Mar 31, 2008

You have to check this out!

If you haven't read the John Gatto book "Dumbing Us Down" this video sums it up wonderfully!!!

Thought to live by!

I am not really a "Thought for the day" type of person, but I am on a group where we get them each morning and todays really shouted at me:

Do not compare yourself with others. You may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. . .
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the
grass. . .-Excerpts from 'Desiderata'

So many people are always trying to live up to "the Jones" without getting a clear look at what they really go through!

To me this is a thought to live by rather than a thought for just one day!

Mar 30, 2008

Growing a Farmer!

We are not only growing the vegetables...which have already needed transplanting again!!!

But the "Farmer" to take care of them as well!!!

**No worries, I haven't lost my mind! She is wearing clip-ins!**

Mar 29, 2008

Quick Note

I had a wonderful dinner out with LP last night. I love spending time with her! She is such an amazing woman and a lot of what she does reminds me of Noni. I feel so blessed to have her in my life! We have a difficult time finding time to spend with each other as our schedules are both soooo crazy. This note however is about what happened when I got home.
As I was leaving the restaurant I called home to see if CJ wanted me to pick up anything at Dunkin Donuts for him. (I have a serious hot chocolate addiction lately.) He said no and that was that until I got home. When I came in I brought in some bags from shopping I did prior to dinner and put those away and then went in to tuck KM in. I walked into her bedroom and she was sobbing. I asked her what was wrong and she replied "I was worried you wouldn't tuck me in when you got home!" ---Hmmm, she has never done this before. She does sleepovers with no problem, the only time she had a real problem was once when she was suppose to spend the weekend with her friends in Maine, but that was a few years ago. So of course I started thinking and freaking out - am I doing something wrong? Is she reverting back and losing her independence now that she is homeschooling?
Then I took a deep breathe and said - "What's up? Are you nervous or scared about something?" She replied, "No, but Dad wouldn't let me call you, because you had just called and said that you were on your way home, but I was afraid I would fall asleep before you got home and I sleep better when you tuck me in!" -ooohhh
Well I am not sure what is going on, but I am not going to freak out about it. I will reluctantly admit that it kinda made me feel good. One of the things that I was really worried about when I was thinking about homeschooling was that she would get sick of being with me so much - Guess I can wipe that worry off my list!

Running Out of Room

Sprouts, Sprouts and More Sprouts everywhere I turn!


KM was amazed at the seeds staying on the sprouts until they were out of the soil!

Beef steak Tomatoes

Sunflowers swaying toward the sun!

Zucchini and Summer Squash can be seen in the background.

Roma Tomatoes - sprouted in 24 hours! "Mom where did they come from?"

Cayenne Peppers Popping Up!

Can't wait to make the salsa!

Cauliflowers sprouted 2 weeks early!!!

We are trying to figure out how we can possibly make more room in the kitchen for transplants... I think we are going to have to use totes, for the root system. I knew there was a reason we were saving all those totes in the garage. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

Mar 26, 2008

Random Strangers

Socialization - one of those words that most homeschoolers dread to hear - not because we are afraid of it, but because most people totally and completely misuse the word.

Here is the definition that I found on the Merriam-Webster's children's site.

Main Entry: so·cial·ize
Pronunciation: s-sh-lz
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -ized; -iz·ing
1 : to make social; especially : to make fit for a social environment
2 : to take part in social activities -
so·cial·i·za·tion /ssh-(-)l-z-shn/ noun - so·cial·iz·er /s-sh-l-zr/ noun

I would also like to share the definition of the word friend:

Main Entry: friend
Pronunciation: frend
Function: noun
1 : a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another
2 : a person who is not an enemy
3 : a person who aids or favors something

I know that I have blogged about this topic recently, but I really felt that I needed to revisit it because I was speaking to my father over the weekend and I found myself explaining to him (a 60 year old man) how to make friends. He moved to Florida a few years ago and has not adjust really well down there. My step-mom and him like it but they went down there with these huge expectations of having all sorts of things to do and money to do them with - the grass is greener complex is the best way to explain it. (It amazes me how many people I know that have just packed up and moved to other parts of the country with very little research on the place and expected it to change their lives! - but that is for another blog)

So Dad and his wife are now both retired and finding that they have plenty to do in their community during the winter when the "snowbirds" are there, but come about this time each year all the groups start meeting less and less frequently. Neither of them has any idea how to meet people unless they are in a "group" setting.

As I mentioned before KM has always decided who her best friend is based on who is in her class that year. However she is very good at going up to other children at playgrounds and asking if they want to play with her. This makes me wonder what would have happened if I had left her in Public School. Would she have lost that confidence? We are all programmed to only engage with people if we KNOW that there is a common thread. I understand that people get along with others generally based on common interests, but sometimes you have to dive deeper to find those common interests. I also have friends that I never thought I would have ANYTHING in common with, but somehow we seem to fill some unknown void within each other.

Homeschooled children seem to have a self-confidence that is so rooted within that nothing can really budge it. Not that I think they are invincible superheros or anything. I know that they do sometimes get their feelings hurt, but they are so much more willing to put themselves out there.

We are all put into these different categories our whole life and that is how we tend to make friends - maybe as adults we need to just walk up to random strangers and ask if they want to play with us.

Mar 24, 2008

Truly A Natural

I had a discussion with KM this afternoon and am a bit impressed by it.

Here is the history behind our discussion:

Prior to our homeschooling we did what a lot of families call "afterschooling". In essence this means we did extra work in addition to her schoolwork because she needed and wanted to be challenged. During school vacations and summer we would do one or two things each day. When we were on vacations away from home we would also do different workbooks, crosswords, learning games and of course always threw in an educational field trip or two. That is just how our family worked. I never understood why the system continued to have summer vacation, I don't know too many families around here who need the kids help on the family farms anymore. IMHO - it really just leads to three months of "refresher" from September to late November, just in time for them to have another vacation before they really start learning in January so that they can take the MCAS starting in March.

So today KM said - "What are we doing this summer?" I was a little surprised at first because we pretty much always do the same things - camping, lots of park and beach trips, swimming, friends houses, she goes fishing with CJ a lot - ya know summer things - so I was a bit confused as to what she meant.
"Am I going to have to do school EVERYDAY ALL DAY?" was what she had meant to ask.
So I was unsure as to how to answer this question because I really hadn't thought too much about it as we are really just getting things in a good comfortable groove.
"What do you think we should do?" I asked her - I often get her opinion on things for input but also to give me an extra few seconds to think before answering her.
"Well I think that we have had enough change lately. I think we should keep doing our work over the summer just a little bit less than usual," she replied with a very serious look on her face, as if she had been really thinking about it for awhile. "I think that is the best use of our time."

I was shocked, floored, awed, and amazed! As I have been sitting here thinking and typing about it, I have been trying to think about the last time we did something where she wasn't learning...I honestly don't know when that was. Lately everything she watches has been educational, nearly all the games she has been playing have been educational, her nose is in a book whenever I turn around and it is ALL by her choice. Even right now as I type she is playing in the backyard and trying to figure out a way to make her doll's zip-line go faster. She truly loves to learn and discover and I feel we are all blessed that she now has the opportunity to be a true natural learner.

After removing the rings from the swing set to add SC's toddler swing, this is her ingenious use of spare swing set parts!!!

Mar 23, 2008

Emergency Transplant!!!

We got up this morning and had a leisurely breakfast, after KM had gotten her basket of goodies. Then CJ decided to check the little sprouts I was talking about yesterday and discovered that the plastic egg crates were just NOT going to work.

The roots of the seeds were wrapping themselves around the bottom and forcing the seeds to the top. Luckily I had over purchased - as I mentioned I have NO CLUE what I am doing - and bought a bunch of peat pots. So we had an "Emergency Transplant" session, which was really cool because while we were tenderly transplanting them a few really unique things happened.

First KM got to see a lot of different stages of the germination process as each seed had gotten a little further along.

Second, as we were diligently transplanting KM was making up conversations with the plants. She feels they will be much happier not being so isolated. Each had been in it's own little egg hole and now they were two by two in the peat pots.

Third and finally, she made a realization that everything in nature moves at its own pace. Although we planted each of these seeds in the same soil, at the same time, placed them in the same spot, and watered them all at the same time, they were all growing at different rates! (Hhmmmm some homeschool philosphy thrown in there.)

You may have noticed, when we switched to the peat pots, we had to switch to a larger table!!!
I know it will be worth it, it is not forever, I will get my reading corner back eventually!

Mar 22, 2008


For a while now we have been collecting different egg cartons and small containers in preparation for our big planting, gardening and farming unit. It was suppose to be just a few plants, but when we went to get the seeds it was apparent by all the things KM wanted to grow we would be trying a small garden. When we got the things for the small garden home, we realized that is was going to be more along the lines of a small farm and CJ went and found some equipment on craig's list we needed for the "garden" - really an excuse to get some more tools around here!

We have been planting like crazy this week! We have a plant growth study journal going on and KM is recording everything!

It is taking over a section of the house & we haven't even gotten everything seeding yet.

We are using several different kinds of containers to see if this effects germination or growth.

I am not a planting person - if it doesn't make noises I tend to forget about it. However everyone has been telling me that all that we are doing will be worth it this summer when we have fresh veggies from the garden.

I think it was worth it just to hear KM's excited squeals when she saw the first sunflower popping up this morning 4 days before the estimated germination date!!!
My daughter is actually enjoying what a concept!!!


Mar 20, 2008


Each day, my wonderful daughter amazes me a little more.

Sometimes it is good, such as this morning when she got up early because she remembered that the dishwasher needed to be emptied. Other times it is odd, like at this very second she is speed-walking back and forth in a u-shape - when I asked her what she was doing she said that she knew that the Heely noise drives me crazy when I am typing so she figured she would try it without them on. (Of course the sound of her pants swishing is nearly just as annoying as the Heelys but I think I will keep that to myself at the moment.)

So I guess the amazement comes today from her new found thoughtfulness.

She has always been sweet and kind and has always been willing to help, but lately she has been doing more and more without being asked. Especially when it comes to SC. She is so good with her and loves her so much.

It is funny because I was reading another mom's blog who mentioned a similar thing happening with her son. Not sure what it is, maybe something in the air, but I don't want to jinx it so I am leaving it at that.

Mar 16, 2008

Saved from a relapse of insanity!

So Friday night I began having a slight meltdown, nothing to horrible, but I KNEW it was only going to get worse. In the last week or two CJ's business went from ridiculously slow to OMG HOW ARE WE GOING TO DO THIS busy! Which in construction is very common. First signs of spring everyone calls for estimates and believe me I am not complaining about it, but the first few weeks of transition get a bit crazy around here. Scheduling issues come up, KM feels like she never sees dad and I of course get the dread of he is going to be working 40 hours a week at the job he took because business was slow and now nights and weekends with all the sidework he is getting calls for! Mind you this happens every year, but we haven't been homeschooling every year!

Insecurities creep into the brain about choices we have made, my new found sanity begins to wander away and I begin to go into panic mood. This has not happened to me in a VERY long time. At the time CJ was at an estimate and there was no way I was going to interupt that, so I raced through my support system in my head and of course the one at the top of the list can't be called upon - not physically anyway. These are the times when I miss her SOOOO much it feels like it was only yesterday that she passed. When Noni was here I could call her day or night and she had just the words to bring me back to earth again. So on the verge of total mental breakdown I sat down in my room and closed my eyes to breathe through it for a second. When I opened my eyes and lifted my head there in front of me was the answer.

I hadn't realized, when I stopped to sit, that I sat down in front of the picture of the two most important women in my life - Noni and DD.

I immediately knew what to do - I picked up the phone and called DD. I did not know what I needed from her but I knew at that second I needed to hear her voice. We made plans for her to bring SR over Saturday afternoon so that she could be with KM and DD could be with me.

An unbelievable feeling of calm came over me and I had recaptured my sanity!

Saturday morning I got up and had my yearning for spring cleaning come back again so I decided to go with it. KM and CJ helped out here and there I went through a lot of excess stuff that has been collecting around the house to get ready for a donation run. DD called and said everything still looked good and they would be over later in the afternoon. I continued to wade through the piles and a few hours later I got a second call from DD, SR was not feeling well and didn't think she could make the ride, so DD was coming alone. Well, now I have to break this news to KM. She got a bit upset and clingy for a few minutes then a light went off. I called CJ (who was out picking up something from craig's list for a science project we have to start this week) and shared my new thought up plan with him. His reply was "What every you need me to do!" He is SOOOO wonderful.

So DD arrived and her and I went out to dinner, while KM and CJ went out to dinner and a movie.

That was exactly what I needed. Dinner with DD. I love her so much! I don't know if she knows how much that short amount of time really recharged me. I thoroughly enjoy spending time with her. It doesn't matter if we go out to eat, sit and watch a movie or play card games on the computer, I completely enjoy the time that I spend with her. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Thank you, thank you , thank you!

Style of Blog

So I have changed the blog theme about 80 times this week and I think this it the one I am sticking to!!! I really liked the one I had with the books across the top but it was an imported theme and was not working well with some of the blogspot functions that I really like! If you are looking for any links that were here and are missing please let me know and I will be sure to repost them. I tried to remember everything that was on there but as I said the other theme was not working right so in transition some of the links went missing and I couldn't for the life of me remember what they were.

So thanks in advance for any input, comments or reminders!

Mar 14, 2008

Top 10 Replies to "What? No School Today?"

10. “Well normally yes, but this time of year I need help with the planting and plowing.”

9. “Goodness, no!!! I graduated 16 years ago, but thanks for the compliment!”

8. “No, we homeschool. We're just out to pick up a bag of pork rinds and some Mountain Dew, then we gotta hurry home to catch our soaps.”

7. “What?! Where did you guys come from?! I thought I told you to stay at school! I'm sorry. This happens all the time.” (sigh)

6. “There isn't? Why, you'd think we'd see more kids out then, don't you?”

5. “We're on a field trip studying human nature's intrusive and assumptive tactics of displaying ignorance and implied superiority. Thanks for the peek!”

4. “On our planet we have different methods of education. (Shhh! No, I didn't give it away... keep your antennae down!)”

3. “Oh my goodness! I thought today was Saturday! Come on kids, hurry!”

2. “Nope! Me 'n Bubba jes' learns 'em at home. Werks reel good!”

And the number 1 answer to the question: "What? No school today?"

1. "What? No Bingo today?"

Feel free to add your own responses to the comment section! Can't wait to see what you come up with!!!

Reducing Stress in 2008

This was sent to me and I really liked it! I edited it a little bit so that it was a little more secular - I mean no disrespect to the people or person who wrote it- I really like it, I just needed to tweak it to allow it to appeal to a broader audience.

Take it in and REALLY THINK ABOUT the suggestions.

An Angel says, 'Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn't happen, you have worried in vain. Even if it does happen, you have to worry twice.'

1. Pray (to who ever your higher power or guardian angel is)

2. Go to bed on time.

3. Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.

4. Say No to projects that won't fit into your time schedule, or that will compromise your mental health.

5. Delegate tasks to capable others .

6. Simplify and unclutter your life.

7. Less is more. (Although one is often not enough, two are often too many.)

8. Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.

9. Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don't lump the hard things all together.

10. Take one day at a time.

11. Separate worries from concerns . If a situation is a concern, remeber the serenity prayer and let go of the anxiety . If you can't do anything about a situation, forget it.

12. Live within your budget; don't use credit cards for ordinary purchases.

13. Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.

14. K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.

15. Do something for the Kid in You everyday.

16. Carry a book of poetry with you to read while waiting in line.

17. Get enough rest.

18. Eat right.

19 Get organized so everything has its place.

20. Listen to a tape while driving that can help improve your quality of life. *make sure it is not a meditation tape though....don't need any accidents because you went into a trance while driving.

21. Write down thoughts and inspirations.

22. Every day, find time to be alone. (WITH YOURSELF- no noise, no phone, no television, no computer - being able to be at peace with being with yourself is a very hard thing to learn to do but REALLY is worth it in the end)

23. Having problems? Talk to your angels or higher power on the spot. Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don't wait until it's time to go to bed to try and pray.

24. Make friends with spiritual people. - Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be a better you!

25. Keep a folder of favorite sayings on hand.

26. Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope often can start with a good deep breath.

27. Laugh.

28. Laugh some more!

29. Take your work seriously, but not yourself at all.

30. Develop a forgiving attitude (most people are doing the best they can).

31. Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).

32. Sit on your ego.

33 Talk less; listen more.

34. Slow down.

35. Remind yourself that you are not the general manager of the universe.

36 Every night before bed, think of one thing you're grateful for that you've never been grateful for before.

Hope you enjoyed...each day try to incorporate another tip into your lifestyle! In the first week you will see a change and feel like a better person!

Mar 13, 2008

Trying something new! Unit Studies

Things have been running rather smoothly. We are trying something different this week and KM seems to really be enjoying it. We are doing a Unit Study on Charlotte's Web, but doing in a condensed version to fit it into being completed in the one week period.
She told me today that she "likes how the unit studies makes me think more about how the story works." It amazes me the things she comes up with. We were talking today about getting some more unit studies that are focused on one group and working them into our curriculum ever 6 weeks or so to change things up. The CurrClick site listed at the bottom of the screen has a TON of them for really reasonable prices if you are interested.
The Charlotte's Web one is over 200 pages, has tons of activities and is actually free on that site as well. It is a great resource site!
The cool thing to is that since we aren't doing the whole thing now I can use some of the other activities and ideas later and link them back!
I am just sooooo excited that KM is EXCITED about learning again!

Mar 11, 2008

Great Spoof!

California parents arrested -- Caught Home-schooling their children without a teaching credential

What would we do without a good sense of humor about things!!!

It's about time!!!

This is a really interesting story and I am really suprised that this it the first time it has come.

I dropped out of high school very early in 11th grade for various reasons and got my GED. While I was studying to take the GED I had friends of mine who were still in school or had already graduated helping me and were shocked at how many of the questions they did not know the answers to. (I then went onto college and loved it!, but that is beside the point!)

It kinda goes along those same lines as the book "The Great American Citizenship Quiz." How many people do you know that could actually pass that US Citizenship Test. I don't know for sure that I could.

Just some food for thought.

Mar 9, 2008

Something good has been found!

With all the negative nonsense going on after the California rulings I am glad someone came across a positive article!

The Fraser Institute: Home Schooling Improves Academic Performance and Reduces Impact of Socio-Economic Factors

Mar 7, 2008

Between Seasons

I LOVE the winter! I know many of you think that I am INSANE for this, but I truly do!
However, for some reason this year, I am yearning to start my spring cleaning. I don't know if it is because there is just soooo much stuff piling up in spots - don't laugh it feels that way to me! -or because we have had such a great weather week. I had the kids outside on the swings and everything!
I know that if I put all the snow stuff away though we are gonna get hit with a whopper of a storm. That is what always happens! So I think I am gonna start out slowly this weekend by taking down all the snow flakes & penguins and putting up some more bright springy things. I am not going to put the scarves and gloves away yet, but I may start going through the clothes to see what is gonna remain for KM and what has been outgrown over the last few monthes. - FINGERS CROSSED not too much! - so that we can make a donation run at the beginning of next week. That should help with some of these piles and maybe give me a fix to get through before I can do the full blown, winds open, rugs on the back porch, animals banned from the house, furniture moving spring cleaning I feel needs to happen.

Mar 6, 2008

Socialization : A NON ISSUE

So a mom posted on one of the groups that she was really considering homeschooling, but she was concerned about her child's socialization skills. I HAVE HEARD THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I can't imagine how many people don't homeschool for this reason. Having lived both sides now (granted the latter has only been for a few months) I felt I needed to give a response:

Socialization is always the topic when people learn that I started homeschooling in January. Honestly the children, tweens, & teen homeschooler that I have been privileged enough to meet are MUCH more social than any PSers. My daughter is 10 & in 5th grade and every year she has had a new "BEST" friend, not because her interests have changed or we moved, but because her old "BEST" friend is no longer in her class at school. The socialization that kids learn in school is to not stray from the norm. Do as you are told and DO NOT think outside the box. In order for a really gifted and talented child to thrive in PS they must withstand years of ridicule, peer pressure and bullying because they have ideas that others may think are cool or they just don't understand. They sit in a classroom for 6 or more hours a day and are expected to barely speak to each other, except for the 25 minute recess break, which really how can you get any kind of game or activity really going and be completed in 25 minutes. The homeschoolers that we have met have all been welcoming, accepting, generous, and really interested in learning about each other. Finding common ground to base a friendship on and not just who is sitting next to you for the next 9 months. They also seem to keep that wonderful "kid" essence longer. They are not afraid at 10 years old to admit they still play with dolls or chase after dragons! I really feel like my daughter is getting a better socialization experience as a homeschooler than she ever did in PS.
I hope that you also think about your experience in PS or whatever school you attended and think about the time from all the kids perspectives. You never know what direction yours will choose and honestly the best parents can still end up with a child who makes bad decisions, because of peer pressure or rebellion, but I have never heard of a homeschool child getting in to the trouble that a lot of kids are now at younger and younger ages. Just thought I would add my 2 cents having seen both sides of the coin!

Mar 3, 2008

Update of Happenings

Sorry I have been so quiet for a few days! It has been busy, busy, busy around here. I had SC at the end of last week which still throws me off a bit. Not that it is bad it is just different and she is changing soooo much soooo fast. She started pulling herself up a bit now. She may start cruising at any time now. She is eating EVERYTHING and wants to eat anything someone else is. It really is fun to have a baby around again a few days a week.
I took a Reiki I class on Saturday and it was fantastic! I am sooo glad I finally did it. I learned a tremendous amount and so many things make so much more sense now.
KM started her music class with the co-op group and really liked it. It was a bit of a challenge getting out this morning with SC and all the STUFF, but we made it. KM also had her audition for the solo in the chorus this afternoon, we will hear more about that later in the week.
Other than those few tidbits things are going pretty steady. Getting in the groove and riding the wave.
We are excited about trying our first Unit Study next week using Charlotte's Web. It is a different approach and I figured we would throw it in to the mix and see what happens. If it works out well we may do more of them, there are sooo many online for inexpensive prices that they seem like such a great way to break up some of the monotony.
Hope everyone has a great week!