Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Freshman HS Civics: The Campaign Trail

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The other night was the most recent Democratic presidential candidate debate, Hillary and Bernie. I had been looking forward to this debate for awhile now because I have found myself really disliking Hillary for years; I haven't trusted her for years. Recently, though, I have been wondering if, maybe, my dislike and distrust of her came from the media smear that she is claiming.

So tonight John and I watched the debate.
Yes, John, a member of the teenage contingency of Bernie's fan base. You know how much the teens love Bernie... Our younger generation is interestingly involved and informed in the political process lately. Maybe it skips a generation or two because the generation previous to mine was politically-aware too.

Elizabeth got home from school for an hour or two before tonight's rehearsal so she joined us in the viewing of the debate. John and Elizabeth and I watched, pausing, questioning, researching in the moment, and we all gained a new respect for Hillary Clinton. 
She is smart, sharp, and a serious contender for the highest office of our country. The kids both gained a new respect for her this afternoon. And so did I.

We were impressed with the debate this time. Unlike the Republican debates, these two candidates can participate in the debate while both maintaining dignity and respect for their opponent. All three of us commented on how much we actually like both of these candidates more after watching their performances in the debate. I would be surprised if we could even tolerate another Republican debate after seeing this one.

Secretary Clinton is tougher, tighter, quick, deeply knowledgeable, more competent looking, while Mr. Sanders is kinder, brave, more thoughtful, and more focused on radical and humanist issues. More downright likable. But Hillary seems more presidential, in our humble opinions.

We're not following every debate any more but we are paying attention to speeches and to the campaign calendar. We feel fortunate that we can follow the candidates during this election year. 

Are you watching the debates with your kids? 
What were your thoughts? 
What were their thoughts?

Also, Happy Anniversary to me.
Six years blogging.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My Last Ten Pics

I was thinking about how to talk about this week, this normal and average week, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what we've been up to. I had a crazy idea to simply post the last ten pics from my phone with an explanation of each...you will see just what we've been doing this past week. We've been busy here but I can't really tell you why. Maybe this will clear it up. 

Starting ten pictures ago:

Last weekend John and I drove about an hour and a half away
to visit some new friends of ours.
We honestly had the best possible weekend.
This is both Kaleesha and her daughter Blue.
Kaleesha is one of the coolest people I've met in years!

These are also Kaleesha's children:
Atira, John (of course), Farra, and Seth.
These kids are AMAZING!
Kaleesha has been reading my blog and then we met
about three months ago at an atheist convention.
This atheist homeschooling family has become very special to us!

Today was the funeral for my friend Teresa's mother.
I don't know exactly why I took this pic,..
Teresa is the lovely lady in black.

This displays John's willingness to have his pic taken.  :)

On our way out for ice cream.


JD had an accident at rehearsal and injured his knee and shin badly.
We went to the ER and found that there are no broken bones.
He's still in a great deal of pain;
they've figured out a way for him to stay in the show.

Both Elizabeth and JD will be in a play called "Rhinoceros".
The case members are making masks that look like this.
Aren't they amazing?!!!
The show is next weekend.

The other day I went to a little bar and grill that I like.
This is a pic on their wall.

John's best friend, Demetri, NOT wanting his pic taken.
I guess it's been a normal, average week spent with some excellent people! Tonight we had some family over for dinner and the kids are doing various things around town with friends while I sit here watching Anchors Away.

Yep, a normal, average week.  :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Secular U.S. History

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Hey Secular and Atheist Homeschoolers!

Maybe you know about this already but someone just told me about a phenomenal website called US History that I'm exploring tonight and just had to come over here to spread it around. The website has links galore, access to free US History textbooks and other textbooks, a gift shop with cool stuff that nerds will love, interesting content on history issues, and so much more.

John and I are doing a year of Civics and US History during this election year. We have been very happy with the amazing resources online and we'll be adding this one. BTW, we also love the whitehouse.gov; check that one out too because it is almost the only resource you truly need. Not the only one you will want.  ;)

While we're at it
Do you have any good online resources
to pass along?


Also, a quick reminder to pop over to secularhomeschool.com; check out the forums for Soup to Nuts and join in the conversations!

HOMESCHOOL: S.A.Q.: Seldom Asked Questions. Redux


I have seen dozens of FAQ pages for homeschooling here on the WWW. 
 But none of the FAQ sites appeal to me, 
so I decided, HEY, I like my Seldom Asked Questions Better!
Welcome to this page for newbie homeschoolers. 
Most of your seldom asked questions will be here.
If you don't see the answer to your question here,
please feel free to contact the management.

1. Do you feel luckier than other moms because you get to spend so much time with your children?

Sometimes, I really do! We have so much flexibility with our schedule and we truly enjoy one another. I do feel fortunate that I can offer lessons to the kids when they are feeling their best during the day and stay with those lessons until we need a break.
As the mom, I feel so thrilled to get to watch them using their imaginations!

2. Did you decide to homeschool for the socialization?

Actually, we didn't start homeschooling for this reason. But, at times, I admit, I'm thrilled we do homeschool whenever I hear about socialization problems in the public schools. So I'm not going to kid you, today, it is as major reason why we homeschool.

As for why we DID begin homeschoooling, it wasn't for any sort of rejection of the school system. Instead, we simply embrace the homeschool lifestyle.

3. Aren’t you happy to not have to worry about pleasing the state requirements or your local school district?!

I seriously am! I don't see how the state has made things any better for public school kids lately. Don't get me wrong, I know some great public or private school kids. And I'm happy to see them thriving despite the limitations offered by their school.
On the positive side of the question, I am happy that I don't have to expect the teacher, school, or school district to try to meet the needs of my children while, simultaneously, trying to meet the needs of so many other students.

4. It’s so obvious why a family would choose a homeschooling lifestyle. Why do you think more families don’t do it?

I think most families don't understand how wonderful the lifestyle can be. Most of us have been trained or brain-washed to think that a child needs school in order to be truly educated. But I know that most families who do not homeschool do public school (or other educational institution) for their own reasons. I wouldn't try to stereotype anyone.
I'm sure most parents are very thoughtful about the education they offer to their children.

5. You homeschool. Does that mean your family fits the societal stereotypes, pigeon-holes, or labels?

Of course not. And neither does any other homeschool family that I know. Every family, homeschool or not, is unique.

6. Your family must be bustling with activity from all of the community opportunities available to them! How do you ever find down time?

Yes we are! It can be exhausting and exhilarating at the same time!  Naturally we have a good calendar and we communicate daily about our upcoming events.

7. It must be a thrill to watch your children learning about things you are unfamiliar with...simply because they have an interest!

It is! I love knowing that we are learning current events and up-to-the-moment data. Dinner conversations can be so interesting when the kids share their interests with us! Especially when they've had the freedom to follow their own interests for extended periods of time. You just never know what they will come up with.

8. Since your child is actually living in the world at large on a daily basis, you must enjoy their ability to move comfortably through the different people with whom they come in contact!

People we meet often comment on how friendly and interesting my kids are. It's nice being the "Face of Homeschool" to people we meet. We have the opportunity to meet people from every economic/social strata available and to befriend them.

9. Being present with your child daily, and, therefore, being aware of those moments when your child is “getting” a concept or struggling with it, you must, therefore, be the first one to know if your child is learning or not in the homeschool environment. Is this true?

Of course it's true  And all without a single "test". In fact, the very moment my child(ren) need help, they can ask. Or I simply notice.  You know, just the way you notice when they need help opening a can or closing a zipper. I can see us making such progress!

10.  With all of the many reputable universities enthusiastically accepting the independent-learning homeschooled students, you must look forward to seeing your child pursue their education into adulthood!

We have seen our friends go on to colleges all over the country, and they thrive! I haven't spoken to any university reps yet, but I know that, when I do, they will be pretty impressed with my kids.  Academically, socially, hobbies and activities, passion for learning, all of these things join together to make most homeschooled kids highly desirable to admissions offices of colleges.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Thrifty Books for Homeschoolers

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Have you heard of a website called Thrift Books? This website has some very affordable books and they offer free shipping. I did a little bit of research on the website and I found one of our favorite science books, Prentiss-Hall Biology, for less than $15. The reading and study guides are also available for just pennies on the dollar!

Textbooks, Folks!

I also found tons of excellent literature books, poetry, history, economics, homeschool, even books for how to teach preschool. And I love it that Thrift Books has donated over a million books worldwide to promote literacy. 

Anyway, check it out for some good values.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Driver's Permit: One Teen's Dream

John is delighted, embarrassed, and nervous to announce that he will be on the road. He's been driving in a private spot for a few months with me and he's doing great. I expect good things.

Soup to Nuts

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Soup to Nuts
This week I've been asked to write a piece for the website Secular Homeschool.com's weekly discussion called Soup to Nuts. A forum for in-depth weekly conversations about homeschooling. My discussion is entitled: 

I Wish More Homeschoolers were Secular:
A Minority Within a Minority
The discussion will begin in the morning.

You can check out this week's conversation on the Soup to Nuts page over at Secularhomeschool.com

In case you are unfamiliar with Secularhomeschool.com, they are an excellent resource with tons of forums for connecting with other secular homeschooling families. Some of the forums include:
I've been looking through the forums tonight and I see that they are very active with hundreds of commenting members! The website has so much content in the form of articles, blogs, forums, curriculum reviews, and dozens of other types of content. It's a great resource for finding other like-minded homeschooling parents. They even offer a weekly newsletter sent to your personal email if you choose.

And, of course, you can also find them over on Facebook.

So I hope you check out my discussion this week and share your questions, comments, and wisdom! I would appreciate some friends and familiar faces!

Have you been on Secular Homeschool.com?
Do you frequent there?
The conversation now is the difference between

secular and atheist.

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Parent's Midnight Thoughts

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When was the last time I washed her hair?
How long have the Legos been stored in the closet?
What to do with this basket of small socks?

Where are the zigzag scissors?
Do we still have construction paper and glue?
How long has it been since he needed me?
How do we know when it will be the last time?

When did I stop tucking in at night?
When did we stop reading together in bed?

When did I stop pouring the milk, cutting the meat,
Tidying up the room, hanging up the towels,
Waking her up with a whisper, Waking him up with a kiss,
When did I last put away the plastic cups?
Where are the small, plastic snack bowls?
Where are the music discs that were so beloved
and when did they last get played?
How do we know when it will be the last time?

When did I last pour the bubbles into the sink for play?
When was the last visit to the park?

Who was our final play date?
When did you get yourself out of the car?
Where are the little pink galoshes?
Which closet now houses the wooden puzzles?
How long have the toys been in their bins?
When did you drop my hand as you walked up the stairs?
When was the last time he needed me to zip his coat?
How do we know when it will be the last time?

Friday, January 15, 2016

TOTAL Confidence

I have absolute confidence that my kids will make their decisions, live with and learn from the consequences of those decisions, and become better people as they live their lives.
I love them so much.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Simple Pleasures to Bring in the New Year: 2016

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It's the new year already: 2016.
Happy New Year!

As the new year came in I started to wonder what, if anything, I could do to initiate in this next year 2016 here on my blog. I would love to have taken on the task/pleasure of making of list of exceptional books that I want to read this year. But in all honesty I don't have the brain cells to do a great deal of research right now. But if you want to post an excellent book in the comments, you are welcome!

Instead I started to think about how beautiful my life is. The reasons for all of this beauty are the simple things that come with having a family, good friends, and a peaceful household. Boring, maybe. But I've had enough stress, drama, and BS for three life times. So grab your nearest coffee or tea mug and join me for a look at the simple pleasure and a lifetime of peace and joy.

Please, add your simple pleasures in the comments.

  • The clip art on Pinterest with the most beautiful words in English and other languages.
  • Bohemian-style decor, so comfortable and accepting of a normal amount of clutter and dirt
  • When my child looks into my hand, stops me from walking by, and pulls me into their arms or into their moment
  •  Tidying up the junk drawer
  • When someone on Facebook links something really sweet to your profile
  • Large, fluffy snow flakes
  • Tea and lemon biscotti
  • Reading a random book and discovering that you've discovered poetic beauty on its pages
  • Conversations with deep meaning and belly laughs, tears and laughter
  • Brand new crayons
  • That moment when the words are so beautiful you have to close the book, close your eyes, and saturate yourself in them
  • Time lost in a book store
  • That moment when you find that someone you really like is secretly also an atheist
  • When they hit the high note
  • A perfectly brown grilled cheese sandwich
  • When the kids start opening up in the car as we drive and I get the gift of hearing their innermost thoughts
  • Crunchy leaves
  • Overhearing someone say something really nice about you to someone else
  • Walking in the quiet of a place that is usually bustling with people
  • The uniqueness of each and every sunset
  • That thing where when you do things for someone else, you feel better
  • Listening to the music that your parents loved
  • Writing with your favorite pen
  • Finding lost notes hidden in books
  • Crepuscular rays
  • A good report at the dentist
  • Having my friends' kids friend me on Facebook so that I can keep up with them. 
  • In that vein, removing drama by simply unfriending on Facebook
  • Whispery conversations at the end of the day
  • Super clean teeth after brushing
  • Deep cleaning, vacuuming corners and air ducts, dusting knick knacks and blinds, cleaning under the cushions
  • Driving with the windows down
  • Revisiting old personal CDs full of music
  • The smell of lilac
  • Making lunch plans with friends
  • Finishing the last load of laundry
  • Picking up a new book, flipping through the pages, reading the back and the front, sliding down on the couch, and tucking in
  • Getting a great bargain
  • Watching a new meme or piece of clip art get posted hundreds of times on Pinterest

Forgive all of the cleaning references,
I've been tidying up after the holidays.
And I'm a mom. 

Other posts you might enjoy:
We Came, We Saw, We Concurred
My First Recap of 2013
Not Just for the New Year