Monday, March 31, 2008

It never ends

Since the girls have been sick (and because we are trying really hard to be fiscally responsible) we have been staying home A LOT. Up until recently we left the house nearly every day. After our Disney trip in January we started only leaving the house for activities (and lunch once a week with Gramma). It was an adjustment, but we were getting pretty used to it. We still were out and about for an hour or two most days. Last week, however, we were at home almost exclusively. Since it was spring break all of our usual activities were cancelled, and we would have missed them anyway with the girls being sick.

All this leads me to my title... THE HOUSEWORK NEVER ENDS! I am actually a person who enjoys cleaning to a certain point. Well actually I enjoy a clean space and am willing to do what it takes to get it clean. The problem with this is that when you are home all the time things just keep getting dirty. I can't clean the house in the morning and think it will still be clean by afternoon. So I clean in the morning, I clean at rest time, and I am still rushing around at dinner time to clean. The biggest problem is that I haven't laid the law down with Bear. She makes messes everywhere, and then I have to choose to battle with her or clean them up myself. I know I should have the battle, but cleaning it up is easier. BAD MOMMY...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back from the dead

The girls have been VERY sick for the past week. They both had bronchitis which in Curly Q., I believe, was bordering on pneumonia. For most of the week they laid around and watched tv. We did sprinkle in some art projects and history, but for the most part school was on the back burner.

Yesterday they both seemed up to doing school. Curly Q. had a big "test" for reading. I know a lot of homeschoolers don't think tests are a good idea, but Curly Q. had such test taking anxiety that I knew she needed to be gently introduced to them sooner rather than later. Since her reading program is relatively easy it is a good place to build her confidence. She did really well. In fact she only got two wrong.

Bear finished her Study Dog program. She was so proud. I am still debating what to do with her now. I am thinking about using Headsprout. It worked really well for Curly Q., but Bear already feel slighted because I do more sit down work with Curly Q.. Since Headsprout is on the computer, Bear would be doing it on her own. Also, I was thinking about waiting to start it until fall. Until then we can continue expanding her sight words library with her word wall. She's just really excited and ready and I don't want to miss her window.

I have also been trying to figure what we will use next year. Bear is going to go to preschool (by her choice). So I don't have to try to make so many of our activities appropriate for her. She will still do some of our science and history stuff, but Curly Q. and I will have more time to do more intensive activities. So here's the list for now:

So we will use the history and science books as a spine for unit studies. If I don't use the L.A. program Curly Q. will need a creative writing program, and we will use graphic organizers to discuss books she chooses to read. So that's the plan. The good news is that it is uber cheap. That's good because we will be paying for preschool and dance class.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I am NOT a typical homeschooler

I know that it is a major faux pas to even acknowledge that there is a "typical" homeschooler. I am not suggesting that we're all alike, BUT it seems that the most vocal ones are similar in many ways. One way I must be different is that I see homeschooling as a responsibility as opposed to a right. People are freaking out that they are going to be required to register. In truth, since in my state there are no requirements I do not understand the negatives of it. Still I think that jumping through a hoop or two might be worth it. Especially if it keeps kooks from hiding their children from the world and calling it homeschooling.

It reminds me of when my brother went to the hospital as a child. He had had a bad fall (actually he had an epileptic seizure which led to the fall), and as soon as we checked him in at the emergency room they separated my Mom from both of us. Then they questioned my brother and I (to check for child abuse). At first my Mom was really mad at the accusation. Then she realized that she had nothing to hide and this policy was meant to protect children. I feel the same way about registering. I understand that some people say registering is the first step down a slippery slope. Still I think after what happened in CA with a family using homeschooling as a cover-up for child abuse I don't mind registering.

Of course you don't see me spouting this in a "typical" homeschool circle.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Barack Obama

I admit it I am a big fan of Barack Obama. When I have heard him speak I get chills. He is more than a great orator. I believe he is the only candidate who will lead us in the right direction at this point.

So you can imagine how worried all this trouble with his pastor has made me. He tried to talk it out in his speech on Tuesday, but I am not sure it worked. For me the saddest part is that he needed to say anything. Why couldn't he just say, "Yes, Reverend Wright has some views that I vehemently disagree with. Yes, I still value him as an adviser on other issues. Please judge me on MY words and even more importantly MY deeds. As President I will disagree with my advisers on many different issues. When you elect a President you are expressing trust that he or she can choose whose opinions and ideas are best for the nation. Thanks You and Good Night."

Instead he seized the opportunity to wax poetic about the trial of African Americans. I believe and understand everything he said, but now was not the time for this. We NEED him to win, and defending the reasons for bigotry will not help you get elected. Well, at least he got people riled up and made the process interesting.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I should be cleaning my house

Really, I should... I just am having trouble getting my mind focused. Maybe if I clean out my brain here, I will feel better...

1. Husband may or may not be getting a new job. It's really fine either way, but I hate waiting.

2. Another blog I read was talking about patience, and it really hit home.

3. I am considering adding my blog to the wiki for the evolved homeschooler but I am nervous for no good reason.

4. My Mom and I have been talking about consolidating households, and on paper it looks great. One of the major dilemmas is whether they should move here or we should move there. There are positives to both, but some of the negatives may be deal breakers in both cases.

5. Bear wants to go to preschool next year and I am not looking forward to dealing with the beauracracy again.

6. Curly Q. will be joining dance company next year, but I am worried about all the hidden costs for shoes, costumes, competition fees, etc.

7. I am considering offering mini-camps out of the house this summer, but my heart isn't really in it.

8. I need to get together resources for the homeschool earth day meeting next week.

9. There are more, but I am too distracted to continue this post...

Ok I will put some great music on the SONOS and get cleaning. My brain is usually as cluttered as my house, so wish me luck...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just Saw Horton

The movie overall was cute. They of course included the major lines from the book. My girls have been saying,"A person's a person no matter how small," since we left the theater. I liked Jim Carrey's Horton, and the ending was really funny (albeit extremely hokey). So that's the good part...

There is a one line dig at homeschooling that normally wouldn't bother me, but for some reason it did this time. The "bad guy" in the movie make the claim that she "pouch schools". Most of the time I find that kind of humor... well, humorous. In this case the reasons she "pouchschooled" were so against the reasons most people homeschool that it bugged me to throw that kind of stereotype out there. The character is an uptight control freak who is angry that Horton is encouraging the kids to "Use their imaginations." I don't begin to speak for the homeschooling community, but the people I know are excited that their kids are given more opportunities to use their imaginations at home than public school would provide. I realize that the religious zealots homeschool to keep their kids from learning about evolution, but even those kids are allowed more creative outlets than public school allows.

The second issue I take with the movie is that the main "bad guy" is a kangaroo who doesn't believe in anything you can't see, touch or hear. Sounds a bit like an atheist to me. Now obviously in real life some atheists are "good guys" and some are "bad guys". In this case the kangaroo was the one starting the trouble. So I guess that makes her a "bad guy" no matter what she believes. I guess I am a little touchy that the villain would be an atheist homeschoolers since that describes me.

Luckily neither of my daughters seemed to catch the pouchschooling=homeschooling thing. Taken at face value the movie was entertaining... Maybe I am just being overly sensitive about the rest.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Problem with a FREE Online Curriculum

A few weeks ago I decided to scrap Singapore math. Curly Q. needed a bit more direction than was given by Singapore's workbooks. The problem is that I could spend a fortune on a math program. As I was debating what to choose I stumbled upon a FREE program out of a British university. It has detailed lesson plans, printable worksheets and even printable resources. Best yet it goes up to 6th grade. I was thrilled and immediately started using it. Curly Q. took to it right away.

Then it went away...

The website went down last week and was out of commission for a whole week. It is up today, but I am not taking any chances. I saved the pdfs to my hard drive. Live and Learn.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Unitarian Universalist?

I was raised as a Christian, I guess. We didn't attend church very often, but my Mom did cite the Bible or Jesus occassionally in her lectures. When I became an adult and decided I should find a church I never even considered non-Christian ones. I attended the Catholic church associated with my college and I did enjoy it. However, I was never a true believer, and as time went on I became more and more agnostic.

So there's the background. Here's the current situation. I am a mother, and I am entrusted with teaching my children about religion. This has proved harder than you might think. If I was a Christian I could just regurgitate what the church tells me, and that would be that. Also, teaching morality is much easier with God. "Behave or God will throw you into eternal hellfire" is a GREAT threat. The problem is I don't believe it. So I am faced with a challenge. How do I raise moral kids with a basic understanding of what religion is without lying to them.

With such a daunting task I can understand why some people might turn to the Unitarian Universal (church). It's sort of like an anti-church. It is based on 7 principles
  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
I LOVE all these ideas. I am teaching all these ideas to my kids. I think the world would be a better place if everyone followed these practices. BUT...

I am a skeptic and I don't think it is possible. The very base of religion is faith that your beliefs are "right". A church that says everyone has a good a shot at being right isn't a church.