My little girl is off to camp. More on where another day — but this morning Victoria and I dropped Violet off at a parking lot full of buses, one of which is drivng her away to a week-long overnight camp. I can hardly believe it. Neither can she! She is so excited. She met up with another 8yo before setting foot on the bus, so they got their seats togther and Victoria and I took off. I was so worried about sending her off with a bunch of other unknown kids, but looking around the drop-off site, none of the other kids gave any signs of hypermaturity, super-advanced social skills, or any other qualities that would knock Violet out of their league.
As a baby, Violet had severe separation anxiety at times — the child would scream for hours. We eventually gave up on going anywhere without her, because no sitter would ever want a repeat performance! Well, I guess — as AP parents (like we once were) like to say — we met that need, because by the time she was 3 she was a free agent, heading off to any new, parent-less adventure with nary a look back, nary a tear. (I should clarify — AP=Attachment Parenting, not “Advanced Placement”.) She had one moment last night, snuggling on my lap, when she said, “I don’t want to go, I want to stay here with you,” but we both knew that was “love talk” for “I’m really going to miss you and I’m a little nervous about going without you.”
At the bus stop, she was leaping up the stairs of that bus with a quick hug and kiss goodbye and then ready for her next adventure. I told a girlfriend on the phone, I need to keep doing this as practice for myself — tiny separations, maybe even 2 weeks next year — to get ready for the big Good Bye.
So then Victoria and I were off on our next adventure — which turned out to be a surprise. An emergency potty stop in a suburb we never go to put us in a Caribou Coffee parking lot right next door to a Lakeshore Learning Center! Whee! I had always wanted to check out this store — it’s much more fun to see stuff in person. So, what did we get?
1. A box of Cuisenaire rods — though like a big goober I picked up plastic without even noticing. Well, I’m going to try them and see.
2. 2 laminated color maps — one US, one world
3. A magnetic fishing game that asks players to match fish with numbers.
4. A Monet study kit. (Or wait, did I buy Matisse?) [Edited to add: For Pete’s sake, it is Van Gogh!]
5, 6, 7. A bunch of paper letters, some wiki sticks (wax sticks) in a Curious George Activity book, and “floam”
8. A geography workbook with map-oriented activities. I’m not sure how I’m going to use it yet, but it gave me some ideas of how to complement our history studies.
We looked all around the store, which is really more geared towards classroom teachers, but they still give homeschoolers the 15% teacher discount. Woo-hoo! (Eggmaster asked, “How do you prove you’re a homeschooler?” Me: “Say, ‘I’m a homeschooler.'” Pause for thought. Me: “Maybe they figure that if you’ll cop to being a homeschooler you really are one.”)
I also picked up a catalog — looking at all the language-learning stuff, charts, manipulatives, etc., I had two thoughts. First, I had the impulse to set up some area of my house to look like a school classroom. But next, I realized that a lot of that stuff is industrial strength, mass produced simulations of stuff you might have/do/make at home. So I think the catalog itself will give me some good ideas that I can translate into a less “school bulletin board” aesthetic.
Still, I loved the furniture section, and wish I could organize my entire house to be a giant classroom so that my children would be able to put everything away. If it were up to me I would just line the walls of my house with cubbies and bins, floor to ceiling, including giant pods for our beds, the fridge, a dog kennel, all with Dymo labels too.