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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year

I am so looking forward to schooling in the new year. I have been finally feeling better with my new diet (gluten-free dairy-free). The kids have been doing well on it and it is giving us the opportunity to learn so much new about cooking and the science of cooking.

We were sick so much in the fall that we didn't get as much as accomplished as I hoped but the new year is full of possibilities.

Have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

homeschooling according to their bent

While teaching my daughter is not always easy, I understand her. I know when she is not doing something because she has decided it is too hard. I can tell when her frustration level is about to reach tears. I understand her and while my response may also carry vast amounts tiny bits of frustration, I know what makes her tick.

My son is weird is very different. I am learning him, I am figuring out what works for him but it makes absolutely no sense. None.

I am using hooked on phonics with him and we are going over letter names and sounds but we are not using the program the way it is designed to be used. Hooked on Phonics is great for visual & auditory learners but not for kinesthetic learners. On a scale of 1-10 for kinesthetic learners, Junior would hit about 500. Or maybe 572.

So yesterday we took the cards apart and I laid out 3 rows of 3 cards and played a game with Junior. He had to pick the card that went with the letter or sound and when he did so correctly, it was swapped for a new card.


The correct regular way, was boring to him and there wasn't enough movement. With the game he was moving all around, fell off the bed twice, and had a great time.

He called it easy.

With Junior there are 3 ways to teach him: 1)Invest in a ton of duct tape and super glue - not really worth it 2) Medicate him - Ummmm no, I am not going to do that 3) Work with his busyness, allow him to learn the way God designed him to learn.

I chose to teach both my children the way they learn best - even if it makes no sense to me and even if that includes them falling off the bed.

Check out other Thirsty Thursday thoughts at Five J's

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wizard of Oz

We have been reading Wizard of Oz as part of our literature and the kids love it. If you have never read the book, it is vastly different from the movie. Not only are there things that have been left out - such as in the book they cross a river and the scarecrow is almost left - but there are things changed and things added - Dorothy doesn't run away in the book and there is no Elmira Gulch.

In some ways, it is almost like a completely different story.

Daisy had a vague memory of seeing the movie but Junior didn't remember seeing it at all but luckily it came on TV on Sunday. I have to admit, watching Junior watch it is almost as entertaining as the movie itself.

He will sit mostly still for tv or a movie but is in constant motion when listening to me read. In fact, I would think that he is not listening at all except his narrations are very in-depth. Today I asked him to tell his dad how the poppy field escape is different.

Here is a summation: They tried to run across the flowers but they couldn't and the tin woodman and the scare crow carried Dorothy and the dog but couldn't carry the lion because he is so big and so they were going to leave the lion and they saw a wildcat chasing a queen mouse and the tine woodman took his ax and cut off the woldcat's head and the queen mouse thanked him and and more mice thanked him and asked if they could do anything to help the tin woodman and the tin woodman told them to help with his friend the lion and they didn't want to but the tin woodman said the lion was a coward and so the woodman built a cart and the mice pulled the cart and they had to work very hard to get the lion on the cart and then the mice pulled and the woodman and the scarecrow pushed and they were able to get the lion out of the poisonous flowers and the lion woke up and they told him that the little mice had saved him. and yes I am pretty sure there was not a comma or period in his entire narration.

Through the entire narration he was spinning and bouncing and moving much like he was during the reading. Hubby asked him if he could tell the story without moving so much and he said "let Daisy tell you."

Considering I was expecting something more like "the mice helped them" I was very impressed. Hubby was impressed as well at how long the narration went on, even if he understood very little of it because of all the movement.

He learns best while he moves and trying to keep him still ensures that he will learn nothing. It is so difficult for me to understand why or how but if he has to be still, then all of his attention is on trying to stay still and he has none left for anything else. My rule for him is that he can squirm and wiggle or play with blocks but he must do it quietly.

Well, and that I don't want to be kicked in the head during a headstand on the bed.

We are also reading Treasure Island, Redwall, The Phantom Toll Booth and The Borrowers.

While we were at the library, Junior found The Phantom Toll Booth and told another homeschool mom that it is a good book (although I don't think he is getting as much out of it as Daisy.) I love it when they get excited about what we are reading.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More murderers of imagination

Check out Thirsty Thursday for ideas on educating your children.

I guess I may have made it sound like my children were paragons of imagination and all because they aren't in school. That they spend all their free time building forts and playing pirates and knights and . . . etc.

Not so much. They do play that way some, but not as much as I would like. Not as much as I did. I spent most of my free time either reading or "imaginative play" - which means I had no one to play with except lizards who didn't follow the rules of the games very well. The reading gave me ideas of what to play, and which character I wanted to be.

That my kids don't do that is not the fault of the school system because they have never gone to public school. The school system is not the only imagination killer.

I wish.

Another is tv and video games. (gasp!) I know! Now I am stepping on toes including my own.

I really don't like how much tv and video games my kids watch but since Hubby is also a fan of the one-eyed monster, it is difficult to reduce their tv time much more. The rule is no tv before 3, which still sounds like a lot but we frequently aren't home after 3. And sometimes they don't get to turn the TV on at 3 anyway because I won't let them.

In the time that we have had this rule (about 1 1/2 years) I have seen their creativity grow. It still isn't where I want it, but it is improving. I have seen forts, board games, card games and the like. I haven't seen pirates because Daisy declares "pirates are for boys" - boy was she shocked when I told her there were girl pirates.

We read living books all the time - right now we are reading Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Perloo. There has got to be some imagination fodder in those, right? They just haven't made the leap from the books to play.

How do you foster your kids creativity?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I am sure you have seen the commercial,

There are some that hate it, some that love it . . . .

I admit, it makes me a bit sad. I love back to school shopping and all that stuff but the idea that our kids make us so miserable that we look forward to sending them back to school . . . .

The problem isn't really with our kids, it is what we have done to them.

When I was younger, I had a room-mate that worked at a bank as a teller. One day they were robbed by an older man who looked like he had a gun in his pocket. He was caught within a few blocks (if I remember right) and while he had the money, he didn't have a gun but a donut in his pocket. He had gone to jail originally when he was a young man (late teens early 20s) and he had gotten out for the first time in his 50's or 60's. He had spent his entire adult life in an institution and didn't know how to function in the outside world. So he robbed a bank.

What does this have to do with our kids?

Think about their days, early they get up and get dressed for school. They spend over 6 hours at school with their entire day planned out for them - sometimes even down to when they go to the bathroom. Then when they get home - if they are lucky they stay home and get to be kids for awhile but they have homework and they have other activities like sports, 4-H, church, etc. And home in time to finish homework and fall into bed.

Their entire day is planned out for them or at least the vast majority of the day. Five days a week. for 9 months out of the year.

And then comes summer where we expect the kids to know how to entertain themselves. And siblings who really don't spend very much time together during the school year except in the car are expected to be friends and get along.

They might even be told to turn off the video game and go outside to play because it is summer and that is what you should do during summer.

Only they don't know how to come up with something to play because that isn't how they are taught to be creative during the school year.

So before long, mom is tired of the "I'm bored"s. And that is why she is so glad to ship them back off to school so she doesn't have to entertain them.

But it is just sad.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WFMW - planner

I make my own planner - because I do things the hard way.

And then because I haven't yet found the planner design that works for me, I keep changing the planner style. So if I print out 32 weeks worth of one design and then decide on week 3 that I hate that design - I get irritated with myself. Don't ask how I know.

So this year I made my planner and I picked a few different designs for the weeks and printed out about 4 of each. I printed out almost everything else I wanted in the planner and took it to my local copy shop. I had them put a spiral binding on it and so I can use it that way for the next few weeks.

I also did one for Daisy but she only has 2 styles of weekly pages.

So I can use the planner and try out the different styles of pages until I find the one I really like. I can then print those off and have the holes put in it and add it to my planner.

This gives me the planner that really works for me instead of one that I make do with.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Art or something like it

Art is typically one of the first things to go because . . . well, it makes a mess. And I have been lax in doing it, partially because Junior treats art as most dreaded torture.

How can kiddie art be torture? Well, I suspect in the nursery at church and mothers-day-out some well meaning little girls told him he was doing it wrong. I don't know this for a fact, but I do have a little girl and I know how they can be.

Plus, I know most of the pictures brought home by him, were not in fact done by him. I would gush over a picture he brought home and he would say "Oh, G (or S or another girl) colored it for me." *


So when I saw this idea at Deep, Space Sparkle I thought we should try it.

It is supposed to be a lesson in symmetry (which I did go over with Daisy). For Junior, it was a lesson in self confidence.

This is the first picture he has ever done (by himself), that he is proud of.

I know. You are thinking "what the heck is that!?" To be honest, I don't really see what it is either but with all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that went into producing it, he is proud.

See Daisy and I kept encouraging him. We even went so far as to say he was the only one who made something that looked like an alien. Daisy's resembled an insect and mine . . . a person with really bad hair. I googled E.T. to show him how his kind-of resembled E.T. (like a bust of E.T.).

We drug him, kicking and screaming (almost) along every step of the project.

But now he wants it to hang on his wall.

So you can see his vision, here is his picture with the parts labeled. I don't know what the big blob at the bottom is, he hasn't said and I couldn't even guess.

The top arrow points at the teeth.

The left arrow points at one of the eyes (the other is on the opposite side)

And the right arrow points to the nose.

I don't "see" it either but I also don't get Picasso.

* I don't resent these little girls, I just know that sometimes they can get too caught up in "doing it right."

Monday, July 27, 2009

A lot of action here

It may look like I have been a very, very busy mom to have gone from 7 posts to 30 but I went and pulled a bunch from my main blog and put them up over here.

And I imported them.

So really the whole process took maybe 30 minutes (and it wouldn't have taken that long except the export/import thingy takes all the posts (200+) and moves them and I didn't want the non-homeschool ones here so I had to go through and get rid of those and then publish the ones I kept.

And yes I know that was a run-on sentence but that is how I felt about the project.

But now I have them moved (Yeah me!) so I can focus on something else.

One thing that is cool is that it also moves the comments, which explains how I have posts and comments from before this blog was started.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our Curriculum for this year

Kris at Weird, Unsocialized, Homeschoolers is doing a Share your Curriculum Edition of the Weekly Wrap-up. This is my first time doing Weekly Wrap-up and I am pretty excited about it.

I don't have the curriculum for this year 100% ironed out yet, but I do know what some of it is going to be.

Right now what we are thinking is
  • Math on the Level

  • Janice Van Cleve books for science although I am not sure which

  • Handbook of Nature Study

  • Bible study we are just using the Bible and one of those lists of the Harmony of the Gospels

  • Tatras for our phonics

  • We are thinking of Story of the World for History

  • Literature will be various books throughout the year. Right now we are going through Treasure Island and Wizard of Oz. After that, I don't know exactly.

We might be adding or changing, I am not 100% sure. We will also be participating in our local co-op which meets every other week.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Without a plan(er)

I am a genius at making lists and charts to keep me organized. Unfortunately, I am also a perfectionist and so I tend to get the chart or whatever the way I want it, and then keep tweaking it. Ad Nauseum.

Last year I made myself a lovely planner. It was basically everything I could possibly need.

After about 6 weeks, I stopped using it because the lesson plan pages didn't work as well as I thought they would. I don't remember now what was wrong with them, I think maybe schedule envy - you know when you see someone else's schedule system and suddenly yours is . . . lacking.

Anyway, I am trying to make my planner for the upcoming year. Why can't I use a ready made one? Because that would be entirely too simple. I apparently can't do simple.

This year though, I am making a mini version (only 6 weeks or so of weekly scheduling but with the calendars and such) and I will see how it works in the light school that we are doing now.

Right now, we are doing math and reading. Partially to keep them from forgetting anything, and to make some progress but also to keep us in the habit of schooling. It is so stinking hot outside now that we might as well do school in the heat of the day.

Plus this lets me try out my planner. My planner comes from various sources, some from Donna Young, some from the Tanglewood and some from the Old Schoolhouse Planner. Most of them I almost liked but ended up retyping so I could customize. Now obviously I can't share the pages I didn't retype and customize but I will try to give you an idea of where I got various things.

After I get the planner designed, I am going to print out a good portion of it (except for the weekly pages and just a few of those) and then take it and have it spiral bound. Taking the spiral out and having the new pages added won't be a big deal once I get the pages I will use.

I also made Daisy her own so she can check off what she has done each day and can keep track herself. With hers, we are also doing the small version with two completely different weekly pages so she can see what works for her.

I will try to keep you updated on how it goes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Math on the Level

After a year of Saxon - which I hated, ok maybe not but if we did it all we would hate it - I thought I would try something else. Actually a month ago I was going to do Saxon again.

Instead I found Math on the Level. First I had gotten one of their 9's Down Math facts ebooks (also available in print).

Daisy is a bit shaky on her math facts - like her mom did for years, she counts with her fingers - and this offers drills but in an unusual way. The first worksheet is full of problems 9+1, 9+0 and 9+9 and your child does this one daily until he/she can do the whole worksheet in a short amount of time, and then moves to the next one that adds 9+8 to the mix. By the time your child gets to the smaller numbers (and easier) they have had alot of practice with the larger numbers. Most books start out with 1's and then 2's and so on and have very little (comparative) practice with the larger ones. They offer 9's down addition, subtraction, multiplication and division each separate if you do the ebook version where you just print out the worksheets you need.

So after thinking about it some more I ordered the Starter pack with the Math on the Level. In some ways, this will be more challenging than Saxon because I actually have to teach it instead of just reading the book and pointing out the math problems in the book. Yet in others it will be much easier to do.

Today for instance - the first day we have used it - we discussed Roman numerals. I first made up a story about how Roman numerals were invented - to rivaling farmers with the same names as my kids, fighting over who had more sheep. There were hand motions involved and so I think it will make V, X, and L easier to remember. Then we discussed the other numbers and some mnemonic devices to help remember the larger ones - we settled on "Learning Causes Dad Migranes", or maybe it was "Lucky Cat Dines on Mice." Anyway, it was actually fun. We didn't spend very long with it and will do some more with it tomorrow.

Then to keep it in her mind, I put it on her 5-A-Day sheet.

What is a 5-A-Day? Well it is 5 math problems on different things to see if she remembers how to do a math concept. That way I can know if she "gets it" or if she has forgotten it. If she misses Roman numerals for a few days I know she needs it reviewed or retaught.

Since this is the first day we have actually used it, I will review the curriculum again for you after we have used it more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What we think we know

Ok, I really love these TED talks. What is TED? According to their website
TED started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year's TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize.

The talks on their website (and on youtube) are short 10-15 minute things and are usually something that will make you think but not something boring. Here is one I just listened to What we think we know where he asks 4 questions that most people think they know the answer to, but might completely be wrong.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is the hardest part of homeschooling?

What I love about homeschooling is the flexibility.
It's a pretty day today and tomorrow is supposed to be awful. I think we should stop early today and do a little extra tomorrow.

What I hate about homeschooling is the guilt. I think every mom deals with some level of "Mommy guilt." We seem to see every bad thing that our kids do as a reflection on ourselves as mothers. "My kid eats crayons-I am a horrible mother. My kid won't eat her veggies - I am a horrible mother. My child wasn't the first to be potty-trained in her class - I am a horrible mother. My kid said a bad word in front of the pastor - I am a horrible mother." And on and on and on . . . .

As a homeschooling mom, there is all the normal guilt plus the added guilt. If Daisy's friend doesn't know how to read in 4th grade than all her teachers have failed her. If Daisy is a struggling reader and her only teacher is me . . . .

So we are afraid to admit our struggles as teachers because then it feel like we have a scarlet letter "F" on our chest.

A year and a half ago Daisy's reading level was about at 1st grade and she was going into the 4th. I felt horrible, like a failure, and I only told 2 people about it. If I said anything it was more just that she was "struggling." Now she is 4th grade 4th month level. While I have given her props for her improvement, I still see the F on my chest.

So what are we doing now with her reading? She is reading a chapter (or so) a day from her choice of chapter books (she just finished a Magic Treehouse and is starting Beezus and Ramona). In addition to that, we spend time with her reading aloud to me, and going over the phonic rules.

She doesn't do well with pressure and it is still fairly easy to get her in deer-in-headlights mode. While she no longer says "I can't read" she doesn't have as much fluency as I would like for her to have. But she is attempting so much more on her own. A few months ago she would hand me her fortune from the cookie, now she tries to read it all and only asks for help with the big words.

Why do I think she has had such a hard time? I think that the first reading program that we purchased was too hard and I pushed too hard. She was left with feeling that reading was too hard and she wasn't smart enough. We tried program after program and didn't have very much success with those either. She was bored with the part she knew (or felt like I thought she was stupid because it kept being re-taught). She would make progress and I would think "yeah! a breakthrough" but then the progress would be gone. We have finally made progress and are no longer seeing the progress disappearing. It just took a long time to knock down the walls she had built up.

Our Homeschool experience

I suppose first I should say that not everyone should homeschool - which is completely different from the "anyone can homeschool" that is usually proclaimed.

Anyone can homeschool - although the barely literate may need some outside help.

But I am not one of those that thinks that only horrible parents send their kids to public school. My thought is, if a parent isn't committed to homeschooling then they shouldn't bother. More on that later but I completely respect people knowing their limitations.

I also think that there are some excellent public school teachers out there (including my sister), there are some that make the classroom fun and kids learn alot. I just don't know that those teachers are the majority. I am afraid that many teachers are overworked, underpaid, under-appreciated and under-supported. We throw them in a class of 20-30 kids, some who belong in reform school, and expect them to work with a largely apathetic group of kids.

That said: Why do we homeschool?

I could give you a laundry list of reasons but the main one is that I feel like this is something God called me to do. Before I got pregnant, I was already getting books to share with the children I would have. Hubby and I were discussing homeschooling even while I was pregnant. Ten years later, I am still pulled to homeschooling in a way I can't describe other than I feel like this is what I am supposed to be doing.

Those of you that know me, know that I have never stuck to anything else that long (other than my marriage). My usual modus operandi is to immerse myself in learning about something (knitting, crocheting, CSS, HTML, etc) until I get bored and move on to something else.

I can give you statisics and studies - many of which reinforce that I am doing the right thing for my children - but I don't think that you are here for that. If you homeschool, I am preaching to the choir; if you don't homeschool they mean very little.

I wouldn't say it is a "religious reason." In fact if I was filling out a survey on why we homeschool, I would check the box marked "academic." Because of being in classes of 20-30, I was either bored (in the classes I was good at) or confused (math). I left school with the idea that I was pretty stupid and then proceeded to prove it the next several years.

My goal with my kids is that they don't feel stupid because of getting behind in a subject (not that I do that perfectly). Also for them to able to research and learn something that they don't know about. For example if I somehow manage to completely miss teaching them anything about WWII, they would know how to find out about it in the library.

Why is this one different from my other blogs?

Well, I am once again going to try to have a blog that is just homeschooling and then one that is personal/family. The difficulty is so much of the family stuff has homeschool applications and visa-versa. Many of my other blog followers are not homeschoolers so a discussion of curriculum or my latest planner design will not interest them. On the other hand, I haven't been posting very much about homeschooling so homeschoolers don't have as much to interest them.

I have been wanting to post more of the info I am finding about homeschooling but as I said, many of my followers are not homeschooling.

So we shall see how this experiment of (yet another) blog goes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

I just thought this was interesting and thought provoking. Ok, and this guy is also pretty funny.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reason 261 I love homeschooling

Yesterday we were able to eat lunch with my parents as they drove through town. They were going from the Houston area up to Oklahoma and decided to take a bit of a detour through our little town.

We met at H*bby L*bby and then went to have a wonderful lunch together.

I hadn't told the kids who we were meeting - or that we were meeting anyone - so the look of surprise and joy on Juniors face when he saw "Grandfather" was priceless.

As a side note, we read Heidi last year which started Daisy calling him Grandfather and then Junior picked it up. So it isn't that he chose a stuffy sounding name.

And this is something we couldn't do if they were in school . . . or at least I would feel guilty about it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

We had the opportunity to go to a star watching party on Saturday night. It was amazing.

We have had a telescope for awhile but neither Hubby or I can figure out how to use it.

Well, we know how to use it, but it is difficult to find what you are looking for when you aren't very good at it.

We got a star wheel and learned how to use it, directions to make an astrolabe and other tips. The two astronomers leading had brought 3 good telescopes and then would focus them on some amazing sights.

The moon with its craters is beautiful, it was like those pictures you have seen, but this was not a picture. Hubby and I had seen Saturn before in my Dad's telescope, but his doesn't give as close of a picture. Saurday, we saw the line of rings and one or two of the moons.

It gave us more ideas on how to get out there and watch what is going on in the sky. They are planning on doing it again in June and we are hoping to be there, as well as one in July.

There are more tips and tricks we learned and will hopefully be able to keep learning more. I will post these as I get time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cooking lessons

One of the things I like to do with the kids is that they get one meal a week. One meal to plan, making sure it is at least somewhat balanced, and then they prepare it with my help.

So I asked Daisy and she wanted to make "noodles that look like a shell, with the white sauce on it."

Ok, pasta with alfredo sauce, that's fairly easy. What protein?

Her first idea was ranch style beans. Now I love ranch style beans, but I don't know about loving them with alfredo sauce. After some more thought, she decided on chicken.

And mushrooms.

And onions.

(I know there was also a vegetable but I have forgotten what it was.)

It turned out well, she enjoyed it except it took so long to cook. Possibly it took so long because she kept bumping the burners down to low.

Then for Junior's meal he chose spaghetti with meat sauce. And Broccoli as a veggie.

Before we started cooking, I sat down with him and asked if he liked how I made spaghetti sauce. Then "are you sure you like it? Do you want to make it just like Mommy always makes it?" He said yes, and then I told him I always cook it with onions. Always.

He burst into tears because he "hates onions." He did decide that if I always cook it with onion and he likes it, the onions can't be completely evil. Sometimes I also use bell pepper, but I thought that would be pushing too much.

So we got out the mandolin and he put in the onions that were then fried up with ground beef. The pasta was boiling in a separate pot and he asked if he could put in the sauce.

Yes, I confess we use jarred sauce. Specifically Ragu Super Chunky Mushrooms (don't tell Junior, he also "hates" mushrooms).

So I tell him sure he can pour in the sauce.

And he did. Right into the pasta water.

I stopped him before he got very much in there but . . . apparently he really needs the cooking lessons.

Then the broccoli was just frozen broccoli cooked in the microwave, then we sprinkled salt and real parmesan cheese (not that stuff in the green can, real parm yumm).

Both meals turned out beautiful, and so each was satisfied with their efforts.

Try letting your kids cook, they might enjoy it.

And maybe even learn onions aren't completely evil.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Shooting sports

Since I knew nothing about what "4-H shooting sports" is, I am guessing that most of you don't either.

So I'm gonna tell you.

Pretend you care.

The kids learn weapon safety (i.e. don't point the gun at anybody, don't carry a loaded gun, stuff like that).

Then depending on their age, they have different positions to shoot in. Daisy's age they only do prone, which is laying on their belly. In a couple/few years she will be able to do all three: prone, kneeling, and standing.

Sounds pretty simple huh?

Except the targets are little. They are about the size of a silver dollar. The grown ups use binoculars to see if the kids are hitting the target.

And not just good binoculars. They use high powered binocular.

And you want to hit as close to the center of the target as you can (think of a dart board with its bulls eye. Except the bulls eye is smaller than a pencil eraser.)

And you are 50 feet away.

Wanna see?

I circled her targets with red. They have 3 sheets of paper with 12 circles - 2 practice targets and 10 real targets.

I am not telling you all this so you think "WOW! Daisy must be a great shot."

Cause she isn't.

She is awful a pretty bad shot on these targets.

Then again, I suppose being able to hit the piece of paper means she could hit a deer.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Never say quit

I am pretty sure that this February was the longest month ever in the history of the world. At least it sure seemed that way because of how packed it was. Some was good (wedding), some was bad (cancer and death), some was just busy (youth fair), some planned, some unexpected.

Which reminds me, I have posted the recipes for the baguette bread and pineapple bread pudding. They are over at my recipe blog. I don't yet have Junior's applesauce bread up, hopefully that will be up soon.

Anyway . . .

Our busyness continued until the very last day of February. Junior had a tae kwan do tournament down in Houston. We had to be there at 8:30 and it is a 2 hour drive (Hubby had to work the night before). So the kids and I got up at 5, Hubby got home at 5:30 and we were out the door by six.

But the tournament went well, it was a real confidence booster. For Junior's age group - tiny tigers, how cute is that - they all get first place for something. Junior got first place for "fastest kicks and punches" which is a polite way of saying he was hyper. So Junior came home with a medal. And Mr. Negativity actually told me it was fun. He said he was scared but it he had fun.


Then today the other kid, the one who never rarely complains gave a huge sigh when I said she had shooting sports today. I asked what was wrong and her answer was "I don't like shooting sports."

She doesn't like the practicing, she doesn't like shooting in the prone position (the only one she is allowed to shoot in for her age), the gun is heavy and hurts her arm, the strap that helps hold the gun hurts . . . and so on.

So whats good about it? Getting to touch a gun.

Hubby and I discussed letting her drop out since she is usually game for any project and rarely complains. He wanted her to learn gun safety which she had, I wanted her to quit nagging about trying it. We agreed that she could drop out if she wanted.

So we called her in and gave her the choice.

She doesn't want to drop out.

I don't know why.

I am not sure she knows why.

But she is staying in shooting sports.

Even though she doesn't like it.

I dearly love booklists

As a confirmed bibliophile, I have to admit one of my favorite things is booklists. Children's booklists, adult booklists, Christian booklists, I love them all.

So when Ang over at Hanging Out The Wash posted a booklist of classic children's literature, I had to look it over. She got the list from Best Children's Literature.

I am going to italicize those that we have already read and bold those I have read. If it is bolded, I will probably read it to my kids, or have them read.

Classic children's literature - Kindergarten through Grade 6

* Recommended children's literature for K-3, either for reading by children or for reading to them.

  • Adamson, Joy * Born Free

  • Aesop * Fables*

  • Alcott, Louisa May * Little Women

  • Andersen, Hans Christian * Fairy tales

  • Atwater, Richard and Florence * Mr. Popper's Penguins*

  • Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin * Miss Hickory

  • Barrie, J.M. * Peter Pan

  • Baum, L. Frank * The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • Bemelmans, Ludwig * Madeline series*

  • Bond, Michael * A Bear Called Paddington

  • Boston, L.M. * The Children of Green Knowe

  • Brink, Carol Ryrie * Caddie Woodlawn

  • Brown, Margaret Wise * Goodnight, Moon*

  • Brunhoff, Jean de * The Story of Babar*

  • Burnett, Frances Hodgson * The Secret Garden

  • Burton, Virginia Lee * Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel*

  • Butterworth, Oliver * The Enormous Egg

  • Clark, Ann Nolan * Secret of the Andes

  • Cleary, Beverly * Henry Huggins series

  • Coatsworth, Elizabeth * The Cat Who Went to Heaven

  • Dalgliesh, Alice * The Bears on Hemlock Mountain*
    * The Courage of Sarah Noble*

  • De Angeli, Marguerite * The Door in the Wall

  • De Jong, Meindert * The House of Sixty Fathers
    * The Wheel on the School

  • Dodge, Mary Mapes * Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates

  • Du Bois, William Pene * The Twenty-One Balloons

  • Edmonds, Walter D. * The Matchlock Gun

  • Estes, Eleanor * Ginger Pye
    * Moffats series

  • Farley, Walter * The Black Stallion

  • Field, Rachel * Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

  • Fritz, Jean * The Cabin Faced West

  • Gilbreth, Frank B. and Ernestine G. Carey * Cheaper By the Dozen

  • Gipson, Fred * Old Yeller

  • Godden, Rumer * The Mousewife*

  • Grahame, Kenneth * The Reluctant Dragon*
    * The Wind in the Willows

  • Gray, Elizabeth Janet * Adam of the Road

  • Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm * Grimm's Fairy Tales

  • Hawes, Charles * The Dark Frigate

  • Haywood, Carolyn * Betsy series*

  • Henry, Marguerite * King of the Wind
    * Misty of Chincoteague

  • Keith, Harold * Rifles for Watie

  • Kelly, Eric * The Trumpeter of Krakow

  • Kipling, Rudyard * Captains Courageous
    * Just So Stories for Little Children*
    * The Jungle Books

  • Kjelgaard, Jim * Big Red

  • Knight, Eric * Lassie Come Home

  • Krumgold, Joseph * ...and Now Miguel
    * Onion John

  • LaFarge, Oliver * Laughing Boy

  • Lamb, Charles and Mary * Tales from Shakespeare

  • Latham, Jean Lee * Carry on, Mr. Bowditch

  • Lawson, Robert * Ben & Me
    * Rabbit Hill

  • Leaf, Munro * The Story of Ferdinand*

  • Lear, Edward * Book of Nonsense*

  • Lenski, Lois * Strawberry Girl

  • Lewis, C.S. * Chronicles of Narnia series

  • Lindgren, Astrid * Pippi Longstocking series

  • Lofting, Hugh * Doctor Doolittle series (I remember reading one of these on a drive from Sydney to Melbourne, so it is hard for me to think of these without remembering the Aussie countryside)

  • London, Jack * The Call of the Wild
    * White Fang

  • MacDonald, Betty * Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

  • MacGregor, Ellen * Miss Pickerell series

  • McCloskey, Robert * Blueberries for Sal* every year when we go pick blueberries

    * Homer Price
    * Make Way for Ducklings*

  • McSwigan, Marie * Snow Treasure

  • Meigs, Cornelia * Invincible Louisa

  • Milne, A.A. * The House at Pooh Corner*

    * Now We Are Six*

    * When We Were Very Young*

    * Winnie-the-Pooh*

  • Minarik, Else Holmelund * Little Bear

  • Montgomery, L.M. * Anne of Green Gables

  • Mukerji, Dhan Ghopal * Gay-Neck, the Story of a Pigeon

  • Norton, Mary * The Borrowers series

  • O'Hara, Mary * My Friend Flicka

  • Pearce, Philippa * Tom's Midnight Garden

  • Perrault, Charles * Cinderella*

  • Potter, Beatrix * The Tale of Peter Rabbit*

  • Pyle, Howard * The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

  • Rey, H.A. * Curious George series*

  • Richter, Conrad * The Light in the Forest

  • Selden, George * The Cricket in Times Square*

  • Seuss, Dr. * The Cat in the Hat*

  • Sewell, Anna * Black Beauty

  • Sorenson, Virginia * Miracles on Maple Hill

  • Speare, Elizabeth George * The Witch of Blackbird Pond

  • Sperry, Armstrong * Call It Courage

  • Spyri, Johanna * Heidi

  • Steinbeck, John * The Red Pony

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis * A Child's Garden of Verses*
    * Kidnapped
    * Treasure Island

  • Travers, Pamela L. * Mary Poppins series

  • Van Loon, Hendrik * The Story of Mankind

  • White, E.B. * Charlotte's Web
    * Stuart Little

  • Wilder, Laura Ingalls * Little House series

  • Williams, Margery * The Velveteen Rabbit*

  • Wyss, Johann * Swiss Family Robinson

  • Zion, Gene * Harry the Dirty Dog*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

how differences can work for us

After the first day of competition we went to a late breakfast at Ihop and Daisy wanted to try something new, so she got the cheese omelet. She really liked it, but was interested in trying one of the fancier omelets (specifically the spinach and mushroom with hollandaise sauce, yep my kids eat weird).

I told her that her dad makes awesome omelets. So while he was telling her how (cuz she asked), I started thinking about our drastically different cooking styles.

Hubby excels at stuff like omelets, chicken fried steak, one pot "throw togethers," hamburgers and stuff like that.

My omelets look like scrambled egg, I am doing better at the throw togethers but its not my comfort zone.

But I made my first loaf of yeast white bread at 13 (Mom was out of town and Dad had no idea what a mess it would make). Baking is still one of my favorite ways to cook.

Until recently a good portion of the meals I cooked used pasta in some way (hubby didn't really like pasta that much in the beginning).

I do stuff with the odd tools in the kitchen, I do canning, pressure cooking, and alot of stuff in the crock-pot.

I love experimenting with new recipes. Hubby will look up a few versions of a recipe and then go in the kitchen and make something up.

These drastically different cooking styles are great when looking at our kids. Hubby can teach them how to flip stuff in the pan (he says he can teach me too) and I can teach them how to bake, not just following the recipe but if it looks right.

I can teach them how to make an amazing homemade gravy (hubby uses a mix) but he can teach them how to do the chicken fried steak.

By the time we have taught our kids what we each know, they will be amazing in the kitchen and will hopefully be fearless.

And that is one way differences can work for us and not against us. What about you?