Friday, February 24, 2012

Homeschooled Girl Requirement #1

Homeschooled girl requirement #1 has been fulfilled....she has sewn her very own dress!  Well, I helped.  It was a 60-40 deal...I handled 60 % and she handled 40%.

She sure is loving her sewing class at co-op.  And I am loving that she has learned a very valuable skill.  (I mean, where would Scarlett O'Hara be if she had never learned to sew a dress out of velvet drapes? I shudder to think.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I don't know about you, but in my house, I am kind of choosy about the expletives that come out of my childrens' mouths.  They are known to say things like "CRUMBS!"  or "CRUD!" when the situation warrants them.  But I don't like it.  And one word in particular makes my jaw clench when I hear it come out of their mouths...


Yes.  I have said crap before.  But not like "I don't give a crap" or "Pick up all that crap off your bedroom floor".  In other words, crap never really gets said unless I am completely frustrated and/or have injured myself.

So the other day the kids and I were working on some school work and for what ever reason I muttered "Crap...". 

"Why can't WE say that word?" they asked.  "My friend so-and-so says it.  I've even heard Nanny say it.  You say it. We want to say it!"

They were so sincere in their desire.  I pondered it for a moment and said "Okay then.  Say it!  You have my permission to say it."

They sat there stunned.  Like this was a plot to trick them. 

"Well, go on...say it.  CRAP!  Crappity crap-crap-crap.  You want to say it, don't you?"


And they never would say it. 

Fast forward two days later.  The kids were at my mom's for the evening.  I get a phone call.  It was my daughter.

"Mommy?  Can we say that word or not?"
"You mean 'crap'?  I told you yes.  So...yes."
"(to my son who was in the room with her....) She said yes!"  Then..."Are you sure Mommy?"
"Yes.  Just use your discretion."
"Thanks Mommy!"  and she hangs up.

But she still never said it in front of me.

How funny is it that my daughter would call me to ask permission to say a 'salty' word, and even when given permission numerous times, neither one would say it in front of me?  I wonder if they ever will.  But I  am glad to know they have enough honesty within their own hearts to know that even when given permission to do the wrong thing, it still feels wrong.

"Train up a child the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart from it. " Proverbs 22:6


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where Has All The Freedom Gone?

A few months ago I 'required' the kids to read 'My Side of the Mountain', by Jean George.  It's a tale of a 12 year old boy who decides it's his life's calling to be a naturalist, like Thoreau, so he leaves his home in NYC to go out to the mountains in upstate New York to live on his own.   He journals how he finds food, builds shelter, etc.

Last night we watched the film adaptation and thoroughly enjoyed it.  However, it struck me from the first scene where the boy leaves his parents a note saying he has gone off to live in the wilderness...where has all the freedom gone?  For our children, I mean.  It wasn't that long ago that boys of this age could pack up a tent and campling gear and head out into the woods for a weekend of camping.  Now we can't (or don't) even let them out of our sight. 

When I was about 9 or 10 one of my favorite things to do was go roaming around in the woods. We lived on an Air Force Base at the time, and little did we know those woods were part of a FIRING RANGE...but my parents didn't have a clue where I was.  If a bear had eaten me up, I suppose that would have been considered 'consequences for my actions'.  My parents were not about to shield me from either the consequences nor the actions!  But again...if my son were to go out unsupervised for an entire day, miles from here, without any cell phone for contact....I'd be in trouble for allowing it.  (By the way...all those cell phones?  To me they are just high tech 'apron strings'.)

So, is it because the world has really changed since those days?  Or is it because parents are held to a stricter standard of parenting?  I mean, if I allowed my son to go out camping overnight in the woods, I am pretty sure if someone found him out there, DFACS would be called and I would be in trouble.   

I'm not saying we shouldn't be cautious with our children, but something is just sad to me that kids can't do anything in this world without being afraid, or for that matter, that parents are so afraid to let them experience the world without them tagging along two steps behind.

Maybe children should be permitted to endure negative consequences once in a while, instead of being micro managed to the 'n'th degree. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day Unit

You all know I love a holiday.  There's just so many ways to make school fun.

Here's our Valentine's Day unit study, topic by topic:

Language Arts:  Studying sonnets and iambic pentameter.  We will read "My Mistresses Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun" by Shakespeare and use this as a study guide  Then we will try our hand at writing our own sonnets!

Math:  Here's a logic puzzle for Valentines Day

Another activity...cut out a paper heart.  Then ask the children- how can you make a heart out of circles and triangles?  Find the area of each circle and each triangle and determine the area of your heart!

Science:  Make heart crystal ornaments

Study how chocolate is made and the effects it has on the brain

History:  Study the history of chocolate

and here

Also we will read the biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and read her poem "How Do I Love Thee?"

I hope you all have fun with teaching Valentine's themed topics! If you have any interesting ideas of your own...please share!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Conversation Hearts Aren't Just For Conversations

I can't tell you how many boxes of these my kids get every year...and how many get thrown out.  Aside from the yellow ones, I really don't care to eat them either!

But you can use them for school fun...

Like arranging them in order to make silly sentences!

Give each kid a box and have them graph the different colors.  Then have them work on mean, median and mode.

For younger kids, use them as a unit of measure.  Draw a large heart shape and have them glue the hearts around the edge of the heart to determine perimeter.  Then fill in the shape and determine area.

Count how many nouns, pronouns, verbs, prepositions there are on all the hearts in the box.

How about you?  Do you have any fun, crafty ideas for those chalky little hearts? Or do you like to eat them?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentines Day

I love Valentine's Day! (No pun intended...)

One of the things I loved when I was a kid was the Valentine party at school.  We all made our own little mail boxes for the Valentines we may OR may NOT get...remember those days?  When you only gave Valentines to the people you liked?  Made for a much more interesting event than today, when everyone is giving everyone else a Valentine, simply because to not do so would apparently send someone to the therapist's couch in later years. 

And remember when the Valentines had actual little white envelopes to put the Valentines in?  I must have been a slightly weird kid, because I thought those little white envelopes are what made the Valentine.  It was like getting actual mail.  I've always loved getting actual mail.

So here we are ,homeschoolers.  But guess what?  We have been invited to  more Valentines parties than you can shake a stick at!  And my girl has constructed the cutest ever Valentine box and is filling out two boxes of little cards.  And we have already made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting because doggone it....Valentines day is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate?

So my question to you is this:  What are some special things you do for your family on Valentines Day?  Do you fix a special meal?  Do you have something special for the kids?  I'll admit, the older the kids get, the more difficult this is. 

What are your family traditions when it comes to Valentines Day?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Great TV Substitute

A bird feeder and bird bath right outside ones bedroom window is a great substitute for television.  We had an entire flock of cedar waxwings grace our yard this morning! (My daughters favorite bird.)

 My girl has been sitting there for a full thirty minutes watching birds like an episode of iCarly.   Much less drama with the cardinals and chickadees.