and now I have a few extra leftovers. There's always a silver lining.
Saturday - Girly having a few hours of drill team practice meant two things: no cello lesson, and time for me to finish some yard work. With the prospect of two tropical systems coming close over the next week, it was certainly a good time to finish mowing before we wind up with a jungle. Unbeknownst to me, my parents were driving into town to empty a safe deposit box, so we enjoyed some unexpected visitors when they alerted us to their proximity. We had an interesting afternoon of poking through old currency they'd stashed away and getting nostalgic with a few old records before they headed off to do some car shopping. We polished off the day with a fast food dinner, which seemed to provide everyone a comfortable change of pace after so many days of dad's kitchen adventures. If only they would have given me everything I'd ordered when I pulled through! I'm beginning to understand Joe Pesci's rant in Lethal Weapon 2 about the drive-thru! If you don't know the reference, it's probably best if you don't look it up.
Let's see what next week has to offer!