Easter was great. I didn't want to get the kids too much stuff, but, as usual, I spent more than I wanted too. We got K a cell phone (I know, I know, but it was only $30 and we're only putting $20 on it a month - like a "pay-as-you-go". She is good at budgeting money and time and knows once the $20 is used up she has to wait til the 15th. With her in the school play and at dance, I already been through not being able to reach her if she or I happen to be late or if she's not where she's supposed to be when I come to pick her up. It's too scary). J got a Cabbage Patch baby - she asked for one last week. And W got Dragon Flyz (Sky Dancer for boys, lol) plus another action figure. And all the kids got some jellybeans and other candy. We went out to my mom's for the day. The kids got some more small toys including a toy golf set for W and Chinese jumpropes for the girls. I used to LOVE Chinese jumprope and taught the girls how to play. J and W collected some earthworms in the backyard, we all played "golf", and B pitched a few balls for W to practice hitting. It was a fun day.
Today I spent the morning lamenting over K's high school situation. I just cannot find one suitable for her. The Catholic schools are good, but expensive (~$6000/year) and I'm still hoping for some sort of scholarship somehow. The public high schools leave much to be desired and every time I think I've found an ok one, someone I know tells me crappy things about it. I learned all about the application process (they revised the process over the last few years) - you can rank up to 12 schools you want to go to and you're matched to your highest ranked school that also matches you. It's a weird, complicated process and of course you know I think the whole thing is a huge waste of energy, but this is what K wants, so I'll do everything I can. Then there's the 8 specialized high schools which are in a whole 'nother category as well as the performing arts high schools. Whew. We'll figure it all out.
We went out to a huge shopping area today and made Barnes and Noble the first stop. My educator's discount card had expired and they gave me a new one with me only showing them my homeschool group membership card. They guy looked at it (and me) funny at first and had to ask a manager if the card was acceptable. Like he's never seen another homeschooler before. Anyway, I got K a TACHS prep book (practice tests for admission to the Catholic high schools) and she knew the answer to every random question I pointed to. She's an excellent standardized test taker so I know she'll do well on it in October. J came running over to me to say that her 3rd grade teacher was over there. She was so excited to see her and almost too shy to say hello. After 20 minutes of coaxing, we went over to her. And guess what. She didn't know who we were. Um, my dd spent 5 months in 3rd grade with her last year and on the last day she went on about how these are "her kids" and how J will be sooooo missed. J just stood there with a fixed smile, but I could see the disappointment in her eyes. Well, if she had any lingering school pangs, they're gone now.
What lightened her mood a few minutes later was finding an algebra book. We looked at a few pages together and she had fun mentally solving for x. We didn't buy it - she really wanted more of a workbook, but there weren't any. She said we could just print them out from math websites at home instead. I can do that - and it's free! K got the 3rd book from "The Clique" series (called The Gossip Girls, I think) and plans to finish it by the end of the week. W got an Ice Age book (the movie, not the era) and at home he read me some Starfall.com stories. He's also been interested in simple addition and subtraction, so I'd like to find (or create!) some mathy games we can play together.
I was thinking about how there's been so many discussions on unschooling vs. radical unschooling and even though I never considered myself a radical us'er, we have always lived that way. For example, I have never set bedtimes for my kids. Never. I just never had to. W falls asleep at 8:30. J will go into bed at around 9 and K goes into bed around 10. Friends of mine struggle and fight to get their kids to bed at those times. It's really true that offering kids freedom and trust can lead to this kind of healthy self-regulation. It's also that way with eating, chores, tv and computer time, and video games. B and I have had this trust since K was born, without ever hearing of anyone else living that way (and boy did we get a lot of rolled eyes and negative comments thrown at us!). And if I had known about homeschooling back then, we would have taken that route from the getgo. I'd sometimes have doubts about our parenting style and thought of maybe implementing set rules on those things (due to family and friends' insisting we should), but it wasn't who I was - and still isn't. After a while, people couldn't believe how "good" my kids were. You know, I really did believe we were onto something - now I'm sure of it.