Monday, March 12, 2012

Yard Boy

As you know, we are trying to take a trip to Disneyland to celebrate my husband's graduation from pharmacy school.  Our entire tax return was supposed to go toward paying for the trip, but we've had to dip into that account for, you know, food and stuff.  We've made finding another source of income a matter of sincere prayer and last week, that prayer was answered.

There is an incredible house at the end of the road where I grew up (and where my parents and sister still live). The lady who lives there hires teenage boys to help with yard work.

As you also know, I love gardening.  When I was trying to think of a way I could earn money, I thought of her. It took me several days to make the call.  You see, she hires teenage boys.  I had to talk myself into swallowing my pride to ask for a job usually filled by, frankly, my son (yes, he worked for her last summer).  Even after she said she would hire me, I felt kind of stupid about it.

Last week, I went to work.  It turns out, I was just who she needed.  She has had boys (unskilled labor, no matter how hard they work) doing the work for so long that her gardens are in desperate need of someone who knows what they are doing.  (I know I don't know all there is to know, but I do have a bit of experience under my belt.)  I worked Friday and Saturday clipping and pruning and raking and pulling and Sunday I couldn't move.  OK, not really, but my muscles were pretty sore from a long winter of sittin' around.

I decided I would love to be the gardener--you know, like in all of the olden day books; the crusty old man who works in the garden year-round.

Anyway, I have this new part-time job for the next two months, but I am also still home schooling these darling children of mine.  I'm going to really have to tap into my classics for ideas on how to keep school going while I am kneeling over the dirt.  Ideas so far:

  • recite times tables
  • have a spelling bee
  • listen to books on tape
  • memorize poems, scriptures and short literary passages
That's it.  That's all I've got.  My girls will be with me in the yard so we can bring some school supplies with us (like a notebook), but not a desk or encyclopedias.  And I can't take time away from my employer really sit with them to work out a problem, work on a project, or read together.

Do you have any other ideas?  


  1. Ok, call me a blog stalker, I can take it. After reading this post there was a link to another post you had written titled "my apprentices". I think you already answered the question yourself. There is more to being an apprentice wife and mother than cooking and laundry. Isn't there more to your life as a full fledged mother than those things? Learning to care for and teach each other is essential in being part of a family. Sacrificing some time for a greater purpose is also part of that. Your family has a goal- a trip. In order to accomplish this goal there is work to do. You don't have all the time you need so it is necessary to work together. Your older girls can apprentice teach times tables, poetry and reading. You can also teach them about flowers and fertilizer- horticulture knowledge is just as important as knowing 9x9. Maybe this time could be classified as "Lab Work". Good luck with whatever you guys decide to do. And please forgive my lurking.

  2. Could you do "night school" for the two months? Instead of school early, have school after dinner.

  3. I second Jen's comments, what an opportunity for some hands on science and biology (plants and insects, the growing cycle, etc. etc.) and what about art! They could do outdoor sketches, collect things for collages, find shapes or patterns in nature.

    Sounds like a fun adventure, even though it comes with a little challenge! Best wishes!

  4. Take an early summer break? Sounds like you will enjoy the next couple of months!

  5. Outdoor scavenger hunt/tally:
    bugs, leaves, different kinds of rocks, trees, etc.
    They could draw samples of the leaves they find (or do crayon rubbings) and list details.
    Art projects:
    draw from an ant's perspective (or have younger ones draw an ant)
    This will be tricky to keep them busy and happy, but you are capable of anything Emily! Good luck.