Between Ben’s trip to visit Uncle Warren in Kentucky, the Family Fun Fair at church, recruiting families for M’s F.I.R.S.T. Lego League team, the car needing a new catalytic converter (Dan may have found a waver program for otherwise safe old cars, stay tuned) and the approaching school year, college applications and homeschool co-op needing organization – the theme of our August photos is Dan doing things with the kids while I stayed home to type lists on the computer.
I love Dan.
I haven’t even got photos of my in-law’s visit, and haven’t yet taken photos of K’s room which they brought from stage 2 renovation to stage 4 by a spectacular trip to IKEA, but once those last two boxes have been unpacked into Trofasts and I’ve vacuummed, we’ll take lots and lots of pictures. Dan said that getting K’s room finished was a better present to him than anything else, and my in-laws want photos as a thank you more than a card.
When Dan and M drove my Mom into Boston for her check up, they hung out at the Arnold Arboretum until she woke up.
Funny (with some Happy, there is ice cream and big rocks involved):
One night when Dan took the kids out for ice cream (I think they were blue because they were missing Ben off in Kentucky) M remembered a time he ate the bottom of his ice cream cone first to see what it looked like inside. K decided to try it too, but M hadn’t mentioned that it resulted in getting drips in his eye. If I look in the old files, I can probably find a photo of that too.
and on yet another outing, this one to (yet again) put miles on the car with cleaner in it to see if the check engine light would re-set (again) Dan took M and K and my Mom to Purgatory Chasm. This time they saw a strange little mushroom.
When we sent Ben off for Kentucky, his flight was cancelled due to a hailstorm which also made Dan think he’d get a fractured wind screen. By the time Dan got home from the city, Ben was on the train headed home as well. Dan wound up driving Ben to catch his next flight at 3AM ( and lost in Boston due to detours) returned home, then drove Mom and M to the checkup/arboretum trip.
In the process of filling out the guidance counselor/school part of the Common App (probably while Dan was keeping the kids busy somewhere else) I’ve finally had to write a description of my school philosophy.
We believe that parents are responsible for their children’s education whether they teach directly or delegate parts of the work to tutors or schools. Our goal was to individualize Ben’s studies, remembering his strengths, weaknesses, and interests without skipping anything useful, important or mandated by Massachusetts law. We wanted Ben to know that mathematics is beautiful as well as useful and required; that science is a human endeavor, full of interest, but not the modern Sibyl; that a Christian should study hard since he should love God with all of his mind; that food starts from plants and animals, not boxes in the supermarket and that the Public Library is a treasure. Sometimes we used Charlotte Mason methods, sometimes we attempted Discovery Learning in the Progressive hands on tradition, but mostly we used Classical Education methods described in the Well Trained Mind.
Initially we decided not to delegate all of our job to the local public schools, because their emphasis on standardized testing did not fit with our understanding of child development. Also the children’s librarian kept teasing Christine that she was a born homeschooler, and pointing out the how to homeschool books. We have hired tutors for flute and Spanish, signed Ben up for classes at Good Company Tutorials, participated in co-ops, and enrolled Ben in the Attleboro High School Marching Band.
In Ben’s early education, we read aloud a great deal, played with Lego, took many, many field trips with other families, and helped establish a co-op for science experiments, art projects, plays and other activities that we needed extra children for. We started a F.I.R.S.T. Lego League Team in middle school. As Ben grew older and started to work independently, he took on a community garden plot, and began to study at the library daily. By late High School, we had moved from daily lessons to impromptu tutoring sessions whenever he had saved up questions to discuss at the kitchen table over coffee and scrap paper. He organized his friends to accompany him on field trips in Boston, travelling on the commuter rail. He got himself to his tutoring classes and band rehearsals, either walking, running or unicycling, usually with his portable chess set in his backpack in case a friend was available to play.
I also had to put in class rank even though Ben is my only high school student (I suppose it would actually mean something if he’d been a twin or multiple). Oh well. I wonder if I’ll remember how to navigate that website once it’s M and K’s turn, or if it will have all changed or they will be applying to schools that don’t use it…