Friday, September 30, 2011

Still not.

I am still not feeling well, despite taking it easy this week.  I hope I get back on my feet very soon.  :-(

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well, looky here.

My blog has a whole new design.  I actually didn't mean to do it.  I saw the new dynamic tools from blogger, tried one of them, decided I didn't like it and tried to restore my blog back to its regular look.  However, I had neglected to save my old template and apparently, they don't have it anymore, so I went with this look.  It's kind of festive, isn't it?   I'm not sure exactly what I'm celebrating?  Homeschooling I guess.  I do love homeschooling.  Anyway, let me know if it hurts your eyes and I will change it. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Okay, I chose something.

I  looked all over the place and finally ended up at Cathy Duffy's Homeschool Review web site, where I probably should have gone in the first place.  I found something that is a workbook, that is suitable for independent study, that is reasonably priced and has good reviews.  Here it is on Amazon.  I hope it's good.  I hope it doesn't make my daughter feel frustrated and I hope it helps her learn to write more confidently.  We shall see, I suppose.  I've also run out of French resources on the internet that we can use with our slow, slow, slow internet connection although there are literally millions of things I could use if I had a decent internet connection, so I'm going to get something at the library today for her to work with.  For her guitar, she is tired of the DVD we were using last year so I'm thinking of putting her into lessons.  I have been given a name of a guitar teacher who only charges 5 dollars per half hour instead of 15 as is the norm around here so I am going to work my courage up and call her.  (I don't like calling people on the phone, have I mentioned that?!

In other news today is my oldest son's 19th birthday.   I don't know if we'll celebrate much today or wait until the weekend.  He's requested homemade gluten free pizza instead of cake and I'm going to make that for him, but the rest of the family will also bake and eat a cake in his honor.  He doesn't particularly like cake, but we definitely do.  :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

What to do about writing.

I had a lot of ideas for things to get my daughter to practice writing at the beginning of the year and she's been writing them each day since we started around August 8 and now I'm out of ideas.  I have looked extensively on line for free resources and I'm not finding anything so now I've started looking at buying some kind of textbook or workbook for her.  I have a book for writing research projects, but she doesn't seem to be ready for it.  She needs to write some shorter things first and work her way up to writing a research project in the spring.  Does anyone have anything they recommend?  I think this looks interesting, but I hate to buy books on line when a quick glance inside the book will tell me what I need to know.  You really can't judge a book by it's cover.   If anyone has any ideas for teaching basic essay writing, editing and grammar without overwhelming the reluctant writer, I'd be glad to hear them. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Whoops, I forgot Friday/Friday.

I forgot to post yesterday about my Friday last week and my Friday this week.  Last week, we got up in Athens, Alabama in a really beautiful hotel, drove home and then while the boys were rebooting the house (turning on the air, the water heater and the computers), doing the trip laundry and unpacking, the girl and I went to pick up the dogs and get groceries.  It worked out really well.  We found a terrific dog sitter this time and the dogs got spoiled rotten all week.  ;-)

This Friday, not as fun.  I woke up not feeling good.  I was having palpitations and feeling short of breath.  I went to the doctor and found out that I'm anemic again and that's probably the reason for the palpitations, but it also could be stress :-(.  I get to have an echocardiogram and a Holter monitor next week.  That should be fun.    So, anyway, of the 2, I've got to say I enjoyed last Friday more. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Last Thursday, we left the beach and drove up to northern Alabama to the NASA Space and Rocket Center.  The temperature was in the 90s when we left Florida and in the 60s when we got to Alabama.  We had a pretty good time there.  The rockets are just so huge!  Some of the things that were most interesting to me were about how the astronauts ate, slept and used the bathroom.  I really think I enjoy my comforts too much to ever be that kind of pioneer. 

This Thursday, I was off from work so I did some minor housework  (not as much as I needed to do in other words), cooked a yummy chicken, broccoli, rice and cheese recipe from the Zatarain's web site and went and got my hair cut.  The kids did school and not much else.   I had to go to my mom's house 4 times, first to take care of her little dog and then to help mom with her medications.  She's got a very confusing regimen of about 2 billion eye drops a day since she had her cataract surgery.  :-(

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Last Wednesday, we were at the beach, then playing Goofy Golf, then having pizza at the Mellow Mushroom, which has the best gluten free pizza in the world.  It's funny because several of my family members couldn't remember the name of it and it got called Mellow Yellow, Magic Mushroom and several other names in our conversations.  At this point in the vacation, we were getting really tired so we would giggle about just about anything.

This Wednesday, we've got school and work and a little bit of chauffeuring and we're also babysitting my mom's dog, Tinker, which we call Tinkersitting,while my mom stays all night with her sister.   As for school, it's going okay.  My husband did decide on Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1 for the book this year, rather than Life of Fred and it seems to be going pretty well.  My youngest told me yesterday that his scores so far on the lessons were A+, A+, A, so I guess he's getting it.  I'd hate to see what my scores would be as my math is so rusty! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Last Tuesday and This Tuesday.

Last Tuesday, we woke up in Birmingham and drove to Destin, Florida.  I kind of enjoyed this part of the ride because the view outside the windows was changing.  There were pine trees like the ones  I remember from my cousin's house in Georgia from visiting there when I was a kid, the ones with the long needles and big pine cones. We don't have those here, so I kind of felt like I was going down memory lane.  We stopped and bought some peaches but those were kind of disappointing, not as good as I remember fresh peaches from my childhood.  Soon after that, it seems, we started seeing palm trees.  My daughter had been so excited to see a palm tree IRL.  Finally, we reached the coast and the kids got to see the ocean for the first time.  The gulf coast at crystal beach did not disappoint.  It was beautiful.  They do not exaggerate when they say the crystal clear waters and the sugar white sands. 

Today, we've got 4H and we are going to make fall tea light lanterns out of jars and tissue paper.  I'm going to go to my mom's house to do my medical transcription work in a few minutes and hope that the kids get moving pretty early this morning so they can be done with school by 4H, which is at 3.  Yesterday, someone was still doing school work at 10 p.m.   So, we're back to real life now.  :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

This Monday and Last Monday.

We're trying to get back into our being at home groove and today we start back to school  and my husband has to go back to work, although I started back to work on Saturday.   The vacation we took last week from Monday to Friday was the longest one we have ever taken.  Most of the time, we only go 1 state away and we only stay 2 nights.  This time we went 3 states away and stayed for 4 nights.  This time last week, I was having my "what-in-the-world-are-are-we-doing?" moment, when I was thinking about sharing a car, hotel rooms and only 1 bathroom with my family.  My oldest son couldn't decide it he wanted to go or not and I was just ready to call the whole thing off, if it wasn't for that whole thing about it being nonrefundable .... anyway, we went.  The first day, we drove to Birmingham, Alabama, directly to the McWane Science Center.  We were able to visit there for free because we have a local science center membership.  We really enjoyed it.  The things I enjoyed most were stepping into a hurricane simulator which simulated 80 mph winds without really realizing what it was - I just stood there and laughed at myself.  Luckily I was able to keep in my contact lenses in my eyes, though I felt that they might fly out!  Then my sons did a pretend weather forecast with a green screen and I laughed at them trying to point at the right place on the map, by looking at the monitor.  This was a great place for playing and pretty much all of the exhibits said "please touch".  That's the best kind of museum.  Everyone in our family likes to play.  :-)

Friday, September 16, 2011

A very big field trip.

I have a confession to make.  We went on a vacation starting last Monday and just got home today.   I typed the blog posts for this week before I went and I have spent 5 days kind of off the grid.  I did check my email a couple of times, but mostly I just spent time with my family.  We went from Kentucky, to Birmingham, Alabama to the McWane Science Center, stayed the night, then went to Destin, Florida for a couple of days and then back to Huntsville, Alabama and visited the NASA Space and Rocket Center and then today we came back home.  My kids have finally seen the ocean, or at least the Gulf of Mexico.  It was really great.  I'll post more about it when I'm not so tired!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The future of schooling.

According to this article homeschooling in my state is growing at a rate of 24% per year, but still is only 1% of the population.   It seems like I never used to hear about it at all and now I hear about it a lot.   I hope that the trend continues because I think that homeschooling is just so good for kids.  This is backed up by research.  Here's a really good article.   In the future, I think/hope more people, kids and adults, will be taking their classes at home.  With the technology that we currently have, it's possible and there could be so many benefits from this.  Kids would benefit from spending more time with their parents and vice versa.  The big old school buses that use so much gasoline could be parked so it would be good for the environment.  Wouldn't it be funny to be sitting with our great grandchildren and telling them that kids used to go to big old buildings away from their families every day and have the great grandchildren think this was so strange.  :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Google Alerts.

I like to use google alerts to keep up with things I am interested in.  I get an alert every day for homeschooling and one for gluten.  That way, I get to read what's been published about these 2 topics each day on the internet.  Some of it is not worth reading, but I do see a lot of good gluten free recipes, new products and coupon offers.  Sometimes I enjoy reading the articles about homeschooling.  Unfortunately, it seems that most of them don't portray homeschooling in a very positive light or they really don't understand it at all, but still, it's good to be informed and every now and then, you get a really good article or two.  I also have a google alert for notebooking, but so far, I haven't gotten as much out of that one.  If you want to sign up to receive these in your email, visit this link. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Speed reading?

I read on someone's blog that they were teaching their kids to speed read.  I took a speed reading class in college and did very well with it.  I don't know if it helped me get through college because I have no idea how I would have done without it, but I think I was doing okay prior to it, if you know what I mean.  Now, I feel like I read books too fast.  I would like to be able to savor them more. I think.  Maybe I'd like to be able to turn this skill on and off or dial it up and down?  I think if I had it to do over, I wouldn't take the speed reading course.  :-P

Friday, September 09, 2011

Helping in a tiny little good deed.

A year or so ago I got an email in one of my homeschool email groups that someone was looking for a small dog.  I got in touch with the lady I know who rescues dogs, the one from whom we got Freckles a few years back and asked her if she had any dogs available.  She had one, a little Jack Russell named Fritz.  I forwarded her email back to the family who was looking for a dog and I never heard another thing about it, until today.  The lady who was looking for a dog a year ago, was cleaning out her old emails, found mine and sent me a note today thanking me, because Fritz has been part of their family for a year now and they really enjoy him.  Isn't that kind of cool and wasn't it nice of her to let me know that it all worked out? 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

It's almost time.

We've been back to school since the first week of August, which, of course, means it's almost time to tweak that schedule a smidge.  I added exercise this week, which I had somehow forgotten.  My daughter and I exercised hard all summer and both of us earned the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, (the boys claimed to want to wait to do it until it cooled off) but then in the last couple of weeks, we have been slacking.  So I added it back into their schedule.  I don't know what I'm going to do with me now that it's too cold for me to get in the pool.  :-P  Back to their schedules, I'm also going to add in a Physics course I got from Currclick last year when they had a sale/promotion thing to help a family in need.  I may take out one day of notebooking to make up for it or I may just add it in.  I might make them do a notebooking page on the physics lesson of  the day.  That might be very interesting.  The notebooking is going well. I still haven't found my camera cord, mainly because I haven't looked for it, but my daughter got a new camera and so I might get her to snap a couple of pictures of their notebooking pages to share with ya'll. 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Sometimes I hate technology.

I have opened up something on my work system that's not supposed to be open and I have this little toolbar at the top of my screen that I don't know what to do with.  About 3 or 4 months ago, I accidently opened this miniscreen to the left of the page I type on and I have not been able to get rid of it either.  If I don't get some kind of technical support for these issues, I might eventually open up enough mysterious toolbars and thingies so that I can't even see the screen I'm supposed to be typing on!. 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Okay, maybe not.

We did not end up doing school yesterday as I said we were going to.  I had all the symptoms of accidentally ingesting gluten -- headache, aching and fatigue.  I took a nap that lasted about half of the afternoon.  It seemed like old times before I went gluten free.  I don't know what caused it, but since it is a rare thing now instead of a daily way of life, now when it happens, I go ahead and take the day off rather than subject the kids to my headachey-all over achey, crabbiness.  They were thrilled.  Today, it is school as usual and my youngest had already gotten started when I left for work this morning.   

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day.

It's Labor Day in the United States today.  We don't really celebrate it at our house.  I always just go ahead and work on the minor holidays.  I don't get paid if I don't work and we don't usually have anything planned on days like this.  We are kind of anti-crowd and since everyone else is doing things this Monday, we'd rather do something at an off time which is something we can do because we homeschool. That way, we can have the place to ourselves.  A couple of years ago, we went to a local lake on Labor Day evening and stayed until the next morning, on the Tuesday and totally had the beach to ourselves.  We also pretty much had the lodge to ourselves, including the game room and the restaurant.  It was really wonderful.

So for today, we're going to do work and school.  We might do a notebook page on the history of Labor Day.  I really have no idea how it got started, so it might be educational to me as well.   It's looking really a lot like fall around here lately, the skies are gray, it's raining and leaves are falling.  It's also kind of cool.  The temperature this morning was 63.  It kind of makes me start craving fall foods and fall experiences and it has definitely started my youngest son thinking about Christmas.  Now that seems a little soon to me!  

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Busy weekend.

We've got 3 birthday parties this weekend, so I probably won't check in again until Monday.  I hope you all are having a nice weekend~!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Dietary Issues.

This is unrelated to homeschooling, but since my blog header says "random thoughts", I'm covered.  :-)   As some of  you may be aware, almost 2 years ago I read an article about how going gluten free could help with my symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and modified my diet to be gluten free.  I feel so much better it is almost unbelievable to me.  I didn't know I'd also get rid of most of my sinus/allergy problems (maybe all?) and my daily headaches, but I did.   I've been trying to tell anyone and everyone with an autoimmune disease or chronic fatigue to try it.  I didn't direct any of my comments about it intentionally to my children, but my oldest son, after keeping up with me all day and realizing that he was more tired than I was, went gluten free himself almost a month ago.  He also decided at that time, since he is also lactose intolerant, to go completely dairy free as well.  (before that, he had been eating small amounts).  Since he did this, I've really been struggling to come up with things to buy that he can eat and things to cook.  It' really made me re-think every single thing I buy and cook.  But, the good news is, he also feels better and more energetic and though I've been stretched with my cooking creativity, I'm kind of getting the hang of it now.   Really, there's not much of a point to me posting about this on my homeschool blog, other than to point out that I am also learning some new thing at our house this semester and since it was on my mind because I have to go to the grocery today, I thought I'd share. 

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Cool chart.

I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was very interesting.   I want to give credit where credit is due but I had a hard time figuring that out.  On Pinterest there was a link to this blog but I couldn't find the chart on there to list it.  It also lists this site at the bottom of the chart, but I couldn't find the chart on that site to link it either.  See if you can click on it and enlarge it enough to read it well. I couldn't get it any bigger.  Maybe you could find a magnifying glass and read it or just look at it here, where its a little bit larger.

Okay, someone way smarter than me, Gidget, found the original.  Here it is!   Take a look.  It' worth a read.


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