Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Day in the Life -- Tuesday again

Chuck left at the crack of dawn for a two-day training session out of town. Today felt like a chaotic, wasted day for me, but in retrospect there was a fair bit that got done. Erin learned how to cook scrambled eggs. Noah and Sophie prepared their own lunches and one for Fiona too. Noah spent a good bit of time training the dog. I installed the new digital camera software and the kids spent a delighted half hour or more using the slide show feature to examine every family photo on my hard drive (over 750 of them). Erin wrote a few messages on the Wondertree Village message boards, including offering up a nice introductory paragraph for a fantasy novel she's hoping to write, inspired by Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy and the "Dark is Rising" series by Susan Cooper.

"On a dark, misty winter's night a shadow walked lightly across the snow, taking care not to make a sound. Around it there were black buildings made of stone, where no one lived, and no one worked. If you had seen it by daylight, it would have seemed deserted, but at night, it teemed with shadows such as this one. It crept around a corner, and under a tree. As it rounded another curve in the street, it stopped, muttering to itself. It looked around, confused. Then, seeing it's target, seemed to regain confidence and slipped into the shadow of a hedge. It was a hedge that hadn't been green in years, and obviously hadn't been tended for longer. It was just a tangle of twigs and thin sprigs that would whip at your face angrily if you tried to touch it. But the shadow found a gap in the bush and slipped through. The moon, just visible through the fog, caught the profile of the shadow for one instant, before it slunk into the darkness again. It's head was bent and it's back hunched, like an old man, but somehow it managed to be quicker than a hare as it snaked through the city."

Not all the practising got done. Noah has a birthday tomorrow, and we have a family tradition of no practising on your birthday. But he has a viola lesson tomorrow, which is considered equivalent to practising, so I suggested he skip his viola practising today in lieu. He did take a few minutes to go over the ensemble music that had been assigned for group class. Erin did a brief piano practising and an even briefer violin practising. Sophie and I practised together but it was a challenge ... her first goal-directed practising with me in 8 or 9 days.

I taught two violin lessons this afternoon. My mom has taken over the lion's share of the local Suzuki teaching, so I only have 3 regular students. Two of them came today. My kids fended for themselves, amusing Fiona.

I managed to unpack one more suitcase and do one more load of laundry. I managed to cook a meal and host our Tuesday dinner guests (family friends who have two unschooled girls, 8 and 11, the elder of whom plays violin ... they need a place to hang out and get a meal between her violin lesson and the evening group class, so they come to our place for supper every Tuesday). As it turns out, the student I teach before supper is a Wondertree unschooler, as are the two girls who come for supper, as it Erin. All of us are new to the program, so we parents had a good talk about it at that pre-supper transition time.

After supper we went to violin group class. My mom taughtit, knowing I wouldn't be properly prepared after just returning from holidays. All four of my kids participate in this group class. Fiona enthusiastically scrubs away on her cardboard violin until she tires and retreats to the book nook in the corner. Sophie and Noah are sort of in the middle of the pack in group class, being in late violin book 2 and mid-viola book 4 respectively, and aged 6 and 8 in a class spanning ages 4 to 15. The group class is probably most relevent to them. Erin is the most advanced student, and one of the oldest, so there's little challenge for her, though she's always gracious about attending. She and two of the other older, more advanced students got sent away to work on a trio piece on their own for 20 minutes. Then they had to return to the group and perform it. There's a really nice comraderie that showed amongst these three and they did some good work.

The Suzuki families in town are my kids' pseudo-extended-family. They had a wonderful time reconnecting with them after the summer and our holiday. The half hour afterwards was filled with conversation and play. Noah especially seemed to have really missed his Suzuki friends.

After group class we came home and unwound. I did a bit of tidying and the kids gravitated to the computer. We had a family meeting, something we do once a week or so, over hot chocolate and biscuits. On the agenda: Noah's birthday celebration, keeping the house tidy, dealing with our over-boisterous new puppy, fitting in enough readaloud time and a rehash of the sleepover issue. Dh phoned from his hotel room, and everyone talked to him, even Fiona.

Afterwards the kids played on the computer for a few minutes and Erin did some Soduko puzzles, explaining to the other kids what she was doing.

Readaloud time now beckons us all, and it's nearing 11 pm.

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