Wednesday, September 1, 2010


A piece of school today.

I thought today wasn't going to be our best school day. 

Sure, it started awesome. We all dozed until about 8am again (I have no idea what has happened to my children to make them do this wonderful thing for me, but I'm taking it), we ate, we got dressed--- hold on there.
This is where I began to worry. Belle didn't want to get dressed, she figured pjs all day was fine.

Which, if it were Pajama Sunday, sure!

But, it is a school day and I know we need to keep some habits that will help the routine stay together. Note I didn't say schedule. I don't believe in tightly scheduling kids. I believe in tightly scheduling Sambo when I possibly can, but that is just so I remember what he looks like. The kids, they get some flexibility in life.

Anyhow, we have a routine. We wake, we eat, we brush and make beds and dress and we school. It is a good schedule and works just like it did over the summer (where school was chores. Chores still exist, but I'm going to ease them all back into their new places in the routine. Baby steps).
But Belle didn't want to roll with the routine. So, I had to just spell it out. We wear clothes to school. It is a legal requirement outside the house and a mom requirement inside the house. Who knows who is tougher, the legal system or the mama system and who wants to find out?
So, Miss Grumble Face got dressed.

School went quickly just like it has been.
I worry that we get done so fast, but I have been reminded by more than one person that things always move faster when you don't have 25-30 other kids to teach the same idea to. And I can tell when she gets it and when she doesn't so I can move on through things that come easily to her (boy she has a head for math and she loves it!) and I can slow down when things are confusing (we worked on converting millimeters to centimeters and centimeters to meters yesterday for science and that was a bit hard to remember. We've been talking about it since and incorporating it into our daily activities so it will stick eventually).
I'm lucky because She catches onto most things quickly.

Either way, we finished school (except for Art, we saved that for when Xander took his nap). And finished out the morning and moved to afternoon.
Today she really wanted to watch tv all day. This summer I implemented a system that really only makes sense in my head, but the result is that it greatly limits the tv watching in the house.
My kids hate it.
I don't care.

So, my system requirements had not been met and besides we needed to have some reading time today and since she had physical education tonight (I love that her karate classes count as PE!) I knew she needed to read.
Oh, so much griping.
Finally she went and found a book in her pile of curriculum for the year to read. It was about Pompeii.
I wasn't really wanting her to read it yet because we will be covering it much later this year, but sometimes mama's should just let kids be the boss of what they do.

So, I sat on the couch with a grumpy toddler (I have no idea why he was mad other than that he wanted me to hold him and pat his back while he hummed so as long as I did that all was well), Buddy was playing a game oddly similar to "Penny Can" (who watches Cougar Town? I love that show) and Belle read.

Suddenly she just jolts up and looks at me.


"Yes honey?"

"Is Pompeii real?"


"This story about Pompeii, did this really happen or is this pretend?"

Hmmm... Pompeii is a sad story and I hate telling my kids sad things. But she is nearly 8 and she can take it and I am her teacher.

"Yep, it is real. It is very sad."

She just stared at me for a minute and then said, "There is no way this is real."

"It is, I promise."

She looks at me, completely incredulous. And she turns that book to the beginning and reads the entire thing to me. 20 some odd pages.

You should have heard her. She mispronounced some words (we aren't supposed to be reading this book yet, like I said), but I had no intention of correcting her. She was completely engrossed in this story.
I could hear every emotion she had as she read this; fear, disbelief, sadness, fascination. She was just taking this all in and really connecting with this story!

I had a moment when I almost told her to stop because I wanted to change the laundry. But, I am so glad I didn't say a word. I stopped myself before I could because I WANT her to do this. I want her to read me stories and tell me about what is interesting her in school.
I'm the teacher now and this is what I need to be doing. More importantly, this is what I want to be doing.

She would never had the chance to read an entire book to a teacher in a traditional school setting, there are just too many kids and not enough time. This is an opportunity she would never have had, and that is why it is so important that we had it today.

At the end of this book, when she was reading to me about how there are casts of the bodies of these people who died and how it is like a big museum with "no ceiling", she stopped again and looked at me.



"I want to go to Pompeii and see this all myself. Can we do that?"

Oh man. How wonderful.

"Maybe sometime."

And then we finished the book, with Buddy and Xander sitting around her, taking it all in and me on that couch listening.

This is just one reason why we are schooling this way. What an opportunity for all of us. I think we'll be studying Pompeii a lot more this year, because we can.

(And now I need to save my pennies for an overseas trip my daughter really wants to take.)

I thought today wasn't going to be our best day. But every day gets better than the last.
I got to tell Sambo all about this tonight when he got home. And it just thrills us both.
We are so lucky to have this opportunity with out kids.


  1. They have a touring exhibit of Pompeii that I was able to see when I was in Houston. It's the kind of thing the IF museum might get, so maybe you'll get lucky and get to see it locally.

  2. Good for you, Kimber! And great for Belle! We have gone back and forth on the home school decision so many times, but I think we are doing the right thing, which is keeping our options open, and keeping an open mind. We love our home-schooling friends! We love our great local teachers!

    I don't know if you are Magic Treehouse lovers, but "Vacation Under the Volcano" got Truman interested in Vesuvius, too. Maybe we'll join you on your jaunt to Italy.

  3. What a neat moment, to hear her read the whole book and be totally engrossed in it.