Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

This little gem of an idea was started by Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer. Every Wednesday, you can check her blog for a handy tip, as well as a list of links of others who are participating in this. I love this idea and have already used several of the tips I've come across.

My tip concerns saving steps in the kitchen. I have different "stations" around my kitchen. My coffee station has filters, coffee, and a sugar bowl in the cabinet directly above my coffee maker. I have sugar, flour, baking powder, and measure cups and spoons above my stand mixer. When I recently moved my toaster across the kitchen, I moved the honey (which is pretty much only used for my son's honey-butter toast) so that it is directly above it. Yes, that cabinet contains dishes, but it now has a small space reserved for the honey.

My stations accomplish two things. I'm not having to walk around all around the kitchen getting various items, and I free up space in my too-small pantry.

It works for me!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What's Been Goin' On

It's been a couple of weeks, I know. I could come up with all sorts of excuses, but I think I'll just skip it.

Here's a summary of our last few weeks. (click on images to see them larger)

We went to Six Flags in Arlington the day before the Arlington Book Fair (a homeschool convention). The park was only open to homeschoolers and it was a great day! I think the high for the day was about 80 degrees and it was just heavenly. The kids had a blast. I rode a ride called Superman Tower of Power and I don't think I've recovered yet. I will never (I repeat, NEVER) ignore my feelings of trepidation again. (Do you hear me, Heather? NEVER!).

The school year wound down with a couple of co-op end-of-year bashes, including a field day. I can't believe the year is over.

My niece graduated from high school Saturday night. Would someone care to explain to me exactly how that happened? Where has the time gone? When did she turn in to such a beautiful young woman? I realized today that she was 9 years old when Robert was born. Goodness.

Griff rescued a stray kitty a couple of weeks ago. He found her on the side of the road, barely alive. We've taken her to the vet for her vaccines and Griff's been nursing her back to health. For being a wild kitty, she sure has a calm personality. She growls and hisses and doesn't really care to be carried, but overall she's been very good. Even our own cats just look at her curiously. They don't seem threatened by her yet. I've told Griff that we are NOT keeping her. We'll turn her into a good pet and find a home for her. (Just about the time we all get attached, I'm sure.)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Our Curriculum

I don't tend to think of my blog as a "homeschooling" blog, but it is a blog about my and my family's life and, let's face it, homeschooling is a big part of it now. I see questions all the time about what curriculum is being used for what grade, so I thought I would include that information here. I'm also including how I think it's working for us. If you're a homeschooler, I hope you find it helpful. If you're not, and your eyes are glazing over at the thought of reading this, you have my permission to skip this and return another day.

We've only been homeschooling since January. I started out following the Well-Trained Mind approach to classical education. It was very helpful as a newbie to have something to follow. While I love the classical approach, I feel that with more experience I will follow the guidelines of that book less strictly. However, I strongly recommend it to anyone who is just starting out.

Items used for both children

3rd grade

  • Math - A Beka 3 - There are too many colors and distractions on the page for my son. We are switching to Saxon next year.
  • Grammar - Rod & Staff English 3 - I really love this program, but my children prefer workbooks, so I may change it. I really do love it, though, and they've done fine.
  • Music - viola lessons and practice
  • Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power - This program has really helped my son's handwriting.
2nd grade

  • Math - Abeka 2 - Ruth really likes this. We will be sticking with it for at least another year.
  • Grammar - We started with First Language Lessons, but it is heavily oral and Ruth hated it, so we switched to Rod & Staff English 2 (see above comment about this program).
  • Music - cello lessons and practice
  • Handwriting - Bob Jones University Handwriting 2 I chose this because I think it's a very pretty handwriting style, but not too difficult. It's slightly different than what you would consider traditional school script.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It Made Me Cry

I'm a member of several e-mail lists. Over the past few days, "fighting" has erupted in one list over a particular subject. Once I saw the way it was headed, I stayed away and deleted most of those messages.

Today, I sent an email to the list. The main point of my email was that even though there had been a "fight", this group was extremely helpful and supportive and I thanked everyone for that. I've read quite a few wonderful posts over the past few days and wanted everyone to know how appreciative I was.

In response, I received a private, snarky email from somebody who was deeply involved in the disagreement. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I actually sat at my computer and cried about this!

Why did I cry? The contents of her email weren't that bad. I spent quite a bit of time, thinking about this. I think I've figured it out.

When you're face-to-face with someone, you usually get some idea of how they're feeling. Body language, facial expressions, etc. So, if they make a hurtful comment, you're not completely taken off guard. I was. I had no idea she (or anyone!) would respond that way. It came from left field and plowed me down. It left me feeling misunderstood and unappreciated.

Email is a wonderful, but tricky, thing. So, be careful what you send out to others. But also be careful how you read things from others.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New Links

I'm going to be adding some new links to my sidebar, but until I get around to it, I'm posting them here. I know I owe credit for some of these to others and I apologize if I forget to mention it. If you let me know, I'll give you the credit you deserve.

Blogs I've Been Reading

Here in the Bonny Glen - Blog of children's author Melissa Wiley. You want children's book recommendations? You got 'em. More than you could possibly ever need. Plus, it's fun to read about her family.

Rocks in My Dryer - She has started a "Works For Me Wednesday" series that's spreading. I plan on participating at some point, but haven't gotten it together enough to do it. (HT: Half Pint House)

Schooling Links (helpful whether you're homeschooling or not)

Here, here, and here.

Other Things (not destined for sidebar)

Here's a great article about girls (and women) and their body perception. It's by J.K. Rowling, but no matter how you feel about the Harry Potter books, this is worth reading.

I was going to save this post and add more later, but have decided against it. So, here ya go!