Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy New Year!!!!!

I know this is not January 1,  but according to the Jewish Calandar ....and my internal clock....September is a time for new beginnings.  I love the Fall.  For means schoolbooks,  new school supplies,  lay garden has done ( or not done) its thing.  I go into decluttering gear just like others do in spring.  In fall,  I know that pretty soon we will be hunkering down to those cozy winter days,  those snowy days where we can read and be creative,  and not feel guilty that we are not outside soaking up all that vitamin d and fresh air.

So,  what's going to be new around here.....
This new year's focus will not be so much on my homeschooling efforts,  but my life efforts.  IOW,  I am getting bored singing the same old song....and I am trying out some new ones that have caught my eye and my hearts.  YES,  we are still homeschooling,  home working and home living.....but there is a richness in my life that was missing....and I want it.  I want it BAD.   So,  my focus is not going to be on the math book,  or the grammar program,  although I am sure it will come up from time to time....but my blogging will be more geared to:

Decluttering: our house, our mealtimes, our spirits, our schooling

Nutrition:  my journey to grain-free, junk free, sugar free, lo carb high protein eating.  There will be recipes and hopefully photos as I try new ideas which fit in with my new lifestyle.  I guess it is sort of Paleo eating

Exercise: this is the FOR ME.  I have begun ( Thank you Ingrid). My real exercise journey, and I hope it is not too late to shoot for wearing a bathing suit without a cover up, or swim shorts!   Next summer,  I want to be able to actually wear a suit and not hide in shame.
My goals are to begin running and run a 5 k in April, buy a bicycle and enter some tours with Carl and Grace,  and of course have a flat tummy by my birthday...not an easy feat for someone with 7 kids,  who has been out of shape her entire life!

Health:  my battle with hashimoto's, pcos, insulin resistance and fibromyalgia.  ( which I think is all Hashimoto's related.)

I am also going to blog a bit of my weightless journey as soon as I can find some BEFORE pictures.  When you were as heavy as I was,  there are not many of those around.  I have lost almost 100 lbs.   I intend to lose another 15 or so before summer....and at 1/2 lb a week,  it should be doable,  if I focus and do not get discouraged.

I may also blog a bit on finding my birth family...and how that journey has effected me.

So,  this b

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I have been homeschooling continuously since 1995 and I see many differences in then vs. now.
We did not have PC's.  We did not have iphones.  We did not have online courses.  We did not have the plethora of materials and curricula to choose from.
  We could get Sonlight, BJU, A Beka, Saxon Math  &  if we were lucky some public school discards :D  I opted back then to make my own....we used our library card,  a math program and loads of lined paper and pencils.
Our focus was HOME.  There were no co-ops,  homeschool gym, homeschool library classes etc.  We were home-centric.  Our days were filled and we did after-school activities such as sports or music and art lessons....but for the most part,  my older kids learned by reading and writing....and reading some more and writing some more.
As Christians,  our goal was to grow closer to the Lord and to have our children learn to love and follow His will for their lives.
My kids had many days of down time.  They were not so rushed  or stressed out as my youngers.  They would wander the woods, shoot targets,   take care of their rabbits, dogs, cats, etc.  They learned to sew, bake, craft, paint,  run electric, plumbing,  stack wood etc.  They stayed physically fit by play and work....not sports teams (at least not until they were older.)  They were and are close to eachother.
Back then,  not everything we did was to prepare them for college or for a greater career....we were more in the present of the time.
Somewhere,  somehow....these days got muddled and our focus shifted.  As my older kids began organized sports,  college preparations etc.,  our stress level and fear of failing our children came into view.  Yes,  we wanted them to follow their goals and life's purpose....Had we prepared them adequately?  Was homeschooling really the magic bullet to produce happy, God-fearing, intelligent, thoughtful adults and citizens?  Here was where the rubber hits the road...and of course the result rested upon my shoulders.  I could not place blame of the PS,  or a bad advisor, or peer pressure or anything or anybody.  I only had myself to look at,  and to a lesser degree dh,  who was supportive,  but busy working to allow us the "luxury" of our lifestyle.
After 18 years....many things have changed, grown, evolved...
We have moved into a quicker paced life.
We have moved into a more technologically based lifestyle.
We have more programs to choose from than hours to review them.
We have forums, blogs, e-zines, we are not so cut off from others,  their opinions and judgements as we were back then. 
Our original goals have morphed a bit too....academics are  and always have had a front seat in our homeschool,  but I think they are much more forced now.  I do not feel the free flowy days as I once did with my older set.  Maybe I know the stakes better now.
I think my older kids might have actually had a better education than my younger ones are getting despite the fact that we were much poorer and had many fewer books and supplies.....hmmmmmThat is definitely something to consider.....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Some jumbled up thoughts of homeschooling ....on my birthday....

I used to LOVE homeschooling. All of it...the planning, the teaching, the benefits of being a close knit family...all of it.

Lately, not so much:glare:

I don't like being financially dependent on dh.
I don't like that I feel the 18 years I put into this have no tangible result for ME personally. My kids are doing well, have degrees....etc., but me...NADA.

I think of my future and I cringe!

I was so INTO homeschooling, raising my Kids, taking care of my household on a shoestring, being Mom, wife, daughter, sister etc., that I forgot to be ME. I forgot to look into the time when I was old and I would need an income to take care of ME. I forgot that even though I have 7 children, and put my ALL into them, they would grow up and move out and put their ALL into themselves and their own families ( like they should) and I would become that burden they don't want to think about.

I don't feel fulfilled just knowing I did a good or even great job raising my of their personal issues haunt me as if every choice they make is somehow my fault. Being mom, teacher, guidance counselor, spiritual leader, junior psychologist, chef, maid, laundress, chauffeur, cheer leading squad etc., etc., etc., took every minute of time....and lets not forget incubator, milk machine, rocking and walking it out machine, oh my.

I want SOMETHING of my own, but I am so burnt out from homeschooling, home based business, life as it comes, hurtful situations with people who were supposed to be friends etc., that I just can't think of WHAT! And honestly, all I want to do right now is sleep. I want to shut my eyes....and sleep....deeply....for a looooooooong time!

I can think of many, many things I would LOVE to do, but they do not produce an income....and income is what we need to survive. I would not do well homeless.....

I am tired of swimming upstream. Even salmon lay their eggs and drop dead! I feel like I have been swimming against the current WAY.Too.LONG.

IF there were a decent school where we live, my kids would be on that bus so fast their heads would spin:D
IF there was even an OK school where we live, my kids would be on that bus so fast their heads would spin!
IF we had the money to pay for outsourcing, extra classes, private tutors or private classes, my kids would be in them so fast their heads would spin.

I still love the idea of homeschooling...and all the fun we had...and hopefully will have....I just wish that I spent a little more time thinking of the practicality of the financial burden being completely on dh, and the effect it would have upon my psyche and emotional health. Looking back, I wish someone would have warned us more about financial strain in our 50's rather than burdens of teenagers. (I happen to LOVE teenagers!). I wish we would have made it a priority to find careers rather than jobs. I wish we would have thought deeply how each choice we made would effect us later on.

Is this the " mid-life crisis " that people talk about?? How would I be feeling if we made other choices?? Count our blessings? Without a doubt. We are blessed....but I am still scared......and the future feels more uncertain now than it did 20 years ago....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

High School: Home School, Public, or Private School

Many homeschoolers reach the high school years and throw in the homeschooling towel. There are many legitimate reasons, and not all of them are wrong. There are also many reasons TO homeschool. I really don't want to take a position on that either way, because I think it is a very individual choice. Individual for each family...and within the family too. Each child needs to be considered carefully and the determination lies in what is best for that child.

My kids #'s2&3 are/were extremely social and extroverted ...wanted to be in with the in crowd...craved peer attention They are also athletic ( unlike either of us:tongue_smilie:). Honestly, dd did very well being home schooled. We had her busy, busy, busy. I made opportunities for her to be social. Had lots of kids here...all.the.time!! Games, facials, movies, swim meet sleep overs, You name it....we did it. She volunteered, worked at a nursery school, life guarded, became a swim coach etc.

Now, ds.....him I should have sent to school. He NEEDED to be there.....but I didn't listen to my gut....I listened to my guilt. We did manage to make homeschooling work...and he did end up in a good place, but I think he really should have had a year or 2 at public or private school for his own head....IOW, he had big time grass is greener syndrome, which made him sullen, and very difficult to teach. I will not ever do that again!! He was not miserable, and did many social things all through high school. I put 70,000 miles on my van in 1 year for goodness sake! His personality craves people....

If you decide to continue homeschooling....and I think it can be a great decision:D....certain things I would consider doing for my son a bit differently.

1. A job. A boy needs a job. Mowing lawns, hauling groceries....washing windows....I don't care what he does, but he needs to do!!! He can start his own business if he can't get a job...advertise and work his butt off to get it off the ground. It is even better if he ends up hiring someone else too! What an experience for him in entrepenuership.

2. An outside class with peers or adults. Something he doesn't know a lot about yet. Photography, business principles, a new instrument, etc. In addition to the things he likes. My son was a swimmer. We were at the pool 5 nights a week and all weekend long during meet season. He loved every.single.minute! My son took classes in HVAC, became a certified oil burner tech at 17 ( took the adult class and aced it!). My other son is EPA certified to work on A/C since her was 16. He took guitar lessons, went to the gym regularly etc.

3. Online high school or college classes that happen in real time....with real people...preferably through skype, where they can interact. Ds LOVED these classes, and is still "friends" with many of the kids he encountered. They have even met up in NYC after they turned 18....and had a blast together!

4. If you decide to homeschool through high school, don't keep yourself boxed in by homeschoolers. They can be an odd bunch....not like us!:D
I have found the groups around here to be so exclusionary! Both the secular and Christian groups have their own agendas....and those agendas have hurt WAY too many young people and new homeschooling parents. Enter with caution. Groups are fun when they have a real goal. Not a just let's get together because we are doing this one particular different thing. " LOOK AT US, WE ARE DIFFERENT!!!". YUCK!!!!!!! Join a book group, a running group, a biking group, a physics group, a music group, a take care of the elderly group....but run like hell from an unfocused....LOOK AT US GROUP. They tend to peck to death their own flock.

5. Homeschooling high school is both wonderful and awful. I will never stop questioning every book we study, every group we join, every step we take....but, if I did stop, I would not be doing a good job. I need to take the needs of MY child and somehow turn them into clear cut goals and then implement them. It is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than plopping them on the bus....even when you think that is the best step. It would have been much easier for ME and for my ds if I would have just signed him up at the PS. The battle between us would have been over....and he would have had to deal with things himself. That is NOT necessarily a bad thing. For my one ds, it may have turned out to be the best thing. Not so much for my dds....or my 2nd ds. Each child is an individual and their needs have to be considered separately. However, don't think the school will give a flying flip over your individual child's needs. They just have too many individuals.

Socialization does not necessarily happen at the doors of the yellow bus. As a matter of fact, that place is often the gateway to bullying, ostracization, peer pressure, and just an unhealthy situation. Not always....but often enough. Consider where your kid resides of the food chain. Older ds is a networker, a schmoozed, a hand shaker.....he would have been BIG MAN ON CAMPUS. Ds # 2 would have been on anti-depressants first semester.

Oh, last bit of advice for now...if youbdecide to homeschool....make clear cut goals before you start your courses. this is what you have to do for an A, this for a B....if youbfail, this is the consequence. If you can plan an exam or an outside evaluation of some sort ( science fair, mythology or Latin exam, SAT2, CLEP exam, big family party with a presentation) it will help your child make goals and meet them. It won't seem like a bunch of senseless busywork that you are inflicting on your child for the sheer pleasure of it. Those wrap ups at the end are REALLY important! Just like dance recitals, or the play at the end of a gazillion rehearsals....some concrete way of marking progress and making a bIg to-do about it is really important.

Hope some of this helps someone....

Friday, May 25, 2012

Becoming Goal Oriented: Just What are we Trying to Accomplish Here: Math

Ok... I may not be the voice of math reason:001_smile:...but I have had a few kids who were not exactly....hmmmmmmmm.......mathy.

What are your goals? What are your child's goals? Is she headed to a STEM field?? Is he artsy? Is she musical or a dancer? Does he love history or literature??

Math is one of those subjects which, in my opinion, is not a hill to die on....but also not a hill to give up easily. IOW, carefully consider this child. Does this child need to finish calculus before college? Does this child want to study higher sciences? If yes...then get that child aboard....and other subjects may need to suffer for that child's needs.

Does the child need to complete just Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Geometry?? Then a different path and pace may be required.

Is the child a late Math bloomer?? I was....Do you feel it is better to cover algorithms, or concepts? Does the child have number sense? Does the child think abstractly yet? Does the child cringe when the math books come out?

Sometimes, we need to take a BIG step back in order to go forward...Have the foundational skills been completely mastered? If not, where are the gaps??

Honestly, I think Mamma needs to evaluate goals and skill levels and move forward from there. I do not necessarily feel a particular program is at fault. I have used many of the programs suggested in homeschooling circles over the past 18 years....and quite honestly, I am underwhelmed. I think if someone had told me 18 years ago to consider the would have saved me biggo buckos and probably a good amount of my hair.

Ok...nuts and bolts advice.

--keep lessons short! Work to the point of learning, but NOT frustration. 2 shorter lessons may yield much more than 1 long one.

--don't be afraid to skip problems in the book that your child has mastered. Every once in a while...throw one in there as review. Most books review so much, it makes the kid crazy!!!

--when you hit a brick wall...either try a different book, approach...or come back later. Learn a different new skill and come back later. Some things can't be treated like that (fraction rules for one thing....).

--math is some homes is central to their schooling. In others, math is required but not central. Remember YOUR goals. Re-evaluate where you are often. Let your child see their goals...and expand them if they want.

Math should not be a battle. It should not turn into a war either. Yes, it can be hard...but we do hard things:D. It also doesn't need to take precedence over every other subject...even though for some homeschoolers, it does. Just saying....for one of my children, Art took center stage for high school. That child is a professional artist. SHE GETS PAID for her design work...not her math skills. she gets paid WELL!

For another one of my children health studies/biology/ rescue certifications was central. She did much more math and science than older dd. They both graduated from college with high honors.

They both needed to learn to read, write and do enough math to keep their checkbook, figure out expenses and do well in the college classes they needed to succeed in the degree field.

The GOAL. That is what we need to keep in mind.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Character/ Values based Christian Curriculum.

After listening and reading Andrew Kern of Circe Inst., I began to ponder what exactly MY goal as a Mom, Home Educator and mentor to my kids was...I want to focus on those goals of Truth, Beauty, Loveliness, Honesty, Virtue, Patience, Diligence, Courage, Wisdom.

This morning, after reading an article from Circe on "Laziness" I realized I am battling with this vice. I am never not busy! I am always engaged in one or more than one pursuits at a time. No one would label me lazy, yet I am.

I would rather scrub toilets or organize a closet, or vacuum, or weed the garden, or change vacuum bags...ANYTHING but setting down and writing out lesson plans......anything than engaging my grumpy kids in conversation, anything than make those all important collection calls...

I asked my kids this morning what THEY thought laziness was....and each said "laying around and doing nothing." I also asked each one if they thought they were lazy. Each one denied it, because they are all involved in many pursuits...studying lines for a play, building with Lego, playing with the dog, doing a half-@ssed chore here and there....yet when I told them the meaning of laziness....NOT doing what you are SUPPOSED to be doing....We all admitted we were struggling against Laziness. We confessed our sin, one to another....prayed...and wrote down 5 things we should do today, and remain focused and purposeful in them. It was one of those "Homeschool Moments".

So, I am really thinking we need to delve into our search for Truth, our quest "To Know God and To Love Him". To overcome our tendencies toward the 7 deadly sins....and to focus on Virtue and Honor...Truth and Love...The Fruits of the Spirit and to rise to the calling that God has placed upon HIs children.

So, That is my short order

Waxing Totally Philosophical today.....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Assessment Results...

Had a meeting with Mrs. Coleman Friday to go over the results of Carl's assessment.
The assessment we had was designed to check his memory...both short and long term....and look for gaps in his thinking,  which is typical in Lyme patients.  They lose words....thoughts mid sentence etc.
So,  what we found....
His short term memory is amazing.  His long term memory has weird gaps.
He can do high levels of mathematics...but his math facts are weird gaps...:tongue_smilie:  +4's and x4's????  strange.
He also didn't remember to indent in his essay,  or use commas. 
His essay was actually really good other than format,  which surprised me.  He seems to be getting his words and vocabulary back....quicker than I thought:D

It was suggested to use GED test prep books, Editor in Chief editing books,  Building Thinking Skills at the High School level and work on Logic and analogies.    We will also be drilling facts with flash cards and drill sheets that I can print up. 

Our goal is to take an SAT in June and again in September/ October and then a GED in the Fall.  I would like him to start CC classes for the Spring semester. 

He did way better than I thought he could and I am relieved to see his personality and his thinking coming back. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Academic Assessment/ Evaluations for Carl

Part of Carl's Lyme disease was a break from academic work.  He thinker was not working great.  Over the past 9 months,  we have slowly returned to reading, writing, math, social studies and even science. 

He needed to be built up physically first....then spirituakly,   and finally academically.  He began by reading simple books....ones that he could just enjoy,  no real thinking required,  and steadily built his reading and comprehension skills back up to almost where they were before Lyme.

Today,  we went to get an evaluation from a longstanding member of the homeschooling community.  She has graduated 4 of her own children and has helped scores of others,  particularly those with learning disablilities.  I called her on a whim that she might be interested in Carl's case....and even though he wasn't typically learning disabled,  he had some special needs and circumstanmces due to his bout with Lyme.  She agreed and had me bring him on down!

WHAT a LOVELY woman.  She made him so comfortable....and I was able to listen in without him knowing :-)
He was so relaxed and calm....thanks to her...and I think the eval was thorough.  She even had him do a writing sample.  Oh,  and all those years of dictation....part of the eval was dictation!!!  She dictated sentences at increasing difficulty...and he had to write them after 2 readings.  Hmmmmm....sounds familiar!!
There were memory tests and sequencing....math assessment etc.  It took about 2 1/2 hours.  We have an appointment next week to go over the results and receive recommendations of materials to help him fill any gaps she finds.
Anyway,  just thought someone would want to know some positive parts of his saga

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Art of Mindful LivingThe Art of Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hanh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Peaceful. I listened on an audiobook. Other than the gong...this was a relaxing book....and the message was timely for me.

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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger MotherBattle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amy Chua is my new hero. If I had the money, and a chinese mother....I would want to be her.

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Life as We Knew It...

Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Predictable. My 13 Yo will like this one.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Week in Review....2/28- 3/2/12....

Just a quick re-cap:

We are plugging, chugging, slugging a snails pace, yet making progress.

We are still working in those 1st 9 weeks of Core W....will we NEVER see the end?? How on earth do they expect us to read 150 pages of Augustus Caesars World in 6 school days?? There is WAY too much compacted info for us to barrel through at breakneck pace. My kids won't remember a thing, so what would be the point of losing my voice reading to them?
We finished 35 of the 150 pages.
We covered the Ides of March, Who Julius Caesar was and WHY the senate assassinated him. The phrases Veni, Vedic, Vici and Ettu Brute, Octavian, Cicero, Cleopatra and Marc Antony and their parts in the Roman story.

Gracie is reading : The Ides of April
Cubby is reading: Mystery of the Roman Ransom
Hammy is reading : Sir Gawain the Good
I am reading: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.

Grace realized she is NOT ready for Algebra 1 and I was NOT holding her back intentionally. Nope, no math geniuses in this house....sob.

Cubby is plugging along in CLE. He is working on 309.

Hammy is enjoying his break from CLE...and did 5 lessons from A Beka Math 2.

Bible: we read 4 chapters from Grandfather's Box....entering the New Testament and the beginning of the fulfillment of God's promise to Adam and Eve. The kids ALL love this book and beg me to read it first....every day.
We also finished our readings in Ezekial and moved into the Book of Daniel. I LOVE the book of Daniel.

Language Arts:
Everyone moved forward on their spelling lists, grammar lessons and writing lessons.
Gracie wrote 2 chapters of her "mystery" assignment. This was a Sonlight Core W assignment....and she took it to heart and is running with it. It is going to take longer than the 2 week allotment.....but, she is into she wants to do it on her own time.

Cubby and Sam each did a week of WWE. Hammy is still doing copy work and narration, Cubby is doing well with guided summaries and dictation. He is getting more accurate in his spelling and punctuation.

The kids all worked on nouns ....all kinds of nouns, subjects, noun markers, plural, singular, predicate nominatives, common nouns, proper nouns.....we looked for nouns in our writing, we looked for nouns in our reading....we diagrammed the It was a nouny week.

Science: We are reading Archimedes and the Door to Science. This week the kids worked on buoyancy. They made a bunch of different boats out of all sorts of materials and tried to see which would float best in our bathtub. They used other objects to see which would sink their boats. We watched the Magic Schoolbus video Ups and Downs.....sinking and floating.

We learned about all types of levers and screws. We learned about the 3 classes of levers. We learned about. Force, fulcrum, resistance (load). We talked about every day levers and then I had them run around and find levers we use every day. We talked about pulleys and how they are actually levers....and how a series of levers can move extremely heavy objects.

I think this year we will finish up with Rome and call history DONE.....then focus more on science, art study and music. I want to find a piano teacher for Hammy and maybe Cubby. ...
Reminder to me: Place ad on homeschool message board! I would like them to begin the Suzuki method of learning piano, but I don't know if I can find a teacher in this backwoods town......sigh.....

Well, that's about it.....


Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Eleventh Plague

The Eleventh PlagueThe Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Re-teaching a child to Write

This week I have been wondering how I was going to tackle writing with Carl. His fight with Lyme disease left him with some cognitive challenges...especially in the area of writing.

I have come up with a plan of attack, based on my knowledge of Charlotte Mason's teachings and Susan Wise Bauer's writing programs...and my own experience in teaching my kids to write.

Writing has several components....there is a physical component and a mental component. First, you need to have words in your mind...and then those words need to be transformed into characters on paper, or computer screen.

Then physical act of writing can be a roadblock to a child who has never learned proper mechanics or a child who has had a long illness....and needs reteaching.

Mechanics include penmanship, grammar, punctuation, spelling all the nitty gritty get it on paper details.

The there is the creative aspect...the WHAT to write. At first, that should not be an issue. While mechanics are being learned, creativity should not be expected or set up as a roadblock. This is where copy work, dictation, outlining, summarizing, oral and written narrations come into play. We can not move onto a higher order of thinking without a shored up, solid foundation. When then foundational skills are developed, creative and rhetorical writing can come into play. This is now thinking. We write to try out our thoughts, to convey our opinions, to communicate to an audience...even if that audience is just ourselves.

So, following is my plan to remediate Carl's writing...Other components may be added later on
Step 1.....
Copy work.....daily, until he can fluently write 2 full less than 10 minutes...this is to strengthen his hand back up....and remind his brain about capitalization, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure...etc. be added in after a couple of weeks....and done on opposite days of copy work...working up to 3-6 memorized sentences at a time...after 2 readings. This is to re-learn keeping sentences, grammar, punctuation in his brain while getting it down on paper.

Outlining/summarizing.....from articles, textbooks, encyclopedia....we will move onto this when dictation exercises become fluid. we will move from easier to harder source documents...then outlining/summarizing from more than one resource and writing a more complicated summary.

When these summaries become fluent, I plan to move onto reteaching the different essay types....including 5 paragraph essays....expository, persuasive, compare/contrast, etc.
I will also reintroduce literary response essays and written narrations in math and science.

Seeing as these were all skills he has already possessed, I do not think it will take too long to move through these steps.

I will probably buy WWS and work through some of those exercises with will need it for my boys in a year or so anyway......

Once we have these basic building blocks back down, I will probably sign him up for a CC English 101.... And work it with him....

So, any comments or suggestions on this plan?

Thanks for helping me work this all out....and for the outpouring of prayers and positive thoughts for my ds. It means so much to us!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Way I See It

The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House by Melissa Anderson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Boring, badly written...and after reading Alison Arginams's Prairie B*tch, I can see why Alison thought as much of Missy as she did < sarcasm>

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Confessions of a Prarie B*tch

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being HatedConfessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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2/6- 2/ baby is 8!!!

Week in review time...well, it is really sleeping time...but that is not happening, so.....

We had a decent school week. I am very happy with our new clip board planning. I have each child complete their clipboard assignments daily. It seems to be working. They can understand what they need to finish, and go at it.

We picked up WWE again with Cubby and Sam. They are both doing very well and tolerate their assignments without complaint. Hammy has done some fun summary sentences and Cubby's cursive handwriting is pretty.

Grace wrote a narration using an assignment which studied "dialogue in mythology". She wrote it in a medieval type voice and it was actually readable, enjoyable and impressive for her age. I was surprised.

Hammy & Cubby completed 4 math lessons...
Grace finished CLE 705 and begged to begin Teaching Textbooks Algenra 1. I agreed to let her try...and she loves it. She loves the DVDs and her ability to rewind and rework problems. Ok...did I actually catch this kid up in math! Time will tell!

We have begun our study of Rome. We are using Archimedes and the Door of Science as our read aloud / science biography. This is my 3rd time through this book with my kids, but it is still sweet and enjoyable.

I am also reading " a Triumph for Flavius" which is a little paperback which was recommended in Heart of Dakota Preparing. What a darling read. The boys are loving it and beg for more. We will finish this one tomorrow night. Then onto Eagle of the Ninth, which I have read and enjoyed before.

I love homeschooling in February and March. This is usually such a hard time of year for homeschoolers. Cabin fever, on each others nerves, curricula seems old...etc. So, I learned to mix things up every year for our 3rd and 4th books, new science
Experiments or art projects, Even a new writing program or math book makes things newish.

This year, we have new math books, revisited writing programs and I am awaiting some science kits.
Thursday we only had seat work duento a wasted neurologist appointment. I hate when you wait weeks for an appointment, then meet a quack! Awful.
Friday was Hammy's 8th birthday. For some reason the anticipation of his birthdaybdrove this poor kid to distraction. He was NUTS!!! He must have thought it was going to be his own personal Christmas or something. I don't know, maybe he thought the sky was going to open and confetti and balloons were going to pour down from the heavens. He did have a nice day, with a cake baked by Gracie, a new Lego kit, and all his siblings together. We also took just him to dinner....and he had the staff sing for him.

So, now my baby is 8!

Next week, we add in logic puzzles and some new art lessons!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week in Review 1/30/12 -2/3/12. Great week here

We had the best homeschooling week that we have had in loong time!!
Last week I decided there was too much whining, complaining, beefing, sobbing, etc...mine and theirs, so a shake up and reorganization was called for.
I tried 2 new things that worked so beautifully it scares me to share them...but I will....I am a daring person.

Thing 1: I found our trusty clip boards and pulled one out for each child. On that clipboard I placed their math, grammar, copy work and logic puzzle worksheet. I also placed their reader for the week on top of that and 2 sharp pencils. That " gift" went on their favorite snuggle recliner for Hammy, one end of the couch for Cubby and the bother end for Gracie. When they wake up in the am, I am usually still working in my in-home office. They usually all come down one at a time and sit and stare or snuggle up in a blankies and wait for me to emerge sometime around 8. So, now...they are greeted with their own book and package of daily work.

I wasn't sure how that would go over, but each kid was happy to have their reading book...and read until they were awake enough to function. We like a slow rise around here.

This worked BEAUTIFULLY!! The kids read a chapter or 2 in 15 minutes and then are ready to move. They get breakfast...take care of doggie , kitty and tank pets...then they get busy on their clipboard work. I check everyones progress....and teach what needs teaching.....and then...we are able to do our together aloud, bible study, history, etc.

I didn't want ti jinx my luck last week, so I did not add in any projects or experiments yet. I did swap up Hammy and Cubby's day historical fiction, one day science, one day biography then back that was the extent of my creativity.

Dropping CLE Math for Hammy was a extraordinary change for him. He is less overwhelmed by volume and happy to do what I leave for him. He finds it so less intimidating to have ONE worksheet...and not 5 pages...even though we are covering the same exact material.

Ok...THING 2.

Moving our stuff OUT of the schoolroom...sigh....and relocating back to the main part of the house. I give up! A schoolroom will never work for us. Our materials just migrate out to the living room and there we school. My big giant whiteboard was nice in theory....but in reality...our lap ones work much better. I am doing one on one tutoring after

Ok...our week in review:
every kid completed every assignment....and I covered ALL the material I wanted to cover...and we are here to tell the tale. That and we had NO TEARS! None. Not mine or theirs.

I call that a successful week!


Friday, January 27, 2012

The Name of this Book is Secret

The Name of this Book Is SecretThe Name of this Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cute...sort of like Lemony Snickett and Mysterious Benedict kids.

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Finally, Some Peace at the Inn....Week in Review 1/23-1/27 12

So, we finally had our first peaceful school day in ages. I swapped some things out for my 7(almost 8 year old...and WHAT a difference....
This week the boys were sick with a nasty cold which started last Friday. Cubby was pretty much out of commission Monday and Tuesday. Hammy was having sympathy pangs. This turned out to be the week where the proverbial poop hit the fan in our homeschool. My youngest is definitely an unschooler type. I, however, am not by any stretch of the imagination....but, as a war hardened mom, know when something has to give. You can not force feed knowledge. You can not force a child to learn. I can go over and over the material, insist, yell, work myself and him into a frenzy, but that is not productive and does neither one of us any favors.

When these events happen in our homeschool, which they inevitably do from time to time, I need to step back and evaluate our materials, my teaching method and what will be best for that particular child. My youngest needs lots of one on one, he likes to read materials for himself, he loves hands on manipulatives, he needs to see the point in the exercises or assignments he is given, he likes to focus on one skill at a time, and he is still working on getting his handwriting fluid, so too much writing tires him easily.

So, in case you are wondering.....I finally gave in and put CLE away for him....even though it makes me sad. It is such a good, rigorous, thorough program which has served me so well over the last few years...but, this kid was going to either have a nervous breakdown, or give me one!

He spent 45 minutes on Tuesday crying because he hated school, he hated his math, he hated his books and he hated ME for making me make him do school!! OY! Not what you want to hear when you work so hard to provide a good education, and when you love your kids and want them to love learning.

So, Wednesday....I took the day to really rethink WHAT would work for this boy. He is a bit quirky....very smart, able to think, but easily frustrated by curricula that is either too easy or too hard.

I did some soul searching, and as much as I love CLE, I can see that it is just NOT a good fit for this child at this time. Looking at our school day I can see where all of my CM leanings have been slowly pushed out and replaced by workbooks and me repeating ad nauseum to the kiddoes to get their work done.

I packed up his workbooks and cleared his slate. On Thursday, I had a trial run of how I thought we may make our day work.

When the boys wake up they usually like to sit on the couch and snuggle while I build up a fire in the wood stove, make their breakfast and the older kids bring in firewood, take care of the dogs etc. When they came down Thursday a.m., I handed each of them a book....MTH Vacation Under a Volcano for Hammy and Detectives in Togas for Cubby. We are studying Rome, so I thought these 2 would work well. Grace is reading D'Aulaire's Greek Myths. I told them they should each read a chapter and then come narrate to me when they were done.
That went beautifully! was a nice way for the kids to start their day and I felt like it was more productive than just sitting and staring into space until they were awake enough to function.

So, hammy's program now looks like this:
Math: Life of Fred Elementary Series. We have already completed Apples, so we went onto Butterflies. I ordered an A Beka Math book for extra practice, and will use few days a week...but, with me teaching using manipulatives.

Reading: Hammy has finished CLE 2nd grade reading, so we will spend the rest of the year reading living books. We did the CLE program orally, so it was fun and pain free...but, I would like him to be writing better before we move on to the 3rd grade. He is reading well, but I would also like to see him read more "real" books. I will draw from Sonlight, Veritas Press, Well trained Mind etc. Booklists. He will narrate daily. Once a week we will work on a written or drawn narration.

Language Arts/Writing. Hammy will be using WWE 1 to get the hang of copy work and narration. I will probably use his copy work to teach grammar concepts which are covered in the CLE program. I always taught my older kids this way...ala CM/Ruth Beechick, and it was very effective and less stressful on my little kids. Hammy too to it like a fish to water. He was so relieved and learned his lesson well. In his case, less is definitely more. For spelling, I will probably just use the spelling lists from my CLE TM....

Bible, History, Read Alouds, Poetry etc. Are done as a family. this year, I am using Sonlight Core W and it is going well dfor all of the I will stick with it. This week we covered the Golden Age of Greece, The Peloppenesian War and Socrates. CHOW Chap 27&28.
We finished reading the Book of Isaiah and moved onto the book of Jeremiah...
Our memory verse is 1 Peter 2:9
As a devotional, we are reading Grandfather's Box. this week we read Chapters 19-22
We dumped The Trojan War by Olivia was awfully boring, and we already read Black Ships and Wanderings of reason to torture us all.
We are using Archimedes and the Door of Science as a Read Aloud, rather than a reader as a re
Placement for The Trojan War. phew! That was a relief.

We also finished The Invention of Hugo Cabret. We all LOVED this book. I have Wonderstruck kicking around here...and can't wait to read it to the kids.

Cubby had a short week because he was so sick at the beginning of this one...but was able to finish his 4 th grade CLE reading. He will be reading living books and writing narrations for the rest of this school year.
He finished 3 math and 3 LA assignments. I also started him on WWE 3 and he did so well! He loved his first lesson, so I am encouraged.
He practiced his facts using Rocket Math and began reading detectives in Togas.

Had a long talknwith Grace about the level and amount of academic work which will be expected of her come fall. She will be entering her High School years, and we will begin planning her Course of Study in the next few weeks. I am planning to homeschool with a mix of home made, farmed out and online courses. She is a lazy student, and it is going to be a struggle to encourage her to excel. She is an average student, but is capable of so much more if she would put forth the effort. Her tendency is to do as little as possible to pass, and she is well aware of that. I am well aware of it too...and not afraid to call her on it.

This week we reviewed her progress for the year...and talked about where she is doing well, where she is excelling and where she needs to step it up. She has conveniently " forgotten" to do her Science lessons for the past 5 weeks., this weekend she will be catching up on some science. We have been VERY light on her science anyway because she is just not interested whatsoever. I made sure we covered many scientists and their discoveries all though out her elementary years....sneaking in science wherever I could, and that seems to have familiarized her with many scientific concepts. I think she will do fine next year with an introductory Biology class and I am now researching our options.

She will be ready for Algebra 1 in the fall....and is well ahead in English and history. This looks to be an interesting next few years.

So, here is my week or rather semester in review....
Update next week :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The History Boys

The History BoysThe History Boys by Alan Bennett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ok.. I don't particularly like reading plays. I prefer to watch....sometimes with book in hand. Must see if YouTube has some footage.

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Monday, January 16, 2012



                                                      Reading Chair
                                            Howard the Turtle
                                            Caleb's workbox
                                           All the kids' workboxes etc.
                                              Sammy's Spelling...He is creative :-)

I feel like the Biggest Doofus Ever!

My poor parents! Why didn't I ever know how hard parenting adult children was going to be?? Is it some sort of big fat universal secret?? When they are little and behave poorly, you can just handle it. But, when they are older, and technically adults....well...our options are minimal. We need to stand by and watch while terrible things can, and often do, happen to them.

No wonder my mother was a nervous wreck when I was pregnant after my first baby was an emergency c-section. No wonder my father often shook his head and sighed when my husband had a new business scheme....or before then, when I was dating someone less than desireable.

No wonder our hair turns gray and our skin wrinkles up!!!! As I watch my older children go off on their own, oh...the things I neglected to warn them about stand out glaringly at me. The ways of the world ...the things to be careful of...pitfalls....dangers...those things that can derail their future, steal their happiness, rob their health are everywhere I look.

Their futures hang on a thread...and it is out of my hands to help them. I have no choice, but to put them in the hands of the Lord and pray He keeps them safe. Is there such a thing as safety??

I raise our babies hoping I can do a good job. I feel happy when they reach High School, knowing they have gotten past those fragile baby years...and I hope and pray we can get through the "learning to drive" years without a serious accident, teen heartbreak, drugs etc. They got past those days. I was free and clear. Oh, parenting skills are just being honed now.

Being the parent of an adult means:

You have to bite your tongue when your daughter's husband doesn't live up to your expectations.

Your child moves away and you no longer can make sure that he is eating well. sleeping enough, studying his course work.

Your child is in college and her room mate does not share the same principles and morals.

Your child discovers the "nightlife" and decides to join in ONE TIME and pays the consequence for the rest of his or her life

Your child gets sick...and you can not drive 100 miles to take them to the doctor because your younger child is also sick.

You can't say anything when you see the pitfalls, because you are so old fashioned and such a fuddy duddy....can't see eye to eye...don't understand the way things are now...

You see their immaturity, but can't point it out because that will alienate them and you know it is better to have open communications than NO communications...and adult kids are great at clamming up!

My children are good students. They have career paths. They work influence is now tempered by their decisions. My fear for them has multiplied. I thought my job was has really only, in a way, begun, but now my job is to pray...long and hard...for their lives and their souls. This is harder than making sure their schoolwork was finished and they knew their spelling words. This is much harder.
Yes, my kids were pretty easy teen agers...but not so great twenty-somethingers.

Think about it...they can drive...they own cars. They can drink legally. They can set up utilities, sign leases, get married, drop out of school, sign loan documents, date whoever they darn well please, have s*x, live with lunatic room mates who do drugs and bring home weird men...and they can't get them the heck out.....

They can pretty much make as many really bad choices as they want....they can eat cake for dinner, with a beer if they want to...They can go to Taco Bell and Wendy's instead of the supermarket and healthfood store. They can date the guy you hate and ditch the one you like. They think their friends and professors are smarter and more with it than you are...

So, Mom and Dad....I am sorry for all the gray hair and wrinkles, sleepless nights, worry, and bit tongues. I too have stepped in IT all too often...and must have caused my own parents plenty of anxiety.
I just never knew......

Friday, January 6, 2012

Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

The Daughter of TimeThe Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book, especially just finishing reading the historical accounts of Richard III and the Cousins War. So much much "Tonypandy".

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Holidays are over...Guests Have Gone Home

We are exhausted. New Years Resolutions in place. House is wrecked. Must finish business work and get us paid up to year end. Must plan next semester of school. Must get laundry caught up....

Oh, I have a loooooong list of must dos.

Must teach kids to:

Know what an hour is....TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS!!!!

Those are the 2 areas that MUST be worked on with my children this semester...even to the exclusion of any other subjects.

This year, dh and I are focusing on nutrition and nutritional healing. I know God has put everything in us to be able to fight infection and heal ourselves. the Bible also says we are to use every herb as our medicine. Through my and dh's research, we have found how nutritionally depleted our foods are. Because of factory farming, food processing, weird non-foods posing as food, soil depletion, anti-biotics in meat etc., our bodies are not only barraged by chemicals, but we have no nutrients to heal on.

We are overweight AND starving! At the same time! We are a rich country full of fat and sick people because of our new methods of providing a full stomach but no nutritionally rich food.

This year I am going to help dh grow and juice wheat grass. We will make sure our kids eat raw and nutritionally dense foods. I believe this type of diet will help Carl fight Lyme disease, will help Mark fight diabetes and high blood pressure as well as lose weight, will help Hammy with his sensory integration issues and will help me with Hashimoto's, PCOS and fibromyalgia. I think it will help my healthy kids be even more healthy. My oldest is determined to beat Hashimoto's and Fibro as well...and Ding is fighting Hashimoto's too.....did I ever say Hashimoto's is genetic??

Anyway, this year I plan to focus this blog on our Nutritional Healing and our journey to better health.
So far, I started my journey a few weeks before Christmas, by going gluten free. So far, I have lost 6 lbs. and am in much less pain. My goal is 10 lbs. more, exercising daily at least 5 days a week...and being pain free. I also plan on learning yoga because the few times I have tried made me feel so much better. I have yoga on the to hook the Wii up!


Son of Neptune....

The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book felt contrived. It was not up to Riordan's standards. I kept thinking all through the book, that he was just trying to get it out by deadline...and oh boy, does this book need a good edit! It was an ok story, but weirdly wordy....and not polished at all.

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