Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MDA Pictures

Here are some photos I snagged off of the MDA Green Bay Facebook page:

Emma & Abbie (her counselor)

I think they made posters to decorate their cabins the first night.

The girl in the blue shirt is Savannah.  That whole row is Dragonfly Cabin.
You can't see Emma very well, but she's holding a stuffed animal cat on her lap.

Decorating old records?
This is Emma, Abbie, and possibly Abbie's brother.  She said that her brother was counseling too, but I didn't get the chance to meet him.

Wednesday was Firefighters Day.  So, everyone wore red, and some real firefighters came with a truck.  The campers all had a parade (I think) with each cabin devising a theme. 

I'm not exactly sure what the theme was for Emma's cabin.

But this one was pretty cool!

Monday, June 16, 2014

MDA Camp

I dropped Emma off yesterday at MDA camp.  It's already weird without her home.  We usually talk for a little while in her room before she goes to bed, and we didn't do that last night.  I miss her.

They do a really nice job of welcoming the kids and getting them registered.

Each of the counselors writes some kind of a welcome message to their camper on the sidewalk outside of the main building.  (Each camper gets their own personal counselor at MDA camp.  Lots of these kids have specialized equipment or need help with everyday things, so this way works best.  Some kids even have two counselors.)

Emma has a new counselor this year: Abbie.  Her favorite counselor (Kate) was unable to come again this year, but I have a good feeling about Abbie.  The thing is, she's only a year older than Emma!  This is Abbie's first year helping out, and they usually pair a new counselor with a veteran camper.  (Likewise, new campers get a veteran counselor.)  So that's why they're so close in age.  I'm praying that it won't be awkward, and that they'll just end up being good friends.  Emma doesn't need as much help as most of the other kids, so I think it'll work out that way.

Also, Emma's friend, Savannah,  pulled into the parking lot at the same time we did.  Savannah is in her cabin (yay!), and Abbie told me that she and Savannah's counselor are friends.  I'm imagining that the four of them will just buddy around all week long.  It should be a good time.

The cabin is shaped like a T, and Emma's bunk is in the vertical part of the T by the back door.  Abbie's bed is just across it--on Emma's right in this picture.  Dragonfly is one of the older cabins, but it's still pretty nice.  Besides Savannah and her counselor, there will be one other camper/counselor set in this cabin, but we didn't meet them.  (I meant to get a shot of Savannah & Emma, but Savannah was still busy getting settled.)

After leaving Emma & Abbie, the kids and I went back to the main building to write letters to Emma.  (That's new this year.  Great idea!)  You can choose which day you want for them to receive it.  She'll get it today.  Dave mailed her a letter on Saturday, and we'll mail another one today.

Anyway, while we were writing the letters, one of the staff guys was putting up this poster:

One thing the counselors need to watch for in their campers is constipation.  Fun, eh?  Since this can be embarrassing for the campers, the staff takes a light-hearted approach, as you can see.

Edited to add: 
They put up pictures every day on Facebook.  If you like "MDA Green Bay", then you can see what they're up to each day.

Like I said, they really do a good job.  = )

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Today I drove Emma down to MDA camp.  We took some back roads this time since there were sections of road construction along our regular route.  As I passed by a small country cemetery on my left, a maroon sedan coming from the other direction was pulling into it.

"I bet they're putting flowers on their dad's grave, " I said to myself.  "I can't even do that because the grave is too far away."

I cried silently for a few minutes behind my sunglasses.

I miss him.  So much.  I'm blessed to have had him as long as I did, though.  (I was 31 when he died.)  And I'm so thankful that he and my mom worked on their marriage.  Dave and I have been married for 20 years now (yes, I was a child bride), so I know--and Dave especially knows--how hard marriage can be.  And how wonderful it can be, too.

Anyway, I'm deeply grateful that my parents worked at their relationship so I could have my dad in my life in a consistent way.  I saw several of my friends' lives, whose parents were divorced (or at best, their dads were apathetic), and they didn't have great relationships with their fathers.  And you know what?  It showed.  These friends of mine made poor, foolish choices.

I still see it today.  And it breaks my heart.

I can't thank God enough for Dave!  Yes, he's a great provider and all of that, but more importantly...he's available.  He's available to me, to the kids, and to the Lord.  I really love that guy.  I hope my kids realize how good they've got it.

Well, I'm just going to tell them how good they've got it.

The following is a quote from Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Boys.  I think I've shared this before, but it's profound, so bear with me if it's familiar.

"Some years ago, executives of a greeting-card company decided to do something special for Mother's Day. They set up a table in a federal prison, inviting any inmate who so desired to send a free card to his mom. The lines were so long they had to make another trip to the factory to get more cards. Due to the success of the event, they decided to do the same thing on Father's Day, but this time no one came. Not one prisoner felt the need to send a card to his dad. Many had no idea who their dads even were. What a sobering illustration of a father's importance to his children."

My theory is that when a child has a father (or father figure) whom they respect, then that translates more easily into a respect for other authorities, such as: teachers, police officers, the law in general, and God.

Can I just say that I'm really glad I'm not a father?  That's a lot of pressure.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lydia's Dance Recital

I only have a few minutes before I need to start supper, so this is one picture and two videos.

Click to enlarge.
Here's Lydia in her ballet dress.  (I wish I had one like it.)
I'm going to find a pretty white shirt she can wear underneath it for church.

Ballet ~ "Just Like Abraham"
I was able to grab a front row seat, but I wasn't centered (obviously).
If the video doesn't work, then try this link:

Tap ~ "God's Not Dead"
I wish I'd gotten a picture of Lydia in this costume, but the shirt and vest were borrowed from one of the other girl's brother.  I altered Lydia's pants into these knickers, as well as the knickers of the girl behind her (also named Lydia).
Again, if the video doesn't work, then try this link:

(I have the videos as "Unlisted" to protect the other girls' privacy, so you might need the link instead of simply clicking on the embedded video.)

We are so, SO blessed to have the dance teacher we do.  Lindsey is a strong Christian and homeschool graduate.  Her costumes are always modest--and so is the choreography.  The music they dance to is always either Christian or classical.  Plus, she doesn't charge very much at all.  Don't tell her this, but I'd pay through the nose to keep Lindsey as Lydia's dance teacher.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Curriculum for 2014-2015

Okay, so this is the tentative plan for our next school year.

The one thing I'm not sure about yet is history for Jeffrey, Lydia, and Samuel.  I'm pretty set on the medieval/renaissance time period since Jeffrey just finished reading about the Fall of Rome.  I really like what I see with BiblioPlan.  I hadn't ever explored it before, but it looks a lot like Sonlight or Tapestry of Grace--only not as intense and more flexible.

I can also use BP for any grade.  They have four different levels of activity packs.  Sam would do Cool History for Littles.  Lydia would do Cool History for Middles, and Jeffrey would do Cool History for Advanced.  (They also have an Upper Middles set.)  The title "Cool History" is a little hokey, but what's inside looks good, so I'm willing to overlook it.  There are also map and timeline packs.  The downside?  $$$  While it's not nearly as expensive as Sonlight or TOG, it'd still be about $200 to get everything I want to cover the three age groups.  (Emma's One Year Adventure Novel costs even more.)  Emma's really interested in Biblical Archaeology.  We already own two of the books she'll need for the course, so it won't cost much more to get the rest.  Otherwise, she could do BiblioPlan, too.

I'm getting ready to sell some used curriculum on Amazon again (I made about $400 last summer).  Hopefully that will bring in enough money for me to get BiblioPlan & OYAN.  My second choice for history is Mystery of History, which doesn't look as thorough at the high school level.  I'd have to work harder to supplement, but it only costs about $40 for the basic book.  BP is very open-and-go, except for deciding which literature suggestions we would do.  Everything is all laid out otherwise.

Oh, and for foreign language, we're going to end up doing two years of French in three years.  So we'll start French 2 after Christmas break.

Here are the details:

Emma ~ 11th Grade
Bible ~ New Testament Survey (C. MacDonald); Read through the entire NT;
            More Than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell); Scripture memory
Math ~ Math-U-See Algebra 2
Science ~ Apologia Chemistry
English ~ The One Year Adventure Novel; Vocab from Classical Roots C & D
History ~ Biblical Archaeology; Current Events ~ Trak Magazine
Foreign Language ~ BJUP French 1 (finish) and French 2 (start)
We'll do some swimming & physical therapy exercises for a half credit in P.E., and she might be in the homeschool musical next year.  (She took this year off.)  That would give her another half credit in Drama.  She's most excited about The One Year Adventure Novel.  We got the sample DVD--which is quite informative--and it looks fanTAStic.  And it had better be.  It's also quite expensive.  Since she wants to be an author, though, I figure it's a good investment.  Besides the cost, I haven't read a bad thing about it when I scoured the web for reviews.

Jeffrey ~ 9th Grade
Bible ~ Same as Emma
Math ~ Same as Emma
ScienceSurvey of Astronomy
English ~ WriteShop I; Vocabulary from Classical Roots C & D
               The history program below offers his literature.
History ~ BiblioPlan Year 2 (Medieval);
               Current Events ~ Same as Emma
Foreign Language ~ Same as Emma
He'll also do swimming.  Our rec center offers a Lifeguard Readiness program for kids who aren't old enough for the Lifeguard Class yet.  I doubt that Jeffrey will ever be in the cast for the musical, but he did help out in the light booth this year, so maybe he'll do something like that again.  It won't count for any kind of credit, but I'll mark it down for his volunteer hours.

Lydia ~ 4th Grade
Bible ~ Read through Gospels & Acts; Awana
Math ~ Math-U-See Delta
ScienceGod's Design for Heaven & Earth (Answers in Genesis)
Lang Arts ~ Simply Grammar; Building Spelling Skills (CLP);
                  Student Writing Intensive Level A with
                  Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales woven in ~ Both from IEW
                  Literature is built into history.
History ~ BiblioPlan; Current EventsNews Flash Magazine
I'm still figuring out art & music, though I think she'll continue with piano.  I'm pretty confident she'll be in the homeschool musical again and take dance lessons.  We'll likely get some swimming lessons in there, too.  It's such a good life skill to have--and great exercise.  I might have her do a typing course too.

Samuel ~ 1st grade
Bible ~ Same as Lydia
Math ~ Math-U-See Alpha
Science ~ Same as Lydia
Language Arts ~ Sonlight LA 1 with Explode the Code & A Reason for
                           Handwriting A; Literature is built into history.
History ~ Same as Lydia
Again, I'm still thinking about art/music.  He's undecided about the musical for next year, but it's early yet.  I'd really like for him to do swimming lessons--especially since we live on a lake all summer.  If he has any interest in piano, I'll just teach him myself.

Whew!  It's going to be a fun, full year!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Wrapping Up the School Year

We're sort of "winding down" versus "wrapping up" school for the year.  We got behind (more-than-usual behind) with Anne of Green Gables being the beast that it was.  So, we're not done yet, but we should finish this school year before we have to start the new one in the fall.  *wink*

We'll need to continue French and composition throughout the summer weeks (Emma & Jeffrey).  We've still got a few weeks of Geometry left, too.  Lydia & Sam each have some math to finish up as well.  Everything else is either done or will be done by next Friday.

Emma goes to MDA camp from the 15th to the 20th, so we won't do any school for that week.  Instead, we are going to PURGE a ton of stuff from this house.  And maybe do some painting (not canvas painting, but the wall kind).  I haven't decided yet if we'll have a rummage sale, or just dump donate all of the stuff at Goodwill.  One one hand, I could use the money to pay for next year's curriculum.  On the other hand, rummage sales are a lot of work.

Last night was our homeschool group's high school graduation ceremony.  It was really nice!  There were four graduates, and each one had the opportunity to share some kind of talent (singing, recitation, etc.).  The parents were able to say a few words as they handed their graduate a diploma.  And then the grads each said a few words (favorite memories, future plans, thanking their parents).   All four of them were in the musical this past year, and they each shared fond memories about that.  It made me a little verklempt.

All of the homeschooled undergrads (any age) sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".  We use it as a final warm-up for musical rehearsal, so most of the kids already knew it.  It has a lovely descant that goes pretty high.  They just went up there cold and belted it out last night, though.  Not too shabby.  It's a little pitchy in spots, but I love the chord on the last note.  I love these kids.  My kids.

Lydia is in the 2nd row from the front--in a brown shirt.


Lydia's dance recital is tomorrow, so we've got to get to an extra rehearsal right now.  I still need to write about the homeschool conference I attended, curriculum choices for next year, and more!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Eighteen Erasers?

Occasionally, I like to write a review for a great product or curriculum we've used.  I went to Rainbow Resource's website a couple of weeks ago to let them know how much we like a particular eraser they carry.

You're thinking, "Eraser?  Really?"
Yeah.  It's that good.

I got an email today that went like this:

Hello Jennifer

Thanks for taking the time to write a review for the Mars Plastic Premium Quality Eraser. We enjoyed the enthusiasm of your review and are naming it a Customer Review of the Week.  We will place a $25  credit on your account which will be available the next time you place an order.  

 Warm Regards,
Janice Price
Consultant, Rainbow Resource Center

Cool, huh?  I didn't even know they were still doing the Customer Review of the Week promotion!  We simply like the eraser!

My review is here, if you'd like to read it.

Think of all the erasers I can buy with $25!!!  ; )

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

School vs. Grandparents

You know you're a homeschooler when...

~ the husband has to ask, "Is this a science experiment?" before he throws some moldy food away.

~ you joke at the dinner table about opening up a plant nursery and calling it "Turgor King".

~ the 6yo boy says, "If you do jazz hands with just one hand, it's just like you're waving."  (homeschool musical talk)

~ you grade kindergarten math, 3rd grade spelling, 8th grade literature, and 10th grade science all in the same evening.  (My burns!)

~ you can take a few days off of school because the grandparents are coming!

Dave's parents and my mom will be here Thursday.  They're going to help us out at camp this weekend (our annual Work Weekend), and then the in-laws are staying a few more days.

We are still behind in school.  We've caught up a little bit since the musical has finished up, so I hate to lose ground again, but we only see Ken & Gaynell once or twice per year.  Dave's dad turned 81 in March.  I'm not sure how many years he has left on this earth (he recently had some skin cancer removed from his forehead--that was scary).  We'll finish this school year eventually.  I would just kick myself if we did school full throttle while they were here, and then this ended up being our last time with the both of them.

We can maybe do a couple of subjects per day--or a field trip with the grandparents.

The nice thing about homeschooling is that I have a choice about this.  If the kids were in public/private school, they'd pretty much have to go to school for five out of the eight days their grandparents will be here.  I have to admit it.  I like being able to call the shots.

Grandparents WIN!!!


For Mothers Day, Dave the kids got me a Kindle!  It's just the basic model, but I'm glad.  I'd just goof around on a Kindle Fire.  The goal is to read more.

And so far, I have!

Mostly, I've been reading homeschooling books (Lee Binz and Karen DeBeus).  I tried reading the Bible on the Kindle, but it's too fussy turning back and forth between passages.  I also downloaded a couple of classic novels--Emma and Pride & Prejudice.  It's funny; based on those two novels, the first book in my Kindle eBooks recommendations is The Anne of Green Gables Collection.  I think I'll wait a bit on that.  = )

For the most part, I still prefer real books.  I enjoy turning actual pages.  I like having more text per page than what the Kindle affords.  Plus, holding a paper book is somehow more comforting and homey to me than a digital contraption is.


The Kindle is so portable.  I can carry a library in my purse!  Also, eBooks are generally less expensive than their paper counterparts.  Sometimes, they're free!  On top of that, if I've forgotten my reading glasses, I can easily change the text to a larger font size.  (That last one makes me sound older than I truly am.)

While the Kindle is a welcome addition to my literary way of life, I don't think I'll be clearing my bookshelves--too much--anytime soon.

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." ~ Cicero

"In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them."
                                                                                                   ~ Mark Twain

What are you reading?  And how?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sew Busy!

Whew!  Okay...I'm back.

We had our performance weekend for Anne of Green Gables: The Musical a couple of weekends ago, and I'm still sort of catching up on things.  In fact, I should be folding a load of laundry right now.  I'll just make this a quick one.

Helping to direct this year's musical was very...educational.  I learned a lot of things that I didn't really have time for.  = )

One thing I learned is that I still know how to sew!

1. Pick out pattern.
2. Pick out fabrics, thread, & notions.

3. Figure out which pieces you need for your "view" of the dress.
4. Cut out those pieces.
5. *Iron* those pieces. 

6. Pin the pattern pieces to fabric *the correct way*.
7. Look at the directions about 17 times to accomplish step 6.

8. Transfer dart and reinforcement lines from pattern to fabric.
9. Check directions 26 *more* times.

10. Step back and admire the pieces so far.
(yoke, bodice, skirt)

Steps 11 through 87 are not pictured here, but a few of them are, "Call your mom to ask for help."  Each of the even-numbered steps is, "Check directions again."

88. Thank the good Lord that it fits!

Lydia had a line in the musical about having to wear copper-toed boots even though she was a fairy-like "Spirit of Canada" for the Avonlea School's history pageant.  I took Emma's costume boots from last year (which fit Lydia this year even though she's seven years younger) and added our own "copper" to them.

I added two coats of copper paint and topped it off with some clear nail polish.


"Gertie Pye" & "Rupert Blair"

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kid Stuff ~ The Cute & the Messy

The Cute
My sisters have been posting some old pictures on FB recently.  (I'm still not on FB, but Dave is.  He told me about it, and I promptly hijacked his account to see the pic's.)  I love this one.  I think I'm about 8 or 9 here, wearing my favorite lavender dress.  We were in Anaheim, CA visiting my Dad's sister and family.  We did Disneyland and visited my grandparents--both close by.  I have two boy cousins about my age, so it was fun playing with them, too.

I love Matt's little suit and Melody's self-cut bangs.
She cuts hair for a living now. (She's gotten way better.)

The Messy
This is what happened one evening while I was making dinner.


I didn't get one of Sam's comments on video, but I'll tell you it here.  First let me say, he and Lydia have been asking for ways that they can earn extra money.  (They get a paltry allowance.)  I've told them that when they do a job they don't normally do--i.e. it's Mom's or Dad's usual chore--then they can earn some extra cash.  So, as we were finishing up:

Samuel (excited):  So Mom, can we get some extra money for...wait...nevermind.  (Not-so-excited) It doesn't count if we make the mess ourselves, does it?

He's quick!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Back to the Blog

January 22nd?  Really?!  That's the last time I've blogged? anyway.  I've been blogging every week on our homeschool performing arts page.

So much has happened, but I'll catch you up on only a few things today.

Here are those ice skating pictures I promised a while back.
Lydia has come a long way!  She used to have to push a skating walker
around the rink.  Then she graduated to the wall.  Now she's independent!
(Too bad this building is getting ready for 4H horse stuff now.  The ice is gone.)

Jeffrey turned 14 years old a few weeks ago!

He likes Tic-Tacs, so I bought him a couple of 12-packs online.

We had our Awana Grand Prix last month, too.
 Samuel sanding his car.  He was really getting into it.
His whole body was twisting side-to-side.  = )

 Samuel & Lydia painting their cars
 Lydia's advice: "Samuel, don't guide the paintbrush. 
Let the paintbrush guide you."  The nut.

 The fam, minus myself (taking the picture) and Lydia, who was over... with her good friends.

 Samuel won 2nd place for speed!  He missed first place by 0.04 seconds.

 Lydia won first place for speed in the older kids' group!

And here are all of Dave's the kids' trophies from Awana Grand Prix past.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Swimming Lessons

This is Sam's first year of official Red Cross swimming lessons at our local Rec Center.

Ready to go!

Blowing Bubbles

Talking with Dave, his teacher

These pictures were taken last fall (my camera still isn't here, so that's why the older photos).  Sam's class back then was really small.  His current class has about a dozen young kids in it!  Dave is a great swim teacher and I trust him completely (he's taught all of my kids now), but he still only has one set of eyes.  So...Jeffrey has started helping with Sam's class!  Now, he's not old enough to be a full-fledged lifeguard.  He's only 13.  Our Rec Center offers a "Lifeguard Readiness" class for strong swimmers who aren't old enough to take the actual Lifeguarding Training Course.  He's taken that a few times, so Dave was glad to have him help.  I overheard some of the other parents comment about how they felt so much better having another person in the pool.  I smiled and said, "That's my son."  

I'm a proud mama.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ice Skating

Even though we live in a small town, we are blessed with an indoor ice rink.  (Hockey is big here.)  And I'm so glad, because I'm not a winter person.  I love to ice skate.  But outside?  That's ridiculous!

Anyway, Lydia & I went skating tonight for the second Sunday in a row.  I think the only other time she'd ever been skating was when she was about four years old and I ended up pushing her around on a chair because she got so frustrated.  (They make it look so easy on TV, you know?)

This time around, she's had such a great attitude, telling herself things like, "You can do this, Lydia!" in a cheerful way.  She'd take a deep breath, exhale, and then push off for another go.  She fell a couple of times, but then brushed herself off and kept going.  "Mom, I have to persevere."  She makes me smile.  (Lydia's public school teacher last year was really great about teaching character as well as academics.  Perseverance was highly encouraged.)

Along with this great attitude, Lydia's been making great progress.  Last week she started with using an ice skating walker and, after about 45 minutes, graduated to holding my hand.  Tonight, she started with the walker, moved quickly to just holding my hand, and then she went a few times around the rink without either!  She had to grab the wall now and then, but she really did well.  After last Sunday's skate, I wasn't sore or the least bit tired.  With Lydia speeding things up a bit  tonight, I can't wait to go to bed, and I'm sure I'll be feelin' it tomorrow.

(Sorry I don't have any pictures for you.  I left my camera at my sister's house over Christmas, and she just mailed it on Friday.  I'll get some skating pic's next time.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Teaching Old Fingers New Tricks

This week I could not make my fingers work on the piano.  I was making some vocal videos for the homeschool musical, and it was like I had all thumbs.  Even the song that was in the key of C (no black keys) was giving me trouble.  Grrrrr!

Don Music expresses my feelings perfectly at 0:50.

I want to be a better pianist with every fiber of my being.  It would sure make helping out with the musical a lot easier, but I'd also love to be able to accompany for camp or church--either for congregational singing, or to play while I sing.  Moreover, I simply enjoy playing piano (when I'm not all thumbs).

I sort of blame my mother for my lack of piano skills.  

***flashback harp music***

One fall, my sister and I desperately wanted to take piano lessons, but we didn't have a piano in the house.  It was coming up on Christmas time, and we suggested to our parents that maybe we could get a piano as a family gift that year.  When Mom took Melody and me to Schmidt Music Center (the big music store attached to the warehouse--so you can get almost anything you want right away), we were downright giddy.  Mel and I were plinking around on the different pianos on display.  There were so many.  The baby grand was so black and shiny, but we'd be happy with an upright, of course.  Well...I'm not sure how it happened, but we went home with an organ.  An organ?!  We didn't want to learn how to play the organ.  And sure, pianos and organs look similar, but they are played very differently.  So, for years that organ sat in the corner of our living room.  We goofed around on it from time to time, but we used the tape player (built into the organ, for some reason) more than the organ itself.  

***back-to-the-now harp music***

I'm still not completely sure why my mom bought an organ back then.  I think it was something she had always wanted to learn to play, but she never had time to take lessons after she bought the organ.  (She had five young kids and worked part-time as a nurse.)  A few years ago, she bought a newer organ with all kinds of fancy gizmos and gadgets on it.  She's been taking lessons now that all of us kids are grown up.  (She bought a nice RV this summer, and the main stipulation for it was that she'd have to be able to fit her organ inside.)  So, I'm happy for her, that she's finally been able to enjoy playing like she's always wanted to.  It just makes me sad to think that we could've had a piano in the corner of the living room all of those years.  Think how good I'd be by now!

Now, I can't really blame my mother for my lack of piano skills.  I've had years now with a piano in close proximity.  I can only blame myself.  

I decided to amend Resolution #4 to give priority to piano right now and work more on violin and ukulele when the musical is over (beginning of May).  Today I played piano for fun, as opposed to doing it because I had to for the musical.  And it was fun!  I noticed that I'm going to be done with Lesson Book 2 soon, so I went on Amazon and ordered Lesson Book 3 and a music theory book (and the next phonics book for Samuel).  So, I guess these old fingers are learning new tricks.  It just didn't feel like it last night.  

Friday, January 10, 2014


This was our conversation as I was tucking Lydia & Samuel in bed.

Samuel: Is it my turn for a snuggle yet?

Me: Not yet.  Ten more minutes.


Samuel: What time is it now?

Me: Seven more minutes, buddy.


Samuel: Now?

Me: Three more, honey.


Samuel: What time is it now?

Lydia: Time for you to get a watch!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Just a quick little update on our rough couple of homeschooling days....

With the assistance of Khan Academy videos on Mitosis, Meiosis, and Diploid/Haploid Cells, plus the help from a lovely homeschooling mom who blogs her science stuff (found here) , we have conquered module 7 in the Apologia Biology book!  We were confusing "homologous pairs" with "sister chromatids".  I know!  It's all so clear now!

I didn't know it was possible to feel such relief and like my brain is going to explode at the same time.

Someday, I'm going to be a contestant on Jeopardy and win a ton of money to make up for all of this.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's a Wonderful (Homeschool) Life

I had one of those days today.  It wasn't simply a day when things went wrong--although that did happen.  Today was the first day I honestly wondered if I can handle homeschooling high school.  The older two kids do a lot of school work on their own, but they can't do much of that with French, and Biology has gotten kind of tough lately.  (Guess which two subjects had tests today?)  And, as opportunity cost goes, the more time I need to spend working with Emma and Jeffrey, the less time I have to teach Lydia and Samuel.  We're all a little bit behind.

The homeschool musical with which I'm helping is turning out to be beyond my abilities.  Well, it's more time-consuming than I thought it'd be anyway, and it's starting to become less fun and more of I've-got-to-get-this-done.  Don't misunderstand me though.  I love working with the kids.  They're so creative and talented and just plain fun.  I love them.  And I love the ladies I work with too.  We make a good team.  The way this musical is set up really seems to highlight everything I can't do well.  I don't mind learning more and practicing more, but again, opportunity cost.  

Today I really needed to have my own Clarence come and show me how awful and empty our lives would be if we hadn't been homeschooling all this time.  Maybe he would have shown me that the relationships I have with my children wouldn't be as close and sweet as they are now.  Perhaps the world would have squeezed them into its mold more definitively.  And it could be they would struggle as much academically in the school scenario as they do at home with me.

It's hard to see you're doing the right thing when everything seems to be going wrong.