Friday, July 27, 2012

Well, are finally underway!

We finally started school this week! 

I don't know why, maybe because I felt like all my frantic work on calendars just could not go to waste, and because all my husbands vacation plans were finally out of the way, and maybe I felt like if I didn't start I never would; I started while my oldest was away at science camp.  The plans originally were that we would have been underway for two weeks already and she'd be on her first break.  Instead, the two younger ones started without her while she was away.  And it gave me a very false sense of security and satisfaction.  :-/  Ann and John were willing and cooperative every day, except for one melt down over a spelling word.  (?) John only had 2 subjects and Ann only had three, so we were done by lunch each day.  I guess I thought I'd ease into things, get our feet wet, get used to the whole sit at the dining table and listen to mom idea, then bring in all the rest of the subjects?  Oh, and Dad was gone Mon-Wed as well, so he wasn't in the way. 

Well, Aimee sat down to get started today.  She will be the death of me.  I just thought Ann was difficult.  I assumed Aimee could do the preview section on her SOS and she'd figure it out.  It's a computer program, and she is 13.  Wrong.  She is such a perfectionist, she was upset that she wasn't getting the questions correct on the preview.  The section on How to use the Program.  Not even a  grade.  She tried to skip a lot of reading and get done too fast, she refused to search for an answer longer than  minute.  She refused to move on if she got one wrong. Her favorite phrase was "I don't KNOW this!"  Um, no, honey you don't.  But you will.  When you read the text.  Then you will have learned it.   She lost her temper about ten minutes into her official Homeschool career.  Great.  What this says to me is that public school has been way too easy on her, and she thinks she has been "smart" all this time.  She is actually pretty lazy, and doesn't know the first thing about reading comprehensively, or following directions specifically.  Ugh. 

Smart.  I hate that word.  "I'm not smart!"  "She is smarter than me!"  "They call me a smartypants when I try to tell them something."    I am so sick of kids being called smart.  No one is smarter than anyone else.  Some people have studied more, or different things, some people have memorized things, some people have read 3000 books.  You haven't.  YET.  You can go learn all the things you want to know.  You can learn all the things everyone you think is smart, knows.  In no time at all.  Just learn stuff.  Then you'll know stuff.  Smart is so stupid.   I spit that edict out while Aimee was gone, unfortunately, so she missed the full force and effect of it at the table. 

Our History and Math should be here next week.  Then it's buckle down.  We will not be done by lunch everyday, I keep warning them! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

just hangin out

I keep thinking "There is surely something I need to be doing to get ready for school!"

But I keep not doing anything.  After those first few weeks of frantic research and buying and notetaking and library book devouring, I just kind of dropped it all.  We got L A Z Y.  Been sleeping till who knows when and not doing a gosh darn thing.  But I know they need a break and some time to be couch potatoes.  And finish baseball and softball! I wanted to start the kids around the second week of July, but the husband just said he took the third week off.  That'll make it hard to keep the ball rolling won't it.  I'll figure it out I'm sure.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My eyeballs melted

I spent a million hours agonizing over making our calendar yesterday.  I wanted the whole year at least penciled in, with all the hunting trips, fishing trips, camps, holidays, birthdays, and whatever else blocked off.  I also wanted to make sure I had 180 days covered.  I used a neat thing I found called WinCalendar and printed out 12 months starting in July when I plan to start.  I cut off the ends of each month, the blank days, and the beginnings off each month and taped them all together in one long strip calendar and hung it off the back off the pantry door.  It's better for me if I can see all of everything at once. I was going crazy flipping pages in my planner and trying to count weeks and add days and Aaargh! Im sure there was an easier way to do that, and I'm sure I'll come across it on Pinterest tomorrow, but alas, it's done! And I felt like a zombie when I went to bed finally, but I felt like I got something done.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I have no idea!

People keep asking me "So how do you think you'll like homeschooling?"


I have no idea.    I am going HS because I don't like what we are doing now, which is public school, so I guess I'll like it.  I really don't know what to say.  Wait and see? 

In Mardel yesterday, I had to restrain myself from spendig hundreds of dollars, I do know that!
We would up with Latin, which I am excited about, but will really to have to sell to the kids.  The advantages of that will be clear later in life, they just need to wait and see! Ann got a book she is really excited about- "Draw to Learn" I think it's called.  A bible verse is at the top of the page, some guidlines are at the bottom as to what you might think about as you draw, and there is a huge blank square in the middle of the page to draw your picture.  She is bent on art, so I think it will hold her interest, and keep us in the bible more. 

Still need science and social studies.......arrrrrrgh!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


We got our first box in the mail two days ago!
I'd have taken a picture, but my iphone has decided I take too many.  Grr. 

I was so excited to open it! It contained my son's Lifepac 3rd grade Language Arts!  It was pretty neat to actually see this whole thing getting underway with concrete evidence!

Today, coming home from my first run in about two weeks, ugh, I saw the mailman leaving our street.  He doesnt have to enter our cul-de-sac unless there is something too big to put in the mailboxes on the posts at the end of the road, so I knew I had a surprise! 

Switched on Schoolhouse 8th grade Language Arts, Bible, (which they are all going to do together), History and Geography and my daughter's elective, The Vietnam Era.  My 6th grader got her Lifepac Language Arts, as well. 

Alpha Omega was having a sale, ok? 20 percent off and free shipping. I went a little grapenuts. 

6th grader still needs a Social Studies. I think maybe she and the 3rd grader will share an A Beka, if I can make it to a curriculum fair I heard was coming up, I'd like to see the material, I think. 

I still have not decided what Science program to use??  And "reading"?  That's probably gonna take care of itself.  Math will be Math-u-see, I just haven't ordered yet. 

Can't wait for more boxes!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I am scared to death.

We decided a couple of weeks ago to pull our kids out of public school and bring 'em home.  Finally.
I have wanted to home school since my first one was a baby.  My husband always said no, for many different reasons.  Long story short- he changed his mind.  And it surprised the crap out of me. 

We have three kids: Aimee, 13; Ann 11 and John 8.  They've always gone to public school here in our small-ish southeastern New Mexico town.  Aimee started K, had a great teacher. Ann, two years later, had the same great K teacher.  John, three years later, had yet the same.  And the pattern continued on up.  John is in 2nd right now and I know this teacher like a best friend.  Well, not really, but we are very familiar. 

Aimee is 7th grade.  That's junior high! It was scarier for me than for her! At the beginning, anyway. She has been so bored this year and I could see it.  The child sailed through elementary without so much as a B and I was just sure Junior High was going to eat her lunch.  She hasn't had a bit of homework all year long, hasn't done any major projects to speak of, hasn't had to write a single book report.  She can do so much more.  She hates seeing the bullying that goes on, she hates being in classes with disrespectful kids who don't even want to be at school. 

Ann is 5th grade.  She is a horse of a different color.  She marches to her own drum.  She is a middle child.  She is unique, difficult, artistic, imaginative, stubborn, silly, and lots of times smelly.  She is easily influenced by TV and magazines, and other girls.  I don't want her to go to Junior high.  I don't want her in that den of lions.  At all.  Ever.  Oh, I know she'll grow up and a lion's den will just be waiting for her.  Yeah, but I want to equip her for it my way, rather, God's way. 

John.  John.  Oh, John.   He would probably do just fine in pubic school from here on out. The kid retains information, and can repeat it to me, like Rainman. He, a 2nd grader, reads on a 4th grade level I think, and he L.O.V.E.S to read. He can be so sweet and loving and helpful, he an obey directions impeccably, he can sit still and listen. Most of the time, however, he chooses not to.  John lives on his own planet, I like to say.  The planet where it's ok to do somersaults every where you go.  Everywhere.  Where every peice of furniture is a trampoline.  And everything is covered in biscuits and gravy.

So, we have been picking our kids up from school for all these years and asking about thier day.  It was never very interesting.  Lots of times the answer was, "We watched a movie." One time, the answer was, "I got beat up in the bathroom today."  We just kept thinking, this just isn't right.  We were not satisfied at all.  But we realized we would never be able to change "the schools".

I had begun to realize how much of thier life I was missing, as well. I hated not being with my kids.  It hadn't always been that way- I was the mom who did the happy dance when the last one went to kindergarten and I got a whole day to myself.  But the fact that they were getting older and I was missing most of it had really just hit me with the force of a ten ton truck. 

We discussed sending them to nearby towns, but I didn't want to spend hours and hours a day in thhe car!  We started looking at a private school that is going to open up here, but even though it seemed like exactly the answer- faith-based, university model, ran by people we know and trust- it was going to be just simply too expensive.  We hadn't really talked about it in a few weeks, and I had resigned myself to continuing on the way we were going, and trying to make up for what the school wasnt doing.  More library books, more time on math, call the junior college for a tutor if need be, buy a Bible curriculum and do it at home....   (How on earth was I supposed to try to teach them anything else when they were already wiped out everyday from spending 7 hours at school? The last thing they would want to do is listen to me try to teach them anything else.)

Then at Easter Lunch at my mom's, my sister asked, "So, have y'all decided anything on that private school?" As I was about to answer her with the above, my husband interupted with, "I think what we are going to do is just pull them out and homeschool." 

We both looked at him with the same expression.  Shock and awe. (She has homeshcooled since day one with her boys.)  So, on the drive home, we talked about it, and by the time we got home, in the space of two hours, we had decided it was for sure.  We prayed a lot that night, and the next day told our kids.  They all said "Finally!"

So since that night, I have been doing nothing but surfing the web, texting my sister, and reading every book on homeschool that our library has.  (A good friend had read my facebook post "Homeschool is very very very close on our horizon." and sent me a text pic of the shelf in the library she just happened to glance up and see filled with homeschool titles.  I hadn't even thought to look in the library.  duh.)

Two days ago, I finally ordered material. 

I am scared to death. 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dowd. Dowd's the name, Elwood P. I'd like you to meet a very good friend of mine...

We watched one of my favorite movies tonight. My kids did so under extreme duress, since it was not animated or preceeded by "Walt Disney Presents...".

Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart. (I never paid attention in English class, so I can't remember if you Italicize or Capitalize names of movies. I'll look it up later.) It is one of those old classic movies that everyone should see. In which people talked with proper English, used manners, such as standing when a lady enters the room, tipping hats and all that; a gentleman saying "Beg your pardon, ma'am," when he might have said something to offend a lady's sensibilities. Ladies wore dresses, hats and gloves, and gentleman carried their coat over their arm. Just makes me swoon.

Besides the quaint, old-fashioned atmosphere of the movie, it just has a great moral message. Elwood P. Dowd has an imaginary friend,a pooka, much to the chagrin of his prim and proper sister, fluttery, flighty Veta and her daughter Myrtle Mae. Veta tries to have him committed to the local sanitarium after he embarrasses her one too many times in front of all the society ladies. The movie is a comedy of errors, sort of, from that moment on. There is a mix up at the sanitarium, where Veta is violated in a case of mistaken identity, and the Nurse, Orderly, Doctor, Head Psychiatrist, the family lawyer and assorted others chase Elwood and Harvey all over town, stopping off at Charlie's Tavern more than once for nightcaps. Elwood is offered a serum, #977 to be exact, to get rid of Harvey. Veta would no longer be a disgrace among the ladies of the Wednesday Afternoon Forum and Mertyl Mae could begin to join a group of nice young people, and Elwood could quite possibly sit on the Western Slope Water Board, for Heaven's sake! By the end, everyone comes to see how valuable Harvey is. Not just to Elwood, to whom he is constant companion and confidant, but to Veta, Mertyl Mae and even to the Head Psychiatrist of the sanitarium to which someone, be it Veeta or Elwood, was nearly committed. Elwood is who he is because of Harvey- he is special and if he changed, he would "be a perfectly normal human being, and we know what stinkers they are!" Elwood, with Harvey at his side, is freindly, generous, gracious and just a swell guy. A rough old cabbie even says so. He invites everyone he meets to dinner, engages them in conversation, genuinely interested in who they are, complimenting all, again, genuinely. He mends conflicts between people, even helping them begin a romance, without their even being aware of it. I wish we could all be like Mr. Dowd. He says he always has a wonderful time wherever he is, whomever he's with. Harvey has the ability to stop time, so Elwood could go where ever he liked to for as long as he liked, and time would resume where he left off when he returned. Yet, Elwood can think of no place he'd rather be.

I could go on, but you really just need to go to the library, get on Netflix, run down to Blockbuster, whatever it is you do, and get Harvey, and watch it yourself. It will make you chuckle and above all it will remind you that we should all be happy, or rather Content. There it is, the moral message. I couldn't help but think of it as a spiritual message, to me anyway. God, like Harvey, is at our side, He is Gracious, He is Generous and he really is just a Swell Guy. We can be content no matter the circumstances, if He is by our side. Elwood is never scared to introduce Harvey to anyone he meets, and occasionally someone comes to know Harvey and he becomes a friend to them too. As much as I hate to admit it, I do not introduce many people to my friend, God, but I know I should. That'll be something I work on from now on. It doesn't parallel directly to our relationship with God, it wasn't written to that purpose, I am sure. But hey, God shows up in funny places to me, OK.

I am so glad I watched it. I am glad I made the girls watch it too. I think everyone needs a few old fashioned things in thier life; an old black and white movie, homemade fried pies, or just an afternoon in Great Aunt Lea Etta's living room, to remind us we are not all that matters, and life is precious and sweet and everyone should be treated with respect and love and easy is not always the best. None of that last sentence made sense. Fried Pies? Fresh on the brain I guess. I just made some the other day, homemade crust that I nearly cried over when I bit into it, with peaches off of a friend's tree. Anyway, maybe you'll watch Harvey and your life will improve. Mine did. At least for now.

Some noteable and funny lines from Harvey:

Poeple get run over by trucks everyday, why can't something like that happen to Uncle Elwood!

Mertyl Mae, you have a lot to learn and I hope you never learn it!

Elwood, you're my brother and I've known you for years...

Why Miss Kelly, when you wear my flower, you make it beautiful.

In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. For years, I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

I'm sure you're making a mistake about all that beer and no whiskey, but it's your two weeks.