Tag Archives: homeschooling

What’s happenin’

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My workspace

I’m back! Briefly –haha.  Much has happened since the summer. I’ll do my best to recap. Here it goes…

1. In August, we enrolled our son in a private school and he didn’t like it. It appears homeschoolers just can’t hack 12+ hour days of the drudge of traditional school life.  In fact, he missed having a life.  Yes, a 13-year-old can have a life outside of school, I guess.  There was no sense in paying a tuition when your child is miserable.  So, we went back to homeschooling.  He was there for only a couple of weeks. I suppose when you know something is wrong for you, it doesn’t take you long to figure it out.

2. During the summer months, I prepared a lengthy application to request a grant from my local arts council for a ceramic kiln.  In October, they finally notified me with their decision to not fund me the grant. Poo. 😦 Sure, I was disappointed, but life is full of disappointments.  So, I moved forward.  I found another great pottery studio to work in.  I’m excited to have a whole new experience in a new location.

3.  Yoga is a new passion of mine.  I practice it at a studio four times a week, and I. LOVE. IT.  Enough said. 🙂

4. Lastly, I will spill a little secret. I am a HUGE Dinosaur Jr. fan, and have forever adored J Mascis.  I had not seen them in concert since October 21, 1994, so I was super psyched to finally attend a concert after 18 years. They really rock!  If you are interested in seeing the performance I recorded and/or my photographs, feel free to click on the following links.

Dinosaur Jr. performing “The Lung” live.

Pics of the concert on Flickr.

And yes, I was the ONLY 40+ year-old woman at the stage!  I didn’t care.  I deserved it. 🙂

I miss my blogging friends.  I hope everyone is well.  I’ll try to check out everyone’s blog soon.

Now, back to juggling my life.  See ya’!

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Happy summer!

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I hope everyone is having a great summer. It sure has been a while since I wrote a post. Apologies as usual. 🙂

So much is changing here. The biggest change is my son will start a private school in late August. The life of a home schooled middle schooler (and only child-at that) is kinda lonely…

What have I been up to? Well, I spent the past few months working on a grant proposal to request an art grant through my local arts council. Composing four narratives made me never want to write again! But I miss blogging, there just hasn’t been any time for it.

With my son going to school, that means I will soon enter the working world. Yikes! After homeschooling for nearly eight years…and having only two part-time jobs during thirteen years of being a stay-at-home mom…need I say more?

In addition to all of these changes, I am still working on my ceramic art. I’ll update my art website soon with some recent work. Here’s a preview of a line of functional pottery I’m developing–wine plates!

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By the way, writing a post from my phone is sooo much easier than from my laptop. Hope it looks decent, too.

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Happy Easter!

Easter blessings to everyone! 

I apologize for being away from blogging for so long, but I haven’t had much time to write any posts.  I have enjoyed reading and commenting on other’s blogs, but “circumstances” seemed to have gotten in the way of me composing a decent post.

Here are a few of the excuses circumstances

  • Husband has been at home since the end of March recovering from carpel tunnel surgery.  It is hard to explain how his being home 24/7 has interupted my normal routine, but it has.  He is expected to return to work sometime in early May. 
  • I spent part of my spring break out of town with an old college friend.   This was only for 3 days.  Not a very good excuse, I know, but it was fun. 
  • I was stricken with poison ivy again.  Not that it was a hinderance with writing a post, but just annoying.  Fortunately, the rash was no where near as bad as the rash I had back in the summer.  (Note to self: Must learn to stay away from the right section of my backyard.)
  • We have been taking advantage of husband being at home during his recovery by going on a few extra field trips during the week. 
  • And, of course, I cannot forget homeschooling.

The kitchen timer has just gone off and I am off to dye Easter eggs! 

Happy Easter!

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First day of spring

Happy spring to everyone!

The daffodils are blooming along with flowering trees, forsythias, and the like.   Many signs of spring are everywhere, including my aching back, which is  from clearing dead leaves out of my flower beds, and transplanting a large area of nandina.   Spring fever hits me hard with many garden projects around my house.

We are at week 29 with school, and we  just finished studying the Persian Empire, animal cells, and pi.  My son use to love math and has always tested a couple of grade levels ahead in the subject.  This year is a different story.  He isn’t fond of  this year’s curriculum of percents, decimals, and most recently, pi, area, and circumference.  The problem isn’t understanding how to do them, he can do them, he just hates it.  I don’t understand this.  My attitude is just do it if you know how, and don’t have an attitude about it.  It is so frustrating!  But I know I shouldn’t complain no matter how challenging things get.  My old college friend just returned from South Korea for a visit, and she explained to me that Korean children are in school for 12 hours or more.  They have no life other than school. When they are at home, they have no time for home life or to pursue personal interests.  They do homework until midnight or later, go to bed, and then get up at 6:00 am and start the day again.  Maybe there are some American school children with this schedule, but I am thankful to have the freedom and opportunity to provide an education for my child and allow time to do fun things.   He has time to pursue his own interests outside of what is required of him as a student.   School is important, but there is so much in life that a child should experience other than school. 

I am still reading The China Study, but nowhere near putting my thoughts together to blog about it.  It is still foremost on my mind.  I can easily talk about it rather than write about it.   Perhaps a better solution would be to do a video blog and post it on YouTube.  Hmmm… I could talk about my encounter with the couple who suggested the book to me.   Making a video blog is just a thought, but something I am considering.  

In light of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most things I am normally concerned with have taken a backseat.  Last week was uneventful with nothing written on my calendar, except for the 1 year passing of my dog, Bodie.  The down-time allowed me to do a lot of thinking, say a lot of prayers, and count a lot of blessings.  In the grande scheme of things, there is nothing I should complain about.  Nothing.  Even homeschooling.  

So, I will end this post with a familiar sign of spring, a bird’s nest.  It isn’t an actual bird’s nest, but a salad my son created for his first 4-H Nutrition Fair entry.   The salad was all his idea, it is similar to the salad he makes from the salad bar when we eat at Jason’s Deli.  I suggested the breadstick twigs to make the branches for the nest to rest on.  He created the bird theme for the table display and place setting.  It was a very clever idea and he won a blue ribbon for his dish.  It was a very proud moment for us all.

If you absolutely LOVE this salad and would like to make your very own at home, I have included the recipe.

Bird’s Nest salad

 

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Lapbooking through history

Back in the summer, I researched ways to make my son’s upcoming 6th grade history fun and interesting.  Just reading about history bores him to tears, and he desperately needed something more with a hands-on approach.  It didn’t need to be heavily activity based, but it needed to be something more than reading and note taking.

We had done notebooking in the past, but a fellow homeschooling mom suggested that I try lapbooking.  What is lapbooking?  Lapbooking is a project folder created by the student and held in his or her lap.  Information and pictures are glued or taped inside the folder in the form of mini-books, fold outs, and flaps. It unfolds and opens up to display a wealth of information on a particular topic, all on one place.  This sounded like a great idea!  I knew that we could do some serious lapbooking for American history.

Lapbooking was a God-send, until I got my hands on it.  You see, I identified my short-coming long ago with teaching history and science.  I know exactly what my problem is- I collect too many resources and tend to be too eclectic.  Teaching from one book with one point of view or one example is so…BORING!  I’d rather teach from four or five books!  Now, introduce lapbooking to this eclectic homeschooling mom, and it almost spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.  I had to be very careful not to complicate the project and overwhelm my son with too much information.  Trying to keep everything concise would be a challenge.

My first intentions were to make only a few lapbooks about the major wars. Then I thought there needed to be more.  I felt it would be important to show how America progressed over the last century because there were some remarkable changes and advancements.  That idea developed into making a whole series of America lapbooks to show images of people and how they changed, as well as highlights of cultural and historical events. We paid special attention to the developments in televisions, telephones and automobiles. 

As anyone can guess, gathering the information was extremely time-consuming with all of the researching, formatting, and printing.  There was often a lot of information to include (and figuring out what to exclude) for each lapbook.  My son started out pretty strong with adding drawings and writing short summaries, but by the time he got to the fourth lapbook the common question was, “Are we doing another lapbook?”  It was clear that I had overdone it again.  Ugh!  Where I thought the lapbooks were the answer to making history fun, I had made making them a nightmare!  The last three lapbooks were mostly my doing because my poor son was approaching burnout.  I only required that he add a title here or there and just read the information.  To keep my son from hating lapbooks and me, I made the final lapbook appeal to him on a personal level.  I added images to the cover of things that he currently likes, such as Mario and Yoshi, his Nintendo DS, and his one of his favorite TV shows, iCarly. 😉 Doing that redeemed myself a little, but not completely. 

All seven lapbooks are featured in the slideshow and appear in the following order:

  • America 1900’s – 1920’s
  •  World War I
  • America 1930’s-1940’s 
  • World War II
  • America 1950’s-1960’s 
  • America 1970’s-1980’s
  • America 1990’s-2000’s

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I would like to thank Jimmie, over at Jimmie’s Collage for inspiring me with her lapbooking ideas.  Her blog was the most helpful with providing templates and pictures of her daughter’s lapbooks. 

We finished American history, and are now studying Ancient history.  Luckily for my son, there are no lapbooks to make.  Our only projects are to construct a Mayan temple and the Roman Coliseum…from a kit, of course. 🙂

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