Friday, May 30, 2014

School's Out!

Both school-age children were in part-time programs, which came to an end as of yesterday. Thus our school year is over, too. We celebrated with corn dogs and soda (mixed with juice) last night. Today the only thing I've required of them is basic grooming and a trip to the grocery store. I refuse to post their summer schoolwork schedule, light as it is, for them until Monday.

We're going to be learning about Brazil for the first two weeks of June, during which time I will hopefully be having a baby. Much as I'd like to go pig out at a Brazilian grill restaurant, I've learned from sad experience that overfilling my belly during the third trimester leads to great pain and regret. I'll just have to make myself some pao de queijo to make up for missing out on roasted pineapple and churrasco. My family generally isn't one for watching sports, but we'll try to catch some of the World Cup soccer championship in a couple of weeks, for it's being held in Brazil! And we hope to catch Rio 2 at the movie theater, if we can squeeze it in. Tico, taco, ya, ya, ya!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014


I am a fairly relaxed housekeeper. My kids have piles of stuff--er, treasures, including toys, hair things, school projects, folded paper crafts, books, etc.--on every non-mattress horizontal furniture surface in their bedrooms. But I insist on floors being picked up. It's a safety issue. It's dangerous to leave things where someone could step on them during a midnight trip to the toilet. Or where a pregnant, clumsy mom could trip and hurt her abdomen.

For over a year, there has been an old kitchen sink sitting in the middle of the garage floor. I wanted to get rid of it as soon as we took it out of the kitchen, but dh thought there might be a use for it and resisted tossing it. He has since consented to me getting rid of it, for I think it has become clear to him in the last year that we really don't have any use for an aged porcelain-covered sink. However, I didn't get his OK to trash it until I was too far along in my pregnancy to lift it into the back of the car myself. So it's still sitting in the middle of the garage. I've thought the whole time it's been there, "Someone is going to hurt themselves on that thing someday, and then won't my husband be sorry."

Tonight that someone was me. Whimper. While rushing to close the garage door to keep moths out of the house, I banged my shin hard against the edge of the old sink and broke my skin. I'll probably have a horrible looking bruise and end up with a scar. See? Clutter can be dangerous. I'm glad I got injured instead of one of my kids, but I'd rather no one had been hurt at all.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fast food

I took the kids out for fast food today, which I almost never do. I was lured by the cheap ice cream cones. They were SO whiny afterward. It will be a long time before I make that mistake again.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Summer 2014 Planning

In just twelve days, we finish our official school year. Three days after that, the library summer reading program begins. And within two weeks of that, I will be having a baby. Instead of studying one country each week as we did last summer, we are only going to study five countries, spending two weeks on each one. That should be doable with a new baby and also allow us to go more in-depth for each country.

Here are our "summer school" plans, ready for posting on the evening of May 29th:

Summer 2014 (Daily Learning – except for Sundays)

Reading – Whatever you WANT!! (Especially for prizes from the library J )
Math – two pages from Math 4 (need to finish before school starts)
Music – 5-10 minutes each on two musical subjects (can be singing, piano, music maker, trumpet, violin, or recorder but NOT theory worksheets)
Art, PE, history, etc. – any awesome or fun stuff, especially having to do with the countries we'll be studying 
Reading – Whatever you WANT!! (Especially for prizes from the library J )
Math – 1-2 pages from Math 2 (Try to finish before school starts)
Music – 5-10 minutes each on two musical subjects (can be singing, piano, music maker, bandurria, violin, or recorder but NOT theory worksheets)
Art, PE, history, etc. – any awesome or fun stuff, especially having to do with the countries we'll be studying
Reading – Reading  Lesson & being read to for library prizes J
Music – 5 minutes on a musical subject (can be singing, piano, music maker, violin, recorder, etc.)
Art, PE, history, etc. – any awesome or fun stuff, especially having to do with the countries we'll be studying
Reading –Being Read to for library prizes J

Just looking that over makes me really happy at the prospect of summer. The kids will have enough to keep them from too much boredom and mischief, but I won't be constantly supervising assignments!

This post has been included in the Carnival of Homeschooling, found online at

Carnival of Homeschooling

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sickness and Homeschooling

Happy Mother's Day yesterday!! I spent it all at home, drinking copious amounts of water and resting. Dd7 was sick all of last week, and now dd2, dd4, and I are all suffering from illness, too. These things seem to hit pregnant ladies particularly hard. What better weekend for a mother to be incapacitated, though? No one expected me to make food for them yesterday!

But dd9 has been fine and doing her full load of schoolwork. One unplanned but great pro of homeschooling is how easy it is to keep it up when stuck at home. Be it snow (which is still falling today from a big spring snowstorm that started yesterday), car problems (which really immobilize a family that only has one car), or illness which makes Mommy unable to even vacuum the house, homeschooling still can be done. Not only can it be done, but it should be done. The children get antsy and irritable if they don't have some time spent on concrete learning each school day. Even dd4 has gotten to the point where she requires some reading instruction or a mini violin lesson every school day, or she complains.

Obviously some subjects--most PE, field trips, etc.--will fall by the wayside for those actively suffering from illness. However, in a world where "sick days" are so often total losses as far as productive activity, it's nice to still feel like we're accomplishing something despite sniffles and aches.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Dd9's reading texts for the past few days have been on the theme of circuses. Circus bikes, circus clowns, clown makeup, and acrobats. So I showed her this video of several circus acrobats plunging 20+ feet to the ground; the accident--in which no one died--happened just Sunday, making it timely. She wasn't bursting with enthusiasm to be an acrobat before watching the video, but she's quite certain now that if she were to work for a circus, she would want to be an animal trainer. Mostly of smaller animals like parrots, but she'd like it if there were one or two tigers, too. I'm tempted to show her video of this tiger attack....

Never mind. I couldn't even watch it for more than a few seconds. There is no way I'll let her see that. Circuses are exciting because of the possibility of danger, but I don't like it when they're actually dangerous. I approach life with a safety-net-for-all-acts attitude.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

I find it ironic that a holiday celebrating the defeat of French invaders in Mexico now has pro-amnesty rhetoric attached to it in the USA.

Having been a consular officer in a place that used to be a US colony but where now intending illegal immigrants to the USA would have to cross the Pacific ocean--which is far larger than the Rio Grande--to get to US soil, I view the push for "open borders" (amnesty is just delayed realization of an open border) as biased and more than a little racist. It is pro-Mexican, in that it is primarily to the benefit of Mexicans. Yes, other Latin Americans cross the Rio Grande...if they're desperate and willing to pay exorbitant fees to traffickers (mostly Mexicans). There are even some Asians who indebt themselves to organized crime syndicates to make the trip over the southern US border. But what about the non-trafficked Asians and Europeans and all the Africans who just want to make a new life for themselves? No, sorry, finagle to get a visa somehow or you can't come. It's totally "unfair" and based on mere geography.

I'll resist the temptation to dwell on the deterioration of the rule of law that amnesty efforts promote. Suffice it to say that the main thing that keeps the USA from being as unpleasant a place to live as Mexico is the rule of law. After all, Mexico has natural resources galore, tourist sites aplenty, and a language common to many other countries; people tend to prefer Tuscon to Nogales because of criminal and civil issues, not because Americans are somehow inherently superior to Mexicans.