Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The First Star

There was a dark night sky but I could see a laser beam or light in the distance.
I didn’t notice until I looked up and saw it. The light was so bright it was almost blinding.
It was like the world's most big star ex and imploding at the same time and it was very wide. The rest of the rest of the sparkling stars looked like energy was being pulled from them. The light in what looked like a oval shape. The Light cascading down, increasing in width until it gently blanketed of dark green grass the sparkling mountains,and shimmered off the hard rock in the dark cave. The light was almost as if some one made it. And it was only the only immortal ever of course.

Even the grass was shining in the light brightly. It look almost as if someone turn on the world's most giant LED flash light. If you looked into it to long than you would be blind for a wile. When I looked it at were it began my eyes felt like they were going burn right out of my head and skull. The light smelled really really stuffy almost like something was burning really bad no horrible really horrible. I could barley keep my eyes even a little open at all and it was very hard (and when i say hard I mean hard). At first the the light started dim but then it slow got brighter and then it was very bright it was so bight even the seep were shining with Light. It felt like a giant shot a giant plasma laser gun on to the ruff hard cold ground that was freezing. I did ... not think it smelled any better because it did not it smelled horrible. As the light got wider it also got brighter and brighter and brighter until it touched the ground very lightly. It looked almost solid like it frozen solid and I could not see through it and as if I wanted to and doing that would be very very hard. The light went into a cave like thing that leaned against a hill the cave had four open. The light almost looked like it was moving a little bit which could not even be possible. The top of the light was almost like a giant sun in the middle of the night which will never happen of course.
408 word paper

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magnus Own Creation

Magnus designed his own Christmas greeting card
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Monday, December 20, 2010

still struggling

I took a day or two to reflect after reading the responses and now I am back. There was day or two in there that I had quit. I had given up. This is too hard. I can not do this. Then there was day of "failure is not an option", and then there was yesterday and today. I am willing to consider myself boarderline bipolar, I can not make up my mind. That must be sending a signal to the kids that I am not committed, but should be committed, to a mental hospital, until I get my act together.

Monday we started a new project, one that is not exactly in the books. A freewrite essay. I do not understand why writing for me is so easy and so difficult for them, but it is, and that has to change. They can not/ do not want to 'write' with paper and pencil. FINE, they both now have laptops to work on and the one assignment (with deadlines) is just to write to the topic that I assigned. NOTHING ELSE. Just write. I am not a happy muse. I feel like a slave driver, and this is exactly what I feared would be the situation if I were not in k12. We would struggle and cry and whine, and be in December and still no composition done.

I have applied to the husband to restrict all internet access until they have earned back my trust. he finally complied and we are finding that will less distraction and freedom, there is more likleyhood that we are getting our work done, that is helpful for me. But his nagging that I am not supervising them enough is starting to grate on what is left of my nerves. Yes they are 9 and 11 years old, yes, they need hand holding, but they also need to be able to take a task, spend 30 minutes and work on it INDEPENDENTLY. SERIOUSLY, if I say free write for 30 minutes, that means FREE WRITE not stare off into space for 29 minutes. I give them assignments, deadlines, they have to do it without me standing over them with a whip nudging them on like a stubborn donkey.

So I am still not achieving my goals. I am still not fostering the love of learning. I am still no closer to achieving what I set out to do, TO EDUCATE. They are still dragging and dwaddling. This week's experiment. Write an essay about the first christmas. simple enough. they have a word goal that they have to meet. They have a time line that they have to meet, a big reward for finishing early, and reward for finishing on time, and a consequence for being late. They have enlisted me for help, they have enlisted the big sister in california for help, and they are doing work with the speed of a snail on drugs. Now I am pleased with any form of work. I am not going to kill that by trying to point out to them that the prompt was one thing and they have gone off on a different tangent. I am going to celebrate that they even DID work.

It gives me a baseline for figuring out that they need to understand scope and outlines more clearly than they have from the k12 work book. So that is our next assignment. How to make that a teachable unit, because the workbook did not make it that hands on. I am thinking of cutting out some papers and stapling them together and demonstrate how an outline opens and expands to allow for detail to aid in hands on learners. sadly though...

We are not completing any other OLS assignments while focusing so intensely on this critical learning step. which means come January during end of semester we will be 'behind' and scrambling to 'catch up' or we will be marking off lessons that we never really got too and sacrificing THOSE goals in lieu of THESE. I hate that. there is just not enough... not enough hours in the day, not enough of me to go around, not enough time to cover even the fundamental basics to the level that they are needed to be able to integrate them effectively.

Friday, December 17, 2010


so•cial•i•za•tion (s sh -l -z sh n)
n. The process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are in conformity with the values of one's society.
What little bit of allowable socializing in the classroom setting is artificial, institutional and generic. Where in the "real world" or workplace are adults expected to interact with 20 to 30 people of one's own age and not those who are younger or older?
This is why a lot of colleges actively recruit homeschooled students. When the family participates in a homeschool group activity, the children play with and learn alongside people who range from newborns to grandparents.
They usually have more time to pursue their outside interests such as sports, hobbies, church activities, volunteer opportunities, apprenticeships and clubs. This actually gives homeschooled students the upper hand when it comes to real world socialization skills. Therefore, the proper formation of social skills is more compatible with a reason FOR home education instead of a reason to NOT homeschool.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Texas History:

Farm or City


I would live in the city because you can get a lot of stuff like food and stores and even internet the most important thing internet with out that you can not get any thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pity Pot

therapeutic hissy fit.

my husband finally made it home from a company Christmas party last night about 11 pm. Spouses and children were specifically not invited. I was in a mood. He walked in and used a trigger word that gave me an opportunity to completed lose it and scream my bloody head off. I have several issues that drive me crazy, one of them is his OCD about the computers, the network, and the security in the house. Being isolated at home sucks. He totaled my Honda Odyssey in 2003 and we have not had the money to replace it, so we share the Honda Civic. that leaves me home 90% of the time without a car and 2 miles to the nearest grocery store and a bicycle to get the kids to and from activities like piano and P.E. there are days that I get mad at the situation. I should be grateful that he does all th shopping and runs the errands, less work for me, but it is also irritating that I do not have as much freedom as most women. Home alone with the kids all day and not transportation may have been fine in 1950 when we had cities with sidewalks and buses, but today it is very isolating. Being financial broke adds stress to an already stressful situation. Adding insult to injury, (our house had three bathrooms, only one of which is working) the youngest of our clan made the mistake of using one of the broken toilets yesterday for a number TWO. this did not make me happy, and I vented all over the hubby. I have the parts to fix one of the toilets, but I just so do not want to unbolt it, scrap out the wax ring, and reset it. augh.. just gross thinking about it. No money for a plumber, I have to fix it myself. Did I mention stress?

I have two son in laws in Camp Dwyer, Helemand, Afghanistan, and it toasted the budget sending them boxes last month, but I managed to get two more boxes out today for them. granola bars, pop tarts, deodorant. however, SIL #2 called and he had been shot at last week, close enough to hear the 'zing' next to his ear, and several holes in his Cougar. I think those people are just rude to be shooting at him. My family means the world to me, I would probably create reasons to worry about them if I didn't already have legitimate reasons. This is the second deployment, the first one was to Iraq, and it was so hard on the wives, they moved back home after 90 days, it was very hard on grandson #1. I should be thrilled about the newest grandbaby, she is precious, but helping her mom finished up her semester in college is a strain, staying up all night a couple times a week to edit term papers, to explain algebra takes it's toll on my system. It was me that pushed for her to go to college and get an education, so I take responsibility that she is not prepared for college level courses due to a horribly crappy public education that she got. I shake my head when I think about how little education she really got here. That they graduated her is a shock and a shame. But it is never too late, so she will get the best I can give, and thank goodness for Skype.

The economy has wiped out my home photography business, but today I bought Christmas gifts for my other out of state children / grand children with great trepidation. Suffice to say I spent as much on shipping as I did on gifts, It was money we do not have, and I will pay for it dearly when my husband finds out that I spent $100 on 4 kids and 4 grand kids and $71 on shipping. But I felt that they each needed a gift of some sort and a stocking, even a modest one for the holiday. Due to said hissy fit, I had possession of the car today, I also frivolously went to the store and got baking supplies, tomorrows project will be nutter butter reindeer, rice crispy treats, and popcorn balls, peanut butter cookies, and gingerbread cookies. I call it science class, we will bake and the kids will learn to measure. and I will not nag them about OLS.. I will simply sign off on whatever where ever and just relax. I will remind myself that there is no OLS police and No one will really know that we really did not do simple fractions. Hectic is possibly not my complaint, it is more unproductive.

We blew through 9 hours today and we completed one math, one spelling, and one P.E. lesson. and even that was nominal, we just passed the quiz on OLS and counted it as good and done. the math assessment was a 50% so that is not a good thing, pretty sure we are not hitting that point, where the school left off and now we have to start learning new stuff. I was afraid this day would come and I would have to put up or shut up. As for friends. I do feel totally isolated in this world. the home school parents nearby do not understand why I would torture myself with such a restrictive load. I know my own limitations, without them, I would be worse at goofing off than my kids. I am drowning in the accountability, but without some measure of it, I would totally fail. I just need a better way to manage the accountability.

I wish OLS had a search feature. If I am working on Egyptian History, can I do a search and it pull up the lessons that address that so that I can mark them done instead of hunting them down and getting so exhausted that I am resentful at the tool. the public schools are so hell bent against the home school kids, they refuse to let them participate in any extra curricular activities like Chess Club, sports and such. It creates a complete isolation of public school and home school kids in the same neighborhood. You would think they would want to foster some relationship, think about it, we are probably really good at math and spelling and chess and would benefit them on a divisional level. But no, we are the leapers and are not welcome in the building to even use the library, one that I might add, my $2500 a year in property taxes paid for. tthhbbb But no, I can not chit chat with anyone about my aches, pains, educational woes, or the like. so I feel sad and blue and am sitting on my pitty pot plotting how to keep them home schooled, keep from losing my mind, and worry about putting in an application to get a REAL job since my husband swears that we can not afford this lifestyle anymore with my constantly baby'ing my 5 + 2 kids and the two little grands.. and the strays that I pick up. (currently the strays include the BFF of my daughter who's hubby is not deployed, but not at home, leaving her with two kids, attempting to enroll with CAVA, and a minimal support system. It does help to just type it all out here over a virtual cup of coffee.. which I did splurge on and got a whole pound of coffee that I like for me today (he buys some horrible gut rot stuff that is nearly burnt it is so heavy roasted) I had 1/2 a pot to myself this afternoon, it was $5.99 and it was helpful for me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Discouraged, defeated, disappointed in Myself

I can not talk about this to anyone. I tried today to a friend, she IMMEDIATELY and practically screamed in my ear, put them back in public school. I have to sort through this logically for myself, and you are now in this with me so can appreciated better than anyone else the problem. I bought into this plan years ago, with my whole heart, home education to me was the best solution for a truly progressive 21st century education. I believe that my education was inadequate, that the peer issues growing up destroyed what fragments of self esteem that I had after an horrendously battered family and abusive alcoholism and all the lovelies that go along with it. SOCIALIZATION did nothing for me but make a septic situation toxic. Todays situation in our local school doesn't even come close to being that good, I graduated two through the system and it was a disservice to them on a global scale. Daily I am reminded when I assist my college freshman daughter to formulate a simple sentence. So the need for a home based education with someone that is dedicated to the highest level of qualifications is necessary. Our system is broken. I thought that I could teach, after all, I am brilliant at field trips, teaching outside of the box is myspeciality. when it comes to finding National Geographic and Eyewitness Videos, I am the Queen. when it comes to online interactive websites that teach a topic, or make a lesson fun, I am your go to girl. I can take the mundane and make it fun and interesting. I have projects on the shelf that we have not begun to get to. growing crystals, exploring swamps, looking at life through a magnifying glass. I can do that. But when it comes to dragging through each and every single freaking math lesson in OLS, and trying to match up each social studies lesson with the History Channel DVD's, augh, I would rather have a root canal. I do not feel comfortable sitting at the front of the class room, droning on about this lesson or that lesson, and I know that my kids feel completely lost without someone droning on so they just coast along waiting for me to take them by the hand, hold the food over their mouths and feed them like little birds. Here is the ideal situation: I took them to Glacier National Park for a week this summer. We had to get up, walk down to the trailhead, meet a park ranger that would guide us on a 3 - 4 hour tour and talk about glaciation, erosion, and what happens during a glacial event. it was brilliant and interesting. I see them paying attention, I see them engaging with the ranger. I see that they get it. we are good. if they didn't, I ask them later on some questions and I clarify with additional details so that they do comprehend it, and I consider the lesson complete. THAT I can do. Here is were it gets complicated. In the Online Learning School, which when it comes to progress, accountability, and ease of use I do appreciate. I have more anxiety about progress, tracking, did I give too much credit, not enough credit, did we do enough to satisfy, not enough, too much? did I sign off on an objective when we really didn't get it learned thoroughly? we are at 23% in some areas and 47% in others, when will I realize that I missed an objective, what if I spent too much time on this, and not enough time on that? Wouldn't it be easier or better to just sent them back and accept mediocre or worse? Now all the bleeding ulcers aside. I can reassure myself after the standardized tests right? (closing eyes in surrender) About those standardized tests. well.. see this is how it went last year. my child was not reading when we pulled him from Brick and Mortar, and went VA. I can tell you without a doubt that I FIXED THAT, The good news is that I waved the reading fairie wand, added in a Kindle and the reading problem is solved, he is reading voraciously, and while TXVA was in the picture, they didn't help with his special needs, despite requests that they do, no assistance, no adaptations, no plan for an individualized education plan. I (as it has been my experience through absolutely every other special needs situation that I have solved with my children, it is MY fierce determination to solve the problem, NO ONE else will see my struggles and rescue me, I have to do it myself and after while that does get old). Reading is solved, and TAKS testing demonstrated that. now for MATH. that was not so good last year, and this year is not looking any better, and worse we are tested on WRITING. LOVELY. so here I am, being sucked into the VORTEX from the 7th circle of hell.. STANDARDIZED test anxiety. To make things worse, my spouse is tolerating this experiment, he does not agree with home school, he does not agree with fighting the system. He is a happy huddle masses kind of guy that thinks schooling should be left to the professionals. So even getting him to talk to them about not cooperating with assignments is difficult at best. He keeps putting it back on me, if I were 'watching them better' they would be more compliant with the work. and that is were we are getting to the point of this diatribe. They do not want to do the work. they hate the work. They would rather take a nap than do the work. logging in to work on the OLS math or completing the vocabulary worksheets is root canal for them. They absolutely do not want to work on a composition and to get them requires that I threaten to put them on the rack and other tools used by the Inquisition. Each day is like that, a struggle to get compliance and no appreciation for the opportunity that they have been afforded. So here I sit. Wondering why I am doing this to them and myself. If it is only important to me, and I am the only one fighting for it, is it my problem that I am failing? is it my inadequacies that makes me a poor teacher? When I ask the weekly question, do you really want to go back there and go through all the pain and suffering of public school they are quick to say no, but also do not make efforts to make progress in a measurable way in the OLS. So do I continue to find ways to teach them that work for me, and just check off lessons even if I do not feel that they are EXACTLY correlated to what we learned? do I try to be more of a 'textbook' teacher even though I do not have that gift? do I just close my eyes and cry? last week I talked to my teacher about the challenges that I am dealing with regarding the writing and my child that could use the resources and I even talked to the resource teacher, both were sympathetic, but clueless of what to do to help this student. they suggested a different pencil might help. that friendly emails to him might help. (we did that at the beginning of the year and would would answer with one word replies.) I do not think that my work is done, I do not think that it will resolve itself to send him back to school to be taught to write, I just do not know what to do. I do not have the resources available and I do not even know where to start. I wish that a break would help, but sadly we just came off from a 7 week break, so that "they are burned out" is not the problem. OLS gives me Anxiety TAKS gives me Anxiety my kids gives me Anxiety Where are the flowers for my hair, the wool socks for my feet, and the tie dye wrap around dress that I can wear skipping through the fields of white Daisies? I am pretty sure that was part of the advertisement in the brochure.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Out of Rhythm

I seriously do not know what to do. last year he would sit in my lap, and we would get our work done. this year he has a desk that is 10 feet away and he would prefer to play 'games', which is all fine and dandy when it is brain pop or other educational site. but converting that over into OLS is difficult. I am not the teacher droning at the front of the classroom kind of learning coach, like I have explained to them time and time again, it is an open book type of assessment, if you know it, put down the answer, if you do not, ask me and I will explain it.

factor in that now we have Erik in the mix, and this generally means that Magnus will retreat into his shell rather than compete for attention. Magnus has never been a motivated learner, it is a struggle on a daily basis to get him to even get out of bed. Once out of bed, he groans and wimpers if I ask him to do ANYTHING, and then he cries and acts like I am torturing him.

I have printed out his progress report to let him see where he is on task and where he needs to focus to get caught up. I have tried a little bit a day of each subject, or chunked it all up so that he doesnt have to Transition. Transitions are bad, dragging him anywhere, even LEGOLAND is a painful task, once there, leaving is just as painful, even if it is to go to KNOTTSBERRY FARM, once there, he is shocked that it is so wonderful, this is a continuous process. no I do not want to go, no I do not want to go, Oh my god I love it here, no I do not want to go, no I do not want to go. I wish there was a magic wand to get through transitions.

granted, this year has been painful, waiting weeks to get Erik's books, spending weeks camping in Montana waiting for the baby to be born, now have spent a week getting back on Texas Time, 6 hour time difference for us. with holidays and whatnot, there is no routine, and I just can not seem to establish one. Magnus refuses to eat breakfast, and then when I say lets start, he insists on eating. it is so frustrating.

I wish that I could wake him up, feed him, sit him down in front of skype, and him just engage with a teacher that started the day off with language arts. I am uncomfortable with that subject. For me it is like brushing my teeth. We write, it is what we do. He needs to write. He needs to learn to love to write. He doesn't like to talk, he stutters horribly and it drives me nuts, he can not get his thoughts to focus, so I can see why it is so hard for him to write.

I am wondering what I can do to get him to focus...

2009Reading, Math, Writing, Writing Prompt
2006Reading, Math, Writing, Writing Prompt
2004Reading, Math, Writing, Writing Prompt
2003Reading, Math, Writing, Writing Prompt

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

TXVA Gingerbread Activity

Laser Tag, Go Carts and Bowling.