Saturday, January 12, 2008

Whew! The End of a Busy Week!

A very busy week it has been indeed. School's back in session, and schooling four kids takes up the vast majority of my day. E has needed additional time to discuss The Odyssey, plus the boys have been catching up on their own literature. My voice is rather thrashed this week as I'm out of practice reading aloud for huge chunks of each day. For the boys I read aloud Bible (actually, all four kids are together for that), Biblical history, world history, world literature, poetry, and art history, plus I have to teach them language arts, spelling, Latin vocabulary and grammar, and their Greek/Latin roots vocabulary. Besides those group efforts, I also have to explain their individual subjects to them: mathematics to all three, plus with B we do his phonics, reading, phonics workbook, and language arts all one-on-one. Plus there's just the normal directions, encouragement, discipline, etc., that all mothers and/or teachers must give in the ordinary activities of each day: "Leave your brother alone." "Don't jostle the table when everyone is doing handwriting." "Stop drawing and start your math." "Is that your essay on the floor?" "Are you finished with that math quiz?" "Did you practice the piano today?" "Keep your pencil on your own paper." "Is your reading done?" "Please make your lunches, and help your brother make his." "Stop bothering your sister." "Keep the volume down to a low roar, boys." "No cartwheels during math. I don't care that it "helps you with geometry." "No reading under the table." "No, you know very well that you can't play X-Box until your school work is finished. Don't ask again." You know ... normal stuff.

So this week has been filled with the normal stuff of life: encouraging kids back into a full workload after three weeks of Christmas vacation. Getting up early so I can have some time for myself and God before my day begins. A strong 16-oz. cup of English Breakfast to get me through the morning, even if I have to reheat it three times (and leave it in the microwave each time, forgotten). Starting some beginning yoga -- very gently with my physical limitations. Keeping up with the Bible Book Club readings (reading through the entire Bible in three years) plus as morning and evening prayer as well as the daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalter readings (all from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer)and my own daily devotionals (My Utmost for His Highest, The Diary of Private Prayer, and The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living). I'm also reading Great Expectations by Dickens at the reasonable rate of four chapters per day for the reading and book discussion group at Lake Murray and trying to read The Family Cloister (based on the Rule of Benedict) and apply some of its ideas into our family life.

I also spent this week grading essays for the two writing classes I teach at Class Day; fortunately, I only had one class (the smaller honors class) with papers due before the Christmas break. However, the story they were analyzing, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's The Revolt of 'Mother,'" tends to stir up more than a little controversy especially in conservative Christian circles. We had quite the interesting discussion on Thursday in class. I also had to prepare to teach both classes on Thursday -- having Keith make copies of handouts and stories, assigning papers, looking over lecture notes I haven't used for five years, etc. In addition to Class Day preparations, I also wrote a proposal for a high school Shakespeare class for homeschoolers I'm offering to teach for tuition at Lake Murray on Tuesday afternoons. I was hoping to use this class to make some extra money to help with our very tight finances. The e-mail went out to all of the homeschoolers who attend our ISP, but thus far I've only received one phone call. We'll see if I receive more responses when the flyer goes out in the school newsletter early next week. My proposal is to teach five plays over the course of the semester: Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet. I've also communicated to Julie at about teaching an online Shakespeare course in May (when my writing students will be involved with their research papers and my grading workload will be minimal), and I'll have to write a proposal for a four-week class for her as well. We'll see how it all works out, but I have been quite busy with classwork beyond that of my own children this week.

I've also been trying to keep myself healthy with the wonderful ladies of the SL Trusting Daily Yahoo loop where we homeschooling moms keep each other accountable in exercise, healthy eating, drinking enough water, time with the Lord, etc. We're in a B2B (Back 2 Basics) set-up right now in which we're divided into teams to keep each other accountable daily and cheer each other on as this New Year starts with some basic goals of exercise and eating healthily. So I've been online quite a bit, reporting my progress and encouraing my team. I've also been helping the daughter of one of the ladies with a college entrance essay and resume. My old computer doesn't always do well with attachments, so I had to mark the essay and resume three times before my computer finally saved the changes and I was able to send them (I hope) this morning.

In addition to all the normal activities of weekly chiropractic appointments, weekday chapel with Father Acker (Anglican), piano lessons for the boys, a meeting of our town's writer's group, algebra tutoring for E and T, straightening the house, laundry, menu writing, tracking finances, etc., B and I also met with Lake Murray's associate pastor regarding B's upcoming baptism on January 19th. I also had work to do for our arts council in getting out the word about our Featured Artist meeting next Tuesday and will need to make a few phone calls to alert people to Norm's presentation. His art is truly remarkable, and I'm hoping that we'll get a good turnout at the meeting on Tuesday.

But the big excitement of this week is a possible new job for Keith. A wonderful friend of ours has invited Keith to work with him on a project he has bid upon with the utility companies. I don't understand all the details, but it involves the tracking of alternative energy plants and their productivity. This job is really the perfect job for Keith as it will allow him time to work on his artwork and will also allow us to not only pay our bills (a real struggle lately with the downtown in new housing; it's NOT a good time to be an independent draftsman) but also start paying off my medical debts. So we're praying that our friend will indeed win the contract because Keith is more than ready to try something new as the drafting has become less and less enjoyable, especially with the new building code adopted at the first of the year which is causing Keith's dad to want to retire anyway. So we're hoping that this job will work out -- it certainly seems like it's made-to-order for Keith, and he's really excited about the prospect.

So I do have rather a lot on my plate, so that's why a few days may go by between posts here on my blog. I'm sure you understand, don't you?

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