Friday, December 30, 2005


I telecommute from Kentucky to California and normally, I would say that is a very good thing to do. No traffic. No time wasted on the drive to work. But today has been different. Apparently I have a little glitch in a file that is not allowing me to transmit my work. I've had to call technical support and we have emailed back and forth all day. My computer is kind of a dinosaur and my internet service is very slow dial-up so that has not helped. I've been trying to resolve this tiny little glitch for 4 hours now, without pay, and when I get it resolved, then I will have to do my day's work, long into the night. Thank goodness at least school is out this week! Grrr.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


My regular readers may remember that we adopted a dog about 6 weeks ago. His name is Max and he's 5 years old. He's getting a good handle on our family routine. Tonight when I said "Bedtime.", all three kids ignored me, but Max got up from the couch, trotted into the bedroom and jumped on my bed!

Hits and Misses.

Old Santa had some hits and misses here with the Christmas gifts. The Leapster was a miss with my youngest son, probably because it has educational qualities. We are keeping it though and may require him to play some games on it to help with some of his school skills. My daughter loved her Littlest Pet Shop toys and has been taking them everywhere we go. Both boys have enjoyed playing Heroscapes, which is a board game, a lot. I'm still not sure what my oldest son thinks about the Lego Mindstorms set he got, but he has at least opened the package now and gotten started with it. Some things haven't even been opened yet, like my older son's woodcarving kit, but it is going to be a long winter, so I figure he'll get into that later.

I still haven't worked on the schedule for next week ...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Post-Christmas Week

Christmas is mostly over. We still have 1 party to go to. My mom's family party is always the Sunday after Christmas, which this year, happens to be New Year's Day and we'll be going to that. It has been a pretty low-key week here. The kids have been exploring their presents and my husband and I have gone back to work. I'm thinking of getting back into the schooling mode pretty soon, maybe even Monday, the 2nd. Hey, no reason to wait is there? I want things to be different starting in January so I'd better get started on the new schedules, chore lists, heh, heh. Don't worry, I'll throw some fun stuff in there too.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I love decorating shows but we don't have cable TV here in the boonies where we live, so I sometimes record a show at my parents house so I can watch it. The other day I caught a Trading Spaces marathon on TLC. Wonderful. I was loving it. I was also enjoying skipping the commercials. My youngest son complained about this. "Why do you skip the only part that is interesting?" he said. Sorry!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

It's Over.

Christmas is over now. Thank goodness. I'm tired and cranky and glad it is over. It was mostly good, I guess, but every year when it is over, I wish we could not do so much, escape the excesses that the season brings. Too much food. Too much stuff. Too tired.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Santa Claus Comes Tonight.

Several people in my home are very excited. I'm a little nervous as I know for a fact that Santa didn't stick very close to their wish lists this year and kind of went another direction, buying quality items, instead of quantity and in some cases, (gulp) educational items.

I think old Santa might be a little cranky this year, trying to sneak and get all his presents wrapped and every time, little hands knock on the bedroom door ... nah, maybe that's me. This time of year, I always seem to get an identity crisis. It may have something to do with the fact that my husband and I are doing all this work and that other guy is going to get all the credit ...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Eve Eve

Well it is Christmas Eve Eve here and the excitement is building. One of our presents still hasn't been delivered. I'm praying it comes tomorrow. The kids opened their gifts to each other today. They don't have really big budgets, so they shop at Dollar Tree. I was amazed at their thoughtfulness and touched by how much they enjoyed giving to each other. Very sweet.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Telling It Like It Is.

I've been working hard the last couple of days, trying to get a lot of work done because this pay period that just began goes right through Christmas and New Year's and I figure there are going to be a lot of work interuptions. So, I've been in my bedroom typing away on my computer a lot lately. Yesterday, my youngest son came into the room and I took off the headphones and said "What do you need?" and he said "I'm hungry and I just need attention." That's telling it like it is. I fed him and paid attention to him for a while and then went back to work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Meeting.

Yesterday, my younger son decided he was going to call a meeting. He started sending out invitations. My daughter got involved. They started making mailboxes out of paper and making envelopes for the invitations. They worked really hard for about an hour. At one point, my daughter said "What is this meeting going to be about." and my son said "Nothing, I just want to have a meeting." We had to leave shortly thereafter to go to a homeschool co-op activity so we didn't get to actually have the meeting and I can't give a report of how a meeting about 'nothing' went. Although I have been to some of those in the past, when I worked in a state office ....

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Another What If

My youngest son again. This time he said "What if King Midas had a snotty nose and he touched the snot and it turned into lumps of gold." Gold boogers, I guess.

Our Counting Methods. Posted by Picasa

Counting Down.

Last night my daughter announced "Tomorrow is the day before, the day before, the day before Christmas Eve." I guess the traditional 4 days until Christmas Eve won't work? Anyway, I guess we're almost ready for it. I'd feel a lot better if all my packages came in, though.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My Younger Son's Latest What If Question.

Tonight my younger son said "What if somebody had a marshmallow gun and another person was drinking hot chocolate and the one person shot the marshmallow gun and the marshmallow went into the other person's hot chocolate? Then they'd have a marshmallow in their hot chocolate!"

Okay. If you say so.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Not Christmas Break Yet, Sorry.

Everyone keeps asking me if we're on Christmas break yet (probably because I went to a homeschool co-op yesterday and all the moms were comparing notes.) Well, we're not. I wanted to only do Christmas stuff this week but we haven't finished our unit study of the human body and I want to get that completely done so we can start fresh in January. Maybe Wednesday we'll be done. Sorry kids. I do think they are getting enough pre-Christmas fun in though. We made a bunch of Christmas crafts at the co-op yesterday, we had a Christmas party last night, a Christmas party tonight, a Christmas play tomorrow night and Christmas caroling on Tuesday. I also have a work deadline tomorrow, so I'd better get busy on that too! Whew. Tis the season.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bacteriophage model (also showing normal state of our dining room table since beginning homeschooling). Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Homeschool Blog Voting

Vote for your favorite homeschool blog.

All I want for Christmas ...

Is my voice back! This cold virus swept through our entire family and we are all better now, except for one thing. I still can't talk. My daughter told me this morning to stop whispering please and actually talk to her. I said "I am talking. This is the best I can do!" It is really a pain and I am starting to get on my own nerves now!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another Dramatization

Today, we were studying about the immune system. As part of the KONOS curriculum, we sometimes do dramatizations of the things we are learning. We dramatized the work of the white blood cells today. The kids took turns being the viruses, bacteria and white blood cells. The white blood cells tried to capture the viruses and bacteria by squirting them or engulfing them. It was quite the adventure. Have I mentioned lately how much I like this curriculum?

I would like to note that it is supposed to be for 1-8th grade but my older son doesn't seem to get into it as much as the younger two kids do. I don't know if it is because he is older or because of the kind of learner he is. He enjoys workbooks/worktexts. The younger two kids really love this way of learning and I think it is perfect for them!

The Game.

My younger son and daughter are supposed to be doing their school work right now. Instead, they are playing "a game." They are pretending. My daughter said "In the game, I'm only 8" (She's really 9.) I yelled "In the game, I'm 30!" (I'm really somewhat older than that.) and my daughter said "How about 29?" Hmmm. Okay.

Thinking About the New Year.

Okay, so now I see the value of thinking of Christmas a little earlier. Yesterday turned out to be a good day. restocked an item that we really, really wanted and kept it on sale, so we were able to get it. We shopped online extensively yesterday and now, assuming everything gets delivered on time, we are mostly done. Only 3 more little things to get. Ahhh. I feel so much better.

So now, I've turned my thoughts to the new year. I think we will do the KONOS unit on determination. That's a good one for a new year unit because we can demonstrate determination by making and keeping new year's resolutions and the unit has a section on the Olympics and the 2006 Winter Olympic Games will be in February.

I also want to start a unit on Spanish. My brother was kind enough to loan us his Pemsler Spanish program for a little while and that will help us get started.

In the spirit of determination, I'm not giving up on the notebooking idea. Notebooking is kind of like the educational equivalent of a scrapbook. The students draw maps, write quotes, essays, make drawings and diagrams to show what they've learned. My kids have received notebooking with all the enthusiasm of a, well, with basically no enthusiasm, but I am going to keep trying. I hope they will learn to like it or at least do it without too much whining!

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm starting to understand.

I'm starting to understand why some people want to go ahead and start the Christmas season on November 1st or before. If they are like me, they have way too many things to do and not enough time to do them in. I have only just got my Christmas shopping started. I'm doing my lesson planning on a night-before basis (if that!) and I just can't seem to get it all in. So far, I've been to 2 Christmas parties, we've got caroling, co-ops, Christmas plays, at least 3 more parties, gift buying and wrapping. Next year, when the stores start putting up their Christmas displays, I'm going to take it as a warning: Get started! Now! That way you can relax later!

Sunday, December 11, 2005


My husband and my kids are playing the board game Clue this morning. I'm glad my husband will play with them because Clue isn't my thing. It is funny to watch and listen to. The younger two kids just can't help yelling out clues when they know something. Every time someone gives a hypothesis, they'll say things like "You're Wrong!" or "None of those are right!" I tried to explain that they shouldn't give away free clues but they kept on anyway. As my youngest explained, it is just about having fun playing the game.

Update: The game is over and apparently Professor Plum did it in the ballroom with the candlestick. Good to know.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Common Cold.

No one wants to do any work around here. A cold has been attacking everyone in the family in turn and now I think all 5 of us have it. There is no enthusiasm for school or work, but nonetheless, it really needs to be done. We need to get our days in. We are supposed to start learning about the immune system today and we are actually living through a battle of the immune system. Wow, could I have planned that better? LoL. Actually, I think I'd rather study it without the cold. I have laryngitis and barely can talk at all, so school time this afternoon should be fun. Not.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We finally made the gingerbread house. Posted by Picasa

Gingerbread House Posted by Picasa

Getting Back on Track.

This is a cool site to make your own educational board games. Games in Word. With my youngest son, games continue to be one of the better ways that he learns so I'm looking into making some games for the subjects we are studying. On our quick tour of the human body, we are on the respiratory system today. We're going to attempt to make a model lung and do a few other experiments. I might make a board game to review the body. I think our school is starting to look a lot less like 'school at home' and more of our own version of learning while living, playing games, reading, doing art, watching movies, etc. We're headed down the relaxed homeschooling path, I think. I can see though, that both of the younger kids are reading better and spelling better. I hope that this path is a good one. If it turns out that it isn't, I still have time to order workbooks and start back on the to 'school at home' route. I'll spend Christmas break deciding what to do next. I think we'll probably tackle the KONOS unit of determination after the holiday. Maybe we'll make some New Year's resolutions and maybe actually keep them because we're learning about determination? Could happen, I guess.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Getting School Done.

We didn't do school today. I usually help my mom with her Christmas shopping and today was the day. We got it all done plus had a nice visit and lunch out. Tomorrow we have a field trip and I suppose that counts for one of the 10 noninstructional days that we are supposed to have but it makes me feel like we should be doing something! After that, we'd really better buckle down and get some school done before Christmas break, that is, if there is going to be a summer break next year! Sometimes it is just really hard to get everything done! I really need to get my own Christmas shopping done some time too!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


We just read Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr. Suess which is about collecting all kinds of exotic eggs and making a super-de-douper omelet. My youngest son said that when he learns how to cook, he will make me an omelet with everything I like in it, ham, cheese and mashed potatoes and call it a "Momlet."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas ...

Now that the kids are older, they don't have to wait for Dad to haul the tree out of storage and put it up. They just did it themselves. They also found some old Santa hats we had and made use of those, hung our stockings in the windows (we don't have a fireplace) and even made a Christmas tree out of Zome toys. My younger son's head is full of ideas and schemes to catch Santa or at least get to the presents before his big brother - something he's never managed to do. He's thinking of sleeping in the living room or staying awake all night under the covers so Santa will think he's asleep!

Christmas hats. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Tree made of Zomes.  Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Excuse me!

I went in to wake the kids up a little while ago. My sons got up without any difficulty. My daughter, on the other hand, didn't. I pulled the blankets down a little on her, patted her a little bit and said "Time to wake up." She said 'EXCUSE ME! I'M SLEEPING!" I said "I know you're sleeping, it's time to wake up." to which she responded "I'LL WAKE UP WHEN I'M NOT TIRED ANYMORE!" This wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't said while she was still pretty much asleep and if it wasn't such a total, total change from her regular personality, which is almost eternally sweet, helpful and polite.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My new shopping socks. ;-) Posted by Picasa

Retail Therapy.

Yesterday, I took the day off from homeschooling and had myself a little retail therapy. My best friend and I went shopping all afternoon, and also had a lovely lunch out. Boy did I need that. It was great. I didn't really get much Christmas shopping done but really just picked up some things I actually needed plus one Christmas present and a gingerbread house kit. I always wanted to make a real gingerbread house and I figured we should do it at least once. Michael's Crafts had the kits on sale yesterday for $8.00 (and some change) which is probably less than the cost of buying the ingredients. All in all, it was a great day. My best friend bought me some new shopping socks. I'll share a picture in the next post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Homeschool Blog Awards, Voting Going on Now.

Nominate your favorite blogs here. There are several categories. Now I'm off to read some of the ones who have been nominated. ;-)


We finished studying the digestive system yesterday and our curriculum book suggested dramatizing digestion. I thought it sounded kind of crazy but it turned out to be lots of fun. The 2 little kids pretended to be the food we dramatized the digestive process on them, on the king sized bed, using pillows for teeth and blankets for everything else. Hard to picture, I'm sure, but it was hilarious and as a result, my 7-year-old can explain how the whole process works. My older son only wanted to watch and it's kind of good, cause he's a big boy and probably would have been kind of hard to digest. The 2 younger kids were running around saying "Digest me again!" That's not something you hear every day!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

New Nicknames.

I noticed my daughter was calling Max, the dog, a different nickname today. I asked her about it and she said that she's given the pets vegetable nicknames. Lucy's vegetable nickname is "Sweet Potato", Shadow's is "Sweet Pea" and poor Max has been given the nickname "Pea Soup".

Linc's Bad Day

Don't worry, he's fine. That look says "I can't believe you brought the camera! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Linc and Xena a.k.a. Zinc and Lena.

On the way to Thanksgiving dinner, we were talking in the van, about our kitten's names, which are Linc and Xena and how I mix them up all the time and call them Zinc and Lena. My oldest son dared me to say all 4 names 5 times fast. I tried it. (You all try it at home, it's not easy!) By the time I got done I was very confused. I said "which ones did I say last?" and they told me and then I said "Was that what I meant to say?" It's pretty bad when you have to ask someone else what you meant to say!

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Thanksgiving Report.

We're actually only halfway through our Thanksgiving holiday because we decided this year to have dinner with my husband's family on Thursday and dinner with my family on Friday. This way, we get to spend more time with each without rushing off and we don't have to eat 2 huge meals in one day. Much better, I think. My brightly colored hair was only noticible to me, I guess, because no one really seemed to notice it. We had a great time, playing games and laughing. We don't see enough of each other.

I did try to sneak some school in on the kids by getting them to do dot-to-dot and color by number turkeys yesterday, but my younger son would have no part of it. "Today is a holiday! There is no school!" he said. Oh well, I tried. We are learning about the digestive system in our unit study of the human body, and we sure did a lot of digesting yesterday, so does that count?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take time to think about what you are thankful for today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Accidently Blonde.

Tonight I decided to put some lighter brown highlights in my brown hair, which I've done before. The roots needed a little touching up. So I bought a subtle highlights kit and planned to use the shortest possible time for very subtle highlights. I put the little cap on and my daughter pulled strands of hair through the cap with the little crochet-hook looking thing. So far, so good. Then, I followed the directions and put the highlight stuff on my hair. I set the timer for the minimum amount of time. When the timer went off, I went into the bathroom to take the cap off and rinse out my hair. One problem. The cap wouldn't come off. I pulled and pulled. My hair was tangled around the cap. I finally had to call my husband to come and pull it off of me. A lot of my hair ended up getting pulled out by the roots, but what hair I do have left is pretty much blonde. I guess my relatives will get kind of a surprise tomorrow at Thanksgiving. ;-)

Day Before Thanksgiving.

I guess since it is the day before Thanksgiving, I should give the kids turkey crafts to do today? I might give them one or two. I'm actually hopeful that we will have a day as productive as yesterday and do a lot of learning this afternoon. Yesterday went well. We are speeding through the study of the human body in the KONOS book because we studied it last year, when I was just making up my own units, and we learned a lot then. So this year, it is mostly review. I think we'll finish it before Christmas break and then, who knows? We may totally change our routine in January. ;-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I Know That

This site looks like fun, lots of learning games. I know that.

I Hope This Day is Good.

Does anyone remember the country song from a long, long time ago, "Lord, I hope this day is good."? I'm feeling that way today. I hope my work goes okay and homeschooling goes okay. We need to get some of this stuff about the body covered so we need to have a good KONOS session this afternoon. While I'm working this morning, the kids have a list of about 5-6 things to do and I hope they do them without nagging. I'm probably expecting a miracle here, aren't I?

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Christmas Lists

My children have all given me their preliminary Christmas lists. My younger son's has 1 item on it - a video game. My older son's has 4 items on it, "in order of importance" and lists 3 video games and a pair of jeans. He's asking for clothes, does this mean he's growing up? My daughter's list has 25 items on the front page and the "really want list" on the back. Fun times. ;-)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Medical Transcription

As I've mentioned before, I do medical transcription at home. Yesterday, I had a particularly difficult dictation to transcribe. I let my daughter listen to the very end of it (no identifying data for the patient!) and she said what she heard was "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, ping!" It pings at the end of the report. My son said, in a different conversation, that his mom knows what mumumumum means because she types what sounds like mumbles to him. Ah, the joy of my work. Now I have to go back to listing to the blah, blah, blah and mumumumum and try to make sense of it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Solution Site

This site has a lot of good resources and searchable, free unit studies. I've been using it for the class on money I need to teach at the co-op. The Solution Site.

No Time.

Yesterday, we had co-op classes with our homeschool group. My youngest son was in a money class, learning how to count money. The only problem was that there were a lot of worksheets that the kids had to do. My youngest is not fond of worksheets. At all. He was dragging his feet and not getting done, so I stepped in to nag him a little bit and keep him focused. He said "Mom, can't you even give me time to scratch under my nose??" His nose must be itchy from the cold he's just getting over.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Learning about Bones.

We are still learning about bones and today's assignment was to cut a bone lengthwise and crosswise and look at the marrow and vessels going through the middle of it. I bought a package of chicken drumsticks. Dad did the cutting. My older son was very matter of fact about it, but the younger two kids ran into the living room and said "we're in the not-looking-at-the-yucky-bone club!" I got them to come back and look at the marrow and then we looked at the joint in detail. Then we cooked all of the drumsticks and Max, the dog, got to have the bone we had cut up. After looking at it in that much detail, no one else was interested in that one, although they ate the other ones with no complaints. We also made dancing skeletons and played some memory games. They need to learn all of the major bones in the body for this unit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Today's Activities.

We are studying about the human body now and we are working on the skeletal system today. We read several books on the subject and worked on our large body tracings a little bit (from yesterday) and then they were supposed to build a skeletal framework out of something around the house. The pictures are below. My daughter's is made out of paper with a beach ball to help shape the head. I thought they did a good job.

My daughter's version (slightly blurred). Posted by Picasa

My older son built his out of Atollo blocks. Posted by Picasa

My younger son's version was of metal and magnets.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


My youngest son was talking to his Dad about his school work. He didn't want to do it. His dad told him that if he didn't do it by the deadline, he would be grounded. Youngest son said "I wish I could be grounded from math." His dad said "If you loved math and didn't like video games, we might ground you from math." My son said in a shocked voice "How could anybody not like video games????!!!!"

Birthdays and other stuff.

Last night the kids and I were talking about birthdays. I tried to get them to skip having a birthday this year as they are growing up way too fast. They did not go for that, however, they have agreed that Daddy and I can skip our birthdays this year, if we want to. I thought that was very generous of them, unfortunately, I have several friends and relatives who know how old I am and won't let me forget it. :-P

We went on talking for a while and the kids discussed that it probably wasn't right to lie about my age, so I suggested that I could just say I'm 40ish. My youngest son said "Or you could say you're 50ish!" Um, no. I don't think I want to do that!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Before Christmas ...

My youngest son said to me tonight "Before Christmas, I'm going to need a camera, some popcorn and some caffeine." Of course I asked why. He said, "The caffeine is to help me stay awake on Christmas night and the camera is to get a picture of Santa." I asked what the popcorn was for, he said, "for me to eat."

Friday, November 11, 2005


The curriculum I use is called KONOS. There are some sample pages on line at the KONOS web site. . What I like is all of the innovative things that they list to do right in your own home. This curriculum was written by homeschoolers for homeschoolers and I love that about it. There have been several activities that I just thought wouldn't work, but they did. For example, there was an activity in there for a child to dress up as Abe Lincoln and recite the Gettysburg address. Now I did not think this would go over with my kids. I read the description of the activity with them and asked if any of them wanted to do it. My daughter said that she would. So, I went to the computer and printed out a copy of the text of the Gettysburg address and my daughter went into her room and got a trampoline and some exercise mats, stacked them up so she could stand on them, on top of the trampoline so she would be "very tall" and taped some of her long hair under her chin like a beard. Then, she read the Gettysburg address with great drama and style. We'll never forget that. If it ever comes up on a test, we are all going to have a mental picture for that one for sure!

KONOs does involve some work for me in that I had to look up a copy of the Gettysburg address. I don't have a set of encylopedias so I used the computer. Yesterday, when I was teaching about skin, I had to have a picture of skin layers for my oldest son to look at and sketch and some facts about skin to read. I didn't find a book on skin at the library so I used Edhelper.. You can see that the teacher has to do some prep work on some things, but other things the kids do the prep work.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


My youngest son came up to me a minute ago and said "do you want to see my sticker collection?" I asked where it was, he said (what every homeowner wants to hear) "its on my wall. Do you know why it is on my wall?" I said "no" and he said "because my wall doesn't have hair and I do." I guess he's had some painful experiences peeling off band-aids. ;-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A New Direction.

We are still in the Cooperation Unit of the KONOS curriculum but now we are changing our focus from the United States and how they work together, to the different parts of the human body and how they work together. I hope it goes well. I always feel this fear at the beginning of a new unit, that no one will learn anything or that the only one of us who does learn something will be me. I think the KONOS book has a lot of cool activities, so I'm just going to open it up and get started tomorrow. I haven't yet got any books from the library, any videos or CDs, but we are going to go ahead and start with what we do have and proceed from there. I did open up the book today, look at the book and vocabulary lists and preview some of the activities we will do tomorrow. I am going to add in some experiments from the Usborne Book of Science Experiments that focus on the senses, just for fun.

Here's the dream catcher we made at the co-op. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Kid Of The Day.

We have a kid of the day plan in place. My oldest son is kid of the day on Sunday and Wednesday, my daughter on Tuesday and Saturday, my youngest son on Monday and Friday and Dad and I have Thursdays. This gives the choice of the nightly reading (which lately is always Hank the Cowdog) and if we happen to be out, the kid of the day chooses the restaurant. Sometimes, being the kid of the day means extra responsibilities too. Someone has lost my remote control and so now the kid of the day has to be my remote control. Fortunately for them, I don't watch a lot of TV but when I do, I seem to need a lot of volume changes. ;-)

Monday, November 07, 2005


The kids have been in a very silly mood all day today. We got a lot of work done, but there was a lot of giggliness too. One thing they were doing was deliberately (or not?) misunderstanding each other. My oldest son said that his forearms were tanned and my daughter said "You have 4 arms?" which resulted in a lot of laughing. Then later, my daughter was talking about her birthstone being peridot and my older son said "prairie dog?" which everyone thought was hilarious. My younger son is not feeling 100% today. He has a slight fever and a slight sore throat. I looked at his throat with a flashlight and said "yeah, it looks red." He looked kind of alarmed and said "What color is it usually?" It was so funny, the look on his face. I guess you had to be here. I'm really glad I was.

Better Than I Expected.

We are studying the Civil War in kind of a mini-unit. For us, that means a week or so. We've watched The Red Badge of Courage. We watched part of the PBS series on the war, but it didn't hold the kid's interest. We watched a documentary about The Monitor, which was very cool. We went to the Frasier Historical Arms Museum and saw Civil War weapons and saw a dramatization by a woman acting as Clara Barton, who did an excellent job. We've read biographies of some of the leaders during the war, such as Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln. (We visited Abe's birthplace last year.) We went to a Women of the Civil War museum, which was very informative and fun. We learned about women joining the army to be with their husbands and to get a pension and acting as spies during the war. We read the Magic Treehouse Book, Civil War on Sunday. I printed out maps of the union and confederate states and we talked about the Mason Dixon line. We talked about Civil War 'firsts' including the submarine and the machine gun. (cool stuff). My boys acted out a battle in the living room and my daughter dressed herself as Abraham Lincoln (she wouldn't let me take pictures, darn it) and read the Gettysburg address. We got most of the ideas from the KONOS volume 3 and I have to say, I think it went pretty well, as it usually does when I trust the curriculum and just go with it.

After the Break.

We are having a hard time getting motivated now, after fall break. I knew it was going to happen and I debated not taking a fall break this year, but we did and now, here we are, having a hard time getting going again. Sigh.

I hope today goes well.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Cool Article About Homeschooling.

I ran across this in my reading tonight. Homeschooling's True Colors

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Chicken Little.

We went to see Chicken Little today and it was really good. Right before I went, I saw a negative review on Yahoo, so I was pleasantly surprised at how cute it was. All of us, adults and kids, laughed a lot.

Lighthouse craft. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005

I survived!

I survived the co-op. I always worry about these things and they usually turn out okay. We reviewed the great lakes area map, studied a little about lighthouses, made a lighthouse craft, studied a little about the Eastern Woodlands Native American tribes and made a dream catcher. Both of the crafts took quite a while, were open ended enough to allow some creativity and made it so that I didn't have to talk a lot (which is the part I don't like) and so it went pretty well. I'll post pictures of the crafts later on.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I have to teach at co-op again tomorrow, so I'm having another attack of nerves. I don't think I'm the type for teaching a big group. I've been scrambling all day trying to plan enough activities to keep 20 kids occupied and learning about the great lakes states for an hour and a half. Whew. Last time I used all I had prepared including all the stuff for next time and all the emergency stuff. I hope it goes well.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The sky today, beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Okay, I've adjusted.

After a period of 24 hours, I think I've adjusted to it being November. I took a little visit to Wal-mart yesterday where they were playing Christmas music and putting out the Christmas merchandise and I even started to get in a little bit of a Christmas-y mood. I actually started writing out a Christmas list. I'm probably a bit too early and by the time Christmas actually gets here, I'll be oh so ready for it to be over. I do love this time of year though.

My daughter's pumpkin. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I've can't believe it is already November! Where did the year go? It is time to start thinking of Christmas! Thanksgiving is almost here.

Here at home, we really need to buckle down and get busy. I realize we started school this year in July and that gave us a slight head start on the 180 days we need to do this year, but with almost a 3 week fall break, we've kind of lost our lead and now we need to just try and keep up! We are supposed to be doing a short unit on the American Civil War but I've had a hard time getting started on it. I'm also teaching at co-op again this Friday and that class is on the Great Lakes region again, so my mind has been on that and not what I need to be teaching my own kids. I'll be glad when my teaching time at co-op is over and I can just go and not have to worry about preparing to teach a different subject. It is very difficult for my mind to go in 2 directions at once. ;-)

Monday, October 31, 2005


My 7-year-old came up to me yesterday and said 'What if someone was so good at origami that they could make a origami gun and it would shoot out little paper bullets.' He's such a boy.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Today is my brother's birthday. I think I might give him the gift of forgetting exactly how old he is on the condition that he give me the same gift when April gets here. How does that sound? Hmm?

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Fall.

Yesterday morning, I went out to walk the new dog, stepped in a hole and fell, slamming my head into a piece of plywood that is eventually supposed to be part of the kids clubhouse. Yesterday, I felt a little sore; I had a bruised knee and my arm hurt a little, but today I am sore all over and stiff with a greenish circle on my forehead. Not fun.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Cold here.

Last night the temperature dropped into the 30s. We were out visiting my parents and on the way back in the van, my daughter asked me to turn on the heat because "My teeth are chattering like crazy maniacs, I mean teethiacs." We constantly make up new words here!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This is the big map we used at the co-op about the great lakes states. The kids at the co-op filled it in and they did a great job, but then we played geography twister on it and blurred it. My DH did a good job of enlarging the map onto this wood. Posted by Picasa

Here's the big map my kids made a while back. My daughter pretty much drew it freehand. There are a few mistakes, but overall, I think she did a great job.  Posted by Picasa

Beautiful Lucy. Posted by Picasa

Max Posted by Picasa


It is very hard for me to focus. I have so much going on in my life. I am trying to focus on work this week but I have so much on my mind. I have about 10 things I need to get done for the kids, including halloween costumes and homeschooling assignments. I have about 10 things I need to do for my mom and dad. I have a job and have already missed a day of work this week I need to make up and, oh yes, we also have a new family member. No, we haven't adopted a baby, but a dog. His name is Max and he's 4 years old. Yes, we are insane, thanks for asking. I can't help it, I have a hard time resisting a dog or kitten or child who needs a home.

What was I talking about? Oh yes, focus. It is difficult for me to focus on my work today. Wonder why?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Back to Reality.

Our little mini-vacation is over. Oh it was so fun! Now we have to get back to reality. I'm not sure how much work I'm going to make the kids do today, but I have to get back to my job after an unprecedented 2 days off. I also need to catch up on the laundry after a couple of days of just playing. It was interesting playing the tourist in our own hometown, while showing our friends around. I learned a lot about this area that I didn't know before. I usually just pass through there on the way to somewhere else. :-p

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Educational Field Trips.

My friend from Pennsylvania, who is also a homeschooler is here in Kentucky, visiting us this week. We are having a great time. We did an educational field trip to the Frasier Historical Arms Museum in Louisville yesterday. Today we are going to see some local sights. The kids are getting to have some quality time with some homeschooling kids and we are getting to have some quality time with some homeschooling parents. We are also eating junk food and pretending that we are on vacation too, so it is all good.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The nerve!

Yesterday my husband was walking through the living room. He noticed that one of the pictures on the wall was hanging a little bit crooked and straightened it up. My 7-year-old looked at me and said "Daddy straightened that picture up for no apparent reason" I guess he liked it crooked?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I found my camera!

My digital camera has been lost for 2 months but finally, it has been found. It was in a plastic bag of wrapping paper left over from my daughter's birthday party. I am so happy and so I've shared pictures of my kittens, Linc and Xena and our backyard, which is very pretty this time of year.

Xena Posted by Picasa

Linc Posted by Picasa

I love fall. This is what our backyard looks like right now. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005


My two youngest kids, age 9 and 7, were having a discussion about the 2 varieties of Cheetos. My daughter likes the crunchier, harder ones and my son likes the puffier ones. They discussed the various virtues of both kinds with my daughter being very descriptive in her statements about the ones she didn't like. The conversation ended with my 7-year-old whining loudly "But the disgusting, nasty, puffy ones are the ones I like."

It's me again, Hank the Cowdog.

My daughter is in the room that I'm in, listening to Hank the Cowdog on tape and enjoying it very much. Every now and then she laughs then repeats words to herself very quietly. I have heard her say "once, twice, thrice, dice!" and laugh. Then another time she said "Onamatopetunia" and laughed out loud. We love old Hank.

Note to self: Pay careful attention to what the spellcheck is doing. I let this be on here for a couple of hours saying "Hank the Codes." LoL.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Radio.

My dear husband likes classic rock music and he has a local radio station that he listens to a lot. The kids listen to it with him and listen to a variety of things when they are with me, depending on my mood. The other day, he drove my van to work and the next time the kids and I got in it, it was tuned to his radio station. The song that was on finished and the announcer said "This is not your father's radio station" in that dramatic voice announcers use and my daughter said "Um, yeah, it is." in that smarty-pants voice 9 year old girls sometimes use. ;-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


My youngest son came into our bedroom (where my computer is) and brought every blanket he could find in the house and piled them on the bed. Then he got underneath all of them and whispered "I'm hiding." I said "Who are you hiding from and why?" He said, out loud, "I have no idea."

Thank You.

As I've mentioned before, I do medical transcription in my spare time. (spare time, LoL, yeah, right). I telecommute from Kentucky to California. Isn't technology wonderful? Of all the doctors I type for, there is one who always remembers to say at the end of the dictation "Thank you for typing." Even though this is a specialist with a difficult accent, I never dread typing his dictation. I try just a little bit harder to fill in blanks for him so that his reports look better. He remembers that there is a person on the other end of that phone, typing the report for him. I appreciate that he remembers that. I think even little gestures of gratitude go a long way.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Kind of hot-doggy.

A quote from my youngest son again ;-) Today he said he wanted something for breakfast, but didn't know what. I suggested cereal. He said "No, I want something kind of hot-doggy ... like um, chicken."

Usborne Book of Science Experiments


We are going to be a little bit more flexible with school this week. Last week we took one week of fall break and it wouldn't hurt, really, to take another because we started early this year and thus, have a lot of days already done. I've got quite a bit going on myself with a co-op that I have to teach on Friday. I've very nervous about it and so, probably, overcompensating by preparing too much. I'm also covering for someone at the kid's club on Wednesday and trying to do my fall cleaning. So, I'm going to let the kids be on their own a bit more this week. In order to get free shipping on another item, I bought a book called The Usborne Book of Science Experiments that actually comes with a kit with science experiments that they can do. I may let them do some of those this week and we are supposed to be doing a unit on the Civil War, so I picked up some Civil War books and videos at the library and I'll let them watch/read those. When my friends from out of town get here next week, we'll be going to the local Civil War museum so that will be a good field trip for this study. The kids also will be doing more than usual cleaning this week, which is home ec, right?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Conversations with my 7-year-old.

The other day, my youngest son and I were walking in the woods to the clubhouse they are building. We have been discussing the theories of evolution and intelligent design in our house lately and he's been thinking about it. He said "If the theory of evolution is true, then Daddy still has some evolution to do." I suppressed my laughter and asked what he meant. He said "His arms are really long." Rest assured, my husband's knuckles do not rub the ground when he walks. ;-)

Tonight we watched "Three Wishes" on NBC for the first time. I thought it was very good and now I want to be on it. My son watched it for a while with me and then said "When are they going to be done with all the mushy stuff?!"

End of the Week.

We took a break from school this week to do the fall cleaning. We have done, so far, absolutely nothing related to fall cleaning. Nothing. I haven't felt well this week. We may have to take some more time off from school. We have some wonderful friends from out of town coming to visit and I would like to be able to entertain them in my house, not to mention that it just needs to be done. Sigh. I really don't like to clean. :-p

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Christmas List

Last night my youngest son's thoughts turned to Christmas and his Christmas list. I told him that Christmas was now only a couple of months away and maybe he'd better start on that Christmas list. I was assuming he'd write it (He hates to write!) but he said "I'll tell you what I want and you type it on Microsoft Word."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A little learning going on.

We're on fall break this week, officially. However, there has been a little bit of learning going on this week. The kids have been working on building a clubhouse in the woods which is very similar to one of the lessons in the KONOS book about cooperation. They're cooperating while doing it.

Yesterday, my oldest two kids got interested in the timeline and studied the presidents on it for a little while, noticing how long each man served as president.

They all sat down together and my oldest read Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein to them all. They really had a good time with this one.

We also played a couple of games of "Guess Where?" which is similar to "Guess Who" which is just good brain exercise and fun.

So this is how we're spending our fall break. I really like homeschooling, did I mention that?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Really fun book.

This book is very hard to read, but very funny.

A little break.

We decided to take this week off from school, a little break for everyone. We just finished the states and regions study and before we start the next one, we're taking some time off. It feels good. My father was admitted to the hospital last night and I was up there until very late, (He's okay now), so probably there would have been no school today anyway, but I'm kind of glad we have planned to take the whole week off.

Now I need to decide what we are going to study next.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I love fall. I love the way it looks with the beautiful leaves changing colors and I love the cooler weather and wearing sweaters. We're going to take a 1 week fall break from school and do a bit of fall cleaning. I can't say that I love that, but it needs to be done. The weather should be great for it, anyway.

I'm glad that we homeschool because it definitely allows for flexibility in things like that. It also helps with my and my husband's work schedule because he has an odd shift and wouldn't get to see the kids during the week at all and I can pick up more work on the weekends when the work is more plentiful and the pay is a bit higher. I actually think it is easier to homeschool than to do public school. I've done both. With public school, the day starts really early, there's a lot of stress about getting to school on time. When they come home, there's a lot of homework, bath and bed with very little spare time to play outside. Since we're homeschooling, we've started sleeping in later, going to bed later, getting in a lot more time playing and generally feeling more relaxed and happy.

One last thought from my youngest son. A few minutes ago he said to me "If you hold a bobble-head by the head, then it becomes a bobble-body." I can tell he's been thinking today. ;-)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Little Redecorating.

I changed the colors on my blog and at the same time corrected the problem that I've been having with the sidebar. I'm so excited! Doesn't it look good? I wish redecorating the house would be so easy and inexpensive!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Good Link for Free Unit Studies.

TeacherLink I found a lot of information here about George Washington Carver for our study of the South.

The New Threat.

I've noticed lately that when we go someplace, I've had a hard time gathering the kids up to get in the car to go home. They've been taking advantage of the fact that it is usually just mom and them. I'm outnumbered 3 to 1. They've been taking longer and longer and longer to get in the car. The other night, this long term slight disobedience culminated in 2 of the children running off into the darkness of the back yard at a friend's house and not coming back for 15-20 minutes despite my yelling at them to come back. Oh, I was angry. So angry, that I decided not to decide on a punishment for this crime until the following day, lest it be way, way too severe. The next day I had a flash of inspiration, an old fashioned idea -- I would make them write lines. My daughter does not like to practice her cursive writing so she had to write 100 times, in cursive, "I will listen to and obey my mother and father." (Yes, this was mom's punishment but I threw Dad's name in there for extra letters!) and my younger son had to write the same thing, only 10 times in print. This is a kid I'm lucky to get 1 written word out of most days, so believe me, this was a punishment for him. For the last 3 days, anytime they start to misbehave, I just say "Do you want to write lines?" and they immediately straighten up. I wonder how long it will last?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Still on the States.

We've been studying the states of the United States for quite some time. Personally, I'm getting a little tired of it and ready for something else. I think we'll do a quick wrap-up this week, take a short break and then begin something else. The only region we have left to do is the south and then we are supposed to start a unit on the civil war.

Yesterday, we had a little mini-strike amongst the students. None of them wanted to do the things I had planned for them to do and they all wanted to write their own schedule. I allowed it and they did a fine job of doing their own planning. We'll see how it goes today.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fall Break.

This week is fall break for the kids in public school in our area. Yesterday, we were out somewhere and someone asked the kids if they were enjoying their break from school. Oh the looks they gave me as they answered her, "we're not on break this week." We did take a little mini-break yesterday afternoon and spend some time with some public school friends/cousins who are on fall break. It was fun. I'm not sure how school work is going to go today, now that they know ;-0 but I'd rather work on the days we can and then feel more easygoing about all the days we have to take off just because life gets in the way.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Shadow Getter Awayer.

One of our dogs is named Shadow. He's almost a year old, half cocker spaniel and about the size of a cocker spaniel. He's black and hard to see in the dark and that's how he got his name. He is a little hyper dog who loves to jump especially on my youngest son and any kids who come to visit who are about that size. So, my youngest son has a stick that he pushes Shadow away with (no hitting, just pushing) that he calls a Shadow getter awayer.

I was talking about this with my best friend the other day and she said that she had a Shadow getter awayer at her house because her niece had brought one there after visiting us. She said that her cats like to chew on it and keep pulling it out in the middle of the kitchen floor.

This led to a funny discussion by us about how she might trip and fall on it and how in the emergency room, if she mentioned that she fell on a Shadow getter awayer that they might admit her to the psychiatric ward and ask her questions like "does your shadow bother you?" "are you afraid of your shadow?"

Just feeling silly.

The curriculum we use.

We use KONOS. There are some samples of the lessons on the internet. Here is a sample from one of the KONOS in a box plans. Sample 1. and here is one from one of the books. Sample 2. . We love the KONOS method so far. We've been using it for a couple of months.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

My Other Blog

My other blog, Homeschool Stuff, is coming along. I've been adding some links for homeschoolers. I'm not done yet, of course, but there are some good links there. Take a look. Homeschool Stuff

Saturday, October 01, 2005


I got some white cheddar 'Cheese Bits' crackers the other day while at the grocery. I love them. My daughter was eating some of them last night. I said "you're not eating all of my crackers are you?" She said "I'm just checking to make sure they're not stale." Then she ate one. "This one's okay." Then another. "This one's okay." ;-)

Friday, September 30, 2005


I'm having my first experience teaching spelling now that I've been homeschooling. The English language is so strange. Today I've been working with my daughter on words like paid, laid, said and braid and also played, brayed, prayed. I cannot explain why the words are spelled differently and yet rhyme, or why said is spelled the same, but does not rhyme. It's a crazy thing. My daughter came out of public school with poor spelling ability, so we are using the AVKO spelling program from the Spelling and Dyslexia Research Foundation. It has really made a difference in her spelling and we've only been using it since July. I think it is interesting that a person could read very well and yet, not spell well.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Onion Rings.

I had a coupon for onion rings this week. They are a rare treat for my husband and I. The kids don't care for them at all. My youngest son came in where I was working and asked me to go in the kitchen and make him some toaster streudel (another coupon). I said "Daddy's in there, why don't you go ask him?" He said "There are onion rings in there!" I said "There are onion rings in here too." and he said, "Yeah, well, not enough to annoy me."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Another Volcano Poem

Volcanos are
hOt with
Lava and
Can become rocky
Often fiery.

This is my daughter's version.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Volcano Poem

This poem was written by my oldest son today. I think he did a very good job.

Violent Explosion.
Outrageous Noise.
Loud Booms.

Notice that the first letter of each line spells the word Volcano.

Happy Birthday!

My oldest is turning 13 today. I cannot believe it! Happy Birthday!

Taking a Detour.

I had planned to read a lot of children's literature this fall; award winning stuff, like Caddie Woodlawn and Carry on Mr. Bowditch. However, we have taken a little reading detour by starting on, and getting addicted to, Hank the Cowdog. We can't help it. We love Hankie. To compromise, I've been reading short books on related subjects before we start reading Hank. We've been reading about animals in the Rocky Mountain states like Bears, Coyotes, Wolves, Moose and Elk and a few books short books on American history. Last night, we added a new diminsion to it by listening to the audiobook for Hank the Cowdog 5. It is read by the author. The kid's weren't crazy about how Drover was voiced, thinking that he sounded old and not like a pup but other than that, we loved it. The added benefit: you would not believe how quickly the teeth were brushed and the kids were ready for bed!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Still Studying the States.

We have several more regions of the United States still to study; Alaska and Hawaii, the Pacific States, the Southwest and the South. I think actually the South is going to be the most difficult because we are from there, kind of. We are at the northernmost part of the South, but southern just the same. We do have the accent. We do eat grits quite frequently. We already know that Kentucky bluegrass is not blue. Today, I'm not really able to work up much enthusiasm, but I guess I'll go ahead and dive into the study of the Pacific States. We're going to make apple butter and do a few other things. I guess since it is time to start I should decide what those will be? Nah. I'll wing it, as usual.

Thankfully, my wonderful DH cleaned up the kitchen last night (I had a work deadline yesterday and didn't get to it) and we have a clean kitchen to mess up making apple butter. ;-)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Last Tomato.

I went out to pick the last of our home grown tomatoes this afternoon. It has not been a good year for our garden. It's been too dry and the garden has been dreadfully neglected this year. We've managed to have a few tomatoes, a couple of pumpkins and some watermelons that were kind of, well, bite-sized. (My daughter ate 2 watermelons in 1 sitting all by herself.) Anyway, the last tomato looked good, small, but good. I don't know how it was because I leaned over to pick it, stepped on one of the kids walking sticks, started to fall, almost fell on Shadow (the dog), tried desparately not to fall on him, twisted around and just managed to catch myself with the hand that was holding the last tomato of summer, squashing it beyond recognition. Nice.

Friday, September 23, 2005


We're studying the Rocky Mountain states now and learning a bit about bears. I'm starting to wish I was a bear, kinda. If I were a bear, I would have to be eating a lot this time of year, trying to gain weight. Then, I would go to sleep for a few months. While I was sleeping peacefully, I would be losing several pounds a week. I wouldn't even have to get up to go to the bathroom. Bear's bodies have a way of taking care of that. When I woke up in the spring, I'd be svelte and slim. They lose weight from stored fat and not from muscle, so they are still strong in the spring. Is that cool or what?


Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Pony Express.

In our studies of the United States, today we learned about the Pony Express. I read a bit about it and we learned that though the Pony Express went almost 2000 miles, it only crossed 2 states because most of the areas they went through were not states but territories. We learned about the Pony Express rider whose girlfriend held up doughnuts for him to spear as he went by (for lunch, I guess?) and we dramatized this with bikes instead of horses.

Course now our neighbors think we're weird ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Air Conditioning.

Our central air stopped working yesterday morning. It might not be too bad in some places, but today's predicted high here in Kentucky is 87 degrees, probably with about 100% humidity. ;-) We've got a repairman coming this evening at 6:00. Last night our house got very warm so for supper, we went to my mom's house, so as not to further warm up our house by cooking. When we got there, it was so cool and nice, my daughter said "Okay, lets go back home, get my blanket and Hank the Cowdog and then come back and stay all night here." We are now on book 3 of the Hank the Cowdog series. I think it is interesting that old Hank got chosen just after her blankie!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Upside Down Schedule

My schedule is rather tenuous. I'm not a good scheduler, rather, I'm not good at staying on a schedule. I can write them down all day long, good ones, I just don't follow them well. I have established over the last few weeks of homeschooling and working as a transcriptionist, a schedule that involves the kids working individually from a list which we call Morning Team Time (because it originally had them working in teams) and me working on my job, in my room, with many interuptions from them. It isn't perfect, but it has been working reasonably well. Today, when I tried to download work there wasn't any. It is good for the transcription service to be caught up, but it means that I have to do the together part of the homeschool schedule in the morning and the individual part in the afternoon. I find that I don't like my schedule turned upside down. I guess because a schedule is so hard for me to stick to, that when I've been sticking to one for several weeks, I don't like to see it changed. Who knew I'd feel this way? Certainly not me.

I really need to work on changing the morning team time name, I guess. Morning individual time is not so catchy. Morning Me Time? No. Morning-Doing-What-Mom-Wants-Me-To-Do-When-I'd-Rather-Be-Riding-My-Bike Time. How's that?

Monday, September 19, 2005


I'm a cat person. My DH is a dog person and is actually allergic to cats. The kids fall somewhere in between. My daughter loves dogs, my oldest son likes cats but is also allergic. As I mentioned a while back, we've got 2 kittens. For now, they are living in my daughter's room because of the 2 people with cat allergies. Eventually, we are going to let the little guys live outside, but meanwhile, we've been being very careful to shower and change clothes after playing with the kittens so as not to aggrevate the allergies. Last night I asked my youngest son to get something from my daughter's room. He didn't want to go in there because he thought he'd have to shower and change clothes on coming out. He said "But I don't want to get catified!"

Saturday, September 17, 2005


My favorite board game is UpWords. It is my mom's favorite game as well. At my parents house, the UpWords game or Quiddler cards are frequently in use. Most people who stop by end up playing a game or two. The other day we were playing UpWords and I managed to change 4 words at once and score almost 40 points. One of the words I used was mads. Yes, you can have an "s" on the end of mad and it means "to madden". (I looked it up.) My Dad said "I can use it in a sentence. It mads me when you change 4 words and get all those points when you are playing against me." LoL.

Our Latest Song Selection.

At night lately, we've been reading some of our selected books for the curriculum and then reading a little bit of Hank the Cowdog last, kind of like dessert. The Hank the Cowdog books are really cute. Since last night's reading, we've all been going around singing, "Mama don't let your puppies grow up to be cowdogs."

Friday, September 16, 2005

New York Cuisine

We are studying the Atlantic states now in our regional studies. The books I have don't always agree on what states are in which region, but we are doing the best we can. We are including New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. In the interest of education, we tasted New York Cheesecake yesterday. We were at McAllister's Deli and we ordered 1 slice of cheesecake with 5 forks. I don't know if 5 people have ever enjoyed a slice of cheesecake more. It was wonderful. Much better than the clam chowder we tasted for New England! (Sorry New England, we're just not seafood people!)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Newest Project

I've started another blog and I am going to try and organize some of my homeschool links on there to make them more easily accessible. Please visit when you can and bear with me as I try to get it organized. Here's the link. Home School Stuff I'm a genius with these names, I know, and modest too. LOL.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


My younger son needs some writing practice. He really doesn't like to write. Today I had him practice writing his letters, against his better judgement. He was writing H's and really spreading them out on the lines, leaving lots of room between each one. He said "The H's need their personal space." I don't know where he gets these phrases!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Learning about Whales.

We're still learning about New England. Today we focused on whales and whaling. We drew a life sized mama whale and baby on our street with chalk. We talked about how large they are, how they are mammals and breathe air, how far they can go before coming up for a breath, etc. It was very interesting. It crossed my mind to dramatize whaling, but I was afraid that whomever was playing the whale might be injured by the 'harpoons'. We may give that a try tomorrow, then again, and even though I may be the obvious choice, I'm not being the whale!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday Adventures.

For our unit on New England, today we dressed my daughter up as a lobster and dramatized setting lobster traps with a large cardboard box and a laundry basket. I really didn't think they'd enjoy this much, but I made the decision to trust the curriculum writers as they seem to know what they are doing. Guess what? The 2 younger kids have been in there dramatizing the lobster industry for half an hour or more. My daughter is now the Queen Lobster and my son is trying to catch her by baiting his traps with suckers and animal crackers. He almost caught a dog, but then I put Shadow outside. ;-)

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Tonight we were going to the van and my youngest son ran and got to it faster, then told my daughter "beat you." She said "what?" She didn't know they were racing. Apparently, that's his new system for beating her, don't tell her that there is a race until it's over and she's lost. Good plan.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Centerpiece.

Yesterday the big glass bowl with the crayfish in it was sitting in the middle of the table for part of the day. You could see the crawdads (the local name for them) going around and around in it. The two younger kids refused to go near it. The youngest said "I don't like crawdads as the centerpiece of the table. I like junk to be in the middle of the table." We have a lot of homeschool stuff on our table most of the time, books, papers, pencils, markers, etc. It's nice to know that someone enjoys the junk on the table. Still, I like to clean it off occasionally.

Last evening, we returned the crayfish to their natural habitat, the creek. I hope they weren't injured by the experience of spending a few hours in a human home.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

States and Regions.

We are in using the KONOS curriculum, studying the unit on cooperation, subunit states and regions, sub-sub unit, New England. We will probably only be doing a few days in each region. I'm really not sure. In case you haven't noticed from reading my blog, I don't plan too much in advance. There are probably 30 activities for New England in the book. I chose several that sounded good to me and we did 3 today. First, we sat down and looked at the map and pointed out the New England states, then we named some things that this region is famous for. For lunch, we tasted clam chowder. Then we made a lighthouse. The activity in the book just tells the kids to make a lighthouse, no instructions. They did a good job and the one the 2 little kids made, actually lit up. They used a plastic cake cover and a large round plastic container, covered it in blue paper and then demonstrated how the lighthouse worked by spinning the cake cover on the top so that the flashlight would spin. I'm sure it is hard to picture, but it was a good effort. My older son fashioned a more traditional looking lighthouse out of a paper towel roll.
After the lighthouse activities, we went to the creek to catch crayfish, the freshwater cousin of the lobster. That was fun. Now we are waiting for the mud to settle so we can study them a bit and draw them before we return them to their habitat. We aren't seafood lovers, so we won't be cooking them. ;-p

Another Reading Comment.

Last night, reading privileges were reinstated. Bedtime went very smoothly, as a matter of fact. I did read three chapters of the current book which took about half an hour. When I stopped reading, my daughter said accusingly, "You never read as much as you should!." I'm glad they like the reading time because I enjoy it too.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No Reading.

Last night my 2 younger kids got in trouble at bedtime. I kept telling them to finish what they were doing because it was time to read but they didn't. I gave them 3 warnings and finally told them that they had 1 minute or they were going to miss reading. 10 minutes later, they came into my bedroom for reading time, only to be told that we were not having it. They love to read at night and they were very, very upset. My son said "It's her fault!" and my daughter said through her tears "Why can't you just ground us? This is too mean."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

This replica of Christopher Columbus's boat Nina docked near us this weekend and we went to see it. It's pretty and much smaller than you would think. Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2005

Another one liner.

Just a minute ago, my 7-year-old (who was watching Bob the Builder) said "Roly is a fast forgetter, just like you."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Don't Make Me.

My two sons were wrestling just now and I heard my youngest son say "Don't make me kick me!" LoL.


My youngest son needs a haircut (is that 1 word or 2?) but he doesn't want one. He wants us to wait. He told me the other night that he'd let me know when he thinks he needs a haircut. He said "When I can't see, I'll tell you."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cat Fishing.

Last night my youngest son had fashioned a fishing pole out of a string and a piece of foam. He was swinging it back and forth for the kittens to chase. My daughter asked him what he was doing and he said "cat fishing." She said "why don't you put a treat on the end of the string?" and he said "You don't need bait to catch cats!" He's right, the kittens are in that playful stage where they'd rather play than anything, play, play, play. They are very cute.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Reading Time Antics.

Last night, we were lying on my bed for reading time (I always hope that lying down will make them go to sleep faster when I'm done reading, but usually, no such luck.) and we got off track on the reading and started talking about how Christopher Columbus wasn't the first to discover America, that the Native Americans were here first and then the vikings stopped by and then another Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci was here and that is why these continents are called the Americas. This led to a silly discussion of how if the Americas were named after Columbus then we'd live in the United States of Columbia or the USC. Because we were really tired, this seemed very funny to us. My daughter said "what if it was USB and it stood for The United Stars of Bertha." My 7-year-old thought this was one of the funniest things he'd ever heard and told his sister "You ought to be a lay-down-comedian!"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Hurricane.

I'm sad about the all the hurricane problems going on right now. I'm not much of a news watcher but I sat down last night and watched a special report about the hurricane. Very sad. My daughter looked at me when they started talking about donations and said "I have 3 dollars." What a sweetie she is.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A New Invention.

My youngest son came to me this morning and said "Hey mommy, guess what? I found a new, cool way to make noise." Oh goody. ;-)

Geography Links.

There are lesson plans and printable maps here.

Lesson plan ideas here.
Education World

The Giant Map

Fortunately, before we got all this rain, I brought the giant U.S. map in and put it in the living room. We are kind of using it as an area rug, temporarily, while we are on this unit. Yesterday, we played a game of geography twister on it and it was a success. The kids want to do it again today. They especially enjoyed it when mama got on the map and they got to tell her what to do. My younger son enjoyed making me do things like 'put your right foot in the Atlantic ocean". Hey, at least he knows which one is the Atlantic now. I love this curriculum. Did I mention that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I find that reading a fun book like Hank The Cow Dog gives me great leverage when I am trying to get the kids into bed. I can say "If you don't get your teeth brushed and get completely ready for bed in 5 minutes, there will be no Hank the Cow Dog tonight". That puts them into high gear!

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Tuna Fish Game.

When my daughter was about 4 years old, she said something in the grocery store about tuna fish and pointed at it. I really dislike tuna fish, so I said "Tuna fish! Eeeuuuu!" For the past 5 years, everytime we have gone to the grocery store, my daughter and younger son feel compelled to point at the tuna fish so and say "Mama, tuna fish." and I have to say "Eeeuuu!" You'd think after 5 years this would have gotten old? I guess it will eventually. Until then, "eeeuuu!"

Monday Yet Again.

It seems like every time I turn around it is Monday again. Monday is my day off from my job, so the kids are trying to talk me into letting them have Mondays off from school as well. I'm not sure what to do. Since we started early in July, we can take Mondays off and still have about 90 days done mid December. After that, we can decide if we want to add Mondays in to finish sooner in the summer or not. I do love the flexibility of homeschool. We can also do field trips on Mondays and get in some extra schooling that way. Today, I'm going to try to get a few things done here in the house and some errands done in town. I'm going to try and make Mondays my organizational day. Oh well, back to work on my schedule. I have hopes that I will write down a magic, wonderful, all-inclusive schedule and we will actually follow it. Right. That's going to happen. ;-)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What We're Reading.

We started reading "The Further Adventures Of Hank The Cowdog" last night. It really doesn't have anything to do with our unit studies, but sometimes you've just got to read for fun! It is fun. It took me a long time to figure out what the silver monster bird was!

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Messy House.

I was explaining to my daughter the other day about how when the house is messy (basically all the time) it makes me nervous and I don't like it. She said "I bet that is because you grew up in a clean house." I agreed that it probably was. My wonderful daughter said "Yeah. We don't have that problem."

Please Do Not Disturb!

I've had some trouble getting my work done today. Usually, I get done early in the afternoon and then we can do school stuff together, but today, I ran out of work to do midmorning and that made me late. Then, when I finally had work again, the kids I put the kids to work on the giant map and went into my bedroom to work. There were constant interuptions. First, they lost Iowa. Then, my youngest son needed the light on the range hood turned off (no idea why???) and the math books were lost, etc. I finally made the announcement. "I am going into my room to work for 1 hour. You cannot come in there unless you are bleeding, on fire or have a bone actually sticking out through your skin." My oldest son (the lawyer to be) had to clarify. "What if we are only bleeding a little bit?" I said, "It must be a pumping arterial bleed. Regular bleeding will not work." My younger son's mouth was hanging open in shock. I told him, "I'm just kidding, any bleeding will do." and he said "Whew!"


My preteen is going to have the big 1-3 next month and go from being a preteen to an actual teen. He has been telling me all kinds of things he wants for his birthday. Many, many things. Last night, he said "do you know what I want?" and I said wearily "everything and a cracker." My 7-year-old thought this was the funniest thing he'd ever heard but my daughter said "Wouldn't everything include a cracker?"

A few minutes later we were talking about biking. Mr. 7-year-old has gotten extremely good at riding his bike in just 2 days and speeds up and down the street. My preteen said he'd like to build a big dirt bike track to ride on and my 7-year-old complained that he can't ride on dirt, only on pavement. I suggested that he practice in the yard. He said "The yard has obstacles. Like the house. And bricks hurt."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Me, Before Coffee.

This morning, I got up, made a pot of coffee, got a cup for myself and headed to my computer to get started on work. My MSNBC headlines came up on my home page and I read the headline Katrina Bears Down On Florida. My first thought was 'what in the world is a Katrina Bear?" A few sips of coffee later, I finally figured it out. :-)

Shadow's Scare.

The other day, I took the kids to grandma's and went to the grocery by myself. In the 95 degree plus heat, I decided not to pick them up on the way home, but to bring the groceries home and put them in the freezer and then go get the kids. I'm only a couple of miles from my mom's house and I figured this way, I wouldn't have to rush and I could visit a little with mom and dad. When I got home, alone with the groceries, our dog, Shadow, jumped in the van (as usual) to greet the kids, only they weren't there. He really seemed shocked that the kids wern't in there! He jumped out of the car and ran around it, jumped back in and ran around it, jumped back in and ran around it, a total of 3 times, yip, yip, yipping the whole time. He was hilarious! Finally, I petted him and talked to him and he calmed down. That dog is a character!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Song About _____.

My daughter was cleaning out the kitten's litter box last night with the pooper scooper, happily concentrating on her work (which is kind of like an archeological dig, if you think about it) and was singing softly "cat poop, cat poop, cat poop." I wish I could somehow convey the tune to you, it was kind of a country song, if you know what I mean. This proves that my daughter can make up a song about anything and with her singing ability, can make it actually sound good. ;-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Downside.

The downside of having an 8 x 6 foot map of the United States being painted in your kitchen is that you might step in Lake Superior and get blue paint all over your foot and track it all over the kitchen floor. We moved the map out to the deck and now I need to check the weather forecast to make sure it isn't going to rain ...

The Sweet Taste of Success!

It happened today. That moment, when the balancing act of riding a bike without training wheels just 'clicks' for a child. Dan rode his bike! It was a long week and a half or so of frustration with about 100 temper tantrums along the way, but we made it. Whew. The other two kids and I applauded him. He said "I even clapped for myself." Sweet success.

The Map Went Pretty Well.

In the KONOS book, it suggests using 4 pieces of plywood to make a giant map of the United States. The next time we do this unit, in a few years, we may get to do that. This time, we only had one piece of plywood but my daughter drew a really good map of the U.S. on it. I am surprised at how well she can draw something just by looking at it. She got in a predicament and I had to help fill in some of the states at the edges, but I think she did a really good job. Our map is large enough to jump around on and play some games while we are learning the states and sturdy enough to take a lot of jumping, so I think it will work fine. The boys are not as interested in this project as my daughter is, so this has kind of become her project. My older son doesn't enjoy this kind of thing, so I've got him started researching some information on each state to put on it, like a famous person from each state, or the most valuable crop from each state. Both sons have been helping with the painting. I think this is something they will definitely remember!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday Again.

Where did the weekend go? It's time for school again. It is a cloudy day here and for some reason, that puts a damper on my enthusiasm. The kids are doing morning team time right now and I am planning what we will do this afternoon. This week for our KONOS lesson on cooperation, we are going to make a large United States map. It has to be big enough to jump around on because after you get it made, there are all kinds of activities to do with it. I'm not sure if we will use the Mega Maps site (from the post below this one) or if we will draw or paint it on plywood. I'll see what the kids want to do. We don't have a paved driveway and we don't have a basement with a large expanse of floor to draw it in chalk.

My problem with school lately is getting the kids to understand the different methods I want to use. For example, I want to use notebooking for most subjects and have them make notebook pages that go along with what we are studying. My oldest child thinks that he would rather have workbooks because that is what he is used to. I'm trying to convince him to give notebooking a try. It is different from the public school approach and he worries that I am doing school wrong and he won't know anything, I think. I can see his point. One good part about that, is he has started to take some responsibility for his own education. We got several free high school textbooks the other day at the public school book depository and he is studying those on his own, taking notes and generally educating himself. Isn't it interesting how things work out sometimes? I had hoped that he'd throw himself into the KONOS approach and notebooking, really enjoying it but he's really enjoying working through the textbooks. Either way, he's learning and he's having a good time.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


This is a cool download to print out maps as big as 8x8 feet. MegaMaps

This is a site that links fictional books to their time period in history. It has study helps as well. A Book In Time

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mom Has Left The Building.

Today, we are taking a day off from school. We've finished the resourcefulness unit, all we are going to do right now, anyway; and we are starting the unit on cooperation. To celebrate the change in units, we are taking the day off. For a teacher mental health day, I get to go out to lunch with my best friend, while the kids get a break from me, and are going to grandmas.

I can't wait. ;-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Homeschool Kickoff.

I attended my first Homeschool Kickoff carnival/party tonight. It was great. I have been to tons of carnival things kind of like this at the public school. There were major differences, however. At this one, all of the kids and parents fit in one room and I had met all of the parents before, so I felt comfortable letting my kids circulate throughout the room while I worked at my booth. There were fewer kids so we could do more things. When the kids were told to help pick up the garbage, they immediately pitched in and helped. And, I am not out fifty dollars like I would have been at the public school event, because it would be a fundraiser. It was really a fun night.

One of the best parts is that I got to bring home the extra brownies. I figure the kids don't need to know that part, right? That's now mama's chocolate stash. On a need-to-know basis, they don't need to know. ;-)


My youngest son happened to remember a game last night, that the kids used to play quite frequently, but that they haven't played for a long time. He asked my older son, when they were going to play it again. My older son said "oh, I forgot about that." My younger son said "I never forget the fun things."

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Physics Lesson.

Today, in our study of energy, we got into a discussion about Newton's laws of motion and did demonstrations of each one. I think my second grader is way ahead of where he needs to be (in science and history) but I worry that I'm not giving the other two kids what they need, so I'm going to look at World Book Typical Course of Study again to make sure. I know that if I did KONOS all 8 years, everything would be covered, but since I started late with the older two kids, I want to make sure they get everything they need to get, if you know what I mean. They also have requested, believe it or not, "more work". Okay, who are these kids and what have they done with my kids????

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

My 7-year-old son made 2 little men out of Atollo blocks (kind of like Legos, but moveable). Then he connected their hands to each other and their heads to each other and he was playing with them. He said that they were connected to each other in their brains "so that when one says 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' the other one says 'yeah' ".

Monday Musings.

Monday is my day off from work. Often we don't 'do school' on Monday's either, instead running errands or cleaning. I haven't decided if we will today or not. We started so early in July this year that we do have some leeway with taking days off. Also, we do a lot of reading at night and on the weekends which does count as school. I read an article last night about homeschooling that said that kids learn much more efficiently at home. A study found that less than 1 hour out of each school day at public school was spent learning. The rest of the day was spent on administrative duties and moving from here to there, not to mention discipline problems. You can read the article here.
Homeschooling Teens I do remember thinking that high school was a waste of time and now, here's proof!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Let's Pretend.

My 2 younger kids have been playing a game all day that involves pretending some of the time that they are babies with pacifiers and sometimes they are running and yelling. I'm not sure what the whole thing is about, but to the nonparticipants, it is kind of annoying. My pre-teen has taken to his room or outside most of the day and I've done the same. He and I have commiserated together some about them, but I think pretend play is important, so other than the occasional "shhh!" we've let them play.

Our Solar Cooker.

We've been doing a study on energy and one of the activities we attempted was to make a solar cooker. We started a little too late in the day, I think, and we didn't seal it up enough with duct tape and so we ended up with an ant trap instead of a solar cooker. Oh well, that's how science goes sometimes. We'll try again.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Our New Additions.

My daughter asked for either a kitten or a puppy for her birthday. I'm a cat person. My DH is a dog person. We already had 2 dogs so we got 2 kittens. The plan was to go and get one, but then the little brother kitten would have been so lonely, so we got a girl kitten and a boy kitten. We are still trying to decide on names. Last night, I brilliantly suggested "Mr. Boy and Mr. Girl" I had meant to say Ms. Girl. The kids got a good laugh at me! Any ideas?

Thursday, August 11, 2005


We went on a field trip yesterday and my mom and her sisters went with us. My mom is extremely cool about homeschooling and is in favor of it as far as I can tell, although I don't know if she'd say anything if she wasn't. One of her sisters is very curious about it and kept asking the kids things like "Don't you miss going to school?" To which they said "No" and to my older son, "Don't you want to go back to school? Don't you think high school will be fun?" To which he answered "Not really." I just let the kids answer for the most part. I did say that if they want to go back to school at some point, I will let them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lava Lamp Lessons.

My daughter got a Lava Lamp for her birthday. The kids have all wanted a Lava Lamp for a long time, so we were really glad for her to get it. We turned it on yesterday and waited for it to warm up and get going. Then they spent probably 45 minutes watching it. We talked about why the wax moves up and down, what it is in and why it stays in round shaped globs. I had to look up things on several different web sites to answer their questions. Lava Lamp Physics You can learn a lot from a lamp. :-)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Another Cool Site


Reeko Mad Science Lab

Am I Doing This Right?

I went to a homeschool information meeting last night and though there were various topics discussed, the main theme of the meeting was the question on everyone's mind "Am I doing this right?" There is one mom there who has been doing this homeschooling thing for about 4 years now and she is very confident about it. Moms like her are a definite help to the rest of us, who all seem a bit insecure. Some of us compensate by buying new curriculum every couple of months or at least every year or trying to get the latest planner or other gadget. Some focus on being very, very, very organized. One homeschool email list recently had a discussion about arranging their home libraries with the Dewey Decimal System. Really. They did. (I was not a part of this discussion as my home library is mostly on the floor, in the closets, on the shelves, on the couch ...I can just hear it now, "The Dewey designation for this book is J Wild, so that means it is under the loveseat, filed with the other books by Laura Ingalls Wilder" Lol, but I digress.)

When homeschooling moms get around other homeschooling moms, the floodgates open and we are asking "Do you find this to be true?" and "Does this happen to you?" I should just say here and now for future reference. "Yes I do." and "Yes it does." as in "Yes, the house is more difficult to clean with everyone home." and "Yes, the kids sometimes rebel." "Yes, sometimes it is frustrating." "Yes it is quite wonderful." "Yes, we are going to continue to homeschool."

Monday, August 08, 2005


My daughter loves our little dog a lot. The other day, she was talking to him and called him her little pumpkin. Then she said, "Well, you're not orange, but still, you are my little pumpkin."


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