Monday, September 28, 2009

This just in

So I was thinking about Ari's birthday present project. It really opened my eyes in so many ways. First, it was way more important to her to give her friend something from the heart than to just give her something. Second, total her gift took around 6 hours to make. Where would we have ever found that kind of time if she was in school? And third, She thought of the project, knew how she wanted to accomplish it, and asked for very minimal help. Apparently she knows how to start a project, how to find resources, and how to finish something. How many 7 year old girls do you know that have made their friend a doll and several changes of clothes? Once again, the hidden curriculum of homeschooling pops its head up to say "hello" and I am, once again, lucky to have the time, desire, and ability to be right where I am.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

5 Signs you may be living with a vampire

1- Wearing glitter possibly to camouflage a sparkly complexion
2- Insatiable appetite for meat
3- Unique ability to avoid major physical harm for years on end (7 at last count)
4-Sleeping all day
5- Comes alive at 1 or midnight or some other God forsaken hour

Yes, I really did write this post at 3:03 in the morning after just finishing making a birthday present for a friend of Ari's. It was her idea and she did most of the work. I am trying to make peace with what I call our "rock star schedule". At around 12 when she and I were the only ones left up she became a different person. More talkative and inquisitive than she is during the day. I wonder if it has something to do with all the quiet surrounding her, not just in our house but everywhere. Whatever it is, I am glad I stayed up with her and helped her with her project even though I am honestly on the edge of falling asleep right her. To bed with me then!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How did he get in here?

I really cannot stand people trying to sell me something. I never listen to telemarketers on the phone, I usually end the conversation very quickly and politely. I sometimes do not answer the door when someone knocks and I can tell they are selling something. Even when I do answer the door, I usually only half listen and then send them on their way. I find it rude and an intrusion on my family life. If I want something, I can usually find it on the internet or through asking people I know. So with that in mind, here is what happened last night.

Knock on the door around 8 PM.

I figured it was on of our neighbors and headed towards the door, only then realizing that we had built a little resting place right in front of it. It was impossible to open the door without moving said resting place. I look out the peephole- nope not a neighbor. A man, not sure age or race. Without thinking about it, I start to move the things in front of the door. Looking back, this is very odd behavior for me.

I finally get the door open. On my door step is an energetic kid around 17. He is selling cleaners. He is smart, funny, he can tell a joke and my 3 year old is mesmerized. I know pretty quickly I am going to buy his cleaner, why? Well, I am doing it because I like him. Yep, that is it, I like him. I know that I am being sold, but since the product is a cleaner I am not that concerned. Well, I did make sure it would not kill anything it touched and was natural and such. I buy his cleaner, suggest that I will expect to see him on the comedy circuit in the next 5 years, he was amazing, and send him on his way.

An hour later another kid knocks on my door. He is selling the same stuff. I tell him I bought from his friend and send him on his way. All the while I am realizing that I would have sent the second kid on his way without buying anything. I started to ask myself why. What did the first kid have that the second one did not? I think it was a natural charisma and likability. I am guessing that this job is not that hard for him and that he sells a lot of cleaner. The second kid did what most people do, waits for you to let them down easy. You are going to tell him no, he already knows it, his body language suggests it and you see it. Because you see his body language you discount his product. It is a crazy idea, or is it?

In broader sense it got me thinking about myself and my natural abilities and my kids and their innate qualities. I have often said that one of my greatest strengths is I can talk to anyone. It was this strenght that school was so intent on rooting out of me from my earliest years. And yet, it was my most marketable quality when I became an adult. It has me focusing today on how I can help my kids to express and draw strength from those things that they are naturally good at. And, it has really helped me to focus on what it is we are and are not doing that makes our way of getting an education better for our family.

Monday, September 14, 2009


This morning I was in one of those, "I am the worst homeschooler in the history of homeschool mamas" kind of moods. I was piling up the evidence. The stack was getting deep. I don't make my kids really do anything, including going to bed right now. My 7 year old does not know the alphabet from A to Z and cannot count very high. You know, the usual. It was not pretty.

When I worry, I am grumpy,when I am grumpy, the girls get reactionary, the spiral starts and we can only hope something stops it before full meltdown and threats of school enrollment ensue.

Suddenly, I realize we are doing math. Yep, spontaneous, organic math. How, you may ask? Well, I have a huge bowl of tomatoes and I needed to know how much they weighed in order to determine if I had enough to make sauce to freeze. It takes 5 pounds. I got out the scale and we began weighing, pretty much anything we could find. And we started estimating and guessing what weighed more and then we figured the difference in weight between myself and Ari and then myself and Mina and then Mina and Ari. All of that is math.

Later, I came downstairs and found Ari on the couch writing addition problems on a piece of paper and solving them. All spontaneous, all for fun.

Here is the thing. I see the learning. I get it. What irritates me is how often I loose my faith. My faith in the process, my faith in their curiosity, it pisses me off quite frankly. I told the whole sordid affair to my husband on the phone. Of course, he has heard the whole thing before, and then suddenly I realized something. I had an epiphany. I need to stop waiting for that magic day when I no longer doubt and just go with it. The doubt should be a guidepost. "Hello there doubt, thank you for stopping by, I see you there." A wave and smile might be nice. Something like that.

I think my expectation that I will have no doubt is completely unrealistic given my personality, my constant changing view of the world, and the fact that I think certainty is a form of delusion in the first place.

A fine mind this one

When Ari was little I used to tell her that candy and soda, things of that nature, were not food. Then I realized one day that in a sense they were food but not good food so I started to use other language to deal with non-nutritive food. The wording still came back to haunt me however.

We recently had a problem with ants in the basement. I would get rid of them in the laundry room and then find them in the computer room. Back and forth, back and forth. Finally, I suggested we keep food out of the downstairs for awhile until we could get rid of the menaces. One day Ari was eating some kind of candy. She turns to me and says, "Hey mom, I can take this downstairs because you told me that candy is not food."

Yes, this one will make a fine lawyer or satirist or gad fly. I am extremely pleased that I cannot now,nor do I believe I will ever be able to pull one over on that child.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's better to give than to receive

Yesterday the girls and I were watching a Bratz movie. In the movie one of the girls is going to the mall with her mother to buy her friend a present. The mother says to her, "Remember, it is better to give than to receive." Of course such blanket statements always get me thinking and usually discussing with whomever might be unlucky enough to be around. This is the conversation that ensued.

Me: That is not true. Giving and receiving are impossible without each other so neither one can be better

Ari: No mom it is better to give than to receive.

Me: But Ari, you can't give until you receive. They are not possible without each other and you can't give something you don't have.

Ari: But she is saying it is better to give your friend a present than receive one.

Me: I know and I disagree with her. When I give you a gift I first had to receive something an idea, money, whatever to make giving the gift possible.

Ari: She is right mom, it is better to give than to receive.

Me: Okay Ari is it better to give a hug or receive one?

Ari: (Looking at me with an expression of you got me) They are both good mom.

Me: Then in at least that one situation it is not better to give than to receive, right?

Then we laughed about it. This is one of the many reasons I am glad we homeschool, the conversations and disagreements and differing viewpoints.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


After listening to Rich Dad, Poor Dad all morning, I just had the following conversation with Ari.

Ari: Mom, can I have that Bratz game they just showed on the television?

Me: Well, I want to see if you understand a couple words. You ready?

Ari: (rolling her eyes)

Me: Is that game an asset, liability, luxury, or necessity?

Ari: What are those?

Me: An asset makes you money. A liability takes your money. A necessity is something you have to have like food. A luxury is something you earn but it is not a necessity.

Ari: Um, I am not sure

Me: Well in my book it is a luxury which means you need to figure out a way to earn it.

Ari: (You can see the realization that mom and dad have a different mindset going on here) hmm, I will get back to you.

It seems our homeschool "curriculum" is deepening and extending naturally. Helping the kids gain a better understanding of how to make money work for them is one of my many, many goals.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A declaration

On Wednesday Ari, Mina, and I went to our local library. On the way in Ari turned to me and announced, "You know mom, I like who I am. I don't care if I am different than other people."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Last night Ari started using a new math site called Dreambox. Right away it became obvious that she likes it and that she knows far more math than I thought. We are doing the 14 day trial, but if she continues to love it and use it (it was the first thing she wanted to do this morning) we will purchase a 9 month subscription for her.

I prod her a little to do her phonics game every day. Mostly because the lessons build on one another and I have called and had it reset 4 separate times.

She has been interested in human anatomy (I will say it that way only to avoid being linked in illicit online searches) and we have checked out several books for the younger set on where babies come from and how they get in there in the first place. When we have given them a good looking over I will post our favorites.

We checked out this great picture book from the county library called Jennifer's Rabbit by Tom Paxton. The illustrations are beautiful and it reads like a lullaby. Funny enough we discovered that it is a lullaby. (There is no video on the YouTube)

We are meeting cousins at the beach at Daybreak tomorrow. Looking forward to actually being there when it is closer to empty-last time it was so busy. For now, good night and may all your dreams be beautiful!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not so much

Well, it is a home day. I wish it were just so because we want to hang out. Unfortunately, it is because Freeway is hurt and really needs some extra attention. The vet told us that once they injure their backs, they basically always have an injury. The girls and I thought it would be a great idea to take him for a walk last night but all in all I feel like we did more harm than good. So, it will be movies, books, board games, and dog pain medicine for us today.

Just the usual

We spent most of yesterday at our local botanical garden. We fed fish, played tag, pretended we were folk from long ago, and had a grand time. Ari of course made a friend, a regular occurrence theses days. I was delighted to see that they are moving the natural history museum next to the garden and the building is going to be so cool. Today's planned adventures include the library, the pet store, and the newly opened for the season Halloween store. We love Halloween! Have a great day.