Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Really Good Link for Educational Games.

I found another really good link tonight while looking for educational games. Gamequarium.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Good Science Link

Here is a good science link with a lot of good information and printables.
Science Net Links

Feeling The Responsibility Today.

I said several times today to the children, "you guys should go outside and play, it is a nice day" or something of that nature and they had been out, a couple of times, but only for a few minutes. Finally, I finished what I was doing in the house and said "Let's go for a walk." and we did. We took all of their bikes and went up and down the street in front of our house for an hour, the kids riding and me walking. We all got some pretty good exercise. I guess my going out too is the key? There are no neighborhood children here to play with.

It is kind of humbling to think about, but if my kids are going to get a decent education, it depends on me. If they are involved in activities or having playdates, it depends on me. My choices at the grocery determine their nutritional status. I've never felt like I'm very dependable, I'm kind of spacey if the truth be told, so this is kind of scary!

Overheard At Our House.

I recently overheard my daughter say this: "Oh great and evil mighty face, I will destroy you. I am the princess of good."

Friday, July 29, 2005

One Year Ago

One year ago, I made the decision to homeschool my oldest child, at least for one year, to see if it made a difference in his (and my) stress level and really because I wasn't ready for him to go to middle school. The middle school is much farther away than the elementary school and he was probably going to have an hour bus ride, morning and night and I can't imagine how much homework he'd have, with six teachers every day. He was doing several hours a night, just from one teacher.

We decided to just try it and I am so glad we did. My life has completely changed to the point that I wonder what I even did before. I really enjoy homeschooling and the kids never want to go back to public school, even the one child who never said she didn't like it. The kids have more time to play, go outside and be kids and I get to plan fun things to do with them that we never had time to do before.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Should I?

My youngest son was talking to me about a video game for about 10 minutes. Honestly, I didn't understand very much of what he said, being a girl and being old, as I am. Finally, he looked at me and said "Should I go play it now instead of talking about it?" I said "What do you think?" and he said "I think I should!" and off he went to play it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Leaping Off Place

Today, I went into our afternoon unit study (KONOS) time honestly not having any idea which activity we were going to do. I finally chose an activity in which the kids were supposed to write a story called "Little Mouse on the Prairie" from the viewpoint of a mouse, traveling with a frontier family. My reluctant writers rebelled and we had a little negotiating session. My older son didn't mind writing it, in the form of a diary, but didn't want it to be a mouse, and made it a frontier boy's diary. It turned out quite well. The other two started out making a notebook page about a little mouse on the praire, then it grew to 2 mice, then 2 mice and a paper doll (from this site) and now there are grandparent and parent mice and they are all paper dolls. They also made a cabin for the mice which took up 2 regular pages and had the outside of the building drawn on 1 side and the inside of the building, including furniture, buckets of maple syrup and huge stores of cheese for the winter, drawn on the other side of the paper. So today, we took the suggested activity and used it as a leaping off place. It was fun.

Extremely Cute Book.

We read this book, The Gruffalo, the other night and since then, my daughter has read it several times. She really puts 'attitude' into her reading on this one and it is very, very cute!

Morning Team Time.

I've added something to our school routine this year. It is called Morning Team Time. During this time, I am working on medical transcription and the kids are working together, hopefully, to get their morning stuff done. This has been going pretty well actually. It has surprised me how well they've done. My daughter and oldest son listen to my younger son's reading and help him with it. My older son gives my daughter her spelling words. They all work on math individually, but they've been told to help each other. By the time I get my transcription done, they are all supposed to be done with their morning list, which includes team time, chores, breakfast, and personal hygiene, then we are ready to start with the fun kinds of things we do together in the afternoons. I'm afraid if I mention it here, they'll stop doing so well, so shhhhh! Don't tell anyone!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


The predicted high temperature today is going to be 97 degrees. With the humidity, it will probably feel like 110 degrees. It has been like this all week. Usually, I send the kids out to play every morning, but it has just been so hot. This week, they brought the scooters in the house and have been riding them in the kitchen. I haven't said a word. At least they are exercising, right?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Waking Up.

Since we've been homeschooling, I've gotten very bad about letting the kids sleep a little too late, I think. Currently, their wakeup time is 9:30. I need to work on that this week. I always say that but I dread waking them up, especially my daughter. She does not wake up easily, to say the least. This morning, I sent the 7-year-old to wake her up. He yelled back. "Okay!" "OW!" "She's awake."

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I love coffee. I have been a coffee drinker since my teens. A year or so ago, I discovered a coffee-mate type creamer that was chocolate/mocha flavored. Oh my goodness, it was good. After a while though, I decided I'd better quit using it because I used so much and I was gaining weight. I figured I was getting too much in the form of liquid calories. Oh it was difficult. I decided at that time to give up coffee altogether, but that only lasted about an hour. I'm just drinking it black these days, with 1 sugar. Sigh. I miss my mocha.

I do make exceptions for special occasions, however. I did get an opportunity to visit Starbucks for the first time the other night. Of course I ordered the Mocha. ;-)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Another Old Fashioned Game.

Last night the kids were playing another old-fashioned game, which I learned from my aunt when I was a kid (so you know it is really old!) called Kitty Wants A Corner. One child is the cat and he or she has to go around to the other kids, in chairs, and say "kitty wants a corner" and if the cat can make the other kid laugh, then he gets their chair and they have to be the cat. Last night my youngest came up to my daughter but instead of saying "kitty wants a corner" he said "kitty wants a cracker." She said 'a corner, not a cracker, silly." and he said "But I'm hungry!". She laughed and he got her place. >^..^<

Friday, July 22, 2005

An Old Fashioned Game.

It was so hot today that we took a break from building the miniature log cabin. We haven't gotten very far on it, but we are planning a couple of good work days next week. Today, instead, we consulted the KONOS book and for our afternoon unit study time, we played a game from the 1800s called Cupid's Coming. One child says "Cupid's Coming." and the other child says "How?" and the first child has to answer back with a word that ends in i-n-g and starts with a certain letter. For example, for T, we said tilting, twisting, tickling, tiptoeing etc. I didn't know if the kids would like it, honestly, and we were planning on playing a couple of other games from that time period too, but they had so much fun with this one that we played it for a long time, laughing a lot, especially when my youngest son said "I don't know!" and fell down laughing.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Positive Feedback.

Tonight my parents said that they are proud of the job we are doing with our kids, and especially happy that I'm homeschooling. Is that cool or what? Positive feedback!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


The issue of socialization always seems to come up when people talk about homeschooling. Some people think that if kids are homeschooled, they won't have any friends. My daughter came up to me tonight and said that she had 14 best friends and then named them all. Some are from church, some cousins and some from our homeschooling group. All of them are good kids and I know all of their parents.

Then my daughter and I started talking about my youngest son and how shy he used to be and how he cried every morning of first grade in public school and how someone at the school said that if we homeschooled him, he'd get worse, not better. She said "He's much better now. He's not shy at all. He was just like Leo the Late Bloomer and now he has bloomed."

A Log Cabin

We're doing the unit on resourcefulness in the KONOS homeschool curriculum. In studying resourcefulness, we will study about pioneers, frontier life, simple machines and various other things. We are starting to read Little House in the Big Woods and one of the activities suggested building a log cabin. We actually live in the woods, so it seemed that we should actually build one. I thought that building one for our little dog would be a good size; enough to get some experience and get an idea of what the pioneers went through, but the kids want to make one big enough so that they can at least get inside it. We started today. I tell you, you can read about what people in the past did, but when you actually go outside, into the woods and start cutting and stripping limbs off of logs and trying to make those chinks in the ends so they will fit together, you actually get an appreciation of how difficult their lives were. Even if we never finish this cabin, we've learned some things today. We talked about the best place for the cabin, what the settlers would be able to find to eat here, about hunting and fishing, picking and canning. We've already made some jam and canned it, so we know a little about that. I can't believe how excited my kids are about this. They would have worked until dark if we hadn't had to go someplace tonight. Fun! So far, week 1, I love KONOS.

A change or two.

I re-did my picture of the dog eating the blackberries, because it was too big and was messing up my margins. So, there it is again, a bit smaller. Now that I have my camera files available, I might share a couple more pictures.

Another change we've had around here is that we have actually started school. The kids came to me yesterday and ASKED to start school already, so we've begun, slowly. We did notebook pages of Swiss Family Robinson, a little math and reading review, etc. I'm starting to think that I will spend the entire homeschooling career thinking and rethinking the schedules and subjects. It seems to be all I have done since we started. :-(

My oldest son wants to do seventh grade and eighth grade this year so he can catch up, kind of. I held him back a year from starting kindergarten and apparently he's a bit self conscious about it. His birthday is September 27th and the cutoff for starting kindergarten was that they had to be 5 by October 1st. He would have barely made it, but I didn't think he was ready to start kindergarten at 4, so we didn't start him that year. Now, he wants to make that year back up. I think he can do it.

Shadow Posted by Picasa

Dog eating blackberries. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2005

Resourcefulness Unit.

Home*School*Home We've still not officially started school but we are sneaking a few things in. We read Swiss Family Robinson which was one of the recommended books for the unit on resourcefulness. I'm going to start reading Little House in the Big Woods, also on the list. One of the sub-units for resourcefulness is frontier life. We've also been picking blackberries and making blackberry jam, the first for me and for my kids. I had my daughter make it with my mom instructing first, and then last night, we made a batch together at home. We've been talking about how people preserved food in the past. My daughter is so proud of that jam, you wouldn't believe! We've made 3 jars and so far, one jar has already been completely eaten, on toast. It was delicious. I guess later this month we'll make some attempts to preserve some of the garden vegetables, although really, all that is growing out there is watermelon and tomatoes, a few carrots and one corn stalk. Our dog, Lucy, decided that the garden was the most comfortable place to sleep this summer (especially since we dug it up and made it all soft for her!) and our other dog, Shadow, ate the other corn stalk.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Another Book Finished.

I finished the 6th Harry Potter book last night around midnight. My son began reading it today. According to our rules around here, mom has the fastest reading time, so she gets to read first, although next time we're thinking of doing a 1 hour on, 1 hour off taking turns schedule. I've got to say I was a bit dissappointed in the book, after all the buildup. It seemed a little rushed-through at the end and it was sad, as well.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Finishing the Book.

We finished Swiss Family Robinson last night. I did enjoy reading it, although it was very different than I expected. Now we'll probably watch the movie and compare the stories. We've gotten some of our school work done for this fall by reading it, as it was on the KONOS Curriculum book list in the unit on Resourcefulness. I figure we got at least 10 hours of school in. I'm not sure. I'll have to look up the date we started reading. Now I'm going to get the kids to do a notebook page about the book, our first notebooking adventure. We are gradually easing into school this summer. The public school kids here start back to school in a couple of weeks, so I guess we'll go full time then?

Friday, July 15, 2005

Still With The Catalog.

The catalog I got the other day is from Rainbow Resource Center. It is over 700 pages long. I have been immersed in it for days, reading mostly math curriculum reviews but also delving into other subjects. My head is spinning but it is still fun to me. I'm still enjoying the search. This must be what hunters feel; the thrill of the chase. I'm chasing down the perfect math curriculum. I know there isn't one that will be perfect, but I'm looking for at least a pretty good fit.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Our Entrepreneur

Our daughter has started charging money for the Snow Cones. It is 20 cents for the large Snow Cone and 10 cents for a small. She's got a little business going on here. It's been hot here and the Snow Cones are very refreshing. She's doing some money counting math, as well. The boys are trying to think of something similar to do but haven't come up with anything yet. Meanwhile, the business girl is doing quite well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Little Dog.

Our smallest dog, Shadow, is about cocker spaniel sized, I think. He's about 12 pounds and comes to my knees when he is standing on all fours. My daughter commented today that he's getting too heavy for her to carry around easily and she wants to keep him (and Lucy, our big dog) but also get a smaller dog, one that won't get too big. She asked me what was the smallest kind of dog and I said, "I don't know, maybe a toy poodle". She said indignantly, "I don't want a toy dog, I want a real dog".

A Catalog.

At the homeschool meeting the other night, another homeschool mom shared with me a catalog full of homeschool supplies. It is wonderful. There are so many things in there I want. I can sit for hours, looking at it and circling things, just like I was when I was a child, circling things in the Sears Wishbook. So fun! I'm still trying to decide on math curriculum, so I've been looking at that. So many choices. I may just have to open the book and point randomly to one, because I don't know if I'll be able to decide.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Conversation.

In the middle of a big play session involving light sabers, toy axes and flip flops, my daughter said to my youngest son, "You're evil." He said "I am not. I am a Shin Dan warrior." She said "Me too." and he said "We both are, but we don't know it."

China's Girls.

Babies in China awaiting adoption. Does this make you want to adopt? It does me.  Posted by Picasa

TV and the Silly Kids.

In our house, the TV isn't as much trouble for me, as far as enforcing time limits, as the GameCube. We don't have cable or satellite TV so there are only 4 TV broadcast stations. The only one with any children's programming during the week is PBS. The kids were watching PBS this morning and Teletubbies came on. My kids are old enough now that Teletubbies gets on their nerves. When it started coming on, the 7-year-old ran to the TV and turned it off, yelling "Teletubbies!!!!" and my 8-year-old daughter dramatically covered her eyes with her hands and yelled "My eyes! My eyes!"

On My Mind Today

I read this article on Yahoo today about kid's pasttimes progressively moving indoors and how kids are less active and all that. I am trying to figure out a way to win the video game/ TV wars here at my own house. The last thing I tried didn't work because I gave in. Would it be crazy to buy one of these devices to do the work for me? Time Limits I think it would be better to just grow a backbone. :-/ Actually, what I think I will do is read an article to them, explain what we need to do and ask for suggestions from them and see what we can do. We all need to be more active.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Time Management

I picked this book up at the library to see if it would help me with scheduling and I found a lot more than I was expecting. It should be called Life Management. In fact, at one point in the book, the author asks us to make a statement about time as in "I don't manage time well." Go ahead. Make a statement to yourself about how you manage your time. Then, take out the word 'time' and put in the word 'life' as in "I don't manage my life well." This book really pegged me. It addresses time management, wasting time (life!), deciding what is important and scheduling it in, and even gets into the issues of clutter and worry as issues of time management. I tried to use the principles in this book while working on my new homeschool schedule which I will post here later, if I can.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

15 million years ago.

My kids were talking about a tiny little crocheted purse that my mom made for me when I was in school that is my daughter's now. My son didn't know that grandma had made it and my daughter was explaining to him. She said that it had been mine when I was in school. My son said, "when mom was in school?" just to clarify and I guess she thought he said "when was mom in school?" because she said, "about 15 million years ago."

Our Blackberry Crop.

We have some blackberry bushes not far from our house. Every July the kids and I spend a little time picking and eating blackberries. This year, our crop has been kind of disappointing. We haven't had as many berries as usual. One reason is because it has been so dry here. Another reason, we found out last night, is that our dog, Shadow, eats blackberries. The blackberry patch is just like a buffet to him. He picks them and eats them. It is cute and funny to watch. I think he got more than we did yesterday. :-)

Saturday, July 09, 2005


This morning, my 7-year-old and his Dad had a conversation about how the kid is funny, just naturally funny, and his Dad said "You know, if Mommy gets any money for her blog, you should ask for part of it, because most of the stuff she puts on there is funny stuff you have said." I heard this and said "How about 5%?" The kid yells back "50%!" and then starts chanting "50%, 50%, 50%, 50%, 50%!" and I said "no" and he said, "Okay, 2%."

He drives a hard bargain. ;-)

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Firefly.

Tonight was a good night to catch fireflies or lightning bugs as we call them around here. My 2 youngest kids caught several each but didn't have a jar to put them in where we were, so they were holding them in their hands. By the time we got into the van my daughter only had one left, my son, none. On the way home, the bug my daughter was holding got out of her hand and for some reason, she squealed. My youngest son said "What? It's just a bug with a light on his bottom!"

What We're Reading.

I'm still reading Swiss Family Robinson with the kids at night before bed. I was reading one chapter a night but realized that we wouldn't be done until the fall that way, because the book has 40 chapters. So, we've stepped up to 2 chapters a night. I skipped a couple of chapters outright, the one with the monkey massacre because I figured it would upset the kids and the one about the whale because it seemed kind of gross. I've seen the Disney movie and of course, it was very, very loosely based on the book. The book is very surprising to me, after watching the movie. There is a fourth son, for one thing. :-) There is a lot of insight into how people a long time ago worked to procure food, clothing and shelter. We've done a lot of talking about how this place they've landed can have potatoes which are indigenous to South America, kangaroos which are native to Australia and New Guinea (where they were headed), buffalo and capybara among others. We've also talked about the wisdom of letting the 7-year-old carry a gun and smoke a pipe. It has been a very interesting read, overall.

I am done with my first read-through of The Everything Book of Homeschooling but it has so many web site links that I will spend some more time with the book, looking up all the sites. It is a very good reference. I wish I could afford to get copies and hand them out to people who ask me about homeschooling. It is that good.

I've also started reading The Streetwise Guide to Time Managment, more on that later ...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Confused Tree

There is a little tree in our backyard on which all of the leaves have turned red. My daughter and I noticed it yesterday and I said that somebody should explain to the tree that it is only July, not October and it is changing colors much too soon. She said "I will!" and ran out into the backyard. A minute later, I see her (through the window) standing there, talking to the tree. I would have loved to have been able to hear it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Everything Homeschooling Book

I got this book out of the library yesterday and I have found, so far, that it is a really good general overview of the options available to homeschoolers. It has a lot of links to websites in it. I would especially recommend it to new homeschoolers and to those who are in the considering homeschooling stage. It is very informative. I've got a son going into 7th grade and I've been looking into the available high school homeschool options and doing some thinking about whether I want him to get a diploma from an accredited school or give him a homemade diploma or to take the GED route. I am leaning towards an high school homestudy/ independent study route at the moment and this book has a lot of options in it for me to explore.

The Chicken Song.

The other day, the kids and I went to fill up the van with gas. I like to pay by credit card so I don't have to go into the store and I can leave the kids in the car. They asked to leave the music on in the van. It just so happens that we were listening (again) to an old Ray Stevens tape. He has a song in which he and the members of his band cluck like chickens the for the entire song. There are no other lyrics. My younger two kids really like this song. Anyway, I'm pumping gas, the kids are in the van listening. A woman I went to high school with drove up and started pumping gas next to me. I said hello and then opened up the door of the van to put my credit card back in my purse. A huge wave of sound comes out of the van when I open the door and you can hear the 'bock, bock, bock' of the chicken song blasting in my van. The windows of the van are tinted in the back, so I don't know if she knows I had kids in the car. I hope she did. I am so never going to a high school reunion!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Tooth Fairy.

Last night my son lost a tooth and put it under his pillow but the tooth fairy didn't come. Sometimes at our house, she does this. It can take up to a week. Is she this slow in other households?

I'm ready to start school again.

We were moving in the new bookshelf last night, unpacking the new notebooks for the notebooking project and arranging everything and my daughter said, "Okay, I'm ready to start school again." Can you believe it? This homeschool thing must be working! I'm excited about the things we are going to do and I guess it shows. At least I have one child who is eager and ready to start! I may start some kind of partial school program very soon and kind of ease them into it. I'd like to be able to take off a day during the year, anytime we want to, so it will be good to get an early start. Unless a water sport is involved, it is almost too hot to go outide here during the day anyway. Maybe we should school some now with the idea of taking off some of those beautiful fall days when the weather is perfect.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Red Button.

A few weeks ago, on our vacation, we had a really lovely hotel suite. It was very warm when we entered, so my husband turned on the air conditioning and we all got changed and went to the pool. I came back up to the room to get something we had forgotten and it was still very warm in there, maybe even warmer than before. I checked and the heat was on. We came back from the pool later and changed and went someplace else. When we came back, again, the room was hot. On questioning the kids, we discovered that our 7-year-old had liked the red button and had pushed it every chance he got, turning the heat on in our room. His Dad told him not to do it any more, explaining that in the summer we don't need the heat on.

The next day, we were in suite that our traveling companions were in and were playing games and we noticed that it was kind of warm. My cousin said "Dan, you didn't push that red button in our room did you?" You should have seen the look on his face. He looked down at the floor, hunched his shoulders and said very quietly and very, very reluctantly, "yes." That little booger had turned on the heat in their suite! I guess Dad had forgotten to tell him not to push the red button in other peoples suites!

Spell Check.

Last night I was working, doing medical transcription and I typed the phrase "The patient was seen by Dr. Blank whose admitting diagnosis was ..." but I spelled admitting wrong originally. I left out one T so it was admiting. I was hurrying through the spell check and accidently changed it so that it said "whose admiring diagnosis was ..." Funny, how just a couple of letters here can make such a big difference ... (Don't worry, I realized it and corrected it again!)

You've got to watch out for the spell check. One of my coworkers in the past accidently let the spell check change the word hemorrhoids to hammerheads. Let me tell you, that made for an interesting report. :-0

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Snow Cones

My daughter saved her money and bought a Snow Cone machine. It makes shaved ice and you pour flavored syrup over it. Not very healthy, I'm sure, but with the hot, hot temperatures we've been having lately, it is very refreshing. We experimented with making our own syrup from Kool-Aid tonight and it was very good. My daughter said "I am hooked on Snow Cones for life."

Just Say No.

We are going to try this week to declutter the house. It seems like everytime we go someplace, we come home with something. My mom gets things for me at yardsales. Every club they go to, even gymnastics sends papers home with the kids. I can't keep up with it all. I was griping about it in the kitchen last night and my oldest said "just say no, to stuff."

On the bright side, I did find the giant bookcase I've been looking for all these months. It was 35.00 at Goodwill. We get to pick it up tomorrow.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

My Kids are Not Here.

Since we became homeschoolers, it is really unusual to have our kids all gone on the same day. Usually, if they have playdates, only one of them is gone. Today, they got invited on a playdate with their cousin and they are all gone. Actually, my daughter got invited, since my cousin has a little girl the same age and no boys, but since my husband and I were attending a funeral and needed child care for all 3, my cousin graciously took all 3 for the day. They are having a picnic and swimming and all kinds of fun. I know I won't be popular when I go to pick them up!

Friday, July 01, 2005

What To Do?

Sometimes I think I get overwhelmed with the possibilities. With homeschooling, they are so endless. I've been struggling with making a schedule all week, planning when to start back to school, whether to just 'plunge in' or start slowly and gradually? I've decided that our schedule is going to change somewhat. I'm going to do most of my medical transcription work in the mornings and assign the kids some work to do in the mornings as well. Then, in the afternoon, we will do some of the KONOS activities and work on notebooking. Notebooking is my new interest and I hope the kids will enjoy it and learn from it. I think I would enjoy it. I may have to do a notebook myself. Hmmm, maybe a scrapbook. :-)

Quote of the day is: "When I grow up, I want to be rich but not famous." (As stated by my youngest son.)


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