family fun · Homeschool · Independence · Kids · parenting

Day 179: Cliff Hangers (and hangers-back)

You guys, we climbed a cliff today. For real.

We took a day trip to Bruce’s Caves Conservation area. It was over an hour-long drive, but once we got out of the car and onto the trail, the excitement began. There were boulders of all sizes, many covered in moss, dotting the forest floor. E ran into the woods yelling, “EVERYBODY CLIMB EVERYTHING!”

Even she didn’t know how right she was.

When we got to the caves we wandered around until K and R saw a ledge they wanted to sit on. Mr. December held a flashlight for them while they climbed up. One by one we joined them, until we were all on the ledge. Then R wanted to get down and keep going farther from where we’d come in.

At first we were just checking out what was behind the ledge. They we “had to” climb a particularly fun-looking boulder. Almost before I knew it, we were scrambling up the edge of the cliff, using tree roots and cracks in the rocks as handholds. Finally we made it to the top.

The Bruce Trail runs along the top of the cliff, so we hiked along it for a while. Then when we turned around, Mr. December encouraged the kids to find a way down from the cliff. R and K shared leadership duties, taking turns scouting out the best route. Mr. December and I hung back to watch their decision-making process; and when we all got back to the main trail at the bottom of the cliff, we told them that they would lead us back to the car, too.

R and K made a very sensible decision: we’d walk back to the mouth of the cave, since they knew for sure how to get back to the car from there. Back we trekked. The kids ran back into the cave and started climbing, and Mr. December and I sat outside the cave and waited for them.

I have to tell you that there were moments during that hike where my heart was in my mouth and I wanted to scream, “STOP!!!” Although I talk a lot about letting kids take risks and get hurt, I’m generally thinking of city life and the miniscule risks children can take in their own neighbourhoods, like climbing up a too-tall slide or walking to the store alone to buy some milk. It was a lot harder for me to sit on my hands and bite my tongue when the risks were much greater and there was a real danger of tumbling fifty feet into a crevasse.

And yet the experience was so much more powerful because the danger was real. The hike wasn’t restricted only to the beaten path; there were no signs telling you not to climb the rocks; and there were no ropes or railings along the cliff’s edge. The obstacles were natural, real, and we conquered them. The kids planned, scouted, chose their approach, and then led us through it.

It was a powerful exercise in trust and leadership, one that I hope made as much of an impact on the kids as it did on me. If I had to have one takeaway from today, though, it’s this:

We climbed an actual, honest-to-goodness cliff. This family is so badass.

blogging · family fun · Homeschool · Keepin' it real · Kids

Day 177: Well, *I* had fun…

It was cold here today — 15 degrees celsius cold — so of course we stayed inside for much of the day. By eleven a.m., I was itching to do something other than sitting around in the cottage reading. I proposed a paddling excursion, which K and N both initially declined and R and E enthusiastically accepted. I decided not to let N beg off, so I offered him a deal: paddle now or paddle later. He chose now.

We bundled up on top: sweatshirts and rain jackets under our live vests. On the bottom half we wore shorts. I have to say, I was quite comfortable. R and N complained of the cold, and that was only the beginning of their complaints.

About 30 metres from the dock, R said her hands were hurting. I corrected her grip on the paddle, gave her some pointers, and encouraged her to keep going. We had a destination in mind: what I call the “tree graveyard,” a small inlet where there are tree trunks and stumps under the water. It’s beautiful and R wanted to see it, but she was stopping every couple of minutes to massage her hands. N complained that we were moving too slowly, and when I finally got us going more quickly, he turned his kayak to face away from us and stopped paddling. He did that repeatedly over the hour that we were on the water.

A photo taken on a slightly less grey day.

It wasn’t all complaints. R, N, and E all like to sing, which is a great way to keep paddling in rhythm, so we sang some rounds: the obvious “My Paddle Keen and Bright” first, and then a couple of songs we learned in choir at violin camp in summers past. For about fifteen minutes we were singing:

Black socks, they never get dirty
The longer you wear them, the blacker they get.
Sometimes I think I should launder them,
Something inside me says “don’t wash them yet!”
Not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet…

Mr. December and K caught up with us in the canoe. By this point R couldn’t paddle at all anymore, so we tied a rope to the front of her kayak and the back of mine. I towed her the rest of the way. Heading back from the tree graveyard N was mulishly stopping, covering his face with his hood, and refusing to respond when I spoke to him; I ended up towing him, too. It was a great workout.

Back at the shore, R did her best (which wasn’t very good) to pull her kayak up onto the sand. N didn’t even bother. He threw down his paddle, left his kayak floating between the rocks, and ran up to the cottage. I was not impressed. Later I learned that he was cold, tired, and frustrated; he hated the entire expedition. Not that it excused his behaviour, but at least I understand… sort of.

In a bid to do something special in the afternoon I baked banana bread (nobody was going to eat those spotted bananas anyway) and made some blueberry tea, then invited everyone to the table for poetry teatime. I expected some resistance but shouldn’t have; there was fresh banana bread on the line. Everyone else ate and drank while I read one Shel Silverstein poem after another, chosen by each child in turn.

Apparently I’m good at reading aloud, because I was then persuaded to read a few entries from The Weighty Word Book before I got up to prepare dinner (E and I are on K.P. today.) And then I made my escape, finally, out to the deck where I’m looking at the mist over the lake and typing this blog post to the sounds of raindrops and honking geese. The spitting rain doesn’t bother me, but my computer might not agree; I suppose it’s time to go inside and be a parent again.

bikes planes and automobiles · Homeschool · Kids · parenting · well *I* think it's funny...

Day 169: Chatterboxes

Sometimes my kids just won’t stop talking.

We’ll be reading a book aloud when N’s eyes suddenly light up. Then he’ll start explaining how what we just read reminds him of this other thing, and this other thing is so fascinating because… and he’s off and running wherever his hyperactive mind takes him.

One the one hand, it’s adorable. I can practically see the neurons firing and the connections being made. And I know it’s great that he’s truly listening to what I’m reading and digesting it. But if left unchecked, his rhapsodies will go on and on for ten minutes or more, which is not appreciated when I’m reading to him and any (or all) of his siblings. R and K are not generally kind about it, and although I’ve tried to eliminate the phrase “shut up” from all our vocabularies, it tends to pop out when N digresses.

It’s usually K’s voice we hear: “Ugh! N! Shut up! We want to hear what Eema’s reading!”

Fast forward to our car, tonight. Mr. December had just finished telling N that since tomorrow is our last day of homeschool before a month’s vacation, he has to get up early and work hard (he’s been slacking off the last few days.) Apparently this triggered something for K, because she launched into a rant:

“Don’t you hate how they always do that at school? They advance so slowly at the beginning of the year, and then they slow down halfway through, and right at the end of the year they pile on the work!”

“Um, no,” Mr. December said, “I’ve never noticed that.”

“They totally do!” She continued, barely drawing breath, “It’s like, the first day of school you’re just sitting there doing a stupid word search and meeting the other kids in the class, even though you already know them because it’s the same kids every year, and why can’t they just get down to the hard work right away? It’s so annoying! It’s like they forgot that they wanted to get all this work in and so they have to cram it into the last month of school and it’s so hard and then there’s too much work and it’s crazy because they should have spread out the work all through the year instead of saving it up to make us miserable in June and –”

“Hey, K?” I interrupted, “You know how sometimes you get annoyed at N for going on and on about the same thing without saying anything new?”

“Yeah…” She nodded emphatically.

I waited. In three, two, one…

“Oh.” She said.

And there was silence. Blessed, blessed silence.

family fun · Homeschool · Keepin' it real · Kids · parenting · waxing philosophical

Day 167: Forest Children

There is way too much Roblox being played in my house. Granted, it’s a way for the kids to play with their friends, which is why I haven’t been too strict about the screen time, but it’s still way too much time sitting in front of a screen. As I’ve told my kids many times, that’s what wintertime is for. Right now the weather is perfect and it would be a shame if we missed out on it because of a computer game, which is why I announced this morning that we were going to explore the forest in a nearby ravine.

I was a bit surprised at how quickly the kids jumped up and ran to join me. They knew these woods, because last fall they attended an afterschool outdoor school in that park, and they were eager to show me all sorts of hidden places that they had discovered with their groups. They took turns leading me all over the park, down the steep bank to the creek, across the stones, and to the “sumac path” to pick sumac (which is apparently not ripe yet.)

E, who complained that she was tired when we walked along the paved ravine path, suddenly sprinted ahead to climb and jump as soon as we stepped onto a forest trail. I watched in awe as the kids — even N, who is often the least active of my crew — climbed, balanced, hopped, and ran in ways they wouldn’t in a playground. During our ninety minutes in the forest, I came to realize a few things:

First, the phrase “familiarity breeds acceptance” is worth bearing in mind when planning activities with children. They weren’t especially eager to attend the outdoor school lat fall, but it grew on them — and so did the ravine. Today’s enthusiasm was, at least partly, because we weren’t going to just any forest, but to their forest. I’m not sure that an unfamiliar park would have been met with the same excitement.

Second, that the children love a physical challenge. To their minds, it’s always better to go the most difficult way: over the rocks instead of around them, or along a fallen log instead of on the path. While there are playgrounds for swinging and climbing, they can’t possibly match the forest for variety, difficulty, and unpredictability.

The third thing I realized was that becoming the kind of person I want to be is as easy, and as hard, as just doing what that kind of person would do. I wanted to be the kind of family who biked together for transportation; we became one when I biked the kids to school for the first time. I got to call myself a homeschooler (something I have long wanted to be) the moment I withdrew my kids from school and started educating them at home. Today I can say that I’m a parent who takes her kids to play in the woods — because I’ve gone and done it.

I don’t believe in any way that today’s romp in the forest will lead to spontaneous outdoor play and a decrease in screen time. Tomorrow the kids will be back at the computer, whining, “But I should still have time!” and I’ll go back to spouting such wisdom as, “You should have logged off when the computer gave you the two-minute shutdown warning.” At least now I can console myself with the knowledge that my kids enjoy navigating the terrain of our local woodland… if they have no screen time left. It’s a start, though. I’ll take it.

el cheapo · family fun · Homeschool · Kids · what's cookin'

Day 162: Crowd Control

N and R came back from my in-laws’ house on Sunday evening. Within half an hour we were all bustling around the kitchen, baking goodies for the Ve’ahavta van again. There I stood in the middle of the room as kids passed measuring cups back and forth, flour flew out of the mixer, and everybody talked at once; and I was loving every minute of it.

Mr. December, on the other hand, looked like he wanted to run and hide. Later that night he moaned, “It was so much easier with just two of them!”

I laughed. “Aren’t you the guy who keeps saying he wouldn’t have minded having a fifth kid?”

“Well yeah, but we could still send a few to the grandparents sometimes.”


Yesterday afternoon I took the kids shopping for clothes, which they all professed to need. We headed to Value Village where we found such fabulous deals as leggings for $1.99 and some really comfortable shorts for $4.99. Being a thrift store, Value Village is my compromise between my cheapness (I do not want to drop $20 or more on a pair of jeans for my kid!) and my desire to boycott Chinese products (a near impossibility, I know, and hypocritical given my love of my new kayaks, which are made in China.) I’ve also sold the kids on the thrift store concept, since they get to buy books of their choice ($1.99 each) and occasionally find unique clothes that you can’t buy at the mall. It doesn’t hurt that I’m likely to allow them to get pretty much any clothes or books they like because it’s just so cheap.

There I was, with four kids, still absolutely loving having them all together again. R helped N find fuzzy pyjama pants, K scored some really nice Lululemon tops (I’m not brand conscious for fashion reasons, but Lululemon’s stuff lasts forever. I still can’t justify getting rid of my wide-legged yoga pants, because they look and feel so darn good!) and I found some comfy shorts. At one point N and R took E to the book section while K and I browsed. It was a bit busy, and a bit chaotic, and once again I revelled in it.

I’m starting to realize that crowd management is one of my parenting strengths. It’s a skill that served me well when I was a camp counsellor and then a trip leader for Birthright Israel. I do periodic head counts automatically, announce our plan clearly at the outset, and herd everyone in the right direction. I can also speak very loudly without shouting, a skill I’m sure my fellow singers share.

My camp counsellor persona serves me very well when we’re out and about, and usually less so at home. When we’re out, I can field questions from three different directions. At home I get overwhelmed just from two kids talking at the same time. I have no idea why. Maybe I’m just not in the same frame of mind when I’m at home, because I don’t have to be.

As I type this, the younger three kids are building a fort together out of foam puzzle mats. They’re not finished their school work, but I’m loathe to interrupt them. I can hear them negotiating, planning, problem solving, and creating. Even better, they’re working together and cooperating (not always a given around here.) That’s why I’m waiting for the game to reach its natural conclusion before dragging them back to their workbooks.


Just after I wrote the above, K walked in from hanging out at the park with two neighbourhood friends.

“WHO WANTS TO GO TO THE PARK AND PLAY ‘THE FLOOR IS LAVA’ WITH ME?” She bellowed (K has definitely inherited my natural facility with crowds.)

N, R, and E clamoured to join her. They filled their water bottles, put on their shoes, and ran off to the park; all four of my kids, together, with no adult. They walked and skipped, chattering amongst themselves like the group of squirrels near our back porch. The older kids watched out for E, asking her to walk ahead of them so they could see her. I love that I have four of them. I love the craziness, the chaos, the noise (most of the time; I’m neither a saint nor deaf), the fact that they’re a little tribe unto themselves. I am so profoundly thankful for my big family.

I’m also profoundly thankful that they’re out of the house for the next hour or so. Maybe now I can get some work done.

education · family fun · Homeschool · waxing philosophical

Day 159: Picky, picky!

I can’t believe I’m about to say this…

My kids are learning how to pick locks.

I have no idea why and only a general idea of how, but Mr. December recently bought a lock-picking kit, complete with practice locks that let you actually see the pins as you try to move them. It took him about two hours of practice before he was able to pick one of the locks successfully, and now he’s teaching K how to do it. He tried to teach me but it aggravated my carpal tunnel syndrome, and I don’t like lock picking enough to make that tradeoff. I need to save my hands for woodworking, kayaking, and biking.

Mr. December looks at this as one of the various skills we can teach as part of homeschooling. We’ve been talking about how to structure our week so that we include time to practice these random skills (also up for consideration: knot tying and woodworking) in our “school hours” so that the kids do it without complaining that we’re infringing on their weekend time.

That discussion ended up exposing a fundamental difference in our philosophies. You see, Mr. December is convinced that after teaching the kids these random skills we’ll need to follow up and get them to practice regularly to master them. I, on the other hand, believe in introducing them to the skills and then ensuring they have the free time, materials, and support to practice if they want to.

See the difference? Mr. December seems to believe that if you’re going to start learning something, you should follow through and practice until you master it. I believe that it’s good to be exposed to lots of different skills, even superficially, because it gives you the best chance to find one you like. Once you’re interested in a skill you’ll practice voluntarily.

So you know, I agree with Mr. December when it comes to core disciplines like math and writing. But when we start to talk about what you might call “electives,” I see no point in forcing the kids to master skills they don’t enjoy practicing. Because really, who cares if my kids know how to tie a bowline? When they need it, they’ll learn. In the meantime, I’d rather they learn that learning is something to be passionate about, not something to be forced by an authority.

What do you think?

bikes planes and automobiles · Early morning musings · family fun · Homeschool · The COVID files

Day 158: That’s a Paddlin’

We went kayaking on Lake Ontario early this morning.

For a few years now I’ve been contemplating how great it would be if I had a canoe or kayak and could go paddling anytime, without having to find a rental. Until this year I assumed that would always be a pipe dream, because where exactly would I store a canoe or kayak? Of course, there wouldn’t be just one; we’re a family of six, and two is the minimum number I could get away with just from an “adult accompaniment” point of view.

When COVID had struck and springtime came, I was looking for outdoor activities to do with the kids. I mused that we could easily go and paddle in the lake or on a river somewhere (I hear the Humber River is nice) if only we had kayaks. Renting wasn’t even an option seeing as at that point everything was closed.

Then a good friend mentioned that her family had four inflatable kayaks. Wait, what? Inflatable kayaks? That’s a thing? Are they just chintzy inflatable rafts with paddles? She assured me that the kayaks were great, they really enjoyed using them, and (best of all) they were $150 each on Amazon. I went to Mr. December and said, “Hey, let’s get some kayaks.”

He was less than enthused, that’s for sure; just like he was the first time I mentioned a bakfiets or mounting swings in the playroom. I used the same strategies as I had those two times: I did my research, kept talking about it, and then essentially informed him that I was buying two kayaks.

They arrived in under a week. And this morning we finally took them out to Cherry Beach and went for a paddle.

It was amazing. I love kayaking and canoeing. I love the feeling of power in my shoulders making its way down and outward to the blades of my paddle. The fresh air, the sunshine, the view, and the exercise — it’s such a pure, heady feeling. A bit like biking, if I was biking somewhere with lovely scenery and zero traffic.

The only regret I have about these kayaks is not buying them in the spring. To think that I could have been paddling all this time! I feel the need to make up for lost time, so from now until it gets too cold our homeschool phys ed program will be focusing on kayak skills… if I take the kids with me, that is.

education · family fun · Homeschool · Just the two of us · love and marriage

Day 157: Trampoline Math (and other homeschool fun)

Today felt like a highlights reel of all the great things about homeschooling.

My morning started with K. At 9:15 the two of us snuggled on the couch while I worked with her on learning her torah reading and haftarah for her Bat Mitzvah. Then she went into the library to do her math, and Mr. December and I took a walk around the neighbourhood. Predictably, we talked about our plans for the kids, but the weather was perfect — not too hot — and it was nice to be together, just the two of us.

Back at home I suggested to E that we do some math together. I’m not going to repeat the conversation, but there was wailing and gnashing of teeth until I finally said, “Actually, we’re doing trampoline math today. Go get your shoes.” She was off like a shot.

What’s trampoline math, you ask? Or course you don’t know. I made it up this morning. First we did some mental addition and subtraction where I asked the question, and she figured out the answer and jumped that many times. Then I got her to practice writing her numbers by tracing a number of her choice and then getting up and jumping that number of times. E started making up her own addition questions and writing them out, and after half an hour of trampoline math she didn’t want to stop.

Meanwhile, K was doing math online with Khan Academy (which is an excellent resource and free, by the way). She hit a wall in her geometry book this week and we’d made very little progress since Monday, so yesterday we sat down and googled other ways for her to learn the concepts. We ended up at Khan Academy and K seemed to be able to focus and learn, so we decided to shelve the Kumon workbooks for now and have her do math online. When I came inside after trampoline math I went into the library to check on her. Lo and behold, she was still doing math two hours after she started (which is not unusual) and she had made good progress (which is extremely unusual.) What’s more, there were no tears and no yelling the entire time she was working. This might sound very banal to some of you, but seeing K working diligently without any issues is so unusual that I wanted to put it in sky writing.

The wonders didn’t cease there. After some lunch K turned her attention to writing. She didn’t get much down on paper but she was able to choose her topic and research the facts she needed; all of this was self-directed. I’m still floored.

There were more joyful moments: E read me Hop on Pop, but only after Mr. December started clowning around and reading it wrong. Later, we played a board game and I enjoyed watching E add up the numbers on the dice. Mr. December took a break around 3:00 and we biked out to drop off some food and a gift for my cousins who just had a baby. That was my workout and could have been K’s phys ed for the day if we had remembered to invite her along (oops.)

(Pro tip: if you’re bringing food to someone with a new baby, bring something that’s easy to eat one-handed. And err on the side of more food rather than less — nursing moms get hungry.)

I found the weirdest thing on Youtube today: a South African program for kids about different religions that was teaching kids about Pirkei Avot. The craft was making their own Torah scrolls out of paper and chopsticks. E was eager to do the craft, and ran around getting all the supplies before settling down to learn the art of Torah-making from a Black South African lady sitting in front of a huge cross. It was a bit odd to me, but the show was reasonably well done.

Instead of dinner, I doubled up my order of afternoon-tea-to-go so that half went to my cousins and half came home with us. We set it all up on the back porch; I brought out a basket of poetry books; and we had our inaugural “Poetry Teatime” (we got the idea from Julie Bogart’s book The Brave Learner.) In between the tiny sandwiches and scones with jam, we discovered a few new poets today and learned that (sadly) we’re not fans of Leonard Cohen’s poetry (anybody want a Leonard Cohen poetry book? Free to a good home!)

See what I mean about today being a highlight reel? We had snuggling-on-the-couch learning, jumping-on-the-trampoline learning, self-directed learning, tea-party learning. I had time to go for a walk and a bike ride and to deliver food to some new parents, and all of these things flowed into one another in their own time. It was so relaxing that I completely forgot about how I promised my friend that I’d do something for myself today, like bike to a café with a patio and have a meal without people needing anything from me. With days like these, who needs a break?

DIY · education · el cheapo · Homeschool · Kids

Day 155: Teaching E to Read

Now that E is well and truly riding her bike independently (including starting, stopping, and turning), I’m turning my focus back to her reading skills.

When we started with the Bob Books she was zooming right through them. At this point, though, starting set four, she is — how should I say this? — extremely opposed to reading. It seems that she has the same perfectionist streak as her siblings: if she can’t do it perfectly the first time, she gets very upset and refuses to do it at all. Maybe I need to break out the chocolate chips again and reward her every time she’s stumped by a word but works through it?

I’ve taken the advice of some of my readers (thanks, guys!) and tried some of the books from Progressive Phonics. They’re a lot of fun, with silly stories that are designed for the adult and child to take turns reading (adult reads all the words in black, child reads all the words in red.) They’re very basic and easy for her, but I’ve been using them intermittently to keep E enjoying the experience of reading.

In the meantime I’ve discovered a plethora of online resources, many of them free, including this amazing blog called This Reading Mama where, for the low, low price of signing up for her free email newsletter, you can access and download hundreds of materials. I was particularly excited because she has entire packages of games, activities, and puzzles that correspond to each of the Bob Books. I downloaded two to see how E would like them.

She loved them. She was particularly drawn to “I Spy Sight Words” where sight words from the books are printed in teeny-tiny fonts (maybe 4 point?) and hidden in a picture. E was delighted when I handed her the magnifying glass to aid in her search, and she kept me updated by shrieking out the sight words as she found them. I don’t think she even realized she was reading.

We played the “Blend-a-Word” game, in which you draw cards from two piles (beginning and ending), throw them into the “blender” (a printed picture of one, really) and read the result. The beautiful thing about this game is that you’re supposed to write down all the words, including nonsense words that aren’t words at all. The idea of nonsense words tickled E and she was keen to be the first to read the two cards together to see if she could spot a fake word before I could.

Her favourite by far (she loved it enough to play repeatedly with anyone and everyone) is “Oh, Snap!” This one wasn’t from the Bob Books activity packs — I think I found it on Pinterest. The players take turns pulling popsicle sticks out of a cup. If they can read the word written on the end of their stick, they get to keep it; first one to ten sticks wins. Pretty simple, but there are three or four sicks that say “oh snap!” on them. If you get one of those, all of your sticks go back and you have to start from zero. Despite some tears the first couple of times she picked up an “oh snap!”, E keeps coming back to this game.

That’s how we spent an hour this morning: playing games and doing puzzles, reading and playing with the words from the next few Bob books in the series. I’m curious to find out whether E reads the books more easily now that she’s seen the words so many times in a different context. I’ll keep you posted.

blogging · DIY · Fibro Flares · Homeschool · Keepin' it real

Day 151: Thanks, Fibro Fairies!

I woke up very late this morning. Mr. December and R took one look at me and said, “You look really tired. You don’t have to get up yet.”

Good, because I wasn’t going to. Because I couldn’t. The Fibro Fairies had showed up in the night and dressed me in a lead suit. Again.

That’s how it feels, anyway. Every physical action is an extreme effort. When I sit, my arms flop uselessly at my sides. My fingers feel too clumsy to braid the girls’ hair. I’ve stayed on one floor of the house all day long because going up one flight of stairs made my quads burn like I’d been doing hundreds of lunges. My coffee cup seems to have been swapped out for a weighted one (thanks, Fibro Fairies.) You know it’s bad when I can’t justify the effort it would take to get food to my mouth.

Inside my brain, everything feels fogged up or bogged down. My cerebrospinal fluid is competing with Jell-o for the viscosity award. I open my mouth to speak and the words come out at half their normal speed. I’m speaking so slowly that the words don’t seem to have hung onto each other, and so halfway through a sentence I just… kind of… forget what I was… um…

Ummm.

I’ve been wondering how successfully I could homeschool through a fibro flare. Thanks to Mr. December’s insistence on what he calls “scalability” and what I call “learn it your own damn self”, the kids went through their math and writing books with minimal resistance (I told N to go through the rest of his book, find one unit he felt he could do, and do that one.) Then I set up the Kobo on my lap (it has a neat cover that turns into a great little stand) and read to them from Ragtime, which I think counts as learning history.

(By the way, many parts of Ragtime are highly inappropriate for kids. I edit on the fly, skipping all the explicit sex stuff.)

True, they played more computer games today than I would have liked, but they completed their work in the core subjects and did a bit of extra learning in history. Then a Kiwi Crate arrived (just in time!) and E built a little wooden disc launcher. While it’s true that she asked me to help, I mostly just pointed to the diagrams alongside the instructions and she built it herself.

If I really wanted to keep them doing something educational, I could have put on some history videos or an episode of Cosmos or something. Wasn’t that what our teachers did at school when they needed a break? I don’t know about you, but I watched a bunch of movies in elementary school, plus multiple episodes of Degrassi Junior High.

All of that to say that I’m not at my best today. I’m not even going back through to edit this post. I’m just going to leave this here and stagger back to my hammock (did I mention that I love the hammock? I can just tuck my phone, kobo, and water bottle in right next to me and it stays within reach.) Shabbat Shalom, and to all a good night.