Recently the Gimlet has been heard to complain that the blog hasn’t been updated in a while. After all the summer’s excitement, it can be easy to forget documenting more ordinary life. Time to sweep the cobwebs off the blog and catch up!
We missed the obligatory back-to-school photos and post, but rest assured, the Things are back at school.
Thing Two is attending the pre-K program at his preschool. It’s a small class of about seven boys (yes, all boys in the class. Strange but true.) He is one of the older children this year and is growing more confident about participating now that he’s well acquainted with the teachers and the routine. Astronomy and monkey trees are still his favorite discussion topics. We brought out the telescope to show him Jupiter, but he hasn’t quite got the knack of looking through the telescope yet. StarDate.org has a handy calendar of when the planets and other objects are at their most visible, so when Thing Two learns how to use the telescope, we can find something interesting for him to see.
Thing One is a high school sophomore. After a rough freshman year, academically speaking, we made the decision to take a more active role in shaping his high school curriculum. Not only was Thing One having a miserable time, and could not keep up with the relentless, overwhelming (and in our opinion, unreasonable and poorly chosen) workload (so much for “no child left behind”) but we also grew increasingly concerned over the school district’s approach to teaching core courses. Mathematics has received a great deal of local media attention, and we were appalled to discover that European history has been removed from the required high school courses. There is plenty to rant about after last year, but we’ll stop there (but are happy to continue ranting upon request, if anybody wants more details).
As a result, this year Thing One is enrolled in online high school courses offered by BYU Independent Study for math, language arts, social studies, and a penmanship course since cursive handwriting is also no longer part of our school district’s education. He still attends his high school for science, advanced French, orchestra, and theater. After only one month on this new curriculum the difference in Thing One and our family is notable. His confidence is returning with straight As in both his online courses and at school, and the self-directed pace of the online courses has significantly reduced the stress levels at home. So far, so good! And all these courses notwithstanding, Thing One has been agitating to add one more class to his schedule: driver’s ed. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
Checking in on Thing Two’s garden, this is the second tomato harvest of equal size. (Most of the tomatoes are about hand-size and are being stored in a very large mixing bowl usually used for bread dough.) Our two Early Girl plants produced so many large tomatoes that they were too heavy for the supports to handle, and we had to add extra stakes to keep the plants upright. The tomatoes had to be picked while green, as nothing is ripening on the vine this year, but they are ripening up nicely inside the house. Hå gave us two cherry tomato plants which were nowhere near as prolific as the larger Early Girls, but produced a few small treats.
The tomatoes fared the best in our gloomy summer weather; Thing Two has some very nice cucumbers coming along as well, but none of the pumpkins or carrots produced anything, and the basil and chives were scanty (but useable for one dinner each).
With the return of autumn, the birds have been visiting our feeders more frequently, too. I was hoping to get a picture of our local chestnut-backed chickadees, or the nuthatches who hang upside down on the feeder, but these little dark-eyed juncos were the only birds lingering on the perch long enough for pictures.