Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A good start.

We finally got started on our spring cleaning today.   Technically, it is still spring for about, what 21 more days but boy is it hot.  We have central air, but when everyone gets up and starts moving the furniture and cleaning behind it, it gets warm.  We're trying to do it with the book "The House That Cleans Itself."  in the hopes that we can get a better system with everything having a place so that when we clean, it will take less time and effort.  I'm glad we got started today. 

The House That Cleans Itself: Creative Solutions for a Clean and Orderly House in Less Time Than You Can Imagine

Monday, May 30, 2011

It begins.

The summer work and then fun.  We're going to try and mix them up a bit, but we have quite a bit of work we need to do and that really does need to come first.  We've got to get the house repaired and refinanced.  That is the absolute #1 priority.  We also want to get it decluttered, spring cleaned and get the laundry shelves out of the living room (yes, they are still there!)    After we get that done, then we will feel like we can be hospitable again and consider the possibility that the kids could have some friends over.  They've been asking and I've been saying no for several months now.  :-(   
This past weekend, though was relaxation time for the kids. The only instruction that went on was the continued instruction on driving that I'm giving the oldest.  I do think I might have a few more gray hairs than I did before this started, but he's getting there.  We practiced parallel parking yesterday.  We found a deserted parking lot.  He'd park the Suburban (no easy feat!) and then one of his siblings would get out and walk the parking lines so he could see how close he was to getting in them.  He's not ready to try between actual parked cars yet.  I've been working on preparing his transcript from my high school records and I think I've finally got everything on there.  I need to have a brief consult with Dad about it before I type up the final one. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Did you hear it?

My daughter said when she finished school on Friday she went outside and yelled "Yay summer!"  We really only have 1 neighbor who could've potentially heard her and I don't know if they did, but it's the thought that counts, not who hears it, right?  Anyway, we're officially on summer break now.  My daughter and I went on our first of the summer adventures yesterday, but it didn't really work out all that well.  We wanted to go to a U-PIck strawberry patch but we didn't want to go to the one we usually go to because it's almost an hour away, so I found a closer one on the internet and we went to it.  Unfortunately, it was closed, so we ended up going to a couple of yard sales and to then to Target. It didn't turn out to be exactly like we planned, but it was pretty fun anyway.  

Today, we were talking about various things and my youngest asked me, if I could change the geography of the world,what would I do.  I said I'd make myself an island to live on.  He said he'd exchange the names of Iceland and Greenland because they seem to be backwards.  :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

The last day of school.

I can't believe it's here and I can't believe we finished before the end of May, but it is and we did.  Yay, now we can get to our spring summer cleaning and then get started on our summer adventure list.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Next to the last day of school.

I can't believe we're actually getting done in May.  This is the first time ever.  The kids are so independent with their school work now that they just do it and my (occasionally crazy) schedule doesn't really matter.  They just do school without me.  Now my thoughts are turning towards getting the pool up, gardening, spring (summer) cleaning, vacations and things like that.  I've also given a bit of thought to what we'll be doing for school next year.  We'll still use Life of Fred and Teaching Textbooks for math as they are the best we've found so far, I think. I'm not the math teacher here, so I'm not sure of that.  I am going to be getting some of Dianne Craft's materials for my youngest, to try and teach the boy how to spell.  It seems odd to me that he can read so well but spell so badly.   I may just stick with what I have with him, though, since I already own Sequential Spelling.  I might even do a combination of the two.  With the girl, I haven't decided anything.  She's a good student.  I may let her do some of the choosing.  There are just so many good things out there to choose from! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good times.

We had our 4H class yesterday.  All of the other moms in the group have been volunteering to teach lessons, which is great.  This way we get the benefit of everyone's expertise.  Yesterday, our teacher was one of the women in our homeschool group who is really a great artist.  She did an art lesson and every kid in the group produced a work of art to be proud of.  They were all good.  This dragon is by my youngest son and the horse is by my daughter.  I couldn't find my oldest son's drawing this morning when I was searching the house to take pictures of the art.  I'll try and share his later. 

We had a good time with the homeschool group and planned a bunch of things to do this summer.  I'm so glad I found this group.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Last week of school.

It's the last week of school.  This is the earliest we have ever finished, if something doesn't happen that will prevent us from finishing this week.  It's allergy season here in Ohio River valley but all the rain doesn't seem to have dampened down the pollen.  We are all a little bit sneezy but not too bad.  I personally am not as bad as usual in May.  Usually, the tree pollen just about kills me.  I typed that and then sneezed 5 times.  Oh well.  Maybe it is. 

Anyway, this is the last week of school.  We've got a 4H meeting this week and otherwise, we'll be finishing up as many things as we can.  The kids are really going to enjoy not having to do their school work.  It will take my husband and I a few weeks to stop reflexively saying "Have you done your school work?" or "You'd better get started".    Ahh.  Summer.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


We always have this dilemma on Sunday afternoons - what to do?  Since my days off are Sunday and Thursday, Sunday is the only day of the week my husband and I have off together.  Consequently, we have about a million things we need to do but we also need to have family time on these days.  Because of his work schedule, we can't really have family meals together on the other days of the week.  We usually end up having a "what do you want to do" kind of conference and sometimes we waste half of our day trying to decide what to do.  :-(


Update:   We decided to all do something useful around the house and got quite a few things done and then we went out to eat and then came home and watched Mythbusters together.  It turned out to be fun.  I like the recommendation that we write down some ideas for when we can't think what to do.  That will help for next time.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The second, dare I say it, sunny day in a row?

At this very moment, it is sunny again.  There is a chance of scattered thunderstorms today but I'm hoping that they are scattered very far and wide indeed and don't hit anywhere near here.  Selfish, I know, but I am so, so, tired of rain.  The last couple of days it has been so nice, being able to get outside and get things done in the garden.  I have a feeling that once these spring rains clear out entirely we are going to have a hot, dry summer.  Probably we'll be worried about a drought by August.  But then, that's life isn't it? With the sun out, I'm starting to think about some summer-y things.  I'm thinking about going to the pool, putting our pool up, summer cleaning, a summer adventure list, vacation.  I like summer. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Friday and the sun is out!

Yesterday, we had a partly cloudy day and we did a clean and screen and school kind of day.  We watched the new Mythbusters when we weren't cleaning.  We also made a bed in the back yard for our new raspberry plants.  The other day we went to Lowes to get 1 raspberry plant for 10.00 but found that they were clearanced for 2 dollars each so we got 5!  We are going to combine those and the strawberry plants in 1 area, but we didn't get it done last night.  After we made the bed itself and after all that cleaning, we were tuckered out and so the plants will actually  have to go in today.  This should count as a gardening class, shouldn't it? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm thinking of changing

the name of my blog to "Our Life in the Rain Forest."

It's raining again.  :-(

Field Trip/Orienteering.

We went on a field trip yesterday, our last official field trip of the year, I guess, although our group doesn't mind doing a few field trips during the summer months. We went to a local park/ forest and did a class on orienteering.  As a mom, my job was just basically to walk along behind, but every now and then, I'd say "Hey, I think maybe you guys are off track" and get them re-grouped.  I have the gift of yelling pretty loudly and could get their attention a bit easier than the soft-spoken park ranger.  It was pretty fun, but not as good as the "Bring a Book to Life" program we did there last fall.  We were very lucky, this time, to go on one of the very few days this spring that it didn't rain.  On field trip days we don't do any additional school work. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

This and that on a Monday.

Various things are running through my mind today.  I may (fingers crossed) finally be beating this illness off on my own with no assistance whatsoever from the medical community.  Yesterday, for the first time in 2 weeks my fever was 99.8 instead of ranging between 100 and 101.  Woohoo.  I'm still having a lot of back pain but I suspect that is because our mattress really, really needs to be replaced.  Since I am an un-reformable stomach sleeper, it seems to affect me more than my husband.  I even slept on my stomach while pregnant! 

Also running through my mind is a question about the hours of school on the Homeschool Lounge.     How many hours of school are too many or too few?   How may hours of actual instruction do the public school kids get each day?  How many hours are spent waiting for others to finish, waiting for others to go to the bathroom, lining up, etc?  I don't know the answers to these questions.   I've heard people say that school kids get an average of 15-20 minutes of instruction each day, but I don't know if I believe that. I think they probably get more.   What my husband did with the math was select the books he wanted the kids to complete this year and then divided the number of lessons by the number of days of school and decided how much they should do each day.  I work out different things for the different types of materials that I have them use, with books, a chapter or lesson each day, with DVD or computer lessons its usually a lesson each day.   When they are done with their lesson, they are done.  They don't have to wait for the other kids in their class to get done.  When they finish their schoolwork, they don't have screen time, so they have to spend the afternoon doing something else, besides video games.  This leads them usually to all kinds of activities that could be counted as school, playing guitar, drawing, sewing,, exercising outside and reading, reading, reading.

I was reading on the homeschool lounge about second graders doing 6 hours of sitting down, writing and book work and I don't think that's appropriate. If you have a little kid, take the 6 hours and give the kid 1 hour of outdoor play for recess (this is longer than the schools get, but it is the amount that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends). So now you're down to 5 hours.  Take off at least half an hour for lunch - the schools do. ( 4 1/2).  Do some art.  (3 1/2)  Do a a nature walk. (3)  Listen to some music. (2 1/2)  Watch an educational DVD (2).  REad a book together.  (1 1/2)  Then in the 1 1/2 you have left, do seat work, writing, workbooks, etc.  Or you could mix them up a bit and do the bookwork interspersed with the more fun, active things.   Okay, down off my soapbox now.

Donna asked about my oldest son's plans for next year and it seems that he doesn't really have any.  He needs to finish school, re-take his ACT which he will do in June and get his driver's license.  Then, he's probably going to try and get a job to help pay for college and in the fall be balancing working and studying.  He's leaning towards taking classes at an online school because he doesn't want to have to go to classes.  He came out of the public schools in 5th grade with a desire to never, ever set foot in a traditional classroom again and I see his point.  He's used to working on his own.  As for the other 2 kids, the ones we'll still be homeschooling, I'm starting to hatch all kinds of plans for the fall in my head.  Against my expectations, I'm getting excited about homeschooling again. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

I think

that during it's difficulties, Blogger has deleted at least one of my blog posts.  Being me, of course, I have no idea what it was about so I can't really replace it.  They said on their blog that they were going to replace it, but they haven't yet.  It may wind up above this one and be really confusing, but I guess we'll see.  Oh wait, I remember it now!.  It was about how we only have 12 days left of school this year.  Now it's 11, counting the rest of today. Another year down.  It's been smoother than most, I think, because everyone's growing up and taking more responsibility for their own work and not whining so much. 

Speaking of smoothness, I have not had a smooth day at work today.  Somehow the IP address settings got messed up and I couldn't transmit my work.  I've got it going now but it's 5 o'clock in the afternoon and I'm still working.  I'm almost done though.  Finally. 

In addition, on the other blog post that was lost, I had a link to this site, Free Homeschooling 101.  The archives on this site are wonderful so go and check it out.  There's a ton of stuff there. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Twelve Days.

We've got 12 days of school left this year, as my grandma used to say, "Lord willing and the creek don't rise."   That is, if we can avoid the flu, strep, ear infections and the like.  What this means is, that really we need to decide whether to have a graduation party of some sort for my oldest son.  The tradition in my mom's side of the extended family is to have a big party for graduation, serve a huge meal and invite everyone, uncles, aunts, grandparents, first cousins once removed, etc.  My son doesn't want to have such a big deal so we may just take him out to eat or just have a smaller scale version at home.  At some point in the next 12 days, we should probably discuss this.  Today, I've got the day off from work so I will be working on the house this morning (if I ever start, but, hey, blogging comes first,right? Priorities!) and then this afternoon, I've got to take my oldest son out to the local retirement community where he is doing 10 hours of volunteer work so that he can qualify to go to youth group camp this summer.  He's been washing windows for the elderly residents who are responsible for cleaning the windows, but most of them are not physically able to do it.  They all think he's wonderful and that he cleans like "Mr Clean".  Unfortunately, we don't see much evidence of that here at home, but maybe there's hope for him yet. 

You might have noticed that I added a new link to my blog over in the sidebar. It's for  Free Homeschooling 101 and she has got a TON of great links there.  I've tried to do things like this a couple of times, but it is a lot of work to find sites and link them.  Look in the sidebar, she's got links to Free Biology, Free Chemistry, Free Physics, Free Unit Studies .. the list goes on and on and on.  Bookmark this so you can share it with people who wonder if they can afford to homeschool in this horrible economy.  Who doesn't love free stuff? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A free download from CurrClick.

Homeschool Advice book written by kids now available for free download at CurrClick.com: "Homeschooling Advice For Moms From the Real Experts, KIDS!

In March of 2011, in the face of an abundance of homeschooling advice written by adults, Currclick put forth a challenge to homeschoolers far and wide.  The challenge seemed simple on the surface – to write an advice column about how to homeschool a child written by the homeschooled children themselves.  Many kids stepped up to this challenge and the result of their efforts should be required reading for all homeschool parents! Enjoy and be inspired by the heartfelt, thoughtful, and practical advice penned by these extraordinary homeschoolers.

There are many books written by adults and homeschool veteran parents about homeschooling. But don’t people need to know what kids think? We believe so! In this fantastic, inspiring and informative collection of short stories written by homeschool kids, you'll find all sorts of amazing homeschool tips and advice from the real experts ... the kids!

Click here to download both volumes for free!

 I've just started reading the one written by kids age 12-18 and here's one kid's advice.

"Challenge Students.  Give them a loving push! Challenge your students to try harder
problems and encounter new ideas on their own. Don’t give them all
the answers because that won’t help them, it can only hurt them – allow
them to think for themselves. Struggling with problems disciplines
the student in becoming problem solvers. Before I can ask my mom for
help, she tells me to first try and figure it out independently. At times it
is frustrating, yet I always feel great when I solve something on my own."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not the best.

I'm still not feeling the best.  I still have some abdominal/back pain and a slight fever, though they both seem to be a bit better.  The fever is in the 99.2 range now, much better than last week's 101.  Still, I'm managing to get some things done.  I've worked every day since I don't have paid time off.  The kids keep doing school.  We've got the garden mostly set out and some flowers in the front flower bed.  We still don't have the wardrobe from Ikea put the rest of the way together and filled up and it's blocking half the kitchen.  Maybe tomorrow?  Sigh. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

I've got to admit.

I enjoyed waking up and being pampered on Mother's Day even though I whined about another holiday so soon.   Today, though, I really am glad that it is (and hope that it continues to be) just an ordinary Monday with work, school and hopefully getting something done.  I haven't been up long enough to know how my back/side/abdominal pain is going to be.  It's not hurting at this moment.  (fingers crossed).   It hurt a lot yesterday and consequently, I did not do much of anything.  Today, I'd like to get my garden set out.  It's pretty small so it shouldn't take long.   We've  already got 5 or 6 pumpkin vines around the front walk that just grew there, probably from last year's jack-o-lantern carving..  (This picture is one of last year's pumpkins).  I have some ideas for what I eventually want my yard to look like.  I want to gradually move into more perennials and more edible landscaping.  I really want to plant some raspberries, grapes and blackberries around the outside of the yard.  Now if I can just feel like doing any of it ...

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I whined about it yesterday because it's another holiday weekend, but today I got up and my dishes were washed and I had flowers and a card and chocolate and now I'm quite pleased that we're having another holiday so soon.  :-)

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Better today.

I'm feeling a bit better today, though still not 100%.   I am able to think about some things other than how much my belly/side/back hurts.  No one has any idea what caused this.  Between the 2 doctor's visits, blood work, urinalysis and ultrasound, we have a pretty long list of things its not and apparently, its not, in the words of the radiologist who read my ultrasound, "something dreadful".  I do wish it would go away though.  I've got a lot of things to do.  I want to get my garden planted, my home organized (you know, kinda)  and my bedroom painted.  I still want to finish my book which I really, really thought was 'almost finished' last November.  :-(  The book is really the only thing that I might feel like working on this weekend so I may get some work done on that.  Unfortunately, it's another holiday weekend and so I probably won't get as much time as I'll need.  I kind of think maybe we have too many holidays and therefore can't savor them like we should.  

And now, I will stop whining and share some photos of my mom's garden today.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Still not.

I'm still not feeling well.  The second doctor I went to yesterday (after my blog post)  has decided not to do a CAT scan today since my fever was down this morning and so I'm at work, trying to take it easy, but feeling very sorry for myself  and now my youngest may have strep so I'm going to have to muster the strength to drive him to the pediatrician this afternoon.  :-( 

Sorry about the whining.  This pain, on a scale of 1-10 is about a 7.  

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Not feeling well.

I'm still not feeling well.  The back pain that I've been having has moved to the left lower quadrant of my abdomen and it hurts.  I just got back from the doctor where I had an ultrasound and they didn't find anything.  They're comfortable with me just letting them know how I am next Monday but I'm not really comfortable with that.  I'm pretty darn uncomfortable, if the truth be told.  I'm trying to decide what to do about it.  Other than taking Tylenol.  :-(

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Our excursion yesterday.

The trip to the spine center went well.  Apparently, my daughter's scoliosis is very minmal, maybe 5-6% and they don't intervene at all unless its more than 25% so they are just going to watch how it develops over the next couple of years while she is still growing.  We go back in September.   Here's a picture of some flooding we saw on our way there.
 When we finally got into the parking garage (I drove past the entrance not once, but twice!) it seemed a little, well, short.  We felt like we needed to duck our heads inside the Suburban and really we felt like the Suburban was going to scrape the top, especially when we went over a speed bump.  This is what it looked like from inside the car. 
 and this is what it looked like when we parked and got out.

about 4 inches of clearance there.

Glassworks photos.

I was fascinated with these orbs which kind of had an optical illusion of being larger than they were.  It was very cool.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


It's no secret that I have done too much multitasking over the years.  I often am reading, watching TV, surfing the internet and playing a computer game at the same time and yes, I have read a bunch of things lately that indicate that this is not a good idea.  It's probably too late though.  I haven't read anything that says that unitasking for a few years will reverse the effects of years of multitasking. I guess I could try?  Anyway, I'm saying all this to explain that I have a bunch of different things on my mind today and I'm going to blog about a bunch of different things.

Rain.  My husband was telling me this morning that we've had over 24 inches of precipitation this year.  Is that crazy or what?   I have absolutely no idea what to do about my garden this year.  We have some seedlings started.  Should I just go out in the rain and transplant them or wait until it stops.  Will it ever stop or should we start building arks? 

Today. I took off work today because I have to take my daughter to the spine center.  At her well child check, it showed that she had scoliosis so today we're going to go find out what the treatment will be.  I'm praying its an easy fix at the physical therapy center and that she doesn't have to wear a back brace.

Degrees.  I saw on a google alert that Tennessee is thinking of relaxing their homeschool laws so that parents who do not have college degrees can homeschool.  I wasn't even aware that this was a law, because thankfully, I don't live in Tennessee.  My husband and I do have degrees and since he's gotten his in the last 10 years, his probably helps him quite a bit with the math teaching that he has to do.  Mine, I got right out of high school and I've got to say, I do not think it helps me very much.  Occasionally, when I'm trying to explain things like chemical equations, a few things do come back, but most of the time, not really.  They also said that they would allow parents to hire tutors to teach skills that the parents don't know.  When did hiring tutors for your kids come to be something that the government needs to control?  If my husband didn't teach algebra 2, I can assure you, we'd be hiring a tutor for that.  :-D   If we hadn't found DVDs that teach guitar, we'd hire a tutor for that. 

Backache.   Still here.  :-(

Monday, May 02, 2011

Backache and already May!

I hate to do a blog post about my backache on my homeschooling blog, but really, it's all I can think about today and pretty much yesterday too.  I had all kinds of plans of the things I was going to get done yesterday and did not do any of it, I mainly just felt sorry for myself because my back hurt and of course, chauffeured the kids around.  Today my back is even worse, and its starting to make me just a BIT crabby.  It doesn't help that I have to work and it's Monday.  :-P.  The kids are better though.  Several days of antibiotics have helped the ear infections, so they'll be doing school today.  It looks like we are going through the end of May after all.  Oh well, that's pretty normal.  I'm trying to decide a few things about what we'll be doing next fall, homeschooling only 2 students.  It's going to be different.  :-( 

I can't believe that it's already May 2nd and I can't believe I've got a kid graduating this year.  It all has happened so quickly!  There's a song that plays on the radio station I listen to that goes like this and it kind of sums up how I feel lately:

It happens in a blink
It happens in a flash
It happens in the time it takes to look back
I try to hold on tight, but there's no stopping time
What is it I've done with my life
It happens in a blink.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Against the odds ...

I now have 2 kids with ear infections in their right ears.  Are ear infections contagious?  One of them also has strep, but the other one doesn't.  Don't kids usually get ear infections when they are little and grow out of them as they get older?  I'm pretty sure that this is a first ear infection for both of them, although somebody around here has had one at some point, I think it was the youngest and so far, this time, he's in the clear ... at least for now.


Related Posts with Thumbnails