Look, I know I’m supposed to be in high dudgeon about climate change. I get it. But on days like today—a sunny, nineteen-degree November day—I find it hard to lament the unseasonably warm temperatures.
This morning Mr. December and I were talking to a friend about how homeschooled kids never get snow days and get far fewer sick days. “But you know,” I mused aloud, “It would make a lot of sense to give them ‘warm weather days’ when the weather is too nice to be stuck doing book work.”
We still made the kids do their school work, of course. But R chose to do her math work outside, and then we did our literature, language arts, and Pirkei Avot work on the back porch. We didn’t even need to use the infrared heater that’s been a fixture on the porch since sukkot ended.
This afternoon we went to the park for a weekly homeschool meetup. I love this group. The kids range in age from preschoolers to teens, and everyone plays with someone. I don’t know if it’s because they’re all homeschooled, but these kids are very good at taking the initiative to organize and invent games. Today was particularly idyllic: R climbed a large tree with two friends (at a distance from each other, of course,) K and some other tweens organized a huge game of hide-and-seek, and the parents all sat in an enormous circle on the grass, each of us on our own picnic blanket six feet away from the neighbouring blankets.
I don’t know if I can explain how full my heart feels when I see my children playing like this. I’ll just put these pictures here and hope that you can feel some of the energy from this afternoon.
This evening I tried to engage E in some reading and writing. I pulled out our newly-acquired movable alphabet and started playing with it. E was too busy swinging in the hammock to place any of the letters, but she did an excellent job of telling me which ones I needed to place.
Afterwards, I tried to get her to practice tracing the cursive letter “e” with me. She refused in no uncertain terms, so I ratcheted up the fun by turning it into a competition.
“Tell you what,” I said, “Here’s an orange dry-erase marker. You’re going to write a cursive “e” on any windows you like. Everytime I find one, I get a point. But if you see one of my blue “e”s, you get a point. Let’s see who has the most points by lunchtime tomorrow.”
Well, that got her fired up. At first E started to cry because she didn’t know how to write the letter. Then she pulled it together, grabbed an “e” from the movable alphabet, and asked me to hold it up for her so she could copy it. She drew the first one in the wrong direction. The second was messy. E got upset. But she couldn’t just let me win this contest, so she tried again. And again. By the fourth time, E’s “e” was pretty good. I’m not really allowed to say that, though, because I wasn’t supposed to be looking.
I’ve already hidden two of my “e”s on the front door and the mirrored library door. I can’t wait to watch E beat me at this game. One letter down, twenty-six to go.
And since I’m in such a good mood right now, I’ll leave you with my favourite silly joke. I set up the question and E did the answer.