Besh Cup 5&6

My son entered the last 2 races in the statewide series of cross country ski races. They were held last weekend here in Fairbanks. He’s not done any of these before, and has been skiing against younger kids all season. However, you must race in your division for Besh Cup races, so he was racing other 14&15 year old boys that are the best in the state. The outcome of this weekend’s races determined Team Alaska for US Junior National races next month. Alaska is the only state to have their own team at Nationals. All other states are grouped into regional teams. So, needless to say, the competition was tough.  Anyway, Saturday was a 5k skate race. Sunday was a 3k classic. The skate course was tough. Read this quote from FastSkier.com to understand why:

“The trails at Birch Hill are built on the side of, well, a hill (also, there are birch trees). The courses used for this weekend’s races were marked by an impressive Height Difference (the elevation change between the lowest and highest points on the course) of 89 meters within a 5-kilometer course. The World Cup skiathlon race that was contested in South Korea the same weekend, on the trails that will be used for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, featured height differences of only 58 and 41 meters on the two skiathlon courses.

In fact, a height difference of 89 meters is a greater elevation spread than was present on most of the traditional World Cup courses this season, including in Davos (84m), Lillehammer (74m), Falun (69m), and Ulricehamn (57m).”

http://fasterskier.com/fsarticle/besh-cup-series-wraps-fairbanks-team-alaska-named/

So considering this was his first race at this level of competition and the difficulty of the course, I’m happy he even finished. He came in last (but not by much). He was mostly doing it for the experience, so I didn’t pay the extra to have him ranked. Plus, they were the last 2 races of the season. Still, that makes him unofficially 40th in the state.

His first high school race

Today was the final cross country ski race of the season in the Town Race series. This year my son has been racing with the 7-8 grade boys as a junior varsity entry. However, this race he did well enough last year that they had him stay with the other high school boys in the B bracket. There were 4 ‘A’ bracket and 3 ‘B’ bracket preliminary boys races, then an equal number of finals for each bracket, so everyone raced twice. It was a ski cross event, meaning there were jumps, slalom gates, and lots of tight turns over a 1km course going up and downhill.

My son came in 4th in his preliminary race, which put him in the second final (B Final). He did well in that, finishing somewhere in the middle. The official results haven’t been posted yet. I’ll update when they are. He’s pretty happy with his results, although he realizes there were some things he could have done better in the final. He got caught up in a pack behind someone who fell. He didn’t fall this time and didn’t seem as tired as when he finished last year. That’s improvement.

Not sure what team he will qualify for next year. He is considering one of the local high schools as well as the private team. Many of the top skiers do that. It means about 3 hours of skiing most days, but they are good, often qualifying for national or international races. We already talked to the local high school’s coach. He agreed to allow my son to join as a homeschool student.

An amusing thing happened to me while we were there. For the last few years I’ve been unofficially helping at this race herding kids, etc. while on skis. This year I wasn’t, and several coaches, kids, and others involved in the race kept asking me why I was not skiing.

 

UPDATE:

The results have been published. He was 3/5 in the preliminary and 5/6 in the final.

 

Sneaking math

All of my daughter’s school books have arrived. Not all my son’s have arrived, but his math and carpentry have. The high school items from Sonlight haven’t come in yet. (They were very slow arriving last time we ordered from them too. So keep in mind if you plan on using anything from Sonlight to order early as possible.) We still plan to start school on Monday, August 1 and will just catch up on the late subjects as they arrive.

However, the kids’ have both been literally begging to start their math. This is surprising considering how much my son struggled last year and my daughter usually does not like to do it. Night before last I saw my son’s bedroom light still on late so I went to see what he was up to. I was expecting him to be reading or perhaps drawing. Nope! He was doing the second lesson of his geometry at nearly 11pm LOL

When I told him to quit and get to bed, he begged to finish. He says he likes the Saxon math better than the other programs we have used. Hopefully that means less trouble this year with math. However, I knew he needed sleep more than geometry so I praised his enthusiasm for what he had done but told him to finish it at a more appropriate time.

 

 

Never stop learning

Starting mid-November, I have been cross country skiing a lot. It’s a great way to get exercise with my kids. Usually I ski for 1-1.5 hours.

I took a chance and signed up to be a coach’s assistant for youth cross country ski lessons. Lessons meet for an hour 2x/week. I say chance because I’m not the best skier to begin with. (Some of my students are actually better than me.) However, I’ve been practicing a lot and the coaches doesn’t seem to mind me learning along with the kids. I just go to whichever class asks for extra help each day.

Some evenings I have been with the beginners. Most evenings have been with the advanced beginners and once with the intermediate group. I’m not ready to ski with my son’s advanced group yet and did let the coach know that the first night. Mainly I keep the kids from going the wrong way and round up any stragglers. Right now I only have classic style cross country skis. I’m planning to get skate style soon. That will help me be able to participate with groups when they do skate drills and practice. However, then I will really be learning along with the kids since I have never skate skied before.

An old fashioned weekend

This July we were supposed to sail from Kodiak to Seward. However due to engine problems, my husband decided that the kids and I should take the ferry across instead while he sailed the boat alone to Seward. That was ok since we got to stay with our friends while waiting for him. They have a large family including 2 children about the same age as mine.

It turned out to be a good week to visit. We had a lot of fun. The kids played and we chatted.We took a drive up to the mountains and went hiking.

At one point, she laid out some cloth to make a shirt for her youngest son. My son happened to come upstairs then. She asked him if he could guess what we were doing. He quickly and enthusiastically replied (somewhat to my embarrassment) “Oh! You’re making me a shirt, and it’s even my favorite color.” This despite the fact the pattern hadn’t been laid out yet and I’ve never made him a shirt. It was just in a big pile. He got his drink and returned back downstairs.

So my generous friend decided there was enough fabric to make both boys a shirt. We just needed to use the next size larger on the pattern for my son. Since I’ve never made a shirt before, she taught me. It turned out good and fit him well.

Friday evening they were having their church social at the local ball fields. The youth were going to play softball. These are conservative Mennonites. The men and boys were in jeans and button front shirts. The ladies and girls were wearing long dresses. It was almost surreal like a scene out of Little House on the Prairie. However, it was a lot of fun. My son played softball for the first time and I played 2 games of kickball with my daughter and the younger kids.

Sunday morning was church. However, this was a very special Sunday. A bus load of Amish were visiting. That’s right, Amish. Saturday was spent cooking and setting up to get ready. They were expecting more visitors than the normal number of people who attend services.

All was ready when the tour bus pulled in. Guests were seated in the normal pews while regular church members and I sat in folding chairs at the back rented for the occasion. Youth from church and guests were seated on folding chairs up front behind the podium. It was crowded but we all fit.

While the Amish were expected, another group of about a dozen adults also showed up. The women wore headcoverings but not dressed conservatively like everyone else. They left during the Bible study before the sermon. No one I spoke to knew who they were or why they came or left.

After services, there was a pot luck of creamed ham, salads, scalloped potatoes, rolls, chips, and desserts. The Amish said they were glad for the home cooked meal after eating out so much recently on their trip. The kids played on the playground and large church yard while the adults sat and talked. Finally the Amish loaded back into their bus and left. It was among the most interesting church services I’ve ever attended.

Overall, it was a good, old fashioned weekend.

Curriculum fair purchases

Just when I think I have it all planned out, the curriculum fair comes along with interesting things to tempt me (and the kids). I spent over $300 on items at our local curriculum fair. It’s not a bad thing since I had no idea what to do for Alaska history and that’s what most of it is. I also bought 2 items from the Institute for Excellence in Writing: Rockets, Radar, and Robotics for Richard and the student pages of Student Writing Intensive A for Karen. The other thing was from an Alaskan teacher who made a curriculum to help better understand words and spelling big words by breaking them into roots and their other parts. That will be good for both of them and they will do it together. I also picked up a flyer for Real Science 4 Kids. They didn’t have a representative, just the flyers so I couldn’t actually order anything yet from them. 😦

Now we wait until after July for next year’s allotment to come out so I can do purchase orders. The used curriculum fair is next month and the Christian Light Education booth will be there.

dangerous tea ball

I recently bought a tea ball made by Good Cooks/Bradshaw. That’s a little stainless steel ball with holes in it that you use to brew tea leaves. It was for my daughter’s 9th birthday present. However, we have all been very disappointed with it.

The tea ball is extremely hard to open, even for my husband. My daughter can not open it at all, and I rarely can. Not only is this tea ball hard to open, it is hard to close as well. The screw threads do not align well.

Once open, it has very sharp edges. This has caused minor cuts to our fingers.

While it does make a good cup of tea, due to the problems and very real threat of getting cut with each use, I am throwing it out. Shipping it to the manufacture would cost more than I paid. This tea ball needs to be redesigned to be easier to use and safer to use. It is dangerous and should be recalled.