Monday, October 28, 2013

It Has Nothing to do With You

Wow. It's been a long time since I have been on here! Hope this thing still works...

When I first began homeschooling, I was prepared for the public scrutiny. To say I was loaded for bear would be about right...I was prepared to defend any and everything we did, from curriculum choices to socialization.

I made sure that we had one social activity a day to 'check that box' so no one could point a finger and say I was not properly socializing my kids.

That was 5 years ago.  Now, when people question our decisions, I answer them briefly and really don't worry too much about their perception of our family. 

But there is one thing that bugs me to this day: When people make *our* decision to homeschool about *them*.

So let me just clear a few things up about that.

1.  I did not choose to homeschool because my kids had terrible teachers. On the contrary, my kids had exceptional teachers in their public school educations. Well, there was one nightmare of a teacher, but I wont go into the details.

I chose to homeschool my kids because I know my children far better than ANY of their teachers did. I know what makes them tick and what they need....and what they DON'T need.

2. I did not choose to homeschool because I think public schools are evil.  I think there is a need for public education and I also firmly believe not every parent should homeschool their children. 

I can see the decline of the public education system, however.  I can see government wanting to have schools step in and take over parenting children. And I have a problem with that.  I also want my children to learn in a safe, violence and drug free environment.  Just watch the news on any given day and you have to agree...schools are not the safe havens they once were thought to be.

3.  I did not choose to homeschool because I think my kids are better than yours.

I just happen to love mine more than I love yours. Is that a bad thing? I have MY kids best interests at heart.

4.  I did not choose to homeschool because I am a religious nut.

But I will admit that homeschooling allows us religious freedoms that could never be replicated in a public school. We also have much more time to spend on service projects. 

So, to sum it all up, our decision to homeschool has everything to do with my children and their success...

and it has nothing to do with you.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Don't Be a Raccoon!

I love Duck Dynasty for a myriad of reasons.

In one episode ( I can't remember which one) one of the characters referred to another character as being like a raccoon..."If he can't tear it up, he'll crap on it!"

Don't we all know people who are like raccoons?  Who, when you tell them of something wonderful that is going on in your life, they never want to congratulate you or tell you 'Great job!'...instead they want to be a raccoon...verbally tearing it up and crapping on it. 

They want to tell you how they did it better. 

Or how it isn't as good as 'this'. 

Or they just want to be negative and tell you about all the reasons why it won't work.

Jesus told us to encourage each other and to celebrate each other's victories. ( 1 Thessalonians 5:11   "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing" )

 If someone is celebrating...celebrate with them. Even if you are envious.  Even if it seems like you always get the 'short end of the stick'.  Be happy for other people.  Be encouraging.

And don't be a 'raccoon'!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hope Has Wings

So, I have been feeling a little out of sorts lately. 

I miss my old house. I miss my old community.

I really miss gardening at my old house.  When ever I had a spare minute I would pull weeds or transplant something.  There was always something going on in that garden...blooms, baby rabbits, birds...

I miss digging in the dirt. I guess I am the kind of person that thrives on the scent of newly turned earth and rain. 

I even woke myself up out of a dream I had yesterday; a dream where I was digging out weeds at my old house and I was marveling at the yellow irises and purple oxalis.  I woke up just crying.

That time out in the garden was my communion with God.

So here I am in my rental home where they mow all the grass and trim all the shrubbery.   So nice and neat and sanitary.


A friend suggested container gardening.  So I planted some bright colored vinca in my flower pots on the front porch.

My husband gave me a beautiful petunia plant that is right by the front door.

Even so, I can only water them once a week and then I am done.


I'm not sure what depression looks or feels like.  I always thought of it as feeling sad all the time.  I don't feel sad...I just feel...nothing.  Just blah.

I've been praying for intervention.  For just a little 'sunshine'.

Yesterday evening I kept the doors open (we have screen doors) to let the cool breeze blow through the house.

I could see the petunia outside the screen door.  I could smell its sweet fragrance blowing in through the door.

Everyone else was watching the television. I was fixated on the potted plant.

Suddenly a little flash caught my eye.  Emerald and ruby.

It was a hummingbird, dipping his beak into the petunia blooms.

And when he was done, he hovered right over that petunia plant and looked right into the screen door...right at me.

And then he was gone as quickly as he came.

My heart felt lighter. 

You don't have to tell me that 'hope has wings'...

I already know.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Menu Plan

Here's what we'll be eatin' the next several days.

Beef satay with broccoli slaw stir fry

Chili-lime chicken with quesadilla cheese and quinoa-black bean salad.

Spinach and bacon quiche with salad

Grilled chicken and salad

 Broiled salmon with baked 'fried' zucchini and quinoa

Loaded up on lots of fresh produce this week at Aldis, so I am sure for a side we will have fresh fruit.  I love Summer and all the fresh produce!

What's on your menus for this week?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just How It Should Be.

Yesterday I was a little jealous about my mom's generation raising my generation during a simpler time.

Today I am so grateful that my generation is able to homeschool the next generation of kids.

This particular topic has been bouncing around in my head for a few days now, and I just read an online article covering the same I took that as a sign to blog about it. ;)

The topic is dating. 

Now, my experience in the topic when I was in school...I never had a boyfriend.  So I may or may not have a 'leg to stand on' dealing with this topic...but work with me here.

In elementary school I was very, very painfully shy.  I am not sure I even spoke to a boy.  Well, there was a little boy named Daniel who got picked on because his momma made him wear a tie to school.  I spoke to him on the playground.  He once gave me tadpoles. (The boy knew my heart.) But 'dating'? NEVER.  But yes...there were little boys and girls in the 6th grade who were 'dating'. I always they actually go on 'dates'? Or does that mean that they are just special friends during school hours?  Why not just call that your 'friend'?  Any way, 6th grade is the grade that I began wondering about myself...why don't any boys want to be *my* boyfriend?  I must be too skinny.  Or not pretty enough.

Then came middle school.  There were 'dating relationships' everywhere.  Except...I never had a boyfriend then either.  But I watched the girls who did.  They were always worried about stuff:  who is he talking to?  Why didn't he hold my hand today?  I think I am going to kiss him after he taking me to the dance? 

At least they did get asked to dances.  But even then it seemed like boyfriends were a lot of trouble.  Still...the pressure was on.  Who is your boyfriend?  Are you going to the dance? And again...I was left wondering...what's wrong with me?  I think I need a boyfriend. Everyone else has one. So I started wearing makeup.  I joined cheerleading.

No luck.

So I just worried about my grades.  Middle school...there is always something to worry about.

Then high school really holds your feet to the flame.  Finding a boyfriend makes you 'complete', they said.  Still,  I saw the arguments and stress of those relationships. But yet...I wanted one so I would 'fit in'.  And I was still fraught with insecurity.  Am I too fat? Too weird? Is my nose to weird? My hair?

Keep in mind...this was during a time when kids were still, for the most part, innocent. forward to today...

I have a friend who is a school teacher. Elementary school.  She has told me of notes that she has collected in class.  Notes with promises of sexual favors to a boy if that boy meets the little girl who wrote this note at the skating rink. 

I have heard of a young lady in high school literally beaten up and tormented in school because she refused to have sex with a boy. This young lady is homeschooled now.

I have heard some say it is a 'badge of honor' for a girl to have been sexually active. 

And yet...there is dating.  With all that entails.  Dating between children who barely even know how to relate to the opposite sex, yet they are expected to have a 'relationship'.  Dating in a society that pushes sexuality on children at a young age, through pop music and fashions and images. In a society that pushes personal responsibility to the wayside.  

And of course, social media doesn't help.  If you have a Facebook account, everyone knows about every little detail of your 'relationship'.  They witness your fights, your insecurities.  The immaturity.

I look at my son and daughter.  I want them to have a relationship when they know enough about THEMSELVES to know what they need in a mate. 

I want them to have a relationship for the right reasons...not to earn a 'badge of honor' or because everyone else one. 

I want them to know that being independent is a marvelous thing. Learn how to be their own person with out relying on someone else to 'complete' them.

I want them to realize that a real relationship is about love and respect.  And personal responsibility.

I want them to enjoy childhood.  They have the rest of their lives to worry about sexual things. You can be an adult the rest of your life...but you can only be a kid once!

So I look at my kids and am so grateful that the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing is not even a concern of theirs.  They don't worry if they are too fat or too skinny or too weird.  They don't worry if all their friends will think they are a loser because they don't have a 'relationship'.  They don't have all of their heart and soul poured out on social media for the world to witness.

They are too busy pursuing their own passions and developing their own characters and figuring out themselves right now. 

And that's just how it should be.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby!"

Who remembers this ad?  (Yes, I am that old.)

Since moving into this rental home I realized how much I took our security for granted in our old neighborhood.

I've had to learn to lock the doors everytime I leave the house.

I've had to make myself remember to bring my purse out of the van and make sure IT is locked at all times.

I have barbed wire strung across the fence that surrounds the backyard.

I can't let my kids just ride their bikes or run down the street to play.

All this worrying about kids and safety made me think about my own childhood.  And my Momma.

Dang she was lucky to be able to raise kids in the early 1970's.

She could let her 3 year old play out in the yard with out the fear of either someone snatching up her child or the neighbors reporting her to DFACS for negligence.

She could let her kids walk or ride their bikes to school with out the worry that they wouldn't make it because of some weirdo.

She didn't have to explain to her kids about internet safety and why they won't be getting a social media account anytime soon.

She didn't have to meet all of the parents of the kids we played with.

She could leave us at home alone for hours at a time.  When she got a job we made our own dinner and did our homework.

She simply had to tell us "Be home for dinner!" and didn't have to be concerned if we were miles deep in the woods (we were) or playing with power tools (we were) or riding our bikes miles from home (we were).  If we got into mischief, WE would be the ones punished...not her.

Basically...she could let us out of her sight and not worry that we would be kidnapped, murdered or that she would be thrown into jail for negligence.

Yes, I am a little jealous.  I would love to just ENJOY my child raising years without the constant 'fear' in the background...the ever present nagging 'worry' that every step my kids take away from me is a potential disaster.

Maybe we *have* come a long way, Baby.  A long way in the wrong direction.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

F.A.T. Tuesdays

We just moved in to a rental home.  It's a temporary thing until we actually build our new home...


I can't wait.

Did I tell you I can't wait?

Anyway, speaking of not being capable of waiting, I recently read a blog article about the value of NOT entertaining your kids 24/7.

I loved the points she brought out concerning patience. If our kids don't learn how to handle being bored and being patient, how will that effect their adult lives? 

Now, back to the I-just-moved thing....I have let the kids have WAY too much time with their technology.  Mainly because I just didn't want to be 'bothered' and also, well, there is a lot of their stuff that is still boxed up.

BUT, for the sake of being a good momma and assuaging my guilt, I have come up with

F.A.T. Tuesdays...or  Freedom from All Technology Tuesdays.  (Yes...I know that would be F.F.A.T. with me here.)

Actually I have a friend (shout out to Tammy N.!) who told me a few years ago that she has Tech Free Tuesdays for her kids.  So, yes, Tammy...I am totally stealing your idea.

On F.A.T. Tuesdays...NONE of us will be allowed technology. We will have to find something entertaining to do ALONE.  Well, at least for one hour a day we have our alone time to do what ever it is that will be creative and fun, and we have to do it by ourselves.  Then the other 23 hours of the day we will find a new board games...go for ever our little hearts take a notion to doing.

Did I mention that includes me as well? Nothing like a little alone time for mommy, right? EXCEPT....I can't use my hour for housework, or homeschooling stuff, or anything like that. It has to be an hour of creative fun. Yay! Now, that is sad when I have to schedule in alone fun time for myself...but I do.

So, from now on, on Tuesdays we will be off the grid.  I'm sure I will be dealing with withdrawals like everyone else in this house so...pray for us!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ode to My Peanut

My baby girl will be 11 next Wednesday.


But, as we will be in the process of moving, I won't be able to post all kinds of Momma Drivel on her actual birthday. So I am posting it now.

I knew I was in for a reality check when you were born. Literally when you were born.

As soon as you were born, you cried.

And cried.

And cried.

I have video taped evidence of the delivery nurses asking the doctor..."What did you do to this baby?"

And you cried for the next 2 years straight.

We quit eating out the day I had to chase you around a restaurant and couldn't catch you.  It took us over a year to get the nerve to try again.

You always wanted to be the point your brother (3 years old at the time) would request me to "Put her DOWN, Momma!"  So I would.  And he would immediately say "Make her stop CRYING, Momma!" 

But you also had this crazy belly laugh.  No lie....a laugh bigger than most adults I know.  It never failed to make me laugh along with you.

To this day you start every day with a long bear hug. And give me several through out the day. 

I'm sorry for anytime I ever asked you to stop hugging me because I was busy or in a hurry. 

Everyday you prove to me what a caring young lady you are...even when friends hurt your feelings or take advantage of your sweet love them anyway- more than anyone deserves to be loved.  And it's like there's never even a question of NOT loving them. You just do. 

Every time we see a lost dog or cat sign in the neighborhood you are on the look out. To the extent of driving your bike around the neighborhood to see if you can find them.  You grieve over little hatchlings that get kicked out of the nest, dogs that have to live outside (not like your pampered pooch!) and Heaven forbid a child toss a stuffed animal out to the curb for the trash to pick up.

You still fold your little plump hands when we pray. I love that. (Yes, that means I am peeking.)

If I tell you we can't afford something, you understand.  Even when I told you we couldn't have a 'real' birthday party this were perfectly fine with it.

You use your own piggy bank money to buy your friends birthday gifts.  And you always ask me "When will I be old enough to get a job making my own money?"  Once you were scouring the newspaper Help Wanted ads.  I had to break it to you that no one will hire a ten year old little girl.  It's illegal.

Thank you for making every day of the past eleven years some of the craziest, most humbling, most loving years I have spent on this planet.

Momma loves you, Peanut.

Friday, March 15, 2013

To The New Owner of This House I haven't really sold my house yet. But we have an interested party and the wheeling and dealing are happening as we speak.

But I fully intend on leaving a letter to the new owner of this house when it finally DOES sell.  And it will read something like this.

Dear New Owner,

I hope you love this house as much as I did. Let me tell you a little bit about it, in case you wondered...

This is the only home my babies have ever lived in.  My son first called me 'Mama' in the blue bedroom to the right one sunny morning when he was 6 months old.  I tracked his growth on the back of his bedroom door.  The last line I marked was as tall as I am now.

The white bedroom to the left is where I spent countless hours rocking my daughter to sleep.  She never could stand to be alone, even as a baby.  It's also where I first told her about the big Warrior Angels that God sends to protect her each night. (She's afraid of the dark)

In the flower bed to the left of the back patio is where some of our pets were laid to rest.  There's a bunny, a guinea pig and two parakeets there.  Our own little hallowed ground.  We cried several times over there. And we also laid flowers.

The kitchen is where my littles first dragged a chair across the floor to the counters to help make cookies. Then they got too tall to stand on chairs.  And too old to help bake cookies.

The Bradford Pear in the front was planted by me when I was 7 months pregnant.  I wanted to watch it grow with my son.  And just like him, it is beautiful in each season of life.

The dining room...that's the place where we all said grace.  And had 14 Thanksgiving dinners together with our families.  And birthday parties.  And Christmas caroling parties with loving family and friends.

This house sheltered us through storms.  It was a safe haven after long workdays or tough life days.  It provided comfort and peace.

I hope you can feel the love in our house.  I'm fairly certain the laughter and love lingers even when we are gone.

Now it is time to fill it with your own.



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And That's Why I Never Watch TV

Yesterday was a follow up visit at the allergists office for my son who is allergic to the state of Georgia.  (Fun times!)

We were the only ones in the waiting room (it was 1:45 pm) so it was nice and quiet...except the TV was on.

Have any of you seen "The Talk"? Kind of like "The View" wannabes?  Yeah...that was on.

First story they Brandy from the Real Housewives claimed she slept with some actor and rated him on a scale of 1 to 10 as an 11 'in bed'.  Then they showed a clip of said actor on the Howard Stern show airing his side of the story.

 Really? This is news?  Where I come from it's called a 'one night stand' and you usually don't discuss it with a MILLION people....and their CHILDREN.

Then they got on to the subject of porn.  Not just for a few seconds. For at least 5 minutes they went on and on about porn.

This is when I start loudly suggesting to the kids..."ANYONE WANT A MAGAZINE?"

Even I was uncomfortable hearing the word 'porn' being thrown around left and right...I'm even uncomfortable typing it in this post.

AND of course Sharon Osbourne is telling us all about how she rallied in her little village, when her kids were young, to have pornography taken out of book stores so her kids don't have to see it.

(Never mind that my kids have to hear her TALKING about it...)

And of course she begins telling all these stories of sitting next to someone in an airport while they are reading a certain kind of magazine and is telling us all what she is SEEING...

My son looks over at me with a pleading look in his eye that says "Make it stop Mom!"
My daughter has her head bowed and is trying to tune it all out.

And I am sitting there mortified.  It's one o'clock on a weekday afternoon, people!  Should this really be a topic of conversation? Is there nothing else on God's green Earth to report on than THAT??

I felt like I needed a shower when we left the waiting area.

Am I that much of a prude?  Really?  Or has modern culture become so desensitized to this type of junk that we all just accept it as the norm?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

5 "Lies" Homeschool Moms Tell Others (and Themselves)

Okay, so maybe this is mostly just ME, but I think homeschool moms truly help each other and the face of homeschooling when we tear down the facades and get REAL.  Get real with each other and the rest of the world.

Here is a compilation of the top 'lies' that homeschoolers tell, whether to others or themselves...and why.

1.  "I just LOVE being with my children all day! EVERY day!" <clutches pearls>:  

No, we don't. Somedays we just want to get in the car and drive far, far away from these little people. Not that we ever would. Okay, maybe not FAR away...but at least far enough to meet another mom for a cup of coffee or shoe shopping.  Sometimes it's hard to even form a coherent thought when you have been with an unruly bunch of kids all day.

But to admit that you want to 'run away' means you are indeed NOT Supermom.  And in some homeschool circles, Supermom is what is expected of us.

(I will admit, the older the kids get, the less I feel like this.)

2.  "I am totally LOVING my curriculum!  I love everything about it!"

No, we don't. least I have yet to find a curriculum that I loved EVERYTHING about. 

To admit that we don't love it means that we just spend oodles of money on a curriculum that we feel we still need to 'tweak' in order for it to work for us.

3.  "ALL kids should be homeschooled."

This is one I have never said, but is the sentiment of many homeschool moms.

No, ALL kids should not be homeschooled.  I personally know of children who were neglected in their homeschool experience...who were denied speech therapy and special education needs.  Who probably weren't fed a decent breakfast or lunch.  Let's face it...there are children that, for them, public school is a safe haven, a place to escape their crazy parents or get a decent meal at the very least.  And to not admit that...well, you have your head in the sand.

But to admit that is to admit that yes...there ARE crazy parents who are homeschooling their kids...which certainly casts suspicion on the rest of us.  And even though it is their 'right' to homeschool...that doesn't mean it is the best thing for their kids.

4.  "All homeschooled children are PERFECTLY socialized!"

Where do I begin? :)  Children are CHILDREN, i.e., 'unfinished adults'.  Meaning, they still mess up.  They are still learning how to interact with each other and the world. 

I will say they have more opportuninties to learn that interaction with multiple ages. 

But I have seen the kids that don't know how to sit still and listen, talk back to adults, etc.  So, no, not all homeschooled kids are better socialized, rather the opportunity is there for them to learn how to interact with others...whether or not their parents take that opportunity to guide them is another story altogether.

But to admit that is to admit there are indeed 'weird homeschoolers'.  It's true. There are.

5.  "I would NEVER _________"

Fill in the blank with your choice...never send them back to school? Never use a certain curriculum or method?  As my momma used to say..never say never!

Children change.  Their needs change.  Family dynamics change.  As homeschool moms, our focus should be on what is best NOW. What was best when the kids were in early elementary may not be what is best in middle or high school.

To admit that would mean to admit that what we once proclaimed to be perfect for our kids and us may now NOT be perfect. 

Be open to change. Nothing is worse than wallowing around in stagnation because you are too resistant to take new and exciting opportunities that will benefit your children.

How about you? What are some homeschool 'lies' that need to be exposed, in your experience?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Field Trip: Port Columbus

Since we are studying the Civil War, I found a wonderful field trip opportunity that was relatively close by...Port Columbus, Columbus, Georgia!

First of gotta love an interpreter in costume.

We learned the differences in weapons used by the Confederacy and the Union.  And the origins of many sayings that we use today such as "lock, stock and barrell"..."Pop a cap"....and "boot camp".

We also learned that you had to be at least 13 years old to join the Civil War navy...13! I have a hard time making my 13 year old make his bed everyday!

Another least 4 teeth.  So that you can tear open the little paper tubes of gunpowder with your teeth in order to use it in your gun.  I am assuming that means 2 upper and 2 lower, and that they all meet up with each other.

We learned the story of the Water Witch.  It almost sounded like a Three Stooges episode at some points...very interesting!  Also, the men who refused to fight in the skirmish were sent to Andersonville Prison...which will be our next field trip, I'm sure.

One of the tour guides demonstrated a Civil War rifle.... note the earplugging. 

 My favorite display...the actual remains of a Civil War ironclad ship.  This particular ship was captured by the Union and set ablaze and left to drift up the burned for 3 weeks.  Can you imagine?

 Us listening to the tale of the Water Witch...

A model of the upper decks of the Virginia (Merrimac).  The floor that we were standing on was where water level would have been.  It was a very low profile ship, hence a smaller target.  Also, this protected the vulnerable underbelly of the ship, which was made of wood, by 'hiding' it underwater.

And since it was a beautiful day, we enjoyed a picnic lunch by the Chattahoochee River. 

One thing to love about living in Georgia...when one studies the Civil War, there is no shortage of field trip opportunities to bring it to life!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My Latest Craze: Fruity Lemonade

Lately we have been on a mission in my home to eliminate processed foods and drinks from our diets.  Along with that we have been incorporating more fresh produce.

As we all know, fresh berries are wonderful! Except...they spoil quickly.

And truth be known, my kids don't really care for smoothies.  One doesn't like berries unless they are baked in a cobbler.

BUT they love lemonade.

So I have been tinkering around with making homemade lemonade because I had a whole bag of lemons that needed a purpose in life before they rotted.

And I happened to have strawberries that were on the same doomed path.

And blueberries.

Voila!  Fresh lemonade with a handful of strawberries and blueberries blended right in!

Way better than Kool Aid. 

I can't wait til Summer when the peaches and blackberries are in season...and the peppermint! And pineapple sage!

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Got Your Back

Now I will take on a topic that has been on my mind lately.  

I am sure all of you homeschooling moms are aware of all the diverse educational philosophies out there.

Traditional schooling at home.
Project based learning.
Classical education.
Hebrew education.
Unit Study based curriculum.
Child led learning.
Boxed curriculum.
Online charter schools.
Eclectic curriculum.
Christian curriculum.
Secular curriculum.

Anyone dizzy yet?

There is a model of education for every kind of kid out there. That's the beauty of homeschooling...finding out what works for your children and what propels you toward your educational goals and using it.

Sounds perfect, right?  I mean, everyone doing their own thing and not worrying about anyone else and what they are doing.


I understand passion. When you are excited about something that you believe to be the best thing ever and want to share. Nothing at all wrong with that.

What I don't understand are the homeschool moms who drag down the philosophies of other homeschool moms...who openly ridicule methods of teaching that do not align with what they are passionate about.  Which leaves me it truly passion? Or are they that insecure with themselves their own choices that they feel the need to lash out at others who are content with what they have chosen?

It's hard enough being a mom. Add to that the stresses of being a homeschooling mom.  We all know how it feels living in a society that constantly questions our motives for homeschooling. 

Shouldn't we all kind of 'have each others back'?  I think we should.

So I am here to tell you...I don't care if you use secular curriculum, if you use unit studies, if you let your kid play video games all day and call it Technology 101...if it aligns with your families goals and your child is working toward becoming a happy and well rounded adult...

I got your back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cemetery Field Trip

I know right? What says 'field trip' like a cemetery?

I'm morbid I suppose, but I love old cemeteries. I wonder about all the lives of all the people we encounter. I love the epitaphs and tombstone carvings and peace and quiet.

We went on a field trip yesterday with some fellow homeschoolers to a local cemetery to learn about the different symbols on head stones and mausoleums.  We saw some graves of historic figures and learned about our areas history as well. I truly learned so much more than I was bargaining for.

A century ago people had such a solid understanding of Christianity, indicated by the symbolism everywhere.  Maybe that's what is so nice about those old cemeteries...people were certain their loved ones were with Christ when they passed from this world.

I wish I would have remembered to bring a camera.

Anyway, after we left our field trip, we decided to drive to Milledgeville, Georgia and make a stop by the old cemetery over there. Here's the back-story:

A month or so ago we attended a field trip at the Atlanta History Center. It was an interactive field trip about the Civil War, and at one point each child was assigned a real Civil War soldier to portray during the field trip.  My daughter was assigned Edwin Jemison, whose picture is shown above. He was only 16 when he went off to fight..and only 17 when he was decapitated by a cannonball. 

Like good little homeschoolers we came home and did a little research on our soldiers...and found out that Edwin Jemison was from Milledgeville and buried there.

So, yesterday we made the trip to pay homage to him.

After the excitement of actually finding his grave, a somber mood hit us all. 

It suddenly became very 'real' for us.  Nothing is more sobering than words and dates carved in marble on a tombstone.

I silently thanked him for his patriotism.  He wasn't much older than my son. He even looks a little like my son.

We left his grave with a better sense of the reality of war.  That the Civil War really happened.  Young boys really died.  Here, in our 'backyard'.  Thousands of them.

I think we all learned a lot more than we even thought we would.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Change is a Good Thing!

I have heard it said that 'The only person who likes change is a wet baby."

False! I LOVE change. I thrive on it. When something is the same, day in and day out...after a while I just want to scream.

So, since this is the time of year when all homeschool moms contemplate what their course of action will be for next school year, we have some changes in store.

Next year we will be enrolling in an online charter school.

The reasons I have are varied, but the biggest ones are:

1.  My daughter thrives on schedules. She even 'schedules' when she drinks water during the day.  She likes neat and orderly and predictable. When she's done with her work, often times she wants more.  Mommy doesn't always have more planned for the day.  (Can I just say she is her father's child? :) )  Most of all she is a very independent learner and driven. When I presented the idea of  her being responsible for logging in each morning to view her assignments and then tackling them, a gleam came into her eye. 

Not to mention, art class. She can take art classes.

And grades. The kid loves getting grades.

2.  My son NEEDS schedules. He is his Momma's child...floating through the day and oh look! Shiny thing! Lets do math! He needs structure to his day.

3.  My son is a huge techie and there are several technology courses that I could never afford to pay for in the real world.

4.  I want them to diverge and try out things that are 'just for them'. Because they are so close in age, much of our schooling is done together, except math and language arts.  But art, foreign language, electives in general...I want them to be able to customize their educations to suit themselves.

5.  Accountability.  Huge reason.  In order to prepare them for college and the working world, I want them to learn accountability.  And deadlines. Sure, I could impose deadlines in our homeschool...but I don't.  It's just not something that ever happens.

And lets be honest here...I find myself losing steam. I think it's because I am craving change.  I can tell my kids aren't as invested in their school time as they used to be.  And in my opinion, homeschooling works best when EVERYONE is engaged, especially mom.

In years past I have contemplated going this route, but my heart would always say 'no'.  This time, my heart is saying 'yes'! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Proof That I Am No Princess

My daughter has been begging....BEGGING to have a pedicure.

Not a cheap, "Let-Momma-Wash-My-Feet-And-Paint-My-Toenails-At-Home" pedi, but a real pedi, in a nail salon.

Yesterday she came to me with a wad of bills out of her piggy bank (how does that kid have more money than I do??) and posed this question to me:

"What if I pay for it with my own money? PLEEEAAASE?"


I know...mother-daughter pedis! Squee! How fun and girly and!

This is where I am weird.

Confession: It kind of makes me feel weird to let someone give me a pedicure.

Don't get me wrong- all that massaging and having feet that look smooth and pretty is wonderful, just feels wrong to me to have someone else 'waiting' on me like that.

So I get tense and twitchy on the inside. I feel guilt.  Horrible guilt. I wonder about those poor girls who have to rub all KINDS of feet, for hours every day, and think to myself...they deserve the pedi, not me.

 I am much more comfortable in the role of 'care-giver' than 'care receiver'.  Which makes me a very bad patient when I am sick.

SO, despite the weirdness it inflicts into my soul...I will suck it up and get a pedi with my girl today.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Top Ten Bits of Advice for New Homeschoolers

And none if it is about curriculum!

1.  Have a deschooling period.  The most valueable thing you can do to start off on the 'right foot' to to allow your child a period of time to decompress.  Trying to jump right into a full schedule right away can backfire into burn-out and frustration.

2.  Learn your teaching style.  Pick up this book from your bookstore or local library:

Cathy Duffy gives numerous check lists to help you evaluate what your teaching style is and what knowledge and want your student to walk away with.

3.  Learn your student's learning style.  Believe me, nothing is worse than investing in curriculum that is pure torture for your child to comprehend or one they simply do not enjoy.  It's a proven fact that kids retain more of what they learn if they are engaged in what they are studying. 

4.  DO NOT think you have to subscribe to every club, method, curriculum, field trip, group, activity!  Again...take it slowly. Maybe pick one extra-curricular activity and allow plenty of breathing room.  Nothing is more defeating than taking on too much and realizing you can't (or don't want to) keep it up.  Believe me, even in the homeschooling world there are pressures join this group or that class.  Learn to say 'no' to the good stuff so you can save time for the BEST stuff!

5.  Find a homeschool group or co-op.  I know, I just contradicted #4. But a homeschool group, even if it is just a group of homeschooling moms that casually meet once a month at the park, is a great resource.  They are a wonderful place to air out your doubts, fears, concerns, successes.

6.  This is something I do all the time...ASK your child what they enjoy about school and what they hate about school. Now, if they hate math, well, there's nothing you can do about that. We all have to learn math! BUT if you can find a program or teaching method they prefer...why not? 

7.  If something isn't working...dump it.  That goes for curriculum, activities, etc. 

8.  Allow time for your child to pursue their interests.  One big mistake I have made is packing our schedule too much and not allowing for 'down time' for my children to explore new things. 

9.  A bad day doesn't make a bad homeschool!  We all have days that are less than perfect.  Don't let that stop you.  There are days that will knock your socks off. Just have faith!

10.  Don't worry about what the kids in public school are doing. As long as they have what they need at the end of 12 years, who cares when they learn it? It's the end result that matters!

Don't forget to enjoy this very special time with your children. It will pass by too soon. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Homeschool Anthem

This could very well be the anthem for homeschoolers everywhere...

No Such Thing~ John Mayer

"Welcome to the real world", she said to me
Take a seat
Take your life
Plot it out in black and white
Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
And the drama queens
I'd like to think the best of me
Is still hiding
Up my sleeve

They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something's better
On the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above

So the good boys and girls take the so called right track
Faded white hats
Grabbing credits
Maybe transfers
They read all the books but they can't find the answers
And all of our parents
They're getting older
I wonder if they've wished for anything better
While in their memories
Tiny tragedies

They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something's better
On the other side

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you got to rise above

I am invincible
As long as I'm alive

I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there's no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you've got to rise above

I just can't wait til my 10 year reunion
I'm gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sticking It To 'The Man'

One reason I love saving money is that I feel, in my own little way, that I am 'sticking it to 'The Man''.  Yeah, that's right. The Man THINKS he's going to charge me $9.00 for that toilet paper...huh uh.  I'm only paying $4.00! How about them apples!

I know. Such a rebel.

Anyway, I found some great deals at Publix today, along with coupons.

The best deals:

Finish dishwasher Powerball detergent : The Man's price $11.99
                                                                  My price            $3.84

Right Guard deoderant:                            The Man's price$3.15
                                                                  My price           $0.57

Prego Spaghetti Sauce                              The Man's price $2.05
                                                                  My price            $0.62

Viva Paper Towels                                    The Man's price $9.99
                                                                   My price            $4.00

AND I scored a free King's Hawaiian Rolls with my purchase of 3 Hormel All Natural sandwich meat,which was on sale 3 for $10.00 and for which I had two coupons which totalled $2.00 off the meat itself. (I got tired of all this 'figurin')

I feel so vindicated.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Know It's Just a House...But...

We had an offer on our house yesterday.

Naturally it was low and we are counter offering with something higher.

I should be excited, right? I mean, this is something we have been working on for years...selling this house and moving out to the country.

But I'm not. Well, I am a little. I am nervous. I'm a little overwhelmed.

And I'm sad to leave.

This is the house I brought my babies home to...where they learned to walk and talk. 

Would the new owners care that I charted my children's growth on the back of  my son's bedroom door?  That we have a pet rabbit, guinea pig and two pet parakeets buried in the flower beds? 

It's where my kids hunted Easter eggs, woke up to every Christmas morning of their little lives and where they trick or treated from.

So many memories are tied up in this house.

It's making it hard to look forward to the new and exciting.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hmm...What Kind of Cheese Goes With 'Whine'?

So I have been a little stressed out lately, some of which may be my doing (signing up for too much fun stuff!)  to things that are necessary (twice weekly trips to the next town over for allergy shots for my son!) to things that I am patiently enduring (trying to sell a house and having to clean and vacate at the drop of a hat to have a realtor show it!) and, uh, oh yeah, trying to carve out time to actually 'school' my kids. 

Is it too early for wine?

Or should I say....WHINE?

If any of you can stand to hear a grown woman whine, then please. Spare your self the rest of this blog and go do something that makes you happy happy happy.

First, let me just say I am a pretty solid gal.  Not a whole lot gets to me. But the past several days I have noticed something that just really 'gets me'...judgement.

Judgement of what kind of church people attend.  (I know, right? Kind of crazy...judging what kind of church people attend.) Hey, if you are attending church, that's great!  And if someone else's church isn't your cup of tea, well, go find yourself another cup of tea because they have every right to choose how they worship.  And the judgemental thing? Not a good look on Christians.

Judgement of where someone is from, geographically. Particularly if you are from the South, oh Honey,...I realize Honey Boo Boo is not a great representative of all Southerners.  What gets me is when people who aren't from the South but are forced to live in the South want to bash the South...the food, the customs, the dialect, the mannerisms...I don't know about you, but I was raised in the South and one thing I was taught was "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." (Of course, I just violated that one with this whole post, didn't I?)  To me, that is like going into someone's home and standing in their living room saying "I can't BELIEVE you think this carpet goes with those drapes. And who buys that kind of couch anymore? <eyeroll>"   I think I have come to the realization that those people who do the bashing...they pretty much aren't happy ANYWHERE. 

And this one is becoming a growing trend...judging what kind of food other people eat. White bread, non-organic, processed, sugar, salt...spare me.  I am all for healthy choices. And I am trying to limit all of those things in our diets.  But it is so disheartening to sit around and hear other women pass judgement on others who don't (or can't afford to) buy organic, grass-fed, range-free, raw whatever.  Now, let me just say again...I am all for healthy lifestyles and if I could afford to, I would buy more of those products.  But when your eyes roll when you are describing how someone else served you WHITE BREAD at their home...that's not okay. 

And Barbie is not evil.  Just dress her respectably and call it a day. Your daughter won't wind up being a stripper, I promise.

Good gracious, life is hard enough. I don't know about you, but there are days when we women, especially homeschool moms, feel beat up and pressured by our choices.   We should have each others backs and support each other.

I promise, I don't care if you feed your kids Ramen noodles, let them play with naked Barbies and don't even go to church or if you have a Yankee accent so sharp you could slice a tomato with it.  It's about the heart.

Be an encouragement for someone today.   Instead of 'tearing down', how about doing some 'building up'?

Sigh.   There you go.  Should I have asked for a little cheese to go with my 'whine'?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

I was feeling a little creative in the kitchen this morning and came up with a winner.

Apple Cinnamon Waffles.

Here's how easy it was:

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 packet instant Apple and Cinnnamon oatmeal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the above in a mixing bowl.

Then in another bowl combine:

1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp oil
1 egg

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  If batter seems a little stiff, add enough whole milk to make it the consistency of pancake batter.

Make waffles according to your waffle iron directions.  This made 3 large, round waffles.  If you need more, of course, double your recipe.

I find that heating my oven to 200 F helps to keep waffles crisp and warm while the others are cooking.

And my kids didn't even know they were eating oatmeal. (Hee hee...don't tell!)