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.


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