I've been sick the last few days, and River had a nasty flu the day before that. Everything just feels OFF lately, like nothing's working right, including our home education and the ebb and flow of our lives. John and the kids are going to Florida in a few days, and they'll be gone for a week. So we'll get a fresh start when they come back, I suppose.
Eliza still loves school, though she's been pretty ornery there, having fits for reasons that no one can really fathom. It seems to be getting worse. Did I mention that the rhythm of the universe of off lately? :-) I think the main issue is where she is with her social and emotional development. She tends to be inflexible and want things her own way, and she pitches a fit if she feels her needs aren't being met (even if she didn't articulate what those needs were in the first place). The good news is that my parents are finally getting their payback. I was exactly the same way when I was little, and I never would have been allowed to live to grow up if they hadn't kept a supply of decent wine on hand. :-P
With Eliza, of course, when you add the environment of school, where there are more players and there's a greater potential for sensory overload, it gets a little more complicated. And she feels comfortable with her teacher, who is very gentle and connected to the kids. When I was in elementary school, teachers believed strongly in threatening to take a ruler to your behind -- I think corporal punishment was widely considered to be the cure for all the world's evils until about 1985. I was extremely quiet and timid and school ("Oh, she's so sweet. But why won't she talk?") and saved it up for my parents. Hah!
Happily I learned, in time, how to express myself appropriately and I grasped the fact that I wasn't at the exact center of the universe. And so will she. ... Oh ... and I'm happy to report (breaking news!) that she had a much better morning today.
Seamus has been spending a lot of time on video games, and he started listening to a new audiobook. He slept over with this good friend Aengus, and they played outside and video gamed. They also watched a T.V. show on weapons of World War II. Seamus talked about it most of the way home. He talked a bit about cause and effect questions, and what might've happened if generals hadn't made the mistakes they did. I feel that this kind of thinking is one of the most important aspects of learning history. We study history -- in large part -- to explore the complexity of cause and effect relationships in the world and, in the process, to grasp these complex relationships in current events, too. If we manage to facilitate that kind of learning on a broad scale, then we have a thinking electorate -- people who won't be sitting ducks for simple-minded propaganda ... "We're going to war because of _____. There's no alternative. Bring it on!" That's my way of thinking anyway.
Anyway, I believe Seamus is skimming the surface of this kind of thinking right now. Mostly he's interested in the cool weaponry. :-)
Yesterday, he spontaneously started talking about college and asking me questions. He's already thinking about living on campus somewhere and asking his good friend Sam if they can go to the same college and room together. (James's other good friends are several years younger than he.) And he's thinking about jobs ... something that involves drawing and creativity.
Somehow this segued into a discussion of "grown up" drinks. I had an opportunity to teach him a little of what I know about alcohol use and abuse. We talked a bit about the risks and benefits of drinking, the effects of intoxication, exactly what's meant by "moderation," alcoholism, withdrawal and so forth. River has been journaling, 'net surfing, and talking about movies. Last night, she and I watched Becoming Jane -- a VERY fictionalized version of Jane Austen's early life, around the time she started Pride and Prejudice (which was published when she was 21).