Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Homeschooling Is Us

It has been a few days since I've had the time to type. How did that happen?

Here's a run-down of what we've done since the beginning of the week, for all the interested people (that is to say, Nanny and Poppy) who like to know what we're doing.

Let me say that this week has been so busy, what with the Mini-Marathon and all the regular activities and all, I have put $115 worth of gas into our minivan since last Friday. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN DOLLARS.

In my opinion, that should be enough money to drive us to Amsterdam. And back. As it turns out, that is only enough money to drive us through Henry, Hamilton, Marion, Madison and Tipton counties. Outrageous.

Anyway....


MONDAY -- On Monday, we drove to Indianapolis to the Fatima Retreat House to participate in our once-monthly small homeschool group. It is called ARCHES and I wish I could ever remember what the acronym stands for, but I can't. I do know that the "C" and the "H" stand for "Catholic" and "Homeschool" or "Homeschoolers" or possibly even "Hello" or "Hyannis," but don't quote me on that. At any rate, our once a month meetings begin with Mass said by the sweet and teddy-bearish Father Bob Robeson. After Mass, we go downstairs and have some kind of amazing activity, which have included things like a science fair, a scholastic bowl, a spelling bee and other fun things.

The girls and I have enjoyed it so much. It's something we really look forward to - there's enough time in between each meeting that we don't feel pressured to frantically scramble to finish a project or, to put a finer point on it, drive there.

This month was dedicated to mothers, naturally. At Mass, we had a May Crowning, which involved those of us in the congregation singing hymns to Mary while Father Bob put a wreath of spring flowers on the head of the statue of Mary that had been carried to the front of the church. The idea is that, if the Blessed Mother were here with us, we would put a crown of flowers on her own dear head, but since she's in heaven, we make do by crowning a lovely piece of religious artwork instead. It was very sweet and we had a little First Communion girl in her white dress and veil and gloves carrying the wreath of flowers on a cushion.

"From this day, all generations will call me blessed," were the words of Mary recorded by Luke in his gospel. "The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name." I like to picture Mary as a lady in her fifties, old in that ancient time, relating her amazing story to Luke as he sat with her and perhaps said, "So what happened next?"

I like to know that my family is participating in the fulfillment of this prophecy.

After Mass and the May Crowning, we had a special event. In May at ARCHES, we have a Mothers Appreciation Banquet, complete with children of various ages coming forward and reciting poems they've either found or written themselves, some funny and some very touching.

I am very happy to say that both Meelyn and Aisling went forward to recite, Aisling with a tender little tribute she found on the internet; Meelyn with a poem she wrote herself titled, "Mom, You Are Da Bomb."

They both made me cry. They were just too cute.

We arrived at ARCHES at 9:00 in the morning; we left at 2:10. That gave us just enough time to drive home, take the dogs out for a potty break, and then head off to Tipton for art class.

The girls had a productive hour of creativity; I had a productive hour drinking a Diet Coke and reading a totally mindless but amusing bit of chick lit. It was bliss.

We got home at 5:45. I came into the house, went to the kitchen, and immediately started cooking dinner. We had another chicken stir-fry with egg rolls, the second time I've served this meal in as many weeks. The natives are going to get restless if I try to feed this to them again before November.

TUESDAY -- On Tuesday, I had a 9:30 a.m. appointment at the podiatrist to get my Achilles tendon seen to. The podiatist's office is somewhat inconveniently located in my home town, a city where I do not live. I was referred there by my doctor, whose office is also incoveniently bla bla bla. Why, you may wonder, do I have both a doctor and a podiatrist whose offices are in a town in which I do not live? All I can say is that I don't know, but that my optometrist and dentist are there too.

I gave the girls plenty of schoolwork to take with them: math, U.S. geography/history, reading comprehension workbooks, Greek/Latin roots workbooks and a few other things. They were going to go stay with Nanny while I kept my appointment and I wanted to make sure they had enough to keep them busy.

Aisling wanted to do some of her schoolwork in the van while we drove, which is fine with me. She couldn't decide what she wanted to study with Nanny, so she asked me and her dad as we rushed around getting ready.

"Should I do history in the van or should I wait and study it with Nanny?"

My husband chuckled evilly. "Oh, definitely with Nanny. Just think how much you'll learn, studying with someone who was actually present for many of these historical events."

"I am so telling her you said that," I said, applying mascara.

"Yep, nothin' like an eyewitness when you're studying history. The signing of the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln's assassination, dancing the Charleston...Nanny can really help you out, honey," my husband continued, propping his foot up on the coverlet to tie his shoe.

"Telling again. You are so dead."

"The very foundation of civilization...."

"Make a will."

I was at the podiatrist's office forty-five minutes later, wondering when exactly it happened that my doctor, my dentist, my priest and now my podiatrist all look like they should be out playing tether ball on the playground instead of seeing to my physical and spiritual health. I mean, really. How could these people be qualified? Because I know for a fact that I am not very old. Yet these people look way younger than I do.

The podiatrist suggested that I allow him to give me a shot of cortisone in my heel to help reduce the inflammation and I wanted to say, "Look, son, you aren't even old enough to buy a beer, let alone give me a shot. So how about we have some cookies and watch Playhouse Disney together?"

When he told me he'd been a podiatrist for ten years, I had to resist the urge to kick him. Which, hey! Could have given him more business! Which would mean more money to buy toys!

My mother made us a delightful lunch -- taco salad, corn casserole and cookies -- and afterward she, Poppy and I played cards. We played Hand & Foot and I beat them by many thousands of points. I couldn't be more pleased about that.

We drove back home and got in a bit late, about 5:30, which necessitated more flailing about in the kitchen to produce coney dogs (with homemade sauce), French fries and a vegetable of some sort...ohhhhh, forget the vegetable. I'll count the ketchup we use on the fries as one. Didn't people get mad at someone during the Reagan Era for suggesting this very things about public school lunches?

The family really like the coney dogs, saying that they compared favorably with a local well-known hot dog stand's efforts. I was very glad about that. There's something nice about feeding the family, seeing them enjoying what I have more or less enthusiastically prepared. I'm not really a born cook, disliking everything about baking, from yeast rolls to cookies. I do normal foods fairly well, including an outstanding quiche Lorraine, if I do say so myself.

After dinner, showers, Evening Prayer, off to bed! We have to get up early for a field trip tomorrow. More about that later. It should be fun.

1 comment:

Kbg said...

Any chance of publishing those tributes to Mother from M & A...it is Mother's Day Week and all...and we would enjoy reading them! And, besides, I have boys...no chance they are going to sit around and write Mother's Day tributes published or not...LOL. Which is not a complaint...they are very good at hosting "Mom can do whatever she wants and we will cook and pick up all day for her" and enough praise cannot be said about that version!