Saturday, February 17, 2007

Out and About

The past few days we have been enjoying a rapid melting as the sun has come out, the temperature has moderated, and the wind has shifted and is warm.

On Thursday evening, N. and I went over to Alta Vista and dug Henry out. I meant to take the camera, but forgot it and it was more than a mile to walk, so we did without.

N. manned the broom and I brandished the snow shovel. We deliberately waited all day on Thursday to give the sun time to do as much of the work as possible. However, the snow-plow had been by to plow the road, so there was still a good 18" of snow to dig through to get Henry on the road. But Henry is now home--safe and sound as you can see from above.

Yesterday, we took advantage of Henry's rescue to do some long neglected errands. One was the library. N. had a book out on my card that he had not returned but I made him turn his room inside out over the time we were snowed in, and he found it. So we went to the library to return it and get some new books. We are supposed to be studying ancient history, but N. has developed an interest in WWII Navy craft, so he stretched out on the kid-sized reading nitches to read about U-boats. (His book basket, below him, is not yet full, but it certainly was by the time we left. Our library is such a nice, sunny place with good reading corners and, on a Friday morning, there are only homeschoolers in the children's sections. We are getting to know a number of people by sight. When the snow melts and the Outer Limits Park Day resumes, I hope to get to know some of these people personally!

After we did our library "shopping," N. and I had to head to the grocery store. I needed a few items for Shabbat dinner, but mostly, N. had to shop for his Boy Scout Patrol's food for a camp-out this weekend. His interest in the outdoors led him to the Scouts and he is learning more than he knows in the process. Since they have recieved their Tenderfoot, the members of the Bazooka Berserkers patrol must now plan their meals, do the shopping (keeping to a budget), and cook and clean-up after themselves. This time, it was N.'s turn to shop. His patrol had to plan two meals (tonight's supper and Sunday breakfast) for three people. This gave them $6.00 per person, or $18.00. N. had to comparison shop and he learned that planning Gator-Aide would go over budget. I hope the boys are content with Apple Juice--64 oz. on sale for $1.29. Since, they had planned for pancakes, he also had to shoe-horn syrup into the budget--a process that led him to remark: "Now I know why the older patrols have eggs all the time--they're cheap and you don't need syrup!"

We came home and put the groceries away and ate lunch. I had N. practice cooking hot-dogs, but it's not much of a chore with a microwave! Then it was into town to visit the baker, the pet-store (we are almost to our free bag of dogfood), and then a break at Explora, before my class.

N. has his weekly science class there, but this week he was sick so we missed it. I promised we could stop and he could look at some of the displays that he doesn't have time for on class days.

Here he is, checking out a very large and complex version of those children's ball puzzles. They are the ones that you usually see at the doctor's office with the balls on the wires. This one is enclosed and the balls (not on wires) have all sorts of things happen to them--they get their trajectories changed by a variety of forces.

When we came home, after my class, N. packed for the camping trip while Bruce and I made Shabbat dinner. N. is now leading the Kiddush (Sanctification of the Sabbath day) every week and last night, he took over the Birkat ha-Mazon, which is the grace after meals.

We celebrated Bruce's birthday last night at dinner, too. But this morning the two of them had to get up at 5 AM in order to get N. to the drop-off point for the camping trip. This is the first trip that Bruce has not gone on with N. However, N. was really excited to go and the scoutmaster, who had been a guest at N.'s Bar Mitzvah, said: "After that, I know what he is capable of. I intend to push him toward Eagle. He wants it and he can do it."

I think it's so interesting that when I first imagined Homeschooling, I pictured N. and I huddled over books at our dining room table. I did not realize how much of his learning goes on elsewhere in the community: At the library, at museums, at the grocery store, and on scout trips. As I have learned to become more flexible and to follow his interests, N. has become a happier person. He is more engaged and more curious and willing to try many things that he never would have before. He is also a more interesting person, who has a lot to say and there are many adults in the community who really want to hear it. He talks to all kinds of people who know all sorts of things that he is interested in. The community and the world have become his school.

What is interesting is that most school people--like those in my university classes--immediately ask about socialization. But N. is socializing with more people than he ever did at school. They have important things to tell him--things he's interested in.

Anyway, this weekend, Bruce and I have a day to ourselves. Our driveway is turning into a lake--see the dark spots? That's snowmelt. It looks like it's cold in the picture, but actually, it is warm and the day's music has the beat and tinkle of water dripping and dropping and running down the drive.

Gotta go. We were snowed in for Valentines day, so we are going to go out to lunch and then do some bumming around--out and about in town. The snowmelt really feels like spring this time!


Megan Bayliss said...

Oh dear!!!! That so doesn't look warm to me. I think you may need to come to the wedding and sing to the music of cascading water and humidity. What a great experience it would be for N.

Isn't if funny how well meaning people display concern about socialisation. We've experienced the same thing, but with Boy's interests and interesting people around us, there is no shortage of quality socialisation. Boy is much happier conversing with older people anyway but their knowledge about non regular kid things really pikes Boy's thirst for information.

Also, the mundane chores that we mostly take for granted take on new existence when viewed as teachable homeschool moments. I adore them and, as it has you, it has made me really think through my values and reasons for frequenting places (I still can't cop the shops though - I detest food and clothe shopping).

I was lucky as a kid. My parents took me to so many places - interesting places and we all had experiences that opther people would never get in a lifetime. Those moments have stayed with me all my life and I so want to transfer that type of information staying power to Boy. He'd LOVE our honeymoon destination. It's rich in history and ecology but alas...this time I am being a selfish Mum and I want my big darling all to myself.

There's some good intenational flights available at the moment if you want to give N a rainforest experience. We've got one family travelling from Tenesee. They just moved back to the U.S in January and they're missing the warm weather.

Stay warm. You can't fool me with your photos of snow melt - it's still freezing!


Fairion said...

I hope you can offer some advice. How do you reconcile Boyscout campouts and like activities with Shabbat? It is not a problem we have encountered yet because Froggy is still too little but one I know is coming and want to be prepared.