Diary of a Homeschool Dad: Week 13

I always find it interesting when the school curriculum echoes real world events, or when lessons in one subject remind us of what's been taught in another subject earlier in the year.  So this week, as we've been learning about "Presidents and Precedents" in our heritage studies, the nation took to the polls to vote.  That didn't have any direct effect on our schooling, however, even though the local public school kids got the day off.  So for us, it was business as usual.

Sunday - Our 5th grade class continues to show strong attendance numbers as families continue to show up in greater numbers.  I've been teaching the kids about the Bible during this month's unit (good Sunday school topic, huh?) and this week was about whether Scripture is unique compared to other "holy books".  After snagging some tasty pasta at one of Houston's more kitchy Italian restaurants, Buca de Beppo, I started the process of trying to sell Mrs. Geographist's primary mode of transportation: her Lincoln Navigator.  This family traveling SUV has been on road trips all over the place, including vacations to Florida, Wisconsin, and Arizona, and now we've decided to move on to something new.  Most of the dealerships are closed on Sundays, so my search was limited to those places that allow you to get an online quote.  I took Girly to youth choir practice during the afternoon, and spent my hour of waiting trying to put some thoughts together for my contribution to the church's advent devotional.

Monday - Well, it didn't take long to find a decent quote on the car!  In addition to cranking away at work requests and steering Whirly through a full school day, I took pictures of the Lincoln to submit to confirm the offer we received.  Mrs. Geo will be driving Girly's smaller SUV back and forth to school until we nail down a more permanent replacement.  Speaking of the oldest princess, today was an important day in her calendar as she had her first lesson with her new cello teacher.  It was a little poignant that my GPS took us right next to her former teacher's neighborhood, causing her to plead, "Google, please don't make me sad."  I think the new perspective on and approach to her playing will serve her very well, and am confident that she'll blossom in her skills and technique over the coming months.  It certainly helps that she's already had such a positive acquaintance with the man who will be guiding her along.

       

Tuesday - It was Election Day, USA.  Mrs. Geo headed off to school, but not because any students would be present.  It was an in-service day that she used to grade her students' work, and she also had the opportunity to interview for her position (now that it's switching from a long-term sub to a permanent position).  With Curly and Girly attending a private school that isn't used as a polling location, they did not have the day off.  My office declared it to be a paid holiday, but somehow that didn't stop several of the deal teams from requesting work throughout the day.  I guess they didn't get the memo.  Curly had her clarinet lesson while Girly and I headed off for orchestra rehearsal.  We came home and checked election returns, but since nothing was going to be decided we finally hit the sack without answers just like everyone else in the country.

Wednesday - This was a pretty casual day, with Whirly kinda loping through her school day.  Sometimes the concentration level isn't "all there" but eventually she knuckled down to get everything pretty well knocked out.  All of the girls headed off to church in the evening for midweek activities, while I returned home to focus on a large number of work requests.  Every once in a while I'd check one of the news sources to see what was going on with the various remaining votes, but it seemed as if things were going to take a while to happen.  I recalled a quote that used to hang on my parents' wall when I was growing up: "Patience attains all it strives for."

Thursday - I hadn't been spending as much time inside Whirly's martial arts lessons as before, so when she asked me to come in this time it seemed like a pretty good idea.  It turned out to be really positive because, during a conversation with one of the moms, I was really encouraged by finding out how some of the other kids enjoy my daughter being there.  She's not the quickest study (even when she's paying attention) but it's terrific how the older students work so well with the new kids.  We hit the grocery store on the way back home so that I could get creative in the kitchen for dinner.  With all the different things I was throwing into the oven, two things happened - first, I filled up the dishwasher fast and ran out of clean cooking items, and second, I ran out of time before Curly's piano lesson.  Fortunately, Mrs. Geographist had made it home quickly and offered to run her around.  I finished off some parmesan-crusted chicken and potatoes au gratin, and got a pumpkin cake started by the time they returned.  Girly had stayed at school for a final practice before the last home football game of the season, and I ended up going to take her and a few friends for a quick Starbucks run before returning home to ice the cake.  A successful day in the kitchen, after all, begs for a good dessert to wrap it all up.  And a successful fall afternoon begs for a Christmas movie - good thing Curly and Whirly can still fit in a single recliner to enjoy The Polar Express!

                                    

Friday - Unfortunately, Curly just wasn't feeling good this morning (actually it had been lingering since early the previous evening, so don't blame my cooking!) so she stayed home from school.  I teasingly acused her of just wanting a three day weekend, but she wasn't up for having that conversation.  My hope had been that Mrs. Geo would find out if she got the job by this point because they'd conducted all of the necessary interviews and only have until 11/15 to either replace or extend her, but it didn't happen.  The folks who purchased our car came by and picked it up, dropping off a check in exchange for the keys and title.  With the two youngest already home and the oldest staying at school to prepare for Friday night lights, I got to avoid pickup line.  Instead, I went and picked up my beautiful wife for a trip over to the martial arts studio for their annual Christmas sale, where we stocked up on gear/gifts for Whirly on behalf of us and both sets of her grandparents.  We also started the process of shopping for everyone else's presents - now that both of us have paychecks coming in we're determined to have a good holiday without cutting corners like we've needed to do the past few years.  Unfortunately, I'd blown my chance to purchase tickets for the girls' school this week, so after streaming the bulk of it from home I went to pick up Girly and three of her friends to chauffer them over to a late-night band lock-in at the local cinema.  The band rented out a theater and they watched some Spiderman.  Knowing I was going to be up late, I had the final Lord Of The Rings DVD running back at the house.  I knew my kiddo wouldn't be able to stay up too late, and sure enough I got the text to come get her about 30 minutes prior to the movie's ending.  It was good to see the kids having some fun times together to celebrate a bizarre season's conclusion.


Saturday - Road trip!  Today was lots of fun, as our church hosted a family day at their retreat property out near the hill country.  Good food and friends, several games, face painting, a water balloon slingshot, hay rides, country music, and a fishing pond.  What a tremendous time to get out of town and have some stress-free relaxation.  The nearby area is known for antiques and plenty of small businesses that specialize in homemade and hand-crafted items, so on the way home our crew stopped to pick up some Christmas decor.  After we got home, two of the kids didn't feel like going out for dinner and instead scavenged for leftovers from the fridge.  That left Mrs. Geo and I to have a fun evening out with just Curly at a nearby BBQ joint.  What a great day to wrap up the week! 


                     

                                      




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