Gray winter drizzle
Filthy snow shrinking daily
February homeschooling blues have struck me an entire month prematurely. Struggling to get back on track after the holidays, we are still functioning in family mode rather than school mode as we deal with mystery viral infections, appointments, lessons, and endless laundry. One never knows when or where a two year old will get sick next.
Two obstacles threatened our goal this week of getting the girls to the Suzuki department recital Friday night: an icy forecast and illness. Temperatures stayed high enough to keep the roads from icing over and the girls managed to stay healthy. Mission accomplished!Let's just not discuss my discovery, upon arrival, of the ribbed navy blue cotton tights on the daughter with the black & white recital dress. I am indebted to my dear husband and the downtown Minneapolis Target for rescuing that situation. Enough said.
Aside from Epiphany star folding last Sunday, my fun plans for our unschooly week disintegrated. Winter picture books, crafts, recipes, hosting friends, dentist appointments – everything beyond the basics just didn't happen. Math, practicing, and our household cleaning routine were about the only routines we managed to keep intact, and not very well. This was a week in which I seriously doubted my ability to train my children to be responsible, cheerful helpers – after many years now of implementing household routines.
In the midst of wiping the whole house with Chlorox wipes I lost my confidence to facilitate a full educational curriculum. I just can't answer the homeschooling call alone if I am the only member of my family motivated to make it happen. Sniff sniff.
more adrenaline and cortisol pulse through my veins and deplete my
positive energy, the more I fantasize about that yellow school bus
whisking my children away to spacious learning environments staffed
with professional educators, janitors, and lunch ladies. I envision
mornings at the Y or ECFE with my little guy, and afternoon quiet
times spend reading, writing, knitting, cleaning, or even learning a
language or practicing an instrument.
of pity party. Obviously need a break, perspective, and copious amounts of grace.
learned that we homeschooling mom have to be careful who we complain
to, even other homeschoolers. So let's pretend I never complained, ok?
This too shall pass - the sun will eventually reappear and I will take a few hours this afternoon to type and print lesson plans. I am also due to get together with my book club friends, whose children attend public school. (Their conversations are always a reliable antidote to the homeschooling blues.)
Plus, this happens every.single.winter. I know the routine by now.
After such a depressing post, I apologize and make reparation by offering the following:
:: Pre-recital pics, experimenting with the portrait lens.
for leaving children at home alone. Is this common knowledge?
Our beloved family practice physician, recognizing that this is
something he should know, researched and shared this info. Homeschooling moms
need to know, since we can't just take one child out of class for an
appointment while the others are safely in school and would rather not stuff our entire family into an exam room.
These are the guidelines (but not the law) for Minnesota:
Under age 7 should not be left alone
age 8-10 it is OK to leave home alone for up to 3 hours
age 11-13 it is OK to leave at home alone for up to 12 hours
age 14-15 it is OK to leave at home alone for up to 24 hours - with a well identified safety plan
ages 11 and under, they do not recommend to be a caretaker
ages 11-15 can be caretaker for younger siblings - with a well identified safety plan
:: Two Too Cute Kittens.
:: COMFORT FOOD!
chips, if you can find them, are super-duper yummy in oatmeal. Also excellent in Downton Night Scones.
:: On stressful weeks such as these, sometimes you just need to make deep-dish pizza and double chocolate cream cheese brownies.
:: This granola recipe posted over at As Cozy as Spring is a keeper. I have made a double batch several times now, adding various nuts and seeds from the pantry.
:: Easy meals that can be simmered in a Le Creuset pot while chauffeuring are literal life savers. Here is one I threw together based on a recipe I have used previously:
Crazy Day Chicken & White Bean Provencal
Soak white beans over night and into the next morning.
Drain and rinse after lunch.
Put the beans in your sturdiest pot and cover with two inches of water.
Simmer while you take two kids to music lessons.
Drop the same two kids off at church choir and return home.
Add thawed chicken thighs and herbs de Provence until it looks pretty.
Also add a few cubes of frozen garlic and dehydrated onions.
Run two girls to ballet. Stop in the parking lot and clean up the still-sick 2yo. Pick up the two kids from church choir.
Come home and finish cleaning up the car seat and van for the second time in a week.
Start another load of laundry.
Put kids in charge of bathing and shampooing the 2yo.
Turn off the heat and add a tablespoon or so of course sea salt.
Light a fire in the fireplace.
Cuddle with freshly bathed babe until husband returns with ballet girls.
Serve with crusty bread and white wine by candlelight.
Decompress with the laptop on the sofa until you feel ready to head to bed.
Hoping your January is going better than ours,