Homeschooling: October 2008 Archives

An unintentional metaphor for baggage

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ghost mobile

I've always noticed that the photos in all the craft blogs show happy little children doing happy little crafts and everyone is smiling and the families seem so homespun and put together. I know that the times when I post craft photos on this website it may seem like that, too, but let me assure you: there is not one craft session chez Loesch where someone doesn't get mad because their brother has the green scissors I WANT THE GREEN SCISSORS, or someone can't find their blue crayon or someone superglues their pinky finger to the table, or someone taste-tests an Elmer's glue stick because hey, it was pink.

Come to think of it, all the art teachers I had in school growing up were beyond deranged, which, if I had to teach herds of kids art day in and day out, I would be, too.

I manage to snap a couple of photos because a) I like adding it here and keeping a record of their home education for them to look back on and b) I need to keep it here as a record of their home education for the days when I want to rip my hair out. Win-win.

I've gotten pretty ambitious with their art (not mine, never again), even graduating Liam from acrylic paint to oils, though I honestly haven't had the brass to let him go whole hog with it yet. The other day we tackled a new project for Halloween: the ghost mobile.

I used spare white fabric, tissue paper, string, and a bottle of vodka. I kid. The boys drew faces on their ghosts, stuffed with tissue paper, and I used some sticks from the yard to create the "hardware" part of the mobile. Liam was totally grossed out that I just went into the yard and like, grabbed some random sticks. He wanted to go to the craft store and spend money on dowel rods or something "more mobile-er, mom." I told him he if wanted to use his allowance to pay for gas on the way down and purchase the supplies he was more than welcome, otherwise it's STICKS FROM THE BACKYARD. He seemed happy with the original plan after that.

And the mobile turned out ... weird. It's cute but it doesn't look like the ghosts are floating so much as hanging.
ghost mobile

Whatever it looks like, it's hanging in my stairwell.

The non-trebuchet

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Normally I'd do a post about all the things I'd like to load up in my imaginary trebuchet and fling over the roof of my house but after some stress last week I've been in a strangely good mood. It's like when you're very sick and you visit the porcelain god and afterwards you feel as though you can really breathe again. So instead of flinging things I'd like to just make a list of some things which have made me really happy this past week:


I finished my first pair of fetchings the other night. They are black cotton, very plain and would probably look underwhelming compared to the fruits of some talented knitters, but they're mine and I love them.


Halloween. My mom always goes over the top decorating for the holidays and her insanity has passed to me. Today as part of their art lesson, the boys and I are making ghosts which we will turn into a mobile and hang from the ceiling in their playroom ...

Speaking of which, I am so glad it's all the way on the 3rd floor so I don't have to worry about this mess when guests come over. 99% of what you see here is from their grandparents. In a slight exaggeration, Chris and I had sticks to play with in comparison.


Our friend's coffee. We're not Catholic, but we love coffee named after saints.


This apple cake recipe, from my good friend. Ooh, and this from my lovely friend Alanna. A slaw recipe with apples and BACON. It just reinforces my idea that bacon goes with everything and is the panacea for all the world's problems. It's really hard to be in a bad mood when you're making one of these things and can smell it from the kitchen.



This guy. He's reading fifth grade books and loves scary stories. I am in awe at how many doors literacy opens; he breezes through most of his lessons and requires little instruction because he can read it all. Ewan is coming up fast behind him; we've started with short vowel sounds and he's reading simple words. I've been using Liam's leftover preschool and K4 material for him but I'm running out. (I'm also still slowly but surely working on a massive compendium of all things St. Louis, and not, homeschooling-related. If you've emailed me with a question and I haven't answered please shoot me another email! Sometimes thing get buried and I'm horrible at organizing my inbox.)


 What about you?

Of monsters and spiders

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During one of Liam's classes this morning I sat and talked with another homeschool mom friend of mine while we all waited for our kids. She was having a garage sale and noticed a couple of brown recluse spiders milling about after she'd moved some things out of her basement. She'd hired a man to spray her house today, but didn't make the call until after she caught a spider in a jar and made a family trip to the zoo where the staff identified it, kept it, and named it after one of her kids.


"You caught a brown recluse," I said more as a statement, not a question.


"Yeah. In a jar. I came home from riding my bike and saw in on the ground and my first thought was to dash off and get a jar. They were really nice at the zoo. Did you know that not all people react to brown recluse bites? Sometimes the flesh rots off by the bite, but only sometimes. Other times it's just a red bump. Fascinating."

She turned to look at me but at some point during the conversation (either the part where she caught the spider or the flesh-rotting part) I had frozen.


Her first thought was to catch it in a jar.


I was in awe of her courage. My first thought would have been somewhere along the line of OMGWTFSPIDERSPIDERSPIDER!!!!!!! There would have been screaming. I've been known to run into walls and furniture in an attempt to run through them while escaping from a spider. I've written before that I am terrified of tiny things with lots of attitude and this includes spiders and my children. I would not have gotten close enough to it to catch it in a jar because with my luck, it would have jumped on my face and sucked my brain out through my eyes.


It reminded me of when I spotted one of those trilobites running across the floor the other day. The boys tried to catch it while I dry-heaved in a corner. I called Chris immediately.


"Um, you need to stop home during lunch because I just saw some seriously prehistoric craziness run across the floor."


"What'd it look like?"


"A mili or centipede. But with long antennae."


"Then that's what it was. We have cardboard boxes in the basement. They actually like to eat those."


"I know what they are and they're weird. I'd try to kill it but it would probably jump into my ear and burrow through my brain."


I heard a sigh on other end of the line.


I listened to my friend detail how the spider incident became a homeschool lesson for her kids and how they got to go behind the scenes at the zoo when they added the family's spider to their insect house. They learned about different varieties of the things, habitats, and other educational grossness. Her kids were learning without even realizing it. By the time the kids' class was over I knew more than I ever wanted to about arachnids.


Semi-related: the boys made shadow monsters yesterday, an idea I got from one of my favorite websites, a children's craft blog. I even used an X-acto knife and didn't cut my fingers off.

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