Home Improvements

Gran and Pop (my parents) were down this way last weekend so that Pop could help me with some Back to School projects. School starts in two weeks and we’re trying to get our school space in good shape.

Ellie, Michael and Pop put the new table and chairs together.

Ellie, Michael and Pop put the new table and chairs together.

I painted bookcases.  I was never going to paint laminate again but they were black and I couldn't stand it.

I painted bookcases. I had vowed never to paint laminate again but they were black and I couldn’t stand it.

Pop and his bigger-than-the-Blueberry vehicle helped haul away the second bed in the schoolroom. This caused a wonderful chain reaction where the bookcases in the hall (the ones getting painted) swapped places with the chest in the schoolroom, Ellie’s dollhouse (made by Pop) moved upstairs to the top of the chest, the table that used to hold the dollhouse moved to Michael’s office to hold the big desktop machine (game computer), and that liberated the card table that I need for the sculpture workshop on Friday. It was just like the trading quests in The Legend of Zelda.

The best part (for me not for him) was that Pop spent most of his weekend creating a Stuffed Friend Containment System.

Shelves!

Shelves!

We might need more.  That's not all of the animals.

That’s not even all of the animals. Great Gran’s doll bed ended up caddy-corner.

Ellie’s stuffed animals are friends. You can’t get rid of friends. She feels very strongly about this.

It's intimidating to walk into the room and see them all staring at you.

When you walk into the room, they all stare at you.

I’ve already asked if we could have more shelves over the top of the windows the next time he’s here. Pop didn’t answer my text.

What F is For

With all the lightning strikes (followed by internet and power outages) and water spills lately, I’ve not had a chance to show y’all what I’m working on.

Here's looking at you!

Here’s looking at you!

A little bit more of a traditional doll head this time – the Girl’s noggin and this one are interchangeable in case anyone likes one or the other better.

I woke up around 2:30am and might have gone back to sleep, but when Ellie woke up at 3:00 (her friends had fallen out of bed and needed to be rescued) all hope was gone. Lying around awake in the wee hours gave me time to think. Thinking gave me a better idea for the bottom half of this doll and I so I’ve pulled out what I started and I’m giving it another go. I’ve got some changes that I want to make to her top half too – but Ellie got upset when I suggested pulling it out so I’ll just have to wait for the next one.

Want to guess what “F” is for?

All Better

Look here, y’all!

Yay!

She turned back on!

I was never so surprised. There was so much water when I shook her out that I thought Claire was a goner for sure. Yay!

Only one question remains: What do I do with 8 pounds of used rice?

Rice

Betty spilt water on the kitchen table. My laptop was on the table. Perhaps you’d all take a moment to hope for the best while I go to Winn Dixie for more rice?

rice

Oak Meadow Family (What We’re Doing About School)

Ellie has been accepted to Oak Meadow, a distance learning program based in Vermont.

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She’ll work from home, but her school is in Vermont. Just like Michael works from home, but his office is in California. Or like I work from home and my office is where I’m sitting. I’ll be her main teacher, but she will also have an Oak Meadow teacher who will review and grade her work, provide support and help keep us on track, and maintain her transcript with this fully-accredited school. Oak Meadow has a curriculum-only option, but enrollment feels like a much better choice for our family this year*.

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The curriculum has a wonderful Waldorf flavor in the early grades without placing limitations on academic endeavor (unlike traditional Waldorf-Steiner programs). In second grade, Ellie will study poetry, history and geography, fables and folklore, and multiplication. Her science program and the reading selections are focused on animal study (Yay!). Art is integrated throughout the curriculum. There are lots of project options so that Ellie can practice self-direction and have a measure of control over her learning experience. If I were going to hand pick a curriculum tailored to Ellie’s strengths and interests, I’d end up with something very close to what has been working for Oak Meadow all along.

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As students move through the grades, the curriculum grows and changes. In fourth grade the focus shifts: the syllabus speaks to the student rather than the parent, who begins to take a supportive role rather than one of leadership. It is gratifying to see that the progression of the curriculum reinforces the natural development of the child. This is a program that we can continue all through high school if Ellie chooses. We are incredibly excited. The minute I found their website, I knew it was an exceptional choice for Ellie and for us as a family.

*Left to our own devices, Ellie and I might just read and paint all day. And bake (to learn fractions). With enrollment, not only is my life simplified as far as record keeping, dealing with the local school board, providing balanced learning, and staying on track, but I don’t have to be the bad guy when we’ve got to get stuff done! It’s actually DUE! It has to be TURNED IN! As a first time homeschool parent, this makes me feel a lot less pressured. And Ellie gets to have school swag. Which she loves.