Diary of a Homeschool Dad: Week 4
Well everyone, this was a week to attempt a return to a regular schedule. How did y'all do? Step one for us was obviously to catch up on what we missed, then decide how far we could take things from there.
Sunday - To begin the week, we were finally able to rejoin our church family again for an in-person worship service. It was beautiful to be inside that building once again, but since I'd been able to play in a string ensemble for a couple of services that were broadcast online it was obvious that what we were missing wasn't the structure. It was the people! The total number was quite a bit smaller than usual, as can be expected, so we still have more to look forward to down the road. My parents, who were formerly members of our church before moving east, were able to join us as well. We tried visiting a popular restaurant near our house for the first time, but apparently it was too popular and we didn't want to wait an hour and a half for a table, so we snagged some BBQ (for the second time in three days!) at the spot next door.
Monday - Today was entirely dedicated to finishing up last week's work schedule. It was an interesting day! Don't think everything is always perfectly smooth - we had an emotional struggle with our first subject that made me think a bit more sleep was needed for the day, so she headed upstairs to for some extra shuteye and I knocked out some job tasks. It wasn't long before we were back on track with lessons, however. My parents showed up after checking out of their hotel for their last day in town before heading home (power on but internet still off). Part of our school work for English involved planning work for time/order words while writing a "how to" paper. Whirly opted for a set of instructions on how to make chocolate milk, which sounded perfectly reasonable to me. I had her come up with an interesting topic sentence, an inventory of supplies, a few ordered steps to accomplish her task, and a fun conclusion. This image shows my writing on our whiteboard, but 100% her words and ideas - I was impressed at how she did as a first effort!
Tuesday - This was the day that had all of the normal Monday tasks, but Mrs. Geographist did a superb job with putting together a smooth lesson plan to make it all work out. We hadn't been to the pool in a little while, so the kiddo and I thought this would be a good opportunity to do some splashing around. Our history lesson focused on the French and Indian War, so to explain where the key events occurred I got to break out my favorite teaching tool - maps! Whirly was just happy to hear George Washington's name since that's someone she'd heard of before. New math concepts continue to come easily for this girl, and she's starting to get better at her simple math facts. I'm not entirely sure whether she needed more study on them or if it's just been a matter of her getting back into the swing after six months of school either being non-existent or just plain weird.
Wednesday - This was a bit of a fun day with something different for just about all of us. Because the local baseball team has sponsorship with Chick-fil-a (whenever a player hits a home run off the "Fowl Pole", fans get a free chicken sandwich) we decided it was a perfect time to grab lunch at America's favorite yard bird restaurant. We snagged Whirly's lap desk and a short drive later we'd claimed our free meal (and I got free food as well, courtesy of reward points). The youngest kiddo and I weren't the only two who had notable days, however, as Mrs. Geographist got to return to church choir rehearsal once again. When Curly got home, she decided to give climbing one of our front yard trees a shot. And since the local basketball team was participating in every sports fan's favorite event (playoff series game 7!) I got to catch some action on the hard court as my team managed to grab a victory and advance to the next round. Ah, the sweet smells of success and sweat!
Thursday - Quick, what is one of the most anticipated and feared days of the school year (other than the first day, I suppose)? How about picture day! Yep, for Girly and Curly today was that special date on the calendar, so we had to make sure everyone had just the right shirt and a decent run-in with their hairbrush before heading for the door. Whirly was able to finish her first reading book of the year, which was a nice milestone. Reading has never been a challenge for her, it seems, but sometimes she is satisfied with simply pronouncing the tough words and doesn't always take the time to understand the meaning of each one. So we've made it a point to check comprehension after each chapter...which means I have to always figure out how to stay one chapter ahead of her. After school, the two older girls had extracurricular activities (Curly had a piano lesson, while Girly had her final color guard practice before they start working with the band) while Mrs. Geo had a staff meeting and a Zoom meeting for a church discipleship group.
Friday - You can always get a feeling when the curriculum thinks you're supposed to be approaching a significant point on the calendar when all the subjects start having tests at the same time. There's no need to have them all pile up on the same day, however, so we only knocked off two and will take a day to study some of the others in order to spread things out a bit. I don't think Whirly was concerned, however, as she knocked them out early and was able to finish everything pretty quickly. Curly got to have her first day of taking her new clarinet to school (if only she had remembered her reeds!). Girly brought one of her friends home with her in advance of a combined band/guard practice - we're closer to school so no need for her mom to make the trip over for such a short layover before heading back to campus. I got some spectacular news, as my first published book finally hit the major online retailers. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both listed my work, "Our Story With God"!
Saturday - Mrs. Geographist's younger sister has notched another year around the sun, so after Girly's cello lesson we took the trip up to my in-laws' house for a birthday party. My father-in-law has spent a fair amount of time renovating his living room recently, so we had fun watching TV in the new space, including my alma mater's first football game of the season (and first-ever nationally televised game on the four-letter network). If you believe the betting lines, this game was supposed to be a blowout as the visitors from Dallas were favored by 22, but behind a staunch defensive effort and a decent game by a first-time starting QB in his sophomore year, the crew from San Marcos, TX kept it to a one-score game. Unfortunately, a baseball double-header also ended up with our local team coming up short each time, so we didn't get to see a winning effort. The various teachers in the family shared conversations about how their schools are each handling the remote teaching and return of face-to-face learning. I suppose now that I'm teaching my own little one I can join in on those chats! :-)
I hope each one of you have enjoyed the Labor Day weekend. Thank you to each one of you who are still checking in on what's going on with our little crew - feel free to send comments or questions if you'd like to connect or participate in this journey!