Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 9: In Which we Define Normal and Enjoy the Classics

This week was about as normal as we get around here, which isn't saying much about the meaning of "normal." We did our school work, got in our usual CrossFit WODs and had a wonderful afternoon of art and listening to Black Ships Before Troy in anticipation of our study of Ancient Greeks, The Iliad, and The Odyssey. (I have also been listening to the Great Courses presentation on the Iliad, and plan to listen to the one on The Odyssey as well.)

I have linked above to the Audible resources I am currently using. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to a modern, unabridged translation of the Iliad. Sadly, in my own educational journey I have missed out on the depth and intricacies of Greek mythology. I never really enjoyed it, so I did only what I was obligated to do in school and skipped the rest. Now however, I am seeing it through the eyes of my son, who has always been fascinated with Ancient Greeks, their mythology and history. He has no fear of the classics and has embraced them with the energy and enthusiasm that every kid has for thrilling tales of heroism, monsters, and adventures in which the heroes defeat the monsters! On another level, I am cashing in on my graduate work in intercultural studies and understanding how the Greeks as a people understood life, the gods, and the concept of fate. All synapses are firing, here, and we are thoroughly engrossed.

One of the beautiful things about Audible is that I can enjoy being read to, right along with the kids. There is such value in reading aloud, but I have to confess, I do not always enjoy doing it. While we listened the other day to Black Ships Before Troy we did art! We all enjoyed the story and painted at the same time. It was wonderfully theraputic for me, as the week had been very busy--I had needed a day at home to just focus on lessons and the kids. At the end of the day, I was so happy to have had that time with them.

We are approaching week 9 and the end of the first unit of Tapestry of Grace Year 1. We have learned quite a lot about ancient Egypt and the beginnings of ancient Israel, had some very good discussions about the origins of our own faith, and have even gotten crafty with clay and lap books.

Molly completed a lap book displaying different gods of Egypt and the 10 plagues that God sent upon the Egyptians. While it would be impossible to examine all the different gods of Egypt, we chose 10 of them, discussed what they represented, and talked about how God undermined them through miraculous plagues designed to influence the pharaoh to let the Israelite slaves free to exit his land.
Molly's lap book on the ten plagues
The older dialectic students are working on models of the tabernacle, following discussion of the Israelites' wanderings in the wilderness. This has brought on interesting discussions of what it means to worship a holy God and what he expects from those who follow him.
building the tabernacle model
In non-academic news, I cannot resist the urge to brag a bit on my son. He and I entered a competition series at our CrossFit box in which we will do a different "classic" CrossFit WOD every Friday evening for the next four weeks. Everyone was welcome to participate, so he decided to do it with me. This week we did "Helen": 3 rounds for time, 400 m run, 21 kettlebell swings, and 12 pull-ups. Matt completed all of that in 12:45, WON the men's scaled competition and got 20 bucks for it! Booyah!

I on the other hand did not win, but I am okay with that. I had hoped to complete Helen in under 18 minutes and preferably in 15, and my time was 15:28, so I met my goal.

"Band of brothers" except they are sistahs...
This is me with three of my dear CF buddies who completed the WOD with me. The blur at the bottom is my son, attempting to photo-bomb the picture!

After the fun of Helen, friends from CF came over and celebrated our one-year anniversary of CF with us. It was a perfect night for chili, hot dogs, s'mores and a fire in the fire pit. The kids ran around outside and the adults wisely stayed inside and enjoyed some good laughs.

Saturday evening we went to Belvedere Plantation and enjoyed another bonfire, more s'mores, and lots of harvest-fest activities, not the least of which were pig races. I've never seen such a cute and funny event--little piggies running around a track, jumping over, running around, or crawling under little jumps. The kids enjoyed zip lines, giant slides, corn mazes and running around together.
All in all it was a busy, fun, exhausting "normal" week! Today we are resting and recovering from all the activities and late nights.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 8: In Which We Have a Bye Week

Like every good team, we need a bye week once in a while to recuperate. This was a good week for a break--everyone was starting to feel less than fresh when it came to school work, we still had Dad home due to the government furlough, and we had a scheduled field trip. I required only that the kids keep up with their history and science readings so that we would be prepared for next week's co-op.

On Monday our CrossFit Box had holiday hours which translates into huge crowds for workouts. We stayed home and did a workout (WOD) together. You can read about that at the Accidental CrossFitter, if you are at all interested.

If you are wondering how to get your kids more active, how to find time to exercise, or are looking for a sport that everyone in your family can participate in, consider trying CrossFit. While memberships at a box (what CrossFitters call their gyms) can be spendy,  we have made room in our budget for them because fitness has become such an integral part of our lifestyle. If you cannot afford it for long term, many CF boxes have shorter-term contracts where you could get the coaching for the movements and techniques and then simply follow the CrossFit and CrossFit Kids websites, which post WODs every day. I can honestly say I have never been this fit, this strong, or this confident in my own skin. Even when I was involved in athletics, I was only trained for that sport, and I was never involved in any given sport for very long, as I have never really considered myself an athlete. I just played for fun. Now, I am playing again for fun, but life is the game and being fit makes it so much better!
Enough about that...On Wednesday we went to the Kennedy Center for National Symphony Orchestra Youth concert, "Music is a Language." Both kids and I enjoyed it immensely--it's the NSO--how can we not? I appreciate the fact that we live in a place where there are so many opportunities for rich cultural experiences. I do not, however, appreciate the traffic we get stuck in going to such events. Inevitably we come home completely wiped out--not from the event itself, but more from whatever traffic jam we got stuck in, or from having to drive in the city, which fries my neurons horribly. Minivans in the city are just wrong. I need a Mini (without the van part)!

Now with the furlough behind us (until the next government crisis), Dad will return to work tomorrow and we need to get back into routine. I will miss having my best friend around. I will miss having the laundry caught up--he is the best at keeping that under control! While some moms may have been thrown off by having dads around unexpectedly for two whole weeks doing who-knows-what, I was not...at least not much.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Weeks 6 & 7: In Which we Bend and Stretch and Remain Flexible

I haven't posted the past two weeks because life has been a little less-than-predictable, and ever-so-interesting. Last week we were blessed with completely unexpected house guests. Thankfully they are also folks who homeschool, so we still got work done, but not the usual amount and I certainly didn't remember to take photos.

This past week has forced us to flex because of the so-called government shut-down. Dad is therefore home with us for the week, with no apparent notion of when he will return to work. It's wonderful having him home, but there is that small bit about getting paid--he isn't. We can't do much but hang out at home and enjoy being together, or go to CrossFit since that is not an out-of-pocket expense. Hubs has done a ton of yard work, and it all looks great. I'm ready to fill in my flower beds with pansies and mums, now...just as soon as he goes back to work. How long until an election? 

But this week was wonderful, and since my husband was home, and we carried on and made up for last week's loss of routine with a concerted effort to get back on track. So we...
refreshed Mrs. Chicken's salts

Set goals


Turned into grammar ninjas
just keep diagramming...
Oh, he is hilarious, alright!
did a little science-for-fun
caught up on TOG reading
enjoyed the beautiful weather on the patio
did a tough WOD together

Then last night we had the most amazing supper and friends over to enjoy it with us! Truth is, I would rather eat food like we had last night with good friends than go out to eat any day of the week...

I am finally reaching the point in my homeschooling journey where flexibility and loss of time spent on books does not upset me. I am learning to take all of life as it comes and not separate out schooling as being an entity different from life. Here I reiterate the point that I have made before--I want whole individuals who are trained to live life and be learners in every situation. I think these goals have been well served the past couple of weeks. It appears that we will have about one more week to bend and flex...Maybe Congress should take some lessons...