Friday was a good day for music. Everyone did lots of good practising, and both Erin and Noah did some entertaining / showing off on the piano during the evening. The kids had decided that they were going to work double-hard at their practising today, and they did just that. Piano lessons start next Monday, so it's nice that they had a hard-working day.
Friday was also a day of instant-messaging. Noah was jealous of the IM capabilities Erin's been enjoying on the Wondertree Homeschooling Village. He's feeling a sense of regret that he didn't sign on with the program too. But he doesn't want the learning goals and reporting and interaction with liaison teachers, so I think it's good he didn't sign up. Anyway, it was his birthday celebration day so I figured I'd set him/us with MSN to give him some fun.
I signed myself up first. Then I typed in the address of an 18yo friend of the family who is away at college this fall. She was on-line and thrilled to chat with me and the kids. They were instantly hooked on this form of chatting. I busily went to the other computer and got Noah and Erin set up with MSN and then abandoned the bunch of them to their chat with Rosie. She's a wonderful friend and mentor whom the kids have been missing a lot. She's also Erin's touchstone with the world of teenagehood ... a sensible and down-to-earth girl who has given Erin a model for gracefully coping with all the social and emotional stuff of adolescence. We know her through music; she's been the only violin student in the region at/beyond Erin's level, and Erin especially is missing her. She talks to Erin like a peer, and yet understands her age and emotional maturity. So that was a very nice connection to re-establish. We'll see her in real life in another week when she comes home for Canadian Thanksgiving, but we'll have more contact with her before and after through MSN. The kids spent piles of time chatting to her. Erin is a lightning-fast touch-typist and gifted writer. Noah is a hunt-and-peck kid with relatively rudimentary writing skills. His spelling and punctuation and typing skills seemed to improve even in the course of the afternoon. Erin and he chatted between our two computers for a while.
I made lasagna for dinner.
We had the birthday celebratory dinner. Last year Noah hosted a bonfire on his birthday... his first experiment with a party with invitations outside the family. It was wonderful. He asked for no gifts, but donations to the Heifer Project in lieu, and he was able to buy a goat with the money he received. Kids came with their families, and we roasted marshmallows in the dark, the kids played flashlight hide-and-seek and ran through the forest. We ate cake, looked at the full moon through the telescope, etc.. He really enjoyed it. But this year he was feeling more like a homebody after our holidays, and less like a big energetic gathering, and decided to go back to just a family birthday. So we had a nice supper with my mom in attendence. He opened his gifts. He got a nice swiss army knife and a pair of Heelys (very extravagant compared to our usual birthday fare!) from his parents. Erin gave him a watch she'd found on the beach that he'd wanted but she had claimed as her own. When his watch fell off while kayaking last month, she secretly decided she'd give this one to him for his birthday. He was thrilled. And he got a Viking activity / exploration pack from his grandmother, something that will no doubt become part of the Euwy world, since many Norse gods and goddesses already have alternative existences there.
I forget (already) what else happened throughout the day.... The kids did some dishes. There was talk of renting a video (we almost never watch TV, but it seemed like a fun special thing to do on a birthday) but the kids totally forgot to follow through on this. The Heelys got lots of play; Erin and Noah have the same size feet, and we just renovated our kitchen/dining area, giving the kids a good 15-foot-long expanse of glossy smooth rolling room. So even though we have no pavement near our home, they managed to become pretty capable on them. Noah and Sophie worked together to start building a cardboard model of a Viking longship. Noah read jokes aloud to us for a while. Erin cooked porridge and macaroni & cheese for us for breakfast and lunch.
A nice, family-centred day. Noah thought it was a brilliant birthday, and the 'gift' of an MSN Messenger account was his favourite, with Heelys and mocha semifreddo cake a close second and third.
I'm finding Oppel's "Skybreaker" a thrilling book to read aloud. Unfortnately I was dropping off to sleep before we finished our chapter, as were the kids. A big, long day.