Sunday, March 30, 2008


Since Wednesday evening, we've had varying degrees of snow in our weather. That night it was just some snow mixed in with rain on our drive home from Campfire. Thursday more of the same. Friday it was mixed, but as we drove home from circus class shortly before noon, it turned to snow. Within an hour it was accumulating on the grass and trees, and for a shortwhile it stuck to the road. It melted away by evening, only to be replaced by a fresh blanket of snow overnight. Then, much to our surprised, we got a new covering of snow overnight Saturday. This is what we woke up to this Sunday Morning, March 30, 2008

Rumor has it we'll hit 50 degrees today, so this *should* be the last of winter!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When children speak

You know when your kids are babies and toddlers and you look forward to the day when they can verbally articulate their needs and thoughts to you. Why do we do that? I'm certain I never imagined a day when I'd be driving down the road, minding my own business, and from the backseat my 5 yr. old son would randomly, quite out of the blue say:

"Hey, Mom? If Sponge Bob died, he would bleed yellow."

Boy, talk about non sequitur. Maybe I don't really need to know what goes on inside his head.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's spring, and you know what that means...

This is traditionally the time of year when I start getting antsy and thinking about other ways to homeschool. Why do I do that??? At least it has become a predictable pattern, and if I can just keep myself in check for the next month or so, this will pass with little damage to our bank account, LOL! (Note to self: do not go here or here and start browsing around). Homeschooling has given me so much, not the least of which has been an opportunity for introspection on some of my own unique challenges - the most glaring being that I find it nearly impossible to stick to something long enough to finish it. I hope this is strictly a personal shortcoming, and not a genetic trait which I may have passed onto my children.

There has been some talk in my local homeschool group recently about the possibility of starting up some kind of co-op. This had me thinking back to our year-long Africa study with our friends back in CA. I found the link to my write up about it on my old website I've been looking back longingly, but I think that time away from the experience is what makes my heart grow fonder. While the kids absolutely had a blast with it, the amount of time the parent puts into it makes it pretty exhausting. I learned a LOT while doing the research for each of the topics we studied, but I don't know if I have it in me to plan something again in that much depth for a single year. That's definitely an area where a traditional classroom teacher is set - you can plan a year out, and then be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor as you reuse it again, year after year.

N. and I went to the play "Little Women" yesterday afternoon. This play was based on Alcott's life growing up with her sisters, and her early career. They had a pretty small cast made up almost entirely of teens, and they were quite talented. N. really enjoyed it, and was so involved in the storyline that she cried after Beth died. Afterwards she was telling me how great the actors were - that they were so good you forgot they were just acting. We haven't read the story "Little Women", so I think we'll be doing that soon. Today N. took an audition basics class to learn about what to expect at an audition, and how to prepare, should she decide to pursue this any further. ;P

Hubby and I celebrated our 11 year wedding anniversary on Saturday. Well, "celebrated" isn't really accurate, since we had so much going on that day that we didn't get to do anything special just for us. We hosted an egg hunt with my sister and my nephew, and then the kids had a bday party to go to that night. B. enjoyed a bike ride while we were gone. Well, "enjoyed" isn't particularly accurate, since he crashed and burned, bending his chain crank (? - I'm sure I have this part name incorrect, LOL) at a 90 degree angle. He scraped himself off the ground and found a rock to hammer it back into a more rideable shape, and finished his ride back to the car. I love that - just picked a rock off the ground and repaired his bike. Did I mention that I bought him a book called the "Outdoor Book for Adventurous Boys of all ages"? Sounded like it would be right up his alley.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

And now for a cross-cultural treat - an Easter haiku:
baskets found early
chocolate eaten quickly
all is now quiet

I wanted to share a recent great find with you guys. They Might Be Giants, Here Come the 123s
I LOVE this cd! We already owned "Here Come the ABCs", which the kids and I thoroughly enjoy, but this latest cd is even better. This is classic TMBG. Granted, my musical tastes tend towards quirky, so you'll probably need to decide for yourself. In particular I enjoy the songs "Number Two", "Seven", "Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go to Work)", "Pirate Girls Nine", "Nine Bowls of Soup" and "Nonagon".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Still hangin' in there

Today I feel awful, and I know it's because I didn't give N. adequate sympathy when she was being extra whiny a couple of days ago. Karma. Thanks for the well wishes. I'm sure I'll be feeling better in no time.

I mentioned that taking advantage of the free K12 curriculum through the public school system was wearing thin. No one who knows me is surprised in the slightest that I would eventually come to loathe this arrangement. They may be surprised that it took me this long to feel that way, but then I'd have to remind them that we were teacher-free for the first 2 1/2 months (that's how long it took them to finally assign us to someone and make contact with us). What's driving me batty is this constant push for "progress". Each month we (meaning every student in the school) are supposed to get a percentage of the curriculum completed. It's usually around 11%, which gets you to 100% by June.

At this point I'd like to take you for a stroll down memory lane in which you are reminded that NEVER in all your years in public school in America did you ever make it completely through a textbook by the last day of school. Case in point: US History my junior year in high school. I recall spending the first 3/4ths of the year getting up through the Declaration of Independence, and then we tried to quickly wrap-up the next 200 years during the last nine weeks of school. I remember reading about WWI, and wistfully flipping pages ahead to WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam, and wondering when in my life I would ever be taught those. Never happened. But I digress....

As I was saying: progress. So we mark off lessons completed each day. I'm not going to try and make excuses for the days when we don't get all our lessons done, but life happens, and we generally make up for it. What I would like to complain about is the fact that there are all these wonderful lessons in Math, History, and Science that are marked "optional". These are great lessons that delve further into the subject matter, and really help cement the ideas that are being presented. We like them, and look forward to them. What I didn't know is that every time we choose to do an optional lesson as it comes up in our daily plan, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. The optional lessons DO NOT COUNT towards progress! If we do the optional lesson, then we are putting ourselves behind. Kinda sucks that love of learning right out of you.

So this discrepancy between optional and core lessons explains my confusion when last month I thought we had reached our percentages, and the teacher informed me we hadn't. She then fairly hastily brushed it aside as my voice began to rise like that of someone who is about to go off the deep end. This, people, is what happens when you give over control of your child's education to someone else. I've said time and again that nothing is ever free - there are always strings attached. Earlier this evening I indicated to hubby the thoughts I would be expressing to N's "teacher" the next time I spoke with her on the phone, but as this blog is a family-friendly place, I can't really repeat those things here in good conscience. And one really shouldn't shoot the messenger. Sometimes it just feels good though.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2 kids with a cold, plus 1 mom with a cold equals...

A really pitiful lot, we are! I literally felt the cold coming on somewhere between the library and the grocery store. My eyes started to ache, my throat got scratchy, and nose began to run. Nice. It's not bad enough to put us out of commission, but just bad enough to feel kinda bleh.

Under the pressure of "making adequate monthly progress" (belonging to the virtual academy, even part-time is starting to grow old) our school day went on as normal. N. and I played a fun game together for her spelling review. I can't take credit for it - it was listed under today's activities. It's basically tic-tac-toe, but in order to be able to write your "x" or "o", you have to spell a spelling word out loud. We had the words on little squares of paper and tossed them into a small grab bag. One person would reach in and then read the word for the other person to spell. It was great - reinforced the reading of the words for N., and made the spelling part more fun. She says she'd like to do that again sometime.

I found out today that next year the drama class that N. is currently in will be open for 5-9 year olds. This presents a dilemma. I'd really wanted A. to take this class next fall, but he made it clear that he doesn't want to do it alone (and this year the class was described as being for K-3rd, so I figured N. wouldn't do it again). Now that N. can take it with him, I'm not sure I want to hold her back. If we do sign her up for it, should I also sign her up for the production class for the 8-12 year olds (which was my plan originally)? She was actually excited when I mentioned the possiblity of her taking the class with her brother. There aren't many activities that they get to do together like this - usually he's too young, or she's too old. Oh, the drama classes are at Studio East in Kirkland. I'll run it by hubby and see what he thinks (his usual response is something along the lines of "Whatever you think is best, dear", LOL).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A captive audience

Maybe you've heard of those programs where they take new and struggling readers and have them read to a canine companion? These take place in libraries and schools around the country. My kids have never shown any interest in reading to our dog, and I've never actually suggested it. However, as I sit typing this, N. is reading to her rats, and she came up with it all on her own. She's reading to them from a passage titled: Animals in Winter: the Dozers.

LOL - here's the conversation taking place...

N (reading): "... they eat worms and grubs."
(to the rats): "Don't worry, boys, you're not worms or grubs, so you don't have anything to worry about!"

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


The kids have been playing some imaginative scenario involving a variety of toys, including their fisher price castle, a rescue hero firetruck, and a planet heroes spaceship. While they were playing, I overheard this:

N's character (a polly pocket) said: How'd the battle go?
A's character (a rescue hero) said (in a deep voice): Oh, not well. I got fired. There were cameras, and they saw me not shooting the water cannons. That's the problem with battles - no rest time.

LOL - video surveillance on the battlefield. Roman Empire meets 21st century.

Also overheard (or rather, following from afar) - a ruling was recently made in Los Angeles county that has homeschoolers watching closely. The case involved allegations of child abuse against parents who were educating their children at home under an independent study program through a "charter school" (in paretheses because it's unclear whether this school was actually a public charter, or a private school). There a lot of unanswered questions for those of us who are just becoming aware of the story. One of the biggest questions is why wasn't this pursued as simply an abuse case? Why attack homeschooling? Unfortunately abuse takes place in all sorts of families, including families that send their kids to public school. Does the government suggest that, in the interest of avoiding child abuse, all children be removed from their parents' care shortly after birth so that the authorities can better monitor their well-being? No, that would be ridiculous, just as ridiculous as requiring all children to physically attend school in a full-time private or public school outside of the home in the interest of ensuring that none are being abused. For more on this story, including the court document filed in this case, visit the California Homeschool Network website.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Well, no surprise there...

I mean, really - how often do you come across someone like me who is both goofy AND brilliant? To know me is to love me.

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

Thanks, Vegiemama, for bringing this to my attention. ;P