Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oh Boy, That Never Gets Old, Does It?

I hate to even write this, because it makes me seem like a big whiner.  But  you know those few moments when a stranger asks you, "So...what do you do?"  and you reply, "I stay home and homeschool my kids!"

There's the moment of silence.  And you're left hanging for either one of two replies:

"That's great!  I wish I could have done that/ had the patience to do that!"


The other ones.  Which are not so encouraging, nor are they nice.

The suspicious stare. As if they suddenly realized they were speaking with someone who just said something like "Gee, the Institution just let me out a week ago.  Kinda flying under the radar right now!"

Following the suspicious stare is the quick up-and-down glance to make sure I'm not wearing any ankle length dresses or denim jumpers.  (Which, by the way, is totally fine with me if you wear them.)

Then the slight hesitation...then The Comment.

Most recently I got this one:

"Boy, are YOU brave."

Really? Brave?  I wish I could tell you I had a snappy come-back that made me feel all self-righteous and stuff.

What I really said was, "HAHAHAhaha....uh..yeah..."

Dang it.

I wish I could have a quick come back.  I wish I could think to say something like, "oh YEAH? Well, the ones who are brave are the ones sending their kids to PUBLIC SCHOOL. So THERE."

I never do.  I guess I am a little slow on the uptake.

Those little comments come from everywhere...the grocery store, restaurants, department stores.  Or at least the Look.  The "Why aren't those kids in school?" Look.

It's not as often as it used to be.  I suppose with as many homeschoolers as there are in this little town, people get used to it.

And I mostly get used to it.

But one day, I'd really like to have a Zinger that made the other party wish they hadn't commented.

Until then, I'll just smile and say something stupid.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Now That I Can Finally Laugh About This, I'll Share It With You

This happened over the weekend, but I am just now at the point where I can think about this and totally laugh about it.

Let me preface the story by first telling you that all day Friday and Saturday I was consumed by the monster known as the Neighborhood Yard Sale.  Love going to yard sales...hate having them.  Waking up at 5:00 on a Saturday to haul all my junk onto my drive way so people can complain about how $1.00 is waaaayyyy too much for that electric drill is not my idea of fun.  But at the end....YAY money!

Where was I?  Oh yes.  Yard sale.

That same day my daughter had a costume fitting for her role in the Nutcracker Ballet.  In the next town over. 

By Saturday afternoon...I was toast.  Physically and mentally.

My daughter invited her little friend over to spend the night.  Okay-not a problem.  Usually they disappear into her room and only come out for snacks.

By 9:00 I was in bed.  Exhausted.

By 12:00 am I was woke up by my daughter.

"_________  is crying.  She wants her mom.  She says she feels sick."

Stumble into the room.  Find _____ in the bed crying.  She's had a sinus infection and had been taking antibiotics, but I guess she still felt crummy.

"I want my mommy!"
"Are you sure?  What's wrong?"
"My head hurts and my stomach hurts and my throat hurts and I want my mommy!"

I come back with my cell phone.  "Okay, I'll call your mommy."

"NO! I don't want to go home!!"
"Honey you are sick.  Let me call your mommy."

(Next 30 minutes involves a phone call to Mommy and Mommy coming to bring her very sad, very sick feeling child home.)

I take my daughter back to her room.

"AAAAAARRRGH! MOMMY!  A ROACH IS ON MY WALL!"  She runs out of the room.


Do you know how much I hate HATE roaches?  I am seriously afraid of them.  And a collosal one is on her wall in her room.  (Don't judge me- my house is clean and we pay the exterminators twice a month to spray.)

Armed with bug spray and a fly swatter, I braved the roach.  Meanwhile my daughter is hiding under the kitchen sink, as she shares my hate and fear of roaches.

Too high to swat, the roach was on the wall behind her dresser.  So I sprayed.

It fell behind her dresser.  Her huge dresser.  And it wasn't dead.


I proceed to pull this 200 pound dresser away from the wall.  Mr.  Roach is apparently not happy that I sprayed him and charges at me from behind the dresser.

(Next 10 minutes is spent jumping up and down flailing a fly swatter a hundred times on one roach. I think I knocked all his legs off.)

Scooped up the roach, went to flush it down my daughter's bathroom toilet.

The toilet is stopped up.  Did I mention her little friend had been on antibiotics?  Yeah, we all know what happens. And it happened.

So I walk all the way across the house with a dead cockroach the size of my shoe to flush it down *my* toilet.  (No-I can't just throw it in the trash.  I just...can't) I'm fighting the urge to gag and my skin is literally crawling.  I can't throw that thing away fast enough.

Get the plunger.  Go back to my daughter's bathroom.

(Next 15 minutes is spent plunging the toilet.)

"Night night Momma!  I love you!"


Wide awake.  It's 1:30 am.

"I love you too, honey."

ONLY ME.  Surely this stuff only happens to me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do I Really Need Another Reason to Love Tim Tebow?

Checked out Tim Tebow's book at the library the other day:

I read it for two reasons.

1.  He's a well known celebrity who was homeschooled as a child and, of course, that is intriguing.

2.  Come on...have you looked at him? *swoon*

I brought the book home and within five minutes my son absconded with it and proceeded to read it over the next five days.  He gave it a two-thumbs-up.


What I Liked:  Mr. Tebow related so many instances in his life where his faith and homeschooling were absolutely beneficial in his success.  He was very inspriring.   I appreciated the fact that he is unapologetic about his beliefs.  His personal drive is incredible. 

What Was....'Meh':  He seemed to 'hold back' a little.  Topics where I was hoping he would go in depth, he just skimmed with basic facts.  And there was quite a bit of technical 'football speak' that glazed my eyes over. 

Overall, as a homeschooling mom, this book was wonderful to read in how homeschooling really shapes the character and lives of our children.  Mr. Tebow is such a positive role model for young men (and ladies) everywhere!  If you aren't interested in football, you can skim over those parts and still come away with a very inspiring read.

And the pictures aren't bad, either.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Common Sense Ain't So Common Anymore

One thing I truly hope to instill in my children while homeschooling them is some good ol' common sense.  Because, truly...have you noticed the decline in common sense?  It's a dying art- along with letter writing (paper and pen) and cursive writing.

Sure, I want my kids to be proficient in math, to be well read. 

But more than that I want them to have those skills that will serve them most in life.  Intelligence is not measured by how 'smart' you are....I know plenty of 'educated idiots'...people who are book smart, but don't have the 'Sense To Get In Out Of The Rain'.   I want my kids to live by some of the 'old saws' that encourage common sense.

Such as:

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch.  Assuming is never a good thing.  Make an educated guess and a calculated risk...but never assume anything. 

Respect Your Elders.  Because, really...nothing is more disheartening than a young person who has zero respect for their own parents, let alone any other adults in their life. They don't have to always AGREE with their elders...but they darn sure better respect them!

Don't Rob Peter To Pay Paul.  Spend your money wisely.  Don't be impulsive or extravagant with your money.  Especially when you don't have any.  (Just ask the Government) 

The Early Bird Gets The Worm.  Don't be lazy!  Get out there and work for what you want! 

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day.  Be patient, and have perseverance!

You Made Your Bed, Now Lie In It.  Sorry!  Bad choices have bad consequences.  And I am not rushing in to save you from them.  Start early evaluating the choices you make, and determine if the outcome will be a good one. (This also goes with If You Lay Down With Dogs, You Will Get Fleas.)

These are just a few.   They have been around for generations, and you know why?  They speak the TRUTH!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Too Cool Not to Share!

Offers online web classes in science for ages 9 and up!  Very reasonable prices too!  (And coming from me, 'reasonable' can also be read as 'cheap')

Go over and check it out!  I am seriously doing this with my kiddos.

Snitching From Other Blogs, Again

Okay, Day 2 of snitching from other blogs.  I'm sorry...but this was too good not to share:

"My first clue, probably, was that I was dying to have my kids back in school so I could have my life back. What else can I do to get time alone? How else can I do some work? Work is very fun.
I love work. I love how people tell me how great I am when I am right. I love when I sell something and make a lot of money, when I create a great job for someone, when I give great career advice. Work is so rewarding. I get accolades and I get money. It’s a toxic combination.
And kids at home without school is just impossible. There is no reward system. There is no announcement that the mom has done a good job. We don’t even know what a good job is."

Go over and read the article.  What homeschool mom hasn't ever felt like this?  I will admit, the author is pretty militant against public schools, but over all she makes some excellent points.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Downfall of Homeschooling

One downfall of homeschooling is that you are around your children 24/7.  Sometimes when you are around your children that much it's hard to notice when something is wrong.

I suppose this doesn't just apply to homeschool moms- I never realized my son had motor skills issues until he started kindergarten and the teacher pointed it out to me.  I was just so used to seeing the issues that I quit 'seeing' the issues...does this make any sense?

I came across this blog post from Simple Homeschool about her son's speech therapy:

The author writes:

"Like many homeschooling parents, I’m not very good at seeking outside help. We tend to be an independent, self-sufficient lot, right? As fellow homeschooler and speech-language pathologist (SLP) Lisa Scott says, “None of us wants to believe there is anything wrong with our child. But when you are homeschooling, there is the added pressure of fearing that there is something wrong with your child because YOU have failed as a homeschooling mom. We often don’t want to face our fears, so we try to ignore the problem.”

But if another well meaning mom tells you something about your child..well, now...sometimes it's hard for the mom to take in a positive light.  No one wants to admit something is 'wrong' with our kids.  However, it's important to keep in mind that NO child is perfect.  All kids have their quirks.  Some they grow out of...some they need outside help with.

What I am trying to say is this- if an outside person mentions a behavior or quirk they have observed in your child...don't freak out.  Listen to them.  Maybe it's nothing new to you...but maybe it is.  And if it is something they won't grow out of, please don't feel like a failure if you can't 'fix' it on your own and have to contact a professional!  Most of the time, the earlier the intervention, the better.

And the wonderful thing about homeschooling is this...if your child does have issues that need intervention with a professional, there isn't the 'stigma' attached.  The child can deal with those issues in a comfortable environment without having to worry if their friends or classmates think they're weird.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thoughts on Homeschooling Through High School

I'm a planner.  A list maker.  I need to know the end goal before I get there so I will know when I am there. 

That's where homeschooling leaves me a little uneasy.

I know how I want my children to turn out...but what path to take? 

So, even though my kids are 7th and 4th graders, I find myself thinking more and more about high school.

To me, and this is just *my* philosophy, the younger grades are more about learing all of the information you can.  Just the facts, ma'am.  Well, we delve into the how and why too, but it's about the basics.

Around high school though, I feel like most kids know instinctively what they want to be when they 'grow up'.  Or at least what their passions are.  And if a child already has a clear idea of what they want to do with their life....should they delve into those subjects which support their passions or talents?  For example, if my son said he wanted to be a missionary...should he focus on sociology, etc?  If he wants to be an his attention to math, drafting, etc?   Should he really worry about taking chemistry or calculus if it's not ever going to be used?  Or should such extraneous things be taught to provide a 'well rounded' education?

What about you?  How do you feel about homeschooling through high school?  What's your approach?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Knowing Your Worth

Saturday was the day for Nutcracker Ballet tryouts.  They started at 8:30 that morning and lasted throughout the day. 

Did I happen to mention that my daughter loves to attend the Nutcracker every year at Christmas?  And that professional dancers from all over the world perform for us?  In our 'small town', this is a very big deal.  So of course, my daughter decides she wants to try out for some of the children's parts.

So, Saturday I wake her at 6:00 am so that we can drive to the auditions (which were in the next town over, about 20 minutes away) and get there by 8:30. 

She was eligible for 4 parts. 

First part, she didn't make the cut.

Second part, she didn't make the cut.

Lots of little girls came out crying.  My girl was just excited to try out for the next part.

"Are you going to cry if you don't get a part?"  I asked.

"No.  It'll be just as much fun watching the show even if I'm not in it!" she replied.

Did I mention this was taking a-l-l  d-a-y long? 

Third part- no luck.

But the fourth part..8 hours later...success!   She got the part!

Yes, I m a proud mama.  But the thing I am most proud of is the fact that my daughter knows her worth...and that her worth doesn't involve whether or not she is a 'winner' or a 'loser'.

She's a beloved child of God. And she's special no matter the circumstance.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Life Lessons

The best lessons in life are never learned from books, are they?  No, usually the School Of Hard Knocks has a curriculum planned that there is no study guide for and the test...well,'s a killer.

I've said it before, and I will say it again, sometimes kids are just turkeys of their own accord.  They lack the foresight and the experience to make good choices.  And no matter how innocuous those choices are to begin with, there are times when that seemingly innocent action can spiral into a situation for which there are unpleasant consequences. 

It's hard to watch your child having to deal with consequences from making bad decisions.   But oh, how necessary it is!  If  you shield your child from every negative feeling and situation, you are not doing him or the world a favor. 

So, in our house we are dealing with unpleasant consequences for bad choices.  Consequences with which I am in total agreement.  Rules are rules and meant to be followed.

But heart hurts for him.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What Made You Want to Homeschool?

As a homeschooling mom, I love to hear other homeschooling moms share why they chose to homeschool.  One reason I love this is that I am always fascinated by people and what drives them in life, what makes them tick.  Another reason is that the reasons are always so diverse...rarely have I heard the same reason twice.

For us, it came quite accidentally.  In the beginning I thought homeschoolers were weird and brainwashed.  I felt sorry for them-they would never know how to get along in the 'real world'.
How would they ever learn how to socialize with others if they were home ALL DAY?   (Quit laughing...I really thought these things.)

So I dutifully sent my son, and then later my daughter, to preschool at the age of 3.  A private, church based preschool.  Which, honestly, was wonderful.  They did learn how to function in a group, without Mommy, and learned lots of things.  (My daughter learned to read when she was 3 years old.  I was so surprised!)

Then came public school. 

Starting in kindergarten, my son struggled.  Not with the academics, but with fine motor skills.  After much urging, I agreed to have him evaluated for OT.  Naturally, he qualified and began the OT one day a week.  Which, again, was wonderful for him. 

What was not wonderful was the fact that his teacher began 'not so subtly' hinting that my son should be placed on ADD medication.  He was not the kid running around, out of his seat and disturbing others....he was the kid daydreaming and not paying attention.  I suggested maybe he was bored.  (He probably was.)  Still, the insistence continued.

First Grade-  More suggestions for ADD meds.  More of me saying "No."  Still, he loved school and loved to read.

Second Grade- Suffered through the school year with the Mean Teacher.  Who personally blamed my son for their class not getting the 'AR' trophy that month.  (In Georgia, the AR program is a reading program through which the schools bribe the kids to read with prizes and such.  This school awarded a trophy to the class with the most books read.)  My son began to despise reading.  It was no longer an enjoyable activity for him.  He was still struggling with fine motor skills and grew frustrated with handwritten work.

He also started developing migraine headaches this year.  On the third trip in two weeks to pick up my son because he was vomitting, his teacher mentioned "Well, he never said his stomach hurt...he just said he had a headache."  Yeah, thanks for letting me know. 

Third Grade- Wonderful teacher who noticed that all of her students who had my son's second grade teacher the year before were not enthusiastic readers.  (Hmmmm...wonder why?)  He never, NEVER wanted to read.  As a voracious reader, that killed me!  Also, because my son was easily distracted, he was placed at the table nearest the teachers desk.  Which was fine...except that all the class clowns and deviants were also at that table.  Not a good combination.  Also, even though he tested fine on reading comprehension and math, I felt his skills were not where I wanted them to be.  I wanted better for him.

Anyway, third grade was the year of Cursive Writing.  My fine motor deficient son, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, struggled with it.  The teacher, bless her heart, had no extra time to sit with him to work on it.  So yours truly took it upon herself to teach it during homework time.

As I sat there teaching him cursive, it was like a light bulb went off in my head:  "If you can teach him this you might as well teach him all of it." 

Sometimes if people say God spoke to them, others look at them with suspicion.  But truly, it felt like God spoke to me.

(Side note:  The first week of kindergarten, my daughter's teacher told me she didn't know what to do with her.  She was reading at a third grade level at the beginning of the kindergarten year.  By the end of he year, she was reading on a fifth grade level.  She was denied the opportunity of sitting in a first grade reading group during reading time.  Andwith the AR program, she was denied reading 'age appropriate' books...she was expected to read third-fourth grade level books.  So unfair in my opinion.  So she spent her year helping the other kids who struggled with reading.  And she was sick constantly. )

I began researching homeschool techniques, statistics, curriculum. 

And I prayed.

Suddenly, I knew this was the answer I had been looking for. 

That following summer, we started with little 'mini-lessons' on science topics and history.  They loved it.  I loved it.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, after my rambling tale...what's your story?  Why did you start homeschooling?  I'd love to know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Validation From the Front Porch

There's a dove that has a nest on the column under my front porch.  She has actually raised about 6 sets of babies throughout the course of the summer and we have really enjoyed watching her do her job.  She has taught me so much along the way...

1)  She's not worrying that her nest is not the nicest, prettiest, coolest, awesomest nest in the neighborhood.  It shelters her family, keeps them warm and safe and dry...and that's enough.

2)  She's not stressing that she's screwing up her children by not giving them this toy or that lesson or that they aren't always busy with the other chicks in town. 

3)  Her days are spent making sure they are safe...even if it means sitting on her nest for days at a time.  She's not grumping that she gets no "Me Time", that she needs a break, that sitting on eggs when out of style 30 years ago.  She allows their needs to become her focus.

4)  She knows what her babies need and provides what is necessary.  She doesn't listen to the other doves or ask if 'this' is normal or if they thought 'that' was okay...she just observes their needs and fulfills them.  With no need to apologize to anyone.

5)  She teaches them everything they need to know about life...about where to find the food and the water and the twigs.  She teaches them that no one else is going to do this for them, so they need to work for themselves.

6)  When the time comes, she sits back and lets them fly out of the nest.  She doesn't freak out and pad the surrounding area and provide a safety net or hold them back in the nest by their tail feathers...she watches them with confidence as they take those first steps of freedom.

That little momma dove could teach us all a lesson or two.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Circle Time

One thing I love about homeschooling is how you can study subjects in a 'unit' fashion.  This past week it centered on circles.

First came a math lesson from the Mathematicians book we are using on a monthly basis:

We read the selection on Archimedes.  I knew all about the displacement theory, but did you know he was responsible for so much more?   Like Pi??  You should read it!  We completed a notebooking page on Archimedes and his contributions to mathematics.

Then we used Hardhatting in a Geo World for some hands on lessons on circles, radii and diameter:

We made 'compasses' with paper clips and made some really cool patterns with circles, as well as discussing the relationship between the radius and the diameter and the circumference of circles.

Then we studied Vincent Van Gogh and his 'Starry Night' painting...and his use of circular patterns in his painting.  We made our own versions of the painting using this technique. 

As you know, Van Gogh was Dutch...which also fit perfectly into our history study about the Dutch in the New World and New Amsterdam. 

Then we studied bones and joints which had nothing to do with any of this.

Do you do Unit Studies as well?  What techniques do you use to keep the learnin' fun and interesting and relative at your house?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apple Dumpling Time

Forget Apple Blossom's Apple Dumplin' Time around here.

Make these dumplin's today.  They will make you want to kiss me, slap me, and possibly write bad checks, all at the same time.

Apple Dumplin's

2 cans crescent rolls
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and each one cut into 8 slices
2 sticks of butter (I know...bad, bad bad) (salted is better than unsalted butter)
1 1/2 cups sugar (again..bad, bad, bad)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup apple juice

Preheat oven to 350.  Wrap one apple slice in one crescent roll.  Lay them all in a 13 x 9 casserole.
In a pot, melt 2 sticks of butter.  Turn off heat and  stir in sugar and vanilla.  Pour all over the crescent rolls and apples.  Pour the apple juice around the rolls in the pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for about 40 minutes until browned.  These are best when they are room temperature and wonderful when served with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The American Adventure Series

I came across a few of the books in this series at our local used book store during the summer and thought they might be a nice addition to our history studies this year.

We LOVE this book!

It's written for ages 9-12 and is full of historical information.  And its actually an interesting read!  You find yourself really rooting for the main characters, John and Sarah Smythe, as they make the trip to North America on board the Mayflower.  Historic figures are brought to 'life'...William Bradford, William Brewster, John Alden, and Captain Jones.

I don't know about you, but anything that provides another 'facet' of learning gets me excited.  We have enjoyed this book as a read aloud as we study this period of American history.  Did I mention the kids love hearing it?  As much as I have enjoyed reading it out loud to them.

There are several books in this series.  I'm tempted to buy some more!

The Hardest Part

Yesterday I went to kiss my 12 year old son on top of his head like I always do, when he suddenly pulled back and said, "Don't kiss me, Mom."


Okay. I ruffled his sandy hair with my hand instead, smiled, and watched him run down the hall.

Can I just say that stung? A lot.

How do I explain to him that when I look at him I still see the little staggering toddler who used to reach above his head with his pudgy little baby hands and beg me to "Hold you, me!" (Translation:  Pick me up, dear Mother)  Who loved to snuggle in my lap every night for a good night story? 

The hardest part of parenting, you would think, would be the sleepless nights,...the toilet training,... the burying of dead and beloved pets,... the watching them suffer when they have an allergic reaction gone-wrong from an antibiotic and they writhe in pain for six weeks because of it....

Maybe the hardest part is knowing when to realize that little boy is gone and stepping back to watch him become a man.

Thursday, September 8, 2011





A month without a computer.  I feel like I have been living under one of these:

If you've never gone that long without access to the Internetz, you should try it sometime.  Especially if you homeschool your kids.  And especially if you don't have a 'smart phone'.  Talk about kickin' it old school...we actually had to use BOOKS to learn stuff around here. 

Anyhoo, in the past month I have had a few noteworthy firsts.

1.  Got stung by a stingray at the beach.  Thankfully I had on those ugly water shoes, but the tip of the stinger penetrated the mesh and although it just broke the really hurt. 

2.  Literally saw 5 million jellyfish on the beach.  And in the water.  Not sure if it was some crazy spawning mass suicide, but it made us all play in the sand for a day or two. 

3.  Taught a book club class yesterday.  Which, honestly, had me all vaklempt.  I was so nervous.  Kids are a tough crowd, man.  They don't care-they will yawn in your face if they don't think you are interesting! (But I brought Swiss Cake Rolls for a snack, so I am the coolest book-club-mom ever.)

4.  Have instituted an Early Bird boot camp around here after finding my kids wanting to snooze in the bed until 9:00 every morning.  We now have alarm clocks set for 7:00 am, they are responsible for making their own breakfast every morning and we are ready for school at 8:30.  So far so good.  (I know most of you probably already do this...but it's new for us. )

How about you all?  What's new with you?