Well, there are lots of things you should say yes to, but here are three:
- When your child asks you to read to them.
- When your friend offers to make you and your family an Italian dinner from scratch.
- When a Las Vegas blackjack dealer teaches your child how to play cards.
I love to read to my kids and they love to be read to but I feel like I say “no” too often when they ask me to read to them: “Not right now, honey, I have to clean up the kitchen/make lunch/change the baby’s diaper/etc.” I felt like I was sending the message that reading to them is just one more thing Mommy has to do. I don’t want that.
So this week I decided to say “Yes” whenever they asked me to read, for at least 5 minutes, even if I was busy. Unless I was in the shower or driving. That would just be too complicated.
So we did a lot more reading this week.
We also played a lot of Uno. We kept score so it involved math, as well as the patterns and details of the game itself. When The Husband was playing Uno with Firefly, I noticed that Firefly was writing down the scores. This is the same child that whines so intensely when I ask him to write anything that it makes my ears bleed. And here he was, writing, happily. Later, I asked the husband, “How did you get him to do that?”
He said, “I don’t know, he just picked up the pencil and started writing the scores down.” Interesting technique.
Firefly learned how to play Uno last month, while on our beach vacation, from a Las Vegas blackjack dealer. Here at Creekside Learning, we call it math. Isn’t that fun?
I kid, but I am truly amazed at how he is actually using strategy to win the game. Except for the part where he spreads all his cards out on the table so you know exactly what he has. Although he still frequently wins so maybe that is a strategy. I don’t know.
We also began “rowing” a new book this week, Papa Piccolo. This is about a tomcat that lives on the streets of Venice, Italy. Two stray kittens “adopt” him as their caretaker. We are going to take two weeks to row this book but this week we took some time to learn about our own Italian family history.
My great-grandparents came to America from Irsina, Italy in the early 1900’s. Years ago, I went to Ellis Island and used their resource library to find documentation about my great-grandfather, Pietro’s, trip to the U.S. I was unable to find documentation of my great-grandmother’s passage. She came ten years after Pietro, with their two children, my grandmother’s older siblings.
I shared with Firefly the picture of the ship that Pietro sailed on and the copy of the ship’s manifest, where Pietro signed his name only with an “X”. The officials at Ellis Island spelled his surname differently, and it was changed ever after in our family. I told Firefly the story, as it was told to me, and he was fascinated. My great-grandmother attempted to make passage with her children one or two other times during the ten years that she was apart from Pietro. They were denied entry onto the ship, despite tickets in hand. I believe it was for medical reasons.
Meanwhile, Pietro arrived in America and went to stay with his brother-in-law, Mike, who was already here and raising a family near New York City. Pietro would go on to establish a delivery business, ice in the summer and coal in the winter. After my great-grandmother came to America, she and Pietro had four more daughters. One of them is my grandmother.
I noticed, looking at the ship’s manifest, that in about two months, it will be 100 years since Pietro arrived in America. I wrote to my family, suggesting that we do something to commemorate that important piece of our family history. We are all scattered across the country so I imagine it will be a lot of little celebrations, Italian dinners made, memories recalled in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Texas, California and so on.
Speaking of Italian dinners, last night we celebrated Papa Piccolo with some wonderful homeschooling friends who are also “rowing” the book. My friend Stephanie spent two days making a full Italian dinner complete with homemade pasta, sauce, meatballs, pizza, anti-pasta platter, and Caprese salad, while her husband was out of town and while simultaneously holding her two-month old daughter and homeschooling her five year old son. How awesome is that?
Next up: More Papa Piccolo and beginning the unit on The Human Body in our R.E.A.L. Science curriculum.