Diary of a Homeschool Dad: Week 10

This week's entry is fairly significant for me, because it marks the 100th published post on this website.  Whether you've seen every single one of them or this is your first time hitting the site, thank you!  This week was quite a roller-coaster, full of ups and downs, beginnings and endings.

Sunday - This was a day we've been waiting for: the return to teaching Sunday school in person!  We had nine 5th graders join us this week in person, while a few more opted for the online option to remain virtual.  It was so incredible to see these kids in real life and to take the time to teach them properly.  It's been my opinion that in the scramble to keep everyone physically healthy we've done a major disservice to the spiritual well-being of those who needed a church family the most.  Speaking of physical health, I got to address my own after returning home from lunch.  My foot still wasn't feeling right, so I went on a visit to the ER.  A few X-rays later and they were unable to locate a break anywhere, so the doctor diagnosed it as a sprain and sent me home with a "very stylish" support shoe and a prescription for pain medicine (which I didn't fill...if anything, I'll take an ibuprofen).  Girly had youth choir at church, but since I wasn't back to the house when she had to leave it was up to Mrs. Geographist to handle driving duties.

Monday - It's Columbus Day!  For public school that's a holiday, but since the kids already had two days off last week it was business as usual for them.  For Whirly, however, it was a special day because she got a sub.  Mom was off work for the day, so they got to do school together while I sat on the sidelines and focused on requests coming in from my office.  I also took the opportunity to go give blood, and the girls went out to get Whirly a haircut that she's been wanting after she finished her work for the day.  Once the big kids got home, Girly and I set about trying to record her region audition etudes.  I'm not really going to miss hanging out all day in a school gym with tons of kids milling around waiting for their audition slot to be called, but the Covid-19 version of auditions creates new and different issues.  We had to record at home, but had very little in the way of equipment.  I thought my phone would have picked up the sound just fine, but instead it sounded like we were listening to a cello from the other side of a football field.  After a few experiments, we came up with a unique solution to drop an ear bud into the F-hole.  Not perfect, but workable.  After a few false starts she was finally able to get a version of each of the two selections to an acceptable point and we saved those recordings.

Tuesday - This is homecoming week at the big kids' school, and each of them got three special outfit days.  Today was the first one for Girly - character day - and she opted for Tinkerbelle.  We couldn't find any wings from the multiple fairy costumes we've had in our house over the years, but she got some wispy hair, an outfit of green, and cotton balls glued to her shoes.  Unfortunately I had a dad fail and didn't get a picture, so you'll have to use your imagination.  Curly also had a bit of a fail, as she left her clarinet at school and was unable to have her usual after-school lesson.  Her school band director, who is also her private teacher, promised to give her a hard time about it.  I attempted to vote on the first day of early voting, but the line was too long for me to make it back to pick up the girls in time.  Girly and I made one more attempt at getting the perfect audition recording before calling it a night, so now it's all up to the judges.

Wednesday - Today was character day for Curly, and she rigged up an outfit that essentially served as the means to bring a stuffed animal to school.  She has an Eevee that her aunt and uncle got for her at Build-A-Bear a year or so ago, and so she dressed as a Pokemon trainer.  On a slightly more serious note, Girly had PSAT testing, which is why she had her dress-up day changed.  So for the oldest princess it was a school uniform, a calculator, and some #2 pencils for the day.  After school we snagged some fast food dinners and met up with Mrs. Geographist so that she could drive all the girls to church for the first day of children's choir.  We were really happy they decided to go ahead with it, since this is Curly's last year before she hits the youth group (and she's the singer of the family).  Whirly loves her new teacher as well, and both Mrs. Geo and Girly enjoy helping teach the younger kids.  I took advantage of the evening alone to cast my ballot for the upcoming election, catch up on some reading - I'm now in the second book of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy - and get ready for some baseball.  It was their first win after dropping the first three, so it was nice to see some life in the team!

Thursday - Decades day at school yielded Girly going for the 70s (unfortunately she doesn't have bell bottoms, and the school doesn't allow sandals so she couldn't wear her Birkenstocks) and Curly sporting her version of the 80s.  With all the fun these kids had putting together outfits, maybe Whirly and I should rig up some dress-up days of our own.  Side note on Whirly - her fine motor skills have started to really improve.  Along with her writing, that was a big reason she hasn't performed as well as hoped in school over the last two years.  She was off to martial arts as usual, Girly had color guard practice after school, and Curly had both music lessons in the same evening.  I had to come up with a quick meal in the middle of it all, so I tossed some burgers on the grill.  No time to get creative with dessert before watching some playoff baseball once again!


Friday - The day of the big homecoming game brought in a drizzly chill, as if we needed the reminder that autumn in Texas is unpredictable.  While the kids all dressed for school spirit, I was focused on team spirit for my baseball team.  Fortunately both went home winners on this particular day!  Before the game, Whirly got to join me as I ran some chores, including dropping my cello off at the nearby string shop for some repair work.  She claims to want to play the violin, so we may have a new lesson in our near future.  My grass had gotten pretty high while I've been hobbling around for the past two weeks so I made an attempt to mow in the light rain.  We were very happy to be able to attend our first game of the season, although the cool air ended up chasing us away in the third quarter once the victory was fairly well assured.


Saturday - We got kicked off in usual fashion, with a jaunt down to a cello lesson.  With region auditions behind us, her teacher invited me in to participate as they selected a new solo to begin.  Girly is hoping to audition for our church orchestra in the near future, and he wanted the song she picked to serve that purpose once it gets polished.  Once home, after a quick detour to pick up my instrument, we pulled together all of the necessary documents for a trip to the DPS.  Girly was originally not going to be able to get a learner's permit appointment until next month, but I found out that one of the nearby offices had an opening much sooner.  I was surprised at how well everything went, as the employees were helpful and courteous the entire time.  Unfortunately the test didn't ask the kinds of questions that kiddo expected and she missed passing by one question.  She was upset, but has two more chances to knock it out (and fortunately we won't have to resubmit all of the paperwork next time).  Once home we turned on game 7 of the playoff series but were disappointed when our team came up short and was eliminated.

This is usually when I would look forward to a new week, but I felt it was important to add one final, heartbreaking piece to the week.  On Sunday, we found out that the normal Saturday morning trip we'd taken to Girly's cello lesson would be the last of its kind.  Her teacher, Mr. Alex Pancheri, passed away unexpectedly in his sleep.  As his last student, my daughter became the final person he would ever play his cello alongside.  He leaves behind an amazing legacy of musicians that he helped nurture over a decades-long teaching and directing career, and a countless list of friends who loved him and admired his joyful personality, care, and generosity.  He loved kids and he loved music, and he will be missed.  This was the final picture I took of the two of them playing, less than 24 hours before Alex went home to his heavenly Father.  Rest in peace, my friend.


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