2 Down, 34 Weeks To Go.

Photo Credit : https://morguefile.com/search/morguefile/1/marathon/pop

I’ve completed a half-marathon (walking), and I’ve watched my husband complete both marathons and other long-distance endurance events. At the start, the energy is high and you’re feeling strong.  I can SO do this! And then someone says, “ready, set, go” and you’re doing it. Your feet are moving forward, and if you’ve practiced at all, and tried to prepare at all, your subconscious is whispering things like, “stick to the pace, don’t rush it, save your energy.”

That’s where we are right now as a family. The challenge has begun and we’re moving, steadily, trying to be mindful that there is a long, long way to go yet.

We’re two weeks into school and the girls have already zipped to the end of their first “9 week” unit in math. They are on a fifth grade spelling list because fourth was too easy. My son is plugging along on-pace and that’s mighty fine with me because I’m not sure I can run too far ahead since I’m relearning as we go.

I am extremely glad to be able to take the time to balance the social studies and history we’re learning. We are focusing on African-American/Black History, Indigenous History, and what’s traditionally passed along as history, otherwise better described as Colonial/White History. It is shocking (though I know it shouldn’t be) to read how history is stated traditionally. Some king somewhere “giving” away land to the rich, the rich then subletting to a poorer group, and all the while doing this on land that was previously occupied, and indigenous groups “agreeing” to certain terms. Altogether, I’m hoping it gives my kids a broader understanding both of the real history of our own country and that history tends to be one group’s interpretation, and to ask the critical questions to help understand a place and people more broadly.

Our first trip is very soon. We have the RV prepped and ready. We have our itinerary set. All we needed were three new passports to arrive in the mail. The date the woman at the passport office gave us came and went and so I called the passport agency. With the dates of travel so near, I was beginning to wonder if I needed to re-route this trip to be all stateside and that we’d have to explore Canada another time.

When the representative answered, she didn’t give me a lot of hope. Yes, our passports were in-process and they were in the Chicago office, but there was no guarantee they’d be in our hands in time for the trip. She reminded me that the long side of 6-8 weeks was smack-dab in the middle of our trip. I felt stupid. She was right. If I’d been paying attention at the time we were submitting them, I’d have realized the agent there as giving us an optimistic delivery date. If I’d realized that, I would have expedited them from the start. So we were a bit stuck.

A friend reminded us that if we were desperate, we could go to the Chicago office and wait in line. If you’re there within 48 hours of travel (needs to be documented somehow, like a plane ticket) then they can rush through things that day. However, going by RV means that we wouldn’t necessarily have documentation of travel. No car rental, no hotel, no flight.

The next day, a set of letters arrived. Our application had included a notarized form that indicated the father of my children was indeed the father of my children and that he knew I was applying for their passports and not attempting to sneak my children out of the country. (This is a form DS-3053 which is used if both parents can’t be present at the time of application.) I called the number on the letter and spoke with a representative. He advised that we fill out a new form for each child, expedite it to the office in Chicago. He marked each application on his computer with a note about the urgency of the applications.

I’d forgotten the representative had said the Chicago office would call me, so at first, when unknown call rang, I ignored it. But in between the last trill and the voicemail chime- I realized what it was. I called back and hallelujah, he’d sorted out the trouble with the old forms and was sending the passports to our home. Woo-hoo! He even called a second time to let me know it’d cost me less than I thought it would.

So, hopefully, very soon we will be fully ready for the first trip. Our dog is heading home with her grand-dog-parents shortly and there will be nothing else to be done except leave.

I hope this is the last of the pre-adventure excitement but if there’s more, I’ll be sure to fill you in.

To all of you reading, cheering, commiserating, offering advice, sharing ideas, and finding creative solutions for us, thank you for being part of our moral support.  We couldn’t get here without you.

 

LET THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGIN!

ClipArt Credit: http://classroomclipart.com/clipart-view/Clipart/School/multicultural-children-around-the-globe-clipart-622_jpg.htm

We started late, but we started. Gratefully, the first few days were smooth and productive. I even managed to walk my son through the first section of his Algebra book (phew!). I am hoping that longer spells of independence lay ahead, or I will be woefully lacking for time to do my own work.

We have some systems in place (where to put work, how to know if you’re on-task, etc.), but we had to establish a new rule. Leave mom alone when she’s in the bathroom. I reasoned, you’d never walk in on your teacher if she/he were in the restroom to ask a non-emergency question, so let’s leave mom alone for this task, too. They agreed it would not be appropriate at school and fingers-crossed, the message was received and I will at least be able to have those moments to myself.

I also think I need to eat separately at lunch. If I can have a few pockets of quiet, we might just make it without me fizzling and sparking.

~Trip Update~

Our first adventure is planned. We will keep exact dates more hushed and won’t give you the play-by-play until after it’s over so that we can maintain a bit of privacy. But… we won’t leave you totally in the dark.

First up will be a trip up through Canada and down through the northeast region of the US. On the way up, we’ll catch Niagara Falls and do a tour of the capitals that dot the edge of Canada up from Ontario and through Quebec and over to New Brunswick and landing in a dream-come-true for me, Prince Edward Island. My kids and I are reading (rereading) Anne of Green Gables right now and I’m hoping it’ll ignite some desire in them to see Green Gables in real life. On the way south, we’ll do a zip-quick tour through as many New England states as we can and we’ll settle around Boston for a bit of a history tour there. Then we’ll scoot up through New York, stopping in to see the Harriet Tubman home and Seneca Falls. After that we might have a fun splurge at a certain amusement park on the north coast of Ohio and maybe a stop in Detroit (those are a bit dependent on how well the rest of the trip sticks to our plan).

The RV is in the shop getting spiffied-up and we’re getting ourselves ready, too. (The kids and I are taking longer & longer walks so it won’t seem like such a big deal when we’re out and about.)

The adventure posts are coming soon. I’m excited. Are you?

 

TIME WAITS FOR NO MOM

Photo Credit: matiasromero http://mrg.bz/5bd8c8

I thought I was doing fairly well with working ahead and the next thing I knew, there were only 7 weeks until our first week of homeschooling. If that doesn’t put the fear of chaos into you, I don’t know what would, it did me.

I’m taking a few nights this week to get the first month of lessons planned per subject so that we know what to tackle week-to-week for at least a month. Then I’ll set the next month up as we get toward the end of month one (and so on). I’ve read this is a smart way to plan since it allows a solid chunk of planned materials and also room to be flexible and rework things as needed. You know, in case someone comes down with the plague or a fierce case of procrastination.

I spent today setting up a page full of links for our kids to use when they’re hunting down online (mom-approved) resources for their work. And if you happen to need those links, you are welcome to them. I’m also setting up a page with locations we’re hoping to visit and how we plan to do it.

I’ll probably post another update in the next month before we officially start, that is, if my head hasn’t fallen off and I’m not running around the house flapping my wings in a tizzy.

LD

EARLY BIRD HOPES TO CATCH WORM

Photo Credit: AcrylicArtist http://mrg.bz/30fe1e

At this point, I am watching lots of videos and reading lots of blogs. I’m attempting to learn what I can about being a parent and teacher at the same time.

I’ve ordered our curriculum and our books and I’ve started converting our Family Room into a classroom.

It all seems so unreal. I have a long to-do list yet. I need to start researching flights and trip-costs for any in-US trips we want to make. I have to figure out which regions to visit when so that we don’t visit Mt. Rushmore when it’s -27 outside. Neither we, nor our RV, will tolerate that very well. I also don’t want to visit the Grand Canyon during one of those 100+ degree days. I also need to get passport applications submitted, research which vaccines (if any) are needed and when they need to be completed. I need to make sure the friends we want to visit internationally will actually be home when we visit. Lots and lots to do.

My husband keeps teasing me that I’ll have everything all done and ready to go by March, but he doesn’t realize how much there is still left to do. I don’t want it stacking up and having to juggle school & travel deadlines simultaneously. I am a cranky lady when it all hits at once, I have to use my organizing skills to keep my future-self sane. We’ll all be happier for it.

LD