Saturday, August 31, 2013

Beyond Education: Breaking Dust Bunny Hearts

Some days SugarPlum (5) is a maid's worst nightmare. I'm not sure how many outfits she tries on or wears each day, but I keep finding them hanging out in dark corners with our friendly household dust bunnies. Horrors! Textile/dust bunny fraternization is strictly prohibited (but ubiquitous). I'm pretty sure a third of her socks have eloped. Maybe they just went on adventures. I'm not really sure, but that's an entirely different post. I'd rather not think about how many loads of clothes I've washed that were clean--no tomato sauce, no mud-splashes, no watercolors, no orange juice, no nothing--except for the residue of SugarPlum-aided dust bunny adventures. 

At the risk of breaking a few sock hearts, I've instituted a new routine:

SugarPlum and I lay out her clothes for the entire week on Saturday night. Sunday's clothes hang on the closet doorknob and the clothes for the remaining six days are folded and laid neatly in the handy-dandy hanging organizer. There's even room to add socks, shoes, and accessories the night before. Best of all, I found the handy-dandy organizer on clearance. Stores have been marking down all of the dorm-room items they put out mid-summer. I love dorm room stuff. It's bright, cheery, and so much more fun than beige. I bought these over a month ago. There might still be a few on the shelves if you want to give it a try.

I want to make messes with my kids--wonderful messes that we'll remember. When the simple everyday things swirl into complex vortexes that drain my time and energy we end up with a mess, probably one that we'll remember, but it's not very wonderful. So this school year I'm thinking ahead and trying to make as many things as possible simple and repeatable. I'm rethinking everything. I'm even willing to break a few hearts (provided they belong to socks).

Friday, August 30, 2013

Modern Slate

If you're looking for an easy, inexpensive, and portable way for your kids to practice  handwriting or mathematics tables, check out the dollar deal section at the front of Target. You can pick up a lined dry erase board for $1. If you don't have dry erase markers or crayons at home pick up a pack of two medium point dry erase markers for another dollar in the same display area. 

To keep records of their erasable work for a portfolio just snap a digital picture, label it with the child's name and date, and save it to a file. I'd save it online just in case the computer crashes. Evernote, Dropbox, or a private photo account like Snapfish are all good options. Sort by date and then print out the best examples of your child's work to include in your paper records.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Juggling schedules and school assignments for several kids can turn letting one child participate in an activity into a huge production. Here is what is available at my house for siblings not participating in Classical Explorations. If you need something specific, please ask. I don't want your morning to feel like this:

Babies: I have a play pen. Someone is welcome to borrow it for morning nap time. Feel free to bring your own. There are at least two, possibly three rooms, where you could set up a play pen and then close the door so your little person can snooze. There are lots of baby toys. They're not sanitized and my munchkin drags them everywhere. You're welcome to let your little ones play with them. I won't be offended if you feel the need to wash them first.

Little people: you are welcome to use the play room. It's kid friendly but not baby proof. Just be sure and pick up after yourselves :-). 

Older kids: the family room has a place to sit and I can set up one or two tables. Wifi. The back deck is also a nice place to crash when the weather is pleasant.

If you've chosen to drop off your child(ren), Brookside ParkWalrond Park, and the Hollins Branch Library could also be great options for the rest of your people. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Take a Break

If you'd like for Classical Explorations to be your time as a parent to find a little peace, quiet, and sanity, I'll be happy to watch children participating in the play and learning group or older children who are able to read or work quietly on their own without interrupting.

You get one free morning to shop, work with an older child, sip a mocha, plan your socks off, or do laundry, or all of the above because you're just that awesome. Although CE officially ends at 11:30, if you pack your child(ren) a clearly labeled lunch, you're welcome to leave them until 1pm. Cost for the first child is $5 per week (in place of, not in addition to, the supply fee). Cost for a second child in the same family is $4 per week, and so on. If you don't need childcare every week, then you may opt to select either odd or even weeks. The alternating weeks when you hang out during CE, you only pay the supply fee of $1 per child. Payment for the entire month is due at the first meeting of that month.

UPDATE: It seems that most moms need more flexibility regarding when they use Classical Explorations as childcare. You're still welcome to choose one of the options above. However, if you just want a few mornings off then email by 10 pm the Friday before class. I understand that kids get sick and other unforeseen circumstances arise, so if you have an emergency or quasi-emergency and dropping your kid off would really make your life easier, go ahead and give me a call even if it's past Friday.

Please note: Classical Explorations is not a licensed child care or educational facility. Like most homeschool parents, I'm happy to give fellow parents a bit of break by babysitting. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's Time to Explore

Hi! I'm Elizabeth. Welcome to Classical Explorations, a hands-on story, play, and project time geared toward 4-6 year old children enrolled in Classical Conversations in the Roanoke Valley area. We will be meeting every Tuesday from 9:00 am to 11:30 am beginning September 10, 2013 to reinforce memory work through stories, art, and play. You can find a list of what we'll be covering the first week below this intro.

Parents are welcome to bring other aged children as well and either have them participate, if they feel Classical Explorations is a good fit and would help reinforce what they are learning, or work quietly with them in another room. The first three weeks (September 10th, 17th, and 24th) are open days, feel free to come to one or all, but after that I will need a commitment to the rest of the semester. The cost is $1 per child, per week. This goes toward supplies so that we can have safety scissors, glue sticks, paper, etc for everyone to use and we don't have to try to sort out which ones belong to whom. If you are interested in dropping your child off for the morning please let me know ASAP. For more information, send me an email at For September the group size is limited to 10 children. Reservations for each week close the previous Tuesday at 10 pm.

Week 1, September 10th: 


Charlemagne story time and coloring page (The Elephant from Baghdad)

Art and Science:

Matisse (picture book)
Using Scissors to draw basic shapes and lines

Review of Biomes
Project: Make a grassland biome with paper (save for the following week when we'll be populating it with animals made using mirror images)


Free play with world map puzzles

Classical Explorations is not a school or day care. It is a classically based play and learning group. Parents are responsible for their own children's education and for meeting all home education standards set forth by the state of Virginia.