Two coats of polyurethane for the top.
Luis was a patient and skilled teacher, even when his students were a bit less than willing. He does have 12 years of teaching middle school so I shouldn't compare myself. Finally it was my turn to have the kids in "my" work space, the sewing studio. We lasted 10 minutes on making the bean bags before I got irritated with the kids and they stormed out. We tried again a few days later with an assembly line, and that worked out pretty good.
Maya did all the sewing, Jack did the filling. We used unpopped popcorn.
Finishing it was very satisfying, it was the "big bad ass project" I dreamed up at the beginning of the summer. As for the rest of the 'summer rules'....they worked when they were enforced which was A LOT OF WORK for me and Luis. I really thought eventually, maybe after a week or so, the kids would naturally take ownership of the rules and do them on their own. This absolutely never happened. They begged me to watch TV several times a day, and sometimes even sneaked behind my back to watch it. That's when I unplugged the modem. It wasn't until they had a consequence of screens being taken away completely for 24 hours that they stopped sneaking screen time before 3:30. Then promptly at 3:30, some days they even counted down the seconds literally, the screens would go on and stay on till bed time. That would be like 6 hours of constant TV. I wanted to teach them self control but ended up teaching them self deprivation. At 3:30 they were like thirsty travelers in the dessert, they absolutely could not get enough. Again, I was deluded into thinking that they would have cheerfully realize how much there is to do in life besides watch TV, and that the spell would have been broken. Maybe they would just watch a show or two and turn it off, join the living, get back into the stream of life. Not so much. I completely failed at teaching them any lessons whatsoever about TV. In fact, they grew to love their life sucking screen habit even more.
We resigned ourselves to policing the 'legal' screen hours as well, letting the idiot box be on for an hour or two and then telling them to turn it off. Surprisingly they complied without too much complaint, and I had a glimmer of hope that maybe the screen monster had been tamed just ever so slightly and that they did enjoy screen free moments now and then.
The bed time idea wasn't realistic, and the end in bed times turned to 9:30 or 10:30. Not what I wanted, but it was a compromise. The academics? We were militant about it for three weeks in July. Then I just kind of forgot about it as the days blurred into a lot of time at the beach, running errands, and cooking. No, the kids didn't remind me about it. I am sure they were more than thrilled that I put it to the side. They did read through. Jack read 7 books and Maya worked her way slowly but diligently through the Hunger Games series. There was no family book study this year. We intended to read The Giver because I thought they would like the dystopian theme. We started it and a chapter into the book they were very bored....so yes, I gave up on that one too.
Being educators, we spend a ton of time as a family over the summer. Sometimes its too much, and we really get on each other's nerves. Ask me if I'd rather be working and away from them all summer and the answer is a resounding no. On one hand you have to dig deep for meaningful consequences, nag till your voice is gone, and hide modems. On the other hand, I got to read on the back porch with my son on raining evenings, bake with my daughter, go to lunch with my husband, and sit on the beach day after day.
We are already thinking about what we will do next summer, and we all have our own ideas. Jack wants to make to Brazil to see a world cup game. Depending on the airfare prices, which I expect will triple, that would be an excellent trip. Especially since the world cup 2018 will be in Russia and 2022 will be in Qatar, two places we are very unlikely to travel to. Luis dreams of a USA cross country trip to Sequoia National Park if the Brazil thing doesn't work out. I would love a trip to rural Romania and have been following this blog about doing a homestay . It's a big dream of mine to make this trip, but would be very happy with Ecuador or finding a road less traveled in Belize or the southern Yucatan. The last four summers in Latin America made me crave more time in this fascinating part of the world. We won't start serious planning till December, and will purchase tickets in early February. We'll see.
And last, but not least. Here's the boy with his new haircut and hardware!
We start school in a few days, Luis beginning year 13 and probably one of his last years at his school as he continues work on year 2 of 3 in his admin graduate program. I loop back down to 6th grade and will guide, to the best of my ability, 300 vulnerable souls through 3 of the most important and difficult of their (and their parent's) lives. As 5th and 8th graders, the kids will be flying high on their last year of their current school ever mindful of the transition to come.
If you've been reading the blog this summer, I do thank you.