Friday, March 31, 2006

My Date.

Yesterday, I went on a lovely lunch date with a wonderful gentleman, a sweet guy, a little less than 4 feet tall, my 7 year old. It was such a beautiful day yesterday that we couldn't do school, so we decided to take a day off. We've been having a kind of hit and miss spring break, doing school a couple of days and taking a couple off. My daughter was invited to go shopping with her cousin and my older son was invited to a friend's house, so my younger son and I went out for Chinese food followed by a bit of toy shopping. Boy, for a little guy, he can sure put the Chinese food away. I think he must have a hollow leg! It's good to have some 1 on 1 time with each child from time to time. It started out as a way to make him feel better since he didn't have a playdate and ended up with his brother and sister jealous and wanting their date with mom. They are already planning what they'll order, LoL.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Checklist.

One of the things that worries homeschool parents is that they won't teach their children everything that they need to know, that there will be educational gaps. Of course, if you think about it, probably everyone's education has some gaps. You might have learned a great deal about whatever your teacher was most interested in. You might not have learned a subject you needed to learn, but that your teacher found boring or tedious to teach. Of course the school system may have changed the order that they taught subjects in, causing you to miss some things. You might have moved to another school district and completely missed studying the parts of speech. You did okay, right? We've all read the quote about how education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire and we've read the homeschool authors who reassure us that no one's education is without gaps and as long as they know how to learn they'll be fine. If, despite all these reasurrances, you still worry, there is The Checklist. Oh the joy of it for people who love to check things off on a list! Of course, we don't need anything like this ... I don't know about you all, but I really, really want it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Crystal Cave.

I'm talking about The Crystal Cave, a novel about Merlin by Mary Stewart. This was one of my favorite books as a teenager and my 13-year-old recently decided that he's ready to read it too. So we looked for the copy we have. We couldn't find it. We decided to just check it out of the library. When we got there, we couldn't find it on the shelves, so we asked the librarian. She couldn't find it either. It was supposed to be there, but wasn't. So, off to the bookstore we went (there's only one bookstore in our small town). They had all 3 of the other books in the series but not The Crystal Cave. We're starting to feel like maybe this isn't a good time to read this book?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

13th Carnival of Homeschooling.

This is some good reading. Get a cup of coffee and visit this blog carnival. All kinds of homeschooling blogs are featured. I got into these carnivals a little late, but I really have enjoyed reading posts from my fellow homeschool bloggers.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Spring Break?

My kids found out that the kids at the local public school are on spring break this week and now they are lobbying to have a spring break here. I think that means spring cleaning, don't you? Actually, I seem to recall that we had an extra winter break this year and I don't think we need a spring break right now. I need to count the days we've been in school and see if we have some leeway. We do want a summer break!

I do love the flexibility of homeschooling.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Max's New Fur-Do.

A couple of weeks ago, Max got his hair done, courtesy of my daughter. He looks pleased with the results, doesn't he?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Carnival Of Homeschooling.

I've been enjoying reading the blog carnival about homeschooling. See one of them here.


Yesterday when we were making bread, my youngest son made a man out of the dough and called it Man-dough. He makes people out of everything. For a while he had an entire army of men made out of garbage bag twist-ties. He also has a group of people made out of modeling clay. Boys are interesting creatures. ;-)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cuteness, Bread and Yeast in Space.

My youngest son came into my office area today and asked if he was cute. I told him that yes, I think he's cute. He said "Am I cute enough that you'll help me with my math?"

Today our lesson from our curriculum was about bread. Of course, we made bread. Any excuse to make homemade bread, right? It was very good. We also did an experiment with yeast that involved putting yeast, sugar and water in a bottle with a balloon covering the opening to see if the gas from the yeast would blow up the balloon. My youngest son thinks that the balloon, which has been blowing up more all day, will eventually blow off and shoot off into outer space like a rocket.

He was talking to me this afternoon about sending little yeasts into space in their own little rocket and of course, their own microscopic space suits! We could be the first homeschoolers to do that, although I don't know who is going to sew the suits!

I've got it all together.

Okay. Quit laughing. Clean whatever you were drinking off your computer screen. Someone actually said this about me the other day. Regarding our homeschooling style. I actually turned around to see if there was anyone behind me. Me? No way. It seems that because of some comments I made the other night at a homeschool meeting, someone thinks that I have it all together.

Overall, I do think things are going okay here at our house. Youngest son is progressing in writing, daughter is getting way better in spelling, oldest son is finally enjoying math. Those are big deals. We have learned a lot in our plant unit (including me) and had a lot of fun doing it. Still, we don't have it all together No one does. We have struggles just like anyone else. Cleaning the house is our major struggle here. Deciding on what to do each day is a biggie. Just now my oldest son came to me and said that what I asked him to read was "boring".

Still, it is better than it was when we were struggling with public school, getting up early, worrying about being tardy, struggling with homework that we didn't understand the purpose for, etc.

So, even though there is a rumor going around that we have it all together, be assured, we don't and you won't either, but enjoy the process as much as you can.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Homeschooling A Teen?

I have only been a homeschooler for about a year and a half. In that time, I've become quite the convert. I love the learning lifestyle, the time with the kids, the choices! It's very cool. I'm a little concerned about how to teach in the high school years, but I just read "Homeschooling for Success" and that helped me feel better about it. I'm going to let my oldest son read the chapters on homeschooling teens. There are so many options, it is incredible. Hopefully, we can keep from feeling paralyzed by the fact that there are some many choices, choose something to do and have a good time with it. Some of the benefits of homeschooling teens that are listed in this book include, less peer pressure, less stress, efficiency (homeschooled teens typically finish high school in 2 years, only working 2-4 hours a day), more time, ability to get work experience (because they have more time!) I wish I'd known about homeschooling when I was in high school. I really felt that it was a colossal waste of time and it seems that I was right!

How do homeschoolers do? See this link.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Overheard at Our House.

Last night I heard only part of a conversation between my 2 youngest kids. My daughter was telling my youngest son something that he shouldn't do because it is against the rules. I didn't hear exactly what she said, but I heard what he said "You take the rules too seriously!" I came in just in time to say "No she doesn't. Listen to her!" I worry about that boy sometimes.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Encounter at the Library

The kids and I were at the library, checking out a few Hank the Cowdog books and The Homeschooling Handbook and Homeschooling For Success. A lady who was checking out her books beside me and out of the blue, she turned and looked at me and said "Keep homeschooling! Make sure they have plenty of opportunities to do things outside the home too, but keep homeschooling! It's worth it." I talked to her for a few minutes, she'd homeschooled all of her kids and was a "retired' homeschooler. One of the pioneers, I guess. Anyway, I thought it was kind of cool. A little advice from someone who has "been there, done that."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Field Trip.

It started out as a simple trip to Walmart to get my son boots, and then we decided to take a swing through the greenhouse area to see if they had any venus flytrap plants for sale. My youngest especially is facinated with carnivorous plants. They didn't have any flytraps, but we had a good time looking at all the interesting plants that they did have and we came away with some cacti for 48 cents each and a free cabbage plant that is supposed to grow so huge that you are supposed to leave 4 feet on all sides when you plant it. Walmart is giving these away. They had a lot of kid's gardening products that take all the work out of it for the parents, like little pots with the seeds and dirt already in there, just add water! Lots of fun stuff. It was actually one of our better field trips. ;-) (My apologies to those dear readers who aren't Walmart fans - you know who you are!) This, to me, shows how homeschooling is infiltrating every part of our lives now.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fungi, Ferns, Mosses and Lichens.

We're still doing our plant study. I had a good idea today. I wanted the kids to go out and look for ferns, lichens, mosses and fungi but didn't really want them to bring a lot of samples into the house, so I sent the kids with the digital camera. Here's one of the pictures they came back with.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No Miracle Grow, Honest.

This is our little planter box. We planted seeds in it last week and look what happened this week! It has been fun to go and check it every day. You can tell it is in my daughter's room by all the toys ... and you can tell I took the photo because I have a knack for getting my toes in pictures. I used to do it all the time when I was a kid taking pictures of my cats and it seems I still do it! Not my thumb, that would be too normal!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Working 9 to 5.

As I mentioned before, my kids became familiar with the song Working 9 to 5 from the show "Dancing with the Stars". My daughter drew this cartoon of a lemon tree singing that song the other day. It says "Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a lemon." LoL.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Math Success.

I went ahead and ordered the Key To Decimals book series for my oldest son. I've been trying different math approaches with him ever since we've been homeschooling and we haven't liked any of them. I finally took the plunge and bought the books I really wanted and it is great. He did 45 pages the first day. 45 pages. He's actually working on math right this minute, when he should be going to sleep. Can you believe that? This is a kid who hated math when he came out of public school a year and a half ago. Woohoo! Success.

*** Let's pretend I didn't say this, in case my saying it would jinx our further math success!

Friday, March 10, 2006

If a tree falls in your yard and you don't hear it ...

We had a small surprise in our yard this morning! Posted by Picasa

I didn't hear a thing and this is about 20 feet from our bedroom window!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Trouble with the Schedule.

I'm trying not to be discouraged by setbacks with the schedule. I didn't sleep well last night, don't feel very good today and we have not even started school. It is 2:00 p.m. I guess we'll be doing night school tonight? As long as it gets done, I guess I shouldn't get too discouraged about what time of day we do it but I like to have my transcription work done before noon and start school right around then too and today, we just haven't done it. The one bright spot is that my older son received his new math curriculum books from the "Key To" series and has done about 6 pages on his own. That's very good for he who used to hate math. I'm going to get back to it and see if I can salvage today and get some educational things done with the younger ones too. We can at least check all 9 of our plant experiments and see how they are going. That's something, right?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Literature Based Unit Studies.

I found a cool web site this morning. It is a bunch of unit studies based on books. The site is called Homeschool Share. It has a list of books, then it has a bunch of indices so you can look up unit studies by subject or season and a few other ways. Very well done.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Locks of Love

My daughter decided to get her long hair cut and donate it to Locks of Love
We took her to Great Clips to do this because they do the whole thing for free and give you a good haircut afterwards (totally free!) It ended up that she had so much hair, she was able to donate to 2 children who need wigs because of a medical condition that causes hair loss. Is that cool or what? I'm proud of her.

Monday, March 06, 2006

New Schedule and Other Stuff.

Today begins our first full week of our new schedule. I'm hopeful that it will go well. The main thing is for ME to be able to stick to it and I hope I can! I'm notorious for writing new schedules only to discard them a few weeks later so we'll see. I think our situation is unique in that I work at home with no set schedule and we homeschool, so our scheduling has to come from 'within' so to speak. We have to do it on our own. No external schedule from the public school anymore, thank goodness.

I had something else I was going to write about this morning, hence the title of this post, "New Schedule and Other Stuff". If I remember what the "other stuff" was, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, back to work and school ...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Looking on the Bright Side.

A clock that we have had in our living room for several years has stopped working this weekend. My younger son, looking on the bright side of the situation, said "At least our clock is right 2 times a day!"

Friday, March 03, 2006


We didn't do school at home today. We met with our homeschool co-op, which is a group of about 15 other families. It's a couple of times a month and a nice change of pace for the kids. Tiring for the moms though. I'm completely worn to a frazzle. I hope the kids learned something today.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dissecting Lunch

We dissected some items from our lunch today. Fortunately, we're studying plants. We cut open corn kernals to see the plant embryos inside and cut open the green beans to find the seeds, then cut the seeds to find the embryos. Then we had a nice lunch which included plant stems with cheese (broccoli) and seeds and pods (corn and green beans). We also started some seeds in those tiny disolvable pots.

This is the way Konos works. My younger son cut open his green bean and said "here's the plant embryo. See the leaves? And there is the root. I just took off the seed coat." Now they are supposed to be in there drawing and labeling monocot and dicot seeds for their notebooks while I finish working.

In Search Of ...

Okay, I haven't lost anything today (yet!) but I have noticed in my reading that a lot of homeschoolers are in search of the the perfect schedule and the perfect curriculum. Of course we know that perfection isn't possible, that doesn't keep us from trying to find it. I wrote a schedule yesterday. I needed to expand my block schedule to 2 weeks and add in some things that we've just started doing and some things that we just weren't getting done. I had been putting it off for days and finally, I just thought 'it can't be perfect, just do it!' I wrote at the top of the page "Schedule - not perfect" and somehow that freed me to just plug all that stuff in there and not worry if it was the 'best' time for it or not. And now it is done. It is in pencil so it can be changed if necessary, but I think I'm just going to follow it to the best of my ability, not perfectly, and just see how it works.

Now if I can only find the perfect math curriculum ...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


In a last minute decision yesterday, I decided to start with the unit on patience in the KONOS book because it involves plants and gardening, planting things and watching them grow, which is perfect for this time of year. We'll start some seedlings indoors for our garden. Then, when spring is truly here, we'll do orderliness which is more about the classification of plants and animals. I think it fits better with the season we're in and it will be easier to get samples of leaves once the trees actually have leaves. LoL. Anyway, in our typical fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants fashion, we're off and learning again. We will be making plant notebooks.

I was feeling a bit discouraged so I went around the internet, reading a few articles on homeschooling and I feel a bit better now. Still, it is overwhelming at times, trying to homeschool, work and do all the other things I have to do. In an email discussion this morning, that I was involved in, one homeschool mom asked everyone else how we get it all done (especially housework). Another mom answered that the only thing that she'd done successfully, as far as housework goes, was to lower her standards. LoL. I love it.


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