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Showing posts from January, 2011

A Day Off

My girls have worked through each of the numerous public school snow days.  I called today an official snow day. No "work" was done. I can do that since I am the Teacher, Principal and Superintendent. That is pretty cool.

Weekly Accomplishments

Lots of things have been happening here.  For starters a home improvement project we have been dreaming about for 12 years is finally being brought to life.  Our home was built in 1931.  The woman we bought our house from lived here for 50 years and raised six children.  I marvel at her organizational skills given our kitchen is the size of a modern day closet!  When we bought the house in 1997, the market was on fire.  Homes in our neighborhood were selling (with bidding wars) the day they went on the market.  We walked in our home, loved it, offered to buy it, and were blessed that our offer was accepted.  This was before we had children and realized how critical an efficient kitchen is.  We are finally taking down the wall between our kitchen and dining room and building a breakfast bar between the two.  Our kitchen will be larger, more efficiently organized and as a result, the quality of our home life will be greatly improved.  I hope the quality of our homeschooling does not suf…

Even We Can't Roll Through This.....

Yesterday we rolled.  We swam, frolicked and played. We went to bed safe and snug, warm in our beds. We woke to this. Even with 4 wheel drive...we could not roll through this.







How We Roll

Snow day?   Pish...that does not apply to us!   We have 4 wheel drive.   This is how we roll on a snowy day...









Free Therapy

Call it serendipity, fate, or divine intervention.  I believe that God has a hand in my life and yesterday he definitely guided me towards what I needed.  It was a hard day.  Some battles were fought over reading and writing.   At times I panic that the reading and writing has been a little lax lately.  I worry that if I do not assign certain books they will never be picked up and read by choice. Today I dropped my girl off at a lesson and headed to my friend’s house to return a pair of mittens.  As I pulled in I realized a play date was taking place with another dear friend.  I was invited in, offered a beer (scandalous on a Tuesday afternoon) and I was given the opportunity to vent my feelings on sympathetic ears.  Not only did my friends listen, but they offered priceless words of wisdom. Could this be hormonal?  It sure could given the fact that we seem to spiral into a period of emotion and confrontation every 4 weeks or so......  Can we diffuse the situation and prevent escalation…

Logical Consequences

My 8 year old daughter pointed out my parental inadequacies this week.  Without going into details, we had a conflict in our house this weekend.  I imposed a consequence for behavior which I felt was disrespectful.  My 8 year old said to me, “Mom, your big thing lately has been Logical Consequences.  How is what you did logical?”  Gee.....let me think......it wasn’t.  Hmm.  My bad. My bad.  I am willing to admit that I am far from perfect.  I wish so desperately that I had an instruction manual to parent my girls.  This time I had to take some direction from my child.  Upon reflection I decided that my consequence was not a consequence, it was a punishment.  I returned the material item that I have taken away and decided that a logical consequence would be to take on a chore that is not normally done by my child every day for a week.  It seems logical to me that the result of disrespecting a parent would be to help that parent out in a very meaningful way.   I first heard of logical con…

Social Network

Homeschooling is easier with a good social network.  There are times when you as a parent have to do something and don't want to bring your children, armed with a bag of schoolwork, along.  This may be okay for a general doctor’s visit, but I certainly don’t want to tote them to my yearly mammogram appointment.  I try to schedule as much as I can for Saturdays, when Greg is around to help me.  But since his commute keeps him away until long after normal business hours, sometimes a Mom needs help! I am so grateful for my network of friends.  People may be scornful of a early morning playdate because after all....aren’t most children in school working away at 9:00 on a Monday morning?  Yes they are.  But  amazing things happen during these “playdates”.    My children have explored creeks, made ice sculptures from the huge hunks they dragged up from the creek.  Since we don’t have a creek in our yard, this exploration of a new ecosystem is learning for them.  At another friend’s house…

Weekly Accomplishments - A Bit Off....

Our week was a bit off.  No one’s fault really.  Greg was traveling and usually this does not bother me but for some reason this week I had a hard time sleeping.  I would fall asleep on the couch, wake up for the 10:00 news and remain wide awake until after midnight.  So when the alarm would sound at 6:30 I wanted to throw it out the window.  I turned it off and rolled over.  Big mistake.  Things still got done this week but not with our usual joie de’vivre.  
Math - We are rolling along in our math studies.  Grace is loving Aleks.  I love that she loves it.  This week we reviewed how to divide larger numbers like 3600 / 90.  We worked on drawing angles in geometry.  She reviewed multiplication using three and four digits.   This week she also faced some multistep word problems - similar to the ones she balked at in Life of Fred.  Now there was no fuss, no fight.  She just solved the problem!  She is now easily doing at least 30 minutes concentrated math per day.  Lilah is feeling a li…

A Few of My Favorite Things

I am getting the winter blues.  I long to see my toes in bright blue nail polish sticking out of flip flops rather than covered up in my favorite fuzzy slippers.  Today, when I was daydreaming of warmer days, sitting by the pool sipping an ice tea instead of bundled on the couch under my comforter, sipping steaming hot tea, I found myself humming the tune, 

"When the dog bites when the bee stings when I'm feeling sad I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad"


These are my favorite things right now that get me through these cold, dreary winter days.


Perfekt Lotion.  No words can do this miracle gel justice.  My face is naked without it.  In the summer it soothes sun-kissed skin and during this dry skin weather, it provides moisture and smooths away fine lines.  Love it!
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Soap.  This is a new find and I love its creamy texture and mild fragrance.  Not only it is a great body wash, it is mild enough to use as a face wash as well.
My H…

Scenes From A New England Winter

Okay winter....you have given us many photo opps.  Thank you.  Now please leave.



A Right To Privacy

My tween daughter regularly reads my blog.  I hate to say that a 10 1/3 year-old child is a “tween” but that is how she is acting....like a child caught in the tricky age between little girl and teenager.  She made a comment yesterday that has made me think.  She asked me why I blogged about being called the meanest Mom ever.  She did not like it.  Not that I was/am mean because she is not a fan of the changes I have made and am continuing to make.  She would like to see her life go back to the way it was when sugar had unlimited access to my children and with a few whines and pleades the tv might just stay on a half hour longer. No, her complaint was not that I shared with the world that my children think I am mean, but it was that I shared something that she found embarrassing.  “Family stuff is family stuff”, she said. I think she makes an excellent point.  I began this blog to share my homeschooling experience. I did not see many blogs to read about families who chose to homeschool…

WInter Survival Skills

Note to self:  after spending so much time creating a beautiful nature/botany journal that is the perfect size for travel - take it on a nature hike!  


On Sunday we participated in a fabulous Winter Survival Skills class taught by Lilah’s instructor from Two Coyotes Wilderness School.  It was a perfect day for a hike through the snowy woods.  With lots of layers and good snow boots we were happy and warm. Since I forgot to bring my journal, I am going to recount what we learned from memory and the details may be fuzzy.  Not that I wasn’t listening....because I was, but I was also trying to take pictures while keeping my eye on my two children plus my friend’s child who we brought along with us. We learned that hemlock trees make great fire wood.*  You can use their needles for tea.  We chewed on the branches of a wintergreen tree that tasted just like wintergreen gum.  It has medicinal value similar to aspirin without the side effects....  We learned how to tell dry wood from wet wood -…

Botany

Each week as I sit to write our accomplishments, I reflect on how well things are going in this New Year.  Not perfect, but really, really good.  One part of our studies that is going especially well is Botany. 
My goal this year was to take my girls’ natural interest in Nature Studies and expand on it with a formal curriculum.  I have tried other science programs over the past year and they have been pushed aside because we “have no time”.  I have come to learn that that is never true.  We have the time but the program I was using does not hold their attention long enough to make them desire to spend the time on science.  That has changed since we picked up the Apologia Botany book.   I blogged a while ago that I wanted to share science with another family, partner together and make it a collaborative experience.  My good friend answered my plea for company and joined us.  Then another friend asked to participate.  Now we have our Botany Bunch - three adults, six children meeting once …

Labels

I listen to talk radio when I can.  Now that my children are home with me I don’t have the opportunity to listen from 1:00 to 3:00 to my favorite host, Andrew Wilkow.  I was able to catch some of his shows here and there this week. He is talking about the political nastiness that has been slung back and forth by members of political parties.  When I checked yahoo for some quick news updates I saw Sarah Palin is getting slammed again for something she said regarding how we talk to one another in different parties about various political and social issues.  Even President Obama spoke to the nation regarding the way we talk to one another and what we are saying.  Is anyone listening to what everyone is saying? Can we for one moment put aside our political affiliations, right or left, conservative or liberal, progressive, libertarian and any other I have forgotten?  Does our label define us or do we define it?  Can we put aside our religious affiliation, whether Christian, Catholic, Muslim…

Air Traffic Control

When I was in graduate school for education I remember learning that the teaching profession followed air traffic controllers and doctors as a profession with the greatest amount of daily decision making. I have no reference to that study to give you, so just go with me that it may be incorrect, but you get the idea.....
I remember coming home, after being surrounded by twenty-five 8 year olds completely and totally wiped out.   Should I spend one more day on addition with regrouping? Can I give them 5 more minutes of recess? Should I send a child to check on Johnny who has been in the bathroom far to long?  Oh no!  There is an assembly?!  When will I readjust read aloud and writer’s workshop?  Fire drill!  Coats on!  Let’s quickly review the routine.  Do you remember the routine?  And so it would go on and on and on.  Until I would come home tired from hearing my own voice inside my brain.   But my day was far from done.  I had an infant to deal with.  Meals to make.  Baths to give.  S…

Am I the meanest Mom EVER?

I have been accused of many not-nice things lately.  I have been called mean.  I have been accused of creating a family that is “not like ANYONE else’s”.  I have been yelled at.  But the best was being accused of trying to harm my daughter.  Who have these accusations come from?  No other than my very own daughter!  I have to smile through the drama because I know I will look back on it and laugh....someday. Why the drama?  Gee -- I am just trying to make some more changes.  This is a “family under construction” isn’t it???   Last week was week 1 of improving the family (especially Lilah’s) diet - hence the outbursts from said child.  Gone are the bagels with cream cheese (oh how I miss you).  Gone are the days where I will just present veggies but not insist that she eat them.  Gone are the frequent trips to local restaurants when we are running late to a lessons.  Gone.  The fallout has been harsh.  The reason for the change in her diet is quite reasonable to me.  Acid reflux in an 8 y…