Finding little things

Today was a flurry of getting some homework done, and packing the kids up for their dad’s house. Week on/week off would be unsettling enough for an adult, so you can imagine how challenging it is for kids. Things get forgotten (despite me reminding them to put shoes on several times), whathaveyou.

So I typically have to tidy up behind them after they’re gone. So I can have a marginally less messy house to enjoy for a brief respite. Years ago, I found these cool math wrap-up’s for practicing math drills/facts. We have addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. The kids used them for a bit when homeschooled, a short time after they started school, then things started getting taken or packed away.

Today after the house was silent, I found one of the math wrap-up’s on the coffee table (next to cello rosin, we live wildly here!).

I think my 11yo dug them up from the cube wall in the basement where I have various activities and supplies stashed.

This particular one was division. I know I’ve seen the multiplication one up here somewhere, too.

Learning can be done while hanging upside down off the couch. Which, yes, has happened more than once. Plus the tactile fun and constant movement with these helps my sensory seeking 10yo focus a bit more. Win-win!

Art and PE, plus decompressing

What people don’t seem to realize is how stressful school can be for kids. The expectations are insane. I can’t even imagine, I barely remember any standardized testing more than once every few years growing up. Then the PSAT and SAT. Not quarterly. Oof.

Making a transition from public school to public-school-at-home is a shock. Going from public school to homeschooling is a shock. Some amount of decompression is needed for kids to reorient and gather their bearings. Getting right into it may work at your board meeting or brainstorming meeting, but kids need a little more finessing. Meeting them where they are as it were.

So, I’m sure, some people immediately dug into things. I chose to observe. Changing up the whole schooling dynamic is going to result in some chaos of sorts, and I’ll be honest, I’ve got enough going on in my life. I’m glad I’m an essential worker so I can continue to provide for my children, however it means I have little time for nonsense. 140 emails from every single teacher and principal my four children have in three different schools, plus the school district notificarions and letters? Definite flashbacks/triggers to other email issues I’ve had in the past, and fairly overwhelming. Moral of the story? It’s okay to decompress. It’s okay to chill and take your time. Life will still be there to deal with the next hour, or next day.

Moving on, I came home from work one day, to find this amazingness going on due to leaving my kids to their own devices for the morning.

Here is the start.

Touch your toes, and don’t fall off the balance beam.

Seriously one of my favorite parts, the floor is lava. Stay on the clouds. For real.

Follow the rainbow outlined face duck, over the bridge, to the yellow dotted road? (I just dig the cool lily they drew there.)

Variation of tiptoeing… then hopscotch of course.

My other favorite part, jump the pineapples. Not sure why. Just, pineapples.

Then jump through the store and into a puddle or lake at the far end.

Numerous contests and races happened on this chalk course.

For those wondering why this is cool? Well first off, duh, the floor is lava, and you jump pineapples. Second, this kept kids busy and outside for five hours. No joke. They got their wiggles out. Got a ton of fresh air and vitamin D (great for immune systems).

For those keeping tabs, this is Art, Physical Education, Physics, and Math.

Let’s do some math!

Just so you know, you will likely never see this kind of math in a traditional classroom. 
In my house, sure, but not in a school.

Two 28-pound boxes of pears = $21.00
From a 4oz bottle ($11.49) of vanilla paste, used about .5oz =  $1.44
One pint of raspberry honey that was bought in bulk (bulk equals discount!) = $4
About 6 cups of sugar = $1.49
Water = basically free since we have running water regardless of whether I’m canning or not
Grand total = $27.93 for 25 quarts of canned and yummy, ripe pears.  Flavored with real vanilla specks to boot, none of that tree bark stuff (okay, yes, I’m lazy and didn’t feel like scraping out a vanilla bean this time so I used the paste, maybe this week with applesauce we’ll use the fresh beans).  Kids get the bonus of learning how to blanch and peel fruit in bulk.  Not many other 9yo and 6yo boys I know have this knowledge.

A little more math you say?  Okay.
My local grocery store carries Western Family products.  About twice a year, they have case lot sales.  Buy the whole case so they don’t have to open it and stage it, you get a discount.  Last go-round it was $.98 for a 15oz can of fruit.  So, to have the same quantity (by jar/tin can volume) of fruit on hand that I canned up, you’d need at least 53+ cans of Western Family fruit.  So.

Here’s my quarts of pears next to a 15oz can of oranges (the only commercially canned fruit I have in the house right now!).  How many of those little tin cans would you need to crack open for dinner to equal one of the quarts?  In my house, at least 2-3.

So…  Which would you rather have?

A) Pears canned in a vanilla/raspberry honey syrup or in a vanilla/sugar light syrup at the peak of the season when allowed to ripen fully for a cost of $27.93 (plus a few bucks for propane, if that), or…

B) Pears canned in either light fruit juice (have you made your own juice for canning before? it’s time consuming and pricey!) or high fructose corn syrup, picked while still green enough to not bruise easily in the machinery, and in tiny cans that you need to crack open 2-4 for a single meal since likely 2/3 of it is just the liquid for $51.94?

Since I have the canner, the know-how, and drive to do it, it’s a no brainer.  Well, and we’re food snobs.  Kinda why there’s little to no commercially canned fruit in my house right now. 

Barn Hop time!