Saturday, February 04, 2006

Olympics Links

I found a website tonight with a great links page for the Olympics. Just thought I'd share since the Olympics are fast-approaching.

Thoughts on Saturday Night

This morning I got up and started picking up the house in preparation for house cleaning day. I count the two tasks as separate -- I have to pick up before I clean. Gently, I reminded the boys that it was family cleaning day today. DH raised his eyebrows and I reminded him that homeschooling is a full-time job. DH requested we start in the afternoon, which was fine.

As I was picking up the homeschool room, I found the placemats that were mint condition that I bought at a garage sale. I think I paid a quarter for the lot. We have the solar system, the presidents, the branches of the government, a map of the world, a map of the United States, and a few others that aren't as interesting.

I slapped myself on the forehead and thought...why in the heck are these stacked in the homeschool room? I grabbed the two map placemats, washed them off, and put them on my kitchen table. At lunch, DS sat down and didn't say a word about his world map placemat -- but his plate was pushed to the side and he sat there and studied and studied and studied. Pretty soon he came up for air and said, "I love geography."

We have a very nice world map hanging in our basement. We have a junky US map hanging as well. They were too large to fit in our homeschool room. I often find my son just staring at the world map. What is it about maps? I stare at them too.

This is one of the times I wish I had a laminator. I would like to get a really good placemat-sized world map -- or maps of countries or continents, have them laminated, and use them as placemats.

After lunch, my son disappeared. The doorbell rang, one of his friends wanted to play even though it was miserably cold. DS didn't reappear until five. They went to his friend's house and played hot wheels. And yes, I'm one of those mothers that calls every so often to check up on him. But his friend's mom does that, too.

So it was just DH and I left to clean. I think last Saturday I mentioned the book If You Give Mouse a Cookie because it reminds me so much of my husband. He pulled the mouse thing again today. His first job was to clean the cat box. I've been complaining about kitty litter being tracked all over the room. We used to have a big box that surrounded the litter box but it got stinky and DH got rid of it. It did a really good job of controlling the litter, though. Plus, our dog likes kitty cookies -- that box kept him from indulging. So back to the mouse -- instead of cleaning, DH steals one of my huge Rubbermaid containers, grabs a cat and puts him in to see if he will fit. He does. So then he brings one of his saws in the house and proceeds to cut a cat hole in my big, expensive, Rubbermaid container. Then he sands the sides down. Then he puts the litter box inside. Then he puts both cats in to acclimate them. Then he has to bring me down to show off his invention. Then he starts puttering with other things, vacuums the stairs, but he forgets and leaves the saw and plastic shavings on the floor. (They're still there.) Then he had to go to the grocery store -- we were out of milk and it was my request that he go. It's just his timing.

So anyway...I cleaned the majority of the house today. The living room didn't get done nor did DS's room. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

After supper tonight, DH asked DS if he'd like to learn how to program. DS gets all excited and says yes. Instead the boys get sidetracked by Runescape. So when I finally hit the computer, DS is bouncing around, DH is playing Runescape -- so I asked DS if he wants to learn how to build a website. YES. He gets all excited.

So off we go. We built a webpage. Actually, I signed him up and he took over. He's a natural. He's just so quick to figure things out. He's still up past 11, editing his webpage. I'll post a link in a few days after he's polished it up a bit.

I wish I were more computer literate -- I'll have to study hard to try to stay ahead of him. I see this as a great project, though. Maybe I'll start one too. I made a website a long time ago for the cleaning group I own and neglect. I forgot my password and I'd like to start fresh, emphasizing forms, schedules, etc. I love making forms. I'm such a geek.

Wow, what a long Saturday-night ramble!

Lost Post Found

A good friend emailed me this morning. She saw my lost post on bloglines. I still can't find it on my dashboard. Perhaps it's because I forgot to title it? I don't know. It has a working link. It's just not showing up. No biggie -- just annoying. Anyway, thanks, G.

So, he he, here it is again. It is just so important, don't you know.

I found a cool geography website tonight. I realized I really need to study my Oceania geography. I bombed. DS took the US test and did really well except for the east coast -- I guess I know where we need to spend some time.Survivor had its season premier last night. I am so glad Doc blogged about it because I was assuming it would have its premier after the SuperBowl like usual. They voted the one person off that I instantly liked. I was just dumbfounded that someone could be afraid of -- leaves. Good grief.In school we've been hitting the fractions pretty hard. I was ready to throw Singapore Math out the window when we came to fractions in 3B. DS did not get it at all. I couldn't explain it to him for anything. I finally ended up ordering Painless Fractions from Amazon. Click. A change of pace helped. We had so much fun that we worked halfway through the book. DS is way ahead of the game now on the fraction front and we're ready to breeze through the rest of 3B. I was looking through 4A and DS will breeze through the majority of that book, too.I have noticed a big pattern regarding Singapore Math book 3B while reading homeschool boards. It seems a lot of kids stall on fractions in 3B. DS didn't understand at all where Singapore was going, yet when we got the new book, it just clicked. I'm wondering if it's not the kids, but Singapore. Yeah, that's it, blame it on the book.I made a 60-page math test for DS to take today. He aced it. It was hard, too.Singapore doesn't teach decimals in 3B or 4A, what I consider to be 4th grade, yet it is one of our state standards. We also have to do standardized tests yearly, so I ordered the Key To Decimals series this morning. I probably didn't need to order any books, but sometimes it's just easier on me. I'd rather put my energies on other things. Besides, if I pick up a pack of Pokemon stickers, we can call it Pokemon Math and DS will work happily.That's about it for my Friday-night update. Except I'm bored. There's nothing to do in this town. DH is sound asleep on the couch, DS is playing on the computer and I'm climbing walls.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I never would have referred to myself as an unschooler. I've always been pretty rigid and follow my maps and plans that I've laid out.

Last night after I posted about our new science unit, it occurred to me...we have been unschooling in science all along.

I have a local friend who is an unschooler. Watching her homeschool led me to an aversion of the term unschooling. Well, after thinking about it, she's no unschooler -- she's a nonschooler. There is a huge difference. I think that's a common mistake amongst people in general -- when they think of unschooling, they think of nonschooling. I fell into that trap, but at least it was due to example rather than ignorance.

After I blogged last night about science, I thought -- the few people reading this blog will think we never do science! Nothing could be further from the truth. We do science all the time. It is just informal, not like we do the rest of our school. For me to plan out that unit was a change of pace for us. I have always made sure that we met the state standards for science every year. We go way beyond that, though.

My son knows a lot about science. I really started doubting myself, but I think I've laid that fear to rest now. I'm always second-guessing myself!

Thanks, Doc, for the great downloads. They've been printed (in black and white lol) and added to my unit.

Happy Groundhog Day!

It's official, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. We're in for six more weeks of winter.

Living in Minnesota, I never doubted for a moment that we'd have six more weeks of winter. :-p~~

Maybe we can form a virtual co-op and have all our homeschooled kids create that translucent groundhog!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Gulp, Jumping into our First Science Unit Study

My son is a science freak. He loves science. He knows science. He can talk shop with his dad. I'm out in left field because science is just not very interesting to me -- until delve into it.

Science this year has been hit and miss, dad has done a lot of the science schooling. I've done some. Not enough.

So, feeling the guilt, I sat down with my worn copy of Rebecca Rupp's Home Learning Year by Year. I wrote down some ideas for upcoming units we can do. I decided to start with a big, long human anatomy unit.

Being short on funds and not wanting to hear any further complaints about buying books from the old man, plus not wanting to get caught sneaking in a book order into the house, I decided to -- light bulb moment -- use what I have.

I grabbed my Konos index. Yup, they've got a fantastic unit on the Human Body. So today I went to the store and photocopied the unit -- Konos lets you do that for your own personal use -- so that I could mark it up. I planned 10 weeks of study. I printed worksheets. I searched our library online. I searched my bookshelves. I made a list of what I need to buy. I made a list of what I can beg the local locker to donate. (He gave eyeballs for dissection to us last year for free.)

I can't procrastinate any further. Tomorrow we will start. I'm nervous. I've never been this formal yet relaxed at the same time with science. It's all weird, it's all strange. It's not linear, it's hodgepodge. It's not me.

At least I can deal with a human body unit. That's not too tough. Maybe I'll get my confidence up so I can do a unit on chemistry.

Funny thing, in high school I got the top score in my high school in biology. I went to a big high school. It was a big deal. So next year in honors chemistry, I barely scratched out a C. High school chemistry -- maybe that's where my science phobia developed.

March on. My kiddo loves science. I guess I can learn next to him and we always have dad to bail us out. Uhm, I should say bail me out. What will probably happen is my son will teach me.

Gulp. Here we go.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

coffee and printers don't mix

Last night, I was sipping my decaf, surfing away, when all of a sudden a profanity came out of my mouth and I saw coffee going everywhere. Somehow I knocked over my tall, freshly-filled cup.

DH jumped up, grabbed our 4-in-one printer/scanner and coffee poured out of it. I could cry. I haven't tried it today to see if I killed it or not. What a bonehead I am.

I am grateful, though, that it didn't get my laser printer. That thing is 11 years old, I used it for my business, and it is a work horse.

I'm scared to plug that printer in. Dang, I'm broke, too. I still only have $2.43 in the checking account.

DH insists the whole problem is my choice in coffee cups. At Christmas I bought myself three coffee cups that are very tall, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. I love my coffee cups. It makes my coffee experience all the better when I drink from them. They just fit me. Okay, so they don't fit the printer.

Damn it all.

I need to put a paypal link on and request donations for my blogging time so that I can buy a new printer or some other form of really cool coffee cup. NOT. (I still can't get over that!)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Nerve...

Was reading through my yahoo emails tonight and came to a post about a gal who uses Konos. I use Konos as a reference, but I have to leave a lot of stuff out. ;-) So anyway, I click on her link.

Holy Cow, this chick has a paypal link...

What for??? Scratching my head.
"Enjoy what you read? Use my book lists, unit studies, links, and ideas? Please consider a small donation."

So I continue reading. She provides lots of useless links about Konos, then she shares one link to her three-page planner. This is what she says:

"If you use my links and files, please consider leaving a tip in my tip jar to help cover expenses and time blogging... it would make my husband less grumpy about sharing me."

You've GOT to be kidding.

So reading the comments of this blog entry, she writes:

"I'd love it if you left a dime or two in my tip jar if you use my planner pages and links often. Hope they can be of help to you as they have been to me. God bless, and Happy Homeschooling!"

Okay, I'm warning, I'm about to swear.


Okay, so my swearing is a condensed, more polite version, but you get the gist. (I just can't swear in public!) lol

How cheap can you be? What ever happened to a community of sharing and helping one another? Good grief, this is greed pure and simple.

I'm just astonished. The day I start leaving tips in jars for BLOGGING time is the day hell freezes over.

And on that note, I am going to thank Doc for providing so many wonderful downloads, links, and ideas for homeschooling -- for free, out of the goodness of her heart. What an example she is.

I'm Craving a Frosty ... and money

We recently had a Wendy's open in our teeny, tiny town. I have a fondness for Wendy's because it was my first job while I was in college.

I'm craving a Frosty so bad. I paid bills today, which I absolutely *hate* doing more than anything. I'd rather clean public toilets. DH screwed up and forgot to send in an insurance form and we got stuck paying $400 to our local clinic. He just filled out the form so hopefully they'll reimburse us. After paying all the bills, I have $2.43 left. Until Thursday. This sucks.
I can't even go to the store and buy ice cream to make my own Frosty with that!

Damn, after a stressful afternoon of bill paying, I am in major need of something chocolate.

Maybe I should have DS loan me enough for a Frosty.

And to make this homeschool related--

I improvised a home economics program for my son. Focus was household finances. I made him read the news paper and get a job. (Had to be one where the salary and benefits were listed.) We live in such a small town, the best he could find was $9.50 an hour without benefits. What a lesson on the power of a good education that was! I then had him figure out how much money he would make if he worked a 40-hour week. I then told him to deduct about 30% for retirement, taxes, etc.

Next, he had to find a place to live. He ended up with what I'm sure was a dumpy little apartment for $425 a month. He had to make a list of utilities, insurance, food, transportation, etc.

Wow, was he amazed that he didn't have any money left over.

He has to pay bills every month. I bought a play checkbook at Classroom Direct. So, he has to pay bills when I do.

Now here's the kicker. I also share with him our finances. I know so many parents who say it is none of their child's business on what they make. This always leaves me scratching my head because I guess I'm very open and honest with DS. When we go to the store and I say we can't afford X, Y an Z, he *knows* we can't afford it because he knows what we make and where our money goes.

When I moved away from home and had to start all this financial business, I was completely lost! So why not teach a ten-year-old child the truth! He knows the value of money.

My next quest on the financial realm is to teach him about investing and making his money work for him. On this, I am if anyone has any suggestions for a good, easy-to-understand book, fill me in.