I just got back from mailing our last package... so now we can start the Christmas cards.
Last night we had the last Boy and Cub scout meetings, the night before we had our last CCD (Sunday School) meeting, and last Wednesday was our last co-op (until next year, of course).
I'm not sure if I mentioned that this year I have been "teaching" the oldest kids in the co-op every week. I call them Adventurers, and each Wednesday, we (the 6 oldest kids, Choclo, Oob and a dear friend who rides shotgun for me) take off on an adventure. The kids, armed with sketch books and colored pencils, draw 3 things that catch their interest.
We have 2 hours each week, not counting travel time. I now think two hours is the golden time limit. If you are really looking at things in depth, after 2 hours your brain is full. After 2 hours the little fellows have had enough also, so I think it's some kind of general stimulation threshold.
Anyway, the benefits to me have been remarkable! The biggest thing is that I am no longer afraid of getting lost in DC. I know where and how to park on the National Mall for $4, without parallel parking the big van. I have a great route that gets me in and out in 30 minutes each way. It's no longer a big deal!!!
It's also been great to spend time with all these great home schooled kids as they reach the threshold of adolescence. I am seeing glimpses of who they will be as adults, and I think they are turning into the nicest, most interesting people!
I've had a fantastic time with my shotgun partner. We went from a casual acquaintance to really good friends. Having an hour each week to chat (while driving) with a good friend has been really delightful.
So far this year we've done the National Air and Space Museum, The Natural History Museum, The National Arboretum, part of the National Gallery, the National Botanical Garden and we've toured the Capitol Building. Going through at our own speed, we've made as many as 3 or 4 visits to some museums.
I've been trying not to feel like the co-op is "my outing for the week", since only half of my own kids are going, so I have been trying to take my guys out frequently also. We've been doing a lot of field trips. One thing we've seen is that December is a great month to go places. Most people are busy doing other things, so you have lots of space at the museums.
Yesterday we went to the Natural History Museum, tomorrow we are going back to the Botanical gardens (if you have never been there, their Christmas displays are jaw dropping!). Last week we went up to Baltimore to the Aquarium. We've also recently done the Zoo, and the B& O Railroad Museum, also. I'm on the fence about visiting Air and Space next week.
We are so blessed to live so close to so much - with most of it free. I've lived here for 8 years, but I was always afraid to go downtown by myself because I was afraid I'd get lost and wouldn't be able to find parking. To be fair, I've also had more small children than I felt I could solo with in a big museum.
It's been such a blessing to have this time to go places and do stuff with my kids. I can see the difference from Mxyl down to Oob. They ask all kinds of questions and they notice all kinds of things and they pretend all kinds of play. It's giving them a bigger world!