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Life in coffee spoons

December 30, 2009

I remember that this morning I had a huge list of things to write about, but now that dinner is simmering, I find I can’t remember any of them.

So I will tell you about my new workout routine. Thrilling, no? Except that it is, because when it is 5 degrees out, it is very hard to get motivated to get out of bed. But my new Christmas present, Wii Fit, is getting me moving. I’m sure it’s not as good as a walk to the river and back or a run up and down the area hills, but it’s definitely better than sitting on my ass. I work up a sweat. I have sore muscles. And I’m motivated. Plus, it’s fun. My favorite? A math game, where you have to bump the answers with your hips. It is awesome. I wish the math problem sets were more controllable (the math is definitely an afterthought to the exercise), because it would be a great way to practice times tables and things like that. I hope someone’s inventing that right now. The other thing I like? The Wii Fit age. I like it because it tells me I am 34 (I have not been 34 for quite some time). Mr. Spy, however, hates it because it adds years to his age, despite the fact that he is actually in much better shape than I. But I am the yogi. It seems balance and flexibility trump cardio-vascular health and weight.

AJ likes it too, but he’s been more wrapped up in a couple of presents he got from his aunt and uncle. One is the Power House I think I mentioned a few posts back. We’ve started working on it now and I’m even more impressed with it than I was when we first got it. The book that comes with it is head and shoulders above the average science kit experiment guide. It’s written with passion and curiosity and it’s fun to read. It not only talks about the experiments, but also why models are important and how scientists use them. I think AJ will be using it for his science fair project this year. He is really excited about it and we’re both having fun.

The other thing thing that came with that was a book of puzzles — analogies, riddles, those puzzles where they write the words in funny ways to depict a phrase. Like this: . that’s = “that’s beside the point.” He’s flying through that as well.

All of this has gotten me started thinking about school and what could be better for him next year. The art teacher at AJ’s school, who is phenomenal, has started a letter-writing campaign to the district to save art, music and gifted programming for next year. I don’t know if it will do anything, but I will certainly be doing what I can to help.

But I’ve also spent a good chunk of my afternoon sending off for information on private schools. It’s very depressing, as we can’t even begin to afford these places. I’m not sure who can. Most of them cost more than a year at the University of Illinois. Fifty percent more. The financial information page of the websites are designed to make you feel awful. They say things about making sure your priorities are in the right place, and don’t you love your children enough to give them the best education (yes, but I also like to eat and pay the mortgage). And if that didn’t make me feel bad enough, I am feeling worse for taking so long to get around to looking at these schools. Because we’ve already missed some deadlines. And several financial aid forms are due tomorrow, which probably will not happen. But in fairness, it really does seem totally out of reach. It would take a miracle for AJ to attend one of these schools, I think. But we are at the very last straw, so we might as well give it a go.

At the same time, I’m starting to look for homeschool curricula, both for possible homeschooling and also for possible extracurricular use. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t have any homeschooling parents reading. But if any of you has any recommendations I would love to hear them.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. crankygirl permalink
    December 31, 2009 11:05 am

    Sorry about the schools–it’s so disheartening when out-of-reach items are couched in those terms. I’m always amazed when someone posts on the local parents list something to the effect that EVERYONE should pay their Nanny AT LEAST $17/hour.

    We’d have lots of people living in their cars if that ever happened.

  2. December 31, 2009 2:10 pm

    My mom was a teacher before we came along and we certainly learned more at home from her and Dad than we ever learned in public or private schools. She says now that if were were all little again she would home school us.

    Had the Universe sent us little ones, they would have been homeschooled — even in a country which does not have the extensive home schooling resources that you will find in the USA once you start some serious research on the matter.

    Mom can’t go back but you could go forward. Little Bro has written about this on his website — I am sure he wouldn’t mind if you asked him for details of his research.


  3. December 31, 2009 6:48 pm

    I worry about homeschooling. Mostly I worry about my kids learning everything from me. They already learn more from me than they learn in school; I like to give them the chance to be exposed to some different approaches to learning.

    We checked into private schools at one point, but it would require a Harry Potter-type boarding-school experience and none of us are ready for that.

  4. Elizabeth permalink
    January 1, 2010 3:26 pm

    If done well, homeschooling is a great option. But to Jeanne’s point, it takes a lot of work to ensure your child gets exposure to all sorts of approaches to learning.

    I know quite a few families who homeschool and I will ask around for what resources they recommend.

    Disclaimer: I didn’t homeschool but then again Lawrence, KS had fantastic schools and we taxpayers were very willing to tax ourselves to keep the schools in great shape.

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