Today is the first day of Monkey’s last year of middle school, such as it is. (“Such as it is” because homeschooling does not include the typical hallmarks of those hallowed middle years such as gum on the underside of your desk, stolen lunch money, and being knocked into the lockers every so often.) This is a sacred and serious occasion, which we are marking by… ummmm… well, I should probably wake him up and then figure that out. I am TOTALLY on top of things, as you can see.
His online classes “open” today, and then our new homeschooling co-op starts next week, and everything feels familiar yet different and I am very busy NOT NOT NOT thinking about what we’re doing next year for high school, which of course means I am obsessing over it to the point where if it was a scab, I would be a bloody mess with MRSA by now. (You’re welcome for that visual.)
But before the start of school, we decided to go have one last hurrah in the woods. As you do.
We packed up the trailer and the dog and a couple of Monkey’s friends and headed off to our favorite campground for one last camping weekend. Lemur and his younger brother were coming with us early on Friday because their folks and older brother couldn’t leave until later in the day, so we agreed to meet up at suppertime and off we went. Once we arrived at camp, several things became obvious in short order:
1) Remember all the ants we had in the house, and then the Bug Guy took care of them? All of those ants clearly moved to the campground.
2) Three boys are three orders of magnitude louder than one boy.
3) We had exactly zero cell signal, which is normally lovely, but not so fantastic when you’re trying to coordinate with another family.
4) Lemur’s family was going to be late, and Lemur’s younger brother was both hungry and anxious about this delay, and “We’re going to wait for your folks to eat dinner, do you want a snack?” was only satisfying the first five times I said it. (Also it may not have been reassuring when I offered that clearly their folks were never coming, so we were going to have to adopt them and they could be part of our family, but I thought that maybe we’d change their names, and how did they feel about Bartholomew and Englebert, if so?) At one point I became convinced that we could burn a ton of time by throwing the boys in the lake, but it turned out that our borrowed boys had left their swimsuits with the rest of their family’s camping gear. Whoops. No matter! Eight hundred rounds of Apples To Apples later, everyone was feeling somewhat better.
All was well at the end of the day; we fed the boys, and Otto drove up to the camp office to get a cell signal and an update, and eventually everyone arrived and set up and then it was time for bed. Hooray! But Saturday and Sunday were loads of fun.
When we returned yesterday, Otto and I managed the world’s fastest unload/unpack/laundering in the history of camping trips, proof that we’ve finally got it down to a science. We were ridiculously proud of ourselves. And that left plenty of time to do a little bit of school supply shopping with the kids. That was a FANTASTIC idea, because you know who else was at Ye Olde Big Box Store getting school supplies the last Sunday before school starts? That’s right! EVERYONE! And you know how I love crowds.
Thank goodness my kids are super helpful.
Me: Okay, I think we need, like, a GIANT calendar that we can put EVERYTHING on. We’ll hang it by the computer and put all your class due dates and stuff on it, Monkey. So let’s look for that first.
Monkey: I want to buy some candy.
Me: What? We’re not here for candy. We’re here for school supplies.
Monkey: But I want to buy Chickie some Sour Patch Kids. I have money.
Me: SCHOOL. SUPPLIES.
Chickadee: Gosh, Mom, you’re always telling us to think of others. The kid wants to do something nice for someone else, you should let him.
Chickadee: So we’ll go find the candy and meet you by the… whatever it is you’re buying. Okay, bye!
School supplies at Casa Mir: One giant calendar, two boxes of Sour Patch Kids, and a new Wii game. No, I don’t know how that happened, either. (The problem is that Monkey is way too flush for a 13-year-old. That kid hardly ever spends money, so when he decides he wants something, he’s all “BUT I HAVE LOADS OF MONEY!” and it’s true, he does. Plus he was all, “I checked the price on Amazon and it’s the same here as there.” I’m raising such good little researchers!)
We came back home and I wanted to work on the calendar, but the kids wanted to beat each other senseless in Super Mario And Everyone Else In Nintendo-Land Bloody Brawl Of Pounding Violence, or whatever it was, so I gave up and the calendar remains pristine, in the kitchen.
But I’m getting organized, man. This morning it is ON. While Monkey starts his classwork, I’m going to turn that thing into the family scheduling hub if it kills me. I HAVE COLORED MARKERS AND I’M NOT AFRAID TO USE THEM. I’m thinking… blue for marching band practices and football games and other Chickadee activities. Red for online course due dates for Monkey. Orange for co-op days and online lecture sessions. Green for doctors’ appointments. Yellow for holidays. Brown for any travel dates. Pink for any project deadlines Chickie wants to add.
And purple for my inevitable nervous breakdown in trying to keep it all straight. I’m thinking mid-October might be nice.