Thursday, November 15, 2012

Working Together

I follow Hip Homeschool Moms, both in blog form and on Facebook. I love them. A group of homeschoolers helping out other homeschoolers. Let's face it, we all need that sometimes! If you don't follow them you should! I love how on their FB page they will throw out random questions that make you think, laugh, or whatever. I also love that people message them (I'm just guessing here) and ask questions which get put out there for all the other page fans to see and hopefully help the stressed out, stumped homeschooling parent.

I wish I had a chance to follow all the updates, but if I get on FB then lets face it - my schoolwork doesn't get done! My son's always gets done (um well, usually always). So when I saw an update the other day that said something to the effect of "play nice" it made me upset. I don't usually offer any tips if I have no experience. Sometimes I say 'we tried such and such, but it wasn't a good fit for our family' or whatever. If I actually have a helpful answer I'll say it. I guess I'm mostly a stalker =)!

Anyway - I missed the post that caused the later post, so I honestly don't know what was said or whatever. But I have read a lot of the posts on FB (stalker here, remember?) and I have noticed that when someone asks something like "in your opinion which curriculum is better A or B" or "I have it narrowed down to A and B, which way should I go?" There are tons of people who answer not to use either of those, they are terrible, go with a classical education, and on and on. This makes me mad and a little sad. To me it's showing some kind of homeschool snobbery.

The repliers don't know the family situation. Maybe they have kids like mine, who have to have a completely structured, need to know how many pages, likes the smell of workbooks kind of curriculum. We gave Sonlight an honest and fair shot and knew there was no way it would work for us. So yes, I'm the workbook mom. The 'finish your assignments for the week early and you can have Friday off' briber mom. I use a grading scale. I have rubrics. I do all those things because if my son doesn't have some measure that he did good or bad, he will lose his mind. Seriously. Maybe it's the years he spent in public and private school, I don't know, but I can't just say "you did awesome" because he will always ask "what was my grade?"We still take time to do other things, field trips, service projects, whatever. But we are mostly by the book because it keeps the peace.

New homeschooling moms are just drowning in different styles of curriculum. If they have it narrowed down, please don't throw another one out there at them. If you've used either of the choices say it was good or bad and why. If you haven't but just think a different way is better, please say nothing. The new mom is already stressed enough, making the decision to homeschool, wondering if she can do it. Help guide her in the way she believes she needs to go.

Here's what we use after much trial and error - Lifepac or Monarch for everything except LA. For Spelling we use Spectrum, and we use Evan-Moor Daily grammar and writing skills.

Work together and keep learning!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

When is it Home?

Growing up in the military, spending 20 years in the military, and currently being the spouse of military member makes it hard to have roots. Home was always where we were at the moment. When I was in the military home was either Salt Lake City or Lansing. I've never lived in either of those places - that's where my parents had settled down so 'home' was where they were. Ask any adult military brat where they are from and they will say "I'm a military brat." or in my case I say "I'm a Navy brat." We are rootless nomads.

Since both my parents are gone, home is neither of those places anymore. Home is here - where I live. Not that it hasn't always been that way. I just had some nether world I could call home, while we were in our temporary place. Until the military moved us again.

Now we've lived here, in South Carolina, for over six years. In the same house. At the same exact place. How does that happen? How do you stay in one place for so long? I'm not sure how. I've heard that this base is a black hole - people come here and end up never leaving. I've heard that about a lot of bases though - and we left those - so who knows?

When we are out on our travels if someone asks my son where he's from he'll say "South Carolina" if we're out of state and "Sumter" if we are in state. This is his home, his roots, the place he's lived for over half his life. He's never going to say "I'm a military brat." He remembers nothing about North Carolina, some things about living in Washington, but mostly, this is it for him.

As my husband looks ahead to retirement it's time to think about roots. Our roots. Will we stay here, the only place my son considers home? The place where his pediatrician really knows him? Where my doctor really knows me? We've been lucky enough to see the same doctors for over four years. Is that what makes roots? Are we growing here or are we going to plant ourselves in another place?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm Thankful and Sad

A lot of my friends on FB are doing the 30 days of thankfulness (or whatever it's called) and that's cool. I have a lot to be thankful for - my boys, my friends, a roof over my head, etc etc etc.

What I'm most thankful for is the election is over. Although I'm not glad with the results, what's done is done and it's time to move forward. I'm going to be honest though, this was not my first thought. Not by a long shot.

Thought #1 - I'm going to vomit

Thought #2 - Well, the Mayans did predict the world will end next month, so maybe it will end up ok

Thought #3 - I wonder how long it will take to get passports and blow this lemonade stand?

Thought #4 - Montana is pretty big - I bet we could buy a piece of land and fall off the grid.

But, the end, I'm proud to be American. I love this country, even if I'm not sure where it's headed. I know I can't defend my rights if I'm not here. But most of all I know we must all now stand united and make sure our elected officials, all of them, stand accountable for what we elected them to do.

What I'm most upset about is the way we are treating each other over this. I know there are poor losers, but I'm seeing a lot of poor winners too. And while I have some friends who fit into both of these categories I'm hoping that starting out small and working together will be the norm, not only for the next four years, but always. Not just for my circle of friends, but for the whole country.

America is a great country. Do we have room for improvement? You bet, and now it's time to stand together as citizens of this wonderful country and work together to make it even better. Not with pettiness and finger pointing, but by truly working together.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I can't believe it's November, I'm not sure where October went! Goodness, Christmas is almost here!!

We've been doing good here. Enjoying some unseasonably warm weather for fall.

Getting pictures taken for the school year. 

Hitting up the pumpkin patch where we not only enjoyed the corn maize and picked our pumpkin but also got to make Erik jealous by checking out an old firetruck

We didn't get many trick or treaters on Halloween. Zach doesn't trick or treat. Not because we don't let him - goodness, I'd love it if he went and collected tons of free candy for me - but because he doesn't eat candy, so he doesn't think it's right to take something he won't eat. Sometimes he's too nice!! He is my candy hander outer and likes to see all the different costumes. I guess since that works for him it works for me too. He did ask for a Boo (from Mario) pumpkin, and Erik did his best without a stencil or anything. The picture is pretty dark, but the pumpkin did turn out pretty cool.

Wow! I guess that's our October in a nutshell.

Don't forget to vote on Tuesday!!

Science? Really?

Well, I've been terrible about updating this blog - my other blog also sits on the sidelines waiting for me to update.

We've had some setbacks in the last month. I finally realized my son was missing important math skills, so we've put our 6th grade math on hold and have moved back to 5th grade. We are moving through it pretty rapidly, focusing more on the things that he missed in public school. I'm not sure why this surprised me since I had to do this the first year we homeschooled too. I could just kick myself for being silly enough to put him into public school for those two years. I hope we can get on track and be at grade level by the end of the year.

The bain of my college classes right now is Science. I've never been good at Science. This strikes me as odd since it is the one subject my son excels at. He took one of my pretests (not official, just in the book) and scored way better than I did. A college level test - one that sadly had me stumped. Plus I got the "everyone knows that mom" look. :-) We may not share the love of science, but we do share the sarcasm gene!

We did go on a field trip with our homeschool group. Pumpkin patch and corn maize! Zach loves the corn maize! The day was perfect and we did meet some new kids, nothing that has meshed itself into friendship yet, but this week is the skate day so we are going to go to that too and see if we (he) can click with someone. He's so very particular and choosey - which is good, but can also be lonely. 

So, I leave you with some pictures of our picture perfect field trip day ~

Have a great week!