The end of the school year is my favorite place for dreaming, because I can lift my eyes unto the hills of a new dawn — a brighter day — a September when we shall all be made new in the shining reflection of the one remaining piece of printer paper that has not been turned into a drawing of a dragon.
I have already shared with certain members of the homeschooled population in this household that we will be continuing (or, uh, reinstating) the study of certain subjects over the summertime. We haven’t really done that in previous years; I vaguely felt that we should try to keep summertime life as “normal” as possible since we’re already weird because of homeschooling. But, like Amy, I am now leaning towards keeping things somewhat fresh over the summer.
This is made somewhat easier by the fact that summertime in Texas isn’t exactly an outdoor paradise, except possibly between the hours of 6:00 and 7:00 AM. If I’d had my act more together, I’d have been more deliberate in taking off a few weeks in the springtime.
I’m making it sound like we’ve had our noses to the grindstone, but then this morning my five-year-old marched out to the nice dog-walking neighbor man wearing pajama pants with pirate pants on his head and talked about Lord knows what (probably dragons) for several minutes. And I thought “this is it. This is the day someone calls the authorities on me.”
My older, non-dragon son is competing in a state mathematics competition this weekend, so we’ll be road-tripping up to Fort Worth on Friday for the big event. We didn’t really do anything specific to prepare for the district-level competition at which he won first place, but I’ve been trying to coach him for this event, albeit haphazardly. I don’t want him to be disadvantaged due to his mother’s disorganization. On the other hand, I’ve been winging some of this with random assignments for him on Khan Academy to supplement his other math. Functions? Yeah, I got this, son. Except — they added more things to that topic, I think, because I do not remember learning some of this stuff. I know it’s an experience every parent has to go through — encountering math that you forgot how to do. I just didn’t realize it would come so soon.
Anyway, all I really want is for him to feel good about how he does at the competition. And for him to not talk about Super Mario Bros. the entire way from Houston to Fort Worth.
I think a lot about parental investment in children’s activities, and where the line is that separates “I want to live out my own missed opportunities through my kids” from “If I am good at something, I should share that with my children so they have the option to specialize in that if they want to do so.” And also about opportunity cost. My daughter recently opted not to try out for a particular theater program we thought she’d be really good at, because she felt like she was already busy enough. I was a bit disappointed at first, but she showed a lot of maturity by making that decision.
Last week, we brought our A-game to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. We have previously brought our Z-game, behavior-wise, so that was a refreshing change. The kids have been taking art lessons ALL AT THE SAME TIME WONDER OF WONDERS at the museum school, so I chose last week to visit the Age of Impressionism exhibit while the kids were in class. I enjoyed the exhibit and I also noticed it wasn’t too big to be cruised through quickly with a five-year-old in tow, so I decided I’d attempt to take the children on the spur of the moment.
It helped that I treated them to lunch at the museum cafe beforehand, of course.
But I still wasn’t expecting much, since they’d already been doing Art Things for an hour and a half at that point. Still, we didn’t have to pay extra for tickets (thanks to our family membership) and I didn’t have much to lose other than possibly being profiled if the behavior was particularly…spectacular.
To my utter astonishment, the aforementioned five-year-old took my hand and walked me through the exhibit as though he were the docent. It helped that there were lots of animals in the pictures. Sort of a zoo/impressionism vibe at times. I’ve had this experience with him at the “dinosaur museum” before but that’s due to the many, many hours of
dinosaur-based computer time looking at educational library books about dinosaurs. Here, we were in Paul World, which is sort of like outer space but also like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. And the best part was that a tiger lurked in one of the rooms:
WAIT YOU GUYS MUTUAL OF OMAHA’S WILD KINGDOM IS A THING AGAIN! There are webisodes! I thought I was ironically showing my age! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.