bear - ingn.1 the manner in which one comports oneself; 2 the act, power, or time of bringing forth offspring or fruit; 3 a machine part in which another part turns [a journal ~]; 4pl. comprehension of one's position, environment, or situation; 5 the act of moving while supporting the weight of something [the ~ of the cross].
I don't like to read a lot of homeschooling blogs very often because they give me an inferiority complex, but one thing I never get tired of looking at is other people's schoolrooms.
My good friend Melissa, whom I've been co-schooling with for a long time, has been hoping to sell her house. It was just too tiny for their family of six, and a lot of the rooms didn't work very well. That's one reason we haven't been schooling at her house for quite some time, instead dividing time between my place and Hannah's.
So to get the house ready to sell, Melissa and her husband worked like crazy fixing up the bathrooms, painted and hung new curtains, got rid of piles of extra stuff, set up a seemingly useless third bedroom in the basement, and moved stuff around. And of course, now it's livable!
This morning when I drove out to the suburbs to pick up Melissa's girls, I saw her schoolroom for the first time since they moved it down there. I'm jealous! I asked if I could post pictures from my phone. (Sorry for the lo-res.)
Here's the view from the bottom of the stairs. I wish I had room for a trampoline in MY schoolroom:
See the white-topped table in the background? My husband built that for them a couple of years ago. On the left and the right of the table are sets of numbered bins, one for the 6-yo and one for the 7.5-yo, into which assignment materials can be staged at the start of each day. (It's a new system that Melissa and Hannah are both trying out, supposed to be pretty good for kids with attention issues.) Over each child's bin is a laminated poster Melissa made with the child's name and some special pictures. To the right of the magnetic letter board, under the window, is a third bin-set for the up-and-coming 2yo.
Turn right and look straight at the easy chair, and you see the red hutch of Melissa's learning room supplies:
Isn't that a great way to repurpose an item of kitchen furniture that didn't fit in the kitchen anymore?
Just off the basement learning room, opposite the window wall, is a bedroom that is now the domain of almost-12-year-old Meira:
As you can see, Meira gets a poster over her desk, too. She also has a set of numbered bins. Since her room is right off the large learning room, she's right there where her brothers and sister are working and where Melissa can easily check in on her progress; but she has her own quieter, private space when she closes the door.
Right off the basement is a half bath and the house's laundry room -- which means they can basically live down there all day, going upstairs only to get something to eat.
There's also a little utility room off the basement which gives Melissa a small storage closet. She got the giant institutional filing cabinet from Craigslist for $100. Don't you wish you had one?
I'm only sort of jealous, though, because we have good news in our house: we are going to start remodeling our attic in the next couple of weeks, and part of that project entails repurposing my schoolroom. I'm looking forward to sharing a lot of pictures!
Now that I'm walking and running around the track most of the time, instead of on the treadmill -- because that works out better for handing Leo off to Mark or to our oldest to watch while I run, or for walking with Leo in the sling -- I'm noticing the people around me a lot more.
The treadmills at our Y all face out the window-wall at the street below, which is interesting in its own way. Most of what there is to look at are houses, cars, postmen, the occasional school bus. Many of the treadmills have individual television screens; we don't have a TV, and I have been known to time my evening workouts to coincide with The Daily Show. (Daytime workouts, not much to see except cooking shows. Rachael Ray: fun, and I have made some of the things at home from memory. Paula Deen on the other hand... um... all I can say is it's really painful to see that much sugar and butter go into things that are nominally salads.)
Walking around the track, though, circling and circling around the basketball gym halfway up, there's a chance to see some of the other people who frequent the Y.
Teen boys shooting hoops on weekend evenings; grown men shooting hoops on weeknights. On Thursday nights he child care staff string a badminton net across half the gym, and dump out a trash bag full of shuttlecocks, and set a gaggle of six- to ten-year-old kids to whacking the shuttles around; there's always one little girl crawling on the floor after the stray shuttlecocks, patiently stacking them into multicolored Christmas trees.
Not long ago I spent a good twenty minutes watching one ponytailed woman, who had the gym all to herself; there was only she and her soccer ball, which she returned over and over again, expertly positioning herself and the ball, defending an imaginary goal, the wall her opponent. She was totally focused, and sweating, and there wasn't a sound except her breath, her shoes on the floor, and the BAM of the ball against the wall.
Saturday there were three boys, young brothers, taking turns shooting baskets while their dad waited under the backboard and returned the balls. A little later they came back on their own -- maybe dad was off lifting weights or something -- and I watched as one kid, couldn't be more than eight, sank a beautiful free throw, punching his fists in the air in triumph, his brothers' mouths opening wide.
Today I watched a mother and son, around nine or ten I'd guess, playing one on one. The boy was shooting and mom was guarding him. I'm no expert, but that woman must've played basketball in high school or college -- she moved easily, and she blocked his shots. It was a real game. I could see the concentration on both their faces as they worked hard to beat each other.
There's an elderly couple who come to the track from time to time. She uses a walker and moves very slowly, next to the wall; he walks behind her, since there's no room to walk abreast and let others pass. They circle the track one time, pausing every few steps to rest. Usually they go the "wrong" way, but it's clear that it makes one or both of them nervous not to be able to see the folks coming up behind them; I'm not going to turn them in.
And there's my nine-year-old, bent over his baby brother among the Pilates balls on the mats in the little alcove with the "Stretching Guidelines" posters on the wall, playing This Little Piggy for a nickel a minute while I work my way back up to speed.
Look, I saved half my sandwich from the restaurant last night. So it counts.
No, really, it does count. I got a sandwich and a salad, and I put half the sandwich on the side plate and asked for a box. And now it's my lunch. So I don't care if you don't think a breaded eggplant panini sandwich, with roasted red pepper and tomato and piles of spinach and herbed cheese, counts as a weight loss food. I only ate half of it at each meal and I say it counts.
The rest? About 12 ounces of brussels sprouts, with a bit of butter; and some tropical fruit cocktail (yeah, it's canned -- we never have any fresh fruit left right before the grocery trip) with Greek yogurt and a little unsweetened coconut on top.
(Sandwich by Kafe 421, where we went to celebrate the completion of our midwifery appointments surrounding Leo's birth. The kids also took half their giant "children's" entrees home and had them for lunch today.)