Saturday, August 8, 2015

Me? Bitter About School Starting the First Week of August? No. Never. TToT Week 112

I drove by one of the public pools yesterday.

It was empty.

As in no water in the pool.

It was August 7 and 85 degrees.

Exactly the time and temperature for people to be in the water.

But there is no water.


Because all of the public schools around here have moved to the balanced calendar (aka year-round).

There aren't any teenagers to be lifeguards. There aren't many kids available to swim.

You know what else is empty (well, emptish)?

The state fair. It's open for two weeks starting yesterday, but kids are already in school. This "balanced" calendar certainly hinders and unbalances 4-H kids.

Can you tell I'm a bit annoyed with the whole thing?

Even if balanced calendar helps with retention of learning, can't it be moved around so the kids have the hottest month of the year off? Why not start later and have the kids go to the end of June?

Ah, I'm sure there are plenty of reasons. I'm just grumpy because now that the summer weather is here, we can't enjoy it.

Time to let it go and get on with the thankfuls...

1. High school has started, and the three in it have had a good three days. They all have friends with whom they can eat lunch. They are getting up on their own and being very responsible about getting to school not only on time but early. They have teachers they really enjoy. (One of the best teachers in the school is the drafting teacher. This is his 50th (YES FIFTIETH!) year teaching, and the kids adore him. Plus, every year, at least one of his students wins the national architecture award. (Star and Buttercup both have him.))

2. High school soccer tryouts are over, and all three kids did well. They will all get plenty of playing time this season.

3. We had Back to School Night for the younger kids. All three have new teachers, and I could not be happier about them. Our principal is not a warm and fuzzy lady, but she is phenomenal at hiring and at helping all of her teachers get better. We could not be more fortunate in our choice of school.

4. Turken's class is full of oldest and only children, which makes Bryan and me the old folks in any parent gathering. Not so with the kindergarten! I have my people back! The teachers may have their hands full with so many youngest-with-much-older-siblings in the class, but I am thrilled. For one, Cuckoo won't be so out of place when, at indoor recess, he asks if anyone wants to play poker. For two, I have all sorts of friends in their 40s instead of strangers in their 20s with whom I can cry my eyes out that first day.

5. Giant, Turken, and Cuckoo don't start school until Tuesday, so we've been trying to pack in the fun while the big kids are at school. We've gone bowling and to a park with friends and played games. On Monday we'll go to the zoo.

Turken waiting patiently to see whether he should do the happy dance or the shameful shuffle.

6. Everyone except Cuckoo is playing soccer this season, and I'm very happy that the latest any practice goes is 7:30. Everyone is home before 8:00 every night, so we actually have time to sit and chat before they go off to finish homework.

7. There are some of us TToT hosts who have a certain thing/someone show up on our lists week after week. Ivy always includes her poor, dear old dog, and Kristi always includes her husband. Me? I will once again include Phoenix's ability to drive. IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY!!!

8. Thanks to the floods this summer, the garden isn't doing the best. We don't have enough tomatoes or potatoes to can, but we do have enough for a good number of meals.

9. Whoever came up with the internet is awesome. I am able to try all sorts of new recipes thanks to the gazillion sites out there. Today for lunch I tried this one with our tomatoes and zucchini. It was really good and easy to make.

10. I'm getting to do some fun things with the older kids and their friends lately. Last weekend I went with Buttercup, three of her friends, and one other mom to Clifty Falls State Park in southern Indiana (as in right on the Ohio River). We hiked and hiked and hiked, through creeks (literally. In the water.) and a pitch-black tunnel and up and down hills. To revive, we got ourselves 2 scoops of ice cream in historic Madison, IN. Tonight I will be taking Star and a bunch of his buddies to an Indy 11 (our pro soccer team) game. It's always fun and enlightening to listen to them all.

Goofing off in the creek

the entrance to the tunnel - It was originally dug out for a train track, but the project was abandoned.

Alrighty then. Your turn! What happy things can you tell me about this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. I love these post that you do. So entertaining and I love your family.

    The cool thing about this week is we're on the boat and that's always a fun thing for us.

    Have a fabulous weekend. ☺

    1. I love that you are so encouraging. Thank you for reading and commenting such nice things each week. :)

      Glad you were able to get out on the boat this weekend! Breathe in some ocean air for me.

  2. Don't forget to link up! :-)
    Hiking in water is so much fun. The next time you are in Utah, you really need to hike the Narrows at Zion. You would love it!
    Enjoy the teen driver! (You've made it past that crucial first week. Who knew that fire hydrants were designed to sheer off?)

    1. Good grief. What a rookie move! :)

      It makes me smile that you say "the next time you're in Utah", 'cause I'm there so often. :) We have traveled all over the country east of the Mississippi. I'm afraid it won't be until the kids are grown that we'll be able to do the same for the west side. I'll put it on the list, though!

      Ha! That is anxiety-reducing information if I ever heard it. :)

  3. Love the pics, it looks and sounds like you had a great time.

    I can't believe the kids are back at school already. Ours have only just had the second week of the long holiday and don't go back until Sept.3rd or 10th, depending which school/area they are in.

    1. We did. Thanks.

      I can't believe it either. Even after quite a few years of early- to mid-August starts, I'm still not used to it. I don't think I ever will be.

  4. Clifty Falls (State Park).... come on! lol you're making that up!

    I would think that everyone in the family appreciates your penchant for the stealth/roadtrip/spontaneous vacations, even more! There's something to be said for the 'lets just do it' approach.

    1. Ha! I'm not! There really are a number of cliffs/water falls in the park.

      One would think, but not everyone. Giant is a planner by nature, so it can sometimes be a bit stressful for him to be spontaneous.

      A friend of mine who has to plan every minute of her vacations just asked me to teach her how to vacation without plans. We'll be taking some day trips, since she is one of my friends whose youngest is starting kindergarten.

  5. It seems so odd to hear of kids going back to school mid summer. I agree with you though that if they went later in the early summer it would make more sense. Does it actually help to have the shorter breaks?

    1. It seems odd to be sending them.
      My kids' schools haven't gone balanced calendar, and it's because there isn't proof that it works. They also haven't gone the route of requiring computers and online books, either, because it hasn't proven that kids learn better that way. (Have I ever mentioned that I love our schools?)

  6. So, is it wrong if I go against you and say that as a homeschooler, I am gleefully happy that school starts next week, because then all the parks and zoo and lakes and libraries will be empty and ALL MINE! ;) ;) Actually, we started our school year this week, but we take lots of days off for fun summer activites and trips.

    Looks like a great time hiking! My husband loves creek-hiking, so we go sometimes. It's fun, but I can't help but imagine all the snakes and other creatures swimming around us in the murky water. lol

    1. Hahaha!!! Don't think I haven't thought of that!! I have several homeschooling friends, and I have always been jealous of that exact thing. It is the only reason I want to homeschool. :)

      Funny you should say that. We saw a snake swimming right in front of us. The girls squealed, but it just swam away and we continued with our hike.

  7. I remember hating the thought that school might start going into the summer, like you describe here. The school board would bring up the idea and drop it, to my relief at the time.

  8. I couldnt believe it when you said last week that they were returning so early... I always thought it worked as you had said about later into june ... bummer...

    1. Big bummer. Especially when we have had some chilly summers like we have had this year. Swimming just isn't such a big part of summer anymore. Ridiculous!

  9. I love visiting your blog. I was looking for Phoenix's driver's license at the top of the list. I always wondered about "year round" school. How is the learning retention measured? Standardized tests? Anyway, I'll try that zucchini and tomato recipe soon. I do something easy with the two. I layer sliced zucchini, tomato and more zucchini in a casserole dish, squirt in some Italian dressing and top with shredded cheddar. Bake for awhile until bubbly. It's really good. I can't believe Cuckoo is in Kindergarten!!!!!!

    1. Aw, Val. You're sweet.
      Standardized tests basically, but don't get me started on our standardized tests. I'm not a fan.

      That sounds good! I'll have to give it a try, seeing as how we have plenty of both to eat.

  10. Having a kid that can drive sounds awesome! We are lucky enough that Lily can walk to most of her appointments and activities, so the only one who needs to be carted to her gazillion appointments each week is Miss Violet. Your hiking trip sounds wonderful. Can't wait for all the kiddos to be old enough to go hiking with them!

    I'm so glad Lily's home from school in that heat (persistent high-90s to triple-digits here in Germany for the last weeks). Your school schedule is indeed weird! In the meantime, Violet enjoys the awesome outside activities in her kindergarten for another week :-)

    Have a wonderful week, Christine!

    1. It is so very awesome. Walking to activities is awesome, too.
      Hiking is wonderful. Who says your kids aren't old enough? Ours have been hiking since they were born. Those that can't walk are in a sling/carrier on an adult, and those who can, do. Distance of hike depends on the children, but I've always been surprised at how far they can go and still have fun.

      Germany seems to have several things right when it comes to kids.

      Thank you!

  11. Nope. Don't sound bitter at all!! ;)

    Wow...back to school already. Now that both boys are no longer in kind of lose track of days and months. If it weren't for Riley reminding us of all the "special occasions" in each month...pretty sure I would never know what day/month/season it would be. Well...except of course if it were to snow or something.

    1. Ha! Good. :)

      I imagine you would lose track of time. No reason to know when school is starting. I do have to pay attention, and yet every single time, the kids' birthdays just sneak right up on me. (I know, that would never, ever happen in Riley world!)

  12. I too am horrified about the thought of August school in the Northern hemisphere! But I love your Clifty Falls pics. What a place to spend some time.

    1. It really isn't any fun at all.

      It is a great park. People say Indiana is just boring, flat corn fields, and while that is true for some of the state, we have lots and lots of beautiful scenery, too.

  13. Why can't everyone squeeze all their school days into the space between Labor Day and Memorial Day? They could if they tried. Kyle starts a week from tomorrow, and Emma starts on the 20th.
    No way, all your kids are done with activities by 7:30 every night! The stars were really in alignment for you on that one.
    Are boys and girls soccer played at the same time? Our boys play fall, girls spring.
    Kyle told me one time last year that I won the "oldest mom award" in his suite. I was thrilled.

    1. They could. They don't want to.
      No joke!! We haven't had a schedule that ended that early in a long time. Now, once games start, this schedule will be out the window, but it's nice while it lasts.
      Yes, all high school soccer is in the fall.
      Good times. Good. times. :)

  14. I am equally vexed by the start of school, etc. Here we have a state law that prevents public schools from starting before Labor Day (lobbied for by tourist industry), but COLLEGES have already begun by then, so everything gets shut down anyway. It's so ridiculous.
    But I'm glad your tribe has a great start to their year with good teachers, friends and soccer tryouts.

    1. Wow. That is odd. There are plenty of people here who want school to start after Labor Day, but I don't see it every happening.

      First day was today, and while they weren't happy about going (except for the new kindergartener), they were happy with their teachers. Phew!

  15. Beautiful photos and congrats on the kids making the teams. We have tryouts next week, I hope they go well too!
    What is a balanced calendar? The kids actually go all year??

    1. Thank you! Good luck to your kids!

      The theory is that kids who don't take three months off for the summer will retain much more information and teachers won't have to do so much review work at the beginning of each school year. The summer is cut to about 7 weeks, but they get 2 weeks off in October and again in March/April. Christmas break is at least 2 weeks long as well.

  16. That hiking trip looked like fun. It is fun to see pictures of places near where my grandmother was born.

    For those 4-H kids who have 4-H animals, who stays and takes care of their animals while they are in school. Here the 4-H's kids practically live at the fair, day and night. The fair is the highlight of the year's work!

    Perhaps this area is one of the rare places where school goes until the end of the second week in June and starts up again after Labor Day. The ending date sometimes goes later if we had a lot of snow days. We have many hilly roads and not much snow equipment nor budgeting for sanding the roads, so when we get a bad storm the schools shut down until things begin to melt and it is safer to drive. We get a very wet snow here, so not only does the snow pile up, it ices up.


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