Wednesday, July 30, 2008

School Year

So, we're starting a new school year on Monday - kind of. The kids have been doing math, Spanish, some reading, and some Sonlight when they have been home. We've done abbreviated school since June. But I have done almost no planning for the "new school year". I am going try something a little new for this year. I'm going to plan (casually) a month at a time.

Sonlight is always our Core, but I am going to add unit studies and other things as they come up. I usually add a number of writing assignments to the Sonlight stuff, but I will pass on those when we are doing unit studies. I hope we can finish Core 6 sometime in September and get started on Core 7. My goal is for Ga'hoole Girl to start Core 100 next fall, when she's technically in high school (EEK!).

The first week of August will be spent studying the history of the Olympics and doing a quick review of world geography (and putting together our puzzle of the world). The next couple of weeks will be spent watching the Olympics and learning about the sports and about some of the countries that are represented. Ga'hoole Girl is opposed to the whole Olympic thing, so I'll have her spend much of her effort doing some fiction writing that uses what she learns about world geography (and I won't make her learn too much about the sports). The County Fair is the third week in August and, even though my kids aren't participating, I'm sure we'll go several times to see all their friends' work.

Ga'hoole Girl will finish up "Jump In", her writing curriculum in the fall. After that, we might try IEW (Institute for Excellence in Writing), but who knows. She will also continue Spelling Power and finish her Easy Grammar Plus. Once she's done with Easy Grammar Plus, the only grammar we'll do is to have her review mistakes in her writing and then do a good grammar review before her standardized testing in high school. Wild Man is now doing Explode the Code workbooks. He's also doing All About Spelling. With those and daily reading, I think his reading should improve even faster than it already is. (The last several days, he has started the reading in our Bible reading. He usually does about 4 verses before Mr. Math Tutor takes over.) I'll have Wild Man also start some basic writing - starting with just sentences - this year with the hope that he'll be able to write some reasonable paragraphs by the end of the year.

For science, both kids have basic science curricula that they'll continue using - Apologia for Ga'hoole Girl and Real Science 4 Kids (Physics) for Wild Man. In September, Wild Man will do a unit study on fishing that should take 4-6 weeks. In August or September, we'll start Ga'hoole Girl's Food Science course. This is a course that I'm creating in which we will use Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for the Food v.2 and I'm Just Here for More Food as her textbooks. I'll add in writing assignments and have her do lots of the activities and recipes in the books. Both kids will also watch "Good Eats", "How'd That Get on My Plate?", and "Food Detectives". I'm figuring that the full Food Science course will take an entire year for Ga'hoole Girl since the information is pretty intense. I also figure it will be a lot of fun and very tasty!

Both kids will continue with ALEKS math and Power-Glide Spanish. They'll both have piano lessons and dance classes as well. Ga'hoole Girl requested that I order a course from the Teaching Company called "Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning". This should be fun for everyone. I think Mr. Math Tutor and I are going to watch the lectures along with her.

I've also taken to recording in Homeschool Tracker Plus whatever the kids have been doing during the day. It turns out that they do lots of educational stuff that I don't even plan. For example, we're reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Ga'hoole Girl drew a wardrobe scene using 2 point perspective. I'd call that an art project. Recording this stuff helps remind me how much the kids learn without my insistence. That really helps me feel better.

It looks to be a fun and, hopefully, educational year!


Is checkers really that hard or should I just not play games before I've had my morning Coke Zero? Wild Man just beat me with minimal effort. So, now I'm in the losers bracket in our double elimination tournament set up by Ga'hoole Girl. Alas!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Game Week

While we are all decompressing from our summer activities and getting ready to start "school" next week, I decided it would be fun to have a Game Week - and the family has agreed. Today, Wild Man won at Sequence and Bocce Ball while I won at Set. Ga'hoole Girl is arranging Mancala and Chess tournaments for later in the week. I'm also hoping to get to play some Art Sudoku. Gonna be fun!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


So, it's baseball season. [FYI, the AL did have the audacity to win the All-Star Game yet again, but it at least took 15 innings to do so. Wild Man was allowed to stay downstairs to watch the end of the game, but he fell asleep in the top of the 15th and awoke just to hear the very end of the game. Mr. Math Tutor and I had already gone to bed.] Wild Man is playing for the blue team in town this year. He's in the Middle League - non-travelling - which means that his team plays once a week in the evening. If he plays on a travelling team next year, then he'll also play during the day (out of town) and have extra practices. Those teams are more competetive and require more commitment. Wild Man was barely old enough for the Middle League this year, so we chose not to have him try out for the travelling league.

Anyway, the point of this post is that my Wild Man is left-handed, which has earned him the nickname, "Leftie". In his league, everyone learns to pitch, so he gets to pitch a couple of innings every few games. The coach yells out at him, calling him "Leftie". From a mother's perspective, it's adorable (although I'm sure Wild Man would have other adjectives).

One of the great things about baseball this year is that Wild Man's (aka Leftie's) coach is a coach from the high school and he really knows his baseball. He is also incredibly positive with these boys. That is so critical right now since this isn't a really competetive league (like the travelling leagues). The coach is always giving them positive feedback while telling them how they can improve what they're doing. He never calls anyone a negative name. When he's telling them how to improve, he's also telling them how great it is that they work hard, etc. Yep, I'm happy with his baseball experience this year.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More than a Headache

Migraine disease is thought of as headaches. And, indeed, the primary symptom is headaches. A lot of people, though, don't realize all the symptoms that go along with the headaches. In fact, I have learned a ton about migraines since I've had to deal with them, which concerns me because I was a pretty well-informed doctor. I'm afraid that lots of other doctors out there don't really understand what living with migraines is like. So, what else happens besides the headaches?

1. Mood changes - I hadn't really noticed the mood changes that go with migraines until I heard a migraine specialist speak at our hospital. Now I can see how my mood changes before and during the migraine attack. Up to 6 hours before the migraine hits, I often get very irritable. I don't like for people to talk to me and very little things will get me quite upset. I start thinking about treating the migraine when I notice these changes. Sometimes, before the migraine, and sometimes during the migraine, I will also get very depressed. I take an antidepressant which normally keeps my mood pretty stable, but before and during a migraine, I will sometimes get extremely sad for no apparent reason.

2. Muscle pain - Migraine is thought of as headache, but a full-blown migraine is often (in my case) associated with diffuse muscle pain. I have some mild-moderate fibromyalgia anyway (which is a disorder of muscle pain), but the pain that comes with the migraine is much more severe. I don't like to be touched, especially on my head or neck, when the migraine is at it's worst. This is something that I have never seen in standard medical descriptions of migraine.

3. Nausea and vomiting - These symptoms usually occur with just about any kind of severe headache. I have noticed, though, that I will get nauseous sometimes even before the headache gets very severe. I treat my nausea very aggressively because it is the hardest symptom to break and because vomiting makes the headache so much worse.

4. Hot flashes - This is another symptom that I haven't seen listed anywhere else. I'm pretty sure my hot flashes when I have a migraine are from the migraine itself and not from the medications. After the migraine is over, I desperately need to shower because I've sweated so much. But, the sweats are followed by chills, so I'll huddle under the covers until the next hot flash comes.

5. Post-migraine fatigue - I know other people have this problem as well. My migraines usually last 6-12 hours these days (although they did used to last 24 or more). The day after the migraine, I am exhausted and have a hard time doing much besides reading or knitting. Because I have 2-3 migraines per week, I end up with several days of migraine plus the useless day afterward. This frustrates the part of me that wants to be productive and get stuff done, but I think it's just my body saying that it needs some time to regroup.

In writing this, I want to emphasize that everyone's migraine experience is different. I have written about my experience, but some people have different sets of symptoms. Some have more, some have fewer. In any case, migraine is a very poorly understood illness without a good treatment. One of the main things I've learned about managing it, though, is to understand how my symptoms work. I can plan for post-migraine fatigue now that I know the pattern. I now know to treat the nausea aggressively. This is all part of the chronic illness lifestyle.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rich Mullins - My One Thing

I can't find this song on YouTube so I'll just have the lyrics today.

Everybody I know says they need just one thing

And what they really mean is that they need just one thing more

And everybody seems to think they've got it coming

Well I know that I don't deserve You

Still I want to love and serve You more and more

You're my one thing

Save me from those things that might distract me

Please take them away and purify my heart

I don't want to lose the eternal for the things that are passing

'Cause what will I have when the world is gone

If it isn't for the love that goes on and on with My one thing

You're my one thing

And the pure in heart shall see God

You're my one thing

You're my one thing

And the pure in heart shall see God

Who have I in Heaven but You Jesus?

And what better could I hope to find down here on earth?

I could cross the most distant reaches

Of this world, but I'd just be wasting my time '

Cause I'm certain already, I'm sure I'd find

You're my one thing (one thing)

You're my one thing (one thing)

And the pure in heart shall see God

You're my one thing (one thing)

You're my one thing (one thing)

And the pure in heart shall see God

Every night and every day

You hold on tight

Or you drift away

And you're left to live

With the choices you make

Oh Lord please give me the strength

To watch and work and love and sing and pray

'Cause who have I in Heaven but You Jesus?

And what better could I hope to find down here on earth?

Well I could cross the most distant reaches

Of this world, but I'd just be wasting my time

'Cause I'm certain already I'm sure I'd find

You're my one thing (one thing)

You're my one thing (one thing)

And the pure in heart shall see God

You're my one thing (one thing)

You're my one thing (one thing)

And the pure in heart shall see God

You're my one thing One thing

You're my one thing

The pure in heart, the pure in heart

One thing

And I know that the pure

That the pure in heart (that the pure in heart shall see God)

And I know that the pure in heart shall see God

And I know that the pure That the pure in heart (that the pure in heart shall see God)

And I know that the pure in heart shall see God

And I know that the pure

That the pure in heart (that the pure in heart shall see God)

And I know that the pure in heart shall see God

That the pure in heart (that the pure in heart shall see God) And I know that the pure in heart shall see God
Matthew 5:8, Psalm 73:23-28

This song is an admonition for us to pursue simplicity. When everything around us is saying that we need just "one thing more", we must remember that the ONLY thing we ever need is Jesus. Every activity, every thought, everything in my life must point to Jesus. Richard Foster is one of my favorite authors and he has written an entire book called the Freedom of Simplicity. He, very correctly, makes the point that there is tremendous freedom in doing only what Jesus calls us to do. I have been thinking much about simplicity in the last few years. With my illness, I don't have the time to do everything like I used to be able to do. I can't be the perfect wife, mother, and doctor. In fact, I can't even do housework, make dinner, and teach the kids all in one day. But, Rich's music reminds me that I need to concentrate on "one thing" - Jesus. And it all falls into place after that.

My Girl

Ga'hoole Girl has never been much of a tomboy, but she hasn't been a "girly-girl" either. She has just been herself. It's really fun to watch her grow up, though. This week, she got her hair cut again and went out and bought herself a curling iron with multiple attachments (she really wanted the flat iron portion). She's also been doing more to clear up her skin. What a feminine girl.

Then, she goes off to GirlTech and guess what her favorite part so far has been? Welding! Yep, she loved welding. She isn't real interested in it as a career, but she does think she'd like to take a welding class at the Tech in high school as an elective. Welding is traditionally a very masculine activity, but the instructors at GirlTech say that women are often better than men at welding - something to do with patience.

What can I say about my daughter? She is truly her own person!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Curriculum Reviews - Math

We have used three different math programs so far with our kids. Singapore was our absolute favorite for a long time, but we're now using ALEKS. Let me tell you a little about each so you can decide if they might meet your needs.

1. Miquon Math. We started Ga'hoole Girl with Miquon Math when she was 4 or 5 years old. Miquon is a program that is intended for classroom use in which children discover math concepts on their own. Frankly, the whole "discovery" thing just didn't work for Ga'hoole Girl. She got very frustrated when she hit an obstacle in her thinking and she wasn't in a group to work through the problem. She might have done well with this in a classroom, but she got very frustrated on her own. The final straw came when they introduced negative numbers. They had her do subtraction until she got to 5-6 (or something like that). Ga'hoole Girl just started crying. She couldn't handle it. So, Miquon got shelved.

2. Singapore Math. You will probably hear all kinds of great things about Singapore Math because their students test so much better than US students in math. There are lots of things that go in to test results, but I will say that this curriculum is quite good. Ga'hoole Girl used it up through level 6 (about Grade 7 in the US) and Wild Man used it through level 3 (about grade 4).

The Good: Singapore Math is very strong in mental math. They want the kids to understand how to use numbers in their heads and on paper. They don't teach shortcuts until the concept behind the shortcut is well-developed. There is plenty of review, but not so much that it is overwhelming (and you can purchase extra books for kids who need more review). They are also very strong on word problems. And, not just word problems for the sake of word problems. The curriculum is big on being able to use math, so the word problems are to help kids really understand how to use math. The books are also quite inexpensive.

The Not-so-good: Singapore uses a different order of introducing concepts, so kids may have a hard time transitioning to public school math. I had to put both kids in lower levels of ALEKS than I expected because of this. The original books all use metrics and Singapore money, but there are now US versions that use American money and metric and English measurements - so check what you are ordering. The elementary books don't have answers, so you might want to get Sonlight's parent guides for the upper levels (after about level 4) to help grade the work and understand the problems yourself.

Why did we switch? Ga'hoole Girl was in Singapore level 6 and was getting to where she needed more explanation than she had previously. The textbook explanations are really pretty good, but Ga'hoole Girl was impatient. They also had her doing things in ways that I hadn't learned, so for me to explain them required that I go back to the text and relearn it. I was also having trouble keeping up with getting everything corrected, so the kids might misunderstand a concept and not get feedback for a week. I felt like we needed something with more immediate feedback and explanations that didn't always require my input.

3. ALEKS Math. ALEKS is an online subscription math program that can be used as a stand-alone math curriculum or to help kids struggling in school. It can also be used to help tutors (as Mr. Math Tutor is learning). Basically, you choose a level for your child and they take a pretest to see what they know. They get a pie chart with each pie slice representing a set of math concepts that they need to master (number theory, geometry, etc.). Each time they log on, they can choose which pie piece they want to work on (although there are times that they can't go any further on one section of pie until they finish a concept in another part of the pie). For each concept, they are given a problem. If they can do the problem, they are given several more until they show that they understand it and that section of the pie is filled in (actually, they get the same concept a few more times in review before the program considers that they have completely mastered it). If they can't do the problem, they click for the program to explain it. The program then explains how to do the problem step by step. Then, they are given another problem to try. If they miss the problem, ALEKS explains it. There is also a QuickTables feature that helps kids learn their math facts.

The Good: My kids love doing ALEKS. Wild Man's math (level 3) has a little dog called Aleks who does the explanations. Wild Man is a little past the character thing, but I can see how this could be helpful for younger kids. Both my kids love seeing how their pie is filling up. The explanations are very understandable and the kids rarely require much help from me. I love that they get immediate feedback. They are both moving very quickly through the program. ALEKS sends me reminders to check their progress monthly. It's very easy for me to check how they're doing and make any changes to the program. I can request retesting or move them to a different level as needed.

The Not-so-good: This is a subscription program, so if your kids don't use it real frequently, you may pay more than if you used something like Teaching Textbooks. Wild Man still needs me to read to him sometimes, but that's not unexpected. So far, I haven't seen lots of downsides.

4. Key To . . . This is a set of workbooks designed for middle/high school age kids that cover a particular concept. We used Key to Fractions with Ga'hoole Girl. She loved the four workbooks and learned fractions inside and out. Since then, she has done lots of review with Singapore and ALEKS and really knows her fractions. We haven't used any of the other books because she seems to be learning well with ALEKS. But, if Ga'hoole Girl were to need extra work on a concept, I wouldn't hesitate to use this series.

This has been our math journey so far. I'm really liking how easy ALEKS is for me and how much the kids like it. They are also learning quite a bit. Hope this helps you in your homeschooling journey.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kid update - July 20

Wild Man has been taking swimming lessons for the last week and has two weeks left to go. He was going to repeat Level 2 again since he wasn't real comfortable in the deeper water at the end of last year's lessons. This year, though, they moved him to Level 3 on the second day. A few days ago, he tested for the lifeguard to be able to swim on his own in the deep water and go off the diving board. Now, his entire swimming experience is jumping off the diving board and swimming back to the side. He loves the jumping!!

Ga'hoole Girl took summer dance this last week. She had jazz for 45 minutes, a 45 minute break (because she didn't want to do ballet), and then tap for 45 minutes. The turnout wasn't great this year, but it ended up being good for Ga'hoole Girl. Her jazz class was just her and a 17 year old boy. By the end of the week, they were learning to do lifts together. She was also the youngest in her tap class - but definitely one of the better tappers. She had a blast in her classes, but has been exhausted all week. The whole family went last night for their open house and enjoyed watching the classes and watching the kids learning new combinations. Next semester, Ga'hoole Girl is ready to move up to the teenage tap class - EEK!

So, this week is more swim lessons for Wild Man. He and I are also going to get serious again about reading and spelling. Ga'hoole Girl will be going to GirlTech, a morning day camp at Fox Valley Tech where she will get to do everything from learning basic welding, to computer animation, to lean production design. The camp is designed to help middle school girls experience technical career-type activities. Besides that, I imagine both kids will want to spend some serious time at the pool.

In August, we start our study of the Olympics - ancient and modern. We are going to add in some geography study by studying the countries that the athletes are from. I'm ordering our DVR tomorrow and hoping we get it in time for the Olympics. We will also continue our Sonlight work, Wild Man's physics book and electricity experiments, and start Ga'hoole Girl's Food Science course. Of course, the third week of August is the Fair, so we'll have to take a few hours each day to go see the exhibits and ride some rides! It looks to be a fun rest of the summer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Course for Next Year

Ga'hoole Girl and Wild Man are very interested in cooking these days. Some of their favorite TV shows are on the Food Network. So, I decided that it would be good for them to learn some Food Science. Actually, Food Network has a new show starting soon called Food Detectives that will be a large part of Wild Man's education. Ga'hoole Girl, though, is older and ready for more "meaty" stuff, so she will be using Alton Brown's two books, I'm Just Here for the Food V2.0 and I'm Just Here for More Food, as her textbooks. These books are chock full of the "whys" of cooking interspersed with some recipes. I am really looking forward to using them with her. My plan is to have her read some each week, then do a writing assignment, then a practical (recipe or experiment) each week. I'm hoping that she will be able to use what she learns here to understand more of why she has to learn basic sciences in high school. In any case, the books look just wonderful and will help us all with our kitchen skills. So, that's what's up for 2008/2009 Food Science class in the Martin School of Joy.

My 41st Birthday Celebration

As previously mentioned, my birthday celebration this year was postponed until July 18 - yesterday. We went out for pizza at my favorite pizza place and then waited for the mail to come with my present. Actually, one of my presents came in the mail - Alton Brown's book "Gear for Your Kitchen" . Mr. Math Tutor is going to take me shopping so that I can get more appropriate kitchenware and my parents sent money that will help with that venture. The kids gave me and Mr. Math Tutor's coupons for a movie, snack, and drink this afternoon here at our local theater. We are going to see Wall-E, which I wanted to see, but also is the only movie showing here in town. Then, tonight we go to Ga'hoole Girl's dance open house. She has been taking a dance intensive this week and tonight we get to go see what she has learned, which apparently has been quite a bit. She comes home every night totally sore. Overall, it's been a quite successful birthday.

P.S. I'm now on Facebook if anyone is interested. I'm going with Mr. Math Tutor to the Sunday night teenager group that he leads, and lots of those kids are on Facebook, so it made some kind of sense at the time. Actually, I've found lots of friends from college on there, so it has been pretty interesting.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's a migraine night . . .

So, I've been sitting here watching an old Rich Mullings concert on YouTube. I think the medsa have finally worked enough for me to go to sleep. Tomorrow's going to be a long day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creed - The video

Rich Mullins - Creed

I'm starting a new feature here at "Adventures in Domesticity". Every once in a while (which means I don't want to tie myself to a schedule), I'll write my thoughts about a Rich Mullins song. As a reminder (because I'm sure everyone knows who Rich Mullins is), Rich Mullins was an amazing singer/songwriter in the 80s and 90s. He was killed tragically in an auto accident in 1997. Not only was he known for his music, but he lived and ministered on a Native American reservation. He was very inspired by Saint Francis of Assissi and lived a very simple life. He was an amazing man and his music has had a profound effect on me, so I thought I'd share some of it with you.

I believe in God the Father

Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth

And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit Born of the virgin Mary

Suffered under Pontius Pilate He was crucified and dead and buried

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am

I did not make it, no it is making me

It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe that He who suffered was crucified, buried, and dead

He descended into hell and on the third day, rose again

He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand

I believe that He's returning To judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am

I did not make it, no it is making me

It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man

I believe it, I believe it I believe it I believe it, I believe it

I believe in God the Father Almighty Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth

And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord

I believe in the Holy Spirit One Holy Church The communion of Saints The forgiveness of sin

I believe in the resurrection I believe in a life that never ends

And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am

I did not make it, no it is making me I did not make it, no it is making me I said I did not make it, no it is making me

It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man I believe it, I believe I believe it, I believe I believe it, I believe it I believe it, I believe it I believe it, I believe it I believe it

This is one of my absolute favorite Rich Mullins songs because it just lays out the basics. The Nicene Creed was written in 325AD at the Council of Nicaea. It was largely developed in order to combat the Arian heresy which stated that Jesus was a created being. The basic tenets had been in place prior to that, but the Council codified it into Church belief. The vast majority of Christian denominations subscribe to the Nicene creed.

One of my favorite lines in this song is "I did not make it, no it is making me. . . . It is the very truth of God, not the invention of any man". My faith is not something that comes from inside me. I didn't make it up. No, my faith is from God who is eternal. Not only that, my faith is "making me". I am constantly being influenced by it. I am (hoping) to become daily more and more like Jesus.

Movies and Education

This isn't movie review time. Actually, I'd like to write about some things I've seen recently in movies that have made me think about education and our approach to it. So, here goes:

1. "Kung Fu Panda" If you haven't seen this yet, go see it!! It is really funny and well worth your time. And, it's not enough of a kid movie to require that an adult take an obligatory child with them. You can just go as an adult. Very few people will laugh - promise.

So, how does this silly, animated movie relate to education? The Kung Fu master in the movie is trying to decide how he is going to train this panda to be a Kung Fu practitioner. In the early training, the panda can't do a split or any of the other things he's supposed to do. But, the master comes into the kitchen one day to find that the panda has managed to get himself into a split about ten feet off the ground, all to reach some almond cookies. So, the master uses this information to devise a training program. All of the training exercises use food as an incentive. Watch the movie to see how effective it is!

What we, as home educators, can learn from this is that each person needs a different approach to education. My daughter is getting older and needs more freedom to choose what she wants to learn and how she wants to learn it. Wild Man needs more structure from me for his "education", but lots and lots of playtime (which is educational in itself).

2. "Nim's Island" Another excellent movie that you don't have to have a kid with you to see. Nim is a 10 year old girl who has been "island schooled" by her dad. They live alone on an island while he does research. She has contact with the outside world through books and the internet.

What is so striking about this character is that she is a pretty normal kid. Homeschoolers are so often told that our kids must be in a classroom with their age-mates for 8 hours a day in order to be functional, but Nim's Island is telling us just the opposite. In fact, Nim is quite self-sufficient, something many other kids would have a hard time with. The main point, though, is that she's not a complete social misfit. She can talk to people and is a normal kid.

3. "The Order of the Phoenix" There is a wealth of information about education within the Harry Potter series (particularly the books), but one thing stands out from this movie. Fred and George Weasley decide to quit school, largely because of Professor Umbridge, but also because they want to open a joke shop and don't think more school will help prepare them.

The lesson to be learned here is that there is a limit to the usefulness of formal education. The Weasley boys didn't quit learning just because they left school. In fact, they probably had a lot more learning to do, given the complications of starting a business. The point is that they took what they needed from formal education then moved on and continued learning in their own way.

As my kids get older, I'm realizing that there are more options for them than the traditional 4-year college with bachelor degree. In fact, that route may not be the best option for lots of people. We will always need people in the trades (we started having water coming through our breaker box yesterday - I promise you we need electricians in this world!). If Ga'hoole Girl chooses a food career, she can choose tech school and become a cook/chef or she can go to a college for a more broad education. Some people do well with getting a tech school degree and working for a while before they decide if they need more education. Then, there are some people who need education that you don't get in a formal setting. Setting up a retail business can be done without having a degree, although it will require lots of work and learning. My goal right now is to give my kids a broad education and the tools they need to continue to learning for the rest of their lives so they'll be successful, whatever their career.

(P.S. This last bit was partly (but not completely) inspired by this article. Read it - it's good stuff!)


I'm tired, tired, tired. I'm not really talking so much about the post-camp, post-vacation tiredness that happens. Actually, I'm tired from having a migraine last night and working on another one tonight (check the weather maps and you'll see why). I'm also tired from a two hour therapy session with my counselor. It seems that processing all the emotions that I have been carrying around can be downright exhausting. Bummer. I've already had a nap, so I think I'll do some blog reading and writing. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mommy-Son Time

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year - the All-Star Game! And my son has the audacity to root for the American League. I've considered disowning him, but he's really too cute. I'm a National League girl, myself. One of my history profs in college used to say, "God loves the National League." I have not idea why, but I must agree. Besides, my one claim to fame in this world is that, in 1985, I was part of a choir of 150 kids from West Palm Beach, FL who sang the National Anthem in Shea Stadium in Queens. How could I support the American League (and those awful Yankees!) after that? I ask you.

So, tonight is sitting on the sofa, snuggling with my son, and rooting for the opposite teams. The NL has almost no shot at winning, so I guess Wild Man will have a good night.

P.S. Tim McCarver is looking his age these days. It just seems like yesterday that I used to watch Mets games on WGN when he was doing the commentating. Of course, it was actually, the mid to late 1980's. I guess he's entitled to look a little older. I might actually look a smidge older, too.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Important Announcement!

Tomorrow (July 14) is the day traditionally celebrated as my birthday (and you thought it was just Bastille Day), but the actual 2008 celebration of Catherine's 41st birthday will be on Friday, July 18. Why the switch? We just got home from Family Camp, so no one here has had any time to prepare - and I expect some celebrating to be going on!!

P.S. More later. Migraine today. Still lots of great camp stuff to pass on as well as my recent thoughts on education and movies.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Family Camp Withdrawal

One of the greatest things about Family Camp is that I don't have to cook or clean the kitchen. Not only that, but the food is just amazing. So, this morning, as I was eating my leftover cornbread and chocolate milk, I was seriously reminiscing about the wonderful breakfasts of the last week: chocolate chip pancakes cooked outside, belgian waffles, homemade cinnamon rolls. It's just not the same here at home. I can't wait till next year.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mother of the Century!!!!

My next batch of posts are going to be mostly about our week at camp. First of all, though, I need to say that I am definitely in the running to be Mother of the Century! Why? you ask. Easy. I went fishing with my son and put all the worms on his (and my) hooks and unhooked all the fish. We caught (between the two of us) three large-mouth bass, one green sunfish, and 9 really small bluegill. And it was fun. Even with slimy worms.

P.S. And, being a homeschool mom, I had to show my son all the parts of the worms and the fish. We can't waste a good hour on the lake without some serious biology education to show for it.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Sorry for the dearth of posts, but we have been getting ready for our annual week at family camp. Add to that the not-so-short trip to pick up Wild Man, and we've been downright busy. Today is Independence Day and we are staying at a hotel in the Northwoods since we picked up Ga'hoole Girl this morning from the camp where we will spend the rest of the week. But, we couldn't stay at camp tonight because they need today and tomorrow morning to clean up for Family Camp. Tomorrow, we will find a laundromat to wash Ga'hoole Girl's clothes and then head up the 30 minutes north from here to camp to spend the week. I am soooooo looking forward to someone else doing the cooking and entertaining the kids. The speaker this year is Dan Hayden from Sola Scriptura ministries, so I hope to learn a lot as well. In any case, this is my last access to a computer for a week. Please pray that the withdrawal symptoms don't get too bad!!