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.


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