Saturday, May 06, 2006


This is Thomas. Welcome to his sense of humor. I believe he was acting like a zombie that day.

No wonder I have so many gray hairs!

What a joy he is. =)

And the winner is...

District Pinewood Derby Day Results

Thomas Won First Place!!!

My son won the first race, lost the second by eight inches. Won the third race.

Watching the races unfold, I knew he'd get second. My husband and I whispered to each other: second. And that's okay.

And then something amazing happened. He raced the car that beat him again. Best two out of three takes it. That car won the first by race by a hair. My son won the second by a hair. Thomas won the third by an inch.

Time to race same racer again for first place. We were all on the edge of our seats because we had no hopes of first place. Best two out of three again. Somehow, some way, my son won! It was a sweet victory that we were not expecting!

Moral of the story: My husband believes that my son had not worked the graphite in well enough and it was just kicking in toward the end. Either that or the car that beat him originally was running out of lube. Or both.

I cannot help but feel really, really bad for the second place finisher. He had smoked all racers until the final two races against Thomas. The saddest part was my son went to shake his hand and tell him good race and the boy turned and walked in the other direction. I would imagine some tears were shed by him. A really good lesson for Thomas on sportsmanship. But then again, what a win for Thomas.

He won district two years in a row. This is the last time he'll be able to attend district races, so it was a nice way to finish up.

I am so very proud of him! He worked darned hard on that car. =) His car is the green and gold flat car. (My least favorite design but a speedy design nonetheless.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Scene of the Crime

11:10 am. Thomas and I were snuggled in my bed, under the covers, and we each had what we affectionately call a fuzzy -- a Biederback blanket. Thomas was in his pajamas, I was dressed but also in my bathrobe because it was darned cold this morning.

Thomas was doing his daily reading, early. He's reading A Week in the Woods. Mom was trying to doze.

On the kitchen table were remnants of our morning schooling. Spelling stuff, vocabulary stuff, math worksheets. And syrup. Lots of it. And McDonald's stuff. I left the sack out on the table. I left my pop on the table. Thomas had spilled the syrup all over him, the table and the floor. After making him take a shower, scrubbing the floor and table, there' s still syrup everywhere.

Normally at 11:45 I would have done the mad dash through the kitchen straightening everything in preparation for the husband's arrival. He comes home for lunch every single day.

Today he caught us in the act. Guilty of fast-fooding it this morning. (We were out of milk, after all!) Guilty of hurrying through school so I could take a nap. Wouldn't most moms do something productive while their child was reading? No, not me -- I snooze.

Sometimes I get a little annoyed when my husband surprises us by taking the afternoon off. I was just falling asleep. Thomas was enjoying his book. Sigh. However, today my husband brought home a gift. A brand new soft air gun and a gallon of soft-air BBs. It's a guy thing. Forget doing science and history this afternoon, the boys will be playing. DH backed the car out of the garage and they're shooting in there. It's too darned cold, windy and wet outside.

Maybe I should make this a science lesson. While they're playing, I could google. Yeah, that's it. Be flexible, switch to unschooling mode!

The best thing was my husband didn't get too upset about the McDonald's run. He normally gets so frustrated with my love of Egg McMuffins (and Wendy's hamburgers and Hardee's Sunday $1 roast beef sandwiches and Taco Bell's bean burritos). He cut me some slack today. Whew. I suppose my afternoon now will consist of a grocery store run and actually cooking a decent meal tonight.

We were caught in the act of having a snuggly school morning. Not a bad crime to be guilty of.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Excellent Science Teacher Guide Site

I don't know where I found this (whose blog was it!) or when, but I've been printing a lot of the Teacher's Guides from this site. It is a wonderful resource for Earth Science.

I thought I'd share because while we are doing a few of the units now (minerals, gems, etc.) I'm definitely printing the rest out for next year's mini-science units I'm planning.

Click on the unit you're interested in, then click the bottom right "Teacher Corner" for the great guides.

I even used bits and pieces of this for Cub Scouts. A lotta bang for the buck here!

Edited: Thanks for letting me know about the extra http:// It has been fixed!

Woo-Hoo!!! Country Fair!!!

Thank you to Doc, Ron and Andrea for the new Country Fair! Becky posted the first Country Fair awhile back here.

Now this is a blog carnival I can get excited about.

The Rules for the secular Country Fair are:

Posts should be homeschool related.
No posts/links to/from HomeschoolBlogger. No posts supportive of HSB or TOS.
The hosting blog owner reserves the right to accept or decline submitted posts.
This is NOT an anti-Christian Carnival. Christians (or Muslims, or Homosexuals - everyone) are more than welcome to participate.
No spanking posts. None. Nada.

Now it's time to start thinking of interesting topics!

Petty Me, but thank goodness for homeschooling

Much to my son's dismay, today I have stolen bits and pieces of time on the good computer. I've been reading blogs and enjoying my selfish desire to keep caught up.

For some reason on this latest "stolen internet moment" I decided to hit our local school district's website. I do this from time to time for many reasons: 1) To see what they're doing and compare it to what we're doing 2) To reaffirm my choice in homeschooling 3) To see if any photos of kids I (we) know are on the site. I did see some great pictures of some of my son's former and a couple of current friends.

While looking at the website today, I just had a sick visceral feeling. I cannot fathom sending my son back to public school. Looking at the photos made me smile to see kids I'd forgotten, but made me ill to see the desks in weird configurations -- not conducive to learning. Really, who can do work when you don't even have a personal space zone of at least two feet?? What if you hate the kid sitting next to you? What if that kid doesn't bathe? What if that kid is a bully? What if that kid sneezes in your direction? I know that PS teachers change the classrooms around a lot for interest, but sitting on top of each other just doesn't work for all kids. What if the kid next to you had ADHD or is a chatterbox or taps his pencil constantly? Ugh.

I looked at the walls which were plastered with so much junk that it made my head spin. Don't they realize less is more? That is a big issue to me, the amount of clutter on classroom walls.
It makes my mind dizzy because it is so cluttered. When we were touring the school the spring before DS started kindergarten, we walked into one kindergarten classroom and I promptly stated to my husband: Thomas would not survive with this teacher. There wasn't any wall space between all the posters and room decorations. She had stacks of crap (I normally would have used the word stuff, but trust me, crap is the preferred word here) everywhere. Her desk had not one single bare spot. Every single surface in that classroom was covered. She even had stuff taped to the floors!!!

As a side note, guess who my son's kindergarten teacher was? Yup, the crap-filled-room teacher. And halfway through the year we were in the principal's office demanding a new teacher, which we got. That is a blog entry for another day.

As I continued looking at the photos posted on the school's website I just kept thinking: Why do people send their kids there? WHY? It is so foreign, fake and unreal. A small majority of the kids were actually smiling in the photos. Why? I couldn't do it again ... ever.

When I finished looking at the 4th grade class sites, I took a peak at the 5th grades'. None of those teachers put up photos or do anything to share what goes on in their classroom -- except two published their schedules.

Class one:

8:00-8:15 Morning greeting/Question of the day
8:15-9:15 Math
9:15-10:05 Art/Music/PE
10:15-11:10 Reading
11:15-11:45 Science/Spelling
11:55-12:35 Lunch/Recess
12:45-1:00 Planner Check and Read Aloud
1:00-2:00 Language/Social Studies
2:10-2:55 Choir/Orchestra/Band/Study Hall
2:55-3:01 Announcements and dismissal

Class two:

8:00-8:15 Welcome/Morning Announcements
8:15-8:20 Question for the day
8:20-9:15 Math
9:15-9:30 snack break
9:30-10:05 Science
10:05-10:55 Phy.Ed/Music
11:00-11:45 Social Studies
11:45-11:55 Planner check
11:55 -12:45 Lunch
12:45-2:10 Language Arts (spelling, reading, grammar, writing)
2:10-2:55 Respect Mondays, Band, Choir, Study Hall
2:55-3:01 Announcements and Dismissal

I think I've blogged about schedules before, but just taking a look at these classroom schedules and comparing it to what we accomplish on an OFF day at home is laughable. It eases my mind that we are not doing enough.

I'm not typically a big public school basher. My son had two really good teachers, one good teacher, and one that had no business around kids, but it was an okay education. Public school doesn't even compare to the education he's getting at home.

And the best thing is, he can sit wherever he wants. Added to that best list, he can wear pajamas if he wants to, he can and does have his Tamaguchi's at the table every day, he can snack when he's hungry, he can break when he needs it, he can go to the bathroom without asking or announcing it to the world, he can play with the cat as he's doing his work. He can choose books he wants to read and they don't have to be from a list (even though I do have a required reading list, he gets input and freedom), he can do art projects the way he wants, he can sing, hum, make hideous noises while working (he does and it drives me crazy). He has a say in how our classroom is decorated. He chose the theme and did the decorating. He can choose the class pets. He can choose their names. He can finish his work early and not have to waste time waiting for others. Or, he can take his sweet time (driving his mom nuts) and finish when he finishes -- learning in a more relaxed style.

He can stay up later, start school later, and accomplish more in a few hours than his peers do at school -- even while taking his sweet time.

He can choose whatever type of pencil, pen, maker, etc., he wants to write with. He can choose folders, notebooks of his liking rathern than from an assigned list. He doesn't need a separate pair of tennis shoes for gym class. We can buy the forbidden "Pentech, Sanford or foil-wrapped penciles" and use them. He can use the pencil sharpener whenever he needs to. He can use fluorescent glue if he wants. He can use glitter glue. He no longer needs to worry about his snacks being stolen (unless his mom gets into the Hostess muffins) as they were in public school. He does not have to put his name on everything he owns.

I need to stop. I've had a big chuckle this afternoon. Thank goodness for homeschooling.

(p.s. please forgive any and all spelling errors, I can't get my spellchecker to pop up and I'm too lazy to proofread this.)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's been how long???

I can't believe I haven't blogged since April 19! Wow.

School's been going *very* well lately, knock on wood.

My husband had a safe trip to Africa for work. He's glad to be home. He was missed very much.
He was gone two weeks and worked in the desert. He said the "locals" were extremely warm, friendly and wonderful. The trip he dreaded wasn't so bad, except that it took forever to get there.

I killed my computer. Long story short, while he was in Africa our Norton's expired and when I renewed it I somehow got the 2003 version instead of the current version and we got hit and hit hard with viruses. My husband has been plugging away on the computer but hasn't got it fixed. We decided to back up everything I need (all my Word files and links) and reformat. I'll be busy this weekend.

In the mean time, trying to get time on the good computer that DH built has been futile. Both DH and DS are runescape addicts. The time I like to spend surfing is when DH is online. Argh. So until my old faithful is faithful once again, I'll be scarce.

I am starting to prepare for next year. I'm trying to get a bunch of one- to two-week science units prepared. Next to impossible when you don't have a computer!

For my Georgia Peach friend, we've been studying geology and really enjoying it. That "a rock is a rock is a rock" mentality has left my brain and I've actually enjoyed our studies as much as my son! This was the topic I really dreaded because I thought it would be so boring. I was wrong, I admit it.

Nothing else new in my corner of the world. I think that's a good thing. =-)

Will blog again if I ever get the good computer all to myself.