Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dear Homeschool Bloggers


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I will be hostessing an upcoming
here at Atheist Homeschool Momma.

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I am thrilled to have my space chosen to celebrate the homeschool life style and I invite YOU to participate!

For my friends and readers, for first-time visitors, for all homeschool bloggers, please accept my invitation to use this opportunity to have your blog post featured!

I have selected HOMESCHOOL MYTHS and PARENTING as the theme for the carnival, so please attempt to have your blog post speak to this theme.

Once my hosting date is determined, (probably the first week of July) I will announce it here on my blog.  Then, your submission can be sent to:  CarnivalOfHomeschooling@GMail.com

If you are unfamiliar with a blog carnival, check out these past Carnival of Homeschool Blogs at some blogs that I enjoy -- just to give you an idea as to what I am working on here!

Notes from a Homeschooled Mom
recently hosted this carnival.
Alasandra's Homeschooling Blog
recently hosted this carnival.
No Fighting, No Biting
recently hosted this carnival.
And The Common Room
recently hosted this carnival.



If you or someone you know would like to participate in my carnival, please let me know.
I am looking for your new blog, your established and well-traveled blog, your humorous blog, your practical blog, your personal story blog, your website-lover blog.

I would appreciate any mention on your blog about this opportunity!
 
 vbvbvbvbvbvbvbvbvbv

Feel free to post a link from this page to YOUR blog page 
or Facebook page or other community site.
Every submissions supports the carnival!




Here is today's newest CARNIVAL of HOMESCHOOLING BLOGS:

My daughter's blog entitled Homeschoolers Are Weird is featured!
Doctor Who is SO PROUD!

AND, this newest CARNIVAL of HOMESCHOOLING BLOGS features a post here:
http://deweystreehouse.blogspot.ca/2012/05/carnival-of-homeschooling-334-floatin.html


Check it out!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Note to My Former Self





This post is inspired by this blog post from Algebra, Essentially Blog.  I have not read the blog post yet because I didn't want to copy any of it.  But I love the idea and had to come here and write my own letter to a woman who really needed it:  myself.
 
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Dear Me, Sweet, Well-Meaning Me:

You've done it. You have committed your beloved family to a lifestyle of homeschooling.  Are you sure you have read EVERY SINGLE BOOK on homeschooling out there?  Have you stayed up night after night reading every word on the world wide web that has ever been written by a homeschooling parent, looking for the magic bullets?  Have you sweated through the Rainbow Resources book and every other homeschool material compendium out there?
OK, now forget all of it.

Your homeschool experience will not only be entirely unique, it will change dramatically over time.  Many times.

Those "how to" books can be encouraging (though most are only anxiety-producing) but they can't, in reality, tell you HOW TO.  Those secrets will come to you by trial and error...and success.  Those paths you take will be completely road-less-traveled stuff.  You will talk to everyone, read everything, buy every book.  In the end, you will toss most of it out and listen to the kids, you will listen to your own intuition, and you will, finally, trust the process.


Trust me, no one else has the answers for you.  There is no right way.  There are no silver bullets.  No set of "musts" will help you.  Somehow, through your fears and anxiety, the right things will happen.  In spite of doubt and tears, your family will flourish whether you are book-heavy or free-and-easy. 
Living life provides.


For your first year as a homeschooling parent, that last paragraph will paralyze you at times.  Sometime during your second year, you will realize that it is happening.  That thing that was promised.  You will be homeschooling with complete freedom and you are CAPABLE and competent.  You won't need anyone to tell you what to do.  You will realize that homeschooling is happening!  And then you will LOVE that last paragraph.

Without sitting and learning each little phonic, your son will learn to read in his own time.  Without forcing your daughter to write, she will create masterpieces.  Without sweating over each practice problem and every lesson in the Saxon book, both of your children will understand math far better than you ever did.  Without creating stress and tears and endless boredom, the kids will become amazingly educated people who are able to delve deeply into subjects and come up wiser and better educated than any spoon feeding ever did.  No tests.  No drills.  No practice problems.

Which curriculum?  Relax.  Materials matter less than relationships and time and passion.  Stuff to learn is everywhere!  Great writing, nature, film, life events, community activity, travel, and all matter of experience will far surpass the benefits or shortcomings of any curriculum you will ever purchase.  So spend less time polling everyone you know, incessantly reading book reviews, and organizing lesson plans.  And spend more time with the kids with questions and answers and friends and debates and play and experiences and participating and downtime.

Before you are able to blink your eyes twice, the days of potato prints, blow paint, and glitter will be over.  Suddenly you will realize they are no longer interested in circle time or play dates or creating castles on the front porch.
So enjoy each day, and keep learning!

With Utter Confidence in Me,
ME

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Unschooling One Through the Storm of Adolescence





Maybe it seems like I'm lowering the bar over and over again for my daughter, Doctor Who.  And, maybe I am.  But, if so, it's not as simple as expecting less from her.  In fact, when I see what she is doing, I see her working hard on things that matter to her.

Does unschooling seem like lowering the bar to you?  Sometimes it does seem that way to me.  But I know her.  She is committed to herself to work on several stories that she is writing.  The more she writes, the more her ideas flow...  The more her inspiration truly looks inspired.

So, in unschooling her, we are making the choice to allow the zeal and eagerness to write to lead her.

But can you tell that I am a bit uncomfortable with unschooling?  
Has it been obvious as I struggle with what to do with her?  
Has my ambivalence been clear to people who read this blog?

With regards to "lowering the bar", maybe I'm not lowering the bar at all.  I'm removing the bar all together and replacing it with... something else...  (It DOES feel like it matters what you call things...)

I vacillate between feeling like I'm letting her off of the hook or ignoring some important skills to feeling delighted as she follows her bliss.  I'm not exactly sure where I stand with it.  Unschooling is a total leap of faith both in her and in her innate appetite for learning and in unschooling itself.


But I have to choose unschooling for her. 
Does anyone else out there have a challenging teen?  If so, you understand.
The storms she brings on herself!  The storms we all weather together.  It's tough.  And I feel like the choice to unschool is the choice that gives her the freedom she needs in order to not lose it all together.  It allows her to let go of trying to please me or to meet my expectations and encourages her to embrace her goals and to find her own way to meet them.

Doctor Who and I talk so much about how to make things work for her.  Although she isn't always happy, OK, she is seldom happy, she knows that that matters to me and she knows that I will continually adjust our framework in order to suit her better.

At this moment in time, she is happy to consider herself unschooled.  

I've always known I needed to give her a huge amount of freedom as well as needing to provide her with enough structure to not get lost.  Homeschooling Doctor Who has been a huge balancing act from Day One.
With alot of love, our relationship has saved us many times and, now that I think about it, I'm happy too!

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This blog post has been featured here:

http://letshomeschoolhighschool.com/blog/2012/06/23/unschooling-one-through-storm-adolescence/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gratitude



Sometimes I can't help but take a moment and really consider all things that I am so grateful for.  Life is so beautiful and luminous...
Here are a few things that I feel compelled to be very thankful for:

  • My family, of course.  The most lovely children and the most loving spouse I could imagine.
  • Elizabeth's smile and self confidence
  • John's wisdom and fun
  • Whole wheat products
  • Ladybugs crawling up a long, thin leaf.
  • People with specialized knowledge who can offer that knowledge to you
  • The moment water runs out of your ear
  • Cool nights for sleeping
  • Dark sky moments
  • Seeing birds soaring the high air currents
  • Symbolic art
  • GPS
  • How Jerry will come and find me to talk and his eyes brighten as we talk.
  • Small pictures, stuffed animals, origami, and other items of love given to be by a child
  • Authors with that ability to touch and explore and lay bare
  • People with respect
  • Daffodils along the highways
  • sawdust kisses from my husband
  • An ice maker
  • Post-it notes
  • How sunshine sparkles on dirty windows
  • How "old friends" can become new friends
  • Sharpies
  • How challenges make us stronger
  • Authenticity and my absolute need to be so
  • Spinach
  • Wisdom that comes with age 
  • Kid-made earrings
  • reading piles of old letters
  • the produce market
  • a dusty car after driving on a country road
  • Old Stone
  • That my husband sleeps through my snoring
  • The way water is funneled down a hosta leave, right to the roots
  • Clip art
  • Dark brownish-black soil, their smell and appearance
  • Photoshop
  • Libraries
  • The internet and it's fullness and wisdom, and the people who created it
  • Artisan tiles
  • That person who stops to ask if you need help when you are on the side of the road
  • When people clean up after themselves
  • Those bathing puffs and soap in a bottle...no soap scum!
  • When someone asks for my advice
  • Automatic doors
  • Those little freckles on noses and cheeks
  • TEDtalks
  • teaspoons
  • Comments on my blog posts
  • Smiling faces with or without dimples
  • The ability to remember, create, organize:  Our amazing brains!
  • Chapstick 
  • the sun setting behind a weed tonight...the weed was covered with droplets of water
  • The baggers at the grocery store
  • Bird nests in the corner of our windows
  • Ice cold water
  • Mint growing in the yard, it's fragrance when cut or mowed
  • The moment after a sneeze
  • That walk across a college campus...such possibilities
  • Free time spent with friends and good conversation and laughter
  • Skype
  • Those little trickles of water between yards
  • Furniture on the front porch for lounging
  • Phones with cameras in them
  • The sound of the mourning dove
  • Blogging 
  • Ice cream
  • Unexpected guests
  • Being optimistic, open-minded, and caring
  • Board games, dominoes, and family game night
  • How everyone is so different
  • Flossers
  • Braces for crooked teech
  • The 80s are OVER
  • Self-respect and integrity
  • Crocs
  • Seeing Anya jump on the trampoline
  • Vinca
  • Music
  • The power of positive thinking
  • Sunscreen
  • Those people who say what I can't say
  • Online-only friends who, somehow, I feel close to and care for
  • Saying that without feeling like a freak
  • Clover
  • Medical advances, research, and technology that make our lives so much healthier
  • Netflix
  • Living a dogma-free life 
  • When people leave comments on my blog
What else???

Sunday, May 13, 2012

You Have Been Tagged

I've been "tagged" by Stephanie at http://www.momto3feistykids.com/.
If you have time, add her blog as one of your faves...you won't be sorry!  I'm absolutely certain we would be good friends in real life.

The Rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random facts about you.
3. Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.
5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

Photo of me:
Eleven Random Facts About Me:
  1. I just had my hair highlighted and I like it.
  2. I can't sing a note...but I love music and SING ANYWAY!
  3. April marked Jerry and I's anniversary:  TWENTY YEARS together!  Woo Hoo.  I'll tell you this, I was 29 when I met him.  I was absolutely certain I would never meet a man I could marry.  When I met him, I knew almost immediately.  I am still madly in love with him and he totally shows me his love every day.  (I know, isn't it great?!)
  4. We are television free here.  I haven't seen a commercial in years.  This is not to say that I don't have the TV on.  I LOVE movies and I am, especially, in love with Netflix.  Currently I am watching a Korean soap that Dr. Who wants me to watch.  It is called "Secret Garden".  I am also watching "Scrubs."
  5. I have always been a huge reader.  I have read many books from many different genres.  I must claim Barbra Kingsolver as an author with whom I feel a certain kinship.  One of her books has a line in it that brings me to tears just by thinking about it.  The book is "Animal Dreams", not my favorite of her books.  In the end, there is a moment when the father holds his daughters close...I get verklempt just thinking about it.
  6. I'm not a good housekeeper.  But I'm a great home keeper.
  7. I am a birthmother.  In my teens, I gave birth to a gorgeous daughter.  I knew my life was too much of a disaster to raise her.  (parents divorced early, chaotic home life...)  I loved her so much and still love her today.  She is now 29 years old, married, and the mother of a son.  (Thank you, internet.)  She wants nothing to do with me.  I understand that, and it hurts.  But I love her and will always respect her needs.  It is not now, nor has ever been, a secret.
  8.  I dislike cooking.  Almost every single day I think to myself, "I have to feed them AGAIN!"  Lucky for me, my family appreciates simply, healthy food.  When my husband cooks, he ROCKS the house!  He loves cooking and I do NOT.
  9. I have several good, dear friends with whom I share so much!  The qualities that I look for for friends are:  accepting of and appreciative of other cultures and ways of life, funny, smart, and kind.  Pretty simple, really.  
  10. I used to write tons and tons of existential angst poetry.  I haven't written poetry in years, but when I read my old stuff, I wish I could be there for that younger me who tried so hard, meant so well, but made every single mistake.

Stephanie's Questions:

1. What do you enjoy most about blogging and/or social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)  I enjoy the blog because I enjoy the chance to write, to express myself, and to be open with my life choices.  Homeschooling and atheism are both life choices that, I believe, are quite misunderstood.  I enjoy being able to represent one or both of those things to readers.  Also, I love the like-minded and not-to-like-minded, people I have "met" through the blog.
2. What advice would you offer about blogging and/or social media?  Hmmmm.  I don’t know!  I guess I would say to write when you enjoy it and don’t write when you don’t.  Also, write about what you know.  You are an authority on your life and that alone is interesting.  I enjoy reading blogs of people who are slogging through this life doing their best and who share that journey.
3. What are a few of the most important lessons you've learned as a parent?  That each child is a unique person.  Obvious, maybe, but mine are SO different from one another.  ALMOST OPPOSITE.  (grin)  I have learned to comment carefully on qualities that are opposite in them.  That the love I feel for my children is so exquisite, there isn't a word that can contain it.
4. Do you have a favorite book and/or movie -- or what are a few of your favorites -- and what do you think your choice says about you?  I love so many books.  I am going to admit to the most popular ones.  Some favorite books:  The Outlander by Diane Gabaldon, anything by Barbra Kingsolver, Nora Roberts at times, and (blush) my favorite thing to read is National Geographic magazine or Discover magazine.  I also love "Les Miserables", "Count of Monte Cristo", and " SO many classics.  I am reading almost every still moment and I readreadread all of those National Geographic magazine that the library sells for fifty cents.  I just finished Dickens' "Great Expectations" and LOVED IT!  That is a book so totally lost on a freshman in high school... I also love reading home decorating and home DIY magazines.  What does this say about me?  I think it says that I love to learn and I am always learning.
5. Is there a book or movie that changed you in some way? If so, what and how?  Many years ago, the book “Women, Sex, and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power” by Charlotte Sophia Kasl changed everything.  As a young woman I had confused sex with intimacy.  NOT the same at all.  When I read this book, I realized that I had been steadily working on getting out of that destructive pattern for a long time and I felt great about moving into a healthier lifestyle.  It took alot of work and was totally worth it.
6. What is a quality about yourself you know you need to work on?  I still struggle with self confidence.  I have a long list of bookmarked websites that I can click on whenever I need a boost.  Sometimes I will find myself reading one of the websites before I actually realize how down on myself I have gotten.  So, the good news is that I do like myself. 
7. What is the quality about yourself that you like best?  I’m nice. 
8. From your perspective, what are the most important traits in a friend?  Lol...copied from above:  accepting of and appreciative of other cultures and ways of life, funny, smart, and kind.  Pretty simple, really.  Some of my longest term friends are people that I wouldn't change for love nor money.  They know me well, I know them, and our friendships are that kind where we might not see one another for long stretches of time, but we know we always love one another.  And time can't change that.
9. What behavior or personality trait tends to really push your buttons?  Know-it-alls, selfishness, and when someone is unwilling to admit their own part in a conflict.  I guess these three traits can be summed up as adults who never really grew up.  It's not fair!  The rest of us grew up, why do these people think they don't have to?????  There is a real immaturity to each of these traits and it amazes me when adults have gotten so far in their lives and still operate this way.
10. What is one memory you'd like to relive, if you could?  Every single moment of my children’s childhoods. 
11. What is one quality you have that you hope your kids have inherited or will emulate?  I hope they are kind and that they are continual, life long learners.  OK, that is two traits.


My Questions:
  1. What kind of music did you grow up listening to?  How does that music reflect in who you are today?
  2. Are you a morning person or a night person?
  3. If you are in an argument or a fight with someone, how do you try to smooth things over.
  4. What things are sure to make you angry?  How do you handle that anger?  How does your anger effect your children?
  5. How is your major partner relationship similar to your parents' relationship?  How is it different?  
  6. What are some of the things on your current "to do " list?
  7. How happy are you about your appearance?  
  8. What were you doing ten years ago?  What do you see yourself doing in five years?
  9. How does your home decor reflect you?  If your home is not as you wish it to be, describe what you would like and how THAT would reflect you.
  10. What are you grateful for?
  11. and What is at least one thing that you almost never tell anyone.
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TAGGED:
Now, I am tagging the following blog friends...
HEY, what are friends for?

Jennifer at:   http://home4goodmichigan.blogspot.com/
Melissa at:   http://throughthewardrobe-musings-melissa.blogspot.com/

Jennifer at:  http://diff-path.blogspot.com/
http://diyfamilyof4.blogspot.com/
Rayven at:   http://dysfunctionalhomeschooler.blogspot.com/
and Carol at:  http://dysfunctionalhomeschooler.blogspot.com/

PLEASE tag or comment back to me so I can read your posts!






Friday, May 11, 2012

I Think It's Me

I think I'm burned out a bit.
I've been thinking how my kids are not co operating or how they are being unproductive...
But, in retrospect, I see them being VERY productive in the creativity realm.
Movie making, book writing, costume creating, fort building, art making, song writing, choreography.

SORRY FOR MISSING IT, Kids!

Emerson - Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror


“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Looking in the mirror earlier, I saw a woman who dressed up with make up and everything tonight.  Several hours later, some lipstick remains, pretty good stuff.  My hair still has some "style".
Mostly I see a woman who is startled to be getting older.  Surprised to not see the "self" that I imagine myself to be, that I feel like inside.  That young me.  I often do that thing, that second look, that "OMG Who is THAT?" look when I see my own reflection.  I expect to see that young woman with a kick in my step and...good skin.  Instead, I see her fifty year old aunt.

But am I disappointed in that "self"?  I can't say that I am disappointed at all.
True, I could be more fit.  Definitely lose weight.
But the person that looks back at me is someone I would want to know.  Someone I like.  She tries hard.  She means well.  She attempts to live her life honestly, ethically, and with integrity.  
I see a woman who feels joy and love deeply.  She has smile wrinkles around her mouth and smile crinkles at the corners of her eyes. 
Speaking of eyes, while I was at the mirror, I looked right into them.  They are calm.  Probably less attractive than they were when I was younger, but happier, wiser, more "me".  Droopier on the corners, but peaceful, patient, honest.

I see a woman who has "risen above" so much.  I see a woman who feels such depth of joy and peace in my life...  "Back when," I would have never believed my life could be this way...

I could name a fairly extensive list of people who really don't care for me.  Sometimes this bothers me alot.  But I wouldn't change:
I am who I am.

And that's OK.
I have a small group of women who I look up to, who I wish to be like. 
While I am nothing like them, I am all ME.
I call that a success.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Post Apocolypse



 

Bonobo said:   
From the perspective of the dinosaurs, 
we already ARE living in a post-apocalyptic world.

It's divergent thinking.  It's thinking outside of the box.  It's the ability to value divergent thinking.  It is puns.  It is creativity in every day activity.  It is acknowledging that differing "answers" can all be correct.  It is looking for new ways to use old things.  It is spontaneous, random, enriching, and, ultimately, it is a new perspective.

This is what it is like to homeschool Bonobo.

I have to admit, I am always learning how to be a better parent to my children.  But there is one thing that I have always encouraged and enjoyed seeing them develop:  divergent thinking.

We have a game we have played dozens of times, a game that the kids always want to play whenever friends join us for dinner.  LOL
The game doesn't have a name.  Maybe we'll brainstorm a name for it the next time we play...LOL.

Here is how you play.  It is a great game to play while you are waiting for dinner to be served, on an airplane, in a waiting room, on a long drive, or hanging out.  Choose an object.  Any random/common item will do.  Take turns coming up with as many different uses for that item as you can possibly imagine.  The more outlandish, the better.  Silly, creative, divergent. 

As for the object, we have used spoons, thimbles, those little numbers restaurants give us for waiting, keys, a straw, a salt shaker, and many other items.  Every day things, really.  Then we do everything we can to create hew ideas...mostly to make each other laugh!

As for Bonobo's outside-of-the-box thoughts, I'm sure you have a child or two who frequently astound you with thoughts and ideas that are unique and clever, I am often laughing with delight at his questions, pronouncements, and new ideas!

What have your kids said lately that has amazed you??????


My blog post is being featured in this week's 
Carnival of  Homeschool Blogs:




Thursday, May 3, 2012

SciStarter Website, Secular Thursday



SCISTARTER:

This is the place to find out about, take part in, and contribute to science through recreational activities and research projects that appeal to the little scientists in your family.

If you're a scientist or a parent of a budding scientist: This is the place to do real research and to get your child interested in helping out.

Through this website, you and your family can become involved in studies on almost every subject your budding scientist can think about:  butterflies, storms, crayon physics, snake count, trout, images of cells, wasps and bees in your own backyard, DNA and taste, phytoplankton monitoring, road kill, clouds, river watches, Mars maps, gratitude, invasive species, the albedo, noise pollution, cell phones, camel crickets, and many, many more subjects.

We are watching clouds and studying sound!

Want the details?   http://www.scistarter.com/

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I found this excellent SCISTARTER website from a blog that I am very excited about.
The Stochastic Scientist is a blog for you if you have a child who loves science or if you are interested in science.  Kathy Orlinsky, The Stochastic Scientist herself, blogs about interesting, cutting edge scientific resources and stories from almost every field of science.

Read this website regularly 
and you WILL have your scientist's interest peaked!