This is homeschooling . . . on the road and with sick children

The DP was up first and let out a bark of a cough, all congesty and such.  I asked her how she felt.  “Fine.”  OK  Now remember, she’s low tone and doesn’t feel much so “fine” doesn’t mean much with me.  “Do you have a sore throat?” “No.”  “Is your nose running?” “No.”  Ummm, let’s just feel that forehead.  Almost burned my hand.  The thermometer read 101.  Then FM#2 got up.  The thermometer said 98.7.   Okay, not really sick.  Then FM#3.  Again, no temp, in fact running a bit low which is fine by me.  Then FM#1.  No temp.  Said he feels fine.  Then FM#2 started complaining about a headache and he always gets a headache when he has a temperature so I felt his forehead.  He was burning up.  Took his temp again.  98.9.  Still not really a temp but he was still burning up to the touch.  For someone whose engine runs so fast, I’m not so sure why he tends to runs cold temperature wise.  Or maybe he just didn’t have it under his tongue the right way.

Moments after 8, I called the pediatrician’s office and got two appointments at 10 and 10:30.  We got breakfast, did some math for FM#1 and everyone got dressed.  Well, almost everyone. We almost left with FM#3 still in his pjs. 🙂  Caught it just in the nick of time.  Of course, it could have been him screaming “mommy, I’m not dressed.”  Yeah, that could have clued me in.  So we were late.  Sigh.  We have 2 hours to get to a doctor’s appt. and we’re late.  Give me 15 minutes and I can get there.  2 hours and I’m late.  Of course, it didn’t help that we still have our car top carrier on our van and couldn’t park in the garage and there were all these cars in the street that could park in the garage but chose not to so I had to go way down the road and park.  And then walk 4 kids in, 3 of whom don’t know how to walk quietly and calmly anywhere but especially if we are near cars and traffic.  I wish I had 5 hands — one for each kid and one for my purse or keys or water bottle — whatever I wanted to carry in the extra hand that day.

The nurse takes their temps and the DP is 100 and FM#2 is 98.7 so still not hot by the thermometer standards but I’m at least reassured that I know how to take his temperature.  So anyway the doctor came in and I told her my recent poor health story and told her that even though my doctor didn’t test for flu, it was probably because I had been sick for so long that there the flu drug wasn’t going to do me any good, so she just treated me for the lovely sinus infection that I have also developed.

The DP had a red throat.  FM#2 had none.  But she had them both swabbed for both strep and flu.  Flu for the DP  and none for FM#2 but the doctor thinks it’s just not showing up yet.  So, she starts writing prescriptions for them and I asked “Should I just go ahead and make appointments now for the others?”  Then she tells me she’ll give me prescriptions for all of them but to wait to fill the others.  Then I ask about FM#1 going on his scout campout this weekend.  Then she tells me not to send him if he has fever but to go ahead and fill his prescription and send it with him in case he comes down with fever so that then it can be given to him.

Off we go to the pharmacy and they tell us an hour.  Yikes.  We’re really busy they say.  Yea, apparently everybody has the flu or something.  So we run home to administer Tylenol to work on the fever, do potty breaks and get me more water.  (I put that last part in in case Coach Mom reads this but it was really true.)  Then off to McDonald’s drive thru for lunch (don’t read that part CoachMom) because let’s just say the pantry is a bit bare and I’m not taking them into any stores.  Then back to the pharmacy where we are early so I put in a book on tape — The Borrowers — and we eat in the parking lot keeping our germs to ourselves.  Then FM#1 asks for a second napkin and I’m so happy he is finally using them and so, after a moment, I turn around to tell him so to see him dabbing at a huge amount of barbecue sauce on his shirt and shorts and . . .  So I put the car back in drive (or maybe it was reverse first) and we run home for him to change and then go back to the pharmacy and get our scripts and $105 later (yikes) we are off to speech therapy where I take the non-germy, non-symptom FM#3 in and leave the others in the car.  Then we sit in the car and do a read aloud and a couple of read alongs for the emerging readers and then FM#3 is finished and we come home.

So that is school on the road with sick kids.  Not a lot of school but some.  Not tons and tons like FM#3 likes to say but something is better than nothing, right?

Colonial Williamsburg — Days 3 and 6 of our trip

Walking into Colonial Williamsburg -- I'm the one without the costume ;-)

Walking into Colonial Williamsburg -- I'm the one without the costume 😉

Eating lunch and saluting before we go in

Eating lunch and saluting before we go in

We got a late start the first morning because I needed to go grocery shopping so by the time we got to Colonial Williamsburg and I went to go get our tickets, it was almost time for lunch.  We’ve learned with this crowd that lunch served early is much better than lunch served late with all it’s whining so they chowed down while I got the tickets.  The benefit was also that we didn’t have to carry our food around all day.  Sitting on the bench near the entrance to buy tickets, my Beloved apparently got lots of requests for permission to take their pictures.   We had been told they would get extra attention and it was true not only here but throughout Colonial Williamsburg.  You can rent costumes at Colonial Williamsburg but it’s about $20 a day.  I bought these off the web at http://www.buycostumes.com.  Almost all of them were less than $20 and they were able to wear them almost every day and can still play dress up.  I found the link through a search on Ebay and just did the search again and found the DP’s costume selling on Ebay for twice what it sells for at http://www.buycostumes.com so hunt around.

Also, we went during the Homeschool Days in the fall and the tickets were about $11/person for a 5 day pass versus CW’s usual pass of around $30/2 days/person.  We knew we wouldn’t go every day but we started on Wednesday and had friends coming on Sunday that we thought we might like to join.  They also have Homeschool Days every spring.  Such a deal!  When you arrive, you go into the group sales and get your tickets there even though your “group” is just your family.  The other hint I will give you for saving money is to always ask if there is a homeschool discount.  At Monticello (down the road), we didn’t fit the criteria on the website but I still asked and the ticket lady replied “If you have some sort of proof.”  I pulled out all of our membership cards to THSC (sort of like HSLDA at the state level for those of you who don’t live in Texas) and she gave me one adult admission for free.  At Montpelier (also down the road) it was the same story, so always ask and have something with you to show you are a homeschooler.  They may say no but you might save money.  Now that I think about it, I don’t remember if I did this at Mount Vernon or if I did, what the result was.  I just remember that at the other places, we didn’t fit the criteria on the website and yet they were still gracious to us.

A model of Colonial Williamsburg at the Visitor's Center

A model of Colonial Williamsburg at the Visitor's Center

The boys ready for a day of living in history

The boys ready for a day of living in history

Here the boys are on the bus you ride from the visitor’s center to the edge of Colonial Williamsburg proper.  FM#2 was supposed to be Ben Franklin who never visited Colonial Williamsburg but we hope to visit Philadelphia and Boston in 2010 or so, so I am hoping that he’ll feel vindicated then.  We did go by the printing shop one day but it took some doing because they have reduced hours (aren’t open all day) and their hours did not always fit our schedule.  I would say that is one thing I did not do well in terms of our planning.  If we do it again, I am going to look around the Colonial Williamsburg site a bit more and figure out the places that have limited hours that we are interested in visiting and be a bit more proactive in planning our specific schedule.  Despite my lack of such specific planning, our kids, who have the attention spans of gnats, were perfectly happy flitting from this to that.

The Governor's Palace -- our first stop

The Governor's Palace -- our first stop

We walked off the bus, onto the grounds and the Governor’s Palace was the first major attraction.  I really enjoyed the parts I saw but didn’t see much because all of a sudden, I had a 4 year old who needed to go potty.  Fortunately, there are public bathrooms across the road but alas, it was too late to catch back up with our group, so FM#3 and I went into the gardens behind the palace and enjoyed them while waiting for the others.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera so there are no pictures of that expedition.  My Beloved, who did have the camera, thought the entry hall with all of the weapons was quite something.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough lighting to get a great picture but here is what did come out:

Imagine guns and swords covering almost every inch of wall space

Imagine guns and swords covering almost every inch of wall space

Too bad I didn't have a lock. ;-)

Too bad I didn't have a lock. 😉

Now for the other two.

Now for the other two.

Playing in these were a lot more fun, but even that got a bit old pretty fast,  than when you were really stuck in them.  I tried explaining this to the kids but they’re kids . . .

Benedict Arnold delivering the news that the British were now in control of the town.

Benedict Arnold delivering the news that the British were now in control of the town.

FM#2 was quite offended by the whole story of Benedict Arnold.  He just couldn’t understand how could switch over to the British side.  I kept trying to explain to him how we were all British before the Revolutionary War but he just wasn’t getting it.  As we wandered around Williamsburg, soaking up the history and experiencing the story of the Revolution, we came across this actor/interpreter in the role of Benedict Arnold.  FM#2 made his displeasure known and started calling Arnold a traitor and just yelling at him in general.  Arnold’s aide de camp started toward FM#2, threatening to throw him into jail and female actor/interpreter (playing the role of a CW resident in the crowd) stepped in and came to his defense saying “He’s only a boy, leave him alone.”  It really made us feel like a part of the show and made the whole experience quite memorable for our kids.

Burton Parish Church

Burton Parish Church

The church of Colonial Williamsburg where there are still worship services held today.  The rector of this church was apparently instrumental in convincing John Rockefeller to restore the old buildings and create Colonial Williamsburg as a living history museum.

The kids at the other end of Palace Green in front of the Governor's Palace.

The kids at the other end of Palace Green in front of the Governor's Palace.

This was taken early one morning before the crowds descended upon CW.  I had run back to one of the stores to get another gun (of course, I have boys) and my Beloved took the kids to the print shop while I was shopping.  He stopped on the way to snap this wonderful picture.  FM#2 is still ready for a fight as you can see from the expression on his face.

The print shop’s attached store had some great books — some which I hadn’t really seen anywhere else.  This is all to say I think we spent more there than anywhere else. 🙂  I’ll have to compile a list of all our purchases for those of you who are dying to know — you know who you are but today is not the day because I’m already getting pressure for this installment.