Monday, August 22, 2016

Just wanted to say hi. Tomorrow is supposed to be our first day, but I'm not ready. Homeschooling whilst being a mother to a toddler-baby (is a 16 month old a toddler?) isn't easy. Hats off to anyone who pulls it off without breaking a sweat or cursing someone out. While I hope to go into more detail as the year goes on (yes I plan on actually blogging this school year), I just wanted to briefly share our curriculum choices for this school year.

My eldest is 9 and is considered a fourth grader. We didn't do any grade skips or grade combinations as I had hoped our very first year. Honestly, we've just been trying to make it through these past two years. This year, however, the goal is to actually combine grades. If it doesn't happen, we're OK with that. I'll explain how we arrived where we are later, but for now, let's get into these curriculum choices.

ELA/ Social Studies- We'll be using Core Knowledge again. Most of the curriculum is online. Because I taught at a Core Knowledge school before, I was able to piece together the rest of the curriculum. Core Knowledge, not to be confused with Common Core, is a more updated form, in my eyes at least, of classical education. Their language arts/ reading instruction fits well within my beliefs about reading and also works well with Words Their Way which we will also pick up again for ELA.

Math- Still doing RightStart Math. We'll finish level D and then complete level E this year. We still love RightStart, but we might supplement with the ever so wonderful and free MEP lessons found online. Each year we also end up using Khan Academy. I'm sure this year won't be any different.

Science- We don't have a spine for this one. Last year, we were able to use Core Knowledge's free ELA curriculum to cover science, but fourth and fifth grade don't have enough science in their Language Arts curriculum. So we'll wing it with unit studies on weather, force and motion, genetics, electricity/ magnetism, chemistry, electronics, and the structure and function of cells.

PE - We'll probably take a class at a local church. That should be cool.

Art- I totally suck at this part of teaching. I have Lamb's Book of Art I & II by Larry Stebbing. We tried using it last year, but didn't get very far. Either it's me, or the material is just outdated. This year a college friend of mine is offering online mommy and me painting lessons on facebook. We're going to do those, and hopefully, we're able to put fresh eyes on Larry Stebbing's material.

Coding- We'll use a little more. Then I think we'll try or I'll just teach her some of the things I'm learning.

Spanish- We're going to start over on Pimsleur because it's been so long. We'll also be doing Mango which is free through our library.

Music- We'll be doing some ear training and sight singing and learning some basic music theory/ harmony. We'll also be learning about the music during historical periods related to our ELA/ Social Studies units, for example, we'll study Don Quixote Ballet when we read Don Quixote, and we'll study music of the Renaissance while studying that time period in ELA.

Dance- She's taking dance four nights a week. This could easily become 5 or 6 days a week dependent on scheduling and if she does some performances that require extra rehearsals. She was selected to be a part of ballet company, but we declined to be a part of the competition team. Either way, I'm just tired thinking about it.

Theater- Right now, we both are involved in a musical being put on by our local community theater company. We hope to be involved in one more production this season.

My 16 month old? We're beginning to work on a unit on animals. Currently she calls most animals that walk on fours "woof, woof" or "dog" and sometimes "gog." We'll start with farm animals and then do zoo animals. I probably won't plan too much for her until she's about 2 1/2 or 3. Then it's full steam ahead.

Wish us success! We have high hopes that all will work well this year. Thanks for stopping by, have a great school year!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Breastfeeding and Training Bras

Disclaimer: I wrote this a few months ago. There was something I wanted to add, but I don't at all remember what it was. Since these concerns are very real today, I decided to share. The training bra stage is here, and I'm making it through OK.

I was in Children's Place boohooing today. I bought my daughter a size 14 (I go a size up for outerwear) sweater. This means that pretty soon she will no longer need girl sized clothing. I was in the store real-tear crying, "I'm not ready. I'm not ready. I'm not ready."

She asked, "Not ready for what?"

"For you to grow up! I'm not ready. I'm not ready."

"Well, can you get ready, but without crying?" Then after thinking about it and deciding to try to comfort me, she says, "But Mom, I'm only 8. We have 10 years before I'm grown."

There was more to the conversation, but I have two daughters in two totally different places in their development. One is nursing from my breasts, and the other is sprouting her own pair of breasts with which she will hopefully nurse her own children, though hopefully she will give me about 18 years to catch my breath.

Oh, the irony- that for the last couple of years, my daughters clothes have been next to the training bra section serving as a reminder of what is to come. My sweet baby girl has been ushered away into the era of older sisterdom. And right around the corner are training bras and before we know it phone calls from boys. Then to think, whatever phases we go through with the oldest will be repeated again approximately 8 years later.

Yep. I ain't ready. I will take my daughter's advice and get ready, but I shan't do so quietly. I will protest some of the time, but even more than that, I will be grateful all along the way. Despite any challenges that may present themselves, I love being a (their) mother...

Friday, October 16, 2015

So, About Last School Year...

...It didn't work exactly as planned. I put a lot of planning into what we were going to do, and then right when it was time to start school, I began to feel sick (I was actually pregnant) which caused me to miss the first day and several days that followed. When I could come up for air, I tried to follow through with my plans, but it was just too much. We've had so many "failures" last school year, our very first year of exclusive homeschooling.

A lot has happened since I last blogged 326 years ago. Most eventfully, I lost my father last November, and I endured what was considered a high risk pregnancy to birth a beautiful baby girl. I've always thought of myself as a resourceful homeschooler (I've always homeschooled, just not exclusively), but this school year just kind of got away from me. Thank goodness for online learning- especially Khan Academy and Youtube. Through it all, I think I have shifted in my perspective concerning my homeschooling. Before I was very rigid in what I thought success meant. I think I am shifting from raising a academician to rearing a well rounded child.

Our plan (find it here) was to combine 2nd and 3rd grades. Did we do it? Nope. We barely got through 2nd grade. All those resources? Well most of them weren't even opened up.

What I did learn, however, is that my homeschool doesn't have to be a replica of brick and mortar schools. My main reason for homeschooling is because I didn't feel that my daughter was being challenged. So we typically did what the schools did but quicker and some would say better. My experience in the classroom leads me to be very hands on, but being pregnant and sick, I just wasn't able to do what I wanted to do.

I also learned that my daughter could make her own learning experiences without my help. One of the subjects where my daughter and I would experience the most frustration was writing. One of my very first blog entries (find here) was about one of our melt downs. My daughter is a good writer, but sometimes our lessons would be great, and sometimes they were like pulling straws. We (well my husband, really) just gave her a bunch of single subject spiral notebooks. She writes all the time, now. One of the notebooks she uses just for the profiles of her original characters. She's started writing scripts for original toy shows she wants to do on youtube, and she journals. It's so prevalent that whenever we're in the car, she has a notebook with her. Once our family was out, and, somehow, the battery to our car needed to be jumped. She used that time to write a piece about how I killed our car.

A fellow homeschool mom told me that she read somewhere that it only takes about 100 hours of study to be ready for high school math. That really encouraged me, helping me realize that whatever we didn't do can just get done when it gets done.

Ultimately, I've learned that time for creativity and life lessons deserves top billing in our homeschool. If we don't learn all the theorems, but my daughter is a creator, then we haven't failed.

So what did we end up doing? For language arts we (she) read. Some of the titles included Zahrah the Windseeker, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Plastic Polly, and the Ruby series of books by Derrick Barnes. For the most part we found curriculum supports for each text online. For math, we did Kahn Academy for all of 2nd grade and about 1/3 of 3rd grade, and after I had the baby I started Level C of RightStart. For Science and Social Studies, we read 2nd grade textbooks and supported with trade books and youtube. For art, we didn't do too much. We did a couple of projects, but for the most part she just drew (again youtube). For Spanish, we used Pimsleur, for coding-, and we only did formal music lessons a few times, but we listened and sang lots.

These are few pictures. I wish I had more, but this is about it. Click thumbnails to enlarge.


P.S. I started this blogpost probably months ago, but one of the purposes of this blog is for me to actually practice code. This very simple image lightbox took a while for me to get. It would have been super easy if I had used a some type of plugin, library or framework, but it was important to me to code it from scratch. It still doesn't look the way I'd like, but hopefully, figuring this out will help with me with being more consistent with my blogposts. Next, we'll talk about what's happening this year.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Formal Cyber Introductions

I've been away for almost a year. What's been the hold up? Well, she's here!!! Not that she has been the actual hold up, but I've been trying my best to lay low and keep cool- to stay in bed and relax. It's been a journey- one that has not at all been easy.

The precious few of you (one day I won't be able to say that) that read this blog, probably already know that I got pregnant right as the school year was starting. I actually found out about the pregnancy the weekend before our first year of exclusive homeschooling was to start. My pregnancy was a series of trying to overcome doubts and frustrations and was considered high risk because of my age. Amongst other things, the pregnancy seemed to be plagued by a general unhappiness in my home (I'm good now), blood pressure issues, and the losing of my father in the fifth month.

Amidst it all, I can proudly announce that she's here. SHE IS HERE!!! Her name is Willow, and she has brought so much joy with her.

Actually she's been here for a while and is four months old. As for her personality, she seems a little feisty. The very first night her cry was more like a fuss than a cry- like she was telling me off. She still does that, too. She's strong and started rolling over at 3 months. She's scooting, and I think she'll be crawling somewhere in her fifth month. She seems to be a happy baby who likes lots of face and arm time. She's easygoing, fun, but seems a little more serious than her older sister. Though it's her fourth month, we are still dealing with cradle cap and infant acne. She was born at 7 lbs 12 oz. and weighs about 14 lbs now.

This has been a formal cyber introduction. Please welcome Willow. I'm sure she'll make plenty of appearances here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Opinion. PEACE!: Thanks, Stephen A. Smith

If you didn't know, I am one opinionated chica.  I wrestle with whether or not to include my opinions in this blog.  I've thought about starting another blog and have had this idea for quite some time.  While I work out the kinks and figure out what I'd like to do, I've decided to add some of my opinions here in a series called My Opinion. Peace!  Since this blog is about things relevant to raising my daughter.  I've decided to include this particular opinion hear.  Hopefully, you'll see the relevance, if only indirectly.

At first, I tried to be low key, but after seeing the video, I am even more upset with Stephen A. Smith's words. Actually, not his words, but his one word - provoke. Thinking that maybe he had more insight into what happened, I felt like maybe in this case the woman was inciting her fiance.
We all understood where Stephen A. Smith was going. We all understood his message, but sometimes he's not the most eloquent cat. I've always felt that for the most part intent is more important than what's said- that there is meaning beyond words. So for that, I've always said he may have had a good point, but just included a word that should have been left for exclusion.

PROVOKE (MERRIAM/ WEBSTER): verb \prə-ˈvōk\
: to cause the occurrence of (a feeling or action) : to make (something) happen
: to cause (a person or animal) to become angry, violent, etc.

So what are some of the things that women do that can cause a man to become angry or violent (definiton of provoke)? The answer is it varies with every man who becomes violent toward women. For some men it may be charging and hitting them. For some it might be failing to clean up the house to their satisfaction. "What? I saw you talking to some man at work.? Well this is gonna get you a nice little beating." The actual issues that spark these altercations can vary.
I wished that Stephen A. Smith could have pointed to the specific behaviors that he felt women should avoid, like violence against men. That would have worked in everyone's favor. This is why, to me, Whoopi's statements differ greatly from SAS's.
The one problem that I am now having with the video and Stephen A. Smith is I don't see support for this woman being the aggressor. I do NOT. She doesn't seem scared, but she seems like she's trying to stay away from him. She's walking behind him. He waits for her and then spits on her. She walks ahead of him. He follows her. She turns every attention to those buttons on the elevator ( they can't be that interesting). He's in her face. To me, this man was the one provoking.
In my book Stephen A Smith has apologized.  I'm not angry at him, per se, but those words can never be taken back.  What is a bit shocking to me, is with the release of the video that so many men are now verbally high fiving Mr. Smith for his words, as if he were right all along.

So, thanks Stephen A. Smith. Thanks for reminding us, that it is always the woman's fault. Thanks for making this woman responsible for her own beating. Thanks for helping us to ask the age old question- "What did she do to deserve it?" 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Today I Changed My Tagline

I'm wondering if you caught that very small change- a letter that makes the world of difference in meaning.  Did you catch it?  Probably not.  I don't have a lot of followers.  I'm not sure who really pays attention to what I write, but I'm excited for the changes.

Well, let me start with a little background info.  This summer I was the worst homeschool parent ever.  I was too involved with my own endeavors- my own education- my own interests.  I pray to God that I did no damage to my child.  She's enjoyed every second of freedom.  She's enjoyed every Disney Chanel show, every independent art project, every chance to ride her bicycle inside the house, every crafty outfit whether for herself or her dolls, every computer game, every LPS youtube show- she's enjoyed freedom.

So as I'm getting ready to get in gear for the school year, I began to experience significant fatigue and sickness. I hadn't been eating well, so I attributed the sickness to that, but when it persisted I couldn't help but think about all the deadly things it could be.  I went and got vitamins with iron. That helped a bit, but still, something didn't feel quite right.  Ginseng comes next. A little better, but still not out of the woods.  So after about a week and a half of the bed, as I was getting ready to to set myself a doctor's appointment, I decided that a pregnancy test was in order.  Just the month before, it said no.  I assumed this result would be no different.  To the contrary, it was. I was excited, and left the test on the top of the counter so that my husband would see it when he went to the bathroom. I left it on top of the visual test explanations.

Men!!!!  As he went to wash his hands, he noticed. He asked what it was, and then asked was I pregnant.  Me- "You didn't see the visual clues right there."

Him- "Just tell me."

Me- "It says we're pregnant."

Him- "Congratulations. Good night." And off to sleep he went.

Thinking that there was some kind of mix up, I believed myself to be about 10 or 11 weeks pregnant.  In the clinic they show me two lines, but one is very faint.  This leads the nurse to believe in my timeline.  She thinks the line might be faint because I was a little further along.  Here comes the ultrasound. "Oh, it looks like you're only 7 weeks pregnant."

Oh, was I upset, disappointed, etc. You mean to tell me that I start getting sick at 5 weeks and that I have another possible 7 weeks of sickness?

But since then, I've had a chance to put on my rejoicing shoes.  It's only been a week, but I am happy to change my tagline from "Beecause my busy bee keeps growing..." to "Beecause my busy bees keep growing... BeeYond ABC."

Yes, it's early, and I know many things could happen. My husband and I are both older (he, more so than I), but we are prayerful that things will work out.  Please send whatever prayers, positive energy, affirmations, or whatever it is that you do as long as it's short of devil worship.

Thankful for my busy bees.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

20 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me

This idea came from the wonderful women of the Mahogany Homemakers group.  Because we are more than homeschoolers, here are my twenty answers.

1. How old are you?
I'm in my thirties, and I feel like a grandma...

 2. Do you prefer tea or coffee?
I'll say tea, but I'd rather have water or juice 

3. Are you married? How long?
Yes. I've been married 8 years.

4. What were you doing with life before becoming a mom?
Lifelong student, I was. I was just finishing my masters in music when I learned I was pregnant.

5. What is your favorite color? green, but also any muted color, like a muted beige is the business...I like orange, too.

6. What do you (or would like to do) in your spare time?
I love learning to code for the web and beyond. My first language that I learned in college was Fortran. I started out as a civil engineering major. Then I taught myself HTML years ago. Over the summer I began learning more about javascript, Ruby, JQuery, HTML5, CSS3, and BOOTSTRAP.

7. What are you watching on TV nowadays?
I like reality shows. A lot of the scripted shows I like just don't stay on the air. So it's just easier to stay with reality shows- the ones with longevity like RHOA. Of course there's Scandal, but sometimes they do too much.

8. What was your favorite TV show as a child?
Cosby Show

9. Do you have any tattoos? Do you want any?
Nope. I couldn't think of anything to get while I was young.

10. What is your dream vacation? Any place with a great, clean beach and people with good sense.

 11. Did your husband match the "man of your dreams"? (for example, you always imagined marrying Mr. Tall Dark & Fine but fell in love with Mr. Short Light and Decent Looking)
The answer is a swift no, but he is the most beautiful person I'd ever met.

12. Would you go to an adult roller skating party?
Of course. Are you planning it?

13. As a teen, were you the social butterfly or wall flower?
In between.

14. Have you traveled internationally?
Does Canada and Mexico count?

15. Do you know how to swim?
No, but I wish I did.

16. Do you prefer a bath or shower?

17. What is your favorite movie genre?

18. Do you have any pets?
No, thank the Lord.

19. What is you favorite music genre?
jazz, r&b

20. Would you participate in the "Real Homeschool Moms of Your Area" reality show?
If I can wear a uniform of scrubs and a head scarf, maybe.