Saturday, May 27

Spring Banquet

We had our PACHEK Spring Banquet on Thursday evening. It was more wonderful than I could've imagined. We entered to find the room full of balloons, and the tables... oh! The tables! Each table was covered with paper, on which we found questions, quotes, and discussion starters. There were books for answering various questions, crayons, rulers, pencils & erasers, Skittles, and M&Ms. The kids had lots of fun with all that, and so did the grown ups!

Families displayed some of their children's schoolwork from the past year. We saw a huge bug collection, a castle model, a Civil War display, marshmallow sculptures, paintings, and several other neat projects. There was a potluck dinner with more than enough food to go around... and around.

As we finished eating, some of the children gave musical or other presentations. We certainly have talented young people in our homeschool group! This was followed by each family leader introducing his (or her) family and recognizing special achievements.

The last presentation was very special to me. Two of the other PACHEK leaders presented me with a thank-you gift -- a poster of Kentucky memorabilia to remember them by. I plan to have it signed before I move!

The evening was a beautiful celebration of homeschooling. I hope it becomes a PACHEK tradition!

Here is video of Toby and Lynae's presentation:

Sunday, May 14

The Lanyard

by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the "L" section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard.
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard.
Or wear one, if that's what you did with them.
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim
and I in turn presented her with a lanyard.
"Here are thousands of meals" she said,
"and here is clothing and a good education."
"And here is your lanyard," I replied,
"which I made with a little help from a counselor."
"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world." she whispered.
"And here," I said, "is the lanyard I made at camp."
"And here," I wish to say to her now,
"is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth,
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom
would be enough to make us even."

Wednesday, May 10

Let's try this again!

This is my last night with a 3 year old. Tomorrow my baby turns four. I remember the last time "my baby" turned four. Life was very good. Good like a walk in the shade on a nice warm day with honeysuckle on a gentle breeze.

I hardly knew how to handle that.

Let's pray I handle it better this time!!

Monday, May 8

Spring camping

Young fisherpeople:
The Great Flaming Marshmallow:
Totally wiped out Manoah in a bed of poison ivy:
We're raising another goof, it seems:
Sweet India, also zonked after a 3.5 mile hike:

Spring camping too

Loren's first fish:
Toby's fish:
Singing hymns around the campfire:

Loren & Gracie hangin' out after lunch:

Sunday, May 7

It's panic time again... perfectly normal

I miss school. I want to sit the kids at the table for several hours a day and see them working diligently from textbooks, filling workbooks, and creating meaningful artwork. I want a big fat grade book full of wonderful grades, a calendar marking our progress, and lists full of checkmarks to let me know we've done everything we're supposed to do.

I told this to Toby and Lynae. They chuckled. They scrunched up their faces. They can't imagine where I'd get such silly notions. I'm sure they will be much better homeschooling parents than I.

I need to regain my focus and be content with my children's actual education in this weird season of our life. Michael can copy Loren's handwriting while reading it upside down from across the table. He says he wants to be a writer like John Boy Walton. Jon, in his own drawn out Jon way, can read two passages of scripture and write a comparison.* Lynae understands what it takes to clean the house to show it, shows admirable initiative, handles laundry for a family of seven, helps me cook creative and nutritious meals, blogs, and connects the dots regarding various historical figures from books she's read and songs we know. Toby can keep the yard, garage, and vehicles maintained, take care of the animals, do all sorts of home repairs, and I'm about to teach him how to do interior painting... well. Learning attention to detail is more important than algebra right now. Although, wonder of wonders, he told me this morning that he misses math!

He also wrote me a book report today, after reading (for fun) a book on hunting. In it, he wrote, "That is why Robin Hood was an outlaw, because he hunted with his illegal but nonetheless merry men." I must count my blessings, having a son who enjoys reading and writing and has such a great sense of humor!

Here's what else he's done this weekend:

*(sigh) Jon has reached that (predictable) point in his work -- about 85% completed -- when he erases all he's done and makes up silly interpretations of what the assignment really was, pretending not to remember what he should be doing. And it doesn't matter what it is... copying a sentence, writing his name, writing numbers, drawing a circle... he always reaches this point.

Excedrin is my friend.

Tuesday, May 2

I got some interesting mail today. The best was birth certificates for the children. Woo-hoo! I also received a file full of letters and papers my youth leader had kept since I was about 11-13. It's very strange to see what I was like around Toby & Lynae's ages. I have half a mind to ask them some of the same questions I was asked, just to see how different their perspective is from what mine was.

I changed my sidebar link... now you can see the weather in Cloquet, since that's where they've told Loren he'll be working. :D