I have been living carefree, as if summer would last forever. Casual breakfasts at 9:00, lingering discussions over the kitchen table with my cup of coffee…late lunches at 1:00…cat naps on the sofa….easy, cool dinners created with garden produce. I have awakened in the morning thinking: maybe we will go to the beach today? Or the farmer’s market? Or perhaps we will grab our books and art supplies and blankets and fall asleep in the sun?
Not anymore. It is time to pay for the slothful sins of summer. I should have been hunting down appropriate textbooks and gathering resources. Week after week, I saw the universe of school supplies, shining from a distance in the aisles of Walmart. But did I walk toward the light? No. I lived in avoidance, by walking the long way round, through automotive or pet supplies.
Now, I humbly and hurriedly dig through a tangle of spiral wires, only to uncover the wide ruled notebooks that nobody wanted. I have ordered books on Amazon, but they won’t arrive until next week. My younger son asked yesterday, “I wonder what the spelling words will be?” I muse internally, “Hmmm, I wonder, too…” I start scratching down a possible word list.
How could I have lived in such denial? Even now, just hours before the bell rings, am I planning? No, I am sitting here at my computer, looking for suitable photos to post here with my ramblings.
The air is chilly. The coffee is brewing. I don’t know what I will serve for breakfast. The First Day of School has arrived.
Being sheltered at home does not hinder learning. On the contrary — we have more time than ever to carry on with our studies. This is a fact that parents like, but may cause students to glare and grimace.
Since being homebound, we have picked up and played our dusty musical instruments, rediscovered board games and watched endless episodes of Perry Mason.
My daughter and I have sewn 50+ face masks, like the one worn below by the 15-year-old author of this homeschool-assigned report:
What to Know About the Coronavirus
At this point in time, it’s common to hear the words “Coronavirus” or “Covid-19” dropped into everyday chatter. It seems as though it is the foremost issue on most Americans’ minds. It would also appear as though everyone on TV has some new statistic or symptom that is now “breaking news”. What I’d like to do is break it down into the simplest of terms for the average person. Everyone should know the basics of the virus and what they should be doing about it. So, let’s just jump right into it.
Firstly, the question of origin must be asked and answered. Depending on the news channel you’re watching, they might call it “The Chinese Virus”, some say that it is racist to call it just that. Either way, the virus has strong ties to China. According to several trustworthy news outlets, the Coronavirus has been traced back to the city of Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China.
Now, this next part might disgust you, but in China, it is fairly common to have markets where animals such as bats, snakes and rabbits are sold as food. This goes on despite the selling of these animals being illegal. Nevertheless, it is believed that the coronavirus was originally carried by one of those animals and then passed along to humans. That’s not where the gross part ends though. No, sadly when a concerned Chinese doctor first came across the virus in December and reported it, the government shut him up. They accused him of: “spreading rumors and disturbing the social order.” It took three costly weeks for the government to finally acknowledge the disease as a real threat. By then, it had spread exponentially. By the way, that doctor, Li Wenliang, age 34, died in February 2020 of the virus.
So now that you know some of the history of the virus itself, I feel the need to explain some of the terms frequently used in relation to it. You may hear doctors saying things like “the novel coronavirus.” Well, that simply means it is the new coronavirus. There have been other strains, or versions of the disease. You may have heard of the names “SARS” or “MERS” both of which are strains of coronavirus which are all respiratory diseases. The one that we hear of now is known as COVID-19. The COVID part stands for COronaVIrus Disease. And 19 is simply the year it popped up on the proverbial radar, which would be 2019.
We’ve already covered how the disease started. Now the logical question would be, how will it end?
The truth is that it will end when it ends.
Some think that we are right around the corner from a vaccine. Some say the warmer temperatures of summer will kill off the virus, as is the case with most respiratory diseases. Others hold to the idea that if everyone stays away from each other, everything will calm down. And to be honest, they could all be true, but they could equally be totally wrong. At the moment, all we know is that we should all be washing our hands an insane amount, keeping our distance from large gatherings and just use common sense. Someone put it quite simply when they stated that we should all act as though we have it.
If you knew you were infected, you wouldn’t go out in public, would you? And we know that the infected can spread infection even though they don’t exhibit any symptoms. So there is a chance you could be carrying it. The bottom line is: Be responsible, wash your hands well, try to stay away from large groups of people, and treat others as you would want to be treated.
Korean stop sign, photo taken by my son because he knows I like stop signs in various foreign languages.
New local bakery where my daughter and I shared a pecan caramel roll and cherry turnover, good coffee and sweet conversation.
Blueberry muffins galore, made by my daughter and gratefully consumed on ski day morning.
Time alone on a chairlift– beautiful and peaceful silent time. Short and sweet and high off the ground, but I’ll take it.
Trying to walk regularly outside because I should, not because I really want to, so I grit my teeth and lean into the wind.
God frosted the trees for us, beautifying our homeschool ski day with His creative handiwork plus cheerful sunshine and no injuries.
My husband drove this cute little Mazda Miata down to Florida for a friend recently. It looks like a toy car, but he sure got lots of applause / envy from strangers along the way. The admiration sat well with my husband 🙂
I am sad to say goodbye to a wonderful audiobook trilogy about Crispin by author Avi.We finished the last of the three books this week.
From beginning to end, these stories about a young orphan growing up in the Middle Ages are adventurous, suspenseful, and touching.
Avi is a talented and prolific author and his first Crispin book is a Newbery Award Winner.
A new puzzle. This is our third Mudpuppy puzzle, and it’s Kaleido-Beetles! I like Mudpuppy puzzles because they have three pictures of the finished puzzle for reference as you go, making it easier for 3 or more people to work on the puzzle.
We are studying similes and we are trying to avoid the trite cliches that are “as old as the hills”, so we are making up our own. Everyone chose five abstract nouns and wrote two similes for each one. I thought these were some of the best:
He felt freedom like a feather in the open air.
Hatred melted away like a stream in the spring.
Reality is like a punch in the face.
Forgiveness is like a safety net.
The crime was as big as a bonfire.
His anger was like a house-eating wildfire.
He was as dishonest as a killdeer.
Their romance was like a budding flower — ever changing.
His anger bubbled up like a volcano.
Accepting defeat is like trying to know somebody you’ve never met.
His adventure was as fun as a ride at ValleyFair.
The moonlit snow sparkled like a thousand tiny jewels.
Jealousy is like hair loss; it might take someone else to point it out.
He was as calm as a painting.
His hatred was as hot as a burning furnace.
Music is like a therapy session.
He was as fast as a full-grown cheetah in the desert.
The lion’s power was like a legion of angry dragons.
“Reading these similes was like an eye-opening ride through an undiscovered village.” — Me
We are finally in the 1970’s in homeschool history, and this will shine a spotlight on why — for us — homeschooling has been the best way to go:
this may be the first time in my life I will truly understand what was happening in my childhood when I was too young to comprehend or care.
Questions like the following will be answered for all of us:
What is Watergate and why did they call it that?
Where and what was Camp David?
Who was the Shah of Iran?
Why did they put yellow ribbons all over fences and buildings?
As I assigned a few reports to my oldest homeschoolers yesterday, they didn’t get why I danced around the kitchen, singing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” and got busy reserving “All the President’s Men” from the library website. They didn’t understand why I told them to: “Write the first paragraph of the report like a newspaper article — like a summary; like “Watergate for Dummies.” Explain the start of the Islamic Republic of Iran like you were explaining it to a child.
Hooray! I might finally understand all this stuff. More soon.
It’s been over a month since I have logged in, but I haven’t been idle. This is what I have been up to:
My husband got home from out-of-state and he came back eating Keto. The man I married 29 years ago thought eating bacon was scandalous — but now he embraces bacon as a legitimate thing, and I don’t have to hide eating it anymore!
This was the best ever year for field trips. We attended two homeschool ski days; joined a free program at the Paint Factory; visited the Amazon Fulfillment Center; toured the St. Cloud Hospital; saw the Sea Life Aquarium on homeschool week; jumped at a Trampoline Park and went to the fish fry after the last day of pick-up hockey at the local ice rink.
So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Did we finish our history or math books? Nope.
However, I consider this year fruitful in other ways, because…
We got to see the underbellies of sharks, real sea turtles and God’s creativity with jellyfish — and write about it.
My youngest boys got to ski for the first time.
My three teenagers got to experience the joy of group painting, and brought home their masterpieces. (The one who most reluctantly attended was the same one who proudly set his finished canvas next to his desk at home.)
We saw how robotics works in a hospital operating room AND how robotics works in an Amazon warehouse.
On the creative side, I’m dabbling in tote bags again, thanks to a request from a friend’s daughter. The tote bags I create make use of old wool sweaters, discarded men’s dress shirts, and empty burlap bags. After years of sewing with zipper avoidance, I’m officially not afraid of zippers anymore.
Lastly, my husband and I took a preventative health test from Life Line. It’s a mobile set-up that moves you through simple tests like blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and then uses ultrasound to check for artery blockage.
But, here’s the interesting scenario: My husband, who:
works out almost every day
carries minimal spare body fat
can let a chocolate bar sit unopened in his closet for 5 months
…got only fair blood test scores. It was surprising.
I tried to feel bad for him.
But, all the while I was pleasantly surprised at my own excellent scores, since I:
have been virtually sedentary all winter long (except for the field trips I mentioned)
have oodles of spare body fat
can’t let a chocolate bar sit unopened for 5 minutes
I tried to console him. I did some online research on his behalf and it might have something to do with sleep…
Speaking of sleep, I just found the word for my kind of nap: Nappuccino. A nappuccino is when you want to take a 20-minute power nap but not go longer than that. So, you drink a cup of coffee right before your nap and then the caffeine wakes you up just when you should wake up.
I didn’t know it was a *thing*…but turns out it is 🙂
I finished a writing project– an 1800-word health article. The problem with writing about health supplements is that when I complete one, it gets me thinking, “I need some of that!” So, the jar of herbal supplement pictured above came from Amazon this week. It’s supposed to suppress my sugar cravings?
I finished the book The Willpower Instinct, which I added to my Winter Reading Contest list. What I liked: The author gives lots of practical tips on how to overcome bad habits. What I didn’t like: Modern scientist authors usually present evolution as a logically accepted, scientific fact. Interesting…because macro-evolution is not science. It does not follow the scientific method, not being observable or repeatable. That said, other than these kinds of assumptions, I really liked the book. 🙂
On Monday, we took a rare field trip to a local ski hill, since it was Homeschool Ski & Snowboard Day. We were the first ones that showed up, arriving 1.5 hours before the chairlifts started lifting. Mark this day down in history.
To go skiing, I wore the LL Bean jacket that my husband gave me 20+ years ago. One lady remarked that she liked my vintage jacket. A little girl asked me, “How do you take that thing off?”
I’m just glad I didn’t break any bones wearing it.
Here I am with my two beginning skiers: Gianny & Marco. They started their beginner lesson at 10:00. The teacher shooed the parents away, so I took to the hills with my 13-year old Ava. After 20 minutes, I thought I’d go check on the boys. We were halfway down a hill when I heard a familiar voice yelling, “Hi, Mama!”
Words cannot describe how surprised I was to see Marco on the chairlift, seated beside two strangers. I had left him safely gliding down the bunny hill, supervised by a team of ski instructors. But now here he was, 20 minutes later, waving and smiling confidently from high on the chairlift. A few thoughts went through my head:
Did he leave the hill and follow us without permission from the teacher?
What is he thinking?
How can I hurry up there and help him down the hill before he tries to ski down alone?
Then, Ava and I watched him sail down the hill like an expert. The truth was: Marco did so well with his beginner lesson that the teacher graduated him early and told him to head to the chairlift and enjoy the hills. Whaaaa?! After I recovered from the shock, it was clear to me that he was capable and fearless. It made me giggle to see his little beginner body cruise down the hills with ease. I still smile to think about it. He’s got good Scandinavian blood, no fear and the faith of a child. 🙂
So, yesterday I didn’t make dinner. (Almost as rare as a day at the ski hill.)
I ate out with my younger children. because Chik Fil A was giving free sandwiches if you wear your MN Wild hockey jersey.
Later, I came home to a few grumpy, hungry and bewildered young adults that couldn’t seem to hunt and gather food for their dinner.
(These are the same young adults that are often out and about and don’t eat the dinner that I regularly make.)
The cupboard was a bit sparse, but we had eggs, milk, bread, butter and cereal. And a few other things. Let’s use our imagination?
Sigh. Mama got mad and started to bang pans around in her bothered haste to make some food. Then she walked into her room where one of said young adults had, one hour earlier, gently laid three flower bouquets on the desk with a loving note attached.
Tears. Laughter. More tears. Hugs. Repentance all around and smiles.