Sleepy time

12 05 2010

It is late, and I am tired, but I am not in bed.  I don’t know…just a lot of stuff rolling around in my mind.  Not bad stuff – just stuff I need to do that I’m trying to remember not to forget to do – like adding stuff to the calendar so I don’t forget about it altogether.  Also I keep thinking about a couple of home improvement projects that I’d love to get my hands dirty with but don’t have time right now (like painting the kitchen and stripping the carpet off the stairs).  And of course, there’s the large stack of bags of mulch in the driveway that needs distribution.  By the way, did you know that it is better to buy your mulch in bags than by the truckload/scoop?  A neighbor who works for a pest control company told us that the heat generated by the sun in the enclosed bags kills the bug larvae lurking in the mulch.  Who knew?  I guess he did!  So although it’s a bit cheaper to have a scoop dumped in my hubby’s pickup, we go buy the bags.

Since I last posted, I have completed a semester of college.  It feels good.  It went by much faster than I expected.  I made A’s.  So far, so good, aye?  Summer session has already begun and I have turned in my first Algebra assignments.  It’s not too bad, algebra.  It’s not really math – it’s more like puzzle solving.  And as soon as I can get myself to think of it that way first, some of my anxiety about it will dissipate. LOL.

I just never liked math.  Didn’t stink at it entirely, just never had a good math teacher through elementary and middle school, so I just floated along with bare minimum skills and knowledge.  I took Geometry, Algebra I and II in high school and did fine, but I did have to work hard.  I didn’t really get it, either – I followed the steps and got results, but I couldn’t have explained any of it to a toad!

  Homeschooling my children is where/when math clicked.  I found myself having Eureka! moments constantly – even with simple addition.  The first time was with double-digit addition.  While showing my son how to “carry”, he kept coming up with the answer before I could work through the problem.  He’d blurt it out and I’d be baffled.  Turns out he just “got it” and explained to me that “adding all the 10’s and then the rest is easier than carrying, Mom.”  He had to be, what?  About 2nd grade, I think.  He’s been doing that to me ever since.  So I guess he taught me math, really.  I couldn’t believe such things never occurred to me – I just did it how the teacher said and never thought about the numbers themselves.  So when I get stuck a bit on an algebra problem (yes, it has happened several times already), I call him in to save the day.  I still have those Eureka! moments and think to myself, “Why didn’t I see that?” 

He had to choose a book from a list for English class and guess what?  He chose my favorite author!  I was secretly so thrilled, and I’m really hoping that it inspires him to read more of Michener.  He’s reading The Bridges of Toko-Ri (which is one I haven’t read), and he is enjoying it.  I’ve already recommended The Covenant, but trying not to get my hopes up.

My little girl is so growing up.  It is so bittersweet, too.  She wants to add another sport to her life, so we are checking into it.  Apparently the local middle school is recruiting home schoolers for cross-country.  Soccer she loves.  She is so dedicated.  Last night she was in the yard pushing herself (after an hour of soccer practice) to get her front handspring back.  She could do it a few years ago, but is way out of practice and her rapid physical growth must make it feel quite awkward from when she was able to do it before.  She worked hard at it.  All for soccer, of course.  She wants to be able to do a flip throw-in.  Don’t know what that is?  Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AryIzGfOWIU

This makes me want to video  her next soccer game.  I haven’t done that yet.  Last Saturday, the coach put her on offense for less than two minutes and she scored.  We knew she would by the look on her face when she came through with the ball — sheer determination.  It was nice for her.  She usually prefers being on defense and does really well with that.  Most of her opponents are pretty intimidated by her, and her teammates ask her to trade places with them when they get put up against someone who is bigger or who plays rough.  She is always glad to do it.

Whenever I end a post abruptly, I am reminded of my Grandma, who calls occasionally and says whatever she called to say or ask whatever she called to ask, and then says “Bye” pretty abruptly.  Oh, she takes time to stick in the “Love you” and all, but it is always a mite unexpected when she just up and says, “Well, I love you, honey.  Bye.”   It’s funny.

So here goes…I’m sleepy now.  Bye.

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To My Credit… and Pasta, Yum!!

10 03 2010

Funny how the term “credit” is used to mean so many different things, isn’t it?  I mean, there’s credit and then there’s credit.  Hee hee.  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Having returned to college this semester, I had sent for my transcript from my old university, so that every credit I’d earned in the past could be applied to help my wallet and my efforts to reach a goal.  All wapping 15 of them….  Hey! It’s a start!  Last week, I checked to be sure that they had been officially applied, and I learned that they had only applied 12 of them.  The other three had been earned at a community college while I was still in high school and were transferred to the university I went to.  They had been on the official transcript that I turned in to my current college, but I supposed that meant that transferred credits don’t transfer!  So, of course, since 3 credit hours means tons of actual hours spent working and a few hundred bucks, I sent for an official transcript for those too, from the college at which I earned them.  It came today – they were fast! 

When those get applied officially, it will give me 15 hours, and today my daughter pointed out that I was more than halfway through my Psychology book, which should mean I’m halfway through the semester.  She’s right!  I’m 9 weeks in, with 7 weeks to go (not counting spring break, which maybe should mean 8 to go, since I’ll not be “off” but writing 2 research papers instead).  It’s nice to realize that, though, and it is encouraging to see that time is passing more quickly than I thought it would when I started out.  A semester seemed like a long time in December and January, but it is already more than half over.

Pretty soon, I’ll have 27 hours down…and a lot to go.  I was looking at the program last night.  All said, after supervised practice, I’ll have 149 to 158 hours, depending on the path I take that last year or two.  Wow.  I can’t think about that today.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I’ve enjoyed my classes so far, and the family support hasn’t wavered in the face of increased household duties for them, which is quite nice.  I spend an unbelievable amount of time doing classwork, which makes me question if I’ll ever be able to take on more than 12 credit hours a semester.  I suppose if I weren’t homeschooling…but though my daughter is ready to try school, I’m not ready to let her 🙂  That, we will leave up to God, who knows best.

I don’t even want to think about that right now.  I’ll think about that tomorrow, too. 

The weather was very nice today.  It was sunny, and although not exactly warm, wasn’t cold either.  We opened the back door and a front window and let the house breeze a bit.  It was very nice to smell the fresh air and feel a stirring in the air.  I can now begin to believe that spring will arrive.  I wasn’t so sure this awful winter.

I actually cooked a real meal today.  All semester I’ve been cooking, so I don’t mean to say that I haven’t been, but I have carefully chosen quick-to-prepare meals and enlisted other cooks to either do it all or help, depending on my classwork deadlines.  The last week or two, I have seen not a reduction in the workload with my classes – that has remained the same, but I am able to do that work in less time, it seems.  So this weekend when I planned the week’s meals, I included a bit more labor-intensive choices.  Today I made pasta with chicken, baked with a creamy basil sauce, with fire-roasted tomatoes, topped with mozzerella.  Yummy!!  We were all very pleased with the way it turned out, and it will be a permanent addition to our meal list.  No, we don’t have an actual list.

I didn’t have a recipe, so if you need one complete with measurements and all, I can’t help you.  I had tried a similar dish in a restaurant and had tried to find a recipe online, but each one I looked at either had things in it that weren’t in the dish I tried, or did not have things that were included, so I had no choice but to wing-it.

I boiled and sliced boneless chicken breasts (grilling would’ve been better, but it wasn’t possible this time).  I cooked some whole-grain pasta, and tossed both with the cream sauce and baked it in a dish topped with mozzerella.  To make the cream sauce, I melted some neufchatel cheese in milk on very low heat, stirred in some basil pesto to taste, and added drained fire-roasted tomatoes.  It is simple and delicious.  Let me know if you give it a try!





Starting up the Presses…Again

12 02 2010

I just read my last post, and it doesn’t seem possible that it was from this fall.  It seems like that was ages ago so much has happened.  It is certainly time to get back into the habit of writing – I have missed it.  I’ll attempt to fill in the almost six-month gap that I have managed to create.

We still have jelly, and frozen apples.  They are being pulled from the pantry and freezer, respectively, as we need them, but there is still enough to last a while.  The jelly is just as yummy and the apples are being used most often in Apple Cake.  (Although I’ll probably be making Amish Friendship Bread for a while in place of the cake, until we get tired of that.)

School with my daughter has become much, much easier.  I think she must have been going through a phase…or maybe it was me.  But she doesn’t hesitate to come to me when she has finished her independent work or when she needs me.  She has matured a lot in other ways, as well, and has taken to doing some of what needs to be done without being asked (like putting the clothes in the dryer if she is closer when it buzzes), and has a better attitude in general.

The biggest change around here is that I am going to school myself full-time now.  It’s a long story, so you may want to grab a snack 😉  I didn’t finish college the first time around, and I didn’t think I’d ever go back.  For almost 20 years, I had not thought of one thing that I was interested enough to want to get a degree in and work at every day.  Since my oldest started middle school (he’s in 10th grade now), I’ve been praying from time to time that God would give me direction, because for the first time, I fully realized and accepted that I would not be homeschooling forever, and would not feel fulfilled staying home after that phase of my life ended.  At first, I thought that I would volunteer full-time, either in one place, or several places, on different days.  This plan seemed like it may be right for the next year or so, as I came upon many places that I would like to invest in. 

It was sometime during October that I feel like God revealed to me his plan for me.  He made me realize that I have always been interested in food and health, and how food affects health and how food can make health issues worse, cause them, or help manage them.  I have always taken a multi-vitamin and other supplements, given them to my children, modified recipes to make them healthier, and just generally been interested in diet.  He revealed to me through my own high blood pressure and family members’ health issues that peoples lives can really be affected by the way they eat.  So I am working toward a degree in Dietetics!   It can’t be my plan, because I would never have thought of it myself, even though in retrospect, I remember my sister jokingly saying once, “You should be a Dietician.” when I was casually suggesting to my mom that she could make a recipe much healthier with a few changes.  I would also have never had the confidence to enroll in college again.  My first go at that was such a nightmare.  I was young.  There just seemed to be so much pressure to declare a major – and nothing interested me that much!  I was trying desperately to take the advice of my advisor, and just take “basic” classes until I figured out what I was interested in, but I got a “C” on an English II paper, and it just simply sunk me like an anvil in a pool.  I had never received a “C” in writing!  And I couldn’t handle it.  I dropped out of every class – unofficially, which means my GPA is laughable. 

After that, feeling pressured to do something, I went to cosmetology school.  I liked playing around with it, with friends and family, but I knew pretty early on that I was not going to do it for long.  I stuck with it about 2/3 the way through, and got put on bedrest early in pregnancy and had to quit.  Frankly, it was a relief, because it gave me an excuse to quit that I didn’t have to feel guilty about.  My biggest problem was that I was trying to please others instead of following my path, and I didn’t have the relationship with God then that I have now, so I didn’t know how He could direct me if I’d just ask.

Homeschooling was His plan, too – I had never heard of it when He placed it in my path as an option, and compelled me to do it.  I have been oh so content following His lead since then, because He was very, very spot on!  I have never doubted for a moment that I was supposed to home- school.

I feel that way about this now, too.  It just amazes me that He didn’t reveal it to me until it was time…I’d have messed that up somehow, I’m sure, probably by either trying to take a few classes to “get started” before His timing came, or by chickening out totally and not going through with it.  As soon as I was sure that I was hearing God right, I sent for my old transcript (15 hours I won’t have to do over) and applied for admission.  When I got my transcript in the mail and my acceptance letter, I immediately made an appointment with an advisor, applied for a student loan and enrolled full-time.

The week before classes started, I felt a bit panicky about having a full class load and wondered if that was a mistake that I’d regret.  Of course, I alternately prayed and cried and believed.  But 5 weeks in, it is going very well.  I’m keeping up, doing well, and enjoying it very much.  Some days I still feel a little overwhelmed, but my super-hero family kicks in and does some of the non-school stuff that’s contributing to my insanity and all comes back to a balance 😉

It’s about time to pick up my daughter, and that’s about as thorough an update as I can manage tonight.





Life and Jelly

9 09 2009

Why is it that there can be so much going on in my head, but when I place my fingers on the keyboard they sit motionless while I struggle?  I suppose it’s just hard to know where to start sometimes…

“What have I been up to?” you ask.  Ok, so you haven’t ask, but for posterity’s sake, let’s pretend.  I need someone to ask today, and since there’s no one around, I shall indulge myself in imaginings 🙂

I’ve been up to lots of things.  I’ve been trying to be a full-time teacher to my sixth-grade daughter, for one.  I have found it easy, as a home educator, to leave my children on auto-pilot for a few hours each day, while I keep other responsibilities under control, but I’ve discovered that this approach doesn’t work quite so well with this child as it did with the first.  Siblings can be so different!  That’s another conversation entirely, and I’ll stay on the current one.  Staying near my daughter as she works, being available to answer questions (she won’t search the house for me like her brother did), asking about her progress regularly (to inhibit daydreaming – or whatever it is her mind turns to), and moving her from one task to another (to eliminate the time wasted when she fails to come to me when she has completed what I have given her) is sooooooo difficult some days!  In case you haven’t concluded so yet, today was one of those days.  By the time we finished the school day, it was 4:50, and I truly thought I would implode before dinner was cooked.  Some momma-chosen tunes and self-control, along with the cooking assistance and companionship offered by my love helped put out the fuse!

I’ve really slowed down in the hobby area, simply because of the lack of time.  I’ve set up and made only a handful of postcard trades since school began a month ago, and letterboxing was completely ignored  through the entire summer (although I did think about it many times).  Hiking is not happening, either, but I have probably spent more time dreaming/planning about where and when I can hike than any other single pleasurable think I have been able to allow my brain to escape to these last few weeks.

My mom and niece came for a visit over the weekend, and it so happens that I had been planning to make apple jelly on Labor Day for two weeks.  My daughter expressed a desire to know how jelly was made, and see the process, so the homeschooler in me delighted at the chance to indulge her curiosity and delight in her eagerness to learn something new, and I forged ahead with it!  Although my mom had made jelly many times when I was growing up, I don’t remember ever helping past the point of helping gather the fruit,  so I had no experience making jelly from fruit.  In college, I made jelly from canned fruit juice once, but that was the extent of my experience with jelly-making.  So, I became excited easily about the prospect of going through the entire process using fresh apples from a local orchard.  That my mom just happened to be here to see the process along and share in the fun, was just perfect.  The jelly turned out great, it is delicious, and though not a requirement, it is  absolutely gorgeous!   But out of the whole experience, I was most excited to learn that you don’t have to have whole apples to make apple jelly.  It may not be a surprise to you, but I was elated to learn that all you need to make apple jelly are the apple scraps!!  The cores and peelings alone result in wonderfully tasting, beautifully colored jelly!  The first batch we made was made from whole apples,  We left on the peels, but tossed the cores and the result was a very flavorful, light peachy-pink jelly, perfect in sweetness.  When I looked at the huge bowl of apples remaining and began to discuss making another batch with my mom, she suggested that I freeze or dry some of the apples for other uses, since there were really enough apples left for two more batches.  It was during this discussion that she revealed that all we needed were the scraps from the apples we  would freeze or dry to make another batch of jelly.  I couldn’t believe it at first, and then it sunk in as we discussed the ‘old way’ and how it would never have allowed for the ‘waste’ of good fruit just for jelly.  True.  And I couldn’t wait to try it.  I am still ecstatic with the result 🙂  And I still think it’s so cool that you can make lovely, sweet, scrumptious jelly from the parts I usually throw away!!!  And to make my new knowledge even more amazing, the ‘scrap’ jelly is much deeper in color – never again will I think of peelings and cores as garbage!

Check out the difference in the color…(the taste is pretty much the same, I think, but my tastes of each weren’t within moments of one another, so there could be a slight difference).

Apple Jelly  Apple Jelly

This jelly still needs a name.  I just haven’t been able to come up with something creative enough – it’s one of those “I’ll know it when I hear it” sort of things…suggestions are very welcome!!

In case it helps, the apples used were Empire, Jonathon, and Cortland.  “Think, think, think.” says Pooh.  😉

We also canned two whole pints (hee-hee) of the jalapenos growing so well in the garden.  I promised you pictures when it was all in full green…sorry about that; I never took photos and now it’s in that not-so-lovely stage, where the lettuce is gone, the tomatoes and bell peppers, some scallions and herbs are still green and producing, but mostly just the jalapenos are thriving!!  Maybe I’ll get pictures during it’s peak next year. 

I’m also getting ready to start back volunteering in the children’s ministry at church.  Not writing for them as I had hoped, but God has other plans for my writing 🙂  I’ll be teaching Kindergarten boys – such cute little bottles of energy and curiosity, and I am very excited about it and implementing the changes that have been made in the progression of the hour we have them.  I am working on a postcard-sized newsletter to send home weekly to update the parents on what their boys are learning and encouraging them to help reinforce it at home.  I need a few creative group activities to use with them in a whole-family group setting, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, they are welcome!

Even though the preceding barely touches the surface in attempt to tell you what I’ve been up to, I’ve sat still long enough and have to move on to something else.





Speeding Through Summer

8 07 2009

I can’t fully comprehend how it is that I find myself nearing mid-July, when I have little recollection of the preceeding summer months.  To say that summer is speeding by would be a simple enough statement.  This July 4 was spent relaxing with extended family at Cherokee Lake in Tennessee.  It was very nice.  The weather was warm and sunny, with only a little rain on the last day, so I can’t complain about the weather, for a change 😉  It’s always so great to have all the cousins together, playing and to listen to their conversations.  I find it absolute pleasure that they seem to just pick up the relationship in all it’s ease, even if it’s been months since they’ve seen or spoken to one another.  Wouldn’t it be nice if adults were so free in their meetings?  We always hold back, wary of the possible judgement or hidden agenda held by the other.  That’s what comes from experience with people, I suppose.

I’ve neglected my site here to lavish time and effort on the postcard trading hobby – it is very enjoyable, and affords me the chance to meet peoples from all over the globe, who have similar interests and agendas for our dealings.  It does take quite a bit of time of organizing, having to keep my online trade album updated with what I have in stock, keep up with addresses, preferences, and such, but it is fun.  I’m indulging myself with more time to spend with the hobby right now, because I know that when school begins, I will have to seriously cut back.

Speaking of school, I am elated that our school district has decided that middle and high schools should begin school an entire hour later than in previous years, but still release at the same time!  I can’t exaggerate the good things that means for our household.  This past school year being the first that we’ve had to deal with considering “out of home” school schedules in 9 years, was quite an adjustment for all of us.  Since I will not send my son, who never seems to be full of belly, out of the house on a meager, cold breakfast, I raised myself from the bed every morning (there were about a dozen exceptions – most exusable because of surgery), to cook his meal at 6am.  Now, you may consult any home educator about this – 6am is early!  Three to four mornings a week, I went back to bed after my son and husband left, which meant that I slept later than I would’ve if I had  not gotten up to cook and laid back down, which meant that home school for my daughter started and finished later than we’d like.  For my husband, this change of schooling type meant that he got a hot breakfast every morning, which he loved, but it also meant that he had to take our son to school and deal with traffic he could otherwise avoid if our son missed the bus.  Even though our son managed the earlier beginning and later ending to his day quite well, he will savor every minute of that extra hour he gets to sleep!

I am also researching Kentucky and its history, which has taken me away from regular hobbies and things.  Right now I’m particularly looking for quirky facts and quotes by Kentuckians.  It is particularly difficult to find quotes from KY women in history, so if you are interested and would like to help me out, it would be greatly appreciated!





Misty-eyed and sentimental

7 08 2008

Hmmm.  My kiddos are growing up.  It doesn’t matter how many times over the years that I have had this revelation – each time is like a new feeling.  I was doing fine. 

Yesterday I finally just went to the school and asked if I could register my son on the spot.  All this frustration with trying to figure out which day is the “right” day to register…there’s New Student Registration Day and Freshman Registration Day, and then there’s an evening “Freshman Orientation” and also a three-half-day Freshman Bridge Program.  <sigh>  Is it just me, or do we just really make things more complicated than necessary?  Why?  Good grief!  Anyway, my son spurred me on, because of his own frustration with questions about classes, and I guess he’s less patient than I am.  And patience is supposed to be a virtue!  Maybe I take it to far by not pushing where I should sometimes. 

So we are headed out to run some other errands, and I voice my confusion/frustration with all this once again, and he just says, “Mom, just take all my papers and let’s go to the school right now.  This is ridiculous.  We’ll just get me registered today.  It’s not like they’re gonna say ‘no’!”  And we did.  What a relief.  And even though the course catalog says that 2 years of foreign language are required for the diploma he wants to get, we found out that it’s actually 4…which is kinda good to know, since there are only 4 opportunities to take a year!  < cheshire grin, here>….ow, I bit my lip!

The day was productive and I felt fine. 

He went to his first “high school” age party last night, too, (the kind you don’t dread…with most of the kids from youth group, several parents and the youth pastor attending…smores and hot dogs over a yard fire, cake and ice cream and socializing) and even though the thing was to last until 2am, we picked him up a bit before midnight and we parents and he the teen were happy with that.  I was still fine. 

We drove back on the quiet streets after picking him up, listening to his account of things, and I was still fine, but sorta remembering the parties with balloons and giggles.  Then when he hugged me goodnight, he let his hand slide down my arm as he looked me in the eye and thanked me for letting him go and staying up late to let him stay late, and I really was still ok. 

I lay down next to my husband and we talked for several minutes, yawning and breathing deeply, about nothing sentimental at all, and when all was quiet, I suddenly broke into tears.  My little boy is gone.  I love the youth he is and the man he’s becoming, but I really just feel like it happened so fast.  It just suddenly occurred to me that when school starts in about 10 days, he is not going to be here all day.  Most moms adjusted to this when their kids were 5 or 6, but I have been blessed enough to have every day with my kids and watch every change and every accomplishment and failure firsthand.  I can’t imagine one of them not being here-all day- every day, for the better part of a year!  This is going to take much more adjusting than I first calculated.  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid I’ll miss out on so much.  I’m afraid he’ll stop talking to me about everything.  I’m afraid his friends will become more a part of his life than his family.  I have never felt so much grief where my kids are concerned. 

My husband saying that all this may be hard, but that I should rejoice, because thier independance, confidence and security is all the beautiful fruit of my parental labors.  I know he’s right, and I truly am happy that they are all those things.  I wouldn’t want them to be fearful, insecure and scared of everything.  I wouldn’t want them to depend on me for everything, because I won’t always be here.  And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your child knows God and looks there for backup, instead of to you, as it should be.  But it is hard.  It is very, very hard.

He is volunteering today, and isn’t here.  He woke me up at 8:15, and had already fed the dog and taken her out, eaten breakfast, taken a shower, and was in the process of packing a lunch for himself.  He didn’t want to wake me until the last minute, since he knew I’d been up late because of the party he went to.  Some young woman is going to be very blessed some day.

K and I went letterboxing locally, and it was a lot of fun.  I know that we are going to enjoy some great mother-daughter bonding this year.  But I wonder now that we’ve returned, if I somehow wanted to be gone today because I know that it’s going to be like this a lot soon, and I just wanted to avoid thinking about it…..  She cried before we left for just a minute, saying she was tired.  I told her that we could stay home, but she didn’t want that.  I wonder if it’s just as hard for her.

We had a good day, stopping twice for cold drinks (from a machine where cans are still only .40, believe it or not), and having fun deciphering clues and enjoying the stamps and locations.  We looked for 4 boxes, and only 2 were there.  One was just plain missing, and the other one was a lid-less, empty container.  I do hate that for the planters. (We had fun regardless.)

In the words Pacha’s wife (the Emperor’s New Groove) and in the tradition of women in my family who work themselves to death to deal with stress – “I gotta go wash something!”





Inconsistent

29 06 2008

Yeah, I’m inconsistent.  I’ve said that before, but it is quite true.  I’m not aplogizing for it….I don’t mind it most of the time 🙂

I’ve just been so busy with life that I haven’t had the time or mental energy to keep this up.  It’s fun.  It’s therapeutic, but it requires consistency, which I only seem to have when someone is counting on me for something 🙂

Well, I’ve been on a beach vacation, been doing some letterboxing, have been trying to get some “extras” done as far as housecleaning is concerned, trying to reconcile/rearrange my duties with my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, and trying to prepare to send my oldest to public high school.  Now don’t make assumptions…you know what that does!  I have been willing to educate him all along for as long as God directed, and although high school at home requires more of me, I was prepared to do it.  Each year, I pray for direction, and ask my children and hubby to pray about it as well.  I believe that God not only directs us by telling us what to do in our spirit, but also makes His desires our own. 

My son has expressed a desire to go to school twice before, but each time, returned to tell me that after prayer, he felt like God was telling him to stay home.  This time, however, he feels that it is time to go, and after my own prayers about it, I agree.  I will miss him, every single day, but we are both excited (and yes, a bit nervous, too) about the upcoming year.  We are getting the paperwork in order, and I have been surprised and a bit curious about his insistence on taking honors classes.  Not that I don’t think he can handle it, but I have not yet seen this desire to challenge himself academically.  I guess it’s just that up to this point, I have chosen curriculum for him, which has always been academically rigourous, and I have done my best to convey to my kids (and other kids in the family, and those of friends whenever the opportunity arises) that working hard in school is not something you should do for someone else….that what you put into your studies is just that – what you put into it – no one can do it for you, but that it benefits mostly you, as well.  (Well, ok, parents get some benefit in the form of pride, and their spouses and children will benefit someday, as well, in various ways, but I’m not getting into that much detail.)  I suppose that my surprise in his selection of diploma goals and courses for the year comes from the fact that for the first time, I’m seeing evidence that he gets it.  He isn’t taking these classes for anyone else.  That’s cool.  That’s nice.  Whew!  He gets it!

Of course, it was also nice to have him ace the placement test given by government education, too (94 on LA, 96 on Math).  Not that I ever doubted the quality of the education I’ve been giving my children, but we don’t test a lot, so it was nice to see that choosing not to use testing/grades was not a detriment according to government standards.  Again, not that I think those standards are important, except for the fact that whether we like it or not, our kids do have to be measured against them at some point.  We home educators may all agree that public education standards are seriously lacking, but I think we all have this deep-seated worry that our kids’ abilities won’t be recognized for what they are, because we don’t use their standards to shape what we teach. 

So J will enter the throng of public educated kids with less of a stigma on him because of his test scores, I think.  Some teachers hail home education, others abhore it, so his performance on this test will only serve to help him.

Don’t know what we’ll do next year – that’s up to God 🙂

For this year in our home school, though, I’m looking forward to being able to give my daughter some serious one-on-one, for which the timing is great, because she’s blossoming into a young lady, has entered puberty full force, and seriously needs to learn to make choices as an individual, because she is always following her brother’s lead rather than thinking for herself 🙂  He’s certainly a good example to follow, but I want her to learn to make decisions without the influence of others.  She wants to learn to cook; I want to learn to slow down, and we are both looking forward to the special year together.  Her studies this year will center around the Eastern Hemisphere, and we both really love learning about other cultures, and maps are a passion we have shared since she was two:  “Mommy, let me see.” from the back seat always expected whenever I pulled out the road map 🙂  She has expressed the desire to double up and take two Science courses this year, which surprised me a little, but at 10, she hasn’t yet hit the part of puberty that moves social life to the forefront, and she’s been listening to her big bubby’s plans to push himself academically this year, too, which I’m sure has some to do with it.  We’ll push to begin with, and if she decides during the year that she’d like to back off, we can do that.  I love the freedom we have in education.  I love this country.  And, oh, that makes me think of Obama, and his lack of true love and unbridled patriotism for it!  I won’t get political – it’ll ruin my mood.  I’m going to go distract myself. 

ta ta!