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Monday, June 3, 2013

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

Ah yes! We are done with school. I announced to Rhianwen sometime before we were finished that we'd be done with school soon, and she burst out in sobs and wailed, "But I loooooove school!!!".

Mission accomplished.

I did have the grace to tell her that we'd start again after a couple of months off, after I realized that perhaps she thought it was a permanent end.

And I am happy to have a break from the necessity of messes such as the one pictured above.

As an ending highlight to our year, we had the opportunity to go to DC and see Virginia, Macky and her husband Rob and to tour around the capitol. So, of course, I had to prepare the kids beforehand so they'd understand the import of it all ;0) We mostly focused on the Constitution and how our government is organized. I, of course, used the Hundred Acre Woods and the various creatures in it as an example for us to write their constitution and form a government for them. It was determined that Rabbit was too bossy and did not make good decisions, so the presidency went to Christopher Robin. Owl was part of the judicial branch, and Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger made up Congress. I know we wrote a Constitution for them, but I can't for the life of me remember anything but the government organization :)

Then it was off to DC. First stop, National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We of course, had to see the Natural History Museum. This was a great way to review different concepts we covered from "God Creation and Me" despite the fact that the museum clearly has a contradicting opinion on origins. 

Can you believe, the kids liked the rocks and minerals section the best! 

We ate lunch on the National Mall, and then walked to the Capitol building. 

The lines were insane, so we just walked around it, but I always forget how enormous and impressive it is. It must initially feel like a huge accomplishment and responsibility to work there.

We saw the Supreme Court building in the distance, hightailed it to the White House, and then enjoyed some frozen yogurt before taking the metro back. 

Of course, the metro and spending time with special people was a highlight for the kids, not to mention for us too. Please ignore my stare of insanity, it is, after all, the end of our first homeschool year!

Now, we're enjoying marble runs...

K'nex building...

Duke Gardens...trying to grab koi...

Or giant turtles...

Finishing up the first full year of ballet and jazz.

I never could figure out who was off on the timing, but they are so adorable!

We have wrestled with whether we really want Rhi in jazz b/c of the music selections that, though tame by the world's standards, are still what we'd consider, not ideal for anyone. The last day of class in jazz, they played "Material Girl" by Madonna (a song I have always loathed). I didn't know this, and we were talking to Rhi afterwards about her class and how it went and what songs they played. She said, "They played Cloth Girl." We were trying to wrack our brains to figure out what she was talking about. She said, "You know, You go to the cloth store and buy cloth. All the boys kiss the girls, and the girls hug the boys." Wally finally somehow connected Cloth with Material, and figured out it was Material Girl. It was hilarious and saddening all at the same time. Here we are trying to teach Rhianwen about purity and her value and worth, and she is dancing to Material Girl. Grrr. Other songs they have danced to: It's Always a Good Time, Here's My Number, and Uptown Girl (they do cut out a lot of lyrics for the dancers). Although she is young, her teachers say she "is showing serious potential for this art form", and to be serious in ballet, you have to take jazz. I know some of her teachers have strong ties to the Catholic Church, so they are not without morals, but, is there a disconnect? I've totally hesitated to even share this b/c I feel like I will get strong responses either way, but this is our life and the quandaries we face.

I keep asking myself, why can't Christians take dance back? It's not anti-biblical; think Miriam & David. It can glorify God! What should that look like? Would it work if we tried?

On a lighter note, Rhianwen was not the only one learning this year. I sat down with Corwin who picked out a body book to read, and when I got to the small and large intestines, he started yelling, "Poop! Poop!". I about fainted! Corwin is well on his way to potty training. I am not calling it that, b/c I don't want the pressure, but he is constantly asking to pee on the potty. He still mostly poops in his diaper, and Wally will say, "Phewee!". Corwin will say, "Poo-bee!". 

Corwin also learned to run like a dog.

And here we are, very obviously, celebrating the end of school for Alden. Can't you see how special he feels? He learned to write, is well along on reading, although it takes some effort still, and did K math with his sister. We have yet to really celebrate Rhianwen b/c of course, she has her own ideas about its scale and timing. She wants a picnic dinner at a garden full of flowers (our yard does not count) followed by ice-cream cake. Somehow, our evenings have been filled for the past 3 weeks such that we haven't accomplished this goal.

In the meantime, we are enjoying life in our yard and at the pool (now that the weather has finally warmed). 

Watching birds build nests. Doesn't this look like a perfect spot for a fairy? I'd like to camp in this for a night.

Hearing funniness:
Rhianwen, the mommy (in her land of make-believe): "I don't know what to do with Jack. He's torn up the nightgown, broken the lights..."
Alden, the daddy: "Send him to a giant...a bad giant."
Rhianwen (short pause): "That wouldn't be right."

Listening to Corwin learning to converse (we understand him, and, yes, it is real English language).

Enjoying the 1st popsicles of the season!

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