Summer Break

I had all these grand plans.

Father's Day!

I knew the summer was going to be intense. It was just a little too soon after finally getting all the kids back into school after our two years of full-time home schooling. And even though our house here is slightly bigger than our house in the US was, the lack of a front and back yard that the kids can just run out to by themselves any time they have two minutes makes a big difference. So I spent a lot of time thinking about how we were going to organize our days. What I decided on was four intensive mornings of home school per week and then one day spent on a day trip to explore somewhere in the city.

We enjoyed the chance the hot weather gave us to eat flavored ice! Think sno-cones but with thinner ice and more flavor.

I planned the home school meticulously. I mean, really meticulously. Down to five minute intervals for each child. I color coded it all based on whether that activity needed my help or not. (It's taken me this many years to realize THAT is the most important categorization.) I planned in time to play outside and time for poetry reading and all that. I bought them each their own (color coded!) visual timer. And as long as we started at 8am, we were pretty much guaranteed to be done by noon to eat lunch. Then in the afternoons we could go out or I could run errands or whatever we needed to do. What could go wrong?

It's hard to eat corn without front teeth.

Well, my first hiccup was that G had an extra month of school. Not a huge deal, I could just work around the schedule to bring him and pick him up when I needed to. And I would just let the teacher know when he would be missing so he could still participate in our day trips once a week. My second hiccup was that I decided to start pestering immigration into giving G a visa, and that meant I needed to show my face there at least once a week until they did something. That took up one afternoon a week. Then I realized that even though I had decided to cook simpler things over the summer, someone still had to buy the groceries. So that was another afternoon. Then if any other errand at all needed to be done, like all the doctor and dentist appointments I'd been putting off during the school year, that only gave us one afternoon a week to go out like I had planned. I think you might be able to guess that after one whole day out on a day trip, and three afternoons already going out running errands, I was not exactly raring to bring the kids to the water park or the museum with that one other day. Plus then when were we going to clean the house?

Our Fourth of July dinner: Chicken wings, hamburgers and hot dogs!

But the real challenge was for H. It turns out our walls are very, very thin. And I yell a lot. I mean, I'm not like angry yelling like a lunatic. (Right...?) But it's loud. And even when we were gone for the day, we were always leaving in a bustle and making lots of noise on the way out and then coming back much later than I planned, and when I was going to run errands in the afternoons, I often asked to leave a kid or two at home with him. So suffice it to say, he barely got any work done at all the entire summer. Yikes. I think he tried to tell me about it, but I was so overwhelmed with having the kids all the time that I could hardly hear him straight much less come up with a solution. Anyway, we did do lots of really great things. The kids accomplished about six months of home school in those two months, we did some really fun day trips, and G ended up not getting a visa but getting a document that was good enough to register for elementary school (score!). We also hosted some friends from the States for about three weeks and went on a family vacation with them! So really, we did a lot of great stuff. But I think next year, I might approach things a little differently. You know. Like plan things in one minute intervals. JUST KIDDING!