Monday, May 30, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal 5/30/11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

     In my life this week:  Not much school and a couple of fun days.  Had some personal breakthroughs though about my marriage.  Have been reading a great book and it reminded me that marriage is what I make it.  Not like my husband doesn't have his own responsibility, but it was a good reminder that what you put into something is usually what you get out of it.

     Places we're going and people we're seeing:  Field trip to the Insect Museum and Butterfly Pavilion.  Free day at the outdoor pool (and only 1 out of 6 kids got sunburned).  And a graduation party for my best friend's son, always encouraging to be around some homeschool moms who have graduated a child.

     My favorite thing this week was:  Honestly, we didn't do much school this week and my favorite thing was having some free time to do some of the things I wanted to do.  For example, I found the headstone of my great-aunt Margarett who died as a baby.  This was my Grandpa's oldest sister who died before he was born.  

     What's working for us:  One of my son's has quite a temper issue, and we have been trying a new technique where he journals/asks himself questions about what he responded so angrily.  This is actually helping him see that sometimes his response is not warranted and he is doing much better.

     Homeschool questions I have:   I am trying to figure out if next year I should have my 8th grade twins do biology with my sophomore age son, or if I should have them do it in 9th grade and my oldest in 11th.  My best friend offered to do biology with us so that I don't have to buy a microscope, but one of my twins has a learning disorder, and so I am wondering if it would be too much pressure for him to do it in a group.

     Photo to share:    At our field trip to The Butterfly Pavilion everyone in our family had a butterfly land on them.  I didn't get pictures of everyone, but this is a picture of one of my sons with a butterfly.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The award we can't show off

   As the school year winds down we homeschool moms like to look back and evaluate our accomplishments.  We want to think about what worked and what didn't.  What can we be proud of and what did we really mess up?

   Our homeschool support group has a family meeting every month and this month we put on a homeschool showcase night where everyone could come show off some things that  they had done this year.  Surprisingly we had a pretty low turn out, but I think I know why.

       One of the most difficult things about being a homeschool mom is feeling like you don't measure up.  We read all the statistics about how homeschoolers have greater academic success than other schooled students, etc. and we feel the pressure because for some of us our kids aren't there, or anywhere close.  Some of us have children with learning disorders and our celebration is that our child actually read a whole book by himself this year and he's in middle school (not that we'd share that with others because it might embarrass him [or me]).   Some of us finally tackled a huge character issue in our kids or were confronted with another that we thought we handled pretty well (but again some things you can't share with others because it would embarrass your child).   Some things we don't share because we don't want other homeschool families to know that we aren't perfect.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's true and we know it.  We shudder to think what some homeschool families might think if they knew some of the issues we were having with our kids.  After all we're supposed to be set apart and different from those public school kids right?  The truth is our children are still sinners and our enemy is very crafty.  Homeschooling doesn't guarantee that our children (even as much as we shelter them) won't fall into sin, even sins we think our kids are immune to.  Our response to those situations is what sets us apart. 

       And that's where I sit at the end of this school year.  For our showcase I did manage to gather up some awards that my kids had accomplished this year, and a couple art projects.  In reality though we didn't do a lot of hands on projects or cool history notebooks that we do some years.   I wanted my children to feel like they had something to celebrate, but in reality it didn't seem like we had much to show for this year. 

    Quite honestly the last 5 months have been a time of testing and trials in our home.  This Spring I felt like I had been put through the ringer and some days I was so discouraged that it took all I had to get up every morning and homeschool my children because I knew it was the right thing to do, not because I necessarily wanted to do it.   I skipped over a lot of the cool hands-on projects we usually do because I just didn't want to expend the effort. 

    Do I feel like my children are worse off for having this kind of Spring?  No, honestly I don't.  I realized today that we did have something to showcase, but it's not something that everyone can see.  We persevered this year, something that the Bible talks about a lot.  A character trait certainly worth having.   Even though most of the trials were aimed at me I know my children felt them too.  You can tell when your parents are struggling, so my kids get a perseverance award too for putting up with a mother who was just trying to hold it all together for a while.   And I am celebrating that I didn't quit, that I am stronger than I thought I was, that my God is an ever present help in times of trouble.  I don't remember a lot of what we learned this year, and who knows where the kids would even test, but I am so proud of us.  Proud that we are still a homeschool family and that we got through this together.  I know we homeschoolers say it a lot, but the truth is whatever my kids learned academically this year is nothing compared to how they grew in their character.  I know sometimes we homeschoolers throw that out there so much it sounds like a cliche, but there are some years that it holds more truth than others.   I am sure that some of you can relate and have had a year where all you really have to display is perseverance (or some other character trait).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Miracle Worker...

   We had an interesting experience this weekend.  I was hoping to share it in The Homeschool Mother's Journal, but because of graduation celebrations we attended this weekend I didn't have time to blog and link up there in time.  However, this experience is worth a blog post all it's own, just for the sheer unlikelihood of this ever happening again.

   Friday night it just so happened that all 6 of our children were gone at the same time.  Now, this does happen, but only when I plan it.  Friday night it happened by coincidence.  You might think this is the miracle that I address in the title, but it's not. 

    I was gone about 30 minutes dropping everyone off at the places they needed to be.  I was waiting for my husband to get home so that we could go for a quick dinner before we had to start picking everyone up.  While I was waiting I went to put something away in my daughter's room.   I was admiring how clean it was (this is a mini-miracle...we require her room to be cleaned and vacuumed once a week, so it is usually clean for a few hours on Thursday).  It was Friday and my daughter's room was still clean.  She had moved some of her knick-knacks around and I was trying to figure out where she had moved her fish to.  Her beta fish lives in a small tank on her dresser.  I couldn't seem to find him anywhere when I noticed that the tank was laying on the floor.  The cat tends to drink from the tank, so I thought perhaps she had knocked it over.    I am dreading telling my daughter that something happened to her fish and wondering how long it's going to take me to find the fish in her room.  (We lost one of my son's toads once and it took us several days to find him---yuck!). 

   To my amazement this is what I found

In the bottom of my daughter's clothes hamper is a small amount of water and her beta fish (the white square is the top of the fish's broken tank).    The miracle here is that my daughter had no dirty clothes, they were all in the wash, and that she had put her hamper back where it goes.  Any other day or week the poor fish would have been toast.  

   There were a couple lessons here.  For one the fact that she had put everything in it's place saved the fish's life.  For another had she closed her door the tank never would have been knocked over.  But really the whole incident is a fluke, and had it happened any other time the outcome would have been very different. 

    So, we call it a miracle here.  The fish got a second life (and a new bowl), and my daughter got the gracious gift of not losing something special to her (even if it is just a fish).  It reminded me that God often orchestrates such small events as a reminder that He is in control of this universe.  I certainly think that there are many other important things He is doing with His time, but I also believe He wants us to know that the little details of our lives matter to Him.  Every little prayer He answers is just more proof that He is capable of doing what we ask (and some things that we don't).   He doesn't have to answer our prayers and He doesn't have to prove His faithfulness, but He does.

    Honestly it makes me think of the verses in Matthew 6 that talk about how the birds of the air neither sow nor reap and yet our heavenly Father feeds them.  This week we are thankful that He chose to protect something as small as my daughter's fish.

     Normally that would be the end of the post, but being a cat lover I want to make sure that I end with a proclamation of the cat's innocence.  As it turns out the dog put his big old paws up on the dresser to get to the small container of fish food and knocked the fish tank over.  He then ate all the fish food (as well as spilled it into a laundry basket of clean clothes) and in typical dog fashion looked guilty and immediately wanted to be let outside when I came home.  Now mind you he looked guilty before I even discovered the fish, but he did have the decency to look guilty, thus ensuring that we couldn't stay mad at him.  However, we have decided to put the fish food in a safer place.   


Friday, May 20, 2011

Some Thrifty tips just aren't worth it...

     I hesitate to post this on my blog as it creates the possibility that people will be looking at me funny for the next couple days.  However, I figure if I can't laugh at my own mistakes then I am taking life too seriously.

    My husband is self-employed and work has been slow as of late.  Since his job tends to to run in cycles I like to try and be thrifty.  I also believe that resourcefulness is a character quality and that God wouldn't want us to be wasteful.  So, from time to time I try a new thrifty tip that I have found somewhere.  A few of these things I have found useful and still continue to do.  However, this week I found one that I will not attempt again.

     It all started when I saw a book in a bookstore on being thrifty and decided to check it out from the library (the library is my attempt at saving money, though since I am forgetful I tend to end up with fines, which I think is till cheaper than buying the book).  It did have some interesting tips in it, though most of them I had heard before.  One of their tips involved cutting your own bangs.  There was a "special trick" to keeping them even. 

     Since my bangs were starting to get a bit long I thought this might buy me a couple more weeks before I had to go get a haircut.  Truth be told I should have known better because in the past I have tried to cut my boys' hair and it did not work well.  The difference is I can give them a buzz cut if I mess up.  The"trick" involves twisting your bangs together and then cutting straight across.   Now whether it was the tip itself or I just screwed it up (which is possible) I don't know, but my bangs did not come out evenly.   I evened them up enough that it isn't very noticeable, but if you look closely enough you can see that they aren't even.  

    My husband said he didn't notice, neither did my boys, but men tend to overlook little details like that, so that may not mean anything.  In the long run this is not the worst hair problem that I've ever had.  (I've had two fairly bad experiences, both of which I paid money for).   Overall I learned something which I already knew about myself, that I should never cut my own hair.   I also will not feel guilty for going to the stylist anymore since I know that this is something that I cannot do myself.    One of the pluses of being thrifty is knowing what is worth paying for and what isn't.  

    I have found some things that do save me money in the long run, that I am both good at and I don't find to be an inconvenience.   I am hoping that I will find some more this summer as I have in mind a few things that I would like to try, but we'll see they could end up not working so well either.   Maybe by the end of summer I can add to the list of thrifty things that are worth doing (at least for me) and share it with all of you.  In the meantime stay tuned there are liable to be more funny stories to share.  In case you're hoping for something really exciting don't hold your breath, my husband is a carpenter (who specializes in remodeling) and therefore I don't attempt to fix anything in my own  house.  I am confident that i could figure out how to do a couple things, but I don't think that my husband could survive the few failed attempts that I am certain would occur.

    If you have a thrifty tip that works for you please share, maybe I can try it and add to my list, or at least give you a laugh.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oil on opened wounds...

     That's what the email I received today said, "Your message of grace is like oil on open wounds..."   Honestly, a homeschool family that we know well has had some troubles this spring and I have been meaning to send a card or an email to them for a couple months.  Only I never got around to it.   Why?  I wasn't sure what to say.  I wasn't sure they'd want me to say anything.   And the more time that passes the more awkward I feel for not having said anything when I knew they were hurting. 

   I knew that God had called me.  Most of the time my callings are feelings of "oughtness", an awareness that I can do something to help, and that I should.  Too often though as a homeschool mom of 6 kids I don't make time for those callings, even though they are such small acts of obedience.  A card to a friend that is hurting, a meal for my neighbor who has cancer, a care package for my friend who just lost a baby, a gift for a widow that is spending her first Christmas alone.  These are the little things He asks me to do, the ways He asks me to be His hands and give a physical manifestation of His love.  Sometimes I manage to get around to them, and sometimes I miss the opportunity to be a blessing (and be blessed in return)

   This time God asked me to bless someone with my words of support.  To say I knew what was going on and I was sorry.  I certainly did not expect a reply.  The amazing thing was that their reply was a gift to me, to know that I helped soothe their wounds.  I gave them a gift and they gave me one back.  It reminded me of the verse in Proverbs 25:11 that says, " A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."  It was that way for me today, and for this other family as well, all because I responded to the feeling of "oughtness" that God had given me. 

10 Ideas for Finding Free Field Trips

     One of my favorite things about homeschooling is field trips.  I think that has something to do with the fact that I have 5 boys.  There are only so many days that I can read over boys shuffling through Legos or wrestling with each other.  Plus I have a very energetic child who does not enjoy school, but he learns a lot on field trips.  We have been to many exhibits and museums that are well worth the cost that we pay to visit, but with 6 kids a field trip isn't always in the budget. 

   So here are some of the great things that we have done for free.  It's certainly not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will give you some ideas whether you are planning a field trip for a group or just an outing for your family.  For those who live in Colorado I have included actual places in parentheses, you should be able to google the company for more info.

  • Greenhouse---most states have a local greenhouse they get their flowers from.  Many of these greenhouses, or even some of the smaller garden shops are willing to set up a tour for your group. (Welby Gardens)
  • Post office---not all post offices will give a tour, but most post offices know of a local one that will do tours.  There is also a General Mail Facility in every state that offers tours (usually for age 10 and up)
  • Factories---many factories will not give tours to children due to safety guidelines.  However, there are usually a couple of exceptions to this.  The best way to find out?  Call around and ask.  (Hammond's Candies, Celestial Seasonings)
  • Small businesses or stores--sometimes a small ice cream shop or other storefront business will give a tour to a small group.  Great Harvest Bread has many locations all over the United States and most of them offer tours where you can come and see them make some bread.  A very yummy field trip.  I once called our local Ben & Jerry's and they were willing to have a small group come, but I dropped the ball and we never went.
  • US Mint---unfortunately this will only apply to those of you who live in Denver or Philadelphia, but you can also take a free online tour.  Still if you are able to stop by the mint sometime, I would recommend it.
  • Hikes or nature walks are free and a great way to get together with other homeschool families without a lot of pressure.  Your kids can bring a nature journal or you can just hike around and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Animal shelters and pet stores--I am not sure about Petsmart, but I have heard that Petco will sometimes offer tours.  Our local animal shelter offers classes (on wildlife or how to meet a dog for example) and a shelter tour for free (they do encourage non-monetary donations for the shelter such as toys, stuffed animals, etc).  The risk of this field trip is coming home with a new friend.
  • Free museums---we have several local museums here that are free.  We have a historical museum that offers replicas of farms from the 1860's and 1890's as well as a free geology museum (which is tied to the Colorado School of Mines).  Museums paid for by a city or University may often be a good free choice (Littleton Historical Museum, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum)
  • Art Galleries/Theaters---It may be an anomaly, but close to us there is a cultural center that puts on plays.  The plays are not free, but the center also has an art gallery, a small exhibit hall and a sculpture garden where the kids can climb on Squiggles the dragon.  Check cultural centers in your area, most of them charge for special exhibits and theater performances, but many have small galleries or exhibits that are open to the public.
  • Newspapers/TV stations--many local TV stations do not charge for field trips, but most of them require students to be at least 10 (sometimes 12).  It can also be hard to find a person to contact to get information about field trips, but worth the effort if you manage to get a hold of someone.
     There are many other ideas that we have thought of but not yet followed through.  I am sure that most homeschool moms have some great ideas or places they've gone.    I also keep an eye out for free days at the local attractions, but I didn't mention that here as I am sure that most moms do that.  Hope some of these activities keep your summer full, or give you great ideas what to do for next year.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal--5/15/11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

    I must admit that my Mother's Day wasn't much of a treat this year.  One of my teenage boys did make me some eggs, but my 3 oldest boys (ages 14, 13, 13) had to be at church early.  With gas prices what they are there is no good reason to drive separate, which means getting everyone ready a little early.  So, my son Max brought the eggs down while I was putting on my make-up and even though there were a bit runny (did I mention we were in a hurry?) I was eating them...until the dog chased the cat who jumped up on the dresser and stepped in my plate of eggs.  So, I fed the rest to the dog (which may have been his plan all along).   Our Sunday school class had some nice snacks set out though.   Normally I plant flowers on Mother's Day, but since my husband (who is self-employed) is not working much I didn't do that this week.  That was a bit discouraging for me, but I am trying to enjoy the flowers that I already have and there are some of those.

In our homeschool this week...

     The National Piano Teachers Guild Competition, which my oldest participated in.  He memorized and played 8 pieces for a judge.  My other 6 kids are involved in a variety of activities, but at this point only my oldest son (14) plays piano.  Otherwise we are trying to wrap up school and figure out what we need to work on over the summer and what I think we have covered enough of.  Normally I stop art this time of year, but we are actually almost done with the book, so I have decided to go ahead and finish.

Places we're going and People we're seeing...

    Besides the piano competition the only people we saw this week was the dentist.  I only took in a couple who needed to get cavities fixed , so I got to sit and read while they were back in the dentist office...a rare treat for sure.  The only downside was that it had rained/snowed the night before.  I had checked before I went to bed and it looked as though all my windows were up, but the driver's side was open just a crack.  So, I had to drive to the dentist office on a wet seat (even with a towel over it) and sit in the dentist's office with a half-wet bottom.

My favorite thing this week...

     My lilac bush smells delicious, and I am trying to savor that since I know it will not last too much longer.  I actually have enough this year that I was able to bring a few sprigs in the house.  My other favorite thing was today....I am fighting a head cold (not my favorite part by the way).  Three of our older boys went home with a friend after a puppet ministry luncheon at church.  Our daughter brought a friend home.  My husband took the 4 kids at our house to the park for 2 hours so that I could nap. that sure makes up for a not so pampered Mother's Day.

What's not working for us....

    As mentioned in my post on Friday the math curriculum I am using for the older boys is working for 2 of them, but not the third.  So, I am starting to pray about what to do next year.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have....

      As I get ready to sort through my curriculum for the year I am trying to decide what to do with it.  I have several books I have been trying to sell the last couple months that are just not selling.  Today I found out about a place that donates books to homeschoolers who need, but can't afford curriculum.  They do this by having people send in books they are not using any longer.  I am thinking that even though I could use the money to put towards our curriculum, God is telling me to donate the things that are not selling.  I will include the link to the website in case any of you have items you would like to donate or if you are in need of curriculum for this year.

A video to share....

    My three oldest boys participate in the puppet ministry at our church.  Today they had a recognition luncheon and the kids did a puppet show for us.  It was very encouraging to me as I realized today what a gift this ministry has been to my boys.  Besides learning to be a puppeteer they also must learn to write skits, choreograph skits, do voices for each character, and also tell Bible stories to the kids (without a puppet), among other things.   I am checking with the head of the puppet ministry to see if the skits they did today are copyrighted before I post the videos.  So, check back and hopefully I will have one posted in the next day or so.  If not then I'll just post a picture of my 3 oldest boys...the 3 puppeteers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Math Hurdle

  As a homeschool mom one of my biggest challenges is teaching math, especially to older kids.  I understand it, but I cannot explain it very well.  It just makes sense in my head, but I can't always tell the kids why it makes sense.

    Most of the time this causes no dilemmas as I can explain it using the examples from the teacher's guide.  When this doesn't work I have found videos on youtube where people explain math.  This was a great help to my daughter when she was stuck on 3-digit-multiplication.  She could not seem to understand the concept of the placeholder that you put after the 10's (and the 100's) so that you can add them up.  In regular addition you line the answers up and then add them, so she couldn't understand why you wouldn't do that here.  I went to Youtube and searched for videos of 3-digit-multiplication.  I am sure that I explained it exactly the same as the man in the video, but when he explained it she understood it.  She claims that when I explain it my answers are too "mathy" and therefore that is why she doesn't understand them.  In response to that all I can do is scratch my head.

     The dilemma last year was with my 3 older sons.  My oldest, who is 14, loves math, but he was hating Saxon math.  He didn't like all the repetition, nor the way they explained it.  In addition my twin sons who were in 7th grade were giving me headaches trying to teach math.  One of my sons in particular has struggled with a learning disorder, and he is right brained, so I can't always figure out how to explain math to him.  He gets frustrated when he doesn't understand, and then he yells or cries.  This is turn makes me frustrated and I yell or cry.   So, at the end of last year I decided that I was going to find something else.  I was going to find something at the conference that I didn't have to teach, thus ending the battles between my son and I.

   After some research I came across a math program called Life of Fred.  It is meant for the student to read and do on their own.   Each chapter contains a short story where Fred (the main character) uses math in a particular situation and explains how he did that.  At the end of each chapter there are 4 or 5 problems to do.  The boys do the problems and then check their answers.  They are not required to get a certain amount right at that point, as the way the author got the answers is explained for them.  At the end of several chapters is something called The Bridge.  In this case they are required to get a certain amount right to make sure that they understand the material.  In addition as the parent I can make them do all five Bridges if I would like, regardless of how many they get right.

    This has been a great solution for my oldest who loves math, and is enjoying it even more.  Even though the Life of Fred books don't have as many problems he enjoys trying to figure them out as some can be a challenge.  The books are for higher levels of Math.  There are Decimals and Percents as well as a book on Fractions and then two Pre-Algebra books and from there the books go all the way up through Calculus.  Since the chapters are short you can go through the books fairly quickly. The problems are challenging so I don't make my boys do extra, but they also sell companion guides if you feel like your child needs more help.  Another thing I love about the books is that the man who wrote them has his email address on his website so that you can contact him if you have questions.

    This has also worked well for one of my sons in 7th grade, who hasn't had much trouble with math at all this year.  However, his twin brother, Neil is still struggling with math.  Our school year started off well and this approach seemed to work well for both of us, eliminating the fighting.  However, Neil still struggled with the material, occasionally needing help.  As we moved into the book on Decimals and Percents he struggled even more, and we ended up having to go back to me helping him with his math.   At first this went fairly well, but once again we are in the cycle of Neil getting frustrated and mom getting frustrated right back.

    Overall, I have loved the Life of Fred books.  I think the stories are very engaging and I love that my boys are getting to do math independently without having to sit in front of a computer.  However, as the school year draws to an end and I can see that Neil is still not understanding these concepts I have come to the realization that it's time to do something else for him.  Since he is the one who has struggled with learning this has happened to me numerous times, and even wonderful curriculum has not always worked for Neil.    My homeschool journey with him has led me into lots of interesting curriculum I might not otherwise have chosen.  While not all have worked for him they have benefited my other children.

    So, now this summer I will be doing more research to find another math program.  I am open to suggestions from those who have children who are struggling.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The smallest things...

   I was thinking today that the smallest things can make me feel accomplished (as in finally removing the dandelions from my yard before they take over).  The smallest things can also bring me joy and the smallest things can really frustrate me.  Piled up one on top of another the smallest things can turn into a pile of frustrations that make me want to quit.  Quit homeschooling, quit staying at home, quit being a nice wife, quit being a mother, etc.

    For me it has been a Spring full of one little thing (and some medium sized things) after another, some nights making me feel so broken as if I can't go on anymore.   Some times those little things make me wonder how long I can keep homeschooling.  Uggh...what a bad attitude, but it's the truth. 

   Thinking about that this morning made me remember one of my favorite quotes by John Maxwell, "Failure isn't failure if you do better next time."     Last week we studied inventors and Thomas Edison said that he didn't invent the incandescent light bulb, he figured out 10,000 ways that it wouldn't work.  Of course it's strange to think of homeschooling or mothering in that way, but there is truth to that.  I have discovered many ways that my parenting skills or my teaching is not working.  Rather than getting discouraged by that I just need to try a different way of doing it. 

    It's easy to say that today, but there are days that seeing those failings up close cause frustration and disappointment rather than a drive to find a better way.  As a homeschool mom I feel it's an accomplishment just to get school done each day and keep my house relatively in order. The mere thought of switching curriculum or tackling a problem can make me tired just thinking about it.     It seems like one more thing to add to my list.

   Maybe it would help if I thought of the parenting/homeschool journey as an attempt to find the best way to make it work rather than being discouraged when it isn't working.  I think one of the mistakes we make in homeschooling is trying to find a specific formula or using the best curriculum, when honestly some of those systems just don't work for our family.    Yet, in spite of the fact that I know this I still some times feel like a failure when I try something for my kids and it doesn't work.  I assume that I am doing something wrong.  (Sometimes I am doing something wrong, but that's beside the point).   I will try to keep that in mind this week if yet another little thing comes up.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Blogging and sending emails in my head...

     I thought that having a blog would be so great because then I could put some of these thoughts and  wacky conversations  I have with myself down on "paper".  Ahh...imagine all the free space there would be in my mind if I could get rid of some of these words.  Sadly I have discovered that even though I have so much to say I have very little time to say it.  It's not as though I am surprised since I am homeschooling 6 children, but I really envisioned that in the evening there would be so many words ready to pour out of me that I would just have to sit down and blog. 

     What has been surprising is that I come up with some really great things I could blog about and I am super excited about them, but by the time I sit down at the computer I have forgotten everything.  That is sad since some of them are funny and well-written, at least in my mind.

    The only relief I have found in all of this is that it isn't just happening to me, and it doesn't just happen with my blog.  There are many times that I am certain that I have sent an email to someone, only they have never received it.  As it turns out, I have never sent it, I just thought about it in my mind.  I composed it, knew what I was going to say and then never said it.  This happens to my other friends as well, which makes me feel a little less scatterbrained, or at least at home with the other zany moms who do this.   I don't think this happens to men since their brain is more focused than ours and cannot entertain multiple trains of thought like we can.  When my husband is cooking dinner, he is thinking about cooking dinner while I am thinking of the email I need to send, the playdate I need to plan or the blog I am going to write later (which probably never gets written).

     So,  instead of whatever interesting topic I thought of yesterday this is the post that all of you get to read today.  I promise the blogs I write in my head are full of all the little tidbits I would love to share, and some days you will get to read those ones too, at least I hope so. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Seeds, seeds, seeds....

   I am sure that seeds are a common theme this time of year because everyone has been planting seeds in their garden.  I have been thinking about seeds because I have some very small wildflower seedlings coming up.  Of course seeing the little seedlings has reminded me of the seeds I am planting in my kids lives and how one day they will be an actual "flower".

     Since I have several teenagers I am actually at the point where I see some of the seeds I have planted in my children's lives, both the flowers and the weeds.  So I keep watering their flowers and try to encourage them to pull some weeds out of their lives.

  What can be really discouraging to me at times is the youngest child that I am still working on.  While I see the amazing things going on in the lives of my teenagers, having a younger child can be a constant reminder of how much time I have left in my homeschool journey.  Some days I am thankful for the years that are left, but since my youngest child is my biggest challenge there are days that I wonder if he and I will survive the homeschool journey.  My youngest, Troy, has quite an engaging personality.  This is another way of saying that he is the class clown in our family.  While I am sure that the Lord has many uses for his gifts, right now he causes a lot of disruptions during school and once he has managed to get school done he can be loud and rambunctious while everyone else tries to finish.

    Anyway, some days it seems to me like Troy will never learn anything, but some days he surprises me.  Yesterday was one of those days when I got to see a glimpse of perhaps a small seedling growing in his heart.  Yesterday morning during history we were studying some inventors and this led into a discussion of some of the science that inventors have to know.  Talking about Alexander Graham Bell we talked about how his knowledge of sound waves and the density of air is part of what helped him realize that voices might be able to travel through an electric current. 

     After we finished up for lunch Troy found some test tubes that his brother uses for science and asked if he could play with them.  I really didn't think this was a good idea, but since I had a few things to get done I thought it might keep him quiet for a few minutes.  Imagine my surprise when my son played with those things for almost an hour.  He filled them with water and then he was in the kitchen pretending to teach a science class and talking about the density of air molecules of all things.  He didn't have all his facts right, but it was a surprise to me that he would even pretend such a thing.  Troy is full of so much energy that I never thought that I would see him with even a small interest in science.  I don't think his personality is geared to that, but it was nice to see that somewhere underneath my son's effervescence is a serious side that is actually listening to some of the things I say, and that might be just enough encouragement to get me through the next few weeks of teaching before summer break.