Saturday, September 27, 2008

Here it comes! NaNoWriMo 2008

I'm not a writer, but I'm intrigued by this event, the National Novel Writing Month. Adult participants attempt to write a 50,000+ word novel during the month of November. There is also an event for younger writers which allows them to set their own word count.

Join kids and teens all around the world in
tackling the fun, frightening, and totally
unforgettable challenge of bashing out an entire
book in one month.
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll write like crazy for
30 adventurous days. And on December 1, you’ll
have a great new book to read. Your own.
(From Young Writers Program flyer)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Under Pressure

Seven years ago, I received a call from my mom that a friend of mine had died in a car wreck. I was stunned. For the next week I walked about in a daze seeing life through a different set of lenses. As I looked around me, I realized that some things I had deemed important in this life really weren't that important.

Six months ago my daughter confided to me that she had been depressed for quite some time. Though I went through the necessary steps to get help for her, I was in denial. I was sure that it was just a hormonal know, part of growing up....and that everything would be better soon. Reality set in the day I found myself holding a bottle of Prozac in my hand and listening to the pharmacist on the other side of the counter counsel me about the possible side effects of the medication. I don't think I'll ever forget the drive home. On the outside I forced myself to stay calm for my daughter's sake, but on the inside I was shaken. How had this happened? In the space of one year, both of my oldest girls had experienced major events in their lives that no parent would ever wish for their children. Over and over again I pondered what part I had played in bringing us to this point. By the time we pulled in the driveway, I again found myself looking at life through a different set of lenses.

The changes that came about in my oldest child's life were easier for me to deal with. It was something I was familiar with and I knew it would have a definite end. I knew how to help her. But with my younger daughter's depression I feel like I'm in a dark tunnel trying to feel my way out. I want SO much to help her, but I'm not sure how. And like a dark tunnel, I cannot see if the end is close or far away. There is no way to tell. At times I think we are making great strides, and then I stumble on an unexpected obstacle and I realize that we haven't come as far as I had naively imagined. And when I stumble, I realize how tired I am. I try to stay strong for my daughter, but there are days that I falter.

A few days ago, I experienced an unexpected obstacle along the path. My daughter let me know that her medication was actually making her have more frequent bouts with the depression. There was a flurry of communication between the psychologist, the pediatrician, his nurse, and me. In what felt like the blink of an eye, we found ourselves in the pharmacy with a new prescription in hand.

Interestingly enough,it is almost always after one of these unexpected bumps in the road that I remember that I need to put my new lenses back on. Tonight I did just that and I was reminded of what I learned after my friend died....some things are more important than others and those are the things that I should focus on.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I wanted to "escape" into some lite reading last night, so I headed for 13yodd's bookcase. She has a collection of fantasy books, and I figured that would do the trick. I chose Fablehaven since I had heard favorable reviews.

It was a fun read and had some surprisingly strong similarities to The Sisters Grimm (sanctuary for magical creatures/fairy tale characters, children who are unwillingly sent to stay with grandparents they vaguely know, a grandparent is kidnapped and it is up to the children to save the day). It made me wonder which one was published first.

Even though it was one of those fun, brainless reads, as a parent I wasn't able to fully enjoy it. I was constantly annoyed by the fact that the 11yo character repeatedly disobeyed the rules without being disciplined. Time and time again his grandfather sets down clearly defined rules and this kid disobeys him as soon as the grandfather is out of sight. There are no consequences enforced by the adults in charge. And, when "natural" consequences do occur, he doesn't seem to learn from it. He goes right back out and disobeys again - almost immediately.

Sad to say, but I think this is a common theme in modern children's literature and movies: children are portrayed as being wiser than the adults who surround them. No wonder today's children have little if no respect for adults.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008


Last week 10yo cheered when she realized it was Friday. "Woohoo! Two days off!" It is amazing to me how trashed I feel and how trashed the house looks by the time Friday rolls around. Today has been no different, BUT I also feel good because I know we accomplished a lot this week. Did we get everything done? Nope, but we got closer than we did last week.

Good happenings:
  • Oldest dd and her cute baby came for a visit. 13yodd proved that holding a baby is definitely more fun than doing Algebra.
  • 13 yo fulfilled an assignment with a creative twist "America"
  • 13 yo scored 100% on her first Algebra test!
  • 10 yo finished all of her schooling by 10 a.m. this morning. Aah!
  • 10 yo made brownies using a 1960's 4-H cookbook she found at Grandma's house.
  • 6 yo enjoyed pushing her niece around the neighborhood in a stroller even though it made me very nervous.
  • 6yo looks so cute with a tooth missing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Doing it all (Homeschool)

Another homeschool mom asked how others get everything on their schedule finished and done in a timely manner. My reply helped me sort through what I do with my own middle schooler. I decided to post it here - my second brain.

Eek! Rereading what I posted makes me sound like a slacker. We just finished our first full week and I hope to accomplish more as we find our groove over the next few weeks.

BTW, some of these classical education moms have seriously SCARY schedules for their children.

First post:
Sheepishly chiming in here. We do very little. My main goal is Latin, math, and writing every day. I would LOVE to do more but with three kiddos, weekly counseling appointments, and church meetings, it is all I can do right now. I still have hope for the future. ; )

A couple of things help. First, I try not to assign work in areas that she already does/enjoys. She is writing her own book and is reading The Lord of the Rings, so we aren't doing writing or literature lessons....yet.

The other thing that I do is try to find self teaching programs. For example:
Latin - Lively Latin
Math - Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1
Spelling - Phonetic Zoo

The other thought I've had is to teach subjects like a university does .... only 4-5 subjects a term and M,W,F, or T,TH schedules for each class/subject.

Second Post:
One more - have a cut off time. By 2pm I call it quits no matter how much we have left to do. There is always tomorrow.

BTW, I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish over a year, but I only put weekly goals in writing. I was getting angry when we got "behind."

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

CVC Words

Have a little one learning how to sound out CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words? Check out "Dog's Letter Pit" from the PBS show WordWorld.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Curriculum 2008/2009

6 yodd
Rod & Staff Preschool
Let's Build Words - magnetic
Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD
Leap Frog Talking Words Factory DVD

Older Girls
The Latin-Centered Curriculum
Big Book of Lively Latin
Christian Studies (Memoria Press)
Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry
Fix It!

IEW's Student Writing Intensive A
IEW's Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales
Rod & Staff Math 4
Rod & Staff English 4
Rod & Staff Spelling
D'Aulaire's Greek Myth Study
Rod & Staff Social Studies 3

13 yodd
Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1
Phonetic Zoo (spelling)
Rod & Staff English 6
The Aeneid - Fitzgerald translation
The Teaching Company's Aeneid of Virgil
Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings
The Teaching Company's Understanding the Brain
A History of US by Joyce Hakim

Attitude Adjustment

Many moons ago, I was the mom of a public school child. And just like moms all over the country, I too looked forward to the first day of school.

Times have changed. Today I am a homeschool mom and have been for eight years. Like any other life style choice we make, there are pros and cons. This morning as some of those cons were rolling through my head, I decided to surf the net a bit. I was surprised and saddened to read how happy and relieved many moms are to be sending their children back to school. Even moms with very young children seem to be counting down the days until they can send their children away.

An attitude adjustment has taken place. My heart feels full as I realize what a blessing I have before me this morning. I have the privilege of being with my girls every day and witnessing their struggles and their triumphs.

How thankful I am that homeschool is a choice available to me and that my dear husband supports me and allows me this wonderful opportunity. And of course, I am very thankful for my sister who showed me the way.