I will never complain about my feet hurting again…

As women, we do some rather insane things to achieve what could only be defines as modern standards of beauty. We wear shoes that do horrible things to our feet. We don bras that dig into our chests and push our breastesses into strange configurations. We slide on pantyhose to firm our stomachs and lift our behinds, makeup to hide our imperfections, and hair dye to diminish or complete rid us of our grays. And we have this strange habit of yanking other body hair out from the root, be it our eyebrows, underarms, legs, or pubic hair. (yes, I just said pubic hair – forgive me)

When I was a buyer for Nordstrom, I was much more likely to pay attention to fashion than I am now. I think part of it is because I interacted with other people on a daily basis and it was my job to actually look like I had it together. I have had my nails done weekly, my upper lip waxed monthly and even had a bikini wax once. (Although I never wore a bikini, you understand, it was for my wedding night and I regretted it too…more on that another time)

I worked long hours. On my feet. We used to joke about the fact that our shoe buyers purposely bought shoes that made us feel like Geisha (geishas? geisha’s?) at the end of the day. There was no such thing as comfort back in those days – it was all about fashion, especially if you were traveling to the markets in L.A., Vegas and N.Y.C. Oh, the pain I endured for the sake of fashion. My dogs were barking at the end of a long market day and I always looked forward to going back to my room and soaking them in my friend, Mr. Epsomsalt.

But I don’t think any amount of soaking would do a true-life Geisha any good. Now, before you go thinking that Geisha are all about prostitution, they’re not, I assure you. Women who become Geisha endured many years of training to master their complicated and vast variety of talents including dance, calligraphy, and conversation. And they also bound their feet for the sake of fashion. It might have looked good in those teensy tiny shoes, but I wonder if they ever considered the long-term effects?

If you are easily disturbed by graphic photographs, then I suggest you don’t look at the following photographs. I plan on using them in our World History curriculum this next year when we discuss different cultures, because I think it’s interesting. So are you ready?

What do YOU do in the name of fashion that is a real pain?


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Friday, May 23

That date can NOT come soon enough for this mama. It marks the END of this year’s homeschooling. I don’t know how other homeschooling moms feel, but I am SO ready for a break that I’m getting jittery with anticipation.

T-minus 9 days and counting. Lord, help me make it through the nine.


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Why I Homeschool…

A friend sent this news article to me via email. It is an older article, but the subject matter is still relevant. Please visit the link and then come back and share your thoughts in the comments section.

I am astounded that there are teachers who feel it is okay to discuss this type of thing in the classroom. On one hand, I have had a couple of public school teachers tell me “It’s not my responsibility to raise other people’s kids and instill morals and values”…which I happen to agree with. But on the other hand, I feel that some teachers are just pushing the boundaries too far by discussing issues with such young children. First and second graders?

This is the exact reason I am homeschooling…not because I don’t want my kids exposed to this type of thing, because they’ll be exposed eventually. You can’t shelter them from all the issues of the world, but I homeschool because I want to present it from a Biblical perspective.

And before some people go off on me about being “tolerant” and “forgiving” as a Christian, let me assure you that I am not attempting to judge homosexuals here, simply the adult nature of the course matter being studied. I stand in agreement with the Bible when it says that it is a sin, but so is lying, adultery, theft and murder.

What are your thoughts? Am I simply overreacting?

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Help, I’m in Homeschool H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks

Well, not really, but close. This past week has been very draining. And very telling about my skills as a homeschooling mom and teacher.

I’m afraid if we could hear the angels in Heaven while on any particular day school was in session this past week, we might have heard something to the effect of, “Woe! Woe! Woe unto them who are schooled by Karen!” Yes, it was that bad. I should be so much better than this, shouldn’t I? After all, I spent copious amounts of time putting together lesson plans, coordinating schedules, checking and rechecking curriculum…not to mention, this ain’t my first rodeo — I have been homeschooling Katie now for four solid years.

But no amount of preparation could have readied me for trying to teach my daughter how to write. Not just write, but write well. Move her from her childishly constructed sentences to actual prose. I have completely forgotten what it was like to be in 5th grade. My memories of school are a jumble…it seems I have placed such high expectations on my child that I have only set her up for what is certain to be failure if I continue down this same path. We have both spent too much time in tears of frustration this week, that I have realized I must change something…and quickly. So I’m going back to the drawing board – I spoke with several other homeschool moms who have already been through this with their own children and they had several ideas for me as to how to break down the writing into smaller chunks so she wouldn’t be overwhelmed. I won’t obsess about her spelling to start with — instead, I’ll just include those words she mispells in her weekly vocabulary lessons. I’m still not sure what to do about the grammar or sentence structure…

I use daily writing prompts where we learn about something and then she chooses one element and writes her thoughts about it. I have been so obsessed with her spelling and grammar and punctuation that I haven’t allowed her to just…write. I want her to LOVE writing as much as I do. In college, my professor once told me that I was a gifted writer – that my stories about my childhood were so good that I should compile them into a book. I have never had the desire to publish a book, plus I no longer think I have those writing skills. And right now, all I can think about is how to transfer some of those skills to my child, flesh of my flesh. Anyone out there have anything for me? Anyone?

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Can this be called a success?

Today was our first official day of homeschool…the lesson plans were finished in the wee hours of yesterday morning, the books laid out neatly, pencils sharpened, dry erase board loaded with the day’s plans for each child…but I only had one child who was even remotely excited about the first day…and that was Katie.

AJ fought me tooth and nail, the entire time. He started with whining and when that didn’t work, he moved from cajoling to pleading to an all-out fit-throwing. I did maintain my composure, although I wanted to just chunk it all and say we’ll start school when he’s in 6th grade. But…this is only Kindergarten…and I have to remember it was his first day…what was I expecting? For him to just sit down and actually adhere to some sort of structured morning? Was I out of my everlivin’ mind to think he would magically wake up and be a different kid just because school was starting? He’s my little Texas Tornado…a rough and gusty, swirly windstorm that sweeps through my house, strewing papers and toys and leaving a path of destruction where ever he goes. No, he’s not one for sitting still for long periods of time, nor has he ever been known to be a child who listens with rapt attention.

BUT…despite all of that, we made it through. AJ completed his day – and for that alone, I am thankful. He seemed to enjoy it once we got into it and he was surprised and I think just a tad disappointed at 11:30 when I told him he was finished and he could go play. (I skipped Art today, because really? I just don’t have it in me to be creative after expending all that energy being patient with him this morning.) He even told me afterwards that he was going to be a “good boy” for me tomorrow, because he loves me and “that’s what little boys are s’posed to do for their mamas”.

Katie spent her morning alternating between studying and watching the show between AJ and I. I think she was amazed that I didn’t yell at him (she is very aware of the signs of stress in my voice and knows when that stress moves to my face – ya just don’t mess with mom)…but she never said a word. She has a bigger workload this year than she had last year (moving from 4th to 5th grade will do that to you) and as I was writing assignments on the board this morning, I caught her widening her eyes and how long her list was. She actually has 5 subjects this year – Math, Language Arts (grammar, vocab, spelling), Writing, Science/Health, and History. I didn’t do Science with any regularity last year because I didn’t incorporate it into my daily lesson plans – so this year, I’ve decided to use some curriculum and write it in.

If you homeschool…you should check out this wonderful resource for keeping your records online – it’s completely free and has some really neat features. One I really like is the fact that you can check off and/or score each child’s daily assignments and the program keeps track of everything for you so you don’t have to. Of course, I suppose they all do that, this is just the first one I’ve ever used. If you know of something better, by all means, TELL ME, people. I have just found that I am not disciplined enough to write in a teacher’s gradebook every day. I find myself getting behind…well, you know how that goes. But when I sign on to this site, I update today’s progress before I can print out tomorrow’s lesson plans.

Now, I have to wash, dry, and fold 3 loads of laundry that I didn’t do this weekend because I was finishing lesson plans, because I get to leave the house tonight and be with adults! And I really want to wear something other than my pajama pants.

And lastly, the reason I homeschool is wonderfully illustrated in this cartoon. I may have to sacrifice some things now (like time for myself – I can’t imagine having five or six free hours a day!!!), but in the end, it’s worth it, because I think it’s the best fit for OUR family.

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This planning thing is harder than I thought…

I’m still in the midst of homeschool planning for 2007, which starts in FOUR. DAYS. PEOPLE. I should be well out of the planning stages, but since I’m what some people would call a tad bit of a procrastinator…well, you get the picture. Truth is, I’ve really just started in earnest mapping out the course details. I’ve got the curriculum, but no lesson plans, no guide, no PLAN. Ack. Excuse my twitch…it will disappear towards the end of May ’08.

What have I been doing, you ask? Well, other than a FUN! TRIP! to the Emergency room to discover I have a peptic ulcer (probably because of this whole lesson plan fiasco), not a whole heck of a lot. The medication I’ve been taking for the pain has left me a little woozy and unable to string two coherent thoughts together for the last week…which is why I haven’t posted anything “real” in that time. But I’m going to be fine, thank you very much. 🙂

I contemplated scanning my x-rays for you, but I don’t even know how to begin to read them. So, for your viewing pleasure….an illustration of an ulcer similar to mine:

H. pylori causes almost two-thirds of all ulcers. Many people have H. pylori infections. But not everyone who has an infection will develop a peptic ulcer – I’m just one of the lucky ones, I guess. (Funny how that “luck” never worked with those stinkin’ lotto tickets before I knew better than to buy them!)

I’m so into the whole lesson plan thing, I almost debated covering ulcers with the kids, then I snapped back to reality because, really? No one wants to know all the ins and outs of ulcer-sufferers. Except maybe the sufferers themselves. And all they really want to know is what to do to get rid of the p-a-i-n. I’m surprised that you’re still reading this…heck, even I’m bored.

So, there ya have it. My whole last week in a nutshell. I’m going to go back to my lesson plans now. Happy Thursday, y’all.

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