children

You just can’t keep a good girl down

Our youngest fell out of our treehouse Wednesday afternoon and fractured her wrist – she was in a lot of pain the first day, but seems to be doing so much better today.

We have an appointment with an ortho specialist to follow up in the morning (hm, it’s 2:20 am – does that mean it’s really today?) and see if she’s going to need a cast. I sincerely hope not, for her sake. She’s already complaining that this splint itches. I can’t imagine going four weeks in a cast with a 4-year old.

Here she is the evening it happened, tears are all gone and replaced with her thousand watt smile. Please disregard the ice-cream mustache…she has dad wrapped around her little pinky. Add an injury + baby of the family and that = ice cream.

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My Homeschool Rant for the Year 2008-2009

As a homeschooling parent, as well as a Christian, I am very careful to be respectful of other people’s choices for thier children’s education. I do not believe that homeschooling is for everyone, and though I have many friends IRL who homeschool their children, I have just as many whose children attend public or Christian schools. I would never in a million years, dream of telling them they are making a mistake having their child in a public school. I believe that the public schools need Christian teachers and students – the worst thing we ever did as Christians was to pull our kids out of public schools when we lost the right to pray in school. We are supposed to live in the world, without partaking of it. But that’s another rant altogether.

I am constantly amazed by the attitudes of certain public school educators in our area who believe that we homeschoolers are lazy and that we only allow our children to be homeschooled because we don’t want to teach them. Such is the case for one public school official from just across our city’s border who deems that the decline in their public school numbers is due to “the tragedy” that is called “homeschooling”.

His exact words were: “We are looking into the problems that we see. We know
that homeschooling is an issue, he said. We have about 120 kids that are
currently being homeschooled. I think personally that’s a tragedy. I think most
of those kids are not truly being taught.”

What he’s really saying is that it’s a tragedy that his school doesn’t have higher numbers so he can receive more money for his school district. He went on to say,

“While they do that, it gives them a way of avoiding mandatory requirements,” hesaid, referring to parents and students involved in homeschooling.

I take great exception to this kind of attitude. If you study the Stanford 9 test scores of homeschooled children versus public schooled children, you’ll find that the homeschoolers in the state of Arkansas (where this man’s school district is) ranked higher than kids in public schools in every area except for math.

Y’all. I often joke about being a “lazy homeschooler”…but that’s all it is. A joke. Anyone who homeschools knows that amount of time and money that a homeschooling parent puts into their kid’s education is an investment in their future – I want to see my investments grow and reap bountiful rewards for years to come. But I feel my highest calling as a mother is to instill godly principles and character in my children that will be passed down to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their children, and so on.

I know that there are families who homeschool who do not take the time with their kids necessary to ensure they are really learning the material. I don’t understand it, but I know they exist. I can think of a family right now whose daughter is a teenager and can barely read. While I think that’s extremely unfortunate, I submit this – who’s to say that she would have been any better off in a public school? I also know several teens who have graduated locally and can’t even spell or read. Which is worse? I don’t know.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I am not against public schooling. I think there are some incredible and talented, God-called teachers in our public schools. I think there are also some real louses – and as with anything in life, you get the bad with the good.

But I don’t want someone else forming my children’s opinions for them. Call it “brainwashing” if you like, but I want them to understand why we believe what we believe and I want it based on the Bible, not on some silly notion that the world began with a big bang and we all came from primordial soup. I believe that God created the earth in a literal six day span, that each day consisted of 24 hour periods, and that he rested on the seventh day. And I want my kids to believe that too.

But it’s not just because of my spiritual beliefs. I believe that the country’s future depends on our children today. In case you’ve not noticed, we’re not exactly leaving them with something great to work with. I don’t want to raise kids that are dependent on other “educated” people to explain current events to them, or tell them who to vote for. It is imperative that they decide for themselves after reading all the facts presented. I want them to be able to make good choices for their futures based on solid, godly principles. Have I said that before? Do you see a theme here?

I guess all I’m saying is that I think there are quite enough “educated fools” out there. I’d personally like to raise some without the latter part of the equation in their name.

/rant.

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***enter my Photoshop PS3 giveaway right here***








“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree” – Emily Bronte

Oh how I love the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn, where every leaf becomes a flower, issuing a gentle reminder to slow down from the hectic pace of summer and just enjoy being.

We spent a homeschool day at the Fair last month and I’m just now getting around to post about it. It was a free day and there were lots of activities especially for the kids. The weather was cool and crisp in the early morning, but as the afternoon wore on, we all shed our jackets and sweaters, because the temperatures climbed into the low 80’s.

This year’s theme was “Thank a Farmer”, since almost everything we eat and wear comes from a farm. The kids learned that corn is in practically everything they come into contact with and were especially interested in the fact that even the root beer they love so much has a derivative of corn in it (corn syrup).

The kids loved the cow-milking demonstration – even I learned something, and I grew up on a farm. Did you know it’s illegal for milk farmers to sell unpasteurized milk? I didn’t. We have the federal government to thank for that…standards and regulations and all. I suppose it’s a good thing, because there’s less chance for disease, but it’s so sad to me. I grew up drinking milk right out of the cow. Literally. We’d milk Bossy (yes, that was really her name and she lived up to it) and once we’d carried the pail to the house, the milk and cream would already be separating and mom would scoop a big cup out for me to drink before school. I loved it…sigh.

My favorite was Elsie the cow and Beauregard, as evidenced by the number of photos of the two of them that ended up on my camera. I was saddened to learn that Elsie’s entire life consists of laying around at fairs such as ours. She will never be bred or know the true joy of being a cow in an open field. She lives her life behind those four little metal gates. And Beauregard is not even her calf – as she has never been bred…he’s just some cute calf they threw in for oohs and aahs.

We watched a rodeo demonstration – bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing…it all made me remember my childhood and our farm in South Texas. We did that for fun – there was never a crowd, but we’d hop on the pigs and pretend we were riding bulls. That in and of itself was probably way more dangerous than riding on a bull, since pigs are fiercely mean and would have probably killed us if they’d have known any better. The kids loved the rodeo clown – he came into the audience and shook hands and high-fived the kids. And yes, he walked like a cowboy…as bowlegged as all “git-out”. That’s Texas-speak for “to an extreme degree”, just so ya know.

And now it’s nearing the end of October, the leaves are falling, the air is cool and crisp and we’ve already been on our first hayride of the year. Sigh. I love Fall. It’s my absolute favorite.

What’s your favorite season? Why?

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Hey Peeps, Check your Vitals before you take that Disco Nap.

My eldest daughter is what is known as a “tweener”, the delicate age that comes right before puberty where you’re too old to play with the little kids and not quite old enough to hang with the teenagers. It’s tough time, I’m sure.

Personally, I don’t remember having issues with those years because I was living on a farm in the middle of Texas and had the horses and cows as my friends – they didn’t care if I wore the most current of fashions or whether I had body odor or not. I’m just sayin’.

Since I am a person who is relationship-oriented, I tend to do a lot of research and reading on anything I think might help me to identify with what she’s going through and possibly give her some tips to help her “fit in” with the kids at our new church.

Of course, I am learning as I go too, because let’s face it – it’s been a lot of years since I was a pre-teen and I’m not exactly known for my stellar memory. Nor am I known for being a “cool” mom, in fact, I’ve been called the “meanest mom in the world” before, but that’s entirely subject to interpretation, as I’m sure you well know.

However, I have learned a few words which I’d like to share with you at this time, so that you too, may enjoy a full and enriching relationship with your tween/teenager (or at least be able to cipher what they’re saying):

Fashion:

tatted out: covered in tattoos

tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman’s lower back, designed for viewing between low-riding jeans and short t-shirts.

scooby doos: good shoes

Love:

cupcaking: public display of affection

boo: boyfriend or girlfriend

flirtationship: a prolonged flirtation with an acquaintance, not involving physical contact.

Friends:

brodown: boy’s night out

bromance: a close, but nonsexual relationship between 2 men.

n00b: a newcomer

Music:

crunk: a hip-hop genre

disco nap: a short nap before clubbing

mash-up:
to take elements of existing peices of music, usually of different genres, and combine them into a new song.

Actions:

check vitals: monitor one’s email, cellphone, voice mail, and other electronics

floss: to show off your wealth

jump the shark: to have peaked and now be on a downward slide

rock: to manifest greatness

Affirmations:

fo’ shizzle: certainly

obvi: obviously

totes: totally

Descriptions:

the bomb: an ultimate favorite

off the chain: the bomb

ridonkulous: beyond ridiculous

sick: extremely cool

tight: fantastic

wack: unjustifiable

Britishisms:

chav: derogatory term for a working-class youth.

nutter: a crazy person

snog: to kiss

T5: disorganization, like the infamous new Terminal Five @ Heathrow Airport

The End:

badonkadonk: an attractive derriere

So how many of these words did you already know? Were any of them new to you?


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The Countdown Begins

For most mom bloggers, having your kids in school means having a period of 6-8 hours to yourself a day — oh to have that luxury on some days. 🙂

Homeschooling is a choice my husband and I made five years ago when we went from a dual income down to one. I had been working full time since I was seventeen without any real break and for the first time, I was feeling stressed between caring for our 8 month old son (whom I was fortunate enough to be able to take to my office with me every day), keeping my eldest daughter from feeling left out because she wasn’t with us all day, meeting my husband’s physical and emotional needs, and trying to keep work and home balanced.

My hat is off to any woman who works outside of the home – it is a constant struggle to maintain balance between home and work, and much like having three full time jobs – your work, child-rearing, and housecleaner/maid. I truly admire women who can do it. I just couldn’t.

Of course, I say I “couldn’t”, but only because we were willing to make some other types of sacrifices in order for me to stay at home. No cell phones, no cable or satellite, no dinners out, no movies, nothing extra for the first year until we became acclimated to our “new lifestyle”. I know some people who would rather juggle all three jobs than sacrifice what I’ve found so easy to give up. And there’s nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.

In addition to that, Katie had been enrolled in a private Christian school and we simply could not continue to pay for it and still meet our other financial obligations with only one income. We had two options: send her to public school or homeschool her. I have nothing against public schools, honestly. I think there are some find schools out there. But above that, there are some truly incredible teachers.

However, the school district we live in is one of the worst in the state of Texas and it doesn’t matter how good the teachers are when you overcrowd the class rooms, there is only so much attention your child is going to get. If I know anything at all about Katie, it’s that she’s a kinesthetic learner. She has to have hands-on activitites to retain things. So I felt like homeschooling was really our only option.

Last week, I mentioned my concerns about homeschooling three this year. So many of you left sweet words of encouragment and I just want you to know how much I appreciate it. I tried to reply back to everyone, however some of you do not have your email address enabled in Blogger (please do that!!!) so I was unable to reply in person, hence the “public” thanks.

It struck me today that I have never taught Kindergarten or 1st Grade Abeka (we started in 2nd grade) and now I am positively hyperventilating every time I think about developing lesson plans (I am using used curriculum and there were no lesson plans included, only teacher’s keys) for Aj and Abby.

My question is for all you seasoned homeschoolers – what should I focus on first?

My son can already read (thanks to last year’s book we read “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons), but he has no idea about phonics or writing, because we didn’t cover that. My youngest daughter has no clue except for what she’s picked up from her brother, so I’d like for them to both learn together, even though she’s 2 years younger. I really think she’s smart enough that she’ll pick up a lot and whatever she doesn’t, we’ll just cover next year.

Do any of you have any resources you could point me to? Any ideas or thoughts for making it run more smoothly? If you don’t feel like leaving it in a comment, you can also email me at simplyamusingblog{at}gmail{dot}com.

And so the countdown begins…T-minus 7 days.

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It’s not that old time Rock and Roll, that’s for sure

If you are ever visiting my house, you might hear the following song sung no less than eleventy-forty (I stole that from Boomama and Lora Lynn) times by my six year old son, AJ: (click on the arrow to play)



He always ends it with “Autobots…Transform and Roll out!” just like in the original cartoon, because that’s all he knows.

Earlier, I was thinking as I looked over at my bed piled with three loads of unfolded laundry that I could use some bots of my own. I’d call them “Laundro-Bots” and then I could say, “Laundro-bots! Transform and Fold-out!” Sounds good to me.

I’ll add that to my to do list. Along with, you know…saving the world from the evil forces of the Decepticons. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

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