Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homeschoolers All Grown Up -- Introduction

We're one of those homeschoolers who have been doing it from the very beginning.  My oldest is in 8th grade, so that means we've been doing this for about 9 years now.  Not to say that we will NEVER send our children to school.  In fact, every year we think about it and consider it, and every year we decide to keep homeschooling.

And every year I second and third and fourth guess myself. 

Doesn't everyone?

I think we all want to make sure we are doing the BEST for our children.  I have this awful fear that my children will miss learning some vital skill or important tidbit of knowledge.  That they will go off to college and everyone will be all, tsk, tsk, those dumb homeschoolers are weird and unsocialized and uneducated and stupid.

I don't have any personal experience with homeschooling.  I'm a product of the public school.   I know what I know, but I also know that there were gaps in my education.  I never learned all the states and capitals.  I never had any geography teaching.  Really....I didn't. For some reason, my school wasn't down with teaching geography.  I certainly never diagrammed a sentence.   And, I never learned Latin.  I did however learn lots of other stuff...reading, writing, gym, history, science.  I had a really good science education, I think. Overall, I would say I had a decent school experience and high school definitely prepared me for college.  In fact, I remember finding many college classes to be way easier than high school classes. 

I also learned a lot of not so good things in public school.  Kids can be cruel.  Don't you dare wear the same clothes in the same week.  Brands matter....that little C logo on Champion socks makes all the difference (anyone else remember that trend???).  Only losers shop at K-Mart.  Everyone talks about everyone else.  

I didn't have many friends in school. I had a few in high school, but mostly I socialized through 4-H and was busy studying and working at a horse barn to get free riding lessons and didn't hang out with friends.  I didn't have a bad school experience, there were parts I liked and parts I didn't.  I had friends I would sit with at lunch and I did really well in my classes. For most part, I was pretty much ignored by the other kids. Everyone thought of me as the shy, quiet, smart kid. Except in elementary school.  I actually was made fun of quite a bit in elementary school.  Not sure why little kids can be so cruel, but many of them are.  And the teachers were quite oblivious to the whole thing.  Actually some of the teachers were pretty mean too, or at least I thought they were in my 8-yo mind.

So, I know what it's like to go to school, but I don't know what it's like to be homeschooled.

But, lots of adults do.  The "first generation" of homeschooled children has now reached adulthood and are raising their own children.   When I was growing up, I didn't know anyone who was homeschooled.   And, now I do know several adults who were homeschooled.  Most of them are a bit younger than me, I'm just a bit too old and when I was in school, homeschooling was really unheard of.  Now, it's fairly common-place and everyone knows someone. 

So, a few weeks ago, I got the bright idea to interview a few former homeschooled adults.

They don't really dress like thus.

I sent them a list of the following questions, which they returned back to me.

1. How long were you homeschooled  and what ages/grades?  

2. What was your parents’ primary motivation for homeschooling (if known)?

3. How do you overall feel about your homeschool experience?

4. How do you feel about the social experiences you had as a homeschooler?  Do you feel that you had enough friends, or enough opportunities for friendship?

5.  How do you feel about your education?  Do you feel you received an average, above average or below average education compared to same-aged peers in your community?

6.  What did you do after graduation?  College? Work? How prepared did you feel for “the next step?”

And, I will them be sharing their (anonymous) answers with you. 

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Sick Kitty and Thoughts on the Pope and the Death Penalty

1.  Our poor kitty is sick. 

Doesn't he look pitiful?  And he likes to sleep in a box of Christmas beads. 

 It all started on Saturday night...he started making this awful caterwauling sound.  Awful.  Sunday, he wasn't eating or drinking and kept trying to use the litter box, but nothing came out.  Sunday, night I figured it all out.   Apparently it is super common for male cats to get completely blocked and unable to all.  This is extremely painful as you can imagine. So, Monday morning, we took him to the vet and sure enough he was completely blocked. His bladder was the size of a baseball.  Poor guy. 

2. At one time in my life, I wanted to a vet.  Now...I still love animals, but we're at the point in our lives where we really can't spend a lot of money on vet bills for a pet....beloved as that pet may be.   So, it was hard choosing whether to have him treated or put to sleep. I couldn't just let him to continue to suffer.

3.  Turns out that treating him wasn't as expensive as I was thinking, so we had him treated. Our vet is pretty down to earth and understands that not everyone wants to spend thousands of dollars on their pet.  So, we had him treated.  They catheterized him and he stayed at the vet one night. 

4. Now he's home, but still not doing well. Slowly he may be improving, but it's very slowly.  I have the vet in my frequent calls now.  Thankfully, they don't charge for phone calls!  He still isn't really eating...although he is drinking and peeing (all over himself), so we have him shut up in the basement (don't worry the basement is actually finished and nice) and we stopped the medication the vet gave him (that was probably making him pee on himself).  He's definitely lost weight though and is pretty traumatized by everything.   Poor guy.   I'm hoping he starts to pick up soon.  I miss my naughty kitty that jumps up on the table and gets into everything.

5.  On a totally unrelated note...did you see my post about the Probiotic giveaway?  There are still a few days left to enter.   I'm going to randomly pick a winner and announce next week.

6. The Pope is in America and my Facebook feed is blowing up with posts about him.  It seems about half my friends are thrilled with what he says and the other half are critical. Personally, I like what he says and I like that he is so social-justice orientated.  I'm not a fan of the death penalty and I am a big fan of subsidiarity and helping those in poverty.  I know a lot of people think he should be doing more to end abortion, but I do feel that helping the poor and abolishing the death penalty (in America, where it is not needed, we have the means to keep dangerous people imprisoned for life) is a step in the direction of abolishing abortion.  You can't garner respect for the unborn, unless you garner respect for all the born people...even those our society deems less desirable...those in poverty or prison.  The people that society tends to want to throw away as worthless. It seems as though a lot of people only value those who are innocent or productive. Yes, many people make very wrong or poor choices, but I think the saying "There but for the Grace of God, go I" is important to keep in mind.  Yes, it's important to fight abortion, but it is also important to fight for the rights and respect of ALL people. So..go Pope Francis!

7.  And that is probably the most controversial I will be in this blog for the next year or so.  So enjoy it now!

(Linking it up again!)

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Join the Probiotic Craze {A Giveaway}

Come one, everyone is doing it!

Taking probiotics that is.  I'm sure we've all heard about the importance of probiotics and having a healthy, good bacteria inside our bodies.

Your gut bacteria really does affect your over all health.  Apparently Hippocrates said that "All Disease Being in the Gut."  Or so he is said as saying. The point is, a healthy gut is an important part of a healthy person.

We all know that good bacteria are good and bad bacteria are bad.  And that it's important to make sure you have lots of good bacteria. This is especially true for anyone who has had a round or two or three of antibiotics...which is just about everyone at some point.

Plus, Harvard says that probiotics are good, so it must be true. 

I've been a big fan of probiotics for awhile, which is why I jumped at the chance to try out UP4 Adult Cubes. 

These probiotics contain two very important strains. 

  • Lactobacilis acidophilis DDS-1 (this one is trademarked by the UP4 company). 
  • Bifidobacterium lactis. 
It's important to take different strains of probiotics...especially after a round of antibiotics. It's called diversifying your gut bacteria.  Everyone thinks of L. acidophilis when they think of probiotics, but there are actually several strains out there, so having more than one in a supplement is a very good thing.  

So, I was pretty excited to try out these probiotics

They taste like candy.   Seriously...that's the first thing you need to know about them. They taste like candy. You will actually look forward to taking your vitamins. 

The second thing is that they do seem to make a difference.  Since taking them, my digestion seems a bit happier. 

The third thing you need to know is that the company is great. Not only do they have adult probiotics, but they have children's probiotics, women's probiotics, senior probiotics, junior probiotic powder (perfect for babies and little kids) and even a green supplement containing spirulina.  I want to try that one next. 

The company is also very generous.  They sent me TWO boxes of UP4 Adult Cubes.  One for me, and one for you. 

Leave a comment in the comment box and you will be entered into the giveaway to win a box of UP4 Adult Cubes. 

Winner will be picked at random and announced on this blog next week.  So, be sure to check back. 

And don't forget to take your probiotics!

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Friday, September 11, 2015

7 Things About Elsa

Someone is turning 3 today!!

Happy Birthday Elsa!!

In honor of that....I'm going to share 7 things about Elsa.

1. Elsa was born at home.  Intentionally.  But, if it hadn't been intentionally, it could easily have been was that fast!  You can read her birth story here. 

2. Elsa loves babies. 

Here she is with baby Audrey.

I babysit Audrey 4 days a week.  Every day, we get a running commentary of what Audrey does.  Audrey said "ahh'.  Audrey kicked her legs.  Audrey rolled over.  Audrey's sucking her thumb. Audrey's eyes are closed.  Audrey's sleeping.  Yay......Audrey's here!!

3. Elsa likes to perform.  This performance is directed by Greta.

4. Elsa loves animals.  For her birthday, she wanted a cat cake.  Do I have a future in cake decorating or what?   Food photography too, for that matter. 

5. Elsa has been potty-trained for a year now.  Just because. I'm a big fan of early potty-training. 

6.  Elsa still loves to nurse.  We talked about weaning after she turns 3, but she didn't go for that idea.   Whenever we talk about getting no more na-na, she just says yes na-na, I DO want na-na. I do like na-na.  She WILL be weaned by her 4th birthday, however.  Mom's honor. 

7. Elsa's middle name is Rose.  When she was born, we wavered between naming her Elsa Rose or Elsa Marie. We chose Rose, because, right before she was born, her older brother, John, said that Rose is a beautiful name.  We felt bad for him, being the only boy and all.  So....John picked her middle name.   However, had we known that Disney was going to come out with a new princess named Elsa.....we would have named her Elise. Alas, Disney neglected to tell us about their movie plans.   How rude of them.   When she was first born and we told people here name, everyone was all Elsa---what a cute name, you don't hear that often. I love that. Now everyone is all, Elsa...her name is Elsa?  You named her after the Disney Princess???

Oh well. Even worse, Real Elsa loves Disney Elsa. I blame that on Greta....big sisters have big influence.

Happy Birthday Elsa!  We love you!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Adventures in Babysitting and Other Things Going On

1, Does anyone remember that 1980's movie...Adventures in Babysitting?  Well...I started a babysitting/childcare gig. I watch this little 4-month old cutie, 4 days a week, all day.  It's nothing like the movie. 

Don't worry...her mom said I could post pictures of her.

 She's basically a dream baby and has been known to actually FALL ASLEEP ON HER OWN.  Multiple times actually.  Like, if she's acting tired, I can put her in the playpen, and she'll start sucking her thumb and just fall asleep.  Just like that?!!? 

I really like babies.....I'm definitely a baby person (not so much a toddler person).  So, it's been fun having a baby around. 

2.  Ben and I often ask each other, what one has to do to get a baby that easy.   We figured the answer is probably to have different parents.  Parents that can pass on the laid-back gene to their kids. (I do not have the laid-back gene) and most of my kids don't either.

3. Especially not this one....who turns 3 in just a week!   

We probably shouldn't have named her Elsa, because she came out thinking she was a Princess/Queen/World Dictator.

4. Actually, while Elsa's personality is very much to be very demanding and high needs, I do think parental practices can play a role.  My friend, Martha, wrote a really interesting piece about her change in parenting philosophy with her 2nd child.  While, I wouldn't say that I ever really made a point of following a PHILOSOPHY (I'm not a follower...never have been), I did generally tend to hold my babies a lot, nurse them every time they peeped or showed any signs or cues of wanting to nurse (like sucking on fingers) and generally they were just held a lot.  So, perhaps..just maybe, just maybe...that made them slightly more high-needs. Maybe.   Not Elsa though...she was born demanding.  

5. In other news.  Life is hard.  Really, really hard.  My husband is struggling with his new law practice.  It's harder than we thought it would be.   Most of the people who have contacted him have either been crazy, too poor to pay or a scam artist.  So..that's difficult.   He's also still applying for jobs, so we'll just hoping and praying that either his business will pick up or he'll find something.  Because right now, it's a huge struggle.   It's been like this for awhile, and it's hard to keep up hope or know the right thing to do.  Life is hard.  Everyone's life is hard, but sometimes it's harder than other times. This is one of the harder times.

6. Homeschooling is going well though.  Some days, (if my husband doesn't have much going on business-wise) he takes over the teaching so I can devote more time to my other work-at home gig along with watching the baby.  The kids say I'm a much nicer teacher than he is...he gives them more work.  

7. I cut my own hair. I always do.  I figure that my hair is wavy/curly enough that it hides a lot of haircut flaws. So...I do it myself.  I was starting to notice more than a few gray I decided it was time to go shorter.  Some people can pull off the long gray hair look...but not me.  I think that works best on people who had lighter hair to begin with.  You can't really see the gray in this picture....but it's there.   I'm too lazy, all-natural, paranoid about chemicals to dye my hair, so I guess I'll just try to gray gracefully.

Calling this my quick takes and being done with it!

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