Saturday, March 31, 2007

Talking with my daughter.

I had a discussion with my daughter about schoolwork yesterday. I told her she needed to get started on her schoolwork and she said, "Actually, I don't have any schoolwork. I have a ton of homework, but no schoolwork, since I don't go to a school". True. I guess we could call it homeschool work. That led to a discussion of her public school experience. She was the only child who was seemed reluctant to leave public school. Older son liked the idea and younger son was overjoyed, but she seemed hesitant about it. We had to promise to let her go back if she wanted, after 1 year of homeschooling. But, today, she was talking about school, especially the 3rd/4th grade split class she was in and she surprised me by saying "I hated it!! They didn't tell us how to do anything. They just gave us papers and said 'hurry up, you've got 10 minutes!' We didn't have time to do it so we had to bring it home." Then she made my day by saying "You actually teach me."

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Lists.

As you know, if you've been reading my blog for a while, we use a checklist method to do our homeschooling. Each child has a list and mom has a list. All of the lists include daily self-care activities like brushing and flossing and exercising. They also have chores for each day and my work and the kid's schoolwork. On Monday I print them out and hopefully by the end of the week, they look like the one above.

This week, I decided to revamp the lists and try to make them work better. With the kids lists, I think I succeeded. They generally liked the changes. One thing I did was add "Freebies" They get 5 each week (they're trying to make me change it so 6!) and these are things that they don't have to do. They can use them all in one day or spread them out over the week, but once a freebie has been used for one thing, like for example, math, it can't be used for that same thing for the rest of the week. I am going to give them the option of going outside and riding their bikes for exercise instead of the plain old boring exercises they've been doing all winter, since the weather is pretty nice these days.

With my list, I didn't succeed with the changes. I added in good things like loading the bread machine, but neglected some of the cleaning that I needed to do, so it's Friday and the house looks awful. I guess I'll go back to the drawing board on my list. If I don't structure my day in this way, I more than likely won't exercise, won't clean as much as I should and I'll be on the computer at 11:00 p.m. trying to get done with my work for my job! I'm the worst one!

I'm also going to give myself a few freebies, like 5 minutes off of housecleaning and maybe some bonuses, like having a cup of coffee out on the deck in the morning and enjoying the sunshine, stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I keep starting posts, but then realize ...

that I just don't have that much to say. Believe it or not, even I go through periods of untalkativeness. ;-) I wrote a 2 line post about our library. Here it is.

Our library is closed to move to a bigger facility right now and will be closed for over a month! I miss it! Badly.

Earlier, I wrote another short post about something. I forget what.

I'm just not very wordy today.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nothing much going on.

We are doing okay around here. Today for history we watched "One night with the King" which we enjoyed very much. Youngest son is doing better with not whining since I'm approaching his list differently, helping him get done instead of telling him to get it done, a small difference in attitude with a good payoff. We made bread in the bread machine again today. We're really enjoying that thing. Fresh baked bread is really wonderful. Also, I'm really understanding the phrase "the best thing since sliced bread" now, because it can be really difficult to slice. The loaf we made today was very good and sliced really well. It might be the receipe we use most. I haven't branched out much. I've made white bread, wheat bread, potato bread and today's sweet buttery bread, but that's it so far. I wonder if there's any way to make a cheesecake in there .... hmmm.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What I am doing today.

I'm reading the carnival of homeschooling , writing out the envelopes for invitations for my Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary, working and helping out the various children who come in my office asking for help with school work. The carnival is very good this time. You should read it. I look forward to Tuesdays for the carnival each week.

I made new lists for myself and the kids this week, adding a few things and taking off others and if I remember, I'll let you know how it works. Youngest has been more cooperative, with me helping him get his work done each day and didn't even need me much today. That's good.

Now, back to reading ...

Monday, March 26, 2007


I had a nightmare last night, not really the scary kind, just the weird kind. I had a dream that my friends were getting married and I was in the wedding. (They're getting ready to celebrate their first anniversary, so I'm not sure why I dreamed this, but it gets weirder.) Anyway, they were getting married. They were having a bunch of bridesmaids and I was one. They told us to wear whatever we wanted. In my dream, I couldn't find a dress so I ended up wearing half of one outfit and half of another. It looked horrible and I knew it. Then there was the shoe difficulty, the pantyhose struggles, the hair that kept falling down (picture a princess Lea kind of do!) and to top it off, during all of this getting ready, I forgot the wedding was at 2:00 o'clock and didn't leave the house until 5 till. Then, when I got there, we had to walk a mile uphill to the river where they were getting married. (uphill?) Then, the bride didn't like my ensemble, so I had to go back and borrow a dress from someone else. Then, I finally got a decent dress/shoe combo and walked back a mile UPHILL to be in the wedding but my hair kept falling down. By this time, it was after 3:00 o'clock (in my dream, not really) and everyone was mad at me for being late. As the boat they were going to get married on was getting into position, it knocked me down and I got all muddy. Finally, I woke up, thank goodness! I'm exhausted now. Must be from all that walking in heels and pantyhose! To the river that was up on a hill. Very weird.

A regular old Monday seems like a piece of cake compared to that exhausting dream! I'm making new lists today, so I'd better get busy!

Friday, March 23, 2007


Yesterday, I kind of posted about how to get started in homeschooling and today, I want to address the question of "why?". There were a few things that put the idea of homeschooling in my head. The first was that my friend was doing it and the reports from her were good. Also, I'd read an article about a family that kept each one of their daughters home from middle school for 1 year, each, just to spend more time with their mom and bond during these difficult years. I thought it sounded like a good idea. I wasn't ready for my oldest son to go to middle school, so we kept him home. He and I started on a study of world history and we were having a lot of fun. Meanwhile, daughter was in 3rd grade and was placed in a split class with 4th grade. Every night, she'd come home needing me to explain her work to her because the teacher's aide said "I'm not the teacher, I can't help you." and the teacher was too busy. Youngest son was not doing well in first grade. He was crying every morning when I dropped him off at school. After a few weeks of this, it just seemed like a no-brainer to bring them home too. At first, it was scary and overwhelming, but after 2 years, we've kind of got a system and none of the kids want to go back into school. They are much happier and less stressed and they get to see their Dad more than once a week. We've found a good homeschool support group to join and they have a lot of friends there. For now, homeschooling is working out well for us. The kids may change their minds about going back to school when they get older, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Deciding to Homeschool.

This time of year, the homeschool list I'm on seems to get a lot of requests for help from people who are thinking about giving homeschooling a try but being afraid to try it, afraid their kids will miss something important or that they won't be able to do it. Some homeschoolers advise them to go ahead and pull the kids out in the spring, because they won't miss a lot of content if pulled out now, just mainly testing, in the public schools. I don't know if that's true or not, I'm just saying it's common wisdom in homeschool circles. Some also advise beginning homeschooling in July and then in August they can decide if it is working or not and decide whether to send them back to public school at that point and others say to definitely give it one full year before deciding.

I'm not sure what anyone else should do. Homeschooling is not for everyone but it can be a wonderful option for some families who are dealing with weird work schedules, problems with the public schools or who just want to travel during the off season ;-). Just kidding! You don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money to do it. Single parents can homeschool, I know of some who are. Parents who are both working can homeschool, I know several who are. If you are thinking about trying it, my advice would be not to spend a lot of money at first. Here are some free resources available on the internet to get you started. Most of these are for elementary school.

Free Online Curriculum - Ambleside Online.
Free ocean unit study - Oceanography This is the one we used and enjoyed.
Free Math Worksheets - Superkids
Notebooking- Free printable pages to go along with science studies.
More notebooking - Pages/forms.
High School Free Online High School Classes
Free books if you need them. Book Samaritan
Children's Literature List. DAWCL
Tons of stuff here - Learning Pages This is where I get the Tommy Tales books my son is reading, plus grammar worksheets to go along with them. Lots of stuff here. You have to become a member but it's free.
Art- Elementary Art Lessons
Coloring Pages - Worldwide
National Geographic - Lots of good maps and other things here.
Build your own castle - Fun
Geography Games - Sheppard Software
There's even free public school for some states. Some people argue that this is not "real" homeschooling but it might be a good option for some people, so I'm including it in my list.
I know I am barely scratching the surface here but these might be some fun things to do while you are trying to decide if homeschooling is for you and what curriculum to use. There are also some organizational things on line for homeschoolers at this site.

So anyway, if you decide to spend a little time homeschooling, here are some resources. Be warned, homeschooling can turn into a whole new way of life. ;-0

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How long?

How long do you think a cricket can live in my laundry room? I mean, there's not a source of water or food in there. I think he's an escapee from the cricket colony we keep to feed my son's lizards. Of course, in the colony, they die if someone forgets water for 1 day, but let them escape and get intot the laundry room and they can live for a long, long time. It's very strange. I can hear him chirping in there now ...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


This morning, I was in the kitchen with my daughter, showing her how the bread machine works and my oldest son looked in the kitchen and said "Shouldn't you be doing your list?" It seems like the reminding goes both ways around here now! LoL. You can be sure the other two kids aren't being so responsible and reminding me when I'm slacking off!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Update for today.

I decided to do a little more than just drink coffee today and did some cleaning and exercised twice, once for my routine and once with youngest son when he was doing his school list. I helped him get his list done today with no whining. Then, I made a loaf of potato bread our new bread machine and made spaghetti to go with it. Then, the kids and I, along with grandma, went to the mall for some shopping. AND, I finally made the second of the 3 phone calls I was going to make last week, a major accomplishment! Now I'm going to relax for a while and then I'm going to watch Dancing with the Stars tonight. I sure do enjoy having the day off work. As I've mentioned before, I love Mondays. ;-)

It's Monday and I don't want to do anything.

I've got to print out our lists and get busy, but I've got no enthusiasm this morning. My Monday schedule may be very light this week, LoL. Let's see: Drink Coffee. Eat Breakfast. Drink More Coffee. Note: This must be completely done by 11:00 a.m. I've got one cup of coffee down already, so I'm 1/3 of the way there, LoL.

We had a very busy weekend with a birthday party, company over and had to take Max to the vet. He's been eating the dog food that was recalled. We took him off of the food and now we're praying he doesn't get sick. On Saturday when I took him, the vet said he was fine. She did blood work and it was normal, so we're hopeful no damage was done to his liver or kidneys. This kind of thing is scary!

I guess I'd better get started exercising and cleaning, darn it. I really don't want to today.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


The other day, youngest son and daughter were playing some kind of a game that was on our king sized bed. My computer desk is right next to the bed, so they often play on the bed while I'm working. My daughter went into the other room for a little while, then youngest son called her back in here. She came back in, but instead of getting on the bed beside him, she jumped on top of him and laid down on him. I heard a small voice coming from underneath her. He said "I guess that's fair. I was in her spot." I guess she'd better enjoy this time when she's bigger than him, cause the way he's growing, it doesn't seem like she's going to get to enjoy it for long!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Learning Lessons

I've learned a lesson this week in what doesn't work for youngest son. Okay another thing that doesn't work. He's not doing well with just handing him a list and asking him to get it done. I'm going to have to sit down with him and help him through it. The way he's getting it done now is at the last minute, whining, rushing through it and not doing an adequate job. It has been frustrating for everyone in the house, I think. I know it has been for me and him. I guess I need to go back to the drawing board, trying to figure out how to fit it all in. Sigh.

Youngest son has also learned a lesson this week. Last night, I took them roller skating and on the way home, he announced "I'm learning lessons I don't want to learn!" We asked what he meant and he said, "I think I'm getting a B+ in falling down!"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Not a Caller.

I hate to make phone calls, especially business calls. I will procrastinate about making 1 little phone call for WEEKS. It's crazy. Yesterday, I had 3 phone calls I needed to make, which is really a bad day for me. I made one of them. The plan was to call early but I didn't. I waited until almost close of business before calling. Once I get on the phone, I don't stutter or anything. I'm not sure why I hate talking on the phone so much, but I found out today I'm not alone. I typed in "Phone Phobia" on Google and got over a million hits. That helps a little to know I'm not the only one who does this, but I'm still procrastinating about 2 calls here, so it doesn't help much. I tell people all the time, that I'm not a caller. I'd much rather you call me or we communicate by email. Otherwise, you probably won't be hearing from me for a few weeks (or months!).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Carnival

I've been reading the Carnival of Homeschooling over at Why Homeschool. It takes a while. There's a lot of good information there. One of the most interesting to me was this post about studies that have been done about homeschooling. Here's a good one.
It is kind of dry reading, but there are a few pictures, like this one, a comparison of homeschoolers test scores. Speaking of tests, the state of Texas puts their achievement tests from the previous year online every year for free, so you can test your kids with last year's test, just to get an idea how they are doing. I used it the year before last and then last year, we had testing done in an official setting with the homeschool group. This year, I think we'll do the free tests. Here they are.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another cool web site.

This would be great for teaching geography. We'll use these as we begin our geography unit, starting with South America. That's where chocolate comes from, you know! When you visit the site, be sure and stay and look around for a minute. There's more there than meets the eye at first, including free printable maps of each continent.

Can you get that for me?

Last night, youngest son got in bed without one of his important blankets. He asked my daughter to get it for him and she said no. He said "I can't ask Max to get it, he's not a retriever!"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Compulsive Door Locking.

The kids have been playing outside a lot of time lately, around 6 hours a day for the last 3 days. They've been getting their school work done early so they can enjoy the warm spring-like weather. We have 12 acres here and they consider the whole area their playground. I grew up in a similar area and enjoyed it very much. Apparently, though, I now have a problem with compulsive door locking. For example, if I open the door to check on them or let the dog out, I lock it without thinking. Consquently, I've been locking the children outside about 3 times a day. I try to tell them not to take it personally ... LoL. I don't realize I've done it again until I hear them knocking. Sorry!

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Crazy Light.

We have a motion sensor light by our back door. What this means is that if it senses motion, it will come on, theoretically. It won't just come on if you turn it on. It won't even come on if you turn it on and wave your hand in front of it. Some motions turn it on, but we haven't figured out what they are or how to get it to stay on. So, here's how it goes when we come home after dark. We drive up in the van. The light doesn't come on, even though a rather large Ford Van has just moved in front of it. We get out of the van and start gathering our things, still no light. The outside dog, Lucy, comes running to greet us and jump up. She's kind of hard to see in the dark since she's black, making our trek to the back door even more difficult. We proceed about 3 or 4 steps in the inky blackness, trying not to step on the dog and the light comes on, blinding us. We take a moment to get our eyes used to the light and proceed. (It's only about 12 steps from the van to the house.) Then, after about 3-4 seconds, the light goes off, plunging us back into the darkness, only this time, we have spots before our eyes from the light. Then the light comes on, then off, then on, then off. Finally, one of us makes it to the backdoor, usually oldest son, opens it and the rest of us are able to follow the rectangle of light to find our way in, half blind though we are by this time. New technology is so fun.

Completely Useless Link

Here's a link to make your own wanted poster. You choose a photo, choose a crime, etc. and it will generate a wanted poster. They're cute. You can right click on them and save them. This would be fun to do while studying the wild west.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Max saves the day.

Max is our dog. We always kind of wanted a house dog but we're not good at training puppies. So last year, I saw a note on a homeschooling group about a dog who needed a home, who was already housetrained. We decided to give it a try and we brought Max home. He's just the best dog. He does get a little crazy now and then, running back and forth, back and forth and jumping on the bed and waking DH up, but mostly, he's good.

Today, I was having computer problems with my job. One of the reports I was trying to type got locked up and I was trying to reboot the computer to hopefully resolve the problem. My laptop is very tricky to reboot because it almost always can't recognize the mouse, the footpedal or the extra keyboard I use with it when it starts back up. While I was waiting for it to reboot, I went into the kitchen and loaded and started the dishwasher.

I came back to the bedroom to grouch at the computer some more and Max started barking. I told him to be quiet a couple of times and he didn't. (The kids were outside playing during this and I figured he'd seen them through the glass doors or something.) He kept barking and I finally got up to see what it was that he was barking at. Bless his little heart, he was barking because the dishwasher was overflowing. I was able to stop it and mop it up without much trouble.

He has now earned his title: World's Best Dog.

He got an extra treat today.

Our Unit Study

We are still studying the Age of Exploration using the Christian Cottage study and the History Scribe notebooking pages. We've been reading a book called Around the World in 100 Years which was very entertaining. Yesterday, we finished up talking about Columbus and talked about Magellan. We read a poem by Ogden Nash about Columbus. Here's an excerpt.

So Columbus said, Somebody show me the sunset and somebody did
and he set sail for it,
And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
And the fetters gave him welts,
And they named America after somebody else.

The kids wrote some Christopher Columbus quotes and made a notebooking page about Columbus. Here's my favorite Christopher Columbus quote:

"For the execution of the voyage to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps. "

We're having a good time with this study.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's not you!

My youngest 2 kids were doing that trust exercise, where one person basically falls backward, trusting the other person to catch them. I heard my daughter say "You don't trust me!" and youngest son said "It's not you, it's gravity I don't trust."

Edys Slow Churned Ice Cream.

Have you all tried this yet? It is 130 calories per serving of wonderfulness in a bowl. I can't believe how good it is. It was all I could do to resist eating it for breakfast this morning. We bought some kind of chocolate/caramel flavor yesterday at the grocery because it was on sale. I kind of hope no one else in my family likes it. ;-)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Big foot.

Big foot has made an appearance at our home this week, not really, but one of our children has acquired that nickname! Youngest son. He loves it, really. I took him to the store the other night to get new shoes because the size 13 shoes he was wearing were tearing up and the lining was coming out. He did not ever mention that they felt tight or that his feet hurt. We started trying on shoes with a size 1, figuring he'd probably grown, but the 1s wouldn't fit, nor did the 1 1/2s or the 2s or the 2 1/2s. He finally came home proudly wearing a 3, the same size as his 10 year old sister!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Another day off.

The kids got another day off today because I didn't get my list done. It totally wasn't my fault; there actually were no typing jobs in the typing queue for me to do this morning. That almost never happens. Still, I feel honor bound to give the kids the day off. This system of ours is working because we all agree to the terms - I do my exercise routine, chores and half my work from my job before 11:00 a.m. or the kids don't have to do school or chores. It sounds crazy, but it works for us. I'm keeping up with the housework better, not procrastining about work (and ending up doing it at 11:00 at night) and exercising regularly. The exercising regularly part is for the first time ever. I've began exercise programs before, but always quit after about the third or fourth day. This time I've been exercising since November 12.

I didn't mind the kids having the day off, because it reminds me how proud I am that this is working.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ordinary Day.

So far, it's been a pretty ordinary day around here. My husband and I kept to the no nagging routine and the kids pretty much did their work without us bothering them. Actually, that's kind of amazing if you think about it. They did all of their schoolwork with minimal input and no nagging from us. I helped my youngest with reading and grammar and I helped my oldest with his math, otherwise, school was smooth today. Weird, huh?


Related Posts with Thumbnails