Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!



May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
~Author Unknown

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Parenting Wild Things

Today, Jessica over at Bohemian Bowman's is giving away a free copy of her ebook, Parenting Wild things. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but it has been getting great reviews in my circle of online friends. Hop on over there to see what it is all about and to find out how you can get your own copy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm About To Get Preachy, Ya'll

It doesn't happen often. I usually keep my opinions to myself..avoid controversy and conflict and all that goes along with it. Yeah, that.

BUT...

This is my little corner of the internet, so here I go...

I've been thinking about the whole Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas controversy that has been going on for the past several years.

I decided this year I'm going to say both. I mean there ARE several Holidays going on this time of year. I can say Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas and cover every single holiday from Thanksgiving through New Years.

I'm sure anyone who has a Facebook account has seen this little copy and paste thingy going around..
I DO NOT CARE IF THIS OFFENDS SOMEONE: THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE--I AM SICK AND TIRED OF EVERY YEAR, WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES AROUND, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TAKE CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS BECAUSE IT MIGHT OFFEND SOMEONE! WELL, HOW ABOUT ALL OF US CHRISTIANS? WHAT ABOUT OFFENDING US BECAUSE YOU ARE TAKING OUR... CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS? CHRIST IS CHRISTMAS! IF YOU AREN'T CELEBRATING CHRIST, THEN WHY ARE YOU CELEBRATING? CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOR! CHRISTMAS IS ONE OF A FEW HOLIDAYS LEFT THAT CELEBRATE "MY" CHRIST! LEAVE "MY" CHRISTMAS ALONE! AND TELL EVERYONE MERRY CHRISTMAS, NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! COPY & RE-POST IF YOU’RE NOT ASHAMED.

I'm not ashamed of Jesus, but you won't catch me copying and re-posting that.

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for people standing up for what they believe in,

BUT...

Let's face it not everyone is a Christian. I haven't looked up any statistics, but it seems like Christians are in the minority these days. And that is sad. If we're not in the minority then that is even sadder.

As Christians we are supposed to be Fishers of Men! Sheep Who Make More Sheep! Sowers of The Word! Lights In This Dark World! That is...we're supposed to be doing our part to increase the number of Christians on this earth.

Griping about "taking Christ out of Christmas" to people who already think we're kooky for believing such "nonsense" as a Savior who is half man-half God, born of a virgin, who went around preaching about the Kingdom of God, performing miracles, was crucified, rose from the dead three days later, then ascended to Heaven to come back for His followers at some point in the future, does not seem very productive to persuading them to become one of "us".

Does it really matter if someone says Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?

Can an alternate greeting really take Christ out of Christmas?

Saying Happy Holidays can't take Christ out of the hearts of his followers anymore than saying Merry Christmas makes a believer out of a non-believer.

Instead of getting offended and griping about something as trivial as a holiday greeting,

WHAT...

IF...

All the Christians thought about how our society got to this point where people don't KNOW Jesus or even WANT to know Him, and did something about that?

We are Christ's ambassadors on this earth...the only Jesus that some will see.

1 John 3:8
Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.


If we let our actions show the LOVE of God, we will keep Christ in Christmas (and every.other.day.)

Isn't that what Christmas is REALLY about?

__________________________________________________

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We Now Own A Gerbil

Yes, us..the family that had the mouse/snake ordeal over the summer. The family who left the house for a week over the snake in the house. The family that is still mostly paranoid about being in the house where the snake and the mouse were..now owns a rodent.

How did this happen? You wonder..

I Tied For Second Place....

Danielle assured us that there were more than 3 entries, but she didn't specify how many...maybe 4??..

Anyway, I'm honored and thrilled that my story was chosen as one of the winners!



Here is my entry:


It Will Grow Back..Won't It?


"It will grow back, won't it Mommy?" Those are the words that my clueless mother heard me say one early morning in 1975.

"What?", she asked.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Lesson About Writing

or was it?...


I've always felt like I should be writing a book. A novel to be precise. Most of my life that feeling has been there. I love to write. Sometimes. But I don't have much of an imagination. So I'm not sure why I have always felt this- especially the part about writing a novel. I don't even read much fiction. Give me a good book of facts and I'm all in. Last year, I thought that blogging would satisfy that feeling. That I just needed to write. Period. But that feeling is still there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Truth About The Perfect Husband

(According To My Son)

I'm not exactly sure how we got on the topic, but earlier Padawan was (lovingly) pointing out some of his Dad's inconsistencies concerning honey-do's that I have literally been waiting years for him to do, and other things that I did not want him to do that he did anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Well, That Was (almost) Fun!

My Mom recently took pity on us that we haven't done anything exciting as a family lately in a long time due to $$, my husband's long hours, and my disability. She offered to pay for Hubs to take Padawan to a local Monster Truck event at the end of September.

Now, there are two words that will motivate me to push my physical limitations- even if I have to pay for it the next few days. The first one is BEACH. The second one is MONSTER TRUCKS.

Monday, November 14, 2011




If you have a hilarious story, hop on over to Danielle's blog @ Yeah, I Said It to find out how to become a contestant too. You could win a crazy wig of your very own!

My Prophetic Dreams part 3

Uncle R And The Strange Conversation

My most recent prophetic dream took place one morning this past February - the day my uncle passed away. I'll call him Uncle R.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I've Been MIA In The Blog-o-Sphere

So why haven't I posted on my blog in over a month?

A. I was so busy homeschooling that I didn't have a single moment to myself to post anything new.

B. I was miraculously cured and have been out gallivanting around making up for all the years I have been stuck at home.

C. I got addicted to Words With Friends on Facebook.

D. I started a blog series and as usual I've been procrastinating indefinitely on finishing something I started.

E. I forgot I had a blog.

If you guessed C and D, you win!

Having said that, I promise not to post anymore blog series, unless I write all the installments beforehand.

I haven't even been reading blogs as a self-punishment for not finishing what I started. I know...I'm bad!

I have so much to catch up on!

I hope to get back to writing about my exciting life and reading blogs again real soon....

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Prophetic Dreams Part 2

The Story of Grace

(If you are sensitive to reading personal accounts of pregnancy loss, then I suggest skipping this one).


It was around Mother's Day 2006. I had just found out that I was 2 weeks pregnant- in the midst of a 3 month long quest of me seeing doctors and trying to get them figure out what was had suddenly gone wrong with my neurological system. My husband and I had been so-so trying for another child since our son was a year old, but honestly becoming pregnant was the last thing on my mind since my body freaked out on me in February.

Of course I was excited to find out I was pregnant! But the timing was just...well, it was JUST..I was already having trouble physically doing the things I needed to do.

I remember thinking to myself, "God must have a twisted sense of humor, but He knows what He's doing..So I will trust Him. He must think I am a much stronger person than I am, but everything will be ok."

Anyway, here I was dealing with my new mystery illness and mentally preparing myself for a pregnancy in the midst of it -after 5 years of trying when I didn't have problems before. I thought maybe the pregnancy could have been causing some of my physical problems too, so I was keeping a positive attitude and hoping for the best.

One night when I was about 4-5 weeks along, I had a dream about one of my neice's on my husband's side of the family. She lived next door to me when I was growing up, and we were pretty close as kids. But I hadn't spoken to in in years.

In my dream we were both pushing old-fashioned baby buggies. We pushed them down a long winding road, and then down a snowy wooded path. Shortly after we got into the woods, I stopped on a hill with my baby buggy, but she kept on going with hers -leaving me standing there alone. I called out to her, but she didn't answer me.

Now back to REAL LIFE:
A few days after I had that dream, my mother-in-law informed me that my niece was pregnant too. She also told me that we had the same due date in February! BUT my neice was having a lot of complications and her hormone levels were not where they should have been. They weren't getting their hopes up with this pregnancy.

I immediately thought of my dream. This was the second time I had a dream where the circumstances were playing out in front of my very eyes. I took it as a sign to pray for my neice and her baby- that must have been what the dream meant by her leaving me! So I prayed for her and her baby every time I thought of her.

Well, as time went one she was doing much better. I, on the otherhand, was getting sicker and sicker as time passed on. Yet, my doctors would not take me serious about how extremely bad I felt all.the.time. My first pregnancy was perfect- except for the occasional episode of feeling hypoglycemic, and the fact that my hands were numb the entire second half. My doctors would tell me things like - "Oh, you're just pregnant. Every pregnancy is different. Blah, Blah, Blah.." (Quit being a whiny baby)

I was eating. I was not really nauseaous, but I was constantly wretching and dry heaving- even when I knew there was food in my stomach. All.day.long.  I was coughing up foam. I constantly felt like I had to burp, but couldn't. I felt like my stomach contents were being pushed in the wrong direction. My heart would begin racing and I could feel it flip-flopping in my chest everytime I ate or tried to throw-up. I was so weak most of the time I could do absolutely nothing. I couldn't stand up because I was woozy. I could not lay in my bed except for a certain way- On my side propped up with pillows. It was the only way that my heart wouldn't race and it prevented whatever it was that caused me to start wretching.

I could feel myself physically dying a little more the larger my belly grew. The baby that I wanted so much and for so long, was literally sucking the life out of me and there was nothing I could do about it. No one could see what this pregnancy was doing to me but my family. And no one would help me- not even God! I cried out to God every single day for mercy for weeks on end. I was trying to take care of the precious son I already had, and I didn't know what to do. I let God know that this was not fair! Until the beginning of that year, I had led a blessed life and I had been grateful for it. Why was He letting all of this happen to me? I felt like Job.

One day, when when I was about 16 weeks, I was at my weakest point. My Mom was coming over everyday to cook for me and to get my son off the bus and get him to do his homework.

After a few days of this, I decided that if I was going to live through this, I would have to get better myself. I mustered up even more determination than I was already using. I WAS going survive this pregnancy and this illness whatever it took! I WAS going to get stronger so I could take care of my unborn child, my son, and myself. I started eating constantly- making sure I had plenty of protein. I started making myself go for a walk everyday, and I stopped bending over because that seemed to help for some reason too. (Nothing about my illness ever made any sense anyway so this was no surprise to me).

After about 2 weeks, I was gaining too much weight, but my strength was coming back. I remember telling my baby during one of my walks that we were going to make it!

Two weeks later, the time came for my 20 week appointment in September - the one where we would get to find out the sex of the baby. My husband had to work that day, so my Mom ended up going with me. I went to the sattellite office close to my house. I remember telling the nurse that I was FINALLY feeling better, and that I felt like I was going to make it.

Then the doctor came in and could not find the baby's heartbeat. My heart sank. She took me to another room to do an ultrasound. The machine was old, and she kept appologizing for not being able to use it very well. She tried for a good 30 minutes to find any sign of life or a heartbeat.

Then she told me she was going to send me to the main office to have the Tech there do an ultrasound with the newer machine and NOT to worry- that it was probably the machine. I didn't know what to think. I was in shock.

My mom drove me there, and they took me back right away to the Ultrasound room. The Tech couldn't find a heartbeat either. She did some measurements and told me that it looked like my baby had stopped developing about two weeks prior. The same time I had started feeling better! God was playing a cruel joke on me.

I had to wait to see a doctor to discuss my options. This was totally unexpected. I did not want to be having that conversation. I wanted to crawl under a rock. I decided that I would go into the hospital that night to be induced instead of waiting for things to happen naturally. I wanted drugs. Lots of drugs. I wanted something to numb my pain. I wanted this baby out of my body. For some reason, knowing that I had been carrying a my lifeless baby inside of me for two weeks without knowing it was creeping me out.

My husband left work to pick me up from the doctor's office so I could go home and prepare to go to the hospital. He asked me: WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?  The only answer I had for him was: What makes us so special that it couldn't happen to us? Things happen.

I spent the next two nights in the hospital being induced. I was on a morphine drip. I don't think I needed it so much for the physical pain as I did for my broken aching heart.

Our tiny little baby finally came out. They sent home later that evening. That was it.

No visitors. No celebration. No flowers. No joy. No baby. People had wanted to visit me in the hospital, but it was not a joyous occasion. I didn't want visitors. It was a private thing between me and my husband. One of my uncles did come to see me - I couldn't tell him no- bless his heart. And the Pastor from our church stopped in to pray with me. I barely remembered them being there.
We didn't even know the sex of the baby. The nurse told us that we could have them order an autopsy to find out the baby's sex and to see if they could determine what went wrong. They also said that they could have the baby cremated. So that's what we did. I wanted answers, and I needed to have something tangible to take away from this horrible experience. Something to remind me that our baby actually had existed.


Once I was home, I cried for days and days until my tears ran dry. Then I cried some more. Then one night I got drunk. I had quit drinking years ago because I was a Christian. But I was ANGRY at God and I got drunk and told him exactly how I felt and then I drank some more and I told him exactly how I felt some more. I did this until the sun came up. Then I cried some more.  



The report came back about a week later. Our little angel was a girl. We had been discussing what we would name the baby when we found out the sex. We decided that if it was a girl we would name her Grace, but we couldn't settle on a name for a boy. Our son who was 6 at the time, asked why we weren't giving the baby a middle name. I didn't really know why we weren't giving her a middle name, but I suddenly thought of a very good reason. I said, "Daddy says that middle names are your "in trouble name". The baby doesn't need one because she won't be getting in any trouble in Heaven."

No one was able to tell us why our baby died, but becasue of that dream I was certain that the outcome had already been determined beforehand. Although I was angry with God, I still loved Him and it gave me comfort to know that He cared enough about me to give me a piece of the puzzle ahead of time- even though I didn't have all the peices until the midst of the storm.

Day by day, and month by month, the heartache let up a little at a time, until my heart didn't ache with every breathe....Until I could think about my little angel without tears welling up in my eyes. Eventually I quit being angry with God too, but that took even longer.

___________________________________________________________
In Memory of Grace
September 23, 2006
____________________________________________________________




The next time I had a prophetic dream was in February of this year.
To be continued..

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Prophetic Dreams - part 1

The first time I had a prophetic dream was about 13 yrs ago. It was shortly before my Granny passed away. She was in her 80's when her time came. Granny and I were very close. I was her favorite. (She told all 16 of her Grandkid's that they were her favorite, but I knew I was special because I was named after her and she practically helped raise me. She called me her girl.)

I have forgotten some of the details since I had this dream, but I remember the important part.

In my dream all my aunts, uncles, and cousins were planning my Granny's funeral. I remember they had every detail planned down to the day and the hour. They were sitting in a room like they were waiting for the service to start. I was upset because I was doing my best to make them understand that she was not going to show up because she was still alive. Eventually some of them went outside the room to wait, but most of them just sat there.

Real Life: After waking, I still remembered every detail of this dream. The next time I saw my Mom, I told her all about it. A few days to a week or two later, I got a phone call at work from my Mom telling me that Granny had been rushed to the hospital from the nursing home with congestive heart failure. She had what they were calling a death rattle, and everyone said that was a definite sign that she wouldn't be with us very long. The doctors said to call the family in and gave her less than 24 hours.

My very large family sat at the hospital all night taking turns going into her room 4 or 5 at a time to be with her in her final hours and to say our goodbyes. There were at least 30 or 40 of us there at the hospital.

My aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered and began making funeral arrangements. They decided that if she did indeed die on x day, the funeral would be on x day. They decided who was going to go buy her some funeral clothes, and  if I remember correctly, one of my uncles even contacted the funeral home to make it official. (Almost EXACTLY like it played out in my dream!)

My Mom was the one who had been taking care of Granny for the most part ever since I could remember, so she was there with Granny the whole time. She told Granny that it was ok to go. She let her know that we would all miss her very much, but it was ok... Granny who was all of 4-foot-11 and stubborn as a mule, got that look in her eyes, yanked off the oxygen mask, looked directly at my Mom and said through her death rattle, "I AIN'T GOING!!!"

Well, the next day, she was miraculously doing a lot better. The doctor came in the room during his rounds and could not believe she was still with us. He let us know that if she wanted to fight it, he would fight it with her.

The details about this next part are all fuzzy now, but I remember there was a pattern. She would get worse; the doctor would tell us this was the end, and the next day she would be miraculously improving by the time the he came in -- just to prove him wrong. Because that's the way Granny was!

At some point during the next 24-48 hours, at two distinct times she had a stroke which left her paralyzed on one side of her body and unable to swallow, and also came down with double pneumonia. So each time, they let us know that it wasn't going to be long and called the family back in.

The next day, she was showing signs of improvement. 

She was eventually moving her leg and her arm that had been paralyzed by the stroke, and regained her ability to swallow. The doctor said in disbelief that these changes were not supposed to be happening that quick-- if at all! He said that had never seen anything like it, and he threw his hands up in the air. He told us he was not making any more predictions, and that God obviously was putting him in his place.

I remember most of my family spending days at the hospital not sleeping and not wanting to go home, because we wanted to be there with her when the end came. After all they told us it was eminent. But Granny didn't want to go, so she wasn't going! I was afraid of losing my job, so I decided to go back to work. My Mom promised me that she would call me if there was any change.

About a week or so later, Granny got well enough to go back to the nursing home. She had been back there for about a few days to a week before her only kidney shut down and she passed away. I was at work when it happened, but God had that planned too. My aunt had gone home to get some rest. Her house was close to my job, so we rode out to the nursing home together. We comforted each other on the way there.

The day Granny passed away, I realized that God had sent me that dream giving me just enough to let me know that He was there and He was in control. And of course to prepare me for what was about to happen. Because of this, I also knew that I knew that I knew that she was in Heaven, and and that Heaven was indeed a real place. There was no question in my mind. I believe God also used this dream to bring me back to Him, because although I was saved, I wasn't living like it at the time.


Little did I know that I would have this same type of dream two more times shortly before He would call someone close to me home.

___________________________________________________________________

To be continued...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Did I Say That Out Loud?

Last night/this morning was one of those times that I had crazy, vivid dreams.

In my dream I had showed up at church on a Wednesday night after not having been there for 5 years (that's how long its been in real life). A bunch of crazy weird stuff happened, but I mostly remember that my church family was excited to see me. After church was over they gave me some gifts for our homeschool.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I CU #6- Intensive Care for the Christian Unschooler

Its time again for the weekly meme 
I CU -Intensive Care For The Christian Unschooler

“This week we want to…”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What We've Been Up To....

Now that we are settling into our official school year, I thought it would be a good time to give a progress report on how things are going.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Plank Pullin' - Rotten Fruit






Recently I read about a phenomenon called Homeschool Split Personality Disorder. I didn't realize there was a name for what I had been feeling due to my internal battle between my schooly and Unschooly ways and that other Mom's suffered from it too.

This school year, I AM doing better than I was when we first started Homeschooling last fall. We're only about a month into our "official" school year, but so far I seem to only suffer with Homeschool Split Personality Disorder about once a week now. Its usually not a big event....just an internal freak out with minor outward signs....

But, I had a major episode a couple weeks ago.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The One Where I Feel Inadequate

I'm in no way trying to sound conceited here, but I'm no dummy. I know pride is a sin, but brains are the gift that God gave me and I had always secretly worn my IQ points like a badge of honor. When I was growing up it was the main thing that was always praised and encouraged by the adults around me- besides my innate ability to be submissive and "good". (But that's besides the point) 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I CU #5

Its time again for the weekly meme 
I CU -Intensive Care For The Christian Unschooler


“This week we want to…”

Advice About Curriculum & Socialization From Yours Truly

Ok, so I know I've only been at this whole Homeschool thing a short time, and am not really in a position to be giving too much advice...but I seemed to have gotten myself into this one. Carolyn over at Guilt Free Homeschooling was asking on her Facebook Feed for Mom's from all over the U.S. to sign up with her if we were willing to answer questions from parents in our area. I let her know that I was pretty new myself, but I would be willing to answer some questions the best way I could. Little did I know 2 days later I would be presented with a question about Curriculum AND Socialization! From an experienced teacher- no less!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Learning In The Kitchen- Popovers

The other night we watched an episode of Good Eats titled "Popover Sometime".
We had never heard of Popovers before seeing the show. Alton explained the science behind the way the popovers rise without any leaven. My little bread eater thought they looked YUMMY, so of course he asked if we could make some.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

First Post Ever Link Up

I stumbled upon a fun link up! Its called First Post Ever Link Up.

My first blog post ever was a little introduction of myself. I wrote it not long after we began our transition from Public School to Homeschool. The purpose of my blog at the time was to tell my son's story. Since then it has grown to include ramblings about me finding my way as a new-to-Homeschooling Mom, and many rambles about my thoughts on Unschooling and Natural Learning. There are also a few highlights here and there of things we've done so far. Now that I've finally finished writing my son's story, who knows what I'll come up with to ramble about....






If you want to join the Link Up too, you can find it here:     


My Ramble About The Academic Standards

I'm glad God opened my eyes to bring my son home when He did, because as time went on I began to realize more and more that the future held a lot of me trying to get myself out of what my friends and I call "moral dilemmas". You see, I DO expect my son to know it is important to follow rules, and to follow them, but as time went on, more and more of the of the rules I was trying to convince  him to follow (insert your own word here for getting a smart, strong-willed. logical child to do something that is illogical to him) were obviously arbitrary- especially the one's that had to do with the Standards.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My 3 Year Plan for the Middle School Years

When I first started homeschooling my son last fall, I asked myself what my goals for my his education were. During our time of trying to do "school at home" I was trying to stick close to the state standards because I didn't know any other way. Then I noticed that many career homeschooling families recommended not even looking at the standards. Hmm..on some level that made sense. After all, I was completely free to choose what we would be doing for the first time in his educational life.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Musical Furniture

I hate clutter, but I can never seem to get rid of it!

We live in a small house with limited closest space and we don't have an attic, basement, or a garage. It doesn't help matters that my husband and our son both tend to collect things that look like meaningless junk to me, or that I am a self proclaimed paper hoarder. Now that we are home educating, we've added even more clutter to the mix.
I found blog post recently that suggested using dressers for extra storage when you have limited space.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Shortest Post So Far

Today has been a productive day!

I finished my saga AND I decided what I'm calling our method of Homeschooling. It describes the way we are doing things almost perfectly, and there are no set standards to obsess about.


Guided Natural Learning


That settles it.

Deciding To Homeschool - Part 7 - The Dramatic Conclusion

Fifth Grade Fiasco-  A Recipe For Disaster

If you're just joining us you can read the whole story from the beginning here or you can just jump right in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I-CU #4







Intensive Care for the Christian Unschooler

“This week we want to…”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What My Child Is Reading (Week of August 6, 2011)


I stumbled upon another Meme in the Blogosphere!
I don't know if I'm faithful enough to link up every week, but we'll see.
You can click on the picture to head over there and link up too.


Breaking the Beale Code: The Treasure Hunters Club Book 2The Treasure Hunters Club: Breaking the Beale Code
by Sean McCartney
This is a Kindle Book that I got for free from BookRooster in exchange for writing a review after we read it.


We're doing this one as a read aloud. Its written for Middle School age kids. It supposed to be a good book for boys. We've read the first two chapters and like it enough to continue.

This book is about: A treasure worth 30 million dollars.
Protected by an unbreakable code.
Sought by people for over 200 years.
Is the treasure real?
Or an elaborate hoax?

Join the Treasure Hunters Club as they embark upon the greatest adventure of their lives. Where they must break the Beale Code and escape from an old enemy out for revenge!




The Lion Graphic Bible: The Whole Story from Genesis to RevelationThe Lion Graphic Bible: The Whole Story from Genesis to Revelation
by Jeff Anderson and Mike Maddox

I bought this last winter, and it had just been sitting around, but Padawan decided to start reading it the other day. He liked it enough to sit and read a good part of it in one sitting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Summary Of The First Few Days Of Our Schooly-Unschooly Schoolyear

My 3rd blog post tonight! Well, I had a lot to say and thought it would be best to break it up.

Padawan and I had previously talked about how he would like the first day of homeschool to go. We also determined the first day of Public School would be our last day of summer break.

In my Unschooler mindset this is mainly for record keeping purposes. It also lets Padawan define his own boundaries of school time and non-school time. We had an original agreement that he holds me to that school things can only be discussed during school time. I have yet to keep them straight 100% of the time.

What did we do on our last day of summer break? 

It started out with the two of us staying up all night, building with Legos and some other things I can't remember. Then around 5 AM, he spontaneously felt the need to teach me about the different stages of matter. Next, he read an internet article to me about plasma. After that he started to build some sort of Plasma Generator thingy-ma-bob on Roblox. (I forgot the technical word for it). He gave up on that after several attempts to get the motor to work the way he intended. Then we made breakfast together or whatever meal you would call it, and turned on a documentary about Deep Sea Treasure hunting, followed by an episode or two of Shark Week before I fell asleep. I woke up a little later and he was sitting in the recliner reading his Graphic Bible that I had bought for him last fall. He totally rejected it then, so I put it in the bathroom along with some other of the things I had from before. That was a pleasant surprise!

Whew! I'm glad we weren't doing school that day!


Day 1 of our official school year began with Padawan going to Waffle House for breakfast with his Dad while all the other kids were waiting for the bus. Then a little trip to Kroger to pick up some poster board for an art project.

Upon leaving Kroger, they stopped by Redbox to pick out a movie. He decided that would be a good alternative to the "finding your classes", "getting to know each other", and "telling about your summer break" that his BFF (if guys have BFF's) would be doing that day in Middle School.

After Kroger, they had to stop by Petsmart to pick up an aquarium plant for the first LifePac Science lesson. He came back talking about how great it was that he got to spend time with his Dad. (They haven't had much quality time the past couple of weeks.) He talked on and on about all about the different exotic pets he saw there, and how he fell in love with a Chameleon that they had for sale. He planted a seed with his Dad about possibly getting one sometime in the future for a "class" pet.

He learned that the guy at Petsmart wished that he would have been homeschooled, and thought it was odd a college graduate was working at a pet store. That led to a good discussion about our current economy. He also learned that his Dad was really into talking about homeschool to everyone they met while they were out and about.

After they got home, we did the first Lifepac Science lesson on Photosynthesis and set up the accompanying experiment.

To end the school day we watched the movie, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid- Roderick Rules. This should not to be confused with non-school movie watching, because this was "school time"

The next part should not be confused with "doing school", because our school day had officially ended. In his leisure time, he did some more typing, internet research, Roblox math, and watched some more Shark Week documentaries.


Day 2.

Padawan checked on his Photosynthesis experiment from the previous day and set up another science experiment that demonstrates how seeds grow differently dark and light. He has to check on them every 2 days.

After that, he thought it would be a good idea for to me to read some of our schooly stuff to him while he quietly played a game on Roblox. He said that he can listen and play at the same time.
Ha! I had already figured that out on my own a few months ago! Sometimes I are smart too! He can listen just fine- if not better- if his hands are busy with something else. I'm thinking that his Autistic trait of Delayed Echolalia has something to do with that.

So, I read some from Apologia's Who Is God series about building your life on a solid foundation, and a little from the Horizon's Health book about "What is Health" (physical, mental, social, and spiritual). We discussed the questions from health book, and he wanted me to continue so I read the introduction part from our Roots of English book. He was also surprised to find that these new school books mentioned God, and had bible verses in them. A concept totally foreign to him as a Public Schooler. 

He wanted me to continue, so, I read to him 2 chapters of a treasure hunting story that I got for free on the Kindle from BookRooster.

Later on we listened to the Photosynthesis song on YouTube and did the introduction lesson of the Meet The Masters art program. As we got to the last slide of Meet the Masters the doorbell rang. There happened to be a quiz at the end of the presentation that I had intended to ignore, but he jumped on the computer and the quiz while I was outside talking to the neighbor.

We also discussed future our game building projects on Roblox (of course). One is going to be a world tour that transports your character to different countries for our World Geography and Cultures study. The other one is going to be something to do with the planets and space travel. Because I'm the COOLEST Mom ever!

Later *I* cut out pictures of the artists we'll be learning about to glue the outside of his art portfolio folder that *he'll* be decorating next time he decides to do art. Then he told me that one of the pictures I printed out was wrong- its supposed to be an artist named Piet Mondrian, but he swore to me it was a picture of Hitler. I had to look it up to be sure, because in the picture he does look like Hitler. At this point, I'm not sure which one of us is really doing school. But we're having a blast!

Summary of Our Unschooling Summer

The things that I had intended to blog about periodically- but didn't...

The downside of our summer was that the most exciting and eventful part was the snake incident. Unless you count the week that Padawan's uncle (who is about as much as a conversationalist as Padawan and I are) stayed with us. This included all the many, many, hours my husband, the only extrovert among us, was at work. Let's just say that we may have set a new record for the amount of Netflix movies a person can watch in one week. My neck still hates me!

I chose to count the week I spent at my parent's house as the first summer vacation I've had since the economy went south. After all, Mom's Bed and Breakfast was actually pretty relaxing!  Maybe we'll have the time, money, and opportunity to do some exciting things in the near future. And I'll be praying that I'll feel like going.

Padawan had freedom to do his own thing this summer (as he has been able to do every summer even when he was in Public School). Outside of Roblox, he gravitated to historical and scientific things as he has always done. He incorporated his new knowledge into his game designs and conversations on Roblox and with the family. He continued his daily studies in Roblox math. His spelling has improved greatly, and he has become quite fast at typing. He's also gotten really good at figuring out how to incorporate different elements to his online models and games. KUDOS to him because I couldn't figure it out when he was begging me to help him earlier this year! His friend came over occasionally, and his interest in Legos was re-sparked for a couple of weeks.
 
BUT now Public School has started back in our county, and he is mentally done with his ideal summer break...

Also, I'm learning to use his Austistic traits- especially the one about certain routines being nearly set in stone-  to work for us and not against us!

I view this as a good time to try to help him establish some better habits and routines as we settle into our life without Public School.

A fresh beginning! A time to guide him into becoming a more rounded person!

A life that includes things in addition to Roblox and Documentaries!

Forward March!

Imaginary Peer Pressure

Wow! Our summer break is officially over. We started doing our Unschooly/Schooly thing (or is that our Schooly/Unschooly thing ??) officially on Thursday- the day after Padawan's previous classmates started back to school. We didn't want to be the same as "them".  Either way, its all good!

I'm really excited and eager to see how this school year will unfold!

This is the first year I did not dread the end of summer break, or desire to continue my countdown of the days until he graduates. I actually looked forward to it, and I want to cherish every moment.

I'm confident about the decisions I have made regarding our educational choices and goals for Padawan, but still in the back of my mind there is a debate going on.

A debate between imaginary people from the Traditional, Relaxed, and Unschool camps about whether I am worthy to be included in their social circles because maybe we're not doing enough things the same as them.

That's right! I am being plagued by imaginary peer pressure! Imagine that!

Here's an excerpt of the conversation in my head of me defending myself against these imaginary people.

(Don't worry, there's no need to call the people with the little white coats just yet).

Me to the Imaginary Unschooler:
"Yeah, I apologetically bought curriculum and schooly things- a lot of which I'm sure he will love, but some that he may just look at and take no interest in it. You know, its like buying gifts...some he likes and others he never takes an interest in- only this is an educational gift.

Me to the Imaginary Relaxed and Traditional Homeschooler:
I apologetically don't plan to make him use it all and I certainly don't plan to make him do his schoolwork.

Me to Myself: (in my stern voice)
You know what Jen, IT SHOULDN'T MATTER!!! The only people it should matter to are God, Padawan, and you. You both came out of a long hard battle over all things Public School, just enjoy these years and your newfound freedom to find your own way!

Me to Myself again: (in my wimpy voice)
But..but...the unschoolers who I think are REALLY cool (the in-crowd) won't think that I'm much of an unschooler, and the other schoolers won't think I'm much of a homeschooler.

Me to Myself yet again: (in my NY accent movie voice)
Forgettaboutit!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I CU #4



Intensive Care for The Christian Unschooler

“This week we want to…" We have fireworks that we didn't get to use on the 4th due to thunderstorms, so we are looking for a chance to do them this week.   

“The kid is…” He's been spending time with his Grandparents, and still playing and building on Roblox. He's also taken an interest in our family history.

“I am learning….” about our family history on both sides of the family. I've been playing around on Ancestry.com. I found a picture of two of my Great-great Grandfather's that others have posted.

Also...
First I want to say, I'm not really a big fan of standardized testing- especially the end of the year standardized tests that have caused so much chaos in the news lately (CRCT). BUT the other day, I came across the results from Padawan's IOWA (ITBS) Test that he took at the very beginning of 5th grade. I was looking over his scores that I had barely paid attention to when it was sent home last October in the midst of the 5th grade fiasco (the one that I still need to blog about). 
Anyway, the point is that it was the first time I looked at the grade levels that he tested at instead of just the percentiles of how he compared to all the other kids in the nation that took the test. It shed more light for me about why he gets along so much better with older kids, why he was so bored with school and considered most of it busywork and irrelevant, and why at the beginning of our homeschool journey he kept getting frustrated with me because I was trying to teach him things he already knew.


These are the grade levels that he tested at after a 4th grade education in Public School.
Vocabulary 9.2 (99th percentile!)
Reading 8.1
Spelling 4.6 (40th percentile- I knew he was below average in spelling- I didn't realize that it would be considered grade level.)
Math Concepts 5.4 (He tested at 7.6 in Concepts, 6.6 in Problem Solving, but 2.9 in computation)
Social Studies 9.6 (Almost 10th grade- 96th percentile)
Science 7.6
(They always swapped out Science and Social Studies Units at his school and were REALLY slack on teaching Science some years-  so I know he didn't learn all of that there. It just shows you what kids will learn on their own when they are interested in something.)

“I am struggling with…” being paranoid about being in my own house since the snake incident. My husband couldn't find the snake during the week that Padawan and I stayed at my parent's house. It must be gone. Evidence of that would be really nice though!!!!! It really sucks being afraid in your own house, but it is getting a little easier everyday.. I think....

“This week is the first time….” The neighbor girl came by to visit me for the first time in a couple of years. We had a nice talk. She looked and talked so grown up. Its hard to believe she is only 10. It also shocked me how much she talked about boys. She said she wouldn't like to be homeschooled because she would miss all the cute boys at school. We're talking going into 5th grade here! I don't remember being into boys that much at that age. Padawan and his friend never really talk about girls. Their conversations mainly consist of Legos, Star Wars, or cars. She assured me that boys that age are into girls too- except for the nerdy/geeky ones.

“I am grateful…” that we are homeschooling! I'm also grateful for my husband for trying so hard to find that darned snake, and for putting up with our paranoia about it this week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

PTSS- Post Traumatic Snake Syndrome

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that there was a mouse in the house. I also had to open my big fat mouth and say that a mouse- while not a good thing- is not as bad a rat or a snake.

Well, I guess the enemy reads my blog, because now there is a snake in my house!

I saw it Thursday night. I'm pretty sure it is a rat snake.

It WAS a little comical how it all went down in a real-life-horror-flick kind of way, but I'll write more about that later.

I am sitting here at my parents house writing this blog while my Protector-from-all-things-that-freak-me-out  has been home tearing the house apart and trying to lure the sucker out of hiding for the last two days- so Padawan and I can go back home.

The good news is that the mouse was caught yesterday in the trap.

So, please pray that my husband catches the snake and that I won't need to take up donations to have therapy to be able to live in my house again.

I'm kidding about the therapy part- I think!

Monday, June 20, 2011

An Unschooling Epiphany

I "Get It" Now...

After months of reading just about everything I can find on the internet about Unschooling, talking to other Unschooling and Relaxed Homeschoolers online, and reading a ton of homeschooling blogs..I have had an epiphany.

Most people that have read anything on the subject of Unschooling will agree that there are two distinct groups of Unschoolers.

Radical Unschoolers and Unschoolers. 

But, from reading others comments and discussions on several blog articles in the past few days, it suddenly became clear to me that there may actually be three distinct groups.

What first brought my attention to this was something I read in a deschooling article.

It basically said "Unschooling is living life as if school doesn't exist".

I'm not there (yet?). For me school still exists. For Padawan school still exists. Although I have definitely de-stressed and de-compressed from all things that public school brought into our lives, this opened my eyes to the fact that niether one of us have de-schooled quite as much as I originally thought.  He still has a need to separate summer from school time, and schoolish things from from free time.

In my newbie opinion, in the world of people calling themselves Unschoolers there seems to be a definite distinction between Unschooling as a learning LIFESTYLE and Unschooling as an educational METHOD.

The meaning behind Unschooling as a LIFESTYLE becomes more clear if you use Unschooler as a noun.

Ex.: We ARE Unschoolers. Living is learning. Learning is living.

From this perspective, it is a state of being. You either are an Unschooler or you're not. There's no room for anything in between.  It is comparable to saying that you're a human being. Either you're a human being or you're something else. You can't be part human. (Well, I do wonder about some people, but you get the point.)

The meaning behind Unschooling as an educational METHOD is more like using it as a verb.

Ex.: We Unschool everything except math (or ____). (Math is the most popular example)

From this perspective there is no doubt that there is room in-betweens and combinations. You can Unschool some things and not others. This is how I have been looking at Unschooling til now.

Yeah, I know... I've read that Unschooling is a lifestyle numerous times, but now I "get it".

Will we cross over to the Unschooling Lifestyle? Only time will tell, but if that is where God is leading us, we will follow.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Encounters of The Math Kind

Padawan has spent part of the evening working out a complex math problem that involves multi-step problem solving, exchange rates, percentages, and algebra. He does stuff like this all the time with money- real or virtual, but I thought I would blog about one of today's encounters of the math kind. (Yeah, its Roblox math- what else is there?)

I was going to be cute and write it out as a word problem, but...well..its just too complicated. So, I wrote it out as his thought process instead....

A little background so this makes sense:  On Roblox you can buy and sell virtual items for your avatar with 2 different forms of virtual money. TIX and Robux. Also, we both have accounts.



I want to buy a helmet that costs 5000 TIX.

I have 410 Robux.

I can exchange 100 Robux to get 889 TIX.

How many more Robux or TIX do I need?

(Figures that out)

I can get more TIX by selling T-Shirts to Mom.

The market fee is 10%.

How many Robux and TIX does Mom have in her account?

How many Robux will Mom have after she exchanges her TIX for Robux?
For every 10 TIX that equals 1 Robux.

Now I will list a T-Shirt for that amount and ask Mom to buy it from me.

How much profit will I have after the market fee if she buys a T-Shirt from me for that amount?

I'm still X amount of TIX short to buy the helmet.

How can I get more TIX?

I need to ask Mom to create X amount of new accounts because they automatically get 10 TIX, then I will get 9 TIX profit from each account after they buy a T-Shirt from me.

Ok, I need to make 64 new accounts. I'll ask Mom to make make 30 and I'll make 34 .
Oh, wait Mom has a Limited Edition hat in her stuff. I'll get her to sell it for the going market rate.

(I list it for sale.)

Look, Mom got her daily stipend of TIX and Robux.  Now we can trade in her TIX for Robux and she can buy another shirt from me for X amount of Robux.

(Figures that out, and I buy the shirt).

(Padawan trades in Robux for TIX)

Oh, if we visit each other's games then I'll get 10 TIX each from that, then Mom can buy another shirt from me and I'll have X amount of TIX.

Ok, I'm still short 400 TIX.

So now we only need to make a little over 40 new accounts. K?

All this from the kid who would rather do anything than formal math lessons...
Unschooling Rocks!   

Just wind him up and watch him learn!




Pictures Courtesy of (c) 2005 ROBLOX, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used With Permission

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I CU #3



Intensive Care for The Christian Unschooler

“This week we want to…” Play with some of the cool science stuff that the UPS guy will be dropping off later. (Hopefully today). I ordered some Geodes, a Molecular Model kit, the experiment kit to go with the Lifepacs I bought back in the spring, and a couple other things. We can't wait to see what's in the box.

“The kid is…” Right now, he's eating Twizzlers.  Ha! You thought I was going to say playing Roblox.
Oh, and he's quizzing me about 17th century helmets or something like that. Did I mention- history is not my "thing"? But I'm happy that he has always been so interested!

“I am learning….” hmmm...nothing in particular comes to mind right now. I'm sure I'll find something to obsessively research any moment though.

“I am struggling with…” Still struggling somewhat with not being physically able to do the things I would really like to do, or the things I used to do. BUT I had to come to terms with that a few years ago. I try to stay focused on what I can do instead of what I can't- otherwise I would become miserably depressed.

And I miss the beach! I looooong for the beach! I am much happier feeling bad at the beach than at home. haha. This is our third summer without a vacation. Maybe we'll be able to afford to go next year.

“This week is the first time….” is has rained in a while. The humidity is down today too. Its actually a nice day to sit on the screened in porch- that's rare in the summer here.

“I am grateful…” for having so much time to spend with my family. So many people are stuck in the rat race. That is the biggest blessing that has come from being disabled. I get to live life in the slow lane. I may not be able to do a lot of physical things or have a lot of money, but I have been given the gift of time AND that is priceless!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unschooling Experiment #2

Here are some highlights of Unschooling Moments since my last post.


~ Padawan was in the pool where he seems to do a lot of his pondering. We had a lengthy discussion about computer memory, processors, processing speeds, and comparing each of our computers to the model of car that would it would be like. Then he asked about 12445656254 other questions about random topics.


~He made some instant pudding by HIMSELF. I know for some kids his age or even younger that may not be a big deal, but usually anytime he makes anything in the kitchen he asks begs cons uses his managerial skills to get me to get out all the supplies, tell him exactly what to do, and ends up handing the entire project over to me anyway- out of some irrational fear of doing it wrong, making a mess, or :gasp: something touching his hands, or general lack of interest. This time I told him where the bowl and the whisk was. He read the directions and did it all himself!


~ There is an animation club and contest online called the 11 Second Club. One night we watched some of the entries. Padawan was fascinated by the videos. He really was interested in learning to make his own. So, we downloaded some animation software called Blender. He took one look at Blender once it was installed and decided that it was too hard for him.- and me too! It does look overwhelming, so we'll figure this one out together til he gets the basics of how to use the program down. Then he's on his own.


We also looked up an online game called Minecraft. He wanted to know the difference between Minecraft and Roblox. I found a forum that said basically that in Roblox you could use Physics, but in Minecraft you can't. So, next we had to look up the definition of Physics. Then I told him the story about how I took Physics in High School, somehow managed to make an A in the class, and didn't really learn a thing. He thought that was great!


While all this was going on I mentioned that I needed to order the science experiment kit to go with the Lifepac Science that I got for him- because he LOVES science and that was the one subject that they neglected in his school.


Apparently- that was considered school, because he said "No school, til THEY start back."


So, I laughed and told him that we were doing school now. I asked him what did he think we were doing by downloading software, looking up definitions, and all that jazz. He said that was different because we were just doing that stuff for the sake of learning it.


hmmm...sounds like Unschooling, doesn't it?



:Evil Grin:


I'm not playing my full hand yet. He thought we were slackers on "school work" this past year. I wonder what he'll think this fall. This is the first time EVER I've been close to being a step ahead of him!!!! I haven't mentioned to him that he wasn't actually going to be filling out the Lifepac workbooks, but I got them to make sure he would have plenty of science on hand (that is somewhat systematic - that part - for my sake.)



~ Then there was the night when a commercial came on for a power inverter that changes 12v D/C to 120v A/C. He asked me how that works. I never could wrap my head around how you can get 120v from 12v. I told him that he would have to ask his Dad some other time. After all, he used to work on power lines, he understands that stuff. Well, Dad explained it to him last night. Padawan said he understands it- I still don't.


~ A couple nights ago when my husband came home from work, Padawan and I were watching a documentary about the states on the History Channel and playing with a Gyroscope.


He accused us of doing school!


I said, "No, we're not doing school. Duh, this is summer break. Padawan wanted to watch this documentary, in fact its our second episode. Padawan can't help it that his Mom is a nerd."


~ Then there was today when I logged into the Currclick Summer Language Club on the kitchen computer to see what it was all about, while Padawan was playing Roblox on his computer in the living room. What else is there when he has computer time- right?

He tried so hard to act disinterested to what I was doing just around the corner from him, but the topic was Russian. He is very interested in most things Russian and German. So, he kept getting up to see what was going on on my computer.


~ Then of course there's Roblox. He's been learning a lot more about adding and modifying scripts and adding other elements to the games he makes. - stuff he was trying to get me to help him with a few months ago, that was mostly over my head but I muddled my way through it.


I've noticed that every time I help him get over his "stuck points" with anything that overwhelms him, he quickly takes off and leaves me behind in the dust!



Anyway, these are a few of the Unschoolish things that I remembered to take notes about.

Monday, June 13, 2011

God and Logic

OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES

Padawan had attended church almost every Sunday and Wednesday since the day he was born until he was almost 6. We have always taught him everything from the Biblical point of view.

I wanted to make sure that he looks at the world from God's perspective. I want him see that the Bible and science can agree, and that faith in God can be logical. Because, after all, he is a very logical person.

I especially enjoy taking the opportunity to point out God's truth anytime we encounter the opposite in documetaries, books etc.

One night this brought up a discussion about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I could see my attempt at explaining the Holy Trinity to him was an epic fail by the puzzled look on his face. It was late, so I told him nevermind for now, its complicated.

He quickly replied, "And people think that Christianity is made up! That just crazy! Who would make up something that confusing on PURPOSE."

Oh, how I love his sense of logic!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chicken Math

My husband raised chickens when he was a kid. When we got married, we constantly talked about having chickens one day. We never lived anywhere where we could have chickens until we moved in this house.

Someone was kind enough to give us 3 chickens shortly after we moved here. Padawan was around 3 years old then, and he just LOVED his chickens. After a few months a terrible thing happened..two dogs dug under the fence of our coop and murdered our chickens! We were all devastated.

Well, two springs ago, our nephew got some chicks for his two little girls from Tractor Supply. My husband really wanted to get some too. I didn't want to go through the pain of possibly losing more chickens, so I was against it, but I was out voted 2 to1. The next day he brought home 6 precious little chicks. One look and I was hooked!

This time around while the tiny chicks were being raised inside by me, my husband spent his leisure time building a very secure coop for them to move into once they were feathered out. He buried the fence in the ground and reinforced it with concrete. I even asked him to use rabbit wire so that snakes could not get in there. He thought it was overkill, but I am terrified of snakes- so this time I won. :)

The six chicks grew and the whole time we weren't sure if we had males or females, but they turned out to be all girls!  We had 3 White Leghorns and 3 Red Sex Links.

About the time the girls started laying, a buddy of my husband's gave us an Easter Egger hen and rooster that he had rescued from a neglectful owner.

That began my obsession of learning everything there was to know about chickens. I found many other chicken obsessed people at Backyardchickens.com. They have a theory called Chicken Math. You can start out with just a few chickens and before you know it , your chicken population just begins multiplying exponentially- if you're not careful.

So, here's my experience with Chicken Math.

(If you're keeping track, we just went from 0 to 6 to 8)
Two of the Leghorns, one Red Sex Link and the Easter Egger hen.



Our First Rooster (Notice I said first)


Well, now that we had a rooster, I bet you can guess what happened next. All my cool new friend were hatching their own eggs and posting pictures of the cute little babies. (Chick envy started setting in.)

So last spring, the girls were all grown up and laying nice sized eggs. The "Teacher Mom" in me thought it would be way cool for Padawan (and me) to try to incubate and hatch our own eggs. So, I learned EVERYTHING there was to know about incubating and hatching eggs.

Only I didn't have an incubator, but that was NO problem.  All my friends at BYC were making incubators out of everything imaginable. I quickly realized I had an aquarium and Google!

My husband thought I was crazy for even thinking this would work, but he went along with my plan and helped me get it all set up.

Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch. I calculated the hatch date to happen over spring break. (Padawan was still in public school then.) Then I started collecting the eggs that I was going to hatch. We got the temperature and humidity regulated in the incubator, and started incubating. I started out with 8 eggs.

My homemade incubator

Shortly after I put the eggs in the incubator, Tractor Supply got their chicks in! Well, you can guess what happened next... My husband was still not so sure that my plan would work, and he was worried that the chicks would be gone by the time we found out. And my friends at BYC certainly weren't going to discourage me. So,we went to pick up some chicken feed for the girls one morning while Padawan was at school and came home with these:

These little guys and gals ended up being 2 Rhode Island Red Roosters, 1 Rhode Island Red Hen, 1 Easter Egger Hen, and a Barred Rock Rooster and Hen.

If you're keeping track, we just went from 8 to14!

Chicken eggs have to be turned several times a day for the first 18 days. So, I was a good mother hen. I turned the eggs religiously. After day 3 we candled the eggs to see if anything was developing. Now that was cool! I candled them again a few days later, and noticed that the 2 green eggs from our Easter Egger were not developing, so I tossed them out. I quickly became obsessed with candling the eggs, but I was careful not to leave them out of the incubator for too long. This was just too exciting to pass up.

Well, day 21 came around and NOTHING! I thought I saw a couple of the eggs move a little though. Day 22.. Still Nothing! That night I could hear peeping from inside the incubator! Well, the morning of Day 23, we got our first pip!

(A pip is the hole the chick makes when it is just starting to hatch)


And then it started to zip. (The chick uses its egg-tooth to break the shell all the way around.)





Before we knew it we had 4 chicks!
One egg ended up being rotten. (Gross!) The other one didn't make it. :(

Now the chicken count has gone from 6 to 18 in a very short time!

This caused a housing dilemma because the little ones were not big enough to be with the big ones. So my dear husband made them their own temporary house.


Here's the part where the math gets a little fuzzy.

After all the new chicks were grown enough to determine their sex, three of the young roosters were re-homed. Our little Easter Egger hen also had died of natural causes. Two of the other young chickens met a tragic death during our attempt to let them free range part of the day.

Our chicken count was now 12.

By now, my sister-in-law had also been bitten by the chicken bug. She had ordered 25 chicks from a mail order company. She ended up giving us a Speckled Hamburg since we had given her a rooster.

Today our chicken count is holding steady at 13.

We were really tempted this spring to get more chicks, but we seriously don't need any more chick-ENS or EGGS!!! We're not making any promises about next spring, though!


Have you had experience with Chicken Math?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I CU #2


Intensive Care for The Christian Unschooler


“This week we want to…” Hmmm...maybe we should set some goals? But it is "officially" summer break around here.

I specifically want to organize my educational links to have them on hand for teachable moments. At some point, I want to go through the activity books that I bought and make a list of supplies. You know.. for when we start doing our Unschoolish schooly thing again this fall. I also want to finish my saga, and maybe add some pictures to the blog.


“The kid is….” Yep, still playing Roblox. My new friend, Danielle (over at Yeah, I Said It)  may be right...he could be the first kid to get a degree in Roblox.. I don't guess that would be a bad thing. haha

This week he has been designing uniforms for one of his online friends. He has also been testing out theories and concepts on different vehicle designs and trying to get them to move the way he wants.

I am learning….” about personality types. I'm an INfj and I'm pretty sure my husband fits the ESTp profile. From that I've learned that we are truly opposites and should be incompatible..Yeah, well, I kind of figured that one out on my own a long time ago...but after over 20 yrs of marriage, I think we've pretty much learned to accept deal with each other's differences - although we do tend to "fight" like brother and sister over the silliest things.

  This week I decided not to engage in his little attempts to provoke me (well, I learned that they probably aren't meant to provoke me- and I may just be a little sensitive in some areas- its possible). So I this week, I attributed his "picking" to his obvious personality flaws personality traits. He can't help it- God made him that way!

I also learned that what I have always considered some of my most valuable qualities, can be looked at in a negative way by someone with his less valuable character traits. (Honey, if you're reading this...which I know you're not...you know I love you!)

    I also learned that Padawan is most likely a combination of an ISTP and (I forgot the other one)- but it explains A LOT!

    I'm a female feeler in a house with two male thinkers! I'm outnumbered any way you look at it. I'm a borderline feeler/thinker though- so when dealing with these two guys in my life I need to remember err on the thinking side.

“I am struggling with…”
being a good girl and being good to my neck by not "sitting" at the computer so much...which means its back to standing at the laptop (with it sitting on my dresser)- because we all know I'm not giving up the computer. Which in reality, is not a very relaxing way to blog.
   
“This week is the first time….”  we have had a mouse in this house. We have lived here on our wooded lot a little over 7 years and Praise God! we have never had a mouse in the house...until now.

Padawn was in the bathroom (on the toilet) the other night and suddenly, and rather nonchalantly says, "Mom, Dad come here."

So we head that way, and he calmly says, "A rat just ran past me and went in the corner by the tub."

Ummm..Rat??

I ask, "Just how big was this rat?"

He held his hands up about the size of a regular size mouse.

"Whew!" I thought, "A mouse- while not a good thing is not nearly as scary and freaky and creepy as a rat or worse a snake!"

Then hubby who has the 40-year-old-eye syndrome...had the nerve to ask me to look in the corner (as I am trying to climb onto the bathrrom counter.)

Ummm...Excuse me..NO!!!!..There is a mouse in there somewhere.

Well, my husband being the (now farsighted) fearless man that I love, checked it all out. But he could not find the mouse. I was certain that Padawan must have been hallucinating from playing too much Roblox. He says he not only saw it, but he heard it too, so I must believe him.

Later, I found two mouse traps and handed them to my protector-from-all-things-that-freak-me-out. "What are these for?", he asks.  

Obviously I said, "They are generally used for catching mice."


That got a "Way to go Mom!" from Padawan and set us both into one of our giggling fits.

Well, dear husband set out the trap with no bait. But..Hey! Who am I to criticize his valiant mouse catching methods? (See, I'm learning...)

So now we have a mouse....and Padawn is serious about using the pool for his personal hygiene needs until either the mouse is caught or he goes to his Nanny's this weekend. I, on the other hand, was quite brave and took my shower knowing that there could be a mouse in the bathroom with me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Going Back To Work For Peanuts

Well, Not Exactly Peanuts...But Close

Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

A few years ago my sister found a legitimate work at home "job" as an independent contractor with a Company called ChaCha. You get paid to answer questions! At the time I started they were paying 20 cents a question. If a person was really quick at finding answers and typing, and traffic was steady they could earn up to $14 bucks an hour. I was just getting the hang of things and earning on average $7/hr, which was less than I had made at my real job- before disability- when they hired a lot more "Guides", changed a lot of policies and started paying 10-18 cents per question depending on the category. Due to the new payout, too many Guides, and especially the lack of traffic - I was suddenly lucky to average $2-3/hr.-- so I gradually quit doing it. Besides- FarmTown was way more relaxing!

Before the changes, I actuality earned enough money in just a few months to buy my laptop.

Well, financially speaking things are tight right now. Hubby's new job doesn't pay as much as his old one did, so I'm seriously considering going back to ChaCha.

Hopefully after all this time they have the kinks worked out and traffic will be steady so I can get a rhythm going again. I figure if I can even earn a few bucks a day that's better than the NOTHING that I'm financially contributing right now. :)

If anyone reading this is also desperate and wants to join me working for peanuts, you can sign up at ChaCha.com. And if you don't mind entering my email ranjen(at)bellsouth(dot)net as the person who referred you, I can earn a small percent as a bonus for all the peanuts you earn too!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Unschooling Experiment

We finished our required days for homeschool last month. I feel like I am almost completely deschooled, (YAY!) and as far as Padawan is concerned he's on summer break.

Even though I do have a general map for us to follow this fall, in addition to the things that he wants to learn and whatever else pops up, I thought it would be interesting I continued my observation over the next two months by keeping track of what he learns and what we do together (educationally speaking) without one of us saying "let's do school". That way I'll have a general picture of what unschooling looks like for OUR FAMILY without adding any of the extras that he would consider "doing school".

So, I will start at the beginning and list what I can remember that we have done so far since summer break started. Then I will try to keep it updated as we go along.

There were a couple of days before we filled up our (little) pool that it was finally warm enough for Padawan to play with the water hose.  The first day, he filled up a Rubbermaid storage container with water, and was filling up water balloons. He figured out that he could fill them REALLY full if he held them under the water when he filled them up. He thought that air pressure may have something to do with the reason the balloons would hold more water that way.  He tried the experiment where you fill a cup of water, put paper over the top, and turn it upside down - But we couldn't get it to work. He also experimented with some other things that I can't specifically remember.

The next day he played in the water again. I took my Kindle out there, and thought instead of reading something to myself I would read to him while he played. Well, I read tried to read The Hobbit aloud. After the first 3 paragraphs, he said he didn't like the Hobbit. So, I switched to The Storybook of Science, and read for a few minutes. He had gotten sunburned the day before, so I told him that he needed to wear sunscreen or a t shirt so he wouldn't get sun poisoning. He asked me to look up sun poisoning, so I did and read the definition. Then he asked more questions about it, so I jokingly asked "What do you want me to read- symptoms, treatment, or prevention?" He said,"All of it!" So I read the entire article to him. Then he asked me to look up spiders, and after that ants.

He has asked me to read more of The Storybook of Science to him at bedtime on several occasions. (He hasn't wanted a bedtime story in a few years).

He is still playing Roblox, chatting with his friends, building games, and designing uniforms using Photoshop, MS Paint, and Paint.net. Paint.net is a new program that he wanted needed to learn to use so he could make uniforms with transparent backgrounds. He learned how to do this by looking up "How To" videos on YouTube. I helped him download and install the program, and he figured the rest out himself. His designs are getting more creative and detailed all the time.

He has also learned how to make models in Roblox, save them and upload them to public domain, and has been finding and modifying scripts for extras that he wants to add to his games. He is still asking me how to spell words, and I have noticed his spelling is continuing to improve without us doing any formal lessons.

His multiplication skills are improving because he needs to calculate how many days it will take him to earn "X" amount of Robux. He also is using percentages to calculate profit and seller fees for things that he buys and sells on Roblox. He is learning about ratio and proportion because he has to resize graphics that he incorporates into his uniform designs. (All this in his head)

One night, we watched a documentary about the recent tornado outbreak while doing a craft that I found through a homeschooling blog. (paper Angry Birds) After that we experimented with his electronic tornado maker and two coke bottles connected with a tornado tube. He also has plans to make a video with the Angry Birds that we made.

We have gone out to the pool and talked about all kind of things from tadpoles and mosquito larvae to really deep subjects. One thing we discussed was about everyone having a purpose in life - even his 8 year old cousin who recently passed away who was blind, and well..basically (for lack of a better word)..a vegetable since birth. He could only laugh and smile.

His friend came over the other day. They played in the pool, and made plans for him to spend the night. They wanted McDonald's, but I told him that it wasn't in the budget for this week. So, Padawan paid for their food out of his own money. I was impressed with his generosity! By the way, (as it usually happens) his friend got homesick and left around 10 o'clock that night, so we had to deal with the disappointment from that.

We have still been watching documentaries and shows like Mythbusters, PawnStars, Swamp Brothers among many others that are full of science, history, and geography. As always, he asks tons of questions and learns several new vocabulary words each time we watch anything together.

Last night we watched Dual Survival which was full of geography and science. He chose to watch part of a documentary about Abraham Lincoln instead of a movie that I found while we were surfing through the channels. We also watched a show about Ancient Egypt, which included information about architecture and religion. He even came up with ideas of how the Egyptians and other architects could have done things differently.

That is just what I can remember worth mentioning off the top of my head. I know there is much, much, more, AND learning and teaching didn't stop just because I declared summer break.