Thursday, May 31, 2007

School's out for the summer!

We're done! Yay! It feels very good to be finished. I've been working on planning next year a little now that the summer plan is done. I know one thing for sure, there's going to be a lot of math next year. Our lists are going to look something like

1. Math.
2. Math.
3. Math.
4. Reading.
5. Spelling.
6. Writing.
7. Grammar.
8. Art.

LoL. Just kidding, kind of. There is going to be an emphasis on math next year because a couple of us are a little behind in that area.

Anyway, for now, we're done!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Youngest son.

My youngest son asked me this question and I don't know so he told me to put it on my blog and "ask the internet" and see if anyone knows. So here goes.

"If a black hole sucked up a white hole and then the white hole tied itself in a knot and the black hole sucked up the knot and then the knot tied up the black hole with it, what would happen?"

Anyone know?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Secret Weapon Update/ Summer Lists.

They all got their work done by about noon and spent all afternoon in the pool. I love that pool. I didn't even have to nag them one time!

I did decide and tell them about their summer lists today. They are very short. I still want it to seem like summer and be relatively free for them. On the lists I put personal hygeine, exercise, 1 chore and 1 school related activity. It doesn't sound like much and to some families it would be a no-brainer, but we seem to need lists. Otherwise, the kids will gravitate to the video games. The chores will rotate to 5 different chores on the 5 different days and the educational things will include art, math games, Starfall, educational DVDs and the geography games from Sheppard Software (which are excellent). I really haven't found any math games and I guess I'll pick up educational DVDs from the library and from Netflix. Anyone got any suggestions? I'd love to hear them.

Pool Update.

The two younger kids stayed in nearly 7 hours*. Dad finally made them get out so he could put the chlorine in. I think they would've been in there at midnight if we had let them stay. It's funny because its not that big of a pool. It's 3 feet deep and 10 feet across, one of those with the inflatable ring at the top. I'm sure the neighbors got tired of hearing "Marco!" "Polo" but the kids were having so much fun, I enjoyed hearing it. Now for the last 3 days of school, I have a secret weapon - "Do your school work and then you can get in the pool". Heh Heh.

*They each did take a bathroom break at some point and I served them a meal on the patio table about halfway through, so they didn't set any world records or anything. There were breaks and nobody peed in the pool. Just setting the record straight. ;-)

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Good Day.

Today was a really good day. I got some of the spring cleaning done and my husband put the pool up for the kids. There's nothing like making the kids incredibly happy to make the parents have a good day too. The big one got out of the pool after about 6 1/2 hours, but the two little ones are still in. We're kind of just waiting to see how long they will stay in. It's funny.

I think maybe my daughter has been using my camera ...

What do you all think? I uploaded all the pictures on the camera to get the picture of the roses and found these. This is just a small sample. She had taken tons of pictures of her littlest pets and our real pets. She likes to take extreme closeups.


A few years ago I planted a little rosebush at the end of our drive. It's some kind of a climbing rose and it has spread all over the place. The close up picture is where it has climbed up the cedar tree and bloomed. I really enjoy looking at it when I turn in the driveway.

Only 4 more days of school!

We're going to hurry and do the Canada part of our unit study and then we are going to be done. I'll still do reading aloud in the summer. I'm going to try to find some good books about Canada to read. Each child will have a few things they need to do each day. I'm thinking I'll give them 1 chore, exercise and something like their math cd, geography cd, spanish cd, Starfall (for the youngest), reading and science DVDs, educational games etc. I haven't come up with the lists yet. We'll be doing the library summer reading program and going swimming a couple of times a week. We've got a tent now, so we're going to have to go camping at least 1 night. Right now, I'm enjoying just the thought of the lazy days of summer. Of course, I'll still have my job, but I'll try to get up kind of early and get my work done so we can have our afternoons free.

Ahh, summer.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

What I'm Reading.

I'm still searching for something better to do with my high schooler.

Yesterday ...

my husband took my purse with him to work. It was in the van and he probably didn't even notice it. The kids and I were going to see Shrek 3 with our homeschool group, but then I realized I would have to drive without my license. My daughter said "You'd better not get a speeding ticket" and my older son said "Yeah, in other words, mom, don't drive like you usually do."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I was so inspired earlier today ...

I read the Carnival of Homeschooling and I was so inspired. I was away from my computer so I wrote a ton of notes. Now that I have time to type it in, my inspiration seems to have left me. I'm still going to try and write something based on my notes.

Reasons people give that they can't homeschool. (If you don't want to, that's one thing, but don't think you can't if you want to.)
1. I have to work. This is doable. My DH and I both work. Admittedly, we've made some sacrifices so that I can work at home and be home. A few of the other moms in my homeschool group work too, but I really don't know anyone that works more than about 30 hours a week. It is possible though. Homeschooling doesn't take as many hours a day as you would think. For one thing, you're working one on one for the instruction, then your child can work alone for a while. There's no time wasted waiting for someone else to go to the bathroom, etc.
2. I'm not educated enough. As a homeschool parent, you can function as an independent contractor and hire people to teach what you don't know how to teach, your children can take classes on-line or have a tutor, or you can just do what I do and learn along with them. The high school math book comes with a teacher's edition. It has the answers! Some curriculums even tell you word for word what to say, or have teachers on DVD or let the kids move through a computer program at their own pace.
3. My kids would drive me crazy. This is true. They will, but not more than they will in public school. Doing a few hours of our own customized school each day is easier than the hours of public school homework we used to have to do at night. That double chocolate cheesecake from the deli at Wal-mart helps this.
4. What about socialization? Your kids will be socialized by you and your family. Who better to do it? They will also have more time for playing with friends, piano lessons, karate, etc.

Now, onto the question of why anyone would want to do it.
1. Our kids childhoods are so short, why not spend as much time as you can with them? (Watch the movie "Click" sometime!)
2. Generic, one size fits all education doesn't work for some kids.
3. Some people have weird workshifts and only get to see their kids on the weekends.
4. Homeschooling is a lot of fun.

Okay, that's the best I can do, but it doesn't do justice to all the notes I wrote this afternoon ...

The site for the tests.

Here's the link for the free online achievement tests. TAKS.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I'm proud of myself and of the kids today.

I did 4 things that I've been procrastinating about. I cleaned underneath the fridge and made 3 phone calls. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know how I am about phone calls. I am the worst. I get nervous and will put off calling someone for WEEKS. Seriously. Anyway, today I did it. I talked to one live person and left 2 messages on voicemail. I'm proud of me.

I'm having the kids do testing this week, using the Texas TAKS tests which are free online. Last year, we paid for tests and had them with the homeschool group, all official with timers and mailing them in and waiting for the results and everything. This year, we're doing it ourselves at home. I figure next year we may go the official route again, every other year. Kentucky doesn't require achievement testing for homeschoolers, but it helps me see what areas they need more work in. I'm proud of the kids for being so cooperative and easygoing about testing this year. They actually seem to be enjoying it.

Bowels, Click and Dancing.

The other day we were out at our church, preparing lemonade, cookies and coffee for a little reception we were having. Someone has rearranged the entire kitchen and made labels for the cabinets, to tell what is inside. Unfortunately, they made a mistake that is common to medical transcriptionists and spelled "bowls" as "bowels". My kids also thought this was hilarious and one of them opened the cabinet and said "I don't see any bowels in here!" and the other child said "Thank God!"

After my post of yesterday about how things are going so fast and the kids are growing up so incredibly quickly, we got the movie "Click" from Netflix yesterday. I sat down to screen it for bad words (too many). I expected it to be hilarious. Who hasn't wished for a remote control for our lives? The guy gets a remote that will control everything and it's great for a while but then it starts fast forwarding all the time without him even trying to fast forward and he ends up missing his kids growing up and his Dad and his dog passed away without him knowing. Let's just say it was not a good movie for the mood I was in yesterday. So anyway, there's my unofficial movie review.

We're still doing without TV so we've been watching a few movies. I did go to my parents house to record the Dancing with the Stars finale and haven't got to watch it yet. Sadly, the MSN headlines this morning on my yahoo home page spoiled the ending for me and I know who won. I'm not sad that Apollo won, I just wanted to watch it all unfold. Oh well.

I'd better get busy. My work list will not wait and I really want to get these 7 last days of school done!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

8 More Days.

We've got 8 more days of school. After all the calculating, adding in Mondays, taking them back out, etc., we've finally almost arrived at our goal of 175 instructional days and 10 noninstructional days (field trips!!) I am feeling much better and I feel ready to meet the challenge of 8 more days. We're pretty much done with Mexico, Central and South America and ready to move onto Canada. I really think that a field trip to Belize (pictured above) would've helped our study, but we just couldn't work it in. We do need to plan our summer. I want to go on at least one camping trip and at least 1 small overnight trip but I'm not sure if we're going to be able to work that in either. :-(

I think that as a mom, I can still hear that biological clock faintly ticking, not for concieving a baby, but because my babies are growing up so fast. My oldest is already 14! He's not going to want to vacation and hang out with his parents forever! I think that mom's who are currently "in the trenches" often have a hard time with patience for this reason. We feel like we shouldn't waste any time because the kids are growing, growing, growing and we can hear that clock ticking, ticking. (Secretly I'm hoping this post will make my DH feel that yes, we should do things now and not procrastinate. Have fun! Now!)

Monday, May 21, 2007


After living on Gatorade mostly yesterday, I'm much better today. We are off to the park for a day of play and exercise again this Monday. Our homeschool group does this quite a bit this time of year. It helps with the end of school burnout that both moms and kids experience. Anyway, I think it's going to be fun. I've got to go now, wake everyone up and find some suncreen and get going.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Setting an Example.

I read in the Reader's Digest the other day that people who take regular naps are 37% less likely to die of a heart attack. This is great news for nappers like me. When I take a nap, I'm putting a priority on my health and setting a shining example for my kids of taking care of yourself. ;-)

Seriously though, I've been feeling a bit rough the last couple of days and needing to take some naps. I hope I feel better soon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Playing Hard To Get.

Our Dog, Max, plays hard to get with his food. It's funny to watch. He's a stealth eater. Unless we're hand feeding him a treat or something, he seems to want to make us believe that he never eats. We hardly ever see him actually eating and if we do, he looks guilty. Every morning, I get up and put him outside and while he's out, I put his food in his bowl. (He's on Pedigree now, since the dog food recall a few months back.) When I open the door to let him back in, he's all excited and runs as fast as he can to the kitchen, to his bowl, and sniffs it. Then he walks away as if to say he's not interested in it at all. Then I usally get my coffee and head to the computer to start my work download. He follows me and lays down behind my chair. At some point within the next couple of hours, he'll sneak in there and eat it. He's so silly.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Art for our Mexico Unit.

We made these brightly painted wooden animals as part of our Mexico unit study.


Moms of only girls probably don't have things like this lying around their homes.

It's a slingshot. Boys are fun, aren't they?

What We're Reading.

We're reading a book that is kind of about Mexico, called Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan. It's very good. I took the precaution of prereading it before doing it as a read-aloud. There are some things I skip in some of the books we read. I'm not ultra-conservative, but if it's going to make my 8 and 10 year olds not be able to sleep at night, I skip it. We read Hatchet last year, which is really a good adventure story about a boy surviving alone in the wilderness with only a Hatchet, but, it had some grossness about the pilot of the crashed plane that I left out. I left out the monkey massacre in Swiss Family Robinson. Naomi Leon is written for the 9-12 year old group so there's not anything I've had to take out. It does deal with alcoholism in a way that kids can understand, I think. My younger 2 kids seemed to have a little difficulty at first, thinking that the kids mother in the book, was not the best person to take care of them. I think it took a few minutes to wrap their brains around the fact that a child might need to be protected from his or her mother. They are into it now, though, begging me to read more chapters. It's interesting to me to see them so into the story.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Greetings from La-La-Land.

I almost titled this post Tuesday, Tuesday because of my Monday, Monday post but then I realized that it was Wednesday. I'm kind of spacey, apparently. (You think?) But, anyway, here goes.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up. I enjoy reading these. I read them every week. I like hearing what other homeschooling bloggers have to say.

I finished my chores/exercise list today, barely in time. In my continuing struggle to get things done and motivate myself, I've decided that instead of an afternoon list and a morning list, to put almost everything in the morning and extend my deadline from 11:00 to 12:00 noon. I found that I was just ignoring my afternoon lists because apparently, the only thing that motivates me is the fact that if I don't do my list, the kids don't have to do school that day. Nothing else motivates me to exercise, etc. on a daily basis. I'm worried I may lose my momentum this summer and not do anything and lose the benefits that I've gotten from working out these past few months. I hope not.

I don't know if I mentioned, but our TV reception went out. We think that the antenna signal booster quit working and we don't have any TV reception at all. We haven't fixed it. My husband and I are toying with the idea of going TV free for a while. We've made it a week or so now. I've gone cold turkey on Dancing with the Stars but I did sneak to my parents house last week and record Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. A girl's gotta have some fun, right?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Blank Day.

There's nothing written on our calendar for today, which I think is kind of a good thing. Yesterday, we had dentist and park day and today we have nothing. We're back to school and work and our lists. If we had something else, it would be on top of school and work and that sometimes gets to be too much.

I've been trying to download the freebies from the Homeschool Estore. They've had an overwhelming response to the freebies so they've extended the deadline to include this morning also. Our internet connection is slow and that complicates things, but so far, I've managed to download 3 things, valued at 17.99, 13.99 and 6.95, so it's been well worth it to me to keep trying.

I talked with some of the other homeschool moms at the park yesterday about schedules. One of them does a few weeks on and then takes a week off, year round. The other 2 follow the public/private school schedules locally like we do. I kind of like the idea of working hard for 3-4 weeks, then taking a week off. I may have to look at the calendar and see if that's feasible.

Meanwhile, I need to write down what I want to accomplish these last couple of weeks of school and plan what we're going to do this summer. The kids will be disappointed to know that they aren't going to get the summer completely off. I'm going to make some kind of summer schedule for them. They're still going to have some chores, exercise and maybe one to two schoolish activities per day. So, if you happen to be outside one day soon and hear some distant whining, it's probably coming from here, when I tell them ...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday, Monday.

You all know how I love Mondays. My day off. Today's joy is compromised a bit by the fact that I have a dentist appointment. It's just for a cleaning, but I still hate it. After that, we're going to the park with the homeschool group so that should be fun. Hopefully that nice weather we're having lately will hold on at least through today. ;-)

Visit the homeschool estore today today. They are supposed to have a bunch of freebies for today, starting at 8:00 a.m. They're not on the site right now as I post, so I'm assuming this means Pacific time.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I had an idea for a blog entry but ...

I've forgotten it. I came into my bedroom/office, signed onto the internet, signed onto blogger, started reading an article about saving money at the grocery store and totally forgot what I was going to blog about. I have no idea.

Nice weather we're having, isn't it?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Go Gets.

My oldest son got a couple of new decks of cards a couple of days ago. This has led to a lot of card games being played around here. The other day, they decided to make it a little more interesting with their own form of bets. They started playing "I Doubt It" with the winner receiving "Go Gets" from the losers. That means, when he wants a sandwich or a drink or if he left his backpack in the car, they have to 'go get' it for him. Clever, eh? My oldest son won't have to get himself anything for a week. He has servants now. Maybe I should start playing cards with them. I would like some tea about now. ;-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Watching TV.

Okay, we can't watch TV because it is still out. I may have to go to my parents house tonight and record my Thursday night shows. Meanwhile, we got out a tape I had made of HGTV and we were watching a show called "Look What I Did." My 14-year-old watched in silence for a while then said "That show shouldn't be called 'Look What I Did!', It should be called 'Look What These Weirdos Did.'"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I didn't get to watch Dancing last night.

Our TV reception just went kaput. Completely. We have an antenna and get 3-4 stations and now we don't have that. I read on the internet that Billy Ray went home and really, we knew it was time, didn't we? Oh well.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


We finally made homemade flour tortillas according to the recipe that's in the curriculum we're using right now. Delicious. I need to go to the grocery and we were completely out of chicken and hamburger meat, so we made bean tostadas with them and they were so good; a much better flavor than the ones you buy at the store. We may actually make a habit of making them ourselves. At one point, I did get to say to my youngest son "Finish eating your schoolwork." so we could go onto the next subject.

Monday, May 07, 2007

It's still Monday.

We still haven't made those homemade tortillas for our Mexico study, but in the spirit of education today, we went to a Mexican restaurant in our town. It was very good. For dessert, we had fried ice cream. I'm not sure how much of an authentic Mexican dish that is, but it was very tasty.

After the restaurant, we went to Walmart and youngest son lost his prized watch there, somewhere in one of the aisles. We retraced our steps looking for it, but had no luck. He's pretty sad about it. I left our name and phone number with customer service in case someone turns it in. When something like this happens, I want to rush out and buy a new one, but what will the child learn from that? I want him to learn to be careful with a watch and not keep taking it on and off all the time ... but if I bought him a new one, maybe he'd think that I'd just replace all his possessions if he loses them so why be careful? I never know what to do.

Later on this afternoon I went to my parents house. Around 8:00 pm, we headed for home. I told oldest son I wanted to go home and watch Dancing With The Stars and he said "Does that come on every night?" No smarty pants, only twice a week.

Even later on, while I was watching Dancing With The Stars, Max, the dog gave me a fright. He was sitting behind my chair, waiting quietly for half an hour or so, then jumped up and barked. I was so startled I actually screamed. Hopefully, I've got a strong heart.
Can you believe it's Monday again so soon? That means it's time for Dancing with the Stars again tonight. I think it will be time for Billy Ray to go home this week. He's given it a good try but I think he's done now. His fans may be able to keep him in, but it will surprise me.

Not too much going on around here today and I'm glad. We've done field trips the last 2 Mondays and today I need to get some things done that I've been neglecting. Like cleaning the house and school work! Although if I can think of a good excuse ...

My youngest bought himself a watch yesterday with his savings. He loves it. He's been setting alarms and telling everyone the time, showing us the light and generally having a wonderful time as a new watch owner. It makes him seem so grown up to be wearing a watch. His birthday is in a few weeks and he will be 9! How can that be possible?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Wedding Shower.

The girl that was the flower girl at my wedding 18 years ago is now getting married. (Where does the time go?) We went to her shower today and it was nice. Yesterday, though, we had to deal with the gift registry. Am I the only one who does not like these things and finds them kind of annoying? I understand the purpose, I really do. My husband and I got 17 sets of sheets at our wedding, so I understand the need for them very well, but shopping with that kind of list kind of takes the fun out of it for me. There also are no surprises for the bride-to-be. She'd seen every gift before, when she picked it out!

Friday, May 04, 2007

I wrote a post this morning and it disappeared.

I have no idea what happened to it. I was gone most of the day and then when I got back, I checked my blog and there was no morning post. Hmm. Well, that kind of brings me to the subject I wrote about. I was gone all day as it seems I have been most of this week. Twice this week, another homeschool mom has said something to me like "I just need to stay home all day at least once this week!" or "I really need a day off" It's ironic, because these are stay-at-home moms, supposedly, as I am supposed to be. As a group, we sure don't seem to stay at home much. My husband summed it up yesterday when he asked me to get something for him at Walmart. He said "It's a day of the week, so I assume you'll be going to town?" Yep.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Beginning a study of Mexico.

We're moving around in the Western Hemisphere here, up from South America to Mexico. We may make some Mexican food today in a more authentic way than usual. The curriculum we're using right now (Christian Cottage) has a receipe to make homemade flour tortillas and I think that sounds like a good idea. Then again, we may not. I seem to be running out of steam this time of year, needing a break. I got conditioned to summer break when I was a kid in school and after school I went to college and then after college, I started teaching Head Start. I was in my mid 20s before I ever had a job that went year round! It was a shock to the system, I tell you. I still yearn for long, extended summer break.

Last night we took full advantage of the Baskin Robbins 31 cents a scoop sale by going twice in the 5 hour period. Before we left the house, my daughter was trying to decide what to wear. She brought all her clothes into the living room and laid them out all over the couch. Then she asked her 14-year-old brother what she should wear (I'm sure he really cares deeply about this!) and he said "That depends on what color of ice cream you're going to eat." LoL. She decided on purple and ate rainbow sherbet, just so you know.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Finishing South America and other stuff.

We're working on finishing our study of South America. That Sheppard's Software
web site has been great. The 2 older kids know the South American map backwards and forwards. The youngest is getting there. I've even gotten pretty good at it.

Yesterday, my daughter said that homeschooling was like having an endless campout. I'm not sure what that means, but I guess it's positive feedback?

We've been fighting the battle of the video games and screen time again this week. It's not that much of a problem with the girl, but the boys want to play video games ALL the time. I mean all the time. I set limits on how much they could play each day, then they weren't taking turns all that well, so now I've set a schedule. If they happen to not be home during their scheduled screen time, they don't get to make it up. They still have too much time on the screen and they still seem to focus their lives around that %^&*( GameCube and (*&^%^% X-Box 360. I am bone-tired and weary of this fight. Anyone have advice?

The carnival of homeschooling is up, at Dewey's Treehouse.


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