Showing posts from July, 2018

How to begin homeschooling

Sorry to be AWOL, but it's difficult to write a blog post when your daughter has the computer so she can write essays to apply for scholarships. It seemed a wee bit more important.

Yesterday I went out to DeKalb to speak about homeschooling high school at a homeschooling fair. It went fine. The group was small, so it was more of a conversation than a talk, but hey, I'm flexible. I did notice the woman speaking on getting started in homeschooling, who had two huge bins of different curricula she had brought. It caught me off guard, as I realized that if I had done that presentation, dragging along pounds of curricula would never have crossed my mind. A book list, sure. I'm all about a good book list. But the chances that the books listed would be curricula is small. It got me to thinking about what a brand new homeschooler really needs to know in order to get started.

Here is what I would probably have said.

So you have decided to take the plunge and homeschool your child. …

Parenting, attunement, and guilt

On yesterday's post, I was asked my opinion about the guilt we moms can feel when we do things other than care for our children. (At least that was how I interpreted the comment, my apologies if I got it wrong.) I think this is something that is important to think about.

I'm sure nearly all of us have come across helpful little bit of information along the lines of, "There are only 940 weeks from the time a child is born until they turn 18. Make the most of them!"  Or, "They're only little once." One of my favorites is the poem:

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

(This is actually the last stanza to a longer poem entitled, "Song for a Fifth Child" by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton. The entire thing is quite charming.)

There is a lot of wisdom to these little bits of advice. Childhood is relat…

Friday bullets, July 27, 2018

Let's dive right in. This might be a little chicken-heavy, just warning you.

I have discovered that I heartily dislike full moons. After months and months of tracking behavior, we have decided that one of our children becomes extremely difficult (ie shrieking and not sleeping) around every full moon. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it. It's almost to the point where I check what the moon is doing before planning anything.The garden is flourishing. Over last weekend, I picked 22 cucumbers and several zucchini. This means that I also spent time this past week putting up 15 quarts of dill pickles and 2 1/2 quarts of bread and butter pickles. We've also eaten beets, beet greens, lettuce, green onions, and basil (both Thai and sweet). The hot tub to pond project continues. The wood is off around the outside of the tub, and the tedious process of hacking off the foam is in process. The large hole that needs to be dug for the hot tub to go in is also being dug.

Project hot tub

By that title, you could be expected to assume that the project was installing a hot tub, but you would be wrong. We are working on getting rid of one. When we bought this house, it came with a large hot tub on the back porch. It is so large, it takes up half of the porch, and becomes the number one place for people to pile stuff outside the back door. I do not like it.

I have finally convinced the rest of the family that we do not need a hot tub, especially one that no one uses, and it turns out, doesn't even work. The very old plastic pipes underneath are very brittle and are cracking. Plus, if we got rid of the hot tub, we would have room for a table and chairs, giving us a lot more outside seating.

But do you want to know the real reason it is going? Chicken poop.

The chickens love the back porch. It is shady when it is hot out. It is covered when it rains. There are interesting things to perch on and peck at, and there is a great big window to look in when you are bored. From…

Delayed academics

A friend mentioned she wanted some encouragement that relaxed homeschooling wasn't going to ruin her daughter. I am happy to oblige.

First, because I know that not everyone here reading this is a homeschooler, a definition. Relaxed homeschooling (at least what I call relaxed homeschooling) focuses mainly on non-text book, non-traditional learning. This means that we learn things by following our interests, doing hands-on projects, reading (a lot), and understanding that learning happens all the time. It also means that while we might use text books, we are not slaves to them. They are just another resource for us. Going hand in hand with all of that is the idea that formal academics do not need to happen at 4 or 5 or even 6. I am a firm believer that letting little children play and explore for as long as possible is a very good thing. It is how they learn; it is how they make sense of the world.

What this looks like in real life is that I don't ask my children to do much in t…


You all know that I don't sugar coat life; that I believe in sharing our real life in all of its beautiful messiness. In that vein, just so no one gets the impression that its all rainbows and happy trees around here all the time, I thought I'd tell you why I'm tired.

I'm tired of trauma and its effects.
I'm tired of being the safe person who gets the rotten behavior.
I'm tired of asking a perfectly innocent question, and having a child immediately jump to trauma-mode and respond with s**t*ness.
I'm tired that this child has such a hair-trigger response to any perceived threat, even to such an innocuous questions of, "Are you going to get ready for bed now?"
I'm tired of complete strangers getting the best behavior from two of my children.
I'm tired of rarely receiving positive behavior from one of my children.
I'm tired of shrieking to every. single. thing. that I say.
I'm tired of people not understanding that the child before th…

Vacation photos

There's nothing like looking at other people's vacation photos, is there? At least you are not trapped in my living room, and can escape at any point.

On Tuesday, we left, not bright and early, but sometime in the afternoon when we finally got everything packed and ready to go. Leaving for trips is not one of our strengths. But, before the sun went down, we were on our way.

G. and K.
Everyone in back except for the front bench with P. and D.
We camped at Nelson Lake State Park just north of Dubuque, in Wisconsin. It was right on the Mississippi River, up on a bluff. The beauty of mid-week camping is that we had the whole campground virtually to ourselves.

D. and G. in front of our big tent.
The other three smaller tents, in the second campsite. Yes, we do not fit in one campsite these days.

You know you're camping when everyone breaks out the ultimate in camping fashion... socks with sandals.

On Wednesday, we started out the day with a nice hike. (L. was a little …