Until further notice this blog is on hiatus.
Another week of illness in the house and anticipation while we waited for Friday and Saturday.
- In my life this week… The biggest event, beyond any other, was Sam turning fifteen on Friday. P and I went to the Kenny Chesney 2013 tour opening at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday. It was AWESOME!!!! We’ve been working on Ben and motivation. It’s not easy, but we’re making progress getting him to do the things he needs to do.
- In our homeschool this week… we read some and we worked on art and we learned about magnets. Specifically, Ben worked on developing his ideas more for his art projects related to animals at the zoo. We also watched a The Science of Disney Imagineering: Magnetism that Ben really enjoyed.
- Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… take your time and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. I struggle with this, but I’m realizing that Ben is going to learn on Ben’s path and we’re going to have to let him lead.
- I am inspired by… people who work hard and pursue their dreams. One example is Katie’s godmother.
- Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Well, obviously, we saw Kenny Chesney and the Eli Young Band and Eric Church. We went with Katie’s godparents and actually tailgated at the concert. It was awesome. The kids had an overnight for the first time together and it appears to have gone well. I’m pleased.
- My favorite thing this week was… Hearing Kenny Chesney sing. Although, I developed a new appreciation for Eric Church, too.
- What’s working/not working for us… Working: Taking our time with school and working on things that interest Ben. Taking our time means that we don’t rush through the material. He loves watching to learn and working on things to some degree on his own, but he needs more relationship time with me. Not Working: figuring out how to give him relationship time that he needs while also giving Katie time. She is much less demanding for that time, but needs it to. Ben is like a sponge. He will take every ounce I have and I need a little left for me. I have to figure this out before it kills me.
- Questions/thoughts I have…Anything worth doing takes time. I need to be working on things that I want to do and need to do in order to feel successful.
- Things I’m working on… with that in mind, I have to think hard about what I want to work on. I’ve managed to carve out time each day to work on a Lenten Devotional. I need to find time for the things that matter to me.
- I’m reading… Minimalist Parenting and The Power of Zip in a Heavenly Light
- I’m cooking… Spinach Cheddar Chive Scones, but I’m using the Artisanal Gluten Free Cookingscones recipe (halved) as the base so that I can eat them, too.
- I’m grateful for…Centering prayer and Project Life.
- I’m praying for… sleep that is restful and allows me to feel good rather than always being tired.
- A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
This is part of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal blog hop at iHomeschookNetwork. If you’d like to learn what other homeschoolers did in the last week go here.
It’s hard for me to even write this because I suspect it will be the last birthday post I write for my girl and I don’t quite know what to say. Sam is fifteen years old today. She’s old. For any breed, she’s old; for a lab, she’s ancient. And some days it seems obvious that she is ancient, and other days, she seems like herself.
Most days, she’s just Sam. Mom obsessed, emotionally left of center, and utterly devoted to her kids and to me. It’s hard to believe she’s the same little being that we brought home fifteen years ago in a cardboard box. I can’t believe she’s the same dog that was on death’s door three months before Ben was born. We almost lost her that first weekend. We waited too long and we taxed Dr. Chip’s abilities to their max, but he pulled her through (oh, who am I fooling, Sam’s iron will pulled her through that just like it got her through mushroom poisoning, quilt pins, and host of other self-inflicted injuries).
She’s still a hot mess of allergies. She had a really rough go this year and developed some scary looking patches on her skin because of those allergies. Heavy doses of Benedryl and she’s doing a lot better. She’s taking Tramadol full time now. It keeps the pain at bay and that allows her to do the things she wants to do.
Her goals seem lower now. She’s not interested in chasing squirrels anymore (they don’t realize that and run at the sight of her), but she likes to take a few ambles out in the yard. Her life has been limited for years, so those ambles are her walks. She likes to be with me. That’s her main thing. Be with mom. If she’s with me then she’s happy and I’m happy to have her. She loves her hamburgers and her fries. She’ll be getting those in a bit. She takes each day as it comes and doesn’t seem to be particularly bothered by not being able to do some things she used to do.
I hope I age as gracefully.
Love you, Sam. Happy 15th.
Everyone is sick, including P, so it’s been a really light week. I’m a bit overwhelmed by work and by how far behind we got with some stuff in homeschool. Next week marks a return to some more school like activities.
- In my life this week… I retrieved the Mighty Mac from the Apple store and it now works again. The plan is to clean it off and give it to P. That will be done soon.
- In our homeschool this week… Ben has been planning his art project for the art show at the Zoo School. He needs to use three different animals and two different art techniques in his project. He has decided on his animals, but is still working on his planned art techniques. Katie has been doing a lot of iPad school. She is an independent learner and doesn’t want a lot of assistance, so this is working for her for now.
- Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Good apps are worth their weight in gold. Katie adores Smarty Pants School and Teach Me: Kindergarten and something with monkeys, but I don’t remember what it is. Also, Reading Raven and Letter School.
- I am inspired by… my students. They are working so hard and putting in a lot of effort on their assignments. I’m really pleased with their work.
- Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… this was zoo school week. Ben learned about Florida strangers. Non-native animals, in particular, that are destroying native wildlife. I think he really enjoyed this lesson. We also went to dance and Wednesday night at church. Today, we’ll be going to see Dr. W — the kids’ eye doctor. Ben is not expecting a good report, but we’re hopeful that Katie will get one.
- My favorite thing this week was… watching Katie write her alphabet today. I am amazed, honestly, given that she has not practiced this skill at all.
- What’s working/not working for us… Working: project time. Ben is devoting his project time this month to his art project for the art show. He’s still interested in graphic novels and took one of the blank comic books that I have to work on that project as well. I keep a stash of blank books from: www.barebooks.com available for the kids — this is one supply that they do have to ask for, but their requests are rarely turned down. Not working: too much unstructured time. Ben needs more specific guidance and activities, but finding ones that he’s willing to do is challenging. I’m not sure how to work with him or what he might want to do.
- Questions/thoughts I have… Our biggest challenge is that he wants to be able to do school the way that Katie does, but there aren’t great apps for his age group like there are for hers. It’s a consistent struggle.
- Things I’m working on… I’m working on catching up project life (I’m a couple of weeks behind), and fixing the pages that I did because I discovered that I didn’t fully understand how the templates work. I’m trying to get some cross-stich time in and I need to work on making a nine shirt for my sister’s niece. I’m hoping to get it done in time for my parents to take it up at Easter .
- I’m reading… The Art of Forgiving, The Power of Zip in a Heavenly Light and Minimalist Parenting.
- I’m cooking… cheese quesadillas on corn tortillas. I love them very much. Especially on Fridays.
- I’m grateful for…Good friends. Rediscovering the Pomodoro technique thanks to Ann Voskamp’s 25 For Sanity Manifesto (please be aware that she has auto-music on her site. You can turn it off on the page — lower left hand side of the page.
- I’m praying for… all of the people and institutions on the parish prayer chain. And for all the kids and parents on spring break in the coming week. Also, Katie’s friend who is having surgery on Tuesday. It’s not a big deal, but it’s surgery.
- A photo, video, link, or quote to share… Katie writing her letters:
This is part of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal blog hop. To see what other folks have been doing this week go here.
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We are still in science fair recovery mode, so it’s been pretty low-key this week.
- In my life this week… it’s felt hectic and out of sorts. The school I adjunct for feels busy for some reason and I feel like I have so much to do and I can’t keep up. Another friend lost a beloved labby boy and I keep looking at my elderly and increasingly fragile girl and asking how she keeps moving. I’m grateful beyond measure that she does, but I am at a loss to explain how she’s doing it.
- In our homeschool this week… we have added a new friend. My laptop gave up the proverbial ghost last week and our desktop will be twelve years old this summer. It seemed time to get a replacement that the kids can actually use. Meet Mega Mac:
- Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… It’s okay to take your time. I keep wanting to be done with things and I have to keep reminding myself that we’re not on anyone’s schedule but our own.
- I am inspired by… Sam. She just keeps going and going and going. And it’s not like she’s in pain or complaining or desperate to be out of here. The worst fits we get from her are when I spend too long in the office (most people call it a dining room, but it has four desks in it and no table, so office it is) after being gone most of the day. She does not like a lot of separation from me and pitches gigantic fits until I spend time with her. Mind you, as soon as I am with her she settles down and goes to sleep, but I guess my presence is soothing (or I’m boring, either way, it works).
- Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… MOSI class this week. Just when I think it’s time to cut MOSI loose, they have a class neither kid has done before and that both were fascinated with. Light and Shadows went over HUGE with these two.
- My favorite thing this week was… we have to ask? the Mega Mac takes the prize.
- What’s working/not working for us… Working: art. The kids are essentially allowed in the art cabinet to take and work with what they want. Today it was clay. The two days before paper crafting. They’re having fun and learning what works and what doesn’t. Not working: not having a schedule for the week. I need to take the time to make a schedule for us so that we have some idea what we’re trying to accomplish. The all science fair all the time thing is no longer working (since science fair is over).
- Questions/thoughts I have…How would you go about convincing your pediatrician that the child who seems entirely normal when he’s in the ped’s office may not be entirely normal?
- Things I’m working on… The first day of Minimalist Parenting Camp. This is a pre-release thing for the book Minimalist Parenting. We’re getting assignments that are in some way related to the book and so far, it’s cool and thought provoking.
- I’m reading…
- I’m cooking…
- I’m grateful for… the ability to replace a laptop on very short notice. for the impressive speed of this new machine and the fact that it makes it SO much easier to work in photoshop.
- I’m praying for… my friends who have lost their canine friends this last week and a half. Too many gone, too soon. My heart hurts for all of you. Also for the family affected by the sinkhole here in my neck of the woods this morning. Nothing like a reminder that, for all intents and purposes, the ground could swallow us wholesale at any time.
- A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and Creative Thursdays by Marisa at Creative Thursday. Both are challenging me and we’ll see what comes of it.
I made gluten-free granola this week. Of course, I have no yogurt to eat it in, but hey, I made the granola at least.
This is part of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal blog hop. To see what other folks have been doing this week go here.
Last week was just too much for me to do much with. Between funerals, anniversaries of deaths, and the science fair project, I didn’t stand a chance. Add in a particularly hostile work student and end of term and you have a perfect storm for not keeping up with what we’ve been doing.
- In my life this week… It was all science fair, all the time. I think we’re starting to recover and I hope that next year will be somewhat less stressful. I went to centering prayer on Monday, which is one of the highlights of my week. I find it hard to center at home (I can’t imagine why), but that hour really sustains me. We started a Lenten series for the Gathering at church based on Same Kind of Different As Me. The book is different from the study series, but it’s an interesting contrast.
- In our homeschool this week… We spent A LOT of time working on the science fair. Making the graphs was nearly the death of Ben, but he managed to draw all three and he was pretty pleased with himself for doing it. As mentioned in my previous post, he is planning to do something with rocket science for next year’s fair. This should be interesting.
- Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… Science fairs are a lot of fun but a lot of work. What I think was most valuable about this experience for Ben was learning how to organize information and draw conclusions from it.
- I am inspired by… my assistant rector.
- Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Dance and science fair. Isn’t that enough for one week?
- My favorite thing this week was…Discovering that Ben’s project was more than just awesome in my eyes. That second place finish really gave him some affirmation from outside that helped him way more than I imagined it would. But hearing him say, repeatedly, that it didn’t matter if he won or lost, just that he’d worked hard and learned something that made me happiest.
- What’s working/not working for us… Right now we’re having a lot of behavior issues. I am doing a metric ton of research on how to handle this and I’m trying to get better at it. We also discovered during the course of this project that Ben has some challenges that we were previously not aware of. We are now assessing options to get him the assistance that he needs.
- Questions/thoughts I have…Trying to figure out how to work the we homeschool but we use an umbrella school issue.
- Things I’m working on… Grading. I’m behind and need to get myself back together.
- I’m reading…Parenting the QBQ Way, Creative Thursdays
- I’m cooking… absolutely nothing.
- I’m praying for… more direction than “brave” and “step out in faith”.
- A photo, video, link, or quote to share… We are in so much trouble. That is her brother’s bike
This post is part of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal blog hop sponsored by iHomeschool Network. To find out what other families have done this week, go here.
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I may have mentioned a time or twelve that I have been heavily influenced this year by Lori Pickert’s Project-Based Homeschooling. This coincided with the homeschool science class at Lowry Park Zoo that Ben attends deciding that they were going to host their first ever science fair. Ben and I stayed and listened to the presentation on the science fair and he decided he was interested in producing a project for it. So, we were off and running.
Well, not really, first he had to decide what he was interested in. We found (with a little help) the websites Science Buddies and we looked at age appropriate subjects that he could work on. What I did not do was let him read ANY of the material on the website. So, while he took inspiration from the project that we read the discussion of and he developed it on his own from there. It took him a while to figure out which variable he was really interested in (time to crystal or types of crystals developed, etc), but he did figure it out and he did an admirable job of putting it all together.
We spent roughly three months on this project. He didn’t work on it every day. But it was mulled over, discussed, and produced in an approximately three month time frame. We did discover something about Ben during this project that we’re going to be taking to our pediatrician and see about having him evaluated. We know some things are not quite connecting, but we’re not sure how or why, so it needs to be looked into.
I include three things with this post. First, I interviewed Ben this morning about his experiences with his science fair project:
Mom: what was the best part of the science fair?
Ben: my favorite part was getting my medal and working hard to make the project.
Mom: how was presenting your project to the judges?
Ben: I was happy and scared.
Mom: what did you learn from doing this project?
Ben: I learned that it takes a lot of hard work and it doesn’t matter if you win or lose.
Mom: what do you think your next project is going to be?
Ben: I’m interested in rocket science for the science fair.
Mom: what do you think you want to work on for your next project learning project.
Ben: I think I’m going to write a graphic novel about a little rocket who tries to blast into space and bigger rockets who tease him.
Mom: where did you learn about graphic novels?
Ben: from the story Arthur.
A photo of his roughed out board (before we started gluing):
And a photo of Ben explaining his project to an adult who walked by:
You can see that the board is a bit more complete and visually interesting, but he was very determined not to distract from his crystals with too much art. All I can say is let the research into graphic novels begin. And apparently, we’ll be spending the next year researching rocket science.