this week in homeschooling…

Is the anniversary of our first month of doing this.

I have learned to use Google Drive to keep a spreadsheet for our evaluator. (And for myself.) We are full of excitement and plans, but neither kid is really getting as much sleep as they need (sleeping/waking schedules have gotten a lot looser). This, we must get better at, now that the holidays are over. Apparently, keeping consistent sleeping habits is more important than doing it in the “normal” hours, so those of us who are more night owlish, or even biphasal, are getting our opportunity to work our hardest at our sharpest times.

After a New Year’s Weekend at the shore, on Tuesday, we rocked the Mohs’ scale of hardness, to figure out what was going into the rock tumbler Tucker got for Christmas.


Rocks, geodes and crystals are of interest to many of us here, for a variety of applications.


We also found out that “Mr. Mojo Risin'” was an anagram for “Jim Morrison”. Having just participated in the Doors show at School of Rock, this tickled the kids.


We worked on name anagrams. Béla came up with the most: in addition to “Evil Book Lander” he had “OK Viola Bender” (which he sent to Izzy via Snapchat, as she goes on OK viola benders all the time) and the less cohesive Video Blane Lork.

Claudia wanted to put her middle/birth name in the mix as well, because she knew having those letters was the only way she’d get to spell “moon”… we found “eclair” in there too… but in the long run, what we got was…


“A Cork Vine Lord Laud Hawaii”.


What was VERY special was that right after playing on the floor with our anagrams, we watched the Doors documentary People Are Strange. The kids were riveted, and rooting for Jim every step of the way, but — as they both know in life — not everyone can be saved and some people pay a high price for the magic they give us.

There was a graphic used in the film, in the discussion of recording “LA Woman”, that actually showed the letters JIM MORRISON rearranging to form MR. MOJO RISIN — even though they had found this trivia fact out already, they were delighted to see the letters shuffled. It was a wonderful moment.

Also on Tuesday, we took a meeting with the founders of Cinema Ray, to brainstorm what seems to be turning into a multiweek curriculum for homeschoolers on the history of filimmaking, beginning with “optical toys” such as flipbooks and zoetropes, moving into storyboarding films, live musical scoring, and the importance of a “pre-show” in the cinema experience. More to come!

On Wednesday, we did our first volunteer session at Cradles to Crayons.


At first, our work seemed very overwhelming. So many children’s clothes, to be sorted — by season, by size, by tops and bottoms (which had its own special rules and was not as cut and dried as it seemed). Also, sizing wasn’t as cut and dried as it seemed, as you wanted to put items into the bin where, when delivered, a child would not immediately grow out of them, but have room to grow into them.

But we got the hang of it, and it was like going shopping — we held things up and said “Oooooh!” and thought about the babies and children who would look so sweet, and be so happy, with these nice things.

We are glad we are going to continue volunteering there.

Wednesday evening, our 3D printer arrived.


Here it is, in its unused state. It has since made some cool, if not entirely functional, things, but is also going through some calibration issues. There are many free downloadable printables and we have not even scratched the surface of what we will do here.

Wednesday night, the kids had their first rehearsal for the Blues program at School of Rock. Ben sent home video of Béla drumming and Claude singing on “Spoonful” — it was just wonderful.

At home, Tuck was home conducting his own school of rock.


The tumbler got going on Wednesday night. Given a choice between being in a room with the tumbler running or the 3D printer running, the tumbler is a much more lulling, organic sound. The 3D printer is kinda painful and jarring.

Thursday was Promotion Day at Jiujitsu. Claude and B. each got their first red stripe.


They also studied their Blues a little more — ok, maybe “Mississippi Gary” skits by Kids in the Hall are not all that authentic, but playing with R. Crumb’s “Heroes of the Blues” cards — while smoking candy cigarettes — you can’t go wrong there.


Claude has her new electric bass from Santa up in her room now, and hearing her and Béla making music together tonight on their own was pretty wonderful.

Tomorrow the kids are going to Indy Hall with dad, and whatever they do will just have to be part of another post — this week has already had enough to handle! I was glad to get back into the curriculum — we don’t do too much of it a day, but it makes me happy to have it — and am hoping some small people will read out loud to me tomorrow night.