Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Homeschool For The Holidays

In our home we have traditions and rituals for the holidays like everyone else. Of course, most of them were started “for the children,” but over time I think I began looking forward to them even more than the kids did. This year promises to be our most exciting holiday season yet! Not only are we getting ready to celebrate but I’m also now homeschooling all three of my children.

Homeschooling offers a whole new perspective to everything we do. Suddenly, watching baby birds hatch becomes a lesson in Animal Science, measuring the ingredients for zucchini bread becomes a Math and Chemistry lesson, and preparing for the holidays becomes a homeschooling parent’s dream come true. To us, this time of year is like a huge study unit just waiting to be explored.

Everything we do this holiday season will hold even more meaning than usual. We won’t just be doing things, we’ll also be learning why we are doing them. Celebrating Winter Solstice will lead to lessons on Weather, Geography, and the History behind it. My children will “meet” ancient cultures and understand why the day meant so much to them.

Around Christmas my children will again have a lesson in History as they are told of that day’s origins and the meshing of traditions. Hopefully they will also develop an appreciation and understanding of other religions.

Even our decorated tree will hold its own lesson. On it will hang one ornament for every year of each child’s life. As we put them on the tree we always discuss what year they received them and why they chose that particular one at the time. In place of bright plastic garlands we will make colorful paper chains to symbolize the links that bind us together and strings of popcorn just for fun. Each ornament and decoration holds special meaning to us and by homeschooling I’m able to make them even more meaningful.

So this year after we finish reading “The Polar Express” on Christmas Eve (like we have for eight years now) we will reflect on all we’ve learned and then start our next and favorite lesson: The lesson of family, love and togetherness.

What lessons are you teaching your children this year?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Well Now It’s Official…

My daughter received her first set of practice poi from some friends of ours for her birthday last week so she is more determined than ever to be a fire-spinner.

She has decided against being a bellydancing fire-spinner though since there is a higher chance of catching on fire that way. lol. Gauzy skirts and veils with spinning balls of fire on the end of chains just don’t go well together. So now she will just spin fire and do tricks with the poi. When she bellydances though she will now use burning fans.

*falling over laughing hard*

I know some of you are saying “How in the world can she think something like that is funny”? Well to be honest the whole thing scared me to death at first because my daughter is usually very clumsy. When she saw K spinning a spark lit up in her eyes but I just figured she could spin unlit and that would be the end of it.

The thing is though that my usually clumsy daughter is very good at spinning. She also literally comes alive when she’s taking her lessons from K and is so happy and in her element that it would be more negligent of me to not allow her than it would to allow her. I think knowing the friends and seeing how it works for them has put me more at ease.

Yes, there is some danger and risk in it but I have seen that if it’s done currently with the proper fire safety it is really very safe. Besides, for now she is learning to spin without fire and won’t be allowed to try it lit until she and I both are sure she is ready. That could be in six months or a year or by then she might decide she’s not so interested after all. We will see and that is another reason why I am taking it one day at a time.

The bellydancing with lit fire fans as shown in the pic here? Heck, I might just try that one myself!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This Week Is Better…

very painful but better. lol

Saturday I took both of the boys to a Radio Disney giveaway/program at the big mall. Big B fell in like with one of the dancers and now wants to be one. I can’t help but laugh because if you knew my oldest you would know that he’d only be in it for the girls. lol. Lil Man got to meet two of the Ninja Turtles and won a prize basket from Kandoo! He was so excited and when he also won a Turtles DVD he was on Cloud Nine!

Sunday Sis and I went to Pagan Pride Day here in town. It was neat seeing all the different vendors and things to see. It was honestly more like a Medievel Faire than anything else so I’m sure that confused non-Pagans (we’re non-Pagan but somewhat use to the religion). lol. Sis’ friend did his fire spinning (that’s not him but just to show you what it looks like during the day which is when Karl mostly does it) about five times during the day and Sis spun with him inbetween with the practice poi (unlit of course). She’s actually pretty good and if she gets better she might be able to do fire spinning herself…someday. When mom isn’t so heart attack prone! lol.

So she spun the practice bags and I sat on the grass which was wonderful. Sis also got a henna tattoo on her wrist and we bought her a Buddha pendant for her birthday. The funnest part for me was when Sis and I took a free bellydancing class. Of course, it made her decide that she now wants to be a Fire Spinning Bellydancer. LMAO

Monday we went to our homeschool group where all the kids ran around, Sis practiced spinning some more, and I got to sit again. I LOVE when I get to sit around for a bit. The kids also showed off their bird knowledge by naming every bird and whether it was male or female that came into the park. I’m so proud of them for paying attention at WRI.

As for “school” work, we read, Lil Man and I colored shapes, Sis played her agriculture game, Big B figured out pricing for his YuGiOh collection he’s selling, and we discussed our upcoming trip to the State Fair.

Tuesday we were able to do Quiet Time (which we were all looking forward to), I did some proofreading and retyping for something for the hubby, we got all our chores done, and had our first Tea Time of the new school year. That was the best part of the day and Lil Man’s favorite thing to do. This time though we had hot cocoa instead of tea and I had planned on reading The Family Under The Bridge but the kids wanted me to read Chronicles of Narnia instead (even though the holdest has read it all before). So I read the first chapter of that and we all really enjoyed the time.

Wednesday we went to the School Days at the State Fair. School Days is where the parking and admission is free if you fill out a form and send it in. Luckily we did and had a great time! The Lil Man loved McDonald’s Farm where you do “chores” throughout the little farm area (pick up an apple, ride a little tractor, milk a fake cow, etc) and then at the end you get a reward. He also loved the free petting zoo which was practically overrun by goats and sheep begging for your attention (and small cup of food of course). They also had a miniature horse, two camels, and two cows.

Sis got a free face painting as advertisement for this one stand and the Natural Resources building was pretty cool too. They had different fish in little ponds, baby rattlesnakes, a fossil dig where after you dug around you got a fossil to take home, and our friends were there with Hawks Aloft showing off all the beautiful birds with other staff. There was a peregrine falcon (Lil Man’s Fave), hoot owl, great horned owl, mississippi kite, and many others. Very beautiful birds.

After that we looked at the sights, watched show with tigers from a preserve, they rode some rides, we all got a little bit of a sunburn, and came home extremely exhausted. It was a wonderful day and Lil Man thanked me with “Thank You Mommy so much! I wuved today and it was so fun and the State Fair is fun and the dragon ride was AWESOME! Thank you for taking us to the State Fair and for wuving us”. Awwww I think I honestly got the best reward of all with that.

Today is Thursday and thanks to my fibro and CMP we aren’t able to go to our homeschool group or really do much of anything. In fact, my fingers hurt so badly after typing this out that I am pretty much done for the day. It was so worth it though. I would hurt even more for the rest of my life just to have days like this more often. The kids learned so much this week and had fun. I got to see their smiles, hear their laughter, and just enjoy being a part of their childhoods.

I definately give this week an A+. If you read all of this then thank you very much.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Okay So Maybe We’ll Start NEXT Week

My plan was to start our new “school year” the day after Labor Day. I tried to be all organized and suave about things but OY did it ever not go the way I thought! LOL

Last week we were able to finish the covers of our Book of Centuries, buy our Nature Sketchbooks, and that was about it. I had planned on doing all these really neat things for the first week “back” and then thanks to a new medication and fibro flare up that all went down the toilet. So instead the kids learned more about Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofascial Pain, and Adrenal Insufficiency. lol. Can I count that as Science?

This week they learned about house hunting, figuring how much mortgage would be, banking, weekly grocery shopping, figuring out how many miles to the gallon that gas hog of a van gets, and that Mom is a lousy cook when she’s sick. They also learned that a person CAN go three days with only a total of six hours of sleep but at the end of it they will crash out for 12 hours straight (hubby had a hard week this week).

So how do I transcribe that into actual learning? lol.

Next week though we have to get going because Big B has to catch up on his Algebra if he wants to attend the community college program in the Spring and I found a folder filled with worksheets that Sis didn’t do throughout the year that has to be done before I can go on with the stuff she chose this year. *sigh* The Lil Man is easy just give him some crayons and paper and he’s good to go.

On Monday this blog will hopefully be more interesting and worth reading. I still want to be her when I grow up but I’ll do the best I can. lol

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Why Pluto Is No Longer A Planet

We all have read the scientific explanation of why Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet instead of one of our well known nine planets. Some of us may have even read the whole longgggg discussion on why this is but I think my 3 1/2 year old has the best explanation on this.

Mom: “Well that stinks, they’ve decided that Pluto is not a real planet anymore”

Lil Man: “But I like Pluto!”

Mom: “Sorry sweety but that’s what they say.”

Lil Man: “I know what happened. The science guys they made Pluto mad so he said I don’t like you anymore and he went to be Mickey Mouse’s dog”

Mom: laughing too hard to really comment after that.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

A Cool Unschooling MeMe

I’ve seen all the homeschooling memes going around and wanted to join in but at least half of the questions usually don’t apply to us and our kind of homeschooling. I would say we are definately eclectic because we use part unschooling theory and part homeschooling theory. We don’t follow any one style and just pick and choose what works for us.

So I saw that A Room Of Our Own had done an Unschooling Meme (that PhatMommy came up with) and since this one I can relate to more, I’m doin’ it!

1) ONE FIELD TRIP YOUR CHILD LEARNED A LOT FROM- The field trip we took to a wolf sanctuary in March. The kids learned alot about wolf rescue, their behavioral habits, the kind of abuse that people put them through, and why it’s important to care about them. It was a wonderful experience.

2) THE GAME/TOY THAT’S GIVEN YOU THE MOST EDUCATION MILEAGE- That’s a hard one because several have been used extensively. Our electronics lab is used alot, Monopoly is their fave board game, and we all love Apples to Apples (thanks Meg).

3) ORDINARY HOUSEHOLD ITEM THAT’S GIVEN YOU THE MOST EDUCATION MILEAGE- That would be a tie between Animal Planet on the TV (who knew dust mites were so icky!) and the measuring cups which have been a huge help in teaching Sis about fractions while cooking. I try to keep away from the TV but I do have to admit that when we watch Animal Planet we learn alot of really neat stuff.

4) NAME THREE MAGAZINES/BOOKS ON YOUR COFFEE TABLE- Well we don’t have a coffee table (takes up too much floor space) but magazines/books we have around all the time would be National Geographic, Lil Man’s Dr Seuss books, and one of my Fibromyalgia books unfortunately.

5) ONE SKILL YOUR CHILD LEARNED FROM GROCERY SHOPPING- Just one? Comparing prices, division, multiplication, and figuring out which is the better deal by price per ounce. Also how to make lists (because we all know I’m big on list making) and categorizing. I couldn’t do just one sorry.

6) ONE RESOURCE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT BUYING, BUT THEN REALIZED YOUR CHILD COULD LEARN THAT INFORMATION JUST BY LIVING LIFE- A curriculum period. When I started I thought I had to buy a curriculum in order to do things “right” but thankfully we were too broke at the time to afford anything so that is when I started figuring what each child really needed and how to help them the best. I learned to trust them on some things, guide them on others, and use my money saving skills to get the resources we needed.

7) AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU’VE SAVED BY NOT PURCHASING CURRICULUM- I couldn’t tell you to be honest because I don’t really think about it. I can definately say for sure though that we’ve not only saved money but also saved ourselves alot of headache because I don’t think this family would fit well with a curriculum.

Only seven questions? Bummer, I was just getting on a roll. lol

Friday, August 25, 2006

Art Photos

I’m going to be posting pictures of some of the Artwork we do this year as just a way to share and show MonkeyBoy how proud I am of what he accomplishes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

File Folder Games 2006-2007

I’ll post pictures and ways we use file folder games here. I’ll also try to remember where I got the games from so I can give proper credit and also hopefully help others find great games.


Coming Soon!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Getting Back On Track

Now that the Big B “I’m Going No I’m Not” fiasco is over (see my comment on my last post for the update) we can get back on track and finish figuring out what we’re doing this year.

I’ve got some rough drafts up on our pages in the sidebar (Homeschool Plans, Big B’s plans, Sis’ plans, etc). It has been fun for me this year trying to figure out who needs what and how to get what they need. It’s given me a challenge and everytime I figure out a way to do it I get to feel that sense of accomplishment too. I know, get a life. Shoosh!

I have also been able to plan this school year again for next to nothing monetarily which was fun. I’m one of those sickos that finds things like that thrilling and enjoyable. lol. The fact that I’m not spending alot of money on homeschooling though means that when something important or really interesting comes up during the year I don’t have to feel bad about a little splurging. Take for instance, our Phantom of the Opera tickets that I bought for October. They were a great deal, my three kids LOVE Phantom, and no guilt because it’s a rare splurge. See how this works?

We still have to find an activity that each of the kids would like to be in (probably Weightlifting for Big B, Bellydancing for Sis, and Rhythm & Movement for Lil Man), buy our sketchbooks for Nature Study, and I might revise what subjects we do on which days but I’m not sure yet.

I also haven’t decided if we will start the new year on the last week of this month (just kind of a get in the groove week) or after Labor Day. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Now What?

I was all ready to post our plans for the new school year. I have been working weeks to figure out just the right things to make these kids happy. I’ve spent more time than I would prefer on this computer researching and working on said plans.

Then this morning Big B informs me that he thinks he will go to public school after all. The reason? Same as before “I’m bored”. I’ll be honest, I wanted to scream at him and push him down like some kind of kindergartener who just had a boy bother her. Instead I glared at him and marched upstairs where I flopped down on the bed waking my poor husband who hasn’t been able to sleep worth a darn all week and held back the tears.

So now what? We gave him a deadline to make his decision by. The deadline is a few weeks past AND he had told us he was staying home. I don’t have the money to run out and buy school clothes, fill a supply list, pay for a locker (do they do that here too I wonder?), pay whatever other stupid fees they might have, and try to figure out when Vin can take him to get his Hep B shot (I can’t because I don’t agree with vaccinating on several levels anymore. My own kids that is not judging others.). This just sucks!

In that same timespan I have doctors’ appointments and tests, Lil Man has dental work, Vin is trying to start a few college courses, and I’ve got two other kids to take care of besides Big B and his stuff.

So do I tell Big B that he already made his decision and stick it out for the year or do I just give up and try to figure out how to do everything in less than a week? Please feel free to leave any advice in the comments section. I’d be more than happy to hear it.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Updating On Big B

Sorry it has taken me so long to update on Big B’s decision. Things here have been pretty nuts lately. I am honestly very proud of my oldest son right now. In deciding whether or not to go back to public school he weighed all the pros and cons of his decision. He put alot of thought into it so he could come up with the best decision for HIM and not anyone else.

His end decision? He will be staying home this year! He decided that there definately isn’t much on the pros side for going back to public school. In fact, he could only come up with two reasons to go back.

So I will be starting my first full year of homeschooling a High Schooler, a Middle Schooler (if you considered “6th grade” as middle), and a Preschooler. Wow, I really am nuts!

As for plans for the year, I am going to try to be like alot of the others and post a kind of, sort of, roundabout outline of what we’re doing for the year. LOL I’m not the most organized person in the world but I will try to make sense of our plans in another post. Alot of it is borrowed from other people who had such wonderful ideas (folder games, homemade manipulatives, lapbooks, notebooks, tea time, etc). I honestly couldn’t have planned so much great stuff without all the wonderful ideas out there.

So that is it for now. I promise that it will only be a few days before I post our outline and I’m sorry it took so long to tell you Big B’s decision. I’ve been in a writing funk and haven’t been able to write much of anything.

Oh, last note- I’ve added a link category to the sites I write for/on if you ever want to check it out. I am very proud to announce that starting August 15th I will be writing a quarterly column for The Whole Mom.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

He Might Go Back

The other day Big B informed me that he is thinking about going back to public high school. The reason he gave me is that he wants to play football and have a chance at going to college for it. The reason he gave a friend is that he is bored.

My feelings are that I hate the very idea of him going back. I didn’t like who he was at all while he was in public high school. He was rude, disrespectful, wanted nothing to do with his siblings, and could have cared less about learning anything. I dread losing who he has become to who he will again be.

I can’t help him with being bored though. He’s 15 years old and if he’s bored he should be finding things to do. I’m honestly getting tired of having to be the one to find things for him to join, volunteer for, and do. He puts no effort forth whatsoever. So if he’s bored it’s because he doesn’t care to try and I can’t fix that. I’ve tried to get him to join activities with other teens but he says he’s not interested. I’ve tried to give him opportunities to volunteer but he doesn’t want to try. I’m ending up severely frustrated by the whole thing.

So I told him to let me know by the end of July so I know what the rest of us are doing. I don’t want to sign him up for any of the homeschooling classes if he’s not going to be around. I also think it’s only fair to give the folks at the Wildlife Rescue enough notice that he won’t be volunteering anymore.

I hope he changes his mind before then but I won’t hold my breath. This just sucks plain and simple.

Sis has no desire though to go back to public school. I think the humiliation and horror of the first time was more than enough for her. Now that she knows she doesn’t HAVE to go there she is more comfortable. To be honest, I think she’s happier than she’s been in a very long time. She has friends who like her for who she is and who don’t try to get her to dress like a hoochie. She has input to what she learns about and how. She loves her volunteer work and she has her own dogwalking business so she has some extra spending money as well. Things seem to be going very well for her and it’s because she’s doing things for herself.

Lil Man is cruising right along in everything. We’ve already covered all but ten things on a list of what kids learn in preschool. The funny part is that we’ve learned everything just by having fun and from him wanting to play school. I’m very excited about how our homeschooling journey will go since I get to start from the beginning with him. I think it’s going to be alot of fun and might even teach me how to relax more.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Loving To Learn Again- The Beginning of Our Homeschooling

My daughter was a public school student up until the fourth grade. There were times before that when we had problems with teachers, but it was her fourth grade year that finally made me realize that I needed to stand up for her more. That is the year I watched my usually sweet, happy child turn into a depressed and moody bundle of nerves. She would often come home from school crying and constantly talked about how stupid she was. Each time when I would try to find out what made her think these things, she would immediately clam up and retreat into herself.

Sis’s main problems in class were that she talked too much and fidgeted in her seat. As soon as the teacher hinted that this was a problem, I sent in information on little things she could try that might help, as well as a stress ball for my daughter to squeeze and sugar-free candy for rewards and treats (this teacher gave the kids sugar daily but expected them to sit still). In return, she suggested that I put Sis on medication for ADHD and seek counseling. I tried to nicely tell her not a snowball’s chance and thought things were going well until the night I went to the school for a parent-teacher conference.

When I walked into the classroom there was a lone desk sitting in the front facing back toward all the others. I couldn’t help but feel sad for the poor child who was being humiliated like that. Sad, that is, until I found out that the seat belonged to MY child. That’s when I became furious! Yes, because of things my daughter had trouble controlling, she was humiliated daily in front of her peers and I was informed that she was not allowed to join in group activities either. The teacher also encouraged the other students to make fun of Sis’s mild speech impediment in order to “encourage” her to do better in speech therapy.

As I said, I was furious and a part of me honestly wanted to physically hurt this woman. How dare she cause my daughter pain like this! What’s even worse is that Sis was so scared of what her teacher might do to her that she had endured this treatment for most of the year without telling me. My heart broke for her. The teacher made several lame excuses and then tried to call me a bad parent for Sis being the way she was. All I could do in response was inform the woman that she was very lucky I consider knocking her out to be unladylike!

Once I realized that the teacher wasn’t worth arguing with, I went to the principal who honestly turned out to be just as worthless and uncaring. So I wrote a letter to the superintendent of schools documenting exactly what was said and what I expected to be done, and I pulled my daughter out of public school without a single glance backwards.

Now, we had planned to start homeschooling the next school year anyway, so this was only an early start on our plans. Since starting homeschooling, I have been given back my sweet, happy child and she has honestly blossomed more than I could have hoped for. Her naturally outgoing personality has made her lots of friends at the weekly homeschool groups we hang out with, and she’s starting to recover from the damage done by her public school teacher.

Oh yes, there was damage that we are still trying to fix. Sis still worries about not doing well enough, she still thinks she’s stupid at times, and she constantly doubts her own abilities, but we’re working on it. I just remind her that she’s smart, funny, and doing a great job. I also don’t give her letter grades on her work because she felt like a failure any time she got something wrong. Now she does the work, if it’s not right we discuss it and learn how to fix it, and then we move on.

Homeschooling has had its ups and downs for both of us but it’s definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I never knew I could find so much joy in learning with my children, and being there to guide them in all ways. My daughter never knew learning and life could be so much fun! At home, Sis is always a great student and the “teacher’s” pet. Every day with her is an “A+” kind of day.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Homeschooling A High Schooler- The Beginning

I honestly never considered homeschooling my teenage son. He had always been in the public school system, liked it there socially, and wanted to stay there. When it came to learning though, he could have cared less and showed no interest at all.

For me, the very thought of trying to teach him with my limited education made me feel deer-caught-in-the-headlights sick. I just didn’t think I had the smarts to do it. It was something we didn’t discuss and we both figured that if things weren’t broke, then no need to try to “fix” them.

Then in November of last year we moved to another state and he had to enroll in a new school. We had to send him to a school considered one of the worst in our area and trying to get him registered was a complete nightmare! I often tell people that it would have been easier to have him run for Senate than it was to get into that school. You could only register on certain days and at certain times, they fought me over his transcripts even though I had prepared ahead of time and brought a copy from his previous school with me, and he wasn’t allowed to enroll until he had two immunizations that we hadn’t previously needed.

There were several reasons why this last issue was such a big deal. The biggest problem was that they wanted him to have both shots before he could start school, and at three to six weeks apart. This meant he would miss at least a month of school if we could get him in to someone immediately. As it turned out, no one could see him any sooner than four weeks. Meanwhile, my husband and I were trying to figure out when he could take Bret to get the vaccinations, because morally and religiously it was against my own personal beliefs. It was just not something I could do anymore. When the kids were little I was ignorant and didn’t know I had a choice when it came to vaccinating. Now I do.

As I was trying to figure out how to take care of everything, Bret came to me and said he would like to try homeschooling. In his opinion, the school wasn’t safe, he didn’t want to have to start all over again in another place, and the fact that our state ranks near the bottom in education bothered him quite a bit. He wanted to homeschool and give himself a shot at going to a good college. Inside I was both jumping for joy and having a nervous breakdown! How was I going to help him learn everything he needed to? What did I need for a high schooler? How do I do this without messing him up for life?

I researched every homeschool method out there for many weeks, hoping to find something that would be the perfect fit for Bret. Meanwhile, he was spending his new free time reading every book he could get his hands on. He has always loved reading, but he had never had as much time as he wanted to spend just relaxing and going through his books. The boy was reading a new book every two days and our library basket constantly stayed full. That’s when I realized that he had already found the perfect way for him to homeschool. Bret was finding his own interests and learning everything he could about them. All he needed from me was to provide him with the “tools” to continue learning. What a relief!

So now I am enjoying my new position as “teacher’s aide” and watching my son begin to love learning all over again. I still coach him at times and help him out with new subjects when he needs it but so far he is doing a great job of figuring out exactly what he needs.

The bright eyed little boy I once sent off to Kindergarten is back. The only difference is I don’t think he would let me hold his hand walking home nowadays.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Volunteering

For a few months now the kids and I have been discussing the need for them to do volunteer work. My feelings are that my kids need to learn more responsibility and to care more about someone other than themselves. They’re good kids but they can be a little selfish at times. So to me, volunteering is the perfect way for them to learn these lessons, build self esteem, and find the joy you get from helping others.

We had already discussed possibly volunteering at a senior center close by or assisted living community. The Humane Society is out because Big B has severe allergies to pet dander (mostly just dogs). Another thought was the Soup Kitchen downtown. I had also already decided that we would pick up trash at some of the local parks as well.

Then a few weeks ago two opportunities literally fell into our laps. The Library is taking applications for teen volunteers for the summers so Big B filled one out and if he gets on there then he can put his love of books to good use. The second one is thanks to our friend K who works for the local Wildlife Rescue which is always in need of volunteers. .

The Wildlife Rescue takes mostly teen and adult volunteers but Sissy is allowed with an adult who will take responsibility for her. The only problem was that I can’t be there with her because I have to have the Wild Child aka Lil Man around. Thankfully K said Sis can volunteer during her shifts and she will keep an eye out for her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my daughter happier.

So both Sis and Big B have started volunteering on Fridays and Big B volunteers on Mondays as well. They do everything from cleaning cages, changing mats, making food, feeding the nonendangered animals…lots of “grunt” work which I think will be good for them both.

They both love it so far and have decided that they are going to be Rehabilitators one day. It’s so nice to see my kids actually into something that helps others. Of course, it doesn’t surprise me though because Big B is into raptors and birds in general so I knew he would find at least some interest in it. Sis is in love with all animals and truly comes alive around them. I had no doubt she would be good at this and I’m glad I was right.

My kids are learning responsibility, kindness, and heck they are even getting a good Science lesson each time as well! lol. You can’t beat that! The kids also get to be around K’s son, Thor (not his real name but it’s a God I know he likes), who I feel is a good influence on them. He also knows the ropes at the Wildlife Rescue and is able to help the kids learn how things work.

I think this is something my kids will be doing for a long time to come. Very rarely do people find their niche so quickly but thanks to the help of a friend my kids have found theirs and are finding the joy and satisfaction of volunteering.

As for me, I’m still looking for something I can do with a rampaging three year old attached to my hand. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

“Heathen” Fun and The Owl Girl

On Sunday, we went to a Beltane celebration at L’s house. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect since we had never been to one before and since this was also mostly for the kids. As soon as we got there we joined everyone else at the rock labryinth. Before you entered L did a sage smudging and told you to think of what you want to accomplish this summer. Then you walked through the circular rock labryinth until you got to the middle. There milk and honey were left for the fairies, L asked all the kids questions about fairies, and everyone repeated a chant as they jumped over the “fire” (this was really just smoldering logs at this point). By jumping over the fire you were leaving behind the bad things holding you back. Then everyone reversed and walked back out of the labryinth.

It was honestly really neat and cute. Big B chose to sit in the van instead but Sissy enjoyed it and Lil Man had me carry him most of the time. After we came back out, the kids all had a water balloon fight. Sis and K’s son seemed to especially enjoy seeing who could soak who the most. Eventually Big B couldn’t resist anymore and he joined in the fun as well. All the little kids were screaming “get the black guy” (my son was wearing black) and I was just howling! Later he told me “Mom, I’m a very white person so why were they calling me the black guy?” and after laughing hysterically I told him, “Honey, the wonderful thing at that age is that they don’t see skin color. They were talking about your shirt”! He thought that was the neatest thing.

After the balloon fight the kids all gathered around the Maypole and L handed each of them a ribbon. Lil Man was about as in her face as a kid could get making sure she heard him say he wanted a yellow ribbon. She was so patient and eventually he did get his yellow ribbon. Of course, when it came time to actually dance around the Maypole the little bugger ditched me! I was left getting closelined by little people who couldn’t make it over the head of even a bent over 6′ tall woman! lol

L also showed them a trick with paper butterflies (balancing them on one finger) and gave each child a “Love Bug” which was a rock with a rainbow painted on it and googley eyes. Lil Man feel instantly in love with them and even stole Big B’s.

We had such a nice time and I am so glad we went. We all came home exhausted and in such a wonderful mood. I am also happy to report that we didn’t have a single sunburn including me! YAY!!

Who’s the Owl Girl you ask? Well that would be Sissy. The other day the neatest thing happened to her. Our new friend, K, is a Wildlife Rehabilitator which means she nurses back wildlife that is brought into their center. At any given time she could have several owls, hawks, falcons, and you name it. Well the other day she had a little Burrowing Owl and let Sis wear the glove and “hold” it. Within a minute or two the owl was standing calmly and just staring at Sis. Meanwhile my constantly fidgeting constantly talking daughter was completely calm and had the most beautiful look of content on her face that I have ever seen. It was truly an awesome experience even for K and I who were only watching Sis and the owl.

K informed me that the owl will only stand for her and won’t even stand for the people who clean it’s cage and handle it all the time. I think she was trying to stress to me that this owl just standing there was a very odd thing for it to do. Today after Science Class, K told Sis that the owl hasn’t been the same since. I guess she’s not eating as much and won’t even stand for K now. It looks like my daughter and this owl have spoiled each other with some kind of weird bond. Thankfully (for both of them) Sis will get to see the owl (Athena) every Friday when she volunteers at the Wildlife Rescue with her older brother. I’ll fill you in on that too but it’s a whole nother post!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Spiral Scouts

For many years I have wanted my children to be a part of a group like Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts but without the Christian overtone and teaching. While I agree that both are good for kids they are also mostly only good for Christian children. Pagan, Atheist, Buddhist, and all other non-Christian children have pretty much been left out with nothing to call their own. Sure, they are invited to join GS and BS but they usually recite an oath that includes the word “God” when doing so.

Now personally I’m not against any religion or belief. I’m a very “to each his own” person but I do feel that people should feel comfortable while contributing to activities they love. So when I heard about SpiralScouts I was tickled to find a neutral ground for my children to learn on. Of course, at the time we were living in South Georgia and there was no chance of finding a local chapter there. Once we moved, you can imagine my joy when I learned that our new town started a chapter just a few months ago and was still in the beginning stages. I joined their local yahoo group and found out that they were having their next meeting the following Monday and decided we would go.

SpiralScouts has three different divisions. There are the Fireflies who are 3-8 years old, the SpiralScouts who range from 8 to 14, and the Pathfinders who are 14 and up. Personally I thought this was great because even though I know my oldest son is “too cool” for such a thing, it would still cover the younger two children and give them something fun to do while learning about nature, life, and Earth based teachings. This would mean that Lil Man could be a Firefly and Sissy could be a SpiralScout.

If you’ve never heard of SpiralScouts, they were formed in 1999 by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church. It was their answer to Boy Scouts without the Christian overtones and segregation of the sexes if you will. There are no just boys or just girls groups in SpiralScouts. All the children learn together as part of their philosophy. As the site itself says “The philosophy of SpiralScouts™ was based on children and parents working together on enriching activities based on our own religious paradigm, the ethics of personal and global responsibility, ecological principles and protection of our environment and planet. Our program is based on the concept that girls and boys should learn, play and work together, under the direction of leaders of both genders. We believe that someone’s personal orientations are their business alone, and that only experience and skill should determine the suitability of people as SpiralScouts™ leaders. After all, Paganism is all about the gender energy balance we see everywhere in nature all around us. It is about honoring both the maleness and femaleness we all harbor within us, and the abandonment of the unfortunate gender stereotyping of patriarchal culture”.

My favorite part of their philosophy can be found also on their website in this quote “Further, the philosophy includes teaching about all the world’s cultures, ancient and modern, its many mythologies, and about the diversity of faiths, ancient and modern. The program is being constructed so that religious based aspects of it are friendly to other faiths and may be easily substituted for by alternative religious programs from other faiths who may elect to sponsor SpiralScouts™ Hearths and Circles”.

Wow- tolerance, knowledge, and sharing. That definitely sounds like our kind of group. So we went to one of their meetings and my daughter loved it. It was hard for the lil guy to sit still and not try to get into everything but hopefully he will mellow out and learn to enjoy and participate. The people were friendly, they seem to have a lot of great ideas for activities planned for the children over the next year, and I honestly think my daughter (and eventually my lil man) will benefit greatly from it.

If you’d like to learn more about SpiralScouts please visit their website at www.spiralscouts.org and have a look around.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Making New Friends

This past Monday we tried out a new (to us) playgroup and I am so glad that we did. One of the ladies had posted on a homeschooling group for our area about their playgroup so I decided to email her and ask if there might be any kids around Lil Man’s age. Luckily she said there was a 4 year old boy who is a regular that was also in need of more kids his age. Knowing this was the perfect chance to possibly make a new friend for Lil Man, I emailed her back and told her we would be there.

When we first arrived it didn’t look like anyone else was there and I wondered if we had the wrong park. As I sat on the bench looking around, Lil Man was going up and asking any and every little kid around his age if they were his “new friend”. The poor guy was starting to get upset when a short redheaded lady goes “Are you Jo?” in this fabulous English accent. It was L who is the mother of Lil Man’s new friend as well as a daughter a few years older. Lil Man was so excited and immediately started playing with both of them as if he’d known them forever.

Meanwhile L and I talked and got to know each other. She was absolutely lovely and everything I love about the English (funny, honest, blunt, and uninhibited). Soon K (the lady I had emailed with) showed up with her son and we all had a good time talking.

Eventually a third mother, M, and her son (who has the most wonderful name I’ve heard in a long time) showed up with racquetballs and racquets. My oldest two, K’s son, and M’s son all ended up having a great time playing racquetball for awhile and then football. I was so glad M had brought the equipment because my two (and K’s son as well) had never played racquetball before. So everyone got to try something new while making friends. Meanwhile the littles all played in the sand and on the playground equipment having a great time. L’s two kids also had faces painted on their bellies which Lil Man thought was the neated thing he has ever seen and promptly informed me that HE needed a face on his belly too. LoL

We ended up staying almost three hours and had alot of fun. I am so glad we decided to check out the group because I honestly think we would have been missing out otherwise. So now we have two great groups (at least until June when I might jump ship on one when Meg leaves me. lol) for the kids to go to AND the Lil Man finally has kids to play with or as he says “new friends that are gweat”. All three of my kids can’t wait to see everyone again next Monday.

The only bad part of the whole day was my stupid self got another sunburn. Yep, I once again made sure to cover the kids but left myself ripe for the reddening. Both arms got thoroughly and completely burnt! I wonder if I will ever learn my lesson. Probably not!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

1.5 Miles My Butt!

I know, nice name for a first post but if you had gone on the hike we went on two weeks ago you would feel the same way. Trust me!

The oldest two kids and I decided to try our luck on the local Hawktrail. Supposedly this is a 1.5 mile uphill hike to a summit where twice a year (during migration) you can see over 100 hawks and raptors a day. My oldest son is studying raptors so we thought this sounded like a great way to get some exercise, spend time together, learn, and see some birds.

So we gathered our gear (water, lunch, watch, phone, my injection kit, binoculars, camera, and extra meds) and drove out to the parking spot at the foot of the mountain. Before we started I covered both kids in sunscreen and dabbed a little on myself as well. It was a beautiful day and perfect for hikes or doing really anything outside.

So we were on our way and first of all, it is at least a quarter mile to the point where you even start on the hawktrail which isn’t a big deal especially since it’s flat ground but it would be nice to know ahead of time. Secondly, they rate the path as difficult which to me means long, possibly rocky, and uphill. What it obviously is suppose to mean is long, very narrow in most places, tons of lose dirt to slip on, cactus waiting for you to make even the slightest mistep, very rocky, and uphill doesn’t even describe it! LOL.

It really was very hard to do but we honestly had a good time. We joked, talked, and encouraged each other to keep going. Sissy and I were panting and hacking like a couple of old biddys but Big B was hiking like a champ and constantly going ahead of us. In the end, he is the only one who finished the hike. We had already gone two miles (isn’t that more than 1.5 miles? Yep I thought so too.) when a lady coming down the hill informed us that it was another half a mile straight up over some rocks to the top. I just couldn’t do it (due to health issues not to laziness) and Sissy just wasn’t having it either.

So Big B went on ahead and we decided that we would finish if it wasn’t too much further. He came back shaking his head and shouting “Turn Around!!” which let us know that the uphill part of our hike was definately over. After he got back to us we had lunch on a little rock, talked about all the things we saw, and then started back down the mountain. We couldn’t help but laugh because in some places you had to run down the hill in order to keep from slipping on the gravel and loose dirt. The funny part was seeing my big ole fanny actually running!

Afterwards we went and got ice cream to reward ourselves and went home where I proceeded to take a nap and feel like the living dead. All in all I consider it a success and we now look forward to more family hikes together. Before this the thought of US and HIKING just never really came in the same sentence. I’m glad we now have something new to do together.

To find out the other lovely little thing I got from the hike feel free to read here… Lessons “Burned”

About

The Cast:

Jo- I'm a homeschooling mom to my three heathens, wife to the hubby guy, published poet (had nothing to do with poetry.com either so shoosh), freelance writer (I write for a few websites and hope to be in print soon), two time cancer survivor (while still having one of the buggers renting space in my body), MEN2a advocate, plus I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofascial Pain, Peripheral Neuropathy, Raynaud's Syndrome, RLS, TMJ, Adrenal Insufficiency (due to no adrenal glands), and blah blah blah. All that AND a sense of humor too. Go Me! ;) I tell people that I have more syndromes than a Medical Journal! I am also very proud of my amazing two cancer surviving/free children.

Hubby- Yes, I have one but with working graveyard shift and attending college part time he doesn't get to be around much. We celebrated our seventh anniversary on May 6, 2007 and while it's been a rough road at times, it has definately been worth it. Hubby works in avionics (ex-Air Force) and helps keep the Air Force in the air. He will be the first to tell you he doesn't agree with homeschooling all of the time but when it comes down to it he is my biggest champion and I love him for it.

Big B- My oldest son that turned 16 years old this year. He started homeschooling in November of 2005 so every day is a learning experience for us. He hopes to someday play football in the NFL and buy his mama a house! That's my boy! B also is learning to play guitar, studying Physics and Philosophy, and likes to hang out with his girlfriend whenever he gets a chance.

He is now the same age I was when he was born so we've done alot of growing up together the last 16 years. I'm so very proud of the man he is becoming and have no doubt that he is going to continue to be an amazing person for the rest of his life.

Sissy- My middle child and only girl. She turns 13 years old this year (yes that sound you hear IS me crying) and has been homeschooling since March 2005. She has really come a long way since public school and I am very thankful for that. She wants to one day be a Marine Biologist and Firespinner and I have no doubt she will do both. Sis is learning Spanish, is in SpiralScouts, has her own Dog Walking business, and loves to practice her firespinning with the practice poi a friend got her last year for her birthday.

Lil Man- This is my 4 year old little tornado of terror. There were no Terrible Twos but you can bet we hit the Terrible Threes full blown and hard! He's a sweetheart though and very easy to love. He's also a dinosaur expert who constantly blows me away with the amount of knowledge he knows about them. I think he's proof that children really do learn on their own and in their own ways. He is learning to write and spell his name, loves paleontology, thinks Animal Planet is the only channel in existance, and is a Firefly in the SpiralScouts.

All together we are a family who has three people with a rare cancer causing disorder, two kids who have already had surgery to remove cancer once, and a mom who has had two cancer surgeries, is missing several organs, and because we caught one cancer too late I will always live with cancer. Thankfully it's not aggressive but chemo having no effect on it is somewhat of a bummer.

Daily we are just the same as everyone else (just a little more scarred is all) and just try to live life to the fullest each day that we can. Making memories is a big part of our life and probably why I post on this blog about not only strictly homeschool related things but the fun activities we do as well.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Stop The Abuse!!

After reading other blogs I can honestly say my only thought is- If you've gotten to the point that you feel you need to hit your child in order to get them to behave, then you have passed the point where you needed to seek therapy. The problem is not your children but you.

With that I will leave you a list of fellow bloggers who have expressed their thoughts and feelings on the subject of Boycotting Homeschoolblogger, The Old Schoolhouse, The Pearls, and corporal punishment for children in general. Alot of good reads and things to think about...

Doc's Sunrise Rants
Evil Missy- Boycott Homeschool Blogger and TOS Magazine!
A Small Corner Of Nowhere- BOYCOTT CALL
Being Bridget- BOYCOTT SUPPORTERS OF CHILD ABUSE
Dante's Virgil- Repulsive Hipocrisy--BOYCOTT THESE PEOPLE
No School, Just Learning- can you boycott evil?
Kitchen Table Learners- INNOCENT CHILD DEAD -- BOYCOTT
O'Donnell Web- Do Not Link to HomeschoolBlogger.com

If you would like to help stop the practice of child abuse as an accepted form of "discipline" please visit Stop The Rod.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

We've Covered The Arts.

Last weekend we went to the local Arts and Crafts Fair here in town. My hope was that the children would be able to see and appreciate several different forms of art. Well it went so so. They hated being there but after awhile at least found things they liked.

There were a few artisians who were actually at work as you passed by and it was them that I asked to explain how they make the things they make. Several people were nice enough to oblige me. A lady showed them how she forms the bottom of her pottery and imprints herbs on the sides of them as her trademark. She also gave the little guy a lump of clay to play with.

Another lady let us watch her make baskets and explained what materials she uses and how she picks the patterns. A gentleman explained how him and his wife make handblown glass items and even told of a place that lets you watch it being done. And finally, we were able to watch a lady using oil crayons to draw a wolf picture.

The week was a pretty mellow one so nothing exciting to share. Big B went to see his gf perform in her dance recital yesterday. He got me on this one because usually I'd say "no" to stuff like this (gf/date type stuff) but it IS the only way I could ever get him to watch one or do more than just read about things soooooo, I was over the barrel this time. He reported afterwards that he really enjoyed it (and not just because she was in it). He said the first show or two was mostly for the little kids but even they were cute and fun. Big B actually remembered ALL of it and came home with a program to save. I would have loved to take the younger two kids but at $12 a ticket it adds up with four of us. :(

I had also planned on going to the first Hawkwatch at one of the libraries yesterday. I figured since Big B is studying birds that he might enjoy this as well but he didn't want to get up. They have it again next Saturday so we will try then. Honestly, I think we will all enjoy it.

Other than the TV getting broken things here have been fairly mellow on the homeschool front. That's probably because life is so busy on the medical front. lol. Everyone is doing good and around here that is rare but wonderful!

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

He's Who Among American High School Students!

We just got confirmation today that my son, Big B, is going to be in the upcoming issue of Who's Who Among High School Students due out in September.

I'm so proud of him and I think this was a huge boost to his ego at a time when he really needed it. This also comes at a very important time for us as the one year anniversary of his cancer surgery is coming up.

It will just be his biography in the book since we didn't see the sense in sending in a pic during the nomination period. So you won't get to see a picture of his handsome face but he will be there just the same. From what I've read a teacher or other leader has to nominate the students for this meaning one of his teachers thought he was an extraordinary student. That is so nice to hear and I really wish we knew which teacher nominated him so we can thank them.

The fun part? Our homeschool name will be listed in his biography so this means a homeschooling kid has made it into the book. He was nominated by a public school teacher but when we got the nomination we were homeschooling. I don't know how many other homeschoolers have been in it but I think every single one we can get is a big bonus for us.

So I'm not bragging just sharing and spreading my joy and pride.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Life Just Happening...

I can honestly say I don't have some long drawn out boring post this time. The kids are doing their own thing and it seems to be going alright. A few weeks ago, Big B said he is bored as hell and had even said he wanted to go back to public school. It honestly broke my heart. The first thing I did was email Meg (who called me later and helped so much) because I figured she would have some words of wisdom that would help. Of course, she did. Later I told Big B that yes, it is very boring right now with homeschooling because I'm still trying to figure out what he wants and needs. I think he is just totally blown away by the fact that I am asking him what he wants to learn and letting him shape his own life instead of telling him what to study. The kid is smart and he doesn't need me shoving crap down his throat.

Sissy still would rather stare at her walls than do anything at all. Unless it's on the computer of course. I have half a mind to hand the thing to her in pieces and tell her that if she can put it back together then she can play her games on here whenever she wants. lol. I'm lucky in the fact that the games are educational but it's all she wants to do. She doesn't want to measure anything for cooking yet she wants to cook. She doesn't want to have to read the whole recipe but she expects to make a gourmet dinner. WTH? I keep trying though and watching her so eventually I know something will come out of it all.

On the 15th they made Valentine's card boxes for our homeschool group the next day. Yes, we know V Day was the 14th but sheesh that's why it's homeschooling- when you want how you want. ;) Anywho- each of the kids won a little award certificate and some candy. It was alot of fun seeing all of the group kids' boxes. Another plus to homeschooling because in public schools my kids always had to make pretty much the same thing as everyone else and couldn't get too creative. Heck, Big B wouldn't have even done a box if he was still in pubschool.

Big B made a "hobo" box. He taped everything and anything he could find to a box. He had bottle caps, a used match, his dad's boarding pass from his last flight, a parking pass, toilet paper, wrappers, and I think he even cut out something from a Red Bull can. LOL. It looked awful to be honest but it was still funny. He won several prizes for it and I know in part it's because several of the girls at group like him which made it even funnier.

Sissy made a small simple "box" out of a two liter bottle and won an award for smallest box. She tries so hard to make everything perfect and by doing so misses all the fun. I wish I could make it different for her because I hate seeing her stress herself at 11. :( I thought her box was very cute though and I'm glad she was able to finish one despite her OCD issues. I think I need to get a little more creative in helping her as well.

Lil Man didn't make his box, I did. I made a Thomas the Tank Engine box and he won two awards as well even though I told everyone I made it. lol. I guess parents were allowed to have boxes too but I had just wanted something for the little guy to put his cards in. :)

I think all the kids who made boxes got an award thanks to Meg and her consideration. Nobody felt left out and they all seemed to have alot of fun which was nice. I'll have to post pictures once I get off my butt and take them. That is IF the kids still have their boxes.

Okay so I lied, it IS a long post afterall but then again I am very long winded.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I Survived Teen Group 2006!

That is what I'm having embroidered onto a t-shirt for myself after having hosted the homeschool teen group at our house this past Monday. You see, I decided to host it here because I figured if Meg could do it (a fellow homeschooler that I adore and who is LEAVING ME in June!) then heck I could handle it too. What I was thinking is "Well only 4 or 5 kids show up when Meg has hosted and they all looked so calm that I think I could handle this". That was such a mistake!

Four or five ended up turning into around FIFTEEN kids in my house plus a total of five moms. I kid you not! I had twenty people in my house for three hours straight and the miracle of it all is we almost made it without anything breaking. Almost. I was very thankful for the other moms staying but not because it helped deter rowdiness. I was thankful because it gave me an extra chance to talk to other adults!! LOL

Thankfully it all turned out alright and the kids honestly did great. They sat around playing video games, using my oldest son as a dress up doll (a 14yo boy surrounded by girls putting things in his hair and telling him to wear pink. The first part was a teen boys dream come true... the hair and pink were just things he had to do to get the first part. ), played a few board games, ate pizza, and then ate cupcakes because it was one of the girl's 13th birthday. The shocking thing was we ordered nine pizzas and ended up with five of them left. That was a surprise!

The only casualty of the day was my son's bedroom door handle that was broken when the girls got a little too rowdy but ordering a new one was pretty easy and here it is Thursday and it's already replaced. Can't beat that! Hubby grumbled about it for a bit, pointed out that HE had thought this was all a bad idea, and then we got into the fact that he didn't even get me so much as a card for VDay. Yeah, order the handle and zip the lip if you want to live buddy! ;)

So even though we won't be doing that again (only because it's just way too many kids in a closed in setting. If I had a yard it would be different) I think it was a great success. It was definately a lesson for me in the difference in homeschooled kids and public schooled ones. Before, Big B's friends would out and out ignore me, never take a second glance at the bookcase, and it would have ticked them off to have adults standing around even if we were basically ignoring them. With this group the kids were saying what books they had read, what authors they liked too, talked to me several times, and could have cared less if we moms were there.

Why didn't anyone tell me about homeschooling sooner? Ahhh all the wasted years.I'm serious about getting the shirt. Meg, I'll get you one too for being so brave as to have them over several times. ;)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hellooooooooo Unschooling!

I am happy to say that I am no longer a nervous wreck when it comes to the thought of teaching my high schooler. To be honest, it's been a blast so far and something I look forward to. I also did lots of reading, thinking, and talking to the kids and realized that Unschooling would be well worth a try.

So I told each of the kids to decide two or three subjects that they wanted to learn about and that even though we would keep doing a few things we've been doing daily they were to learn everything they could about their chosed subjects and at the end of a month impress the hell out of me. Sissy chose cooking and math which surprised me because she hates math. Big B chose skateboarding, Norse Mythology, and Algebra. He totally cheated on the Norse Mythology thing because that is one of his favorite things to learn about anyway but as long as he's happy then I am too.

The things they had to continue to do was their daily journal (but they could write about their day or keep having me give them topics), their weekly Karma Card, and then we'd keep some sort of schedule as far as activities or days we did things went. That way it wasn't total caos around here.

For Big B it seems to be working really well. He's enjoying doing what he wants when he wants and I never have to get on him. He goes to his Teen Group on Mondays, Science Class on Tuesdays, he does a Teacher's Aide kind of thing with his little brother (does a learning activity with him for 1/2 hour to an hour) on Tuesdays as well, we to to the Library on Wednesdays, Thursdays is our homeschool group, and Fridays are our field trip days. All the other subjects are spread out over the week and we spend as little or as much time on them as we want. There's also lots of free time to read or do whatever they want.

Did I mention that we figured out that Big B read about 200 books last year? He's already read around 30 this month and shows no signs of stopping. He's pretty excited that he can do all these subjects and take all these classes and actually have FUN while preparing for college. I really wish I had known about homeschooling when he was little. *sigh*

For Sissy it's not going so well. Even when you let her choose what she wants to do she gives you crap about it. She fights me on everything! She picks cooking so I tell her she needs to learn about different kinds of cooking, how cooking has evolved over time, maybe figure out her favorite kind of food, learn some fractions, and maybe cook a few things. So what does she do? She looks for cookbooks, picks some recipes, and expects me to hand over the kitchen to her. I ask her if she knows how to make half of what the recipe calls for in case she is only cooking for one or two. I get an eyeroll and told that she can just make the recipe and then throw half of the stuff away. Ummm I don't flippin' think so! Then she gets ticked off because I ask her what her favorite ethnic food is. She just doesn't want to put ANY effort into anything and I'm seriously at a loss with her. :(

Lil Man is just enjoying playing and hanging out. I've gotten a few things for him lately so we can do some fun learning too. I bought some plastic frogs and snakes to use for counting, some number flashcards, I colored some macaroni in four different colors to use for counting, artwork. and games...just stuff like that. I figure this way it also makes it easier for Big B to figure out what he's going to do with the lil guy during his teaching time.

Me? Well I'm on the go everyday and trying to be a good little organized homeschooling mommy. So far, I'm hit and miss. LOL. Some days I got it and some days I don't. Having cancer and missing organs really puts a damper on things because I'm tired nonstop but I'm working on it. I am having fun though and enjoying the change in my kids from when they were in public school. It's nice having my kids like me and me like them.