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First official school day of calling us unschoolers and what do I do? I assign math workbook pages and a five paragraph essay. It’s very tempting to feel like a failure again, like right away I am again not living up to the standard I set. But I’m stepping out of THAT. Stepping away from being an any-kind-of-method schooler. What I am trying to do here, I hereby remind myself, is respond to the kids who are in front of me, to the needs that are in front of them.

My kids were restless in the sort of way that they get right before they pick up a book they’ve already read eight times, pick a fight with their brother, or invent a new non-player character for their Dungeons & Dragons game. I saw my chance to inject some learning and I jumped on it, ordering the twelve-year-old to figure out why his persistence of vision device was still not working, the seven-year-old to see how many pages in his new math workbook he could get done in an hour, and the ten-year-old to do a chapter in his math book too.

They did that. Well, Terran (7) cried and dawdled and did that. He just now finished and I am giving him a stack of books that need to go back to the library soon, with orders to read them already. Verdi (12) spent way too much time hunting for the fan so he could work with solder without poisoning us. I finally told him to just poison us. He is now troubleshooting that. In a few minutes he has to leave to take his bike out to a friend’s dad who is going to show him how to repair the chain. Bear (10) worked on multiplication in Beast Academy and is now writing a five paragraph essay. All I said was, “Give me a five paragraph essay on anything you know something about. If you don’t know what a five paragraph essay is, Google it.” He was undaunted and proceeded to write. I have no idea what the result will be but I’m expecting it will give me some insight into what he needs to learn next.

Meanwhile, my own project of getting healthy again is plodding along. I named the project: Operation Eat Produce. The plan is to pick a date to have a produce fast, meaning I’ll only eat nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and herbs. First I am building up my repertoire of recipes so that I won’t starve during the produce fast. So far I have: made raw “pasta” of shredded vegetables with a creamy nut sauce, swapped out my usual junky snacks for trail mix and green smoothies, ordered a juicer, learned to use my food processor, determined the cheapest place to get dates and cashews (used in many raw recipes), and reintroduced peanut butter on celery as a standard lunch hour meal.

It’s good to feel like I’m moving on my goals. Good. Yeah.