September Twenty Seventeen

September brought back a routine. I need routine. I like to know who is doing what when, and when I can do other things between all the scheduled stuff. I’m a list maker, checklist person. It’s how I roll and maintain sanity between four kiddos, and running the house. Although, being sane is questionable.

The big kiddos started back with their schooling. As easy as it sounds to send them up the street every day, all week, I’m not a fan or traditional schooling. My list of reasons why is never ending, with the top reason being I want my kiddos to enjoy learning. I was a kid who loved school. But things were different back then; we had time to play, school wasn’t terribly long, and the requirements by grade were much less intense. And even then, I was pretty much over school when I left elementary. I maintained good grades and checked everything off the what you do in school stuff, but I didn’t like it anymore. I don’t want my kiddos to get to that point. I want them to look forward to learning and crave learning. I want them to have ample free play and outside time, feel empowered without strict rules, be viewed as a person with rights instead of a kid bound by authority… so many reasons. And what we do, I feel we’ve found a balance of academics and freedom. I’ve been calling it outschooling since we outsource much of the learning. We get to decide how often they go, and pick and choose which classes they take, much like in college. And they get a say in things.

Their class lineup this fall includes STEM, art, reading, grammar, an outdoor class focused on science, and an outdoor class focused on science and wilderness survival. We supplement at home with extensions of those subjects and toss in things that interest them. And I’m super proud of the kiddos, who are both reading now, and we never forced it on them. We let them go at their own pace, and trusted they would eventually figure it out. Another point for homeschooling… going at each kiddos’ own pace. And trusting them! The thought of them being in a group of 30 kids and all being taught the same things at the same time, not acceptable to me. Not all seven-year-olds are ready to learn about something and the same point in life. It’s so arbitrary… in month three of first grade, we’ll learn about X. Why then? State standards, pushed by publishers? Maybe I’m cynical. I’m pretty anti-school, speaking as a kid whose mom retired from a school district… I watched so many things happen that weren’t about the students. Hell, even attendance is a big deal because the schools lose money for every kid who is absent. It’s never about the kids. And I’m not being down on teachers, they rock. (Side note: I find it telling the number of former teachers who choose to homeschool.) I wish we treated teachers like they do in Finland. They are highly respected the same way lawyers and doctors are here, and paid well. Another reason our country sucks. (Another day for that rant, and more cynicism.) I can go on and on, clearly. At least my rambling keeps solidifying my schooling decisions.

Normally, I’d read all that and decide to delete or rephrase so not to offend anyone… but I’m leaving it this time. So, there. Haha. And I should add, while that’s how I feel, I understand everyone has different opinions and reasons for their choices. And sending kids to traditional public school isn’t a bad thing. We all do what we feel is best, for whatever reasons. And those reasons aren’t mine to make for anyone else.

Alright then. September also brought a few changes. A rundown:

Vaile is out of the crib. It was a Wednesday night and Brian had just left with the big kiddos to go to their ninja warrior class. I was looking forward to putting the little ones down and enjoying a quiet evening to myself. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I put the little ones down, walked downstairs, and sat on the couch. Then, thud. I walked up the stairs and there was Vaile standing at the top of the stairs. I wasn’t sure if she meant to get out of the crib or somehow fell out. I put her back in to figure out the answer… she climbed right out, without a thud. There went the crib. She is the only kid to last as long as she did, just shy of two. Blaise was out before one, Laine just after one, and Saige was maybe 18 months. Saige could climb out but when it came to sleep, she’d sleep.

I wasn’t sure what to do with Vaile because I really wanted to enjoy downstairs clean and quiet. I decided to bring her down with me and let her lie on the couch. She was pretty excited to be downstairs and was really great, even though she was awake the entire time. When Brian got home, we ended up putting her on the bottom bunk in Laine’s room, and Laine moved to the top. That arrangement lasted about two weeks. She was coming into our room every night, which isn’t the problem. We’ve always been co-sleepers… Vaile is a wiggle worm when she sleeps, which makes it impossible for us to sleep. Vaile now sleeps in Saige’s room where we have a gate on the doorway, and Saige sleeps in Laine’s room on the bottom bunk. And we still end up with a kid or two in our bed. Musical beds. It’s not uncommon around here. Our only goal is for everyone to get sleep… everyone is sleeping. Score!

Two birthdays. We now have a seven-year-old and three-year-old. Blaise and Saige each celebrated another trip around the sun with September birthdays. When I went in to the hospital to have Blaise, I had to wait until a room was ready because they were so overbooked. Also with Saige. I was bumped a day because of overbooking. Apparently September is a popular month to have a baby… nine months after the holiday season. Memories, I love being pregnant and having babies even if I have to wait a bit longer for a room. If only I wanted another, the holidays are around the corner (not happening).

September, in pictures:

First day of September. Since we didn’t have just one first day of school, we took a first day of September picture. Complete with their new backpacks.

Dancing Laine. Laine is the silly one, so of course she’s the child who climbed to the top of the dome and did a silly dance. I thought I recorded a video but I actually started recording when she was finished, thinking I hit stop recording. Now I have a video of my feet walking in grass. Awesome.

Grams and Uncle Britt visit. Brian’s mom and one of his older brothers came up last minute for a few days. The kiddos love company.

Ninja Warrior. The big kiddos started a weekly ninja warrior class. It’s part-gymnastics, part-ninja warrior. Whatever it technically is, they absolutely love going each week. They run the kiddos non-stop for an hour… we have super tired kiddos after. It’s glorious.

Hiphop dancers. In addition to all their schooling and ninja warrior, they are also taking hiphop this year. After three years of ballet and tap, it is a nice change. Plus, I think learning to dance hiphop is a needed life skill, haha. They love dance also, and will have their fourth recital in June.

They were pretty excited to get new clothes and shoes for class. This was the first time I’ve bought Blaise mesh shorts. I’ve always avoided anything sports for his wardrobe, and he’s never asked for any. We’re selfishly thankful he’s not into sports. The thought of having to take him to practices and games (in the rain, giving up weekend mornings), not our thing. Here’s hoping he sticks with more individual activities. Laine, too.

Baker Saige. Saige has entered the I help phase. We had bananas that were either trash or we could make banana bread. We made banana bread. Saige is a damn good banana smasher.

The littles. The big kiddos are gone most mornings, which means I’m on for entertaining the little ones. Nothing entertains toddlers more than anything water. Bonus, with food coloring.

Ice cream kiddos. The big kids, eating ice cream.

More occupying the little ones. Trains. One of the few toy items we still have from when Blaise was maybe nine months. I love making train tracks… I can’t say that about much when it comes to playing with kiddo toys.

Talk like a pirate day. The big kiddos were encouraged by their morning teacher at DigiPen to dress up like a pirate on September 19. They didn’t hesitate.

Outdoor Explorers pickup. Sometimes on Thursdays, we stay after OE ends and play. This day they were at Kathryn Taylor Equestrian Park. The gate was a major hit. And Baby found a podium that was hot stuff.

Kayak Point. The last of four trips planned since May. We went up north and stayed in a yurt at Kayak Point. It was a nice weekend away with our friends.

Root Connection CSA. Checking out the Root Connection with our friends who are members. Bonus, it was a beautiful day.

Proving that boxes are still the best toys. Laine made a boat for her and Saige to sail in.

September, check.

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