A Mosaic in the Making

    The Traveling Circus, er, Homeschool

    Nicki Black  June 18 2010 02:40:07 PM
    Image:The Traveling Circus, er, Homeschool

    I'm so excited! We just bought our winter home! Disregard the text in the photo. I don't know how it got in there when I was standing in my new garden, snapping this shot. I'm having a housewarming party at the new pad. Bring a coaster. We'll be sitting around the coffee table in our flip flops sipping our cold and fruity beverages, gazing at the magazine cover.


    This is a still snapshot of my life at the moment ("still" being the operative word here). I seem to be currently passporting my way through the verandas of my dreams via the pages of slick magazines and travel programs on tv, while all our money gets sucked up into the house renovations. Our abode is an old historic with good bones and a large kinda overgrown yard, and we knew it would be a near lifetime of an undertaking in sweat equity when we discovered it was for sale. I'm not sure what could of told us that, really. Was it the inspection before we purchased it that was literally the size of a thick novel, or the new neighbors pitiful and sympathetic looks in our general direction? We've been beating back the yard so it's now more of a habitable and charming English garden in theory, but the way we've been filleting the house's innards over the last 7 years you'd think we'd be in ruins enough to make a fairly realistic-looking castle out of it all by now. And try as I might, there hasn't been any life-altering (aka, show me da money) moments of finding a long lost Picasso or Louis XIV Mazarin writing desk, in a marquetry of ebony, mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell, biding their time in my 1936 attic. I can't even find where I sat down my drinking glass 2 hours ago in plain sight. So blah, not a whole lot of unexpected greenbacks pouring in to finance my itchy travel bug, outside of working really hard at what we do.

    *pensively taps fingers on chin*

    I will, however, take donations. So if you're feeling so led, please email for our mailing address in which to send your checks, money orders, and credit card payments to help the cause. Thankyouverymuch.

    Renovations aside, that still doesn't mean that we don't get outside our walls when it comes to homeschooling the kiddos. Just such a thing was on my brain this week, even before I saw that the first product reviews we were going to be doing for the TOS Crew was travel-centric. Hmmm... must be something to that unction. I'm very thankful that we've been able to travel as a family to a number of places for work purposes, whereas if we got a contract with a client in another town or state, we'd just pick up and go for however many days necessary, and the circus school would follow. It was usually an on-site contract for my husband to complete (I generally work with clients without one-on-one requirements), so I'd have studies with the eldest at the hotel in the morning or afternoon while the baby slept, and then it was play time at the pool or parks or come what may. One of my favorite places we've gone was Lansing, Michigan. Growing up in the Midwest, I have an acute appreciation for the allure of cow manure, wheat fields, and good cheese. I'm not that far from all that where I am now, but my quaint little town is sadly becoming like every other quaint little town wrought with too much traffic and retail sprawl, and not enough green space. Lansing had a cool college town groove with a fantastic homemade ice cream shop right at the university - and I don't even like ice cream. Despite the fact that we homeschool, I still have a hankering for college towns with their quirky eclectic personalities, ethnic hole in the wall eateries for cheap, great walking paths around campus usually with equally great climbing trees, and without fail there is generally an art store somewhere nearby to fulfill my kid in a candy store jonsing for new supplies. If I weren't honest like I am, I could even still pass for a college student to get the discount - and not the going-back-to-school-as-an-adult kind. No. I can still pass for a 24 year old. Yehaw. Anyway, Lansing was great fun for school ops, as well as South Carolina and the ton of time we spend up in Virginia because family is there. I'm still waiting for on-site contracts in Hawaii, Portugal, Fiji, Israel, Greece, Italy, Germany, back to Turkey, and Australia. We actually have clients in 6 of those places, but the digital age keeps our passports safe and sound in our lock box for the most part since our last big client trip over to Turkey. But time will tell. I hear the outback is starving for an instructor for a Lotus Notes class, mate. I'm so there.

    Conversely, the last couple of years have been almost stagnant in actually getting to do any smallish around town field trips. The big trips, no problem. But the modest jaunts to the pumpkin patch and the museums within a stone's throw of the house have proved more difficult. It's not even the fact that I have a very active and lively toddler on board now and my 12 year old is like a little mother in helping me. He rolls with the rest of us just fine. I'd love to know why putting together a single backpack for 6 hours can cause me more stress than packing for 4 for a week. Dunno. This year I am making the commitment to actually get out of the house more on little excursions, versus writing them down on the calendar and letting distractions railroad me into staying put. We need the change of pace and the fresh air. We need to remove ourselves from the dust and flying concrete and walls of the classroom, even though wielding a hammer is often a great way to relieve tension in the brow line. This year I want to tap into a realm of spontaneity in my life that I haven't been leveraging lately. I need to get outside my head. Traveling ala the internet is great, but it's not great enough. I'm hungry for more. So the goal is simple, I think - less magazine picture galleries, and more actual photos.