This was one of those weeks that, when we finally finished the last Thing at 10 p.m. on Friday nights, Dr. H. and I slumped on the couch and said, “We survived!” This weekend stretches out blissfully empty in front of us.
But back to wrapping up the week. Monday we had our regular co-op classes. We discussed Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes in our literature circle. Living so close to Oak Ridge and the home of the Manhattan Project, the kids for the most part were quite familiar with the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There is even a model of Little Boy at the science center in Oak Ridge, and nearly all the kids have been there. This books was an awfully easy reading level for them (grades 5-8), but the subject matter was at their level. (I wish the book had been written at a higher reading level, because the subject of dying from radiation is really too intense for K-2.)
We had a good school morning on Tuesday, getting in lots of good reading of The Wright Brothers and tackling a few lessons in math each. Of course we have our trek to Knoxville for dance and drama on Tuesday afternoons, and Jesse had his biology class at the community college. Tuesday evening we had the Cub Scouts monthly pack meeting. In honor of Veterans Day, Randy had two veterans speak to the boys. One is the dad of one of the Cubs, and he was simply fantastic. What a tremendously gifted speaker! I think the boys and the parents could have listened to him for hours.
Wednesday was Veterans Day, and we were so happy to see the sun after torrential rains on Tuesday because we had a parade to march in. Four out of our five area American Heritage Girls troops shared a float in the Knoxville Veterans Day Parade. (Click on the collage for a better view!)
Thursday morning we managed to squeeze in some book learning before flute lessons and AHG/Cub Scouts. We finished The Wright Brothers, which was wonderful and which also means that we get to start one of my favorite read-alouds—Little Britches—next week. Our American Heritage Girls meeting was packed with various activities: the oldest girls learned how to handle knives and axes for their Outdoor Skills badge; the Explorers made lap blankets for a local homeless ministry and made their AHG t-shirts; the youngest girls finished up their Outdoor Skills badge; and the whole troop contributed items to pack about eight boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
I forgot to mention one major part of this whole week: Jesse was writing and revising essays for college applications. I am pretty sure he must have had about five drafts of each essay before he ironed out all the kinks and produced what I think are a collection of pretty darned good essays. Applications for early admission are due by Dec. 1 but his goal was to have them in the mail by this week. Phew! A big, big, big accomplishment in our homeschooling journey!!
So, Friday. I had hardly seen my sweet parents all week, so the kids and I decided that playing cards and having a geography quiz with Oma and Opa was much more important than reducing fractions. We spent a couple of hours just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful morning and the joy of grandparents. That afternoon I gave Part 2 of an exam in my World Lit/Geography class, and then we had a bit of a party, which is always important after finishing up a unit! The rest of the class was so much fun. I split the class into two teams and had a geography bowl, drilling them with all sorts of questions. They were hilarious as they became more and more competitive—in a very friendly kind of way. It was just one of those great classes.
Friday night brought our first Boy Scouts Court of Honor in a long time. Jesse and his friend Everett were the night's emcees—something they needed to do for their Communications badge—and Randy did a fantastic presentation on their adventure to Philmont Scout Ranch last summer. A few months ago we had a split in our Boy Scout troop when the Scoutmaster behaved badly and needed to leave. It was so evident last night what a good thing the split was; there was no underlying tension and lots of laughter. It has been so wonderful to see Jesse take a renewed interest in Scouting under our new Scoutmaster.
This was the last crazy weekend for a long, long time. Activities are beginning to wind down as the holidays approach. Our co-op classes are nearly over until mid-January. I am looking forward to some good family time—and tackling my filthy house.