Friday, August 28, 2009


I really wonder if there is anyone else out there who obsesses and plans the way I do? Sometimes I think my need to plan and have paths laid out are what drive me. This need can be a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I wish it would turn off so I would be able to have a moments peace inside my brain, then again maybe I should just get a hobby!

Next school year I will have a high schooler. Just the thought of it is keeping me up at night, and it's still a year away! So many options, so many choices to be made. All the burning questions: What does he want? What do I want? What can I handle? What is the best choice for him? How do I ensure he gets into the colleges he wants? I'm literally tearing my hair out.

Here is my main conflict. I want to continue homeschooling him, but his snarky teenager ways are starting to get a bit on my nerves. He's always been such a wonderful and delightful child, now the testosterone has kicked in and he's well, a teenager. My husband keeps telling me that this snippet of it will pass in the next year, but I'm honestly afraid it might not. Some days it's like having a 3 year old all over again. The boundaries are getting pushed and the emotions are running high.

I think my plan at this point is to tour the high schools we're interested in when it comes time in January. This way we get a feel for what's available. I'll probably even consider enrolling him in one at that time just make sure he gets a spot, then make a decision in June. But even as I'm writing this I can hear the little voice in my head telling me I won't be happy with them. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Time for School

What an exhausting summer! Lots and lots happened around here this summer. But not a single scrap of actual school work! So much for all of my great plans. It's alright, everyone needed a break after such a busy year. Bug spent the summer rereading Harry Potter and working at the vet. Monkey read and played outdoors as much as he could and Frodo is now a master at Magic the Gathering. He has memorized the rule book and taken out plenty adults who thought they knew the game well. His friends are insisting on a hard copy of the rules when they play because they think he's cheating (which he's not, he's just really is always right). So much for me thinking nothing got done around here this summer!
Our school year is shaping up to take a different turn this year. Monkey needs a lot more time outdoors and I need to be more flexible with him. Bug has asked to be completely independent from me and be in control of her education this year. Frodo, well I'm trying to get him to be more independent but the hormones are in full gear and he has temporarily lost his brain. So here is our basic plan for the year!

Monkey: Singapore Math and Right Start Math games. I will probably throw in some Family Math problems as well.
Bug and Frodo: Thinkwell, Beginning Algebra and The Life of Fred Beginning Algebra

Language Arts:
Monkey: First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, Spelling Power, lots of reading to me from what ever interests him and I plan on getting through the Andrew Lang Fairy books with him.
Bug and Frodo: MCT three times a week, Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings, they will do a semester online writing course so they can receive feedback from an instructor and they are participating in an online book club for teens. They will also choose their own books for free reading time.

History: Monkey will use History Odyssey level 1 Middle Ages and Frodo and Bug will use History Odyssey level 2 Middle Ages with a few extra biographies and a unit on navigation.

Monkey will be covering Human Anatomy and anything else that strikes his fancy. Frodo and Bug will cover Anatomy and also use the escience life lab and Singapore Interactive Science. We will also read The Story of Science aloud everyday. They asked for a science heavy year since they felt they didn't get enough last year.

Foreign Language: Monkey will begin Spanish, Frodo will be taking Latin and Bug will be taking French.

I'm still trying to figure out music for everyone. Frodo plays the guitar and Monkey will start piano again this year. I'll also work in some music appreciation that goes along with our history study.

Everything else looks a bit like this:
Monkey: Shakespeare performance class, various sports teams, lego class, gymnastics and several park days.
Frodo: Shakespeare performance class, programming class, video production and editing classes, swimming and mountain biking.
Bug: Improv class, Shakespeare performance class, sewing classes, video production and editing classes, digital design and Photoshop classes, swimming and working on earning her girl scouts Silver Award.

I know things will change and need to be tweaked a bit. But overall I think were off to a good start!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where is Summer?

The weather here is sunny California has been anything but sunny. We have had two weeks of rain, humidity, dark clouds and cold. This is definitely not prime beach weather. Luckily we have been busy enough with other things this week to take our minds off of the weather.
On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon and evening at Disneyland. It's so nice to have an annual pass and not feel rushed to get through everything in one day. We also have rules regarding souvenirs; they aren't aloud to ask for any. It definitely makes for a more pleasant experience.
On Wednesday morning we met with a Muslim religious leader. He was great! He answered questions from the kids, gave them some information about his life and even ended with a joke. He was very sweet and we were so happy that he agreed to meet with us to talk to the kids.
On Wed afternoon Bug worked her first volunteer shift at the vet's office. She had to file a lot of paperwork. The best part of the day was the cat emergency. A cat came in who had been bit by a rattlesnake. So she was able to learn about the steps the vet took to determine what had bit the cat and how to treat it. She even got to look under the microscope to view the cats blood cells and learn how they were different from a healthy animal's.
Last night Bug and I also had a lengthy discussion about being a writer. It was great, she has so many ideas and doesn't know how to keep them all in order. We discussed why proper grammar and a varied vocabulary are important. We talked about ways to keep all of her ideas a bit more orderly. But we also had a great discussion about not letting other people's preconceived ideas on a subject inhibit her. I this helped her to understand that she could write wherever he imagination takes her. She was also feeling like people would think less of her because she wants to write books for young children. So we talked more about incorporating her art in to the books. I think she walked away from this feeling much more confidant about the whole process. This conversation also brought us back to the subject of her art. She was finally at a point to understand that you don't have to draw perfectly to be great at painting etc. She always had a hang up with this. She is an excellent colorist and was finally (after a year) ready to hear it. So now she is considering picking up painting again in the fall. (I was secretly very happy, she has had no self confidence in this area for a year because of one mean teacher.)
Lastly, just to show the contrast in my older two children, Frodo checked out Stephen Hawking's A Briefer History of Time from the library. He read the book at the park while is little brother hung upside down. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Believe it or not after just one week I have needed to alter the kids summer schedule. After this week ended the kids and I decided that I have given them too much math to do in one week. I scaled it back from 12 assignments to 6 assignments a week. They were feeling too much pressure to get it all done, they didn't feel like they were absorbing the material. I'm so glad they are at a point where they were able to articulate that to me.
Yesterday I met with a therapist that we'll be taking Monkey to see. She came highly recommended by many families who have used her for gifted testing. She also happens to specialize in children with anxieties. I really liked her a lot. At this point she is thinking that his anxiety his causing a bit of a road block for some of his learning. There is a lot more to it, but its hard to explain everything without going into great detail. I am happy that it feels like we're on the right path.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stay Positive!

Last night hubby and I went out to see a concert. We saw Ziggy Marley and 311's Unity show. It was so great! It was wonderful to get out with out any children. There were so many wonderful things about the show. First, Ziggy's children were all at the edge of the stage dancing and singing along while he played. I thought that was really sweet. All of his songs were positive and he even did a couple of Bob Marley songs. 311 was just simply amazing. The showman ship was great, the music was wonderful and they had a great message about staying positive. We had so much fun! I so wished I was younger and down in the pit moving with the crowd. Ah, I miss those days.... Of course, now I have a total celebrity crush on Nick Hexum. LOL

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Books, Cats and Computers

Our day started out with a trip to the vet for our cat Miss Haru. She's driving us all crazy because over the past two months she has developed a nasty little habit. We have tried everything recommended to us but nothing has relieved the problem. So today we took her into the vet to have some tests run. Miss Haru ended up staying for the day and Bug ended up with a nice weekly volunteer position at the office. We'll have our results tomorrow and hopefully it will not lead to treating my cat like a princess.

Next on our list was our weekly library visit. I think the library ladies see us coming and try to hide. We check out such a huge amount of stuff, all of which has to be checked out by the librarian, that I see them cringe a little. But today was special. For the first time Monkey checked out five books to read by himself. He's already read them all except one. This afternoon he started looking through our bookshelves for more books he could read. Finally all those dusty books are going to get their day in the sun again!

Frodo spent his day setting up a web server and playing around with Linux. He was in heaven. We also decided to enroll him in a programming class at the local community college in the fall. He has been able to master anything computer related we put in front of him pretty quickly. I found my self laughing inside when he found the programming errors in the Lego Mindstorms project book I got him a few months ago. Speaking of Lego, we decided to start a First Lego League team. He is giddy about it. Now I just have to do a few things to get it up and running. But it will be great!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Much to Contemplate

We just had our final teacher meeting of the year with our Charter school. It left several things for me to think about over the next few months and during the next school year. The kids are reaching a stage where I need to consider things which I haven't needed to consider before.
The first is the options available to us for Frodo for High School. It's kinda a big scary word for me. But it is only a year away and I would like to make smart choices that open doors rather than close them. He has no intention of attending a school whether it be private or public. There are other choices but we have narrowed it down to continuing with our Charter or filing as independent. I had assumed that I would file as independent when he reached HS age, but now I am reconsidering. I had a wonderful talk with my teacher today that made me feel more comfortable continuing our current situation. It really comes down to our teacher, we have had her for 3 years now and she knows us and our style of educating well. But this means that there are things to consider as I plan out his 8th grade year. A few of his 8th grade subjects will be able to count for HS if I just plan them correctly. They are things he was going to be taking already, I will just need to adjust them ever so slightly so they fit.
My next area of thinking has to do with Monkey. There is a lot to consider this summer with him. He is very intelligent, but a major wiggle worm and extremely anxious. His anxiety keeps him from sleeping most nights, and from participating in classes as well as making new friends. Also, in my opinion he is not just a typical boy that has a need to move around. He has such trouble focusing that it takes an hour to do one page of math that he knows. Most of the time he is noticing everything else in the world around him. When I do get him to focus, (it has to be really early) he makes huge leaps and really shows how much he understands. So now I am trying to decide how much more time I give him before I seek out help. But an option that I forgot about was presented to me today. I'm not quite ready to discuss the option, but it gives me some hope and it feels like it might be the right way to handle things.
So those are the things I am sure will keep me up tonight. As I tend to over analyze everything around me. :)