Friday, January 02, 2004

The New Year begins

I got up abut the time Chuck went to work. Usually Erin hears Fiona wake up from her bedroom and brings her out to me. So this morning when I heard Fiona babble from the living room I assumed she and Erin were there. When Erin didn't respond, I went out. There was Fiona, alone. She'd woken up in "our" bed, crawled down to the end of the bedrail, slipped out, headed out of the room and down the hall, come down a flight of stairs, navigated another hallway, and come into the living room before announcing herself. Wow! Half and hour later after Erin and Sophie got up, she climbed the ladder to the top bunk. She's 11 months, just starting to walk. We have to start being a bit more vigilant about closing doors and keeping an eye on her.

I got a call from a friend saying that the kids' cross-country program ("Jackrabbits") was starting in an informal way, and that we should be at the golf course at 11 if we wanted to be involved. By this time it was 10, so we made porridge, got everyone dressed and equipment into the van and headed out. Sophie had a meltdown. I blew it because we were late and I got really angry. Turned out she had to pee and was feeling guilty that she hadn't peed when I'd encouraged everyone to do so before we left home. Erin and Noah joined the ski group. Sophie and Fiona and I stayed in the parking lot until it was empty and then did a long involved pee-thing, getting her naked in the snow, then dressed again... longjohns, sweats, snowpants, jacket, mitts, boots, the whole deal off and then on again.

I put Fiona in the backpack and Sophie and I skied off to find the group. They were having a ball, but Sophie didn't feel up to joining in, so she and I just skied around a little together for a while. I introduced her to a new friend, mom to a new local unschooling family of four kids, 2-11. In a village of 600, it's amazing to find another family like this. Sophie, Donna and I hung out and watched the rest of the kids. Noah loved downhilling and trying jumps like Nicholas, the 13yo coach and competitive racer. Erin had a blast skiing the flats as fast as she could with Annie, yet another local homeschooler who is just 7 but a phenomenal nordic racer (little sister to Nicholas).

After about 2 hours of skiing, Erin and Noah headed off to Annie & Nicholas' place for the afternoon. Sophie, Fiona and I went home. Fiona was exhausted and fell asleep on my shoulder, so I did some website work. Then Sophie and I got out some Sculpey clay and made some stuff.

We made hot chocolate and then drove out to pick up E & N. Also picked up Bob, one of the new unschooling kids in town, who is 11. Nice kid. Drove him home, necessitating a 20 minute detour. Noah told jokes for a while. Then we listened to some of "Mozart's Magical Voyage" or whatever it's called: the "Classical Kids" music&audio CD about Mozart. Then we were home.

At home I got supper ready. Erin, Noah and Sophie made some more Sculpey things. We discovered the kids had won their first eBay auction, for a CD-ROM they'd owned before, scratched and missed having. I beamed a Paypal payment and they coughed up $8.60 from their piggy bank. We ate supper.

Noah and Sophie played Age of Mythology on the computer. Fiona practiced walking. Noah and Sophie watched a bit of a show about free-diving. The kids ran around playing some silly hide-and-seek-rescue game. Erin and Noah looked through some Usborne "Great Search" books.

Nobody wanted to do their violin practising, but Erin had promised to do her violin every day until her birthday, so we did that together. Noah did a pretty good piano practising on his own. Erin just did some sight-reading, playing through selections from a book of "Best of Bach".

Everyone did some math. Noah did a Singapore exercise on double-digit subtraction, Erin one on rates (multiplication and division word problems), and Sophie a Miquon page combining addition and multiplication. She noticed that multiplication gives a larger answer than addition except when one of the numbers is 1 or 0.

Erin got out a book the medical clinic was given by a forestry firm about "Our Working Forests" and showed incredibly good critical thinking and skepticism. She kept saying sarcastically "They say that because a forest fire killed a lot of trees it's okay to kill more from logging. Like, a forest fire killed ten million trees, so hey, let's kill five million more!" She picked holes in a ton of the PR smear.

The kids helped Fiona practice walking. They're so excited, and sit around in different corners of the living room delightedly summoning her from one of them to the other. She loves it.

Pre-bedtime readalouds right now are:

"The Monsters of Morley Manor" by Bruce Coville (Sophie's pick)

"The Assasins of Rome" by Caroline Lawrence

"The Thief Lord" by Cornelia Funke

Generally we read two chapters of the first, one of the second and three or more of the last.

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