Friday, May 25, 2007

It's a gas

I'm Evil

Last night after Bob went to bed, I hopped online again. I sent him the cute bunny photos and laid on a BIG-time guilt trip.

He called this morning (and woke me up--way to get even, hon) and relented. He told me to tell Thomas he had to buy the chicken wire, he had to build the cage, and the bunny had to be released when it was old enough. ??? Hmmm.

I am evil. I know how to guilt my husband.

And on another note, I decided to quit worrying over geography. I bought a textbook on eBay last night. I love the Buy-it-now feature. Anyway, when it arrives, I'll write up a quick set of lesson plans and sit down for an hour and correlate it with books from the library. Then I'll print some maps out. And I might search some recipes -- yum.

I'm not pro or anti textbooks. We've always enjoyed getting tons of books on a subject from the library and learning freely. However, I am getting to the point that I need things easier. And easier means I can have Thomas read the textbook on his own first. It also means I will have a systematic and sequential plan to follow. I'm loose enough to not get caught in a time trap -- if Thomas is loving something, we go with it. If he isn't, we go over it anyway, but quickly.

I didn't mention in my previous post that I spent an hour drooling over Calvert's website yesterday. It just seemed so easy to click, place an order, and have it all arrive ready to use. Of course after that hour I decided we'd need to replace the math, we'd have to replace their spelling program with Sequential Spelling, that I'd want to add in our logic that Thomas loves, plus Wordly Wise which he loves. And so on.

Our eclectic style works for us. That's the whole point of homeschooling Thomas -- for him to learn, and it's taken awhile to figure him out, but I think we've got it down pat. It's fun to window shop, though.

One thing on Calvert's site that did pique my interest (and that interest was also piqued by my years of reading the Well-Trained Mind boards, is Calvert's series of spelling CDs. I am toying with ordering one. However, I'm clueless which level to buy. Thomas spells phonetically unless he knows a word. Spelling is his worst subject, even though he loves Sequential Spelling. I thought a fun CD might help matters. Which level...that is the burning question.

Our silly CAT tests still have not arrived. I'm climbing the walls in anticipation. I so want to be done!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Oh, the tears . . .

I don't know what I'm going to do with this child. He gets so emotionally attached to critters. Tonight a neighborhood buddy came to play, then they scurried off to his house. While at the friend's house, the friend showed him his baby bunny. They found it in their yard while they were mowing. The dad almost ran over it with his lawn mower. His eyes were still shut, he was so tiny. This baby bunny has been living in the friend's back yard ever since. The friend has been feeding it lettuce and carrots.

The thing is that this family can't keep the bunny. They are gardeners. They have a huge garden and the dad is afraid the bunny will eat the garden.

So they ran to ME because they thought I'd be sympathetic. I am, but ...

Thomas wants to keep the bunny. He's afraid it will die if he doesn't. He wants to build a cage, feed it, love it and take care of it. Well, Bob said NO. No, no, no, no, no.

Thomas and his buddy took the bunny back and Thomas came in for the evening. He begged, pleaded, even took me aside and asked if he could build a secret cage and hide it. He was a little shocked when I came unglued about that. I won't have dishonesty, albeit for a good cause.

Thomas cried and cried. When will he get over this crying stage?

So we tried to switch gears. What could we do for the bunny. We are clueless. We know one family that used to raise rabbits but quit because it was a pain. Tomorrow we'll brainstorm some more.

If Thomas had asked me, I would have said sure, we'll build a cage. I was a little disappointed in Bob's immediate no. Thomas is right, the cute little critter will probably not make it. We have cats that roam the neighborhood, we have neighbors that kill the bunnies.


What to do!

I know where Thomas gets his emotional behavior regarding animals from: ME! One time I fostered two kittens from our animal shelter. When we took them back, one was adopted immediately. I couldn't stand it. I adopted the other.

There are so many things in this life to worry about. Thomas and I will be worried about the little bunny.


In Search of the Perfect (Fill in the blank)

I wonder how many homeschooling parents out there are constantly on the lookout for the perfect X, Y or Z. I know I'm always looking, even when I'm happy with what we're doing.

As our third year of homeschooling is coming to an end, I feel fairly confident with my choices. Thomas is learning, and learning well. We've spent lots of dollars trying to find just the right X, Y and Z. We've done pretty well all. Except for geography.

Would someone please wave their magic wand and present the perfect geography program for me? We've unschooled this year, reading lots of books, studying maps and playing games. Name that Country is a huge hit here.

I want more -- for me. I didn't learn geography well. Thomas wants more. Well, okay, perhaps he isn't asking for more and maybe he doesn't know he wants more, but he does. (the evil mother.)

At the beginning of the year, I purchased Trail Guide to U.S. Geography. We also got their ebook. We both hated it. Well, I liked it, but Thomas hated, hated, hated it. It zapped his love of geography right out of him. He called it busy work. I haven't ever come across anyone else who didn't like this program, just us. We will never fit into a mold -- which is a good thing.

I'm toying with the idea of writing my own program this summer. NOT how I want to spend my summer vacation. I'm also toying with the idea of just getting a text book from eBay to use as a spine and then do all kinds of fun stuff.

We have Mapping the World by Heart. It sits gathering dust. I'm too lazy to put a plan together. Besides that, it's just learning where the countries are. We want more.

So would someone wave their magic wand for me and give me the perfect program that encompasses the five themes?


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rest in Peace, Terry Ryan

Terry Ryan, author of the book The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less passed away last week. You can read the article here.

Terry wrote my all-time favorite book which was about her mother. That book, and the subsequent movie, have inspired me tremendously. When I'm feeling down, negative, or just blah, I snuggle up in my bed and pop in my DVD. This is one of two DVDs that I have actually purchased in my lifetime for myself. I have played it countless times. The book is more detailed than the movie. I have read it many times. This is one of the few times when I have enjoyed a movie as much as the book it was based upon.

Terry grew up in difficult times. Her parents had ten kids. Her father was an alcoholic, their family was poverty-stricken due to his drinking. Her mother, Evelyn Ryan, had a spirit like no other. She inspired me, she challenged me to be a better person, to be more positive, and as my friend Wisteria said, she made me want to be a better mother.

She also made me thankful -- thankful that I am a product of my times. I did not have to deal with the issues she faced in the 50s and 60s, the challenges of women then.

Some of my favorite "Evelynisms":

That's a problem for another day.

I would never leave the kids with you.

Death by jell-o is highly unlikely.

I just have to sit down and have myself a happy cry!
Everything is possible!

Forgive him so you can embrace the radiance of this day.
I'm tired of this day, I need a new one.

Do you know that U.S. Army research has shown a relationship between intelligence and willingness to eat unfamiliar foods? (I use this line in my home, but Thomas just doesn't get it. He is always curious to know what U.S. Army research has to do with anything.)

Spices don't have legs. There are no bugs in the soup.

Thank you, Terry Ryan, for sharing your mother with the world. Thank you for writing this wonderful book. May you rest in peace.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Empty Mailbox

Saturday we got no mail. The mailman drove on by our house again today. Frustrating, because I really want to get our CAT test so that we can finish school for the year. It's not officially due until the end of next week, but she assured me it would probably be much sooner.

I'll continue to hope.

We are almost officially done. Thomas is finishing up his math. I thought we'd be going into the summer, but I wised up. We went through an entire chapter in one day -- it was stuff he could do, so why re-do it. We have two chapters left. I expect to be done by the end of next week.

I've been looking at baby pictures of Thomas. It brings a smile to my face and warms my heart, but it also makes me a little sad, too. I cannot believe time goes by SO fast.

We are trying to get plans together for this summer. One huge obstcale is money. I had saved up $350 for our trip to visit my dad. Well, our back door broke. When they built our house, they did a really crappy job with some things, including this door. Instead of putting the door flush with the concrete step, the put it flush with the floor. What happened as a result is rain and snow would go in between the step and door, thus rotting the casing. The hinges are busted, the wood is completely rotten, and the door itself is in complete disrepair. Who would have thunk that a new door would be over $200.

My biggest mistake was telling my DH that I had that money saved up to begin with. BUT it beats putting it on a credit card. But still. My stash is getting used. I haven't told my dad yet. I have no money to go visit him. And with the gas prices the way they are -- two years ago I went when gas was a whopping $2.25 per gallon and that was horrible. Now it's a buck more per gallon.

Whine, whine, whine. This is one of those times when I regret not working and having my own money. There is definitely a shift that happens when you give up your career to be a stay-at-home mom. Suddenly, money is a big deal both in terms of the lack thereof and that someone else is watching every penny you spend. It stinks.

So planning the summer is tough because of lack of money and because we live in the middle of nowhere and there is nothing to do here. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We do have a small water park, but it gets boring after the first week or two. Thomas will continue with his ceramics classes and he's taking a wheel throwing class. There's nothing else in the community ed. brochure that interests him. He's not a sports kid. We will do swimming lessons.

I guess we'll avail ourselves of the local beach. Parks are nice, but boring. I could plan some short day trips, but with the price of gas -- ouch! I have always wanted to visit the SPAM Museum in Austin, MN. We can always go visit Walnut Grove, MN -- again.

I miss living in the real world. I grew up in Denver, where there was always something to do. Always. Great museums, mountains, events, classes, etc. I'm still suffering from culture shock, and I've lived here ten years this summer. Aaaack.

I probably shouldn't publish this post because I'm so whiny tonight -- but what the heck -- I'm human. And bored.