February 2008 Homeschool Adventures

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February was a leap year this year, and we leaped into it with lots of activities. Flo and Darren started the month with a little culture by going to a performance of the Snow White ballet at the Capitol Theatre in Chambersburg, PA, with my mom. Flo has enjoyed several shows there. Mid month, I took the kids up again to meet my mom for a morning presentation of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” That was cute. It even kept Joe’s attention.

Darren also started working at home at the beginning of this month, so we had a little adjustment in our schedule. But, it was mostly a good transition. It’s nice to be able to pop out for an errand or take Flo and the baby to an activity, while Joe stays home. It definitely affords us more flexibility, and for Darren, the opportunity to be more present in the kid’s lives. So, we consider it a real blessing to have this opportunity right now.

On the 6th, we had another round of our “Spelling Bee Club.” Once again, Flo didn’t spend much time studying for it, though we did try to do her flashcards several nights in a row before bed. Nonetheless, she was the first one “out” and got very down on herself. I explained that it isn’t at all a reflection of her intelligence, but more just of the effort she put into studying. And, it is all just for fun, AND, no matter what, she’s at least learning to spell better and experience a little healthy competition. So, I think it was a positive experience.

Next, our homeschooling group did a field trip to Ski Liberty for a couple hours of tubing. Darren took Flo and they had a great time. We opted not to take Joe this year, because I obviously couldn’t go for back-up, since I had the baby, and we weren’t sure it would be safe for him. As it turns out, it would have been fine, but we’ll take him next year.

This month’s homeschool art class at the Smithsburg library studied the American artist, Frederic Remington, born in Canton, NY in 1861. He's known for his paintings of the Wild West. Flo drew a pencil drawing of a horse. Quite cute.

On the 16th, Darren took Flo to the Imbolc celebration with the earth-centered spirituality group at our church. They had a nice time. Unfortunately, we don’t always all get to go, because taking three kids makes the peaceful celebrations more like a circus. But, it’s a good group, and we try to go when we can.

With that “earth” focus in mind, a new group met on the 17th to discuss starting a Earth Scouts group. Earth Scouts is a fairly new organization, but it looks like it will incorporate a lot of the values we’d like to instill in the kids with regards to respect for the earth and its resources. The parents met and we decided to have our first group meeting in April, since “Earth Day” is in April. So, we’ll see how that goes.

Our homeschooling co-op group continued this month, and our mid-month meeting included a Valentine’s Exchange, which was a lot of fun for the kids. I spent at least four days prior making cards with Flo. Joe lost interest after about the second heart we cut out. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the cheap drug store cards, though as a kid, I think enjoyed them. Snoopy was my favorite! But, there’s something to be said for making things yourself and personalizing them a bit, so we did, and it was fun!

Flo started a six week track class for kids at Hagerstown Community College. Her general comment on the class is that she feels out of shape. I think it’s been a good experience for her and a lot of good exercise. She’s also continuing with skating lessons once a week and we’re hoping to start back up with yoga next month. So, I think we’ve got the physical fitness thing covered.

One of the mom’s in our group started at “Geo Lunch” group for the kids this month. This is a great idea. We all studying a specific country for the month, then meet for lunch, share a little we know about the country and bring a potluck dish representative of the cuisine of that country. Our first month was Russia. We brought mushroom stroganoff. The kids also watched “Anastasia,” for it’s Russian theme. It was a fun day.

Towards the end of the month, Flo went on a field trip with her church religious ed class. They went to Antietam Battlefield, as they had been studying Clara Barton. Darren chaperoned and they had a nice Sunday morning. Darren seems to have an affinity for that historical location. There definitely is some pretty scenery there.

On the 28th, Darren took Flo to work, so she could accompany him to meet Alex at the airport in the afternoon. Alex, Darren’s good friend from Italy, arrived to spend two weeks with us. The kids hear so much about him, and have talked to him on the phone, that they acted like he was here just the other day. But, it has been over five years since we saw him. He came to Connecticut just have Joe was born. Wow, time flies!

So, we ended the month, on leap day, with a visit from Flo’s homeschooling buddy, Callie, who came to play for the afternoon. Joe also had a little neighbor boy, Nathan, who is the son of a mom in our natural foods co-op, come to play for an hour or so. Nathan is about ten months younger than Joe, and they kind of butted heads a bit. But, it was entertaining to watch Joe interact with someone closer to his age, because he tends to socialize mostly with Flo’s friends. I guess that’s the beauty of homeschooling. There is no formula for socialization; it’s all good.

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