Week behind : Oct 29 - Nov 02.

I. THINGS WE HIGH-FIVE ABOUT / THE MATH, PT. UNO.

Is learning cursive important in an era of text messaging and digital input?

Is learning to tell analog time important in an era of smart watches, phones, and digital readouts?

In our household, the answer is yes to both.

And guess what?! As of this week, eighty percent of our family can successfully tell the time on a watch, accurate to within an hour or two!! This is exciting.

II. THINGS I GET NERDY ABOUT / THE MATH, PT. DEUX.

Of course we can't live out our dreams vicariously through our children.

Of course we can't mold our children into carbon copy upgrades of ourselves.

Of course we can't hover over them and micromanage every little detail of a project they're working on.

But what about when one is doing a mathematics assignment and it looks like too much fun to miss out on, so you jump in and start trying to solve them faster than her, but don't, but still you stay excited because there's adrenaline and serotonin flying all around and numbers can be so much fun to break down and figure out and...

yeah, so anyway, prime factorizing is kinda cool. If you're into that sort of thing. Which I discovered at 42, uh, yes I am.

III. TO BE OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE COGITO ERGO SUM / LANGUAGE.

September was The Merchant of Venice. Big hit.

October has been Romeo and Juliet. Slower go. Harder to get into, but they've been paying attention and slowly getting pulled in.

And what a glorious opportunity to reintroduce some words to everyday conversation. Here's a sampling:

repellant, grotesque, fain, languished, tyrant, enmity, peril, tactless, unprepossessing, sentient, cataclysmic, nucleus, electromagnetic

Two of those are not from Shakespeare. Take your guesses.

IV. MONO LISO.

Johannes has been feverishly drawing this week. One of his opuses has been a pencil rendition of a male that he has titled "Boy With a Pearl Earring."

In the lower left, he wrote "Johannes Vermeer," then drew a line through it and wrote underneath: "Johannes Long."

That would be him.

V. COMPETENCE.

I was helping at RHL in Johannes' class assembled twenty-some multi-page packets for their upcoming Literature assignment. It wasn't until I got home and Johannes observed that his packet was missing one of the pages that I realised somehow, for whatever reason, every packet I had made was missing a key page.

I am reconciled to the fact that I likely let down my own children on a regular basis. But it is a different type of embarrassment to feel that you've let down an entire class of third graders.

Maybe I'll learn from that mistake. But considering that my photocopying this year will always involve having a two-year assistant helping me out, there is a high probability that a mistake such as that could occur again. Possibly multiple times. So it goes.

VI. I GET WORKED UP.

I have a 20-unit outline for Social Studies this year as focus on the Americas. So far, we're still on Unit 00.

Yes, I wanted to create a 20-unit lesson plan. But I also wanted to squeeze in a...long introduction-ish kind of thing. So I called it Chapter 00 and it's focused on the first peoples, and the state of Europe around the time of the Renaissance and Age of Exploration. Point is, we haven't even gotten to Unit 1 yet. Do I feel bad?

No. We've enjoyed marvelous discussions and dissections of THE WHY. I have told them over and over and over:

I don't care about you remembering a bunch of dates. There's certain bookmarks for chronology I want you to remember. For example, the Renaissance began in the 1400s. Remember that.

But I don't care about you remembering when Pizarro first plundered Peru, or when Cortés annihilated the Aztec empire, or even the exact year Columbus sailed the ocean green, or whatever color it is.

I don't care.

I care more about the big timestamps. 400s BC. Birth of Christ, give or take a hundred years. Rome falls in the 400s AD. Stuff like that.

And more important: WHY did these happen? Why did events happen the way they did? How did they happen, and does history happen in cycles or patterns?

These are questions to ask and ideas to think about.

So we're going slow and having lots of discussions. Today: Triangle Trade, the colony of Georgia, and how a decent Englishman inadvertently helped accelerate slavery in the Americas.

VII. COPERNICUS.

We're all about Astronomy this quarter. Earth-moon-sun systems, gravity, tides, moon phases, equinoxes versus solstices, and starting this week...stars.

"I don't make you memorize a lot of numbers, okay?"
I said.
"But promise me this: remember that the sun is 93 million miles from Earth. Ninety-three million miles is equal to one Astronomical Unit. Don't forget."

"Okay."
they said.

Then they did.

VIII. UNTITLED.

Perhaps one of the most important things I did earlier in the week was to fix my sewing machine. By using the word "fix," I am hoping it conjures up a vision of me dissecting it into a thousand pieces as I carefully use my engineering skills and amazing spatial intelligence to put it back together properly.

But no. I had to replace a needle, tighten the presser foot, and rethread the bobbin. Things that should realistically not take more than a couple months to do, which is how long I took, or longer.

Important because I got it up and going, and they had a grand afternoon cutting out fabrics and designing several items they'd wanted to sew.

Together, they chuckled and bantered and got excited and simply existed. Together. I loved it. So much.

IX. IN WHICH THE STUDENTS ATTEMPT A COUP D'ETAT OF SORTS.

Three homeschooling siblings studying together at table

X. THIS LIFE.

"This life,"
Becca and I say to each other sometimes, shaking our heads and grinning, sometimes with a frown.

This life.

One teaches, one works. The other teaches, the other works. Shift on, shift off. Home, work, work, home.

Get up, get ready, get children ready. Coffee. See the other off. Work or teach. Fast forward. Together again in the evening. Supper, talk, read, play music, watch a film, bedtime for littles, chores for us. Then work or telly. Aah, telly. Thank you, programming curators, for 22 or 43 minutes of goodness after a long day.

Then reset. The next day is ahead.

I would rather be doing this with no one other than my very own Countess Becca.

Messy, messy, we are a messy mass of curious, hard-running, hilarious, inimitable, big-hearted humanity who learns life together. We make a mess. And we make fun.

Together.

Two parents lying in bed with their three sprawling children