>In which life goes on

>Finally getting to let Rosalie spend a little time outside – except today, only her fourth day in the paddock – she decided she needed to leave the paddock, so she tried to jump out – over a four foot high gate – from a stand still. She didn’t quite make it, and tangled all four legs in the tubular steel gate. We’ll see over the next few days how much damage she has done to herself. Right now, it seems to be only a few nasty scrapes, but the vet says it will take about three days before we’ll know if there is possible tendon damage. This horse is truly trying my patience. At least she didn’t break a leg, she certainly could have. Am I supposed to sit there and watch her every minute she is outside? Worse than a baby.

D3 is now engaged. Her boyfriend of the last year and a half popped the question and gave her a ring on her birthday. Thank goodness they don’t plan to actually get married until they have completed their degrees – and I say until he has a job.

Tomorrow the hub, the boy and I will drive a couple hours to visit D3 and watch her play her cello for an opera production. Happy to hear her play, but two hours of opera – not my kettle of tea. I think we’ll then get to watch her steel pan band rehearse, which I truly do look forward to.

One more week to prepare for end of year tests with the boy – then we get back to our regularly scheduled studies. He and I have spent most of the year studying physical sciences – the test is heavy on biology. Our main focus in history is US history – the test is all world history, no US at all. Can’t accuse me of teaching to the test…

Mowed the lawn for the first time this year. Not much to say about that, except it is always a good thing when the lawn mower cranks after the winter off.

I guess that pretty much covers the mundane. You know, mundane is fine with me.

>Scenes from a day in the life..

>Rosalie is finally getting to spend a couple hours a day outside, though in a small paddock, alone, and on “happy juice” (mild tranq)

We had a small scare last week when I finally trotted her for the first time in months and she was a little gimpy. Had to run back to the vet – but the vet says all is well, she is maybe a little stiff from being cooped up in a stall since Dec 3rd and to just go ahead and trot a little every day. We’ll be working her up slowly.

How is that for baby blues?

Then there is school work – the boy is prepping for year end tests – Gus wants to study too

Can you explain that Pythagorean thing one more time?

The real reason Gus jumped up next to the boy is now revealed…

>More happiness…

>Happiness is doing algebra in your jammies with a dog snuggled on the chair next with you.

>Scenes from the home school front

>Some parents who home school set up a designated school room. We do not. Home schooling is part of our life style and it is pretty much on going. Not the same hours five days a week, pretty much round the clock – across the calendar. Therefore home school takes place all over the house, but mostly in the “breakfast room”/family room area. Not a totally open space, but almost so. The two areas have a wall between but that wall is for the most part two super large doorway type openings.

Here are a few pictures of “home school central”, the nerve center of the operation.
The open notebook you can see on the table is “THE BOOK”, this is where I record the schedule for life in general – not just school – without this book we’d be sunk. Now, since both D2 and D3 are away in school, there is not nearly as much recorded here as in years past. But it is still central planning. The two stacks of books are some of what we use – only a small representation of what he uses on a daily basis and not a drop in the bucket of the over all library we draw from here in the home. When I took this picture he had his vocab, history, and literature books over with him at the fireplace (reading, not burning – heehee)

Just through the door way into the family room is the computer desk. This is where I spend a great deal of my day, often with a Fiona curled under my chair. Notice the 2 liter Diet Dr Pepper to the left of the computer – my drug of choice.

And a needle felted possum hanging from the cork board – everyone needs a possum hanging nearby…

This shot is taken standing in front of the fireplace. It shows how close everything is. We as a family pretty much live in this area. It is cozy, comfy, home.

Here are a few more shelves of our home school library. If you are interested in what books we are using, you can probably see from embiggening. These are some of the books on the shelves on the wall directly opposite the computer. Of course you can find many many more books throughout the house – but these are the ones we use often enough to need on hand and close by. You might notice both here, and on the computer desk, that many of our books are two rows deep. We love books. Can you tell?

Hope I’m not boring the snot out of you, but a few have expressed interest.

>More from the floor

The boy is messing with color tiles, he likes playing with patterns and color. Fiona is making suggestions.


Home schooling our style

>home with kidlets

>Well a little interest has been expressed in how I home school so I’ll share a little here. The main points to understand about homeschooling is that not every kid is suited and not every home is suited.

The main advantage to homeschooling is that as the parent of the child you should, if you are doing the job, know your kid better than anyone and know how your child learns better than anyone. You should know your child’s strengths and weaknesses better than anyone and you should know your child’s interests better than anyone. If you do not, you probably shouldn’t home school.

Many people say oh I don’t know how to teach, I don’t have the education for teaching, or I can’t teach my child anything. Um, most likely you have taught your child more by the time he/she is ready for kindergarten than he/she will ever learn in school. Think about it. Can your child eat with utensils, walk upright, speak in sentences, tie shoes, dress them self? Does your child recognize family members, neighbors, church members, and know how to properly address them? Can your child make friends, color, put toys away, for that matter play with toys appropriately? Could your child do these things the day of birth? We begin (or at least should begin) teaching our children from the moment they are born. So yes you can teach your own child.

The number one best thing (in my opinion of course) your child can do to learn is read – read- read. Reading anything at all teaches. It teaches vocabulary, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, organization of thought. Depending on what is read it can teach manners, interpersonal relationships, history, geography, social studies, science (all of them), art, and on and on. The trick is finding a variety of things for a child to read that they can understand (but always stretch understanding just a bit) and that will hold their interest at least a short while. If you can, through careful selection, spark a love of reading then from there learning and homeschooling is a snap. Seriously the largest part of our homeschooling is about reading. I spend most of my time as a “teacher” researching, finding, and acquiring reading material. It might be the spine of a cereal box – explain to the kidlet what the info is all about, nutrition and science lesson – or a magazine, most magazines have something to offer in the way of learning for most any kid – letters colors animals in ads for the youngest kids – conversation about articles having to do with anything from exercise to international relations for older kids. As for novels, there are so many good books – the hardest thing for me has been finding good literature for my boy, the girls were easy but it is harder to find things that interest boys. But it is out there, he loves Tolkien and CS Lewis. Historical fiction keeps interest while teaching history and they often don’t even realize they are learning history. There are many good history, science, and arts periodicals out there. We keep National Geographics, Smithsonian Magazine, American History Illustrated, and Discover magazines in the house. We don’t subscribe to all of them all the time but these are magazines that do not become obsolete so a year or two puts lots in your hands. For younger kids National Geo Kids, Kids Discover, Boys Life, and magazines by the people who do Highlights are great. I do push my kids to read at adult level as soon as possible, opens up a world of opportunity for learning with much less effort on my part 🙂

Another major part of our homeschooling is simply talking with our kids. We discuss all the time, maybe we discuss marketing and economic factors after a commercial – was it funny or boring? was it effective? why? did it look expensive to produce? does this effect the price of the item or service? how do they make the commercial? how did they decide what to do for a commercial or ad? how much does it cost to run an ad? does it matter what time or what venue? Or maybe we see kids (or adults) behaving badly somewhere – dressed slutily, pitching a fit, whining, being rude or pushy, loud, nasty mouth, disrespectful – we’d discuss why they might behave that way, what effect their behavior has on both the person and those around, what better way might they get what they want. Maybe we hear a word used that I don’t think my kid knows, so we talk about the word, its meaning(s), use(s), when you are likely to hear the word. If I hear someone on the TV or radio use poor or awkward grammar/sentence structure (usually news anchors, argg) I’ll repeat what was said then ask where the problem is in how it was expressed and how might they state it more clearly. If we hear something that brings to mind a historic point, science issue, political ideal, geographic fact – whatever – we have an on the spot lesson. It is simply constant in other words. We talk to our kids, a lot.

Learning also happens, of course, through experiences so we are always looking for opportunities for them to try something new. From learning to do the grilling themselves to kayaking. Hiking to volunteering with chemo patients. Crafts to travel. Whatever presents itself as an opportunity. Anytime we are walking, on a city sidewalk or a mountain trail – we are watching for plants, rock formations, erosion evidence, cloud formations, insects, whatever and we talk about them. We never just walk along, we are always observing.

Now there are draw backs to this sort of life style, and homeschooling the way we do is a lifestyle. I spend most all my time either working on something for the kids or taking care of household stuff. There is very little time for me. It has been this way for a long time, but now with the youngest turning 12 in less than two weeks there begins to be a bit more time for me. I don’t really mind giving all this time to my kids, they don’t stay kids forever and frankly I’d rather spend time with them than anyone else. This way we are close, we get along, and I get the bonus of having people always be amazed by my kids. They make me look good!


>I home school the boy, you probably know that. NC has very few regulations for home schooling which is nice, but I sure wish they would help a bit more than they do. There are only two written in stone rules for NC. One is that you register with the state – duh, the other is that you administer some standardised test each year.

People home school for many reasons. Some good, some not so good. Our reasons are many, some better than others. But one of the biggest reasons is that I know on any given day I can move my kid/s much further down the road in their education working one on one than some poor harried public (or private in many cases) school teacher with 20 or more kids who learn at varied rates, ways, and on varied levels – teachers who must deal with government paperwork/rules/regs and parents who are sometimes clueless, pushy, uninvolved, and difficult and do it all with a smile. But eventually (high school) I do put them into the public system. Not because I can’t teach at a high school level (more about that later) but because it facilitates the process for getting into college.

Because we do put the kids back in for high school I’d love to administer the same year end tests the state uses so that, when we re-enroll, the school has a good idea where my kids are in relation to how the school classifies their students. It gives no real indication how advanced or how broad their education as been because these tests do not cover on all the areas we teach, but at least the yard stick would be pretty much the same as is used with the other kids. But guess what, the schools will not allow my kids to sit for the same tests, never mind I pay the same education taxes everyone else pays. So, not only do I have to buy all my own materials (gladly) but I have to pay for the year end testing as well.

The first year I tested my girls, some 10 years ago now, they both blew the top out of the test I administered (CAT). This made me a little nervous that the state would not believe their scores so the following year I paid a bunch more money and took them to a testing center for year end tests. They blew the top out of that one too (except spelling, we are all congenitally challenged in spelling – but we use spell check very well) so the following year I switched to what is known to be a tougher test (Iowa) and hired a friend to administer in my own home. The girls continued blowing the top out, but at this point we had a track record that showed it didn’t matter which test or how it was administered, they were just good at these tests.

Now we are getting close to the end of this “school year” (schooling never really stops around here) so this week is test week for the boy. He just finished his first section in 1/3 the allotted time and the second section in half the allotted time. Another perk to home schooling, testing is not a week long high stress period. We generally finish in a couple days, and that is with lots of other stuff happening too.

If any of you are interested in home schooling, how we do it, why we do it, whatever let me know and I’ll spend a lot more time on it. I could write a book. If it bores the snot out of you I’ll spread the posts on the topic and not bunch them together too much.