Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Homeschooling ... don't make it harder than it has to be.

First, go here and look at the tab on the right that says "My State" Home School Legal Defense Association

Look for the laws in your state.   Then click on "Support Groups" to find a group near you.  Those people will hold your hands while you walk through the beginning and hopefully, graduating phases of homeschooling.   Our homeschool groups have been wonderful.  We've been members of 3 over the years.  

To shop for curriculum, I recommend Rainbow Resource,   There are also free resources just about everywhere, most notably Easy Peasy Homeschool which tells you what to do, each day.  

So do the bare minimum that your state requires, join a support group, take a ton of field trips and most of all, HAVE FUN!

Homeschooling is the BEST.

4H adventures, winning prizes for art, setting pigeons free to fly home, holding a gecko and a baby pigeon.

Kayaking.  This was a field trip.

Mammoth cave.  Field trip. 

Doing algebra at the kitchen table.

Learning to run a small business through 4H. 

Louisville Water Plant - Field trip. 

Lincoln museum, field trip. 

So, for the only state I have experience with, Kentucky, there are 4 steps.
1.  Notify the local school district department of pupil personnel with a letter of intent to homeschool.
2.  Get a curriculum that covers the basics.
3. Do it with your students 170 days per year.
4.  Keep reasonable records of work.  (This is where some people go too crazy.  Most of the time, in Kentucky nobody is going to check these, overall, they seem to trust us to do what we need to do. This may change in the future.  I know we have people at HSLDA working to keep homeschooling legal in all 50 states. Don't work too hard on the  records part, just keep very basic records.)

Start again the following July/August with the letter of intent and repeat until your child turns 18.  

I'd add another step, HAVE FUN.   

Bacon Rules.

If we have bought raw bacon and you want some, you must cook enough for everyone because the smell of frying bacon will drive everyone crazy.

However, if we have bought precooked bacon and you want to put a couple of pieces in the microwave and make a BLT, that's okay.

We pretty much only buy the precooked bacon when it's the season for home grown tomatoes, which it is now.  Thank goodness.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July winding down.

We're gearing up for VBS at our church.  The kids and I are helping this year.  I've always worked and haven't helped much in the past, so this is different for me.  I'm doing arts and crafts.  At first I was very nervous, but I think I have a plan now.  My daughter is going to help me, so that helps.  Next week my son and his girlfriend will be here (Yay!) and then the following week, I may start a new job.  I haven't got the final word yet, but I had an interview and they really made it sound like they were going to hire me.  If I do get it, I'll be a head start teacher, despite my cynicism about preschool being effective.  Oh well.  I'll just keep that to myself.  I also may have a lead on another job which I am going to try and talk my daughter into taking.  It's also working with preschoolers but is part time, just afterschool hours and I think it might be a good first job for her.

 Anyway, here are some pictures from this week, Cosmo sleeping, some art I have done, a house from the Homerama new home tour event my daughter and I went to and a strange looking dragonfly that's been hanging out around our back door.  I think we have more dragonflies this year than usual, as I am seeing them all the time.  It may just be because when I am outside, I'm usually in the pool.  :-)   

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Life is going on.

My daughter made this apple dishcloth for the store where we sell our crafts.  She cleared 165 dollars last month.  I cleared 8.  Since I'm doing this for her to have some income, get some cashier experience and be comfortable in a working environment, it's a very good thing, no matter how little I personally make.   

I took these from the pool this past Sunday.  It was a beautiful day and the view from the pool is beautiful and my husband keeps the pool water so clear, it's wonderful.  I really appreciate it.  

We worked on our table in the store, trying to make it more vertical.  I think it looks pretty good.

Life is going on.  My son said that his first few weeks of adulthood did not go well and I agree.  He's had a hard time.  First my mom's illness, death and funeral and then our dog Lucy had to be put down this week.  She was falling and stumbling and finally was unable to walk, just lying by the road.  It was very hard on my son, but he lifted her into the car and carried her into the vet's office for me.  We're trying to look forward to better times.  I scheduled a board game party for us at the library, our oldest son and his girlfriend are going to visit in a few weeks, we're planning a trip to a museum while they are here and a homeschool group reunion and in November, a family vacation when we meet halfway to spend some time with my son, his girlfriend and her parents.  Today, I planted some bulbs a friend gave me, in lieu of flowers at my mom's funeral.  Planting flowers is a way to invest in the future.   The world doesn't stop.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Focusing on lists.

I've been kind of numb since mom got really sick and we knew the end was near.  I am not sure when the numbness is going to pass.  It's very weird.  I assume this is within the normal reaction of grief for some of us.  I'm not medicating but I am watching a ton of TV and doing a ton of art, also trying to keep busy by getting things done.  I haven't really felt like cooking (which is something I went through after my dad passed away too), but I have been doing some cleaning.  I haven't got my nerve up to go through the piles of mom's things lying around the house and I don't know when I will be able to do that.  We may have to live with them for a while.  Meanwhile, I am doing things like looking for a job, washing dishes, exercising, grocery shopping, taking people to the doctor, etc.  Anything to keep busy.  So today, I have 7 things on my list and I am going to focus on that.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

One of those days.

The watermelon fell out of the fridge onto my sore foot and burst.  I was holding one of the new kittens when my daughter let Cosmo out of her room and he came running and the kitten scratched me all up and down my arm.  I dropped a cup, a knife and a bowl while washing dishes.  I got an email telling me I didn't get the job I thought I would really like.   The flowers are dying and the funeral home called and said the death certificates are ready for me to pick them up.  :-(

On the brighter side, it's not raining (yet) and I get to see a dear friend tonight, none of the dishes broke and the knife didn't stab into my foot this time when I dropped it.  Also, I didn't cut myself cutting up the watermelon, which is kind of a miracle.  

Monday, July 04, 2016

Trying to figure out what to do next.

Since I lost my job in March, with mom's health going so much downhill starting about the same time, I had been spending 20-30 hours a week on her care and basically all of the rest of the time worrying about her health.  So now, I am not a medical transcriptionist, I am not an alzheimer's caregiver, I am not a homeschooling mom .... it's weird.  The last few days, since the funeral, I have been concentrating on writing the huge amount of thank you notes to our wonderful family and friends and now that that is done, at some point, I am going to need to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.  I know some things I want to do but they are probably not financial possibilities.

What to do, what to do.

Meanwhile, I'll share one thing we did this week.  We got kittens, a boy and a girl, who at this time remain nameless.  If the kids don't hurry and name them, I am going to name them Ziggy and Zazzles.  Maybe.  Anyway, they're cute and a fun distraction from the seriousness our lives have been recently.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's over.

My mom has gone to heaven today.  Continued prayers please.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Not going well.

Things are not going well for us at the nursing home.  We have more bad news each day and we've had to call and speak with mom's brothers and sisters and tell them how bad it is now.  Each day this week, mom has lost ground and gotten weaker, despite excellent nursing care and the doctor seeing her every day.  Prayers please.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crazy roller coaster.

We're on one of the parts of the roller coaster of life, where you just feel like you may lose your lunch, or worse.  Mom is in the nursing home but is not doing well.  The doctor calls me pretty much every night with bad reports.  She doesn't want to eat or drink, she's agitated, she's upset.  I knew that she would be agitated and upset with this move, as with any move, because she doesn't know the people and the building is unfamiliar.  I hope that will resolve and she will settle in.  The eating and drinking has been an ongoing thing and apparently is characteristic of the end-stages of Alzheimer's disease.  My husband and I were talking last night and I realized that I've known she's had this at least since 2003, so 13 years.  That's longer than most people live with the disease.  So, needless to say, we are having some really hard times here and would appreciate prayers and warm thoughts.

On the other hand, we have kids who are thriving and growing and doing things and we are happy about all of those things.  My daughter is doing very well with the little store we are selling art in and in orders that we get from posts on Facebook about our booth at the store.  She is doing well with the job duties at the store and the cash register/computer tasks and it is awesome.  I'm very happy she's doing so well   Youngest son graduated last weekend, and this past weekend, turned 18 and yesterday, got his driver's permit and drove for the first time.  Milestones, good things all.

I am up, down, up, down throughout the day, but I think I am calmer with mom at the new place.  There is a little bit of peace knowing that she is getting the best care possible and that we personally don't need to drive there to make sure that she eats.  So that's something.  I guess.  Requesting continued warm thoughts and prayers as we try to navigate the end stages of this horrible (beyond words) disease and at the same time try to celebrate milestones with our kids.   I'm also sad about the recent bad news from Orlando, but the truth is, other than a few prayers here and there for the families, I haven't spared them a lot of my thoughts.  :-(

Reba McIntire said it best when she said "I guess the world didn't stop for my broken heart."  It doesn't. The world just goes right on around you.  It's kind of a shock that it does.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Trying to take a mental health day.

We have found a nursing home for my mom.  I know that this is what we have to do, but it is hard.  I am worried about how she will do here, but she's not doing well where she is, so maybe this will be better.  I am trying to be hopeful.  The last 5 or 6 days have been taken up with mom's care, with her falling several times this week at assisted living and every time it happens, either she has to go to the emergency room or we have to go up there and sign a paper declining an emergency room visit.  It's made for a crazy week.  Tomorrow, if things go well and all the paperwork is in order, we will move her.  I looked at my two kids who live here last night and said "We may have to move grandma again on Friday and it might just be the three of us" and what did my wonderful kids say?  "Ok."  They didn't even say it with dread or whining.  They are better people than I was when I was their age.  I kind of hate that all this is happening right when my son is graduating from high school (last weekend) and turning 18 (this weekend) and he might actually have to be moving mom on Saturday, which is his birthday, but what can I do?  Life is hard and adulthood, which he is on the verge of, is made up of things like this.
So today, I am trying to take a mental health day, to get over the past few days and to try and prepare myself for the next few days.

Monday, June 06, 2016


They had graduate recognition at our church yesterday and each graduate came up to the front, had a small bio about their high school career and their plans for the future read aloud and received a bible.  We don't have any kind of formal ceremony around here, so that's the only recognition that my graduates get.  I think they enjoy it a little bit.  They are shy but sometimes having a little positive attention is a good thing.  Youngest son got his  bible and also got some monetary gifts from members of the congregation, which he wasn't expecting but really appreciated.  :-)

So now it's officially over.  :-P

I do need to write his transcript.  Next week he turns 18 and will get his driver's permit and start learning to drive.  That's going to be interesting.  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Pushing academics.

These are the kinds of things I annoy my friends and acquaintances with on Facebook, the things I am passionate about.  I feel like there are a few of us speaking out against pushing children so hard, but our voices are being overwhelmed by the compulsory schooling/testing mentality.  Individually, moms and dads, save your kids from this and let them play when they are little.
Sky candy.

Early academic training causes long term harm.

"Early academic training somewhat increases children’s immediate scores on the specific tests that the training is aimed at (no surprise), but these initial gains wash out within 1 to 3 years and, at least in some studies, are eventually reversed.  Perhaps more tragic than the lack of long-term academic advantage of early academic instruction is evidence that such instruction can produce long-term harm, especially in the realms of social and emotional development."

There's a deer in this picture, taken from inside my car on the driveway.
Educating too early
"Recent studies with four-year-olds showed that, “Direct instruction really can limit young children’s learning.” Direct instruction also limits a child’s creativity, problem solving, and openness to ideas beyond the situation at hand. This is true when the instruction comes from parents as well as teachers."  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Long time.

I saw this table at a thrift store and impulsively brought it home.  We decided to decorate the top of it in our own way.  Who needs lamps or flower arrangements?
It's been a long time since I posted and honestly, I feel like I am wasting the blog posting about my life now, when it has always supposed to have been a homeschooling blog (despite the fact that I almost always posted about  my life more than homeschooling.) now that we are no longer officially homeschooling.  In our house though, nothing has really changed.  Youngest son still schools himself constantly about everything.  This week, he's learning everything he can about Persia because he's interested in using the culture as a backdrop for either a game or a book.  With the 2 aspiring young authors in the house, there is always research for something going on here.  Our work also continues for the shop that my daughter and I sell our craft creations in.  My daughter has been getting a lot of orders for her chicken and egg washcloths and last night an order for hot pads that look the same but are double thick.

I have proved this week that I am the second biggest wimp in the world.  I started a job on Thursday and quit it yesterday.  When I was leaving, another employee came up to me and told me that I had lasted longer than the lady last week, who only lasted one day (hence, I am the second biggest wimp).  When I quit, I recommended a friend and she is meeting with the guy today.  The job was stocking bread on the Walmart shelves and it sounds easy, but it is very hard.  The bread company I was working for had 75 different types of bread in that bread aisle and also displays elsewhere in the store that had to be stocked twice a day from these huge bread trays and there was no order to the way the deliveries were stacked, no order to the invoices, so I had to stack and restack these big trays something like 15 times and bend and stretch and reach and it was really hard on my body and a little hard on my brain trying to remember the 75 types and where they were.  I need to do 2 things, get in better shape and get a slightly more sedentary job.  I don't want to be sitting all the time because I know that's bad for me, but standing all the time is very hard for my arthritic knees.

So anyway, back to unemployment.  I feel bad about it, but I really don't think that I could ever do the job in the amount of time that they expected it to be done in.  For example, yesterday afternoon's restock was supposed to take half an hour but it took me almost 2 hours.  I don't think that's a good sign for my efficiency in the job.  I mean, I would expect it to take me slightly longer, but not that much longer.   I had overly loose joints as a child and young person and was constantly spraining my knees and ankles ... I mean all the time, it was crazy...and now I am paying a big price in that my knees and ankles are always stiff and sore and it affects how quickly I can walk.  There's no getting around it.  Anyway, enough about that.  My friend hopefully will start next week and will love it and I will try to find something else.

My son and his girlfriend have gone back to Mississippi and we miss them but we might get to see them again in August, so I am excited about that.  We had a good time while they were here.  In the next little while, we've got working at the craft store, taking mom to several doctors appointments, my youngest son's 18th birthday and then he will get his driver's permit and we will teach him to drive and hopefully getting the pool up and getting in there to exercise and get in better shape and maybe I'll find a job along the way someplace.  I hope that someone comes up to me and says "I heard about this job that would be perfect for you ..."  :-)

This is the best picture I could find of the chicken and egg washcloths.  

This is a coloring page I made to sell at the store.

This is a similar one after I have colored it.

This is a sign someone else has for sale at the store. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Many thoughts.

It's been storming a lot lately.  
I have a lot going on inside my head right now, trying very hard not to spend all of my time worrying about mom,   I do spend a significant amount of time worrying about mom, maybe half of every day.  It's not good.  It's something I've been struggling with, but we've got the oldest son and his wonderful girlfriend coming for a visit on Sunday and I'm excited about that.  Hopefully they will provide a distraction from my worries and we will have some fun.

We are finishing up homeschooling.  Basically, the boy is done with everything we had planned for him and he's going to keep studying the things he wants to study on his own.  He's planning to become 100% fluent in German on Duolingo and then learn several of the other languages they offer.  (He's 22 percent fluent in German right now).  He's going to keep reading extensively on all subjects.  He's kind of gotten a reputation at the library as a voracious reader, which is a good thing.  I am thinking of putting him in piano lessons this summer and he's going to turn 18 and get his driver's permit and start having driving lessons, so life goes on, educating ones-self goes on.

The deer population has become increasingly bold about being right in our yard lately.  
Since I have been a homeschooling mom for 12 years, I've become increasingly critical of the public schools and what they are doing to our nation's children and I've become more of an unschooler over the years.  I've learned to trust that when the kids want to learn something, they will learn it.  They will find a way.  My youngest son pretty much taught himself how to read when he was ready to learn and has taught himself a million things by reading since.  I participate in a lot of on-line forums and try to give advice and share my hard earned wisdom with younger homeschoolers but no one listens to me so I thought I'd share on the blog.  Here it is.  Don't push them.  Don't drill them. Don't fight about it.  Enjoy them, read to them extensively, take a lot of field trips and most of all, have fun with homeschooling.


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