Archive for May, 2007

Various updates

May 16, 2007

Hello, I’m sure everyone’s given up on regularly checking here as I never update, but the weather is improving and so seems to be my vitual chattiness. I did check the digital photo folders, but it seems that neither James nor I have been doing much in the way of visually documenting our lives. Shall have to remedy that.

So. The weather is pretty on and off, though the on days are almost warm, which is nice. I have a weather icon for Moscow, ID as well on my desktop which shows it to be 76 right now, about perfect. Sods.

The kids are developing their own styles of learning things, it would seem. Joseph has an interesting bias against spelling, which I can’t even manage to budge giving him the example of his writing dr who comics requiring basic spelling skills. Nyssa confuses me–she has to be reminded how to approach subtraction word problems but can mentally add fractions with differing denominators. She also needs a lot of positive energy from me or she’s likely to get down on herself and go into hopeless mode. That’s fine, but I can see why she was having trouble in a classroom.

Nyssa has a dance exam coming up, and she’s getting quite anxious about it. She had a bad rehearsal this week and wanted to quit, but I don’t think I’ll let her at this point. She doesn’t have to do an exam, but I think the kids need to experience perseverence paying off. Particularly if they feel that not going to school anymore was an escape from something they found unpleasant. They don’t tend to remember anything nice about it, so, rather perversely, I find myself recalling good things that happened. This will kick me in the ass of course when they start pining for the classroom.. Anyway, it’s hard to know when to press things and when to let the kids self-determine. To James and me, the ‘three r’s’ are non-negotiable. Could be because I’m a writer (well..) and thus see being able to communicate with words as a vital part of living, and a person needs to be able to do their taxes. There are essential skills, right? But then what other things do I get to push? Music, since my personal sense of aesthetics demands it? Social science, since I think humans benefit from studying themselves? The list goes on and on. It’s said that the home-ed parent’s job is to expose and facilitate, but it’s often not that easy. I also have to remember that the vast majority of my academic interests were not pursued meaningfully until university, and that as a kid the things that served me were, yes, the three r’s and the pleasure I got out of my own chosen hobbies. So maybe I should mellow out and let Nyssa draw her fairy people and Joseph act out his Doctor Who fantasies while they’ve still got the leisure and active imaginations to do so.

Lessee..oh, for those who might have been concerned Mitten’s tummy issues seem to have resolved themselves. With the help of hella expensive catfood.

I found a splendid new online diversion– http://icanhascheezburger.com I shan’t tell you which commenter I am in order to retain some dignity. It’s good to go a little ‘squee’ now and again.

Oh oh, I succeeded in sticking it to the manufacturers of expensive spinning wheels and made one myself. I mean, seriously, it’s ancient technology. If I couldn’t put one together with some crap I found at the DIY, then what good were all those years I spent in the jr. high shop room? It even works fairly well, though I need to find a properly-sized long bolt. The DIYs here are rubbish. I need those excellent places I went to the in the States, the ones with the huge tubs full of nails, screws, bolts, etc. etc. for aisles and aisles that you could happily stuff into little paper bags. It’s like pick-a-mix lego for grownups! Well, certain kinds of grownups. I might be a little odd..

Joseph was relating to me today what he and Nyssa read in Matilda. He said that she had read the entire children’s library collection at the age of 4. I asked him if he thought that was likely. He mentally calculates for a moment, considering the fact that she had several months, and concluded that it was indeed ‘definitely plausible.’ He’s been watching too much Mythbusters. 😉

Last week we finally made it out to Craigencalt Ecology Centre, though the weather was so miserable that the kids whinged more than they learned. It would have been so fantastic had the weather been good, the people there really had their stuff down. Joseph injured his leg a bit, and Nyssa took her coat off in the rain, soaking her t-shirt *and* her coat, apparently having forgot that we had a wee journey home.

Tomorrow the kids are having friends over to watch Jump In on the Disney Channel, the latest teenybopper movie. When I was 7 was I so interested in what teenagers did that I would actively seek out shows and movies about them? I think back then a teenager was someone who babysat you, and if you were lucky managed to be somewhat interested in what you were doing. I blame all this on Bratz (even though we’ve never had them) and whoever coined the term ‘bling’ (though, now that I think about it, I’ve never actually heard the kids say it). I dunno. I fantasize about giving the kids a proper ‘traditional’ childhood, with Nyssa in pinafores (to muddy up) and Joseph having a tree (to get stuck in) and no media influence at all, just family-friendly radio stories read in a lulling voice in the evenings in front of a fire. Maybe a bit hokey, but only as much as my current situation is not. Hard to avoid consumer trends when you live just off the high street. Hard to savor a peaceful evening with drunken wierdos shouting outside. Don’t even get me started about the yard, or I’ll pitch headlong into a rant that starts ‘back when I was a kid in Idaho…’ Ah, but I whine. We have cats! I didn’t used to. Life, therefore, has improved!

Well, no eye candy, but I do believe I’ve written enough for one entry.