Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wandering, Reading, Writing

Title from an article about walking and poetry, called Walking with His Muse. I looked up walking because today Aidan and I went for our first spring walk. The older children have been roaming around the outdoors ever since the majority of the snow melted but this is the first time for me.

I wanted to write something every day in here but alas, I haven’t been consistent. I think part of the problem is that most of what has been happening recently has been nice, but small scale. Even writing it out casts a bigger shadow than the thing itself.


–Aidan vacuuming the whole downstairs yesterday. He was so proud that he got on the phone to talk to his brother at college to tell him his achievement.
–Games of UNO, War, Poker and Hit the Deck. It’s a fun way for me to spend time with my middle boys and not have to use my brain too much. And the little ones can phase in and out without much disruption in the game, though it does nicely build the patience muscles in the teens.
– Noticing the way one of my teens approaches conversation with me… by observing some meticulously noted detail usually to do with the natural world. Yesterday he told me he heard and saw the bats coming to get the moths at his window at night. Today he pointed out our most majestic sugar pine and compared its height to the height of the new Dallas football stadium going up.

Aidan had one more series of tests today at the school. This one held his interest much better because it was geometric shaped pieces and you had to follow the pattern the tester made. He was very absorbed and did better in this than he has in the more abstract areas. But he lost ground when he had to repeat shapes that were only pictured on a paper.

We went to the lake. It was actually warm enough for the courageous souls to swim (mostly Aidan) though we had to do some climbing to get to a good beach place. You could actually see snow in the hills right above the lake, so you can imagine it was no sauna. When we were discussing whether they would be allowed to go into the water, I said something about being a Spartan mother and Kieron said, “Well, as long as you don’t make us eat raw meat.” I thought that was funny — a 12 year old boy version of “connections” in learning!

Kieron spent almost the whole time rescuing ladybugs. A whole bunch of them had made their way into the water — maybe they hatched nearby and got blown in? This isn’t a very good picture since I couldn’t see my viewfinder in the sun, but here is a small sample:


As for academics? Yes, a bit. We have packed up Jacob’s and are reviewing for Sean’s math. Basically, Sean’s academic year is dwindling to a close. This must be a first, when he is finishing all his books and I actually don’t have enough left for him to do. I guess it must be because we’ve had no major life events this year. I am thinking — a unit? a writing intensive? Surely there must be some areas left to shore up?

The boys were looking for something to do, and found this –
War!– Age of Imperialism

The younger ones kept playing even when Sean and his dad went off to work out at the high school football field. Aidan was delighted — a train!! Wheels! (on a cannon). All sorts of little pieces to play with. I have warned them most solemnly to keep them on the table and not scatter them around the house. We have had similar conversations in the past and they work — for a while —

Clare and I talked about Descartes’s proof for the existence of God. What does it mean, “existence is more perfect than non-existence?” That was yesterday. And today we talked about Perry Mason. We are nothing if not eclectic here.

I dug out a box of Paddy’s old books. I hid them in my closet a few months ago because I was so tired of reading them — bad mom. But I wanted to fan the fire of interest-in-something-besides-Tintin, and now the trodden grass has sprung up enough so that I can bear them again. So we have been reading Arnold Lobel and Else Holmelund Minarik. Perfect for instant serenity and staying-in-the-moment. I think you can learn a lot of philosophy from reading Frog and Toad.

JoVE gives me a new way to think of the transition — “gearing up” rather than “winding down”. Really, our days have been quite full, and are likely to become even fuller when Liam comes home and our summer plans take effect.