Daily Stuff

Spice jars. billi-jean.com

That final sprint for the finish each “school year” (and I use the term loosely) is an adrenalin soaked affair of jam-packed schedules, early mornings, packed lunches and the mantra, “Almost done, almost done, almost done..”. I don’t even think that there is a lot more that we were doing in April and May. Okay, there is a lot more, but it isn’t so much as to send the rest of your life topsy-turvy. At least, it sure doesn’t look like it in February and March when you are planning it all. In planning stages it looks like Fun! and Excellent Opportunities!… and it is, it so is, but when you get the the point that you can’t remember the last time you ate lunch at home and the baby napped in his bed and it’s getting harder and harder to get up in the morning… that’s the point you wonder what the heck you were thinking.

Now that it’s (mostly) done, was it worth it? Absolutely. Are we burnt out? Sure. But we’ll recover and then want to do it all again. There was an intense animation course that was a lot of work and time, but Jordan absolutely loved it. He learnt so much and has acquired a new, very cool, hobby. There were the weeks of drama classes that he couldn’t wait to get to. Guitar lessons. The Nature Programme, horseback riding, plus learning to type and reading hundreds of pages every week. There is always hockey and the paper route, of course, and learning to feed the baby, and watching old movies. These few months have been a productive and exciting time for Jordan. He has grown so much.

He’ll be 12 on Sunday. But I’m not thinking about that.

Now that we’re “done” (and I use that term loosely, too), I’ve been spending some time taking care of little details – not necessarily the most urgent details, but the ones that give me the most pleasure. Like, for example, filling my spice tins. I got those spice tins in two sizes at Lee Valley and I love them. They are big, so they’re perfect for things like oregano (because really? I can’t think of any time I’d use 1 teaspoon of oregano. I use at least a quarter of a cup or none at all, yanno?) and cinnamon (mmmm.. cinnamon). Spices I use in smaller amounts go in the smaller tins. The lids have glass windows in them and when I open my spice drawer I’m looking down through all those little round windows at all the colours of my spices and herbs. And that is exciting to me every single time. (yes, yes, I know ;) ). I label the sides of the tins, but I like to try to choose my spice or herb by it’s colour and texture through the window. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. (Maybe I need a hobby?) In the photo above: paprika, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

I’ve also put my vegetable gardens in. There aren’t words for how much I love this. I’ve had problems in the past with blossom rot on my tomatoes. I’ve read that this can be due to a lack of calcium in the soil, so I’ve been washing and saving our egg shells. I grind them up with my mortar and pestle, and I sprinkled them around the roots when I put the tomatoes into the ground. I’ve ground up more now to add later.

Egg shells, mortar and pestle. billi-jean.com

There are more things Jordan wants to learn and to learn to do, so we’ve made an outline for the summer months. This plan calls for much more time at home, and much less driving around, leaving time for playing in the sandbox, long naps in bed, and puttering in the garden. Well, that’s the theory, anyway ;) But Jordan has already acquired that hammock he wanted and has broken it in with a couple of good books :)

Babies and bubbles and dandelions.
Babies and bubbles and dandelions.

I love Spring. I had forgotten how much I love it – not because it’s been a whole year since we had it, but because it has been years since we had a *real* one. This year it is perfect: some very warm days, some very cool days. The nights are sometimes cold and we are not clear of frost danger yet. Sun and rain, wind and calm, warm and cool, clear and overcast. Perfect :)

The Baby spends hours every day exploring the backyard: picking flowers, digging in the pots, splashing in the bird bath, driving toy trucks through the grass. Jordan blows bubbles and then together they chase them down. There is a rabbit that comes to visit. He seems unconcerned and happily nibbles dandelion leaves in the lawn as long as we don’t move directly toward him. When we do, he slowly hops away without any real urgency and is always back a little while later.

The trees are *almost* in full leaf now and when they are, it’ll only be a few weeks until Summer. We have some plans for the Summer: a week at a cottage, days at the pool.. but not too much. The rest of the year is jam-packed with events and outings and classes; we’re going to keep our Summer low-key. Jordan has asked for a hammock. He envisions spending hours at a time, lying in a shady spot reading a book. He is working on his summer reading list. It gets longer by the day *grin* I used to spend my summers reading and remember it fondly and not without longing. I’ve already begun shopping for that hammock :)

Babies and dandelions.

A traffic jam when you’re already late? Oh honey… it gets much worse than that.
Train crossing.
This is what happens when you got caught in the training-a-new-cashier line at the grocery store and now you are trapped in the car with a baby who is screaming for his supper while Jordan has the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop on repeat on the stereo. You get a train. A very long, slow moving train. It’s awesome. Except the part where it isn’t.

I am often confused by the way other people seem to feel about home schooling. Many feel that there is no way a parent has a right to choose how to educate their child (unless of course, you are choosing to send them to regular school; you always have that right) and at the same time, they feel they have the right to quiz you and assess how the education of YOUR child is going.
I am also surprised that some people seem to think that home schooling is academics on steroids and that Jordan should be just about finished high school now and is the baby reading. Don’t laugh… people have asked me. ummm.. did YOUR kids read when they were 14 months old? No, but they weren’t home schooled. ummm… ok? With a totally straight face, I told one person who asked me how long I spent each day schooling the baby (he was 10 months old at the time) that given his age, I only spent a few hours each day. He is reading at a grade four level, I told her, and I’m okay with that; there is no need to push any harder than that. This woman (who had kids of her own) nodded appreciatively and agreed that yes, reading at a grade four level at 10 months of age was probably enough but cautioned me against letting him off too easy as any mother would be tempted to do.

Recently, it happened again. Someone asked me what Jordan was learning ‘in school’… I assume meaning, what academic-type work is he doing at home. So I blah blah monasticism blah blah typing blah blah reading blah blah writing blah blah. And this led to questions about my specific goals in educating Jordan, what do I expect him to learn. I didn’t give the kind of answer that was sought. I said that I wanted Jordan to have good strong character, to know himself and how to be happy, to have the self confidence, motivation and discipline to set goals and achieve them. This was apparently unsatisfactory and I was supposed to say “Finish Grade X math by age Y”. oops.

On to me and my wishy-washy ways, this person looked me in the eye and sternly asked “And what are you educational goals for Christopher?” … because maybe if he stared at me just right I would suddenly see how wrong I am and come up with some better plans for the baby?
Umm.. he’s 15 months old…
Yes… and how are you educating him?
Mostly, I’m trying to teach him not to lick the dog.

Seriously!! It turns out that not-licking the dog is not a lofty enough expectation for a baby! There were more stern looks and clucks of disapproval. Too bad so sad. I wasn’t seeking your approval anyway.

The thing is… not licking the dog is HARD when you are so young. It’s REALLY VERY HARD.
Dont lick the dog
Who is licking whom?

Doing the things that Jordan does has become very, very important :)

IMG: Baby in sunbeam.

This is the longest night.
I love these days of darkness. It is warm and centering, a time for introspection, I think. And the long, long nights make each moment of sunshine more precious than at any other time of year.
Babies, however, are always precious :)

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