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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-05-2014 03:49 AM
Nazsmum Come on over to Sept.
09-04-2014 06:21 PM
happyhats Been a lot of creative, independant play. Currently enjoying Harry and the Hendersons. Not a lot of "bookwork" other than some computer games. Logically I know its all okay but there is a part of me feeling like a slacker/bad homeschooler.
09-03-2014 07:11 PM
Angelorum We went to the local not-back-to-school picnic yesterday. We all had fun, met some nice people, and came home and crashed afterwards. I could not even keep my eyes open, me and the little guy slept for a couple of hours afterwards!

Otherwise, we are enjoying beautiful mild weather, and trying to keep up with all the produce coming in from the garden. DS1 is on a money-earning kick, so he's been doing lots of extra chores lately. I'm actually having a hard time coming up for things for him to do! Not that there isn't plenty of housework that needs doing, but not so many things that he's adept enough to do without a lot of work and supervision on my part, that I don't always have time to give.
09-02-2014 02:04 PM
happyhats we went off on vacation this labor day weekend. we saw an aquarium and legoland in kansas city mo and visited trex cafe in kansas city ks. lots of fun. lots of educational opportunities, and lots of running around. so today Im just working on getting back into the swing of things with chores and cooking. kiddos are doing some creative play and maybe later we will read some books about sea life to follow up.
08-31-2014 06:11 PM
rightkindofme
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
Lovely to see you here, rightkindofme!

I've been very interested in getting a homeschooled teen to come be a mother's helper while I do some work in actual daylight hours. Can I ask how much you pay her?
She charges $10/ hour.
08-31-2014 11:46 AM
starling&diesel Lovely to see you here, rightkindofme!

I've been very interested in getting a homeschooled teen to come be a mother's helper while I do some work in actual daylight hours. Can I ask how much you pay her?
08-31-2014 09:07 AM
rightkindofme Hello everyone, it is lovely to read about how things are going for you. I miss MDC so I may show up a bit more often again.

This year we get to file the private school affidavit for the first time. The beginning of first grade. We are real, actual home schoolers as of October 1st. Up to now I have considered us "eventual" home schoolers.

Our days are so busy. I feel blessed and burdened by where we live. We could be out of the house seven days a week for twelve hours a day going from event to event. I have to really consciously pull back and say, "We are staying home for two whole days this week. We need rest."

We live in the bay area and there are probably a dozen home schooling groups with a combined total of a few thousand home schoolers within maybe a 100 mile diameter of our house. We have wonderful resources available. Sometimes that feels more like a curse than a blessing.

We can pick between homeschool classes for parkour, or any other martial art, any music class, choir, gymnastics, swimming, languages... it goes on and on. We have so many fabulous resources that I really want to hide in my house with my wonderful library and play ground in the back yard. Can't we be home bodies!! Apparently not.

I have finally found a local baby sitter (a home schooled teenager just a few doors away!) so that I'm not the only one responsible for my kids ALL DAY EVERY DAY. (She has been coming once a week for four hours and now she is going to start coming twice a week for four hours. I AM SO EXCITED.) That feels so awesome. The babysitter is at a stage where she is totally happy to sit down and do four hours of dedicated crafting with the kids. I am super sucky at crafting. I'm not a sit-very-still-to-be-creative person. I like building with wood and painting big things and writing books. I am not what you call "crafty" but I am a maker. Different. I'm really happy they have a substitute big sister nearby who *loves* crafting with them. And we are funding her growing independence. It's a mutually satisfying system.

I wake up between 3:30 and 5am. I get my quiet time before other people wake up. That's when I write my books and watch my wonderful reruns of The West Wing. (I have nearly memorized the whole series. Love it.) At 6:30 I "come on shift" and I make the tea to go with the breakfast my husband is already making. Youngest daughter (4) sets the table as we all go through our "Good morning, so good to see you again! I hope you slept well." We sound... so Victorian in how we start our day. It's kind of funny and effusive that we keep it up year after year.

After breakfast my husband runs off to work and the kids and I smile at each other and announce, "Chore time!" Then we get up and start tidying up. We spend about an hour. We are generally done with all the tidying by 8 am, often earlier if it wasn't that messy of a day yesterday.

Then it varies dramatically by the day. The babysitter is going to be arriving 8-12 on Mondays and Wednesdays. (I'm so excited I can barely sit still. Now I will have an easier time sending my books out to be rejected by many publishers. W00t!) Tuesdays are park days with the home school group. Thursdays we go hiking with the home school families who live within 3 miles of us. (In the bay people are spread out like mad. Most/many of our friends live a 45+ drive away.) Fridays I flop on the floor and try not to cry. The kids play all day and we generally go into the weekend with a truly fantastic mess.

Life is a lot of fun. We get through so many neat projects. My kids are getting better and better at painting. It helps that they've been working on permanent installation murals since they were in diapers. Their talent by far exceeds mine. I am so proud of them. I'm glad I get to give them the time and space to get good at this.

I love unschooling.
08-31-2014 08:26 AM
SweetSilver We have 27 chickens. I've had the most recent batch of 17 bantams since April. I just learned that we have one named "Sunshine". I have done all the mental accounting I could. And, indeed, I have a blank space in my head where that name should be. How did I miss this?

Chalk it up to the girls knowing more than I do at this point. I started giving them .50 per dozeneggs we seel. They are priced to cover feed, otherwise I'd give them more. I gave them this because of all their hard work, but I did say I'd like to see some more regular help with feed and water, otherwise it doesn't make economic sense to keep doing giving it to them regularly.
08-30-2014 08:41 AM
crunchymama19 We had our weekly homeschool group yesterday and had a great time. One of the mom's talked a little bit about Picasso, showed some of his work and let the kids explore their own painting and they had a blast. The mom who was leading wanted to make sure it was OK if she didn't give much instruction and hoped we weren't disappointed and I assured her that the way she did it was great! The kids really got into it, did their own thing, and then ran around and played for 2 hours while the mom's chatted.
This weekend will be rainy but I think my kids could use some downtime anyway. They have been going full speed all week and it came out yesterday afternoon as whining and crying and fighting so I think it's time for a rest. Hopefully the rain will bring some more reasonable temperatures so we can do a hike next week without melting.
DD1 has asked me to read more history stuff, so we did Christopher Columbus yesterday. It is fun having DH around when I do that as he has read a lot of "revisionist" history about who really discovered America including theories about the Vikings and China making it here long before Columbus. So he gave DD3 lots to think about. We are also reading Chronicles of Narnia (starting with The Magicians Nephew), so I hope they want to read more today. Mommy is in suspense about what happens next!


SweetSilver, your time in Florida sounds so interesting! Louisiana is pretty wild too. Although I still feel a bit safer in the woods here in the deep south than I did in Colorado - we had mountain lions and rattlesnakes there...gosh I miss it!
08-27-2014 11:37 AM
rumi
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
rumi, enjoy your Harry Potter journey. While there were chapters that were interminable (namely in Order of the Phoenix, which also has some of the best chapters in the series and why I found the book so frustrating) she keeps the momentum going until the end, and the seventh book is as great as the third. Well. Not quite. I do love Prisoner of Azkaban best of all. And even Order of the Phoenix, which alternately irritates and fascinates me, is a great read. Enjoy! Your reading the series for the first time? I envy you. I can read the books again, but never again for the first time!
Indeed I am reading them for the first time! Hardly imagined that I would read them but dd is so keen I can't say no. She has read the first six, most (all?) more than once.

Right now we are actually listening to the audiobook because the library was out of copies of Book3.
08-27-2014 09:05 AM
SweetSilver rumi, enjoy your Harry Potter journey. While there were chapters that were interminable (namely in Order of the Phoenix, which also has some of the best chapters in the series and why I found the book so frustrating) she keeps the momentum going until the end, and the seventh book is as great as the third. Well. Not quite. I do love Prisoner of Azkaban best of all. And even Order of the Phoenix, which alternately irritates and fascinates me, is a great read. Enjoy! Your reading the series for the first time? I envy you. I can read the books again, but never again for the first time!
08-27-2014 09:00 AM
SweetSilver
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchymama19 View Post
SweetSilver, I don't know about your area, but in the south wild hogs are a nuisance and dangerous. They are very big, aggressive and destructive to the point where it is open season on them all the time. So if it is one of those be careful!
No worries about wild hogs here, but I understand your caution. I spent about a month camping 2 years in a row in the Ocala National Forest in Florida along with the Rainbow Family folks, and it was an eyeopener that made me heartily appreciate the relative safety of the Pacific Northwest wilderness! I remember walking back through the woods one night and hearing a grunting that I was sure was a hog at the time and it made my heart race. Now, having heard a porcupine, it might have been one of those but I'm not sure that's any better!

Florida was gorgeous and wonderful, but the scorpions, the alligators, the spiders and snakes and wild hogs, the ticks day in and day out...... I really had to learn to coexist with these things or else I wouldn't have been able to move anywhere out of fear. "Respect" was the operating word (massive, unceasing respect), and I had some close encounters that are good memories instead of frightening. It was wonderful to have the chance to learn about these dangerous creatures more intimately, on a realistic level.
08-27-2014 08:04 AM
rumi Haven't been writing as much as I would like to but I thought it worth noting that dd continues to work on Distributed Proofreaders very regularly and really likes it. So often we start things and leave them after a while so I thought I would note that this is an interest that she has really taken on. I have never reminded her about it, rather she often encourages me to do it just because she likes it so much.

She also has me on a schedule to read one Harry P book every month so that I can catch up to her by the end of the year. We are on the third one right now. She is waiting for me to catch up before she reads the seventh one, the idea being that we will read it together.

<contented sigh>
08-27-2014 06:52 AM
crunchymama19 SweetSilver, I don't know about your area, but in the south wild hogs are a nuisance and dangerous. They are very big, aggressive and destructive to the point where it is open season on them all the time. So if it is one of those be careful!
Taking a trip to the city (Memphis) this afternoon. There is a tremendous international market there with foods from all over the world that you would never find anywhere else. Most things are written in another language and few people speak English in the store. It's always a fun trip but DH and I have to plan carefully before we go there so we know what we're looking for.
We got a big trampoline now which will hopefully help the kids burn off energy when it isn't too stinking hot outside. I wish we lived in a more rural and wooded area for them to play but we have to work with what we have right now in Suburbia.
08-26-2014 06:19 PM
Mazamet DS6 is constantly asking when it is going to snow and I am desperately trying to enjoy every minute of summer. Fall is lurking around the corner as pools will be closing next week, kids will be going back to school, and leaves will begin to fall. But for now, we are swimming every day. DS has learned to dive into the deep end of the pool and I am so very relieved that he can somewhat swim. We have been picking and processing fruit. We have an amazing tomato crop this year and DS comes in every day with the ripened ones. A few doors down is a house that has been empty for a few years. The apple tree is full of apples, so we have plenty apple sauce made already. We had our yard sale; cleaned around the house and around the yard. I'm hoping to go on a small vacation with DS come September.
08-26-2014 06:11 PM
Angelorum
Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
Is there a regular park date, or a co-op of some sort? Do you have homeschooling friends already? If so, what about a Not Back To School picnic?

I know a few homeschoolers in the area. There is a local group, but I haven't met up with them yet. They don't seem to have a park day, but there is a Not Back To School picnic planned for next week. I'm hoping to make it to that. There is a gymnastics school that I think is going to be having a homeschool open gym hour, which should be a big help in the winter. I'm really hoping it's well enough attended to keep going, there are no other indoor play places in town, unless you count McDonald's :P
08-26-2014 02:21 PM
SweetSilver I had an emotional but much more minor transition-- putting some much-worn clothing up for sale at our yard sale and at the thrift store. Didn't realize until afterward how much it impacted me to be giving away some of these things! DD7 still wanted her squirrel patterns leggings, but even as slim as she is, 5T is way too tight. Imagining packing the kids off to various cities is too much for me to contemplate.

I'm having a lazy day and keep getting back on this contraption. Get off get off get off. If I post again before 6:30, smack me or something.
08-26-2014 02:03 PM
moominmamma Speaking of bears and porcupines and fruit trees .... we are in the process of installing temporary electric fencing around our fall-bearing fruit trees for the first time, in an effort to keep the bears from eating everything and breaking the trees. I did a workshop earlier this summer and have a pretty good idea of how to do this, but I expect that once we pick up our order, Fiona and I will muddle through together and learn a lot. Today we were hack-sawing some left-over rebar into 5-foot lengths and it occurred to me to suggest she collect the iron filings. She used large rare-earth magnets to collect them from the ground, and then spent quite a while playing with them on a plastic yogurt lid with various types and shapes of magnet, video'ing the dance the filings did.

Ds17 left for college this morning. Dd20 will be leaving this afternoon, entailing an overnight trip to a city with a proper airport. Dd15 will be moving in a week or so, but more gradually. Transitions!

miranda
08-26-2014 01:19 PM
happyhats My children must be studying hard on conflict resolution. Lots of fighting. Over everything. Lol. We went to an apple orchard sat and the library before that. The kiddos built habitats for lego animals. Ive been making apple sauce the past couple days and they like to inspect the cores and seeds. Dd watched Johnny Appleseed. We rented a dvd at the library about sight words and they have become enamored. They have probably watched it ten us times.
08-26-2014 08:31 AM
SweetSilver I think we have a little bear lurking. Something raided our little crabapple tree, and this morning I heard some very undignified and un-deerlike crashing in the underbrush where I couldn't see. I watched from the backyard until-- CRASH CRASH gruntgruntgrunt CRASH -- I made a quick retreat to the door and called the girls up to watch from the house. A few more rustlings and it died down. Pulled the (stray) cat food in, which I needed to anyway or else my ancient cat would go around and eat the kibbles and throw them up (he's off kibbles forever, much to his discontent).

Funny, 17 years of owning this property, lots of bear signs and bear damage and never once have I seen a live bear before. I still didn't see out little one today, but I'm confident that's what it was.

However..... for those of you with more black bear experience, how little can they be to remain that unseen and be away from the company of their mothers? Did I have a monster grunting porcupine back there instead? Do they make that crazy noise (surely they are big enough to do so much crashing, they can be as big as a pig here!) If they can grunt just like a little bear, chances are it was a family of porcupines, and I still did not see a bear. I bet the little ones could even get into the crabapple tree.

ETA: OK, a little research and I think, despite how big and low the sound was, that it was a porcupine. I would never have guessed they sound this way! Someone in a another forum though it was a pig. I was thinking "bear", so I didn't think "pig" right away, but it was just like that. Cool.
08-26-2014 07:37 AM
SweetSilver
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchymama19 View Post

I am not sure which is worse, being stick inside during the cold wet winter or stuck inside during the miserably hot August of the South. Blech. Growing up in NY and having lived in CO this is totally not my thing...I desperately want to move back out west.
Summer is far, far worse getting stuck indoors, shut against the heat. Fall and winter rains are cozy. Gentle enough I am even persuaded to go on walks outside and there are usually puddles to stomp through, and umbrellas to get out. When we lived in town, we could practically be in a puddle for the 6 blocks to the library--riding our bikes through them of sloshing through. Summer indoors is sitting half comatose in front of the fan and trying not to watch TV all day. Constantly checking indoor and outdoor temps to see when you can open up the doors and get some air (though that might be a western indulgence-- cooler evenings in general, though I notice it's regional as Seattle stays hotter at night than my rural home, both because we are rural and because we are "open" to the Pacific ocean air, which Seattle is not.)
08-26-2014 01:25 AM
mckittre
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Wow, that's a big district to be covering such a small school in such a rural area!
Yes, I think the district itself complains about it--the borough boundaries include both quite urban and very remote areas (ours is not their smallest school), and some of their high schools are bigger than many of their towns!

As might be obvious from my previous school-size comment, we really don't need things to "empty out" here, since there's really nowhere to go that might be full in the first place (except for a very few spots you might run into a bunch of tourists). So seeing school start up is just being sad about those kids who aren't around anymore to hike with us, and won't be able to ski with us come winter, etc... More sad this year since one of my best mom friends with kids my kids' age is in Hawaii until spring, so I kind of feel like we're losing everyone.

Of course, this August is very rainy, and my kid who was sick is now mostly just grumpy, and they drove me nuts for a good part of the day. I'll likely be in a better mood about it all tomorrow.

On the learning front, I almost wonder if the kids have decided they need to prove something to me, since they've both been decidedly schoolish lately. The 3yo is working very hard to try and sound out words, and the 5yo is trying to lecture everyone about neutrons and dark energy and atomic bombs and black holes and gamma rays. He even did a few math problems and a kenken puzzle, and a bunch of the "dragon box" game.

The 5yo and my husband just did a wilderness-skills camp out with some visiting instructors, learning different ways of fire making, stalking, etc... He apparently had a great time.
08-25-2014 09:00 PM
crunchymama19 I am not sure we are quite as unschoolish as others on here but definitely more unschoolish than most other families in our area (deep south US). This thread is so great though and very encouraging and inspirational to me, particularly when I start feeling like maybe we are too lax and carefree with "school" compared to other families in our area.


DD1 (7 yo) has been really interested in history. Last year we tagged along with a homeschool history group once a week for fun and since then she has been enjoying it a lot. She asks me to read some of the chapters in Story of the World about Mary Queen of Scotts with no prompting at all. I got her a book about Queen Elizabeth (not the current one but Henry VIII's daughter) and she devoured it in one sitting. I think she is really enjoying some of these strong female real-life characters that are much deeper and more complicated than her beloved Disney princesses. It's been interesting to watch her interests change and mature a little over the past year.


We are also doing a homeschool group with some friends of ours once a week. We sometimes do science, history, art or a field trip. DD1 has loved the art and has been reading about famous artists on her own as well. She is so empathetic too about their lives, wondering why Van Gogh would be so sad. It has been good for my kids to make friends and be exposed to some new ideas and concepts.


We are so relaxed on everything compared to the other families in the group. They stress a lot about not covering enough math curriculum or picking the right spelling curriculum. We just read a lot and DD seems to pick up new words just fine, I didn't even know there were homeschool grammar and spelling curriculums. That's all well and good for them I guess but they seem amazed that my kids are "so smart" when we don't do a much formal curriculum at all. I am just glad I have learned (finally!) to just let her explore her own interests, then she is a total sponge. She may not know her multiplication tables but I don't know many second graders who know about Monet, Picasso, Jackson Pollack, Van Gogh, Mary Queen of Scots, King James, or Queen Elizabeth either so I guess we are doing ok.


And in all of this, DD2 (4) and DD3 (1) come along for the ride and learn as they go too! DD3 is almost walking though which is a scary thought...I have a feeling she might be a runner given the chance (gulp!)


I wish we could spend more time outdoors but it is dangerously hot here in the South. It is 100 degrees plus and very humid. Heat advisories in effect all over and it just isn't pleasant at all. Hopefully the in the fall we can resume our nature hikes and camping. I am not sure which is worse, being stick inside during the cold wet winter or stuck inside during the miserably hot August of the South. Blech. Growing up in NY and having lived in CO this is totally not my thing...I desperately want to move back out west.
08-25-2014 06:55 PM
moominmamma Thanks, got it! I wasn't sure whether it was gymnastics or riding or 4H or something altogether else.

Miranda
08-25-2014 05:03 PM
SweetSilver I'm still unclear where the term "fitting" comes into showmanship, but "Fitting and Showing" is the term for the (headslap here--sorry for being so obvious) *showing* competition. The entrants are at a table with their birds and field questions about their birds and about poultry in general. While having a clean bird is necessary, the competition is entirely about how well the entrants handle their birds and field questions.

This girl has a nice video on showing the bird, but she doesn't include putting the birds into and out of the cage, or checking for mites and lice on the body, which is perhaps a regional preference and she is showing the physical characteristics of the bird. Watching the video, it was nice to see her showing the head and the body. Our judges usually ask about parasites and have the kids demonstrate those searches. Every judge is different, and ours for the first time didn't ask them to place them in cages.

Fitting and Showing is a category for all animals. I'm wondering whether the term didn't come from the placing of halters, etc. on the animal? My research has turned up no reason for the term. We shorten it to Fit and Show (or fit'nshow, really).

My girls are asking about showing ducks so as not to be at the same table. It looks like they are mulling over how they can work it now that I've put pressure on them to not be competing directly against each other.
08-25-2014 11:21 AM
moominmamma
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
I am poised to have to have dd9 step down from Fit & Show next year
Fit & Show?

m
08-25-2014 09:59 AM
SweetSilver I am poised to have to have dd9 step down from Fit & Show next year, when dd7 will be up at the table and competing directly. They both cry "noooo" but I see this issue simmering on how dd7 will "never" be able to qualify for Round Robin against her sister (I would have to agree, but silently). This arrangement would require one to step down for 1 year out of 3, a not-unreasonable idea. I'm afraid I'm going to have to do this. DD9 is going to be bitter, but it's her sister that will have to step down the following year, and then both get to show the next as different levels.
08-25-2014 09:38 AM
SweetSilver I love back to school for the same reasons. September is almost always glorious, weatherwise, and that gives us plenty of chances to get up to Mt Rainier or the coast and enjoy the quietness. Unfortunately, our activities are M-W and I work Friday and Sunday. Boo. I wish their riding instructor could change to Thursdays, but we have a homeschooling slot at 2:30 with no one behind it, and that gives some more spaciousness to the lesson, so we scheduled gymnastics up against that. I could have had a Friday lesson and have M-T-Wed morning free, but I've had those squeezed-in slots and I don't like it as much. That's going to make camping difficult during the year, and actually makes me want to ditch gymnastics for an extra month next summer, and take July-August-September off. The girls won't be thrilled, but I'm a bit disappointed in the schedule this year. The Sunday job, if it works out, is really necessary--full day every week, year-round and just in our little town 2.5 miles away.
08-25-2014 09:11 AM
starling&diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelorum View Post
Schools here start on Wednesday. I'm feeling kind of bummed about it. I'm not worried about ds missing kindergarten, I'm just bummed that all the parks will be empty, and that the water park is closing (even though we've got a few weeks of hot weather left) and so many of ds's friends will not be around to play during the day. I need to connect more with other homeschoolers around here.
Is there a regular park date, or a co-op of some sort? Do you have homeschooling friends already? If so, what about a Not Back To School picnic?

I can't wait for the school kids to go back, which won't be anytime soon if the teacher strike here drags on.
We live in the city, and everything gets SO BUSY in the summer.
I don't like crowds, and I more specifically don't like crowds of children, so we don't go to Science World, the aquarium, the pools, or the city beaches at all in the summer.
We're very excited to return to the pools in particular.
I know my kids miss the older children being in the park (they have heaps of neighbourhood friends), so in the fall we go to the park after 3pm when the nearby school lets out.
Oh, and we can snag a camping spot at the most popular campgrounds!
And we travel in September too ... cheaper tickets, touristy spots are quiet (see above), and it's a pace that I can handle.

I'm quietly biding our time until the city starts to quiet down. Can't wait!
08-24-2014 10:28 PM
moominmamma
Quote:
Originally Posted by mckittre View Post
Given a district of 9000 students and a school of 40 or so, the percentage that would end up at the local school seems miniscule.
Wow, that's a big district to be covering such a small school in such a rural area! Our school has about 90 kids K-12, but the district has fewer than 500 kids. The administrative part of our home-based learning funding stays at the district level, but there's a 0.4 FTE added to one of the local teachers' contracts -- and that keeps him working 0.6 FTE in the classroom where otherwise he might not be able to make a living -- and this year there are supposed to be some funds coming to the local level to pay for upkeep on an office/classroom area within our local school for the DL program.

Miranda
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