Monday, May 19, 2014

Work "Guide" for the Week of May 19, 2014: Entomology and the Mississippian Mound Builders

Instead of divided work plans for each child, this week I gave them both this one-page "guide" to the week:

I organized it into the tasks that I expect them to work at daily, the tasks that I expect them to do once (these can be marked off when completed), a schedule of extracurriculars for the week, and some things to be thinking about.

We're still in the middle of Buying a New House Misery; the bank that was going to fund our mortgage actually changed its mind a couple of days before our closing last week after receiving the updated appraisal (turns out that not everyone thinks that buying a house next door to a drive-in movie theater is the best idea ever. Hello, External Obsolescence!), and although we've got another bank that *says* they'll be happy to fund it, they strangely didn't feel like working day and night over the weekend to figure it out, so we're still waiting and waiting and waiting with no new house yet, sigh. Because of that, I'm not in the mood to make and mentor detailed daily work plans, and yet our past weeks without work plans, although they have still contained regular daily work and fun, spontaneous enrichment--
Cookie Bake-off!
Obsession with Eastern Tent Caterpillars!
--have also contained children "surprised" at finding math still needing to be completed at bedtime, children who just don't understand where their aerial silks uniforms could be five minutes before it's time to leave the house for silks class, and--and this one resulted in lots of yelling and actual angry, frustrated tears on my part--a child who could find neither her sneakers nor her flipping TENNIS RACKET that she had just used TWO DAYS EARLIER, as we were literally on our way out the door to tennis class.

I tore open a packed box to unearth a second pair of sneakers, gave her my tennis racket to use, and drank a frozen margarita with dinner that night.

Clearly, in the midst of this chaos, we do need some sort of schedule that the children can refer to and be held accountable to, hence the guide. Other than math, journal, and cursive, our two major academic emphases this week are entomology (some friends are working on their Brownie Bugs badges, so this is a good week to join them and get Will really started on her long-desired insect collection) and ancient Native Americans (we're SUPER excited to be taking a field trip to see Cahokia Mounds later this week). In the three school days that we've got before our long-weekend road trip to Arkansas to see my baby cousin graduate high school, we're going to watch a documentary on preshistoric Native Americans and listen to a podcast expressly about Cahokia. We read about Cahokia in History of US, so the kids can tell you all about the stinkards and how noble women had to marry them, but I can't wait to see their faces when they actually see that huge mound for the first time!

Most of the kids' work requirements for their Girl Scout and 4-H entomology projects are hands-on and practical in nature, and we'll pretty well have those covered with two insect observation hikes and a trip to the St. Louis Zoo all by this Sunday, but by now they know well that Momma ALWAYS has additional requirements to complete, and mine are mostly academic--reading list, insect anatomy worksheets, insect identification flash cards, documentary, etc. I imagine it will take them a couple more weeks to finish those.

To those plans, add a movie theater field trip that I organized for one of our homeschool groups (last time we did this trip, the manager let the kids cut up the filmstrip of a Spider-man trailer and take the pieces home!), and the children's scripting, costuming, and filming of a "special effects" movie, one that will be heavily informed by the short films of Méliès that the kids and I watched yesterday while Matt mowed the lawn.

And then sometime before tomorrow afternoon I've got to replace the kids' crappy Target tennis rackets that are unstringing themselves. Grrr!

So it's a short week that we've got of out and about, studying math and bugs, making movies and watching them, while poor Matt manages our mortgage mess during his work breaks and finds someone to lend us money. Later this week, will we leave our cats and chickens and chicken sitter behind and drive away happy in the knowledge of a mortgage offered and closing date planned, for real this time?

Good freaking grief, I hope so!

P.S. The sneakers were later found in the washing machine--she'd decided they were dirty, put them in the laundry, then forgot. The tennis racket? That one was found IN THE BOOKSHELF WITH THE LIBRARY BOOKS. Just thinking about that one kind of makes me wonder if Matt will make us another pitcher of margaritas tonight...


Tina said...

I am sorry about the frustration over the house.

The girls look like they are having a blast with this weeks lessons! Love the photos on FB.

julie said...

I am shocked at how awfully this buying a house business is going--how does anyone EVER accomplish this? Now Matt has found a bank that says that they will fund our mortgage, but if the bank that didn't fund our mortgage won't let this bank use the appraisal that they ordered (that caused the whole mess to begin with), then this new bank will have to order another appraisal, which means that our realtor will have to ask the sellers for another extension, which they may not go for. I seriously had no idea a bank could change its mind about your mortgage two days before closing--I have already packed my books!!!

But anyway, yes, the kids are happy and oblivious and insect hunting and snake handling--yay!