Thursday, April 03, 2008

April golden, April cloudy

This is a stolen at-home day. Originally Aidan was scheduled for Physical Therapy in town. But when I woke up with an allergic reaction yesterday and on top of it realized I was developing a cold, I went ahead and rescheduled. It feels like such a relief to be at home; almost every day has been a traveling one.

We picked up our academics after the Easter Week break, but have been doing the work at a more leisurely pace and just the minimums. On a typical day my 15 year old son’s schedule looks like this and my 12 year old’s like this.

Sean is working on square roots in his algebra. He hates it, and Clare remembers how she hated them too. I said something like — 4 sqr x means “4 X’s in boxes” and Sean looked disgusted and said “It sounds like a Dr Seuss book!” We keep plugging through, but he is certainly not going to be one of those kids who remembers algebra with fondness, unless something changes drastically.

I am reading Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates to Kieron — the Ghost of Captain Brand right now. It’s a very satisfying book to read aloud:

And so the crew pulled on in perfect silence for the best part of an hour, the leader of the expedition directing the course of the boat straight across the harbor, as though toward the mouth of the Rio Cobra River. Indeed, this was their destination, as Barnaby could after a while see, by the low point of land with a great long row of coconut palms upon it (the appearance of which he knew very well), which by and by began to loom up out of the milky dimness of the moonlight. As they approached the river they found the tide was running strong out of it, so that some distance away from the stream it gurgled and rippled alongside the boat as the crew of men pulled strongly against it. Thus they came up under what was either a point of land or an islet covered with a thick growth of mangrove trees. But still no one spoke a single word as to their destination, or what was the business they had in hand.

The night, now that they were close to the shore, was loud with the noise of running tide-water, and the air was heavy with the smell of mud and marsh, and over all the whiteness of the moonlight, with a few stars pricking out here and there in the sky; and all so strange and silent and mysterious that Barnaby could not divest himself of the feeling that it was all a dream.

It is slow-paced though, like a lot of 19th century books. Aidan likes to interpose opposites whenever he hears a noun or adjective, so you hear a side chorus of “ambulance!” (for boat) and “quiet with the noise” and “light with the smell of mud” and so on.

Just an interesting fact:

Dr Freed said that some visual-spatial learners have remarkable hearing. He said one boy could tell what the doctor was writing, without looking, by the sound the pen made. In that line — I make a cold frappucino drink for my second son Brendan in the morning (he is 19). I mix coffee, milk and sugar. He can tell whether I’ve remembered to put the sugar in by how the coffee sounds when I’m stirring it. As you can imagine, he is the person who gets stressed in auditoriums and the like. I do a bit, too, but not as much as he does.

I just made sugar cookies with Aidan because he was asking to put frosting and sprinkles on his playdough cookies. Now Kieron is making peanut butter cookies.

I didn’t know what to title this so I took the line from an Ogden Nash poem. I am trying to convince myself it really is April, even though it doesn’t look much like it here yet.