Diary of a Homeschool Dad - Week 23
This new semester has been an interesting adventure so far - with my wife no longer going to a single school each day, she and I have been mixing up the responsibilities of teaching at home more frequently. We obviously have different ways of approaching individual lessons, but I think it's a positive situation for Whirly as she's soon going to experience having multiple teachers each day when she gets back into private school next semester.
Sunday - As an abnormal start to the week, we didn't go to church. Our youngest had trouble keeping her dinner down the prior day so as a precaution we didn't go out in public. She had no lingering issues, however, so it's likely just a side effect of her meds. After streaming our service I also made a point of checking in with our online 5th graders - two of our teachers have been handling the virtual version of Bible Study every Sunday for kids who aren't making it onto campus, so it was good to see that crew for the first time in a while. I had a virtual deacon meeting after that, but had to disconnect from it before they were done because we had our first virtual Bible Drill immediately thereafter. After getting all three of us who were participating (me, Curly, and Whirly) logged on to different devices in different rooms, we had some technical difficulties - Whirly's tablet ran out of batteries, and Curly had a light burn out in her room and had to finish with both of them together in the dark! Plus, because we were unable to pick up their take-home kit from church, they were left without the ability to do half of the activities. I appreciate folks who try their best in suboptimal situations, but it always seems to be the kids who get the short end of the stick.
Monday - I started off the week teaching, as the overnight snow that caused some school closures in counties north of town didn't reach us. Mrs. Geographist spent the morning as a sub for a local public school, and then the afternoon at the girls' private school. Whirly had some fun activities scheduled for her assignments, but we had to "wing it" on a few of them. For instance, science called for the use of a triple beam balance scale that would measure the mass of an object in grams. Um, we didn't have one of those lying around the house, so I got creative. I rigged up a balance to hang from the back porch ceiling - it consisted of a stick with an old shoe hanging from each side. I calculated that 12 oz was approximately 340 g, so we filled up an old coke can with water and filled up a cup inside one shoe, and then were able to determine the relative mass of various other objects inside a cup in the other shoe. I only wish I'd taken a picture of my goofy contraption for posterity's sake. Once the older girls got home and I threw together some dinner they each had their music lessons, with Curly playing clarinet virtually and Girly riding with me over to her cello lesson.
Tuesday - Mrs. Geo didn't pick up a sub job and was home for the day, so she taught Whirly and took her to martial arts. When I teach, my work laptop comes into the office with me, but when I'm replaced I relocate to the kitchen breakfast table. It's nice because we can see and hear each other as much as we like, but also can shut the doors between us when I'm on a call or need to be otherwise focused on a project. If you happened to notice yesterday's clarinet lesson was a departure from its normal time, you're very observant. We had to shift things around for a few weeks, as Curly will have basketball practice on Tuesday nights for a while. It was a nice chance to have some Daddy-daughter time in the car over some yummy food, and the hour while she practiced gave me the opportunity to swing over to the mall for some new aftershave after I ran out during the previous weekend. Gotta keep smelling good!
Wednesday - It was back to teaching for me and back to the classroom for mom, as she headed to the girls' school to sub for Girly's favorite high school teacher. It's nice that none of the girls have any problem with having their mother on campus. An interesting contrast in styles played itself out during the morning, as both Whirly and I have each grown accustomed to playing music while bathing. She cranks up the smart speaker in the hallway outside her bathroom, while I turn up my phone on the counter by my sink. Even with three closed doors between the two of us, it's still humorous to me hearing the difference between her Disney tunes compared to my Fallout Boy and Avicii. It was a pretty short day for school, as Whirly knocked out tests in both Math and English quite rapidly. Nothing else took long, and because there wasn't a ton of work coming in from my office we were both done with our days well in advance of the rest of the girls coming home. With no lessons or practices, and all weekday church activities canceled, it was a fairly low-key evening.
Thursday - The teaching back-and-forth continued, with Mrs. Geo home for the day. After picking up Whirly from martial arts, the three of us went to meet my in-laws for lunch. What kid doesn't love spending time during the school day with Grandma and Grandpa? Obviously that put her a little behind the 8-ball on school once everyone got home, but it was well worth it. We all got caught up once we returned home, but there was still some work to be done after kiddo's older sisters got home. Curly had her piano lesson, and then we all hit a nearby Italian restaurant for dinner (and dessert!) to call it a day.
Friday - Mrs. Geographist got to teach her daughter today, but this time she was a sub in 5th grade so it was Curly who got to see mom. I juggled helping Whirly finish up her school work with my own efforts to get work requests taken care of before the long weekend. For dinner I attempted to cook up some prime rib on the grill but discovered I was low on propane. So instead, it was a combo of cast iron skillet and oven to the rescue, although the extra time meant all of the sides were finished well in advance of the entrée. The dog was more than happy to help with cleaning up some of the scraps that remained after everyone had their fill. I tried getting everyone interested in a movie I used to watch as a kid, and while Mrs. Geo humored me the rest of the crew drifted away. It clearly wasn't their cup of tea.
Saturday - The weekend kicked off with a big day for Curly. She and mom were out the door a little early to buy a gift for a friend's birthday party, which was held at a local trampoline park. If that didn't provide enough physical exertion, she then traveled across town for a basketball double-header where she wound up totaling 5 quarters of play time. I was exhausted just thinking about it! Girly practiced some of her driving skills by taking me to get gas and lunch, and then headed off to her boyfriend's house for a few hours. I decided it would be great to invite the young man out to dinner with the family (he has to be initiated by the younger siblings at some point, right?) so we arranged a spot that everyone liked. So we went off for some Tex-Mex, meeting Mrs. Geo and Curly on their way back from basketball. Unfortunately, Whirly once again had an upset stomach, so she and her mom didn't make it through the meal. Good thing we had come in two vehicles. But other than their untimely departure it was a pleasant evening and we all got better acquainted.