Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Homeschooling K

Well look at that. I am here again, homeschooling kindergarten for Kitty. She is doing well with a hybrid of time at home with me and T/W/Th at Grama School (was pre-k last year but this year Grama is tailoring some activities to Kitty's level.)

On the road again... (donkey humming from Shrek)

Living in the States full-time. One child homeschooling and one in public school. Still running an international non-profit from home. Still struggling with anxiety and depression, although much improved since 2016.


Will she learn to READ? (Some things have not changed)

Other than that, life is humming along.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


This blog started as a place to put homeschooling stuff, but it has lied fallow for more than a year because we no longer homeschool. We occasionally do other educational things I could write about, but I decided that I want to leave my kids out of it. As they age, I don't want their lives online, and I'm guessing that they probably don't either. So now it's going to be all about me. Just the way I like it. Ha!

I love to learn, and I am learning many things about myself and this exquisite life that I'm hoping to craft with my Father's help. So this blog has now become a place for me to explore myself, and other topics as they pop up.

Below are some categories that may (or may not) appear in future posts.

(things I've jotted on random slips of paper around me):

There is nothing I like better than a pen in my hand, or in my teeth as Victoria Osteen recommended on Sunday. It is very fun and funny, just like she said. Except for the eventual drool, which I can't handle.

(often known as Self-Improvement, but in my case,
my self is of no help so it's all Jesus' doing):

No debt. That is our motto for this year, to pay off our debt and change our lifestyle choices so that we continue debt-free into the future. As of the day I am writing this blog, we have $12,000 to go. But the Lord is working on my heart and showing me that I don't just get into debt with my money. I get into debt with my mouth. Like last night. I was resting after a busy day and Raccoon wanted me to work on his book with him for 30 minutes. I said no, but tomorrow I'll write all fifteen pages for you and have them ready by the time you come home from school so you can draw the pictures. Debt. Mortgaging my future for my comfort now. And it's pervasive in my life. I can't write any more because I have to go write 10 pages of my son's story. Except one good thing did come of it last night. He came up to me and said, "Just tell me what to do!" referring to what to draw for the paragraph I wrote, but it was still nice to hear those words from my independent son. Ha ha. (I did get up and do five pages because I knew I was getting in over my head!)

The moral of the story (for me) is stick to offer what I can do now. Today. What can I do now? Then my future is free.

Friday, November 4, 2016


We arrived back in Ecuador just in time to pick the tiny caterpillars off our granadilla (a cousin to passion fruit) and put them in the terrariums given to my son by my high school English teacher. It's one of my favorite projects, watching those tiny specks grow in three weeks to hairy, big-eyed monsters, then build their chrysalises and emerge as butterflies in another three weeks or so.

This year, I found a clump of 50 caterpillars, just hatched and swarming together. It took most of the leaves off my granadilla to feed them, so I'm not sure I did my plant any favors, but they finally made their chrysalises a few days ago (we say cocooned for lack of a better verb).

It's worth waiting 6 weeks for the moment the butterfly bursts out of it's paper thin shell and stretches its wings for the first time. They are very tame and readily climb on our fingers for the trip outside. Even when we let them go, they hang around the yard, flashes of orange that brighten our days.

Kitty doesn't remember doing this a year ago, so the wonder is brand new for her this year. Raccoon does remember, but he is very faithful and gentle about releasing them after their wings dry. He says next year we should sell the chrysalises so everyone can see a butterfly being born.

We are homeschooling again and Raccoon is in first grade. Kitty had two traumatic days at preschool and wants nothing to do with school, nor does she ever want to grow up and have to go to school, nor does she want to have any more birthdays. So for now, she's just watching. :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Public School

Yup, Raccoon is currently attending public school. He wanted to go and we're living right across the street, so it seemed like an ideal time for him to experience traditional school. They put him in K. He did two weeks before Christmas vacation and enjoyed it. In January, his teacher will focus on reading and I'm hoping for an aha! moment for Raccoon. Because if it doesn't happen in January, then February onward, it's all on me again.

Having Raccoon in school has been a good break for me. Mostly because I'm not worrying about how inadequate his education is or isn't with me, and for once, someone else is responsible for planning his educational day.

But the truth? I've missed my little guy. I don't want someone else getting 7 hours of his day.

More truth? Homeschooling and travelling is very hard. What seems simple, just pull out the books, is often anything but that. So I may just give us permission to do life differently when Celosia School is back in session. Field trips. Letters. Journals. Puppet shows. Bob books. Science kits.

After all, it's just Kindergarten (again). We're not even going to get to Parent Conferences in public school, those happen in March. All in all, if we stick to the plan, Raccoon will have spent 30 in public school over 2 months.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Staying Organized

I have played around with several different systems, but for now this is what works for us. I just take a ruler and eyeball 10 columns and 14 rows with a thin row at the top for the subject titles. I use the width of the ruler for columns (cutting the first in hald for Date and Bible). For the rows, I also do one ruler width first, then go back and half them.

My goal is to hit each subject each day, or at least frequently for things like music and art. I also keep track of how many days we do in a month, with the goal each school year being 180. If we don't do anything in that subject for the day, I fill the box with an X. That way, if I scan and a column, say art, has too many Xs, then I know that we need to do some art. If I do three or four social study lessons in one day, then I fill in 4 boxes, either ahead or behind as needed.

I like the size of the boxes because they let me keep track of what we did in a little more detail than just my checkmark system from kindergarten. I don't do the chart on the computer because I lose a lot of space that way. Doing it by hand let's me use the whole page.

Across the top it says:

Monday, November 2, 2015

Seed Picking

One of my favorite things to do is go on a nature walk with the kids all around our neighborhood to see what seeds or plants we can bring home to grow on our land. We only take things from vacant lots or the forest. We have more than 100 plants, mostly planted around the edges of our 1/2 acre.

Tonight's find was some tall purple flowers and cypress seeds. We saw a whole variety on the tree and I finally figured out why our "acorns" have never grown before. Those little things are the seeds, not the cone part. Aha!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Green Pen

Found on a facebook repost from my friend ARQ from Alejandro Hernandez Reyes:

With this picture was an article of a mom who taught her son by circling his best work with a green pen, instead of marking his mistakes in red.

I liked the idea and started doing it today with Raccoon. Instead of focusing on his failures, we circled his successes and the change in his attitude was amazing. He couldn't wait to write his next number to see if it would be his best one yet. And it gave me the chance to point out what makes a number great.

Thank-you, Anonymous Mom, good job!