Children, Family, Homeschool

Totality…almost.

Totality almost baby girlLast week was the week of the total eclipse across the entire continental United States. And we were in the path of totality…almost. We were in the path of 97% totality. What’s a measly 3%, anyway?! Well…when you’re dealing with the sun, apparently 3% of the sun is still super bright. More on that later.

So…the day of the eclipse arrived and the kids were super excited. This was a homeschool day focused completely on what happens with an eclipse, how the moon covers the sun, how the shadow screams across the ground lightning fast although it seems to us on the ground like it’s taking forever!! We had bought our glasses awhile back (shout out to dear husband for thinking of buying them back before the price jacked up with supply and demand!) and those glasses came with an eclipse book. So we poured over the book while we waited our turn for the big show. On the east coast, that was about 2:30pm so we had time to watch the eclipse on TV as it made its way across the country.

Pinhole Eclipse ViewerI had found cute pinhole eclipse viewers you can make out of cereal boxes so we spent some time making those as well. As much as my OCD self wanted to take command of this project, I made myself stand back and let the kids cut out the holes, tape the tin foil and…poke the hole in the foil! I need a minute for this one because every fiber of my being wanted to manage the ‘poke the hole’ step!!

But, I let them do the whole project and the kids ran outside to look in their viewers. They were not pleased. I’m not sure what they thought they were going to see, but a little bright circle at the bottom of a box of Special K was not it! So, the boxes were kind of flung to the side. But at least it was time spent having fun making a craft. Memories, right? 🙂

I had put on my viewing glasses just to see what the sun looks like through them and low and behold, the moon was already kissing the edge of the sun!! “The moon!!!”, I screamed like a little kid,  “I can see the moon!! It’s starting!!”. And my own little ones came scampering outside with their glasses loosely attached to their heads. It was in this moment that I realized that baby girl’s glasses would never stay on her face. So, the resourceful side of me poked holes in the back edge of the glasses and I tied twine pieces to the holes.

Then I tied the glasses to baby girl’s face. Yep…tied them to her face. Worked perfectly!

So…in all of this excitement we had told our dear children, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We can’t make it happen again so don’t miss it! We aren’t going to stop looking at the eclipse because you are having a fit. You are on your own until after the totality.” Because, for real…this IS a big deal!!

So, we had thought the wildcard would be baby girl. She’s got a knack for pitching a fit at the worst times. But she did great! No… the dark horse of the day was boy child and I’m debating to tell you why he was pouting right at the moment of maximum coverage of the moon…

He wanted to eat hummus. Right then. At that moment. Yeah. you read that right. He wanted to eat hummus. It was all we could do to get those glasses on his head and make him look at the sun!

“Look at the sun right now, son!!” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said that…

The moment was upon us. All the kids were quietly watching. We took off our glasses to look at the darkness around us that wasn’t there…begin commentary now:

Totality almost eclipse maximumHey, it isn’t dark!..Hey, the moon isn’t completely covering the sun..I thought the street lights would come on!..It isn’t even cold!…Where’s the stars??

This picture is the moment of maximum moon cover. This is 97% totality:

So, feeling a bit disappointed ourselves, we start talking about how bright the sun is. How when only 3% of the sun is showing, it’s still bright enough to cast shadows, still bright enough that we can see to read, still bright enough to feel hot outside, still bright enough to burn your eyes …It’s bright!! Although for a few minutes, we were able to see a single planet in the sky.

So, it was totality…almost. But for us, it was an entire day of lifetime memory making. And though I didn’t see the Bailey’s beads, the wispy corona or the diamond ring effect I had an entire day of time with the kids that we will undoubtedly be talking and laughing about years in the future around our Thanksgiving table…

“Remember that summer where we had a total (almost) eclipse?! Who was complaining about the hummus??

 

 

 

Children, Family, Homeschool

God Bless Grandma

IMG_8544.JPGToday was an adventure of a very different kind…Dad was away for a special project so I was left to watch and teach the kids their school lessons. Were are quite fortunate to have Grandma living very close by so I had the thought that this would be a great opportunity to help her with a project at her house while she watched the kiddos and helped them with school.

The project? Painting a bedroom and a hallway. Armed with all the supplies I need and having had several conversations with the children about “how it’s gonna go” today, I was sure this would be easy, organized and not at all loud.

Wrong, wrong and wrong!

Grandma, bless her dear heart, had the dubious task of watching all the children while also separating one at a time from the herd to give that one a school lesson. And of course, all of the kids stopped by the bedroom I was painting several times, breached the “don’t go past this point” marker and came dangerously close to the open paint can while surveying my progress and telling me what a great job I was doing. And then each had to touch a painted wall while asking “is it dry yet?”

It’s an interesting thing to be on the top rung of a ladder, delicately painting where the wall meets the ceiling, only to hear screaming, “bad” words (FYI…the bad word arsenal of a 5 and 7 year old includes timeless classics as ‘butt, stupid, and poopy face’) and the classic “uh-oh…I spilled it”. Grandma was a good sport throughout a day that I imagine is what wrangling kittens looks like.

And the bedroom got painted. And the paint can didn’t spill. And school got done. And the kids had a great time.

God bless Grandma.

 

Children, Homeschool, Uncategorized

Daddy’s School

We have chosen to homeschool our children. Our children call it “Daddy’s School” and my husband is their fearless teacher. Man, does he do a good job. Really good job.

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The Classroom

Imagine seeing the cradle of forestry instead of just reading about it. Imagine feeling fog rolling by instead of just seeing a water cycle on a visual aid on a wall in a classroom. Imagine obtaining a National Parks Junior Ranger badge by completing several learning tasks including identification of indigenous trees of Western North Carolina…

Homeschool for our children is our way of opening up what the world has discovered and what the world has to offer. They are so eager to learn and the beauty of teaching them this way is that they are taught without frustration. They aren’t frustrated because the curriculum can easily be adjusted to accommodate how they learn as individuals.

And while Dad/ teacher ensures that they stick to the curriculum plan, he is by no means obligated to stay within the bounds of strict teaching guidelines. That means he can take the children to the zoo to see how sheep are sheared and what happens to that beautiful wool after it comes off the sheep. They can hear the sheep, feel the wool, watch the worker and smell the aroma of animals.

We don’t “teach to the test”and we aren’t looking for little parrots of information. We do want independent thinkers with valuable tools for analysis, utilization and problem-solving skills that aren’t hindered by typical process of elimination methods. The beauty of homeschooling is that our children are reading with comprehension at about 2 public school grades ahead, they are absorbing scripture through Bible study (using the actual Bible and not a children’s summary-type book), they are learning about ancient cultures like Rome, they are studying about the biology of cells, of the structural make-up of the human body, i.e. muscles, bones, veins, etc…did I mention these children are in kindergarten and first grade? They are eating this information up and are so excited to learn it! And they are capable! We aren’t forcing them to get ahead…it’s just happening because that is the pace in which they are learning.

Make no mistake, these children are learning by leaps and bounds in a most impressive fashion. Don’t take this as a defense of why we homeschool. We are so immensely proud of the progress that our children have made so far and advocate homeschooling as a viable option for instruction.

If  you are contemplating homeschool for your children, go with your instinct. You know what’s best for your children. Don’t overthink what society deems as normal or appropriate for your children. Don’t be discouraged by a lack of familial support. Your father-in-law may think you’re crazy but you’ll be successful and that will be your gold star.

You have already taught your children so much. They walk and talk because of you. If you have the means to homeschool and feel this is a good match for your family- go for it. You won’t be disappointed in the results.