Homeschool “Daze”

The boys and I went to Homeschool Days in Williamsburg, VA, from 9/14-9/18. We carpooled with some CC pals, who we’ll call the Y Posse.

Miss Kristy (not of J-crew fame) drove us there, all around, and back. And her kids, Logan (age 8) and Landon (age 4), were the 3 Amigos’ partners in crime. Having no daddies made this a particularly challenging trip, but I think we mamas pulled it off pretty well … and live to tell about it!

After a jam-packed day of history (and lots of walking) in Colonial Williamsburg, the 3 Amigos & I strike our final pose of the day in front of the Governor’s Palace.

The trip was a nice opportunity for me to get to know Kristy a lot better, and of course, and served as great bonding experience for all our boys. Plus, we ran into and got to hang out with many other CC families during our field-trip fun!

We stayed at the amazing Great Wolf Lodge, whose centerpiece is its indoor water park. Gabriel, the “dare devil,” jumped right in, mastering the intro solo (no raft) slides immediately and the intermediate (solo or group on a raft) slides soon thereafter. If he could’ve ridden the mack daddy of slides, the Howlin’ Tornado (whose height requirement is 48″), he surely would’ve done so. That child is a thrill-seeker for sure!

Gabe’s confidence did get the best of him one time, though. Interestingly, kids as little as 44″ can ride some of the medium slides by themselves. And I’m telling you, those are some pretty intense slides.

Gabriel tests out the stocks in Williamsburg. Now there’s some punishment Colonial-style!

So, G-Man climbed the steep stairs and stood line without me, while I waited at the bottom with camera in hand. Well, he made his way down alright, but did so sans raft. Turns out, he almost instantly fell off, and descended down the high slide on his butt and scared half to death.

Wide-eyed and a tad frantic, Gabriel landed in the deep pool at the bottom and began swimming his heart out. Despite his frightened state, Gabe’s frenzied doggy-paddling was actually keeping him afloat and moving him to the pool’s edge quite effectively. Still, I was just about to jump in and assist, when a lifeguard spotted him and pulled him to safety.

Turns out that Houston is not a dare devil. In fact, he has now taken the place of cautious child (formerly Zeke) and has morphed into our most chary amigo. Houston wouldn’t even consider doing the medium slides till well after Zeke was riding them with me, and Gabe had taken a few solo adventures.

Armored up & ready to go, Houston prepares to defend James Fort during our visit to Jamestown Settlement.

But the important thing is that Houston eventually got over his angst, anger, and frustration, and manned up to do the Howlin’ Tornado … and did so the first time without Logan, who was mistakenly deemed too short to ride.

So, Houston and I rocked it out, while poor Logan walked down feeling defeated. Luckily, we realized and remedied the error in Logan’s measurement, and he and Houston were Tornado-riding fiends from there on out, freeing me up to ride with some CC mamas and daddies.

I must point out, too, that Zeke’s reserved, but growing bravery is amazing to witness. From the guy who just this summer tried his hand at swinging by himself and bike riding without training wheels, to now the kid who will take on my scary challenges, Zeke’s becoming quite the thrill-seeker … but at his own pace, of course.

Zeke peers into the potty of the Public Gaol in Williamsburg. Hmmm … just how could 18th-century prisoners make that work?!

After hearing all about our water-park excitement, Stephen wants to take the whole family back to Great Wolf Lodge some time. Once the twins are 48″ and can ride the Tornado, and we find a good Groupon deal (’cause that place is crazy expensive without a deep discount), we are so there!

Obviously, our main focus of this trip was history. On Monday, we visited Jamestown Settlement, where we got to check out re-creations of the Powhatan Indian Village and James Fort, and board a replica of the Susan Constant. Plus, we lucked out and got to do our tour with the J-Crew, their friends, and another cool CC family.

On Tuesday, we visited Colonial Williamsburg, where we toured the George Wythe House (my fave thing of the day), the Public Gaol, and the Magazine and Guardhouse; and got to check out Galt Apothecary, the Gunsmith, the Foundry and Silversmith, and saw many other cool things on our walkabout the historic city.

Houston hangs out w/ George Washington during our trip to the Yorktown Victory Center. (That’s his good buddy, Logan, in the background.)

We opted not to go inside the Governor’s Palace or the Capitol simply because the tours were quite long, and Kristy and I didn’t think the kids (especially an increasingly bad-attitude Houston) would be all that interested at that point in our long day.

But we were treated to a dramatic reading of the entire Declaration of Independence in front of the colonial courthouse. It was satisfying to see so many Americans in the crowd enlivened about individual rights, private property, and secession from a tyrannical government!

On Wednesday, we hit Yorktown Victory Center. We spent most of our time at the Continental Army encampment, where we got to see a real cannon and musket demo, and learn about wartime medical treatment in colonial times. We also saw archaeological relics from one of Cornwallis’ merchant ships, the Betsy, which the twins thoroughly enjoyed.

After getting our school year into full gear, I quickly realized that I had to get something off of my plate, and sadly, that something was the Pregnancy Care Center. As y’all know, I was slated to be the lead facilitator of the abortion-recovery Bible study (something I have wanted to do for a long time), but after discussion with Stephen and much prayer, I knew it was my volunteering that had to give.

Gabriel & Zeke make friends @ Yorktown’s re-created 1780s working farm, which grows cotton, tobacco, and other crops.

I do know in my heart that ARBS is something God wants me to do … eventually. My calling at present is to homeschool my kids, and I didn’t want my educational mission (or perhaps even our relationships) to suffer under the weight of a totally stressed-out mama and her unbearable schedule.

Plus, I knew that anxiety would probably spill over into my marriage, and Lord knows, I already struggle enough at being a godly wife, so that wasn’t something I even wanted to stir up in our home. I know God will equip me for life’s challenges, but He also gives me the common sense to know when I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

On 9/26, Stephen took the boys to a high school football game. They didn’t make it through the whole game because Zeke had a tummy ache, but word is they still had a good time, and have all since gotten the football bug. In fact, we’re giving Gabe and Zeke a nice peewee football next week for their 6th birthday.

Zeke & Gabriel explore the upper deck of the (replica) Susan Constant, the largest of three English ships that voyaged to America in 1606-1607, resulting in the founding of Jamestown in the new Colony of Virginia.

Stephen was a pretty miffed by the price of the game ($24!), as well as the announcer pimping a sales-tax increase for public schools, which is going to be on the ballot in November. Peculiar that no matter how high are our property taxes and the fact that NC has an “Education Lottery,” the government-school mafia is never shy about their incessant desire of other people’s money “for the children.”

I didn’t go to the game because Miss Christie had a girls-only party. We ate finger food, drank a little wine, and watched Moms’ Night Out. It’s a wonderful family movie, which was actually made by homeschoolers.

I guess you could call it a Christian movie, but the acting and the film work, were very well done — kind of a rarity in many movies of faith. Most movies in that genre have a quality storyline, but simply have bad acting and shoddy direction. Seriously, this film was a real pleasure for Christians and non-Christians alike.

Speaking of movies, the kids recently watched The House On Haunted Hill with Stephen. The 1959 Vincent Price cult classic definitely gave them a scare! Good thing Daddy didn’t let them watch Poltergeist like he had jokingly suggested. One day, Stephen … one day.

Gabriel & I check out the “earthen kitchen” (really a mound of Dakota fire holes) during our time @ the Continental Army encampment in Yorktown.

Houston had been on a real rhetorical kick lately. Here are a few of his doozies:

  • I saw Houston rough-housing with his bros, putting them in hold positions and giving them harsh commands. After voicing my concern, Houston said, “It’s okay, Mommy. We’re playing a game called the government.”
  • “What game are you playing?” Zeke asked his bros after witnessing their unique shenanigans. “It’s like a documentary,” explained Houston with great confidence. Yep, we love ourselves some nonfictional TV.
  • Houston was encouraging Gabriel and Zeke, saying how equally creative was everyone’s Legos constructions, and how sharing them would be a lot of fun. Then he looked at me, and said in a clarifying tone, “But not in a communist way.” So glad the apple doesn’t fall too far from the liberty tree!

At Great Wolf Lodge, Houston gets a hug from Rachel the Raccoon & Landon after the boys’ first-ever try @ bowling, which was expensive & over way too fast, but @ least made for some good memories!

The kids bought Minecraft with their piggy-bank money back in August. They’re pretty obsessed with it, which was annoying at first. But now that they’re earning “diamonds” at a much greater rate (due to improved behavior), the reward system is paying off. I get better manners and obedience on a daily basis, and they get their half-hour Minecraft fix usually every couple of days. Perfect leverage for me, and perfect pay off for them.

Health update: I’m still going to the physical therapist every two weeks, but he and I are both thinking that I’m about 90% of the way to full functionality and mobility. It has been a long, tough road, but I’m so thankful that my aches and pains are finally letting up, and I’m getting my normal body back. Thanks to Stephen, too, for paying the bills!

The twins are still doing speech therapy once a week. Both of their therapists said they had “break-through” sessions yesterday, and agreed that they are on their way to vastly improved speech, enunciation, and articulation. Way to go, Gabriel and Zeke!