I went on an early morning walk with Sam too recently in the hills around our house and I enjoyed being with him so much and he has been really extra loving towards me, with ready smiles and a better attitude.
Today in history, we learned about a couple kings of the Franks, Charles the Hammer, and Charlemagne (or Charles the Great). Pretty cool day to be a Charles!
Charles is notorious around here for singing at the top of his lungs. His favorite songs are "Little Einsteins", "Old MacDonald had a Farm", and "Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". This video is so cute and really shows his corny personality. It's me trying to teach him that he is going to be three!
When Pat brought the cake in Charlie blew the candles out immediately before we'd gotten halfway through the song! So he got to do it twice.
We had the flu for a couple weeks and I resolved yet again to never spend another February at home. Currently looking for a beach house in South America that we can repair to every January through March. (I wish!) We were all dying of the flu and Pat wanted to do something to make us feel happy, so on Valentine's Day we woke up to this! Reading lights for the boys to put by their beds, crayons and coloring books for Leia and Charles, and new pajamas for me! It was just what we needed!
We also watched a TON of Netflicks movies. We've realized almost everything on Netflicks is awful, but we did find one movie that Dallas and I laughed ourselves to death with: Mr. Bean's Holiday. Good times!
While Leia was at dance class this week, Dal arranged to have Brother Ohran meet him at the library to finish earning the chess merit badge. I am really thankful for such helpful men in the church and in scouting who help the boys achieve great things and I'm thankful for how motivated Dallas is and how he takes care of all his own stuff, his own meetings, his own goals, etc.
I went down to the school yesterday to enroll the kids (well to put their names in the drawings that will happen over the next few months). Everybody was so happy to see me! I ran into Mr. Nuckols our former bishop/history teacher, and Ms. Hutchinson (S & D's teacher). Krista, Dawn, and Tootsie of the office staff were thrilled to have us come back and talked about what good kids I have. It was really nice to have so many people have such a high opinion of us and our kids. My kids have their own share of trials, but I am blessed that at school they are super bright, never cause trouble, and are kind and helpful to everyone, though on the quiet side. I used to always pack them extra food in their lunch boxes last year and tell them to look for someone who forgot their lunch or didn't have much, because I'm trying to teach them to look outwards at the needs of others.
Anyway, at my kid's school, I know they've gotten rid of P.E. for the younger kids, and they might get rid of art, and these things make me question returning. There's a lot of frustration working out kinks and funding issues that a new school has, including the fact that they were supposed to have their own building years ago. Most disheartening is that the new principal is lacking. He just doesn't have the charisma and love for the kids, teachers, and parents like the first principal did and it affects the whole mood of the school. He talks down to everyone, (without meaning to), and is very pro-testing so that affects the teaching (common core).
There are some charter schools in Albuquerque and other places that have a 'part school-part homeschool' option, which is what I'd really enjoy best. We miss the friendships from school and the good education, but a lot is accomplished at home too. Also, I've been so grateful that this year I am not driving 1-2 hours a day in all kinds of weather, or being hit up for money all the time, or feeling constantly on the run and stressed out about having to be somewhere. I cannot tell you how much happier that makes us and how much I dread driving again, and raising kids in their car seats (again).
I talked to my kids about it honestly since I always want to hear their thoughts, and they are really split too. I think we all lean about 60-70% towards home school. Their thoughts were that in school they only read 8 books the whole year and at home we go to the library and read a book every week. (This is just assigned books. They read a lot more for fun.) They just love having the TIME to read. They also said that music would suffer because of the lack of time. I wholeheartedly agree because right now they pass off songs really fast; at least three a week. But when we were in school we quit most all extra-curricular things and their music progression stood still. It's hard out here where you have to drive lengthy distances to do any activity. When they're in school, we have time for almost nothing, and so, to not overly tax the family, we quit everything except scouts. Even scouts isn't immune though. Dallas has really enjoyed having adequate time to work on scouts and other projects around the house and is really progressing!
I love the discussions the kids and I have about the books they read weekly, and about science, and I love that Charles has their friendship rather than him being the only one home. Math is suffering though, and a few other subjects aren't being done to my satisfaction which would require an adjustment if I continue to home school. Regarding Leia, I love that she is in a dance class (that we would not be able to do if they were in school), but she misses out on things like show-and-tell and other school fun, so it's always a trade-off. But at least she's got a great group of girls at dance class with really wonderful moms and families. A friend told me recently that she knows a wonderful family that just went back and forth from school to home school each year and her kids turned out fine; really well in fact. She doesn't see anything wrong with what we are doing (not that it's ever been my plan to go back and forth, we just do what feels right each year). But it does make getting scholarships difficult, if that's a priority, and some people think I'm a weirdo, I'm sure.
I don't aim to please everyone or explain myself to everyone's satisfaction. We are these kids parents for a reason, and we do the best we can with hearts full of love for them, and we have faith that God will make up the difference.