Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Progress for Its Own Sake

Sometimes I feel like I’m climbing a mountain.

The Aran is coming along slowly, since there has been a lot else going on to distract me.

Here in BC, the government is quite amenable to homeschoolers, even providing us with funding to teach our children at home. The hoop we have to jump for the funding is, we have to submit a portfolio full of samples of the child’s work three times yearly, to assure the Ministry that we are meeting the same education outcomes which they are (or rather CLAIM TO BE) teaching public school children. It’s portfolio time now, so I am madly scanning Provincial Learning Outcomes, throwing together worksheets for Charlotte to complete, and sorting all this information into a binder. It takes a lot of time, particularly for a free-form educator like me, who covers most of the material either by contextual reading, or verbally in discussion form, rather than by rote with worksheets for the child to fill out.

It’s not that my system is a bad one. Charlotte is obviously learning a lot, albeit above her grade level. (One of my concocted worksheets has the question “What is the term used to refer to animals who are most active during twilight (i.e., dusk and dawn)?” C. correctly answered “crepuscular”.) It’s just that it doesn’t result in stacks of completed papers with red check marks, and endless lists of addition and subtraction problems. This makes portfolios awfully time-consuming. But, hey: a thousand dollars per year per child is worth it.

And then there is the common cold, which is making my life a living hell for the second time in a month. Both the kids have it, so I’ve not had much sleep lately, getting up every few hours to blow noses, get drinks of water, doses of Dimetapp, more pillows. It all makes the knitting harder.

But, Mum and I went to Winners yesterday, and I came away with this:

I’ve been looking for YEARS for nice Christmas ornament storage, and was quite chuffed to see these beautiful boxes. There are two trays of compartments, each holding twenty ornaments (more, if they’re small). There is also extra room between the layers, and under the lid, for flat things such as tinsel garland. It was $20…I think I’ll be back for at least two more, for my children’s ornament collections.

Speaking of which, isn't it about time I put a countdown banner up?


lizbon said...

Jeez, I wouldn't have been able to give you crepuscular. Nocturnal and diurnal, sure, but not that. It occurs to me that the major prerequisite for being allowed to homeschool one's children ought to be that the parent doing the schooling is her(or him)self intelligent and well-educated (as you obviously are).

Lovely boxes! And the aran, yowza!

Ames said...

Love the boxes; they are real winners.

My youngest just asked me when we were going to put up decorations.

Must add crepuscular to vocabulary list. . .

kate said...

Those boxes are cool! I promise I won't go buy the extra ones :)

The sweater is gorgeous, of course.

Schooling period is exhausting. Get the Planner to organize the file.

Tabatha said...

My kids definitely would not know or use the word crepuscular, craptacular maybe, but definitely not crepuscular.

Like everyone else said - those boxes are very cool and such a great idea.

The sweater is amazing.

Stace' said...

It took me a week to knit a scarf that looks like hell. You amaze me!!!

Gwen said...

Tabatha: LOL!!!

Love, love, love the ornament box. I had a date with destiny in the Sally Ann pre-Halloween last year, and found an old box of blown glass decorations like Grandma's, in their original box. I would love to get my hands on some like yours. Well done!

Ames said...


Now I have learned two words today. I do get the feeling I will not find craptacular in a dictionary, though.

How would one use craptaclular? Mom, this soup is awful, in fact, it is craptacular?

Sue H said...

I'm constantly amazed at your vocabulary. I thought mine was good, but I wouldn't have come up with crepuscular.
I have seen those type of boxes for sale in catalogues here in Oz, and have thought of getting some for my
Christmas ornaments.

Natalie said...

Those storage boxes are awesome. My old 'Xmas stuff' labelled cardboard box just doesn't seem to stack up (no pun intended).

Shan said...

Stace' - Thank you. I practice a lot.

Crepuscular: Yeah, I stumbled across it while brushing up on nocturnal, diurnal, and hibernation. I had heard the word before, when I took astronomy in university. "Crepuscular rays" are "rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky". The word "crepuscular" itself means 'occurring at twilight'.

So there you go.

Know what else I learned while teaching Science this fall? Bears don't hibernate. It's a common misconception: they are dormant. Animals in true hibernation get much colder (reaching near-ambient temperatures, as low as -2 C, unlike a bear's 31 C). They also occasionally rouse to eat and defecate, which bears do not.

Which all constitutes More Than You Ever Wanted To Know.

You can read about crepuscular rays here.

kate said...

I had that exact bear conversation with my Mum the other day, as we were hiking. She asked when the bears start their hibernation, and I explained the same thing.

I love Science.

Kris said...

The aran is stunning. I'm just catching up on my blog reading and saw it today for the first time!