Category Archives: homeschooling

Guest blog from my 13 yr old son: Operation Bird bomb

My kids do not enjoy writing, to put it mildly, but I thought this little story was pretty funny. Hope you like it, too! I left the formatting and punctuation errors in, but he will be doing some editing tomorrow. The assignment was to write a story from the perspective of any other person or animal. 

Operation Bird bomb by Eli Adams

I’m a pigeon who likes to crap on peoples cars. People don’t really appreciate us pigeons, I don’t get

It, I mean do they even know how hard it is to aim your poop while flying? Like one day I was

Swooping down low for a bombing run on this one car when a kid started shooting at me with his bb gun

I mean like come on! When I came around for the second run I dove straight at him and he

Got scared and started running so I decided to bomb him instead of the car, after I crapped on

His jacket I ended up going back for the car too but it was gone so I did my usual rounds in

The neighborhood pooping on all my favorite cars and bench’s and sidewalks when suddenly

I spotted the car that was missing, so I headed straight for it, when I saw a few other

Birds heading for it too, it was now a race to see who could poop on the car first.

I was in the lead when one of them passed me, then I knew I had failed so I went back

Home.

the end.

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Enjoy the Little Things

It’s that time again! No, not pumpkin spice everything time. Hummingbird migration time! I know I’m not alone in loving the little, buzzing birdies because there are photos everywhere on social media. Today I stood three feet away from the feeder and still ended up with sub-par pictures of the hungry horde. I just couldn’t get my phone camera to focus fast enough and my background is pretty terrible. Hello barn!  A real camera with a zoom would be nice. But it was still fun to stand so close and hear and see them. Here are a few of the better photos that I tried to enhance a bit to make them easier to see. Use your imagination! I love the ruby-throated ones, but we have more of the green ones. I also love hawks, painted buntings,  and water birds which we have in good supply.

Today has been a busy day. I ran 3 miles, my first run since my race and injury. I was slow and it still hurts a little,  but it felt good to move again. Then my kids and I spent a long time on our Bible study lesson because we had to look up tons of verses, actually big chunks of the Old Testament. After that I tried to refresh their math skills. Why do they seem to retain so little from last year ? And the last subject for today was Life Science. They are studying about ecosystems, which I find interesting. I know it sounds like we didn’t do much, but I like to ease into the school routine, for my sake and theirs!

I’m thankful for this day. I’m blessed to be a stay-home mom who can look at birds while drinking coffee and study the Bible with my kids after a nice run. I may not have a fancy car or clothes, but I appreciate the little things !

How was your day? Are you a birdwatcher? What kinds do you get excited about?

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Paddling on Lady Bird Lake with my kids in Austin

(NOTE: This actually happened last month, but I forgot to post it.)

 

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In front of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum. My babies. ❤  

Kids grow up so fast. I have six children.  The older three have pretty much established their own lives, and my daughter is a perpetual child, due to her condition.   But my two youngest are quickly approaching the years when we will be seeing less of them because they’ll be driving and working. I want to fit in as much life with them as I can before it’s too late, doing stuff, learning, making memories, building relationships.

So yesterday we headed out for adventures unknown.  My sister was available to take care of my daughter and circumstances were fairly good for me to go away for one night. Our first stop in our destination city was to rent  some kayaks for the first time ever on the lake in the city of Austin. Not Lake Travis, which is a popular and large lake outside of the city. Lady Bird Lake, or as it was called when I was a student there, Town Lake, runs right through the city of Austin. It’s more like a river in that it’s long and cuts the city in half, north and south. The interstate and city streets cross over the lake. Here’s a map.

After a little trouble finding the place, we faced our anxiety, we are all a bit anxious, and actually left the van and went inside the kayak rental place.  Thankfully the people were easy-going and experienced with newbies . We rented single kayaks for each of us. I was determined to do this even though my kids were not making it easy on me. I tried to seem confident that this was going to be fun!  Inside I was praying that no one would drown! I decided to change clothes which turned out to be a good idea .

We were told to walk down path where we’d find a dock and boats. We did that and found two young guys hanging out. They helped us get into our boats and off we went! We took a little time to get used to paddling in a nearby cove, which was easier than expected since there was barely any current, then headed up to where the first bridge crosses. There was a guy fishing in a small boat under the bridge, some ducks and geese floating around, lots of turtles ducking under the water, and some people doing who knows what down there under the bridge in the little parking area. The kids and I  loved it. ( Wish I was there now!)

Six lanes of interstate traffic were slowly moving over our heads. We paddled a little past the bridge and encountered a slight wind pushing us back and lots of floating leaves and trash which we were surprised to see. After a little while longer I asked them if they wanted to go to the next bridge or  go back to the dock.  They were getting tired so we turned around. I noticed the time would be close to one hour by the time we returned and you pay by the hour, so, being the always money-conscious mom,  I decided to pick up my pace and try to beat the clock, thus saving a few bucks.  I let the boys go at their own pace. I glided up to the dock and the friendly and helpful young guys at the dock helped me out of my boat.   A couple of minutes later my kids made it to the dock and climbed out while I chatted with the dock guys.

Life is short. Try new things! I’m so glad we did. If you are in the area, I recommend Live Love Paddle on Riverside! Easy access and reasonable prices. The people in the rental office were super nice as well. My only regret is that I didn’t take my phone with me so I didn’t get any photos! Next time! A couple of suggestions. 1. Wear your bathing suit, a hat and sunglasses. 2. Bring one of those plastic things you wear around your neck that you can put your phone in . 3. Bring water and a snack if you want to stay out there over an hour. Happy paddling!

 

 

What do you do all day? A job description

  • Walk the dogs!
  • Take care of Grace’s needs
  • Go for a run to stay healthy, happy and sane
  • Supervise, instruct, guide, lead teenage sons in school and chores
  • Plan, shop for and cook meals, do dishes and clean kitchen
  • Laundry, endless laundry
  • Pay bills, juggle bills, plan budget, file papers
  • Plan for holidays, birthdays, trips
  • Plan for homeschooling, organize books, buy and sell curriculum
  • Schedule and go to doctor appointments
  • Get multiple types of vehicles inspected and registered and titled
  • Sell things on ebay and other sites, like books and eggs and misc. stuff
  • Send and receive Messages, texts, emails, faxes and phone calls .
  • Listen to everyone’s stories, concerns, complaints and offer sympathy and advice as needed
  • Pray for constant help and wisdom from God to accomplish the goals of being a good mom and wife and friend and human
  • READ everything I can to help me do this job!

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Don’t worry about being ‘NORMAL’

Being normal is overrated. What is normal? The first dictionary entry I found when I searched ‘define normal’ said this :

conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
“it’s quite normal for puppies to bolt their food”
synonyms: usualstandardordinarycustomaryconventionalhabitualaccustomed, expected, 

I’m sorry for puppies, but I guess that is normal for them. But look at the other words.

USUAL. STANDARD. ORDINARY. CONVENTIONAL.

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t fit into those categories, by the sheer fact that not that many people read blogs at all and not that many people read blogs about being normal. Good for you! You are EXTRA-ordinary, non-conventional, unusual, non-standard. That’s great! That means you are special!

SPECIAL: Possessing unique qualities, rare, one of a kind, non-conforming.

And if you want to know more, the word normal comes from the word norm, so here is a link to a full definition of that word. Another way of looking at normal is with a bell curve graph of classroom grades. The norm would be the majority of the students grades in the middle of the graph and and the minority  on the  two ends. Thankfully I was in the middle most of the time, but not everyone is so blessed.

 http://teaching.monster.com/benefits/articles/5658-why-grading-on-the-curve-hurts

I have spent way too much of my life having anxiety over the fact that I’m NOT like other people and wishing I was , for some reason. We all know the reason. It’s because we are told that fitting in is best, in SO many ways. It’s the first thing you are taught in school , but even before that, just by watching TV, participating in daily life, listening to your parents, reading Children’s books. The message is clear. Follow these rules. Act like this. BE this person. But what if you’re not?

Children who don’t conform are subject to scrutiny and punishment. Loud children are told to be quiet. Active children are told to sit down and be still. Skinny kids are ‘fattened up’ and fat kids are put on diets. Eat these foods, wear these clothes, play with these toys, read these books, enjoy these activities, join these groups, have these goals, like this music, follow these trends , or something must be wrong with you. You develop the idea that you are not like everyone else. You are the only one who doesn’t fit in. Which is not true! Children are very intuitive and pick up on disapproval. If you are reading this and your child is the one who is not normal, please, I beg you, make sure to not transmit disappointment to your child. Love and appreciate and value  your special , unique, non-conformist child.

As a child I was not a conformist. I was ‘normal’ as far as the basics, not diagnosed with anything, at least. Thankfully my mother was not one to take us kids to the doctor a lot. If I had been born in this era, I’d probably have been put on some kind of medication for ADHD or labeled with something like Aspergers Syndrome or Social Anxiety Disorder. I also had undiagnosed food allergies that caused me a lot of digestive pain and problems as well as food cravings and emotional problems later on. But even now with a better diet, I’m still different.

As a child, I was different in that I didn’t want to go to school or participate in group activities. Those things gave me anxiety. I liked people and still do, but on my terms. Sometimes my unique way of looking at life meant that I was seen as difficult. In fourth grade I wrote a paper on how I wish I lived in France.  My teacher was disturbed and said I wasn’t patriotic ! My mom was not worried. I still want to go to France.

As an adult, I am still not a joiner, although I like groups of people , just not being forced into them or required to be there at certain times or days. I like to observe and take in the sights, which is about all I can do  because of my ADD. I can’t really focus that well when the scene is loud and busy. So when my oldest son turned out to be ‘different’ like me, I decided that home-school was the best option. And honestly, it was best for both of us. I tried putting him in a couple of schools and the pressure to make him fit in and follow rules was very stressful on both of us. I felt like a bad mother and he felt frustrated. Of course I think my son is wonderful and a genius, most adults did not like that he couldn’t sit still, shut up and do what everyone else was doing. He tried! Once he got in big trouble for cussing in a Little League game. Gimme a break.  I’m happy to report that my unique, gifted, musically talented son grew up to be a fully-functioning, self-supporting, completely home-schooled adult and he still cusses.

There are lots of unique people out there and now we can find each other, thanks to the wonders of the internet, the online world, social media, whatever you want to call it. I’m so thankful for America Online and Windows 3.1 ! I joined the online world back when desktop computers were huge and expensive and dial-up connections were super slow. My old Compaq computer had primitive graphics and a dot-matrix printer and almost no hard-drive compared to today’s offerings. But we loved it! My son was 2 years old when he first tried using a computer  and he took to it instantly playing all the Broderbund games and Learning Company software. Oh the fun hours spent playing Busytown , Reader Rabbit, and later The Oregon Trail and Carmen Sandiego. Computer games taught my kids reading and math and many skills.

Interesting article about the early world of computers

Meanwhile I spent hours creating my Geocities page ( later deleted by them, much to my eternal sadness) and discovering Yahoo Groups, an email forum. I am still friends with the women I met in those day, but now it’s on Facebook and Instagram. We are a unique bunch. None of us are ‘normal’. We have large families of children who were born at home, breastfed, not immunized, and homeschooled. Most of us are Christians and Bible-believers. And that is awesome! I also have a different network of friends who have special needs kids like my daughter. Some of them are ‘normal’ people, but they are still great folks who helped me adjust to life with a child with a rare condition and shared information that most doctors didn’t even have at that time. By normal, I mean, they fit the more standard ways of life in our American society, two kids, two incomes, suburban lifestyles. I also have my newest network of friends, my running friends that I have discovered are a mix of normal people and special people. A large number of runners are very special and have unique careers and lifestyles, but there are also many that have mostly regular lives, but escape them by running in the woods or even on roads.

Learn to appreciate your uniqueness, don’t fear it like I did. Scientifically, there is a very broad spectrum of normal behavior. As long as you’re not hurting another person or infringing on someone’s rights, do your thing! As a Christian, I do believe certain actions are prohibited, and most moral codes would include similar rules, such as do not kill, steal, lie, cheat, etc. But you can dress, talk, and do whatever makes you happy. Love yourself, love others, but that doesn’t mean you have to be super social or even go to parties. Or if you are super social, you don’t have to be an expert at it. It’s okay to be awkward. There are people who will be your friend anyway. I know because I’m social and socially awkward and I have friends. Ignore the rude people who truly think they are better than other people. Pity them. Pray for them. Because YOU are special !

Three words that thrill a homeschool mom

As we count down the last few weeks , two and a half actually, until we will declare our school year to be completed, I’ve been trying hard to stay in the race and not just walk it in . It’s not easy when you are in control and can decide to call it good basically at any point after May 1 since we all know the public schools are not teaching anything new in the last month. The focus is on end of year testing and graduation and survival until the last day when the kids go home and the teachers rejoice. But in my house we are still learning . I’m thankful to live in a state where home schools are considered equal to private schools and there are no testing requirements. I’m the mom/teacher and I know what they’ve learned.

And that brings me to the title of this post. Yesterday I was teaching the boys a Spanish lesson where they had to conjugate verbs and make sentences using the model provided. We were doing this activity orally and one of my sons was taking too long to answer when my other son said those magic words, “Come on! This is easy!” . I didn’t react outwardly, but I was grinning on the inside! Easy! He thinks conjugating verbs is easy! He actually learned something that he actively resisted learning because he thinks he’ll never need to know it. I think that means we’ve had a pretty good year.

And I’m happy to say that many other things were learned as well.

How about you? Do you homeschool? How was your year?