Remember when I told you that we were gradually blurring the lines between school hours and the rest of life? I’m about to do something that might be very foolhardy: schoolwork in the evening.
Three weeks ago I would have insisted on finishing our schoolwork by 3 p.m. But today, which was sunny and almost warm enough to wear shorts, I couldn’t bear to bring them back inside. It may be warmer than the usual November, but the sun still sets around 5 p.m.—daylight hours are precious. Why waste them on schoolwork?
So now that it’s dark and we’ve finished dinner, I have an agenda to get through.
The kids know about the first thing: it’s a party to celebrate finishing our first novel study (Charlotte’s Web.) Actually, “party” might be a generous term here. I bought Cracker Jack (one of Fern’s favourite treats at the county fair) and we’ll be having a web-making contest. I plan to give each kid a ball of yarn and let them make their own webs with words in them.
Then I plan to cover some history in anticipation of Remembrance Day. I’m thinking the Oversimplified video on WWI would go over well.
Finally, I’ll get everyone ready for bed and then corral them in E’s room, where we’ll read more of our current novel—The One and Only Ivan—together before bedtime.
I didn’t expect the kids to get as into the web building as they did. I thought it would be a fifteen-minute activity, a tiny bit of fun before moving on to our history videos.
Boy, was I wrong. K and R created this epic web on the staircase and insisted that we time each kid climbing through it like an obstacle course. N’s rather elaborate web used the two hammock chairs as well as some dining room furniture. E and I worked as a team. We were the only ones who actually followed instructions; our web had a word in it. It was E’s idea to write “stuck” in our web, as in, “If you fly into our web, you’ll be stuck!”
A good time was had by all, right up until I saw K freeze on the landing, like she was looking at something in horror. She was holding one of my houseplants by the stem, its roots dangling helplessly. Apparently the girls’ web had disturbed the large container of water holding that plant, and the water had spilled everywhere.
“Why are you just looking at it?” I asked, exasperated. “Go get some towels and soak it up!” K ran to get towels and passed them to R, who did the cleanup.
Of course, when I went upstairs to tuck everyone in, I noticed a huge puddle under my desk chair. And the chair was hard to move—were the foam pads under it wet?
I’m ashamed to say, I kind of lost it.
“WHAT THE HECK, YOU GUYS?!?!?” I hollered, “You can’t just mop up what you see and pretend that water doesn’t flow along the entire floor!!! And you got my papers wet! URGH! And my plant now has no water! You know what? We’re never doing ANYTHING fun again, EVER! Now GO TO BED!”
They scattered like cockroaches when the lights go on. K must have taken my rant to heart, because she came back, sidled up to me, and silently gave me a big hug.
After a minute she spoke. “I’m really sorry, Eema,” she said. “We should have cleaned it up better. I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I sighed, “I was just exasperated. These things happen, and no permanent damage was done. You can keep hugging me, though.”
Then I picked up the towels and went upstairs. I read the kids a few chapters of The One and Only Ivan and then tucked them in.
In the end, we got two out of three school things done tonight, and the third will keep. I’m pretty sure World War I will still be the same tomorrow.