Diary of a Homeschool Dad: Week 6

 A quick thank-you to everyone who has been a part of this website since the beginning.  This week I got my 5,000th hit, and while that's not quite Amazon-esque it's still a pretty cool milestone that I certainly appreciate.  If you're new to the blog, I encourage you to check out the original two threads: Our Story With God (a trip through the Bible as a single story, and now a published book that you can find at your favorite retailer), and the history of Boston (a geographic review of the Cradle of American Liberty).  Now on to week 6!

Sunday - We got to have our first meeting with the new class we'll be teaching this year at church.  I always enjoy working with kids in the 5th grade because it's an interesting year of growing up for them.  As they morph from little children into preteens it is amazing how deep into conversations they can go.  And they mercifully haven't quite hit the surly years of adolescence!  My office had a drive-thru birthday celebration for one of our engineers who is currently fighting cancer - he is a really engaging, enjoyable guy to work with, and his attitude has been pretty impressive throughout this process.  It was great to see so many faces that I've worked alongside for years, and I was glad they came out strong to support one of our own.

Monday - Whirly and I have been going through the devotional I wrote as her Bible curriculum this year, and we've gotten up to Moses and the book of Exodus.  It's always incredible how much history is packed into Genesis.  It's 50 jam-packed chapters!  This was also a day that we experienced one of the blessings of homeschooling - flexibility.  The curriculum we're using (Bob Jones) calls for Heritage Studies and Science to be one-semester classes, but we opted to just do them every other day.  On this particular day, she wasn't feeling very history-minded (which is actually somewhat painful for this guy) so we just swapped them out.  It was as simple as a quick copy/paste on her planning page, and voila!  The day wrapped up nicely as I demolished Girly in her first week of fantasy football.  Hey, the old man has to defend his turf, right?

Tuesday - Curly had an interesting day.  After picking everyone up from school, she got to have her very first virtual clarinet lesson.  She's taking from her school band director, so it seems like she'll be getting exactly the kind of training she'll need to do well in whatever music he picks during marching and concert seasons.  She also got a start on a school project, which involved creating a scene that depicts an aspect of Native American life.  We had fun with this one (when we weren't accidently getting our hands stuck together with some pretty serious glue) and I thought it came out pretty well.  We also had an unexpected visit from my parents right after we'd finished munching on my attempt at chili - they surprised us to show off their new wheels.  To my knowledge this is the first time they've owned an SUV, but it sounds like they got a good vehicle and a good deal.

Wednesday - Today was something of a measuring stick for our little schooling adventure.  Whirly's biggest challenge is her ability to manage fine motor skills, and her inability to consistently write legibly in cursive was one of the primary reasons for 2nd grade struggles.  In a school that demands all writing is done in script from essentially 2nd-4th grade, it's a big deal.  So when I saw that a writing assessment was on the docket today, it caught my attention.  Whirly had to pick one stanza out of a song in her handwriting book to copy in cursive - it was a decent test, but with patience and a few scrubs with an eraser she managed to get through it.  And while there is still room for improvement to fix a few bad habits she's developed, I was really happy with the results.  Girly brought home her two buddies in between school and color guard once again (which suddenly reminds me that I need to hit the grocery store soon, as teenage girls like to eat), and I tried my hand at baking a pumpkin pie.  Of course, that's a dessert that you can't totally destroy as long as you've got enough whipped cream!

Thursday - One interesting thing about being the stay-at-home dad, in addition to juggling a full-time job while homeschooling an energetic youngster, is handling the little chores like hitting the grocery store.  Mrs. Geographist teaches across the street from the place where we usually get our food, but invariably I find myself needing a few items for dinner and not wanting to wait until she finishes dismissal (and heaven forbid there's a staff meeting!) before I start cooking.  So we hit the store a lot during the day.  It might be more efficient, since most of the world isn't at Kroger at 1:30 on a weekday afternoon and the lines are always short.  I had a big plan in store for today - my first attempt at gumbo.  First step was to make the roux in between school pickup and Curly's piano lesson.  Not knowing what I was doing, I never got it to darken.  Hmmm, bummer...whatever, we'll cut our losses and do better next time.  Ok, off to the lesson and back, and now to cook the rest.  Y'all, it took me another three hours and every single pan I had.  Seriously, it was seasoned flour over here, rice over there, a big pot of stock on the stove, a cutting board full of holy trinity on the island, chicken getting prepped for cooking on the side, while some sausage sizzles on the back burner in hopes it won't all fall apart once everything is put together.  Let's just say it was a big learning experience for this non-Cajun, and I got lots of Facebook tips on how to avoid making it thicker than etouffee next time.  Four of the five members of the house liked it, but I had to have that one picky oldest daughter who wouldn't eat just to keep me humble.

Friday - After having worked full-time since August 6, Mrs. Geo finally got her first check!  That was fun, and I think it gave her a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Whirly crushed her remaining school items early in the morning, which was serendipitous considering my workload.  Girly brought her friends home for another quick fridge raid before practice, and the rest of us went out for some German food.  Schnitzel, spƤtzle, sauerkraut, and strudel!

Saturday - An absolutely gorgeous day in the greater Houston area made for a perfect opportunity to get out early and often.  Girly had a cello lesson, during which I made it a point to stroll around her teacher's neighborhood with a book (LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring).  Once back home she hit the computer while I snagged a bite to eat and Mrs. Geo took Curly out on a mommy/daughter shopping trip.  Whirly wanted to swim, so we headed that way after a short while and were joined by Curly soon thereafter.  Mrs. Geo took Girly to get nails done, followed by Starbucks.  And finally, the day wrapped up with mom and dad enjoying a date night at a nearby bistro.  Quite the red-letter day!

And now all eyes turn to the Gulf of Mexico to see if TS Beta is going to mess with us over the coming days...


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