Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Strange dreams on the school expressway

The vortex has opened and we are all being sucked down, churned and whirled inexorably towards the day school starts again. When I turned on NPR this morning the show was about the early outbreaks of swine flu emerging as East Coast schools return. How Purell is now in many classrooms and school nurses are being vigilant in monitoring kids for fever.

My email has some messages from the PDHeart list. Apparently the concern about swine flu is that the vaccine will not be available until mid October and an outbreak could build before then. We shall have to try and encourage Frost to bring home our usual winter viral cocktail later in the year.

This morning I joined with hordes of parents ticking from lists of Back To School Supplies and, buying only exactly what was on the list, I spent $75.85. That was the Office Depot discount brands too. Nothing fancy except that I bought composition books with orange covers instead of black spots. In her note, Frost's new teacher mentioned that half of the supplies would go to the class store and not into the child's own desk so "if you have bought something special" you may want to leave that at home.

Frost has nothing to leave at home.

Frost was excited to receive a letter from his new teacher. She welcomed him to her class and told him what they would be studying this year. They are going to cover:

  • Ancient Egypt in social studies

  • Rivers, watersheds, formation of mountains and volcanoes in geography

  • Learn cursive (uh oh, Frost is barely fluent in basic letters)

  • Practice writing and telling stories (poems, essays and articles)

  • Master strategies for solving multiplication and division in many ways

  • Learn and use fractions

  • Meet in literature circles to talk about books

  • Create dramatic productions about the lives of famous people

  • Explore rocks, minerals, plants and sound in science, and

  • read, read, read, read, read.

With the exception of cursive writing these are all things that interest Frost so I hope he has a good year. We are going to go in the day before school starts to meet his teacher and find his desk. I think this will help him feel more at home on his first day.

The back to school jitters must be affecting me (infecting me!!) because I have been having strange dreams. Last night I dreamt that a Stellars Jay was sitting in a tree near a field. I walked into the field and the jay flew down from behind and attacked me. I managed to catch it and held it (loosely, as I might hold a chicken to look at its beak). Just then another jay started to fly and peck. I jerked my neck sideways to escape the jay and woke with a sore neck!

The next dream was more ominous. I was touring a glorious cathedral that looked somewhat like notre dame and climbed out onto a roof parapet to look at the view. While there I noticed that the blocks (which looked like pale bricks) from which it was made had no mortar. The mortar had crumbled away and any block could be knocked or removed with ease. I suddenly realized that the cathedral was like one of Wren's teetering block towers which could tumble at any time. I tried to explain this to a monk but he said that it had always been that way and they liked living with uncertainty.

I don't. Not that much.

Weekend Camping at Deception Pass
I have been quiet for a few days because we were camping at Deception Pass. I went up with Frost, Alex and Wren on Friday and we set up in the group camp with KapKa. It was beautiful weather - misty in the mornings but bright sun when the fog burned off. Its an outstandingly lovely park except for the fighter jets doing manoeuvers overhead for hours.

I shall post pictures in another entry.

This week Frost in at Summer Camp near Lake Washington. They are canoeing, building shelters and learning to survive in the wild. I hope he has fun. Its our last formal activity this summer and then he has 9 days before school begins to chill, read and have playdates.

We have redone Frost's room to give him a larger desk to do homework (yes HOMEWORK - he never had it before) and still have space to play. He has a beanbag, a loftbed and will soon have an ipod dock.

I shall post a picture when it is complete.

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