Feb 28, 2008

When did we lose our instincts?

I hope that in typing this I do not sound to cocky or pretentious as that is not my intention at all.

After speaking to my sister this afternoon in regards to SC's pediatrician appointment yesterday, I am baffled a bit. I remember reading books and hearing guidelines on when babies should be doing things, but KM always blew other babies out of the water. She was holding her head up literally the day after she was born, rolled over at 6 weeks, was sitting independently at 4.5 months, was RUNNING at 7 months, and was fully potty trained at 18 months. Not to brag or anything but all of those were early. SC is right on track without a doubt, but the thing that baffles me is how dependent most parents have become on what the doctor or book says their child should be doing. I honestly DO NOT remember being like this. Maybe it is because KM did things early that I never really thought about it from then on out because none of it pertained to her. I just wonder where in our evolution did we lose the natural instincts that we once had. Animals don't live by the book or wait til the vet tells them they can give their young solid foods, they just know. I did lose my instinctual way for a long time, beginning about when KM started preschool and was compared to other children on a daily basis, but I am trying to get back in touch with it now that she is home. When she was breastfeeding I never worried about how much she was getting, I knew that she was healthy because she was growing and thriving. Even when people said she was "skinny" I never questioned myself. I KNEW that she was healthy and for those of you who have seen her dad you know where the skinny comes from.

I really think that as a race we need to go with our gut more. As my favorite yoga instructor always says: "If something doesn't feel right today, don't do it." Why fight with your children to put on socks because the hardwood floor is cold? If they feel cold won't they put them on. Of course I am not saying that I am going to let my child run around outside in freezing weather in a tank top, but I think I am going to really TRY to let go a bit and let her make her own decisions with more things. I am going to choose my battles more wisely and try to ignore some of the bothersome traits that she has, these are the wonderful things that make her unique! I am going to try to provide her with an environment that allows her to trust her instincts and not become oblivious to them!

Feb 25, 2008

New Milestone!

I think we are catching a groove over here. This new schedule is working really well. I think I am also starting to find the balance in things. There are so many opportunities for learning that do not involve sitting down, writing, doing workbooks, reading text, but actually are invoked by questions. KM has been so much more open to finding out why something is or how it got to be that way, then I ever remember her being before.

She did her first book report on her own this weekend and for the first one did an excellent job! I also had the teacher "punch out" on Friday. I just simply said you read this book this week and I would like you to use the outline that we used last week to do a book report on your own over the weekend. I did not mention it at all. Saturday I did not see anything going on and I said well we will see tomorrow. I woke up Sunday morning, a bit late, to find my daughter sitting at her table in the playroom doing the outline. I nearly fell over! She has never just done school work. She likes it and has always been eager to learn when it is hands on, but for her to actually pick the sheet up and put a pencil to it, on her own is HUGE!!! She then finished the outline and asked if she could have a play date. I said sure, in the back of my mind wondering when is she thinking she is going to finish this, but said nothing about the actual writing of the report. She went and had a great time sledding at her friends house all afternoon. She came home, got cuddly in pajamas after being cold all day, had dinner and then went into her playroom. I assumed she would be on the computer playing games as I had heard her turn it on. Of course we know what assuming makes... I went in to check on her and there she was typing away.
Her book report was not perfect, but for the first one she has ever done on her own it really was exceptional. Just the fact that she completed it without being reminded 900 times is incredible to me!
Everyday something new happens that reaffirms my decision. Spending the one on one time in areas that she really needs is leading to a more independent learner in the areas that she can be. I am sooooo HAPPY we are homeschooling, for her and our family!

Hope everyone has a great day and has a chance to appreciate a choice that has been in your life!

Feb 22, 2008

9 Chickweed Lane-Comic about public schools

It is a bit funny, but really scary as it is totally true!!!

snow covered everything

I know that most of you will think I am a bit crazy, but I absolutely love waking up to see everything snow covered!

I really do. There is something about winter that just makes me feel cozy! I couldn't imagine living somewhere without all four seasons. I don't like the cold when it is just cold for no reason, but when it is cold because the beautiful snow is falling, I really don't mind it at all.

Hope everyone has a great day, stay warm and get ready for the FOOT of snow we will be getting!

Feb 21, 2008

Interesting Article on Homeschooling

I got an email with this article attached. Unsure as too where it originated from other thatn the author. I have been trying to find out and authenticate but have not been successful yet, but it brings up some really good points. If I find out more about it I will post it.

Gordon Neufeld – Thoughts on Homeschooled

The prevailing assumption is that the greatest drawback to homeschooling is the loss of social interaction with peers. Times have changed however, making peer interaction more of a problem than an asset. Instead or peer interaction facilitating the process of socialization, it is now more likely to lead to the premature replacement of adults by peers in the life of a child. Such children become peer-oriented rather than adult-oriented and are more difficult to parent and teach. Furthermore, peer-oriented children fail to mature psychologically and their integration into adult society is compromised.Because of escalating peer orientation it is now the school that has become risky business. What was once the most powerful argument against homeschooling is now its most persuasive defense. Contrary to prevailing concerns, homeschooled children are showing evidence of being more mature psychologically, more socially adept, and more academically prepared for university. They have become the favored applicants of a number of major universities. If current trends in society continue, homeschooling may very well become a necessary antidote to escalating peer orientation. We may need to reclaim our children not only to preserve or recover the context in which to teach and parent them, but also for the sake of society at large and the transmission of culture.The developmental needs of children were never paramount in the arguments that led to the inception of compulsory education. Indeed, there was little that was even understood or known about child development at that time. It should not be surprising therefore to find that developmental science does not support school as the best context for children to learn, to mature, or to become socialized. Although the school has become a central institution in our society, it is not without risks to emotional health and development.There are a number of sound arguments that make homeschooling a child's best bet. The cultivation and preservation of the child-parent attachment is at the fore of these arguments. The attachment patterns of children are shifting, largely due to the loss of culture and the institutionalizatio n of education. This is sabotaging the context necessary for healthy development as well as eroding the natural power required for parents to do their job. Attachment is also the primary context and motivation for learning. When children are more attached to their peers than their parents and their teachers then peers become their true teachers. Attachment is also the primary mechanism of cultural transmission. We cannot inculcate our children with our values and beliefs if we are not the ones they get their bearings from or take their cues from.Another strong argument for homeschooling is the emotional health of the child. Developmental science is now putting emotion at the core of learning and behavior, including the development of the brain and the mind. Children need to have soft hearts, capable of being easily touched and moved by that which should affect them. When children are not in right relationship with their parents or are prematurely subjected to the wounding ways of peer interaction, the resulting flight from vulnerability desensitizes them. They lose their feelings, at least the more vulnerable ones. Homeschoolers, because of their strong relationships to those responsible for them are much more likely to have soft hearts and therefore much more likely to realize their full potential as human beings. Research bears this out.Yet another case for homeschooling is the individuation argument. The primary purpose of development is for children to become their own persons capable of functioning apart from attachments, knowing their own minds and having their own goals. It is no secret that unsupervised peer interaction crushes individuality and undermines the emergence of true selfhood. As Jean Jacque Rousseau said over 200 years ago, individuation is not only the prerequisite to true community but requires a long gestation time in the context of loving relationship with a parent. Personhood must be homegrown. The womb of individuation is warm and caring attachments to loving parents. If we desire our children to realize their true potential as human beings, we must hold on to them until they can hold on to themselves.

Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. is a highly respected Vancouver-based clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience with children and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, he is an international speaker, a bestselling author (Hold On To Your Kids), and aleading interpreter of the developmental paradigm.

Feb 20, 2008

Boxed or Not: The Great Curriculum Debate

I just started homeschooling in January and I have been piecing things together, it is a LOT of work, but the boxed sets scare me. As one mom mentioned they seem to teach to one particular learning style, what do you do if one part of the "BOX" is where your child is suppose to be and another is not.

KM seems to do really well with visual and interactive learning for Math, needs a lot of auditory for social studies, memorizes nearly everything for ELA and needs total hands on for Science.

Is there a box that is going to include all those?I wish I could take the easy route and get the boxed curriculum, but if I was the easy route type of person my daughter would probably still be in PS!

We have been using the Time4Learning site and I like how it is set so that you can follow it straight through or jump around. Math of course we follow straight through, but the sites gives a good variety with games, text reading, videos, and exercises with full explanations played out so that it is VERY interactive. We supplement with workbooks or printed worksheets and online games when we get to an area that seems to be stumping her. ELA is pretty much the same scenario. Science we are doing pieces here and there with LOTS of projects along the way. This seems to really be intergrating the information for KM. Social Studies & History is where the problem lies right now. We are trying to figure out something that will keep her engaged. She is very good at memorizing (freakishly really), but retaining and connecting in this area is something different. She is not a read the book and answer questions type of child. Mind you she will do it and as i mentioned with the memorization will give you the right answer, but she won't remember 90% of it in a month. I am thinking we will go a different route with it right now and focus on current events, with the presidential election around the corner we can focus on democracies and governments.

Feb 19, 2008

Animal School

I liked this a lot and thought I would share it!

Busy, Busy, Busy week hopefully I will have time to come up with something on my own later in the week! I know I will!

Have a great day and spend sometime enjoying your little animals...



if neither of these work search you tube for animal school and it says- A Video To Help You Understand the many different types of Students

Feb 18, 2008

My New Curriculum (Spoof from SAHP THREAD)

This was posted as a spoof after the unappreciated SAHP Thread! SUPER FUNNY!

My new curriculum for the new term:

Reading/language arts = reading the newspapers and magazines to me so I don't have to turn the pages myself whilst nailpolish is drying

Domestic Science/lifeskills = cooking all meals, doing all laundry, doing all hoovering, doing all floor scrubbing (mustn't chip my nails)

Horticulture - all yard work and gardening (can't risk getting my silk designerwear muddy)

Maths = all the shopping and household budgeting

socialising = chatting to the people in the take-away when no one is willing to cook and answering the door to any callers.

Biology = analyzing the mould on the piles of washing up and laundry that's been hanging around because it interferes with my karma to do it

History = watching old black and white movies on the TV with me

Geography = using google map and mapquest to work out the best route to go pick up all the stuff they've begged off freecycle

Handicrafts = making clothes from curtains and sackcloth

Technology = programming the dvd recorder for me so I don't miss any soaps during my afternoon nap and massage therapy sessions.

Child Psychology = looking after the toddler whilst I meditate for three hours.

Zoology = looking after all the animals so I don't have to and have more time for my vital reading session (Avalon romances of course)

Physical Exercise = running up and down the stairs, back and forth from room to room and to and from the shops fetching and carrying everything I need.

Music = putting my records and CD's on for me.

There. Don't think I've missed anything. So what do you think? Will that give me enough 'me' time??? :) :) :) written by melissalumley@yahoo.co.uk

Feb 17, 2008

Class Dismissed - Article on Unschooling

I was so confused on the concept of unschooling, I just couldn't even wrap my brain around the word. Then I read this article (http://cityonahillpress.com/article.php?id=1037) which was sent through a group and I get it know. I am not saying I will be implementing at my house at the moment...not sure it is right for my familly, but I understand the ideas of the interconnectedness and natural learning that occurs on a regular basis. KM has been coming up with these intriguing questions lately, I don't really remember her doing that so much before we began to HS. Anyway it is a great article for those of us whom, I admitted, can't wrap our brains around. Happy Reading!

Feb 16, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse on 2-20

This is an unbelievable rare event that it is happening this early in the evening so that even the youngest won't be staying up "TOO" late to see it!

Make a point to check it out it is an incredible site.

Here is a link to help explain it:


Feb 15, 2008

Lack of Appreciation for SAHP!

So I got an email post from a yahoo group that I am a member of from a mother who was feeling very unappreciated by her family because she is a SAHM!

Situations like this make me SOOOOO annoyed Now! However, I must admit I totally took advantage of my mother when I was younger! Noni wasn't a SAHM, she was a divorcee mother of two, working 40-60 hours a week just to pay the bills, but she still somehow managed to get EVERYTHING in the house done. We had chores but it was very rare that we actually did them. If I left my room get messy long enough she would come in and clean it. If I didn't do my laundry some little elf came in made the clothes magically smell fresh and clean! I am not by any means of the imagination proud of what I did. If she asked me to do the dishes, I would do a horrible job on purpose because I was knew that she would be to tired to fight with me and wouldn't ask me to do them again. Now Noni and I used to get in fights all the time about it, but I took advantage of my mother feeling bad that she was working sooo much. Now I have people in my life who are in the same situation and it INFURIATES me!

I moved out of Noni's house with CJ about two months after I had KM and I went into shock. You mean I am suppose to do laundry, plan dinner, vacuum, fold the laundry, clean the bathroom, make dinner, put the laundry away, and clean up the kitchen after dinner all in the same day! WITH AN INFANT! Luckily I knew how to do those things as I know some young adults who don't even know how to run the washing machine (In case you haven't noticed I HATE LAUNDRY), but I was still in shock. I never realized the amount of energy that went into keeping a household together on a daily basis. I called my mother at the end of the first week on our own, in hysterical tears, to tell her how sorry I was.

Now that she is gone, I wish I had truly expressed to her how much I appreciated all that she sacrificed for us throughout her life. Two children, from different mothers, whom she could not have loved more. I don't know that I could ever be as strong as she was, having to put up with the things that we put her through. I don't just mean being unappreciative, we were HORRIBLE teenagers! Now she was not a perfect mother by any means, but who really is! Somehow though, she managed to look past everything we did and see nothing but the truly unconditional love that she had for us. I don't discuss it much, I think because I am afraid I will not stop crying, but I do miss her every day! Every single day that goes by something happens that I wish I could ask her advice about. I know that she is still here with us, I feel her here and I know that she knows I love her. I just wish I could hear her voice one more time.

Feb 14, 2008

New Schedule

We have started a new schedule in the house and it seems to be working.

We gave up all time restraints and guidelines for the most part. KM kept getting so caught up on the times were suppose to do things, that she wouldn't focus or would just not give any kind of flexibility to anything. If she was suppose to get into the shower at 7 and she finished her reading at 6:52 instead of getting up and going to the shower, she would say I still have 8 minutes before I am suppose to get in the shower. Now we have 5 sessions of schoolwork during the day, breaks in between, and things that need to be done before or after other things. The breaks have estimated amounts of time like 15-20 minutes so that she doesn't get focused on it. So far it really seems to be working.

I know that it is not something that can be used constantly as there are days when we need to be somewhere at particular times, but we have never really had any kind of problem with that. I will keep you posted on how it goes in the long run.

By the by...crystal still in jar!

Feb 13, 2008

Thank Heavens for Little Girls! 2-9-2008

Ok so I had SC today! I love, love, love her, but each day I have her reminds me why I only have one child!
She is an exceptionally good baby (almost 8 mo. old now), but I could never do it. Especially not if I were homeschooling. The days that she is here everything takes ten times as long. If KM is not distracting SC than SC is distracting KM! Honestly I have soooooo much respect for the mom’s with 3, 4, 5 kids. I actually work our schedule around so that KM has lighter work on the days SC is here so that I can give them both the attention that they deserve.
I know that part of the reason is that she is not here all the time, so it is a novelty for KM, but I really thought it would have worn off at least a little by now. I am glad that they get to bond together this much even though they are 10 years apart. I think it is good for the both of them. KM used to get soooo disappointed when she would get home from school and SC would have already been picked up for the day.
I think once SC is moving more independently and starts messing with KM’s things she will not be as found of her, but right now they adore each other. As soon as SC gets here she is wrenching around looking to see KM come around the corner to say good morning. It really is cute.
I know that Noni is very proud of her two little angels and watches over them at all times!

Today was better, Tomorrow Will be Wonderful! 2-7-2008

So today was definitely better than the rest of the week has been!
I had an epiphany this afternoon, I MUST LET GO!!! LET GO & LET GODDESS!
I must act with compassion and kindness in all that I do.
I must stop trying to be in 50 different places at once and getting EVERYTHING done today!
So I have let go! I am not going to worry about how things are going to work out and I am going to enjoy the moment. We are going to follow our own path and keep it simple and clear and focused!

Bleck!!! 2-6-2008

I don't know what is going on lately, I just can't seem to get out of my own way.
KM has been doing wonderfully, CJ has been going steady, I am just exhausted! Mentally, physically, spirtually, everything!
I had said a few weeks ago that I was going to take time each night for me and I really think I have to force myself to do that. I am getting pulled in sooo many different directions between homeschooling , cleaning, watching SC, CJ's jeep club, bill keeping, laundry, cooking, chorus, environmental club, tween hangouts, and the list goes on and on and on...I honestly don't know what I would do if I had more than one child.
We were trying to figure out how to cut some corners around the bills the last few weeks and one thing that of course came up was Yoga...NOT HAPPENING! It is the only thing that I do that is TOTALLY FOR ME! Even then the other two get the benefits of me having some sanity after I get back from my hour and half of peace.
I don't know where I am going with this at the moment, but I just felt I needed to air it out! THAT'S IT...It is probably just that midwinter, cabin fever setting in! I will take the time I need to recharge! Tomorrow will be better and brighter!

OMG!!! 2-3-2008 Part 2

So I am calmer now than I was earlier, but I think I am even more frustrated with the school.
I really, really, really have tried to not bash the school that KM was attending, but this whole writing thing has driven me crazy today.
I have spent the last three hours trying to find a writing program to help as the curriculum that we I thought would work is just not going fit right now.
I have discovered something interesting.
I was adopted as an infant, but am in close contact with both my biomom’s and biodad's families. (see abbreviation entry for more info on this) I have a brother and sister both of which are two years younger than KM and a brother who is two years older than her. I bring this up because for the last few years I have heard how my three youngest siblings have been doing book reports all the time. KM has never done one…EVER. Not one.
So this evening in my search for the answer to my writing curriculum issues, I discovered that the majority of teachers, parents and homeschool educators all feel that kids learn how to develop their writing skills by doing BOOK REPORTS!!! Ok so now on top of everything else I am stumped at the fact that her school never did book reports. I have been mentioning this for months to both DD & LP and now it has come back to me.
SOOOOOO…we will be spending a good chunk of this week learning how to write a book report!

Are You Kidding ME?!?!? - 2-3-2008 Part One

Ok so I am just going to vent for a moment!
I am totally frustrated by a writing assignment right now! I don’t exactly know even how to begin with this. KM and I were working on this assignment on Friday, we decided to put it aside until Sat because it just wasn’t clicking. So Saturday came and we were still having some trouble getting her to express what it was that she was trying to say and we decided we would step away again. This afternoon was the last straw for me. We spent two hours working on it and had barely gotten through the first paragraph.
Now I really thought this was something that was going to go very quickly even though this is KM’s worst subject area. She just does not like writing! The assignment was to write a persuasive essay. We chose the topic rather quickly, but every time it came to her answering simple questions she became sheepish and shy. (If you have met my child you know that is not her norm, by any means!!) I asked why and you could tell by the tears welling up in her eyes she honestly had no idea what to answer.
I am at my wits end. The reason I am soooo frustrated is that for the last three years my daughter has been having problems responding to writing prompts at school. She is very intelligent (I know that a lot of parents say that but she has always been at the top of her classes, reading at the highest levels and comprehending what is going on.) but for some reason when it comes to her expressing what she is thinking it is just not making a connection. I brought this up several times to her teachers and they just said “oh she is lazy“, “she writes so large that it takes her a long time and she gets tired“, (That one drove me crazy!) “she can do it she is just not applying herself“.
Last year they had MCAS for long composition and her teacher kept making this huge deal about the size of her writing and how they were concerned that she would not have enough time to finish the test because her large writing takes such a long time to actually write. So we spent weeks trying to get her to write smaller and the teacher kept hounding her about it. Finally after receiving a progress report stating that they were getting “seriously concerned” about the size of her writing and that they wanted to consult an OT/PT specialist about it I went to the assistant principle and asked what happened if she didn’t finish it in time and the assistant principle said “The long composition section isn’t timed, if it takes her three weeks to finish it then that is how long she is given!” WHAT!?!?!? She also informed me, as the head of the SPED department that the size of the writing has no correlation to the amount of time that she is taking to complete the writing. WHY IS THE TEACHER HARRASSING ME AND MY DAUGHTER ABOUT THEN? She of course could not answer this question. As it got closer to the time for the test they started having after school groups for the children that needed more help getting ready for the MCAS. KM was not asked to participate in these sessions so I assumed that the problem had been resolved. She took the MCAS and said she thought she did great. She finished it in a good amount of time and that was that.
UNTIL the first progress reports came home this year. This was my point of breakdown with the school system. The MCAS results are sent home with the progress reports you see and my daughter was in the bottom of Needs Improvement Category for ELA. I asked a teacher to explain the scoring and let me know where the biggest problem area was so that we could work on it. She said that KM was having her biggest issues in the Long Composition where she scored a 1 out 4 possible points in every category. She got a perfect score on all the other areas. ****Now meanwhile she also scored in the high Advanced Level for Math.*****
Not long after scoring was sent home the school sent home a notice saying they were going to start a Homework club that was by invitation only and would focus on specific problem areas for the MCAS. I thought oh this is a great idea, take the kids that really need to focus on one area and put them together to try to work out and understand the problem. So KM got her invitation to attend and I signed it right away so that she could start the group the next week. Monday afternoon I picked her up and she said how great a time she had. I said oh what did you guys go over. Her response was oh we played a few multiplication games and went over some fractions. HUH? why are you doing math games in the ELA group?
You guessed it she was placed in the Math group. Her teacher got her mixed up with another child whose name starts with a K and assigned her to the wrong group. So we easily fixed that situation, she was going to be attending the Tuesday group which was for ELA.
The next day I pick her up from the group and she says again how great a time she had and how she got to sit with “this one” and “that one.” Well “this one” is a fourth grader and “that one” is a sixth grader. Why do they have all of these kids at different levels in the same group, because they all need help on the ELA MCAS! It doesn’t seem to matter to the coordinators that these kids tests are all completely different. They are going to do the same games and learning strategies with all of them and it WILL work! Don’t think so.
KM’s teacher and the coordinator for the group both expressed how they thought she was making great progress and they had seen a huge improvement! When her report card came we were expecting to see low As - high Bs after hearing how great everything had been going. What we saw instead were Cs. Now for a child who had never even gotten a B+ this was a bit of a shock. The teacher said oh well she is having problems with her writing assignments. My head nearly BLEW OFF!
So anyway…this whole situation was the NUMBER ONE reason why I took my daughter out of school. The system is screwed up! I have a child who got straight As on all her 4th grade report cards for all ELA subjects, yet she can not complete the 5th grade writing assignments and got Warning/Needs improvement on her MCAS. She can not write a complete paragraph! She can write a “$3 dollar” sentence without batting an eye, but she can’t make it fit into a report with any kind of flow or cohesiveness. I now have to go back and figure out where to start teaching her from. Thank goodness for the ability to stop and change things around to fit my child.
This is the first really big bump in the road and I apologize for having rambled so crazily through most of this entry. Which really was a long one. I thank any of you who are actually still reading at this point, because I probably would have stopped reading after the third or fourth paragraph.

Duhhh! 1-26-2008

So APPARENTLY we were not suppose to have an airtight lid on the jar with the crystal in it….who knew! It said to cover it but as soon as we took that cover off the crystals started growing. KM was started to get nervous that the whole thing was going to be a total waste, so glad that is not the case. We are not letting the solution evaporate and the crystals are growing like crazy!!!! New problem: HOW DO WE GET THEM OUT OF THE JAR???
Will post pics and let you know how that turns out once solution has dissolved.

One Month In! 1-30-2008

So we have almost made it through our first month of homeschooling and I really think we have accomplished a lot. I am a bit surprised actually, looking at all that we have done because there were days that I was thinking “have we done anything today?”
We have been in decompression mode and trying to figure out “how“ this was going to work for us. We are very scheduled as I am a bit neurotic, however I am flexible with the schedule. I have had to rework the schedule several times and rethink the way we are approaching some of the curriculum areas, but we are starting to get in a good routine and flow.
I am also starting to understand a bit more about how unschooling and other less structured learning actually works. KM has been so interested in certain areas on her own that she wouldn’t have gotten to explore if they came up in school. They would have had the set amount of time and when the time is up it is up, whereas we were up one night until well past her bedtime looking up information on the Olmec Civilization BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO! Not because we were rushing to get the project or paper done, but because she was so interested in it. She just kept coming up with more and more questions and she couldn’t fall asleep until all of them were answered. So we are following curriculum but if it is something that she is just NOT interested in then we move through it a bit quicker. I want KM to be able to figure out what she WANTS to learn about in Art, Music, Science and Social Studies, but in Math and Language there are things she HAS to know and has to be lead more strongly through. I know no matter what I am doing the right thing for my child! She is getting more attention and opportunity than she ever could have in any other school.
Mind you not everything has been sunshine, roses and smiles. We have had our moments of aggravation and bumps in the road, but compared to what our house was like, it has been a day at the beach!
Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way.-- George Evans

P.S. I still have not figured out how to get the crystals out of the jar!!!

Keeping Our Fingers Crossed!

Ok so it has been a few days and I think that the solution is solidifying on the bottom of the jar. There are a few crystals growing on the sides of the jar, however I can’t see anything growing on the actual rock where they are suppose to be! I don’t know what to do.
We are suppose to take the cover off the jar tomorrow so maybe we will see something more substantial happening. They also said in the instructions that things may develop more as the liquid evaporates. I have no idea what I am doing on this one. I am glad that we tried something for fun first and not something actually part of the curriculum cause I am just not good at these projects. I really think CJ is gonna have to step up on this end cause if this is any indication we are in for some trouble.
Keep your fingers crossed for us!!! We have fingers, toes and tails crossed over here!

Will the Crystal Grow? 1-20-2008

We started our first science project yesterday. This is NOT my area, so we bought a kit that had some cool things in it to get us started.
One of the first units in her science curriculum is atoms and forms of matter. I thought growing crystals would be a great demonstration of how atoms form and grow. KM already knew a few things about crystals from last year’s science so she was excited about growing the crystals.
We got everything we needed together and followed the directions to the exact letter. She has been checking it and she seems to think that they look like they are growing. I am not too sure…if they are growing I can’t see anything…but it has only been 24 hours so we will have to wait and see if the crystals will grow.
Keep your fingers crossed for us!

A Good Question 1-18

So I got a message from one of the homeschooling groups that I am part of that asked whether people thought that if a homeschooling parent was asked for more documentation than required by law if they should give it to the officials or not. It got me thinking and here was my response:

We have district guidelines here and no actual Laws at all but rather case laws that we have to follow which can make it very confusing.
In our town we are asked to report to the principle of the school in which our child would attend and then the principle presents our request to the school committee. I just took my daughter out of school and was shocked at how simple it was. I know that this is not the case for a lot of people in other districts, but I can remember sitting at school committee meetings before for different reasons and hearing the homeschooling requests and just assumed that the school committee members had already seen the proposals by the parents, but that is not the case. I sent my letter of intent to the superintendent and principle by registered mail as I was advised by many people on my state-wide list and I got a call two days later that the principle had approved the curriculum and they would be presenting it in two days at the school committee meeting. Less than a week later I had my letter from the superintendent’s office saying that the request was approved and I was all set. I have a friend from the PTO who is also a school committee member who I was speaking to after I had received my letter. I have known and been friendly with her a few years now. She was shocked that I was now homeschooling! She was one of the ones who voted and she didn't even realize it was my child that she was voting on. (Now I will say that my daughter and I have different last names, but my name was on the letter of intent and curriculum overview for her and I know that she was aware of my daughter‘s name as it is not common at all.)
The school committee members who make the decision whether or not we are "allowed" to homeschool don't even look at the letter of intent or curriculum at all. We also have three elementary schools in our town and each principle makes their own requirements of the parents. HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE!!!!! Is it just me or do others see flaws in this system?
Now mind you I am not complaining as I have been hearing horror stories from other parents and their fights with the school committees, superintendents and principles of schools, however I find it amazing that the one thing (law or case law) that I know is certain is that the burden of proof is always on the school committee if there is a problem. (Like the one who didn’t even know who she was voting on!)
So I say give them the minimum requirements, why do more work or set standards for others that shouldn’t be there. Especially if you don’t even know for certain who is looking at them.
Sorry I got sooooo long winded, apparently I was holding a lot more shock about it than I realized up until I started typing this out.

First Snow Day! 1-15-2008

We had a great day yesterday! It was our first "snow day" at home and it went a lot smoother than I thought it would, especially due to the fact that the schools took their first snow day in nearly three years (just KM's luck really!).
We were going a little bit slower in the morning as CJ left early to go plow,but other than that we were right on track. She finished her work, we had lunch, and then she went outside to do her artwork using the most readily supply we had SNOW!
She had a great time sculpting, forming and creating with the snow! I have never seen anything like it. She was going, going, going! All on her own and without any prompting.
It amazes me how many opportunities she had been missing to really be able to DO things.
KM has asthma and has always spent the majority of the winter not being able to play outside because of bronchial or sinus issues. In fact the two weeks before the Winter Break (when she was still in school) we had her at the doctors' office 3 times for coughing, wheezing, and chest pains. She also had this wretched cough that didn't go away until just after Christmas.
However she has been fine since then. I had always thought that it had a lot to do with the temperature changes that we have here in New England (20 one day, 55 the next, -10 the next), but last week we had four days of weather in the 50s during the day and 30s at night. KM was outside everyday ~ before, during, and after the warm spell~ and she has not had one sign of any asthma, breathing or nasal problems.
Well KM & CJ will be going out later today to work on physics, construction, and cooperative learning by building a sledding hill!!
Hope you can take some time out of your day to enjoy the snow...if you have any that is!

My abbreviations - 1-12-08

So I was sitting here thinking how much quicker my entries could be if I had a standard list of abbreviations I could use for my blog. I think I will add to it as I go that way I can come up with them as needed....it may also give some insight to me if I have to try to define situations in my life in terms others understand.
KM - my wonderful 10 yr. old daughter
CJ - the other half of me, for whom my life would not be quite so pleasant. (yes that was kinda sickening.)
DD- my biomom (i am an adult adoptee very happily reconnected since 1997)
JP- my biodad
LP- my biodad's wife (one of the most amazing, caring, generous, understanding women that i know)
HS- homeschool
Noni - my earth angel gone back to heaven (my adoptive mom who passed away in 2006)
SC - my wonderful new light (my niece from my adoptive sister)
SR - my sister from DD's side (loves to tell everyone that she is 2 yrs. younger than KM)
PR - my brother from DD's side (only 2 yrs. older than KM)
DP - my youngest brother on JP's side (also 2 yrs. younger than KM doesn't think it is as cool to have a niece older than him as SR does)

A sense of calm! 1-11-08

So it is a rather dreary morning here, as it is raining and twenty degrees colder than it was yesterday (that's New England for ya!!!) Normally I would already have had two fights with my daughter over what she wears based on the temperature change, one on her taking her medicine and one on the fact that we were running FIVE WHOLE MINUTES LATE!
~~~~However the scene right now at my house is this...I am sitting in my pajamas with a cup of coffee at the computer (obviously) and sitting across from me is my wonderful daughter, in her big fluffy polka dot bathrobe, eating her cereal and working on a puzzle magazine. ~~~~
I really think that the biggest changes I am seeing in our family is that we are running on our own clocks (for the most part) and with our bodies own rythmes. My daughter's whole attitude has changed over the last few weeks. Normally if I were to say that it would be in a negative way, but not this time. There hasn't been very much pouting, no whining, way less argumentativeness (if that is a word?), way more willingness to do chores around the house (sometimes on her own accord even!) and a general sense of happiness and calmness.
Now I am seriously hoping that I have not jinxed myself by actually sending out into the universe our new found sense of calmness, but I just wanted to share because I am really suprised at how quickly things have changed.
Hope everyone has at least a little sense of calm today in their own lives as well!


So I am new to homeschooling as my husband and I recently decided to take our 10 year old daughter out of public school at winter break and begin teaching her at home. This was not something that I decided overnight and yet people are stunned when I tell them the news. The biggest question that I get asked is "WHY ARE YOU HOMESCHOOLING?" Over the last few years I have looked at every sort of schooling out there...public, private, charter, Montesorri, Waldorf, Core Knowledge, you name it I investigated it...and none of them seemed to make sense for our family. Here are just a few of the questions that have floated through our household and helped us make the decision to homeschool our little faerie...What is the point of being able to do 100 multiplication problems in 2 minutes? REALLY what is the point. Statistically speaking if you get the first 20 right you will get the last 80 right. While I am not saying that it is not important to learn multiplication, decimals, fractions and so on, but really in this day and age who does not use a calculator or have a program to figure out the numbers for them.Why is it okay to withhold children's basic rights in order to educate them? Is it really okay for my daughter to be told she can't go to the bathroom until snack time? You must be hungry and thirsty only when it is scheduled in as well, gee how is that healthy. I can see the lawsuits that would be filed if a company tried to tell it's employees they could only go to the bathroom from 10 to 10:15 or 1 to 1:15.If a child gets up and is rushed out the door to be at on the bus for 1 hr., at school for 6 hrs, on the bus again for 1 hr., and doing homework for 3 hrs, and are suppose to sleep for at least 8 - 10 hrs., when exactly do they get to be a kid? If they have to do 3 or more hours of homework afterschool, what are they doing all day. My child IS NOT broken...simple as that. Not all children learn the same way, in fact most people learn different subjects in different ways, as different parts of your brain control information and actions related to different subjects. Until the system that is set up to teach the masses figures out a way to handle and teach the individuals it will continue to be a system that is lacking.When I am asked WHY? it is difficult for me to answer without sounding cocky, rude or totally against the public school system. I assure you I am aware that public school has worked for many children and I want to make sure that people understand that I am not against it. It just is not the right fit for MY daughter.

Welcome to the New Site!

So I am going to transfer some of my posts from my Yahoo 360 blog here as the 360 is quickly come to a close.
I want to make sure that the first of my craziness gets saved before the site is gone. So you may see alot of postings dated at the same time, but they will have the original date of the post in the title!