Friday, November 21, 2008

Days Gone By

I've been looking through photos from days gone by. I found this one of Christmas several years ago; maybe 4-5 years ago. The whole family met at Camp Kahoka for our Christmas. The kids made ornaments for the tree, & we cooked & ate, played games, visited & laughed. It was picture perfect because snow fell during the night & the kids had a blast. We all went on a hike, snow was falling, & I took this picture of my mom & 3 of her sisters. Christmas and Thanksgiving is different now because Grandma & Grandpa have passed on, but the memories of years gone by will always linger in our minds. Memories of Grandma's white flocked tree, that Todd & I thumped the snow from. The silver tinsel tree that had the rotating red, blue, & green light to "create an atmosphere" I suppose. Grandma's home-made carmel corn, her peanut brittle, and all the presents. The good times. The fun times. The times we were together. I pray that your holiday season is filled with happy times and good memories of days gone by.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today was Mom's Birthday. Mom, Jerri, & I went to lunch then shopped awhile. We had a really fun time. Talking, laughing & just visiting. I'm very thankful to have a great mom. She's extremely thoughtful and generous. While we were out, Dad was at home with the boys. I picked up tacos & pizza for the boys & they had a small picnic. Here's a picture of the boys Graeson! They spent the day together with Dad. They had a great time playing outside. I'm very thankful for my family! Happy Birthday Mom, We love you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Oh my how they've grown!

I found this picture tonight...oh me how the boys have grown! It's amazing how time flies! This was just 4 years ago! WOW!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fun with Chandler & Clay

Life at our house is never dull or boring, & we always have lots of laughs. Chandler & Clay are extremely funny kids. They come up with random jokes & have the really neatest personalities. We are so thankful for them and are so blessed to have them as part of our lives. This is just one of the funny things the boys did. Clay was hiding from Chandler in the store so we thought we'd share a funny with you.

They are really full of it!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Way 2 Go Tom!

Tom enrolled in college 5 weeks ago to complete his Business degree. He submitted his final paper today to finish up the first class. His second class starts on Tuesday. These 5 week online courses really work well for people who are busy, have jobs, & need a class schedule that works with their lifestyle! I know that he's worked hard to get this first class completed successfully with an "A"! Way to go Tom. Keep working hard! We're proud of you & love you! ~S,C, & C

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are you trapped by your expectations?

A friend sent this to me so I thought I'd share. It can apply to so many things in life; not just homeschooling.
Escaping the Homeschool Matrix
The room was brightly lit and cold. She was sitting at a table, across from an empty chair. She knew the questioning would begin any minute. The door opened and a man bearing a remarkable resemblance to Hugo Weaving walked in and sat down in the empty chair.

“Mrs. Anderson,” he began, “we’ve been monitoring your homeschool. Apparently, you have been living two lives. In one life, you’re Katherine A. Anderson, homeschooling mother and wife in a respectable community. You have a homeschool curriculum. You have a schoolroom. You volunteer . . . to help out with your homeschool support group. The other life, Mrs. Anderson, is lived in your pajamas. Your kids are unable to complete their assignments, and if you can get them bathed and dressed before your husband returns from work, you consider it a good day. One of these lives has a future, Mrs. Anderson. The other does not.”

She just stared across the table at this man. “Who was he?” she wondered. Why was he accusing her of these things?

The man opened up a folder and began leafing through it. “As you can see, we’ve had our eyes on you for some time, Mrs. Anderson. I think that you should look long and hard at how you are failing in your role.” He pulled out a single sheet of paper. “Your son is 6 years old and yet he cannot read. Your 11-year-old daughter spends half her time daydreaming and staring off into space. She hasn’t scored better than a D on her spelling quizzes all year. Your teen, this . . . Melissa, I believe her name is . . . she hasn’t prepared for the SAT test. If you really loved your children, Mrs. Anderson, you would have your children at their desks and hard at work by 7:30 each morning.”

Tears started to well up in Katherine’s eyes. Was she really that bad at homeschooling?

“As far as your curriculum goes, you’ve switched back and forth from A Beka to Saxon to Bob Jones and back to Saxon again in just two semesters. I have to wonder, Mrs. Anderson, if you are teaching them correctly. How can you jump from curriculum to curriculum without causing your children to become hopeless, blathering idiots?”

Mrs. Anderson made no effort to wipe away the tears that were now flowing down her cheeks. She knew all these accusations were true. There was nothing she could say to refute them.

“Tell me, Mrs. Anderson. What’s it like, living in your pajamas? Do you enjoy being a slob?” His words began to cut deep, and somewhere deep inside her soul, a wave began to form.

“How many times did you yell at your kids yesterday, Mrs. Anderson? Can you really say you love them if you treat them this way?”

The wave began to build, quickly becoming a surge. Mrs. Anderson’s anger was rising above and beyond the shame and fears this man was exploiting.

“Your best friend, Laurie, doesn't have any trouble getting her six children ready to go to eight different activities each week, yet you always manage to run late . . .”

“That’s enough!” Her waves of anger burst over the dam and began to pour from her lips. “I don't have to listen to these accusations. I am a loving wife and mother, and I care deeply about my children. We may not get to every activity on time or complete every assignment, but we are trying. My children are well fed and clothed, and they are learning so much more than they would learn anywhere else. My son is a gifted engineer. He dismantled three phones last week to understand how the buttons work . . .”

“You consider that school?”

“Absolutely! He is learning mechanics and science. If I can get him to put things back together so that I can answer the phone, I’ll be all set. By the way, Melissa doesn’t need to study for her SAT test right now. She’s 14! We will prepare for it when the time is right.

“Another thing. My daughter may not always study with perfect concentration, but she draws the most beautiful pictures. She understands forms and shapes so much better than her brothers or sisters do. She is a very bright girl, no matter what your files say.”

These bold statements took the man aback. Mrs. Anderson’s outburst, though somewhat controlled, was clearly not what he had expected to hear in response to his accusations.

“You say I yell at my kids, and that’s true. I do lose my temper when I clean a room and come back in thirty minutes to find it in worse shape than it was before I cleaned it. But your files don’t show the breakfast we had yesterday when we sat around and talked about three things we like about each other. I enjoy my children so much more than you could imagine. And we truly love each other.

“I stay in my pajamas some days, that’s true. But we are at home and like to be comfortable while we do our work. Learning is more important than appearances.”

“But are your children really learning, Mrs. Anderson? I show that you have lost ground every time you’ve tried to set a schedule. How effective are you if you can't even maintain a schedule?”

“We may struggle sometimes. I admit, we don’t hit the mark with schedules, but we do a good job setting goals. We know what direction we’re going, and we do a good job, even if we don’t end up completing our workbooks. If anything is out of line, it’s my own expectations.” An idea began to form in her mind.

“What? We are not to blame, Mrs. Anderson!”

“Of course,” she thought, “it all makes sense now.”

Katherine looked straight into her accuser’s eyes as she spoke calmly and deliberately. “I know who you are! You’re my own expectations. You’ve been trying to trap me.”

“Nonsense. We don’t need to trap what we already own.”

“You don’t? Then you would have no problem if I made pajamas the standard school uniform?”
“Uh . . .” Suddenly, the man became quite anxious.

“And you wouldn’t mind my going to thrift stores to buy more phones and other things for my son to dismantle?”

“Wait . . . this isn't what we wanted. Stop!”

“Why? Don’t you want to hear about how we’re going to stop going to so many activities and start spending more time together as a family? I've got some great ideas, including a bug collecting expedition and a board game night.”

“Board games don’t constitute an education! They . . .”

“Oh, yes they do. Colors, numbers, counting, reading, and strategy all work together to educate my children. And the best part is that they don’t even realize it’s school.”

The man was becoming transparent, and he was quickly fading from view. “But what about your curriculum? You can’t change in the middle of the year! It’s . . . ”

“I can change our curriculum whenever I think we need to. If something isn’t working, we can try something else. That’s one benefit of running your own school. I would rather find something that works than have my children suffer through an entire year of work that doesn ’t meet their needs.”

She could see that the man was livid and shouting angrily, but now, along with his appearance, his voice had faded. He was almost gone from view when she said, “Oh, by the way, school starts at 10 a.m. from now on.”

With that, he disappeared.

Mrs. Anderson was about to scoot away from the table when she awoke with a start. Rolling across the screen on the television in front of her were credits for a fantasy film about people fighting the forces of artificial intelligence. She quickly pushed the “off” button and headed upstairs to bed. After all, she had a bug hunt to plan tomorrow.
by Steve Walden The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Enrichment Academy Art

Today at academy our art teacher gave each of the Jr & Sr. high student a 2"x 2" square of an unidentified picture. Each student was to sketch and shade the part of the picture they received. After everyone completed their square, the teacher then had the students put the squares in order to see what they had drawn. The students came to find me to see if I could figure out what they had drawn. I said "well yes, that's Obama on the left and McCain on the right" (no pun intended). They were amazed that I could tell what they had drawn. I think they did an excellent job. The students enjoyed telling me what part of each candidate they had drawn. Chandler drew Obama's nostrils & upper lip. I thought this was an amazing art project especially on election day. We are very thankful for our art teacher. She does an excellent job with our students!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cabin Weekend

Friday afternoon, we loaded up the tractor & our clothes & headed out for the cabin. We arrived in town after a beautiful, scenic drive through the mountains. The leaves on the trees are gorgeous. We decided to eat at the Leslie Cafe. Friday night is Mexican night so we were excited about that. After dinner, we drove to Mountain View to the church camp to help my parents load some furniture they were taking back home. We visited with them, loaded up the 4-wheeler my dad brought up for the boys & with a quick stop at Sonic, we were on our way back to the cabin. It was Halloween night & some goofballs egged our vehicle from a wooded area in the middle of nowhere. Tom & Clay wanted to stop & go back & get them, but I told them we didn't have a gun & that I would really rather shoot them if we were to go we trudged on. Once we made it back to the cabin, we were able to rest for a while & get ready for a full day of work on Saturday.
Saturday morning, Tom & I drove into town to the hardware store to pick up some galvanized sheet metal that we are going to put on the ceiling downstairs in the cabin & a few other things. We then came back & started clearing out an area to the left of the driveway. It seemed to be visiting day at the cabins because all of our neighbors came to visit as well as the guy who sold us the land. So Tom visited...while I worked. Hmm what's wrong with that? I told him that's why my muscles are so sore, b/c he talked while I worked. :) We did have a tractor mishap....that was scary. The engine was revving & the kill switch would not work. Green liquid & black smoke were shooting out everywhere. After a call to Barry, the tractor guru, we were able to get it to stop. And one of the talking visitors was a mechanic so he looked at the I guess that was good. It seems the hydraulics pump went out! was scary...I was thinking...It's gonna blow up! It's gonna burn up the engine! Tom was quite alarmed say the least!
We have a problem with wasps. They have entered the cabin by the hundreds. We've resorted to sucking them up alive with the shop vac. That's fun. Or I step on them just a little to maim them & let them die a slow painful death. Yes, I am mean.
We were able to get a lot done. I told mom that I feel like I'm trying to rake the forest. I wonder if there is an end to that? For some reason...I think not. I wish all of you could see the cabin from when we first started and the progress we've made. It's like...we could have our own reality TV show..."trick my cabin" or something like that! Until next time...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Final Cross-Country Meet

Thursday night, we had our final cross-country meet out at Camp Robinson. It was an all-conference meet between Pulaski & Faulkner Counties. Chandler & Clay both ran the elementary race (ages 12-under). Chandler took the 1st place medal in that race which was 1 mile. Clay ran well & never gave up. I was extremely proud of him for giving it all he had. Chandler decided that he wanted to run the Jr. High race too. He took the 2nd place medal in that race. This race was 1.5 miles. A young guy from Faulkner won that could run and he was fast! After that race, Chandler decided that he wanted to run in the Sr. High race too (that's the glory of homeschooling, there aren't many restrictions regarding that sort of thing...if you feel you can do it...then by all means try!) Of course I would have been dying at this point, but he was ready to go. The Sr. High race was a 5K or 3.2 miles. Chandler came in 6th place in that race. Wow, I'm tired just thinking about it, but he did really well. I'm convinced Clay will get faster the more he runs, but you guys know Clay, he was there for his friends. He and his friend were running together, & he wouldn't leave his friend. I suppose that's a good character quality to have huh?
I've included the team photo so you wouldn't think that there were only 6 kids running (LOL). The team is a good size & not all students were present for this meet. The boys are ready for track & field in the spring!