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Friday, August 31, 2012

Week in Review--In which we get started

I am pleased to announce that not only have we all survived yet another first week of school, I daresay that this year, we are thriving.  No one has been complaining, or whiny, or even too hard to find when I announce, "It's time to start school."  I do not want to curl up in a ball and pray for gypsies.  Hooray!  I am going to chalk it all up to God (props!) as He's really been at work in my heart the last couple weeks.  I mean, He always is, but I guess I'm not in the way.  For once.  I'm sure I'll return to my role as a temper tantrum-throwing toddler (in His eyes) again soon enough, but I'm just going to enjoy where I am.  Tomorrow....well, it'll be there when I get there.

We have finally finished Story of the World book 2.  It took 2 years.  Two years, people.  In my defense, it's no fault of the book or accompanying materials workbook that we got a little obsessive over knights, castles, Vikings, Aztecs, and more.  This means that next week, we are starting book 3, and we're entering into colonization.  In college, I majored in History, with a concentration in Colonial/Early American History.  You can say I am slightly geeked out to finally get to talk about it with a captive audience!

We picked back up with marsupials in our Apologia book, and finished that.  We all love the Notgrass Art book!  I have posted a few samples below.  The kids have been continuing in their math books, and so far we like Queen's Language Arts book.  We started spelling, and next week we'll add Easy Grammar Plus and *gulp* IEW.  I tried IEW last year and found it so time-consuming that it made me batty.  It'll go better this time.  I'm not the same girl, and these are not the same kids.  See?  I have hope.

One of the best things about homeschooling is how I get to relearn, or learn for the first time, all sorts of things.  I was very excited to learn more about Queen Elizabeth I.  This week at the library, I checked out two books about her.

Books read:  Leonardo and the Flying Boy, Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World, Katie and the Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Francis the Poor Man of Assissi, Good Queen Bess

Little dudes that Funny made out of modeling beeswax.

8yo Goofy's drawing of the earth from space.

36yo Hub's drawing of the earth from space.

9yo Funny's drawing of the angel appearing to Michael.
The assignment was to draw Mary with a look of wonder on her face.

Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how other people are homeschooling this week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Music is my friend

I like music.  Okay, I lied.  I actually love music.  It's more of a violent passion, really.

I've been known to say ridiculous things like, "I'd like to curl up inside that song."  I am positive that someone else out there can relate to this.  Music helps me feel feelings that I ordinarily would lock away and ignore. I can feel sadness, anger, frustration, joy, happiness, and hope.  "On the Surface" by Rosanne Cash fills me with grief, "Monster" by Skillet tells me I'm not the only one struggling with anger and sin, "Eagle When She Flies" by Dolly Parton reminds me that I'm strong, "When Mercy Found Me" by Rhett Walker Band makes me feel loved.  Music is my friend, holding my hand, singing to me, "Let it out, baby.  Let it out."

I struggle with what people think about me.  (Everyone does, right?  RIGHT!?)  I want to be liked.  I'm not sure I'm quite likable, but I'm charming.  Once I love you, I develop a great concern about your opinion about me.  So much so, that when it looks like I might be making a genuine friendship, I throw up a wall and start to panic.  I start to push away, because while I love Florence + the Machine's "Breaking Down," I imagine that people do not want to hear that I relate to it.

Clearly, this is my issue, and I admit it.  Trust is not my forte.  I like my friends to think they know me, and then they just stay there where I put them.  At the same time, someone who will take the time to nudge me into a real relationship is priceless.  I do know that.  It's just so scary to me.  In the end, I just don't want my heart broken.

I have been blessed with some true friendships in my life.  Believe me, whether they realize it or not, I tried to run away from every single one of them.  My head is full of whispers that they don't really like me, they will betray my trust, they feel sorry for me, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.  But I think that a friend is much like a song, if I would let it be.  Sometimes I just want someone to wrap their arms around me and tell me I'm loved, and maybe whisper, "Let it out, baby.  Let it out."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Letting go of dreams

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a rock star, a teacher, and a writer.

Let's face it.  I had no chance of ever becoming a rock star.  I can't sing.  I quit the clarinet, and really, what rock band is looking for a woodwind player anyway?  Plus, I really don't want the rock star life.  I can sing in my car at the top of my lungs, and that makes me happy enough.  I let go of the rock star dream a long, long time ago.

I did end up becoming a teacher, though not at all in the way I had envisioned.  I was going to be a Social Studies teacher, and then I was going to be a school librarian, and then, well, it seems I became a homeschooler.  Trust me, that was not really on my radar until a few months before we decided to take the plunge.  So here we have a dream come true.

The third one, however, is a tough one.  I have an abundance of thoughts swirling in my head at all times.  Sometimes they are stories about made up lands and made up people, and sometimes I am really afraid that I am supposed to tell my own story.  I cannot even begin to tell you how terrifying that is to me.

I've always expressed myself best through writing.  I have a hard time being really open and real face-to-face.  Some of you are going to psychoanalyze that.  Anyway, it's so much easier for me to make sense out of all the noise in my head when I can take the time to write.  I'm not quick enough for most arguments.  I say the wrong thing ALL THE TIME.  Not just something that offends someone, or hurts someone's feelings, but I literally say things I don't mean, and then chastise myself for doing so.  I have to think out loud, and if someone isn't willing to listen to me go through that process, then there's a communication breakdown.  And believe me, it's not a trait that I am especially pleased to possess, but it's how I am wired.  My point is, writing helps me think out loud, but I can backspace and erase half of it and start over.  Verbal communication doesn't work like that.  I prefer writing.

When I was younger, I wrote constantly.  I wrote short stories.  I wrote (terrible) poetry.  I started writing a novel in junior high.  I journaled, a lot.  Really, this blog is my journal every now and then (like today), but I rarely journal anymore.  I did NaNoWriMo last year, and felt like a massive failure.  I wrote.  And wrote.  And it was just garbage.  Horrid.  I never let anyone read it, and I deleted it.

I have been thinking about becoming a writer, and maybe it's time for me to just let it go.  I mean, I got the teacher thing.  I feel like a rock star when I play Rock Band.  I don't need to hang on to being a writer.  I tell myself it's okay; I don't really have anything to say.  No one would want to hear it anyway.

On the one hand, I think I should just give up, and grow up, and let go of childish dreams.  On the other hand, I think dreams are one of the best things about life.  Writing has been that thing that I'll do one day.  I think this dream is part of who I am.

The other day I saw one of those cheesy quote things on Pinterest:

I realized something when I read this.  I am afraid of letting go and putting myself out there for critique and criticism.  I do not take criticism well at all.  I'm hard enough on myself that I can barely stand anything extra.  Fear is a terrible reason for me to stop dreaming about becoming a writer.  Quite honestly, I realized that I am already a writer.  No, I'm not a great writer, and that's okay.  But I do have something to say.  I have worlds to create, people to tell you about, and stories to share.  Maybe even my own.

I'm keeping this dream.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012-2013 School Year

We have had a fantastic summer.  I have felt a calling for a few years now to be less busy, and focus more on home.  You might be wondering how this can be possible when I'm home with these kids almost all the time.  For me, it's been about attitude.  I am trying to judge the impact of activities or even events on our family life.  I ask myself, "Is [insert name of activity here] good for all of us?"  Yes, I can sign my kids up for many different things.  Scrappy could play fall baseball, but it would mean traveling, and that would mean less meals at home, and rarely seeing Hub as he gets home from work a little late.  And so, fall ball is definitely out.  It's like that.  The alleged benefit isn't that great.

I purposed this summer to say no to most things, and make the most out of the few outings we did have.  No, we didn't go on a vacation this year.  We went camping a few times, we've gone to the pool, and we've read and been lazy.  I can't remember the last time I actually felt refreshed by our summer break.  I admit that saying no has been harder than I thought.  I'm continuing to say no into the fall, and we'll see how the burnout goes.

We spent a day at Raccoon Creek State Park.

Jumping into Deep Creek Lake.

We're starting school on August 27 this year.  Here's the break down, for those of you who like to know these things:

Scrappy, age 10

Math: Math-U-See Gamma (for a couple weeks to finish up) and Delta
Health:  Queen book on puberty for boys

Funny, age 9

Math:  MUS Beta/Gamma
Health:  Queen book on puberty for girls

Goofy, age 8

Math:  MUS Beta/Gamma

Silly, age 6

Math:  MUS Alpha/Beta
LA:  Explode the Code

Everything else is the same for everyone, except Silly who has her own LA:

LA:  Queen Language Lessons for the Elementary Child
Cursive/Copywork (That's from Queen also)
Queen spelling
a random workbook of vocab word of the day fun
Easy Grammar Plus

Bible:  Humility study (more Queen)
Okay, so really, I need to do this study more than anyone.  We're going to be doing it as a family--even Hub is going to participate.

Science: Apologia Land Animals (hoping to finish in December) and Astronomy

SS:  Story of the World vol 3 (finally we're done with vol 2!)
assorted readers about American history
Maps & Geography workbook (just parts of it)
some yet-to-be-determined project on PA inventors or history (I'm organizing something with other homeschoolers.  I probably need to think about that.)

Health:  Abeka

Music:  orchestra unit study

Art:  Notgrass Draw to Learn--The Life of Jesus (has anyone used this?)