Both normal-schooling families and homeschooling families celebrate approximately the same things – one of them being the first day of school. Homeschooling families, however, celebrate an additional day: the first day of school for their local district. The first day that most of the local kids return to class is a glorious day, indeed – in fact, it is part of the reason homeschooling families love to homeschool. We get to take out kids places without crowds and lines. We get to take advantage of going to these places whenever our fancy strikes, instead of waiting for the weekend or holidays like everyone else.
As you may know, I do not enjoy crowds, lines, waiting, noise, germs, and most of my own species. Homeschooling offers me the advantage of being able to take my kids places, while avoiding many of those things.
Yesterday, I took my kids to the San Buenaventura Mission. We have been before, but it had been several years. Plus, it is close, cheap, and easy. Look at my little crew:
“Do we have to go to Mass?” they asked. They love Mass. This photo was taken right after I told them that we had, unfortunately missed the morning liturgy. You can see that they are very disappointed. That is how holy my children are!
Bridget is in fourth grade this year, which means she will be studying California history, including the building of the missions. I can’t say I’m sad not to have to build one
for with her this year. When I made my mission, back in 1991, my mom refused to help me at all. I made, literally, the WORST possible facsimile of Mission Santa Clara. Other kids showed up with actual electricity running through their perfectly (adult) crafted missions – mine looked like the work of a nine-year-old. A very unartistic, apathetic, lazy nine-year-old.
God, I wish I could show you that mission. I painted it using a bunch of leftover strips of “paint by number” acrylics.
Anyway, there is no space in my home for a major craft project, and Bridget won’t be building a mission. What we will be doing – circling back to the “I can do anything Monday through Friday!” thing – is visiting a few missions for a real-life lesson in California History. Since Fr. Junipero Serra will be canonized next month, it’s a great year to visit these historic churches.
Not to be rude, but the “museum” at the Ventura Mission leaves a lot to be desired. They have some really interesting items, but they are stored and displayed *horribly.* They have a collection of books that the friars brought from Spain – totally deteriorating in a crappy glass case that has no climate control. It is actually really sad to see all the holy items just scattered about in shabby cabinets. Still, the kids enjoyed seeing some Chumash artifacts, one of the original wooden church bells, and other religious items that were used by the early inhabitants of the mission.
The garden is much nicer than the museum.
Other than that, things went pretty well this week. The kids finished all of their assigned work without too much complaining (we’ll have to see how long THAT lasts – I’m guessing three weeks, max.) Having said that, we definitely miss our real school family. Many of the parents and staff members have been so helpful and supportive of us, and especially my sister’s family, in light of my niece’s illness. It’s truly amazing to be a part of a community that is so generous and thoughtful. That is not necessarily something you can recreate when you homeschool, and it is something I value about having chosen, years ago, to send my children to Catholic school.
Funny note – Lane did this worksheet, and called a raccoon a “rat coon.” I had to laugh, because I always call raccoons “rat coons” (they are like rats, but much bigger, and meaner, and messier.) I’m not even going to correct him. It occurred to me that another child may see this depiction as less confrontational – that maybe the bear and the raccoon are talking about something, or they are sniffing each other. Not my kids, though. Definitely not my kids.