Friday, May 16, 2008

What Do You Do With A Clear Dinning Room Table?

Well, lay on it of course! (or is it lie on it?-I guess my English grammar still needs brushing up-)

Eventful Week

This has been one of those weeks. It started with a bang. Monday was a day lived at a high speed with activities since 7:30 until about 9:00. That is not counting the it was Mark's birthday. Poor thing he didn't even get a cake this year. His made-from-scratch-with-his-mom-special recipe German Chocolate Cake would have to wait until next year.

Then ... came the flood. Really there was a flood in our town. All of the sudden Tuesday night the gates of heaven opened and water just poured down, 6 to 8 inches in two hours, lots of high winds, cars stranded, cars flooded, people stuck. Thank the Lord we were all nearby. Our house didn't flood, just some minor leaks in a window and three inches of water in the garage. BUT our phone line hasn't worked since then. AND getting a real person to talk to in the phone company is as difficult as finding some dry land under our house. And, since this is isn't enough, our cellphones have been acting out, making it difficult to communicate with the phone company. The stupid thing just keep dropping calls. It has been extremely frustrating.

Then last night another big bang, literally : the garbage disposal made a huge noise and it just quit. Just like that. Now cleaning dishes is just so much fun! Since this is still not enough, get this, my car was in the shop for two days and I just found out that our tub is not draining well.

So I think I am just going to find a good book, climb into be and maybe, just maybe, when I poke out my head again, all would be magically fixed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Simple Woman Daybook

Outside My Window~ the sun is peaking through the clouds trying to come out.

I am thinking~ about different ways of knowing. How do I know God? How does He know me?

I am thankful~ that yesterday busy day went without a glitch.

From the Kitchen~ peanut butter banana cupcakes came out of the oven this morning in an effort to feed the kids a good breakfast before heading out for standardized testing.

I am creating ~a blog that will help me express all the thoughts buzzing around in my head.

I going to~sit down and read aloud to my kids and reconnect after a busy morning.

I am wearing ~ a green top from Dress Barn and khaki pants.

I am reading ~Hold On to your Kids (the name of the author escapes me- great book though)

I am hoping~ that the addition to our house would materialize this time.

I am hearing~ HGTV in the background.

Around the House
~ some things brought from Sam's need to be put away, several hot-spots need to be cleared.

One of my favorite things
is the smell of bread baking in the oven.

A few plans for the rest of the week~return to our school routine after testing, go on a field trip to a dairy farm, concentrate in getting the house back in order after a busy week.

More entries at Simple Woman

Monday, May 12, 2008

Unusual Mother's Day

How can you tell your boys (from the biggest to the littlest) that they can't go to see the annual Air Show? It doesn't matter if it is mother's day, the Air Show only comes once a year and the Blue Angels only come every other year. What is a mother to do? Thank the Lord that she has a daughter that does not like Air Shows, and quickly start planning a mother-daughter day. Being the good mother I am, I took my daughter to Blockbusters and rented some movies.

It made for an unusual but fun Mother's Day. We all went to Mass in the morning (this gives you the measure of the interest on the air show: we went to the 8:00 mass with no problems). After a good pancake breakfast the boys headed to the show. Gabi and I settled to our first movie, Meet the Parents (Note to self: remember that what is funny when your kids are not around might not be as funny when they are with you). When we got hungry we went to the drive through of a local Greek restaurant, brought the food home and enjoyed our second movie, Step Up.

Step Up is Gabi's favorite movie. I was glad she suggested this movie. The movie is fun to watch. There are some parts I would've liked to discuss with her but, not wanting to turn this fun day into a "teachable moment", I let it pass. Maybe some other day I would talk to her about it.

After a break to make some blueberry pie and start some rice for supper, we watched Dan in Real Life. I had watched that in the theater and really liked it. This time around, and maybe because I was with my child, I was more critical about it. I still enjoyed it. It was a fun movie.

When the boys came we had our Mother's Day dinner, which also doubles as Mark's birthday dinner. His birthday is today and this is going to be such a hectic week that I decided to just cook a nice dinner and just celebrate. Who cares if I had to prepare dinner on Mother's Day? what is important is that we had lots to celebrate and that, after a fun day for all, we gathered around the table to do it together.

This is a picture of Alex's creation, a beautiful centerpiece for our table.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What Have We Been Up To?

Lately we have been so busy. It seems that we are constantly on the go. Lots of things to interrupt that Unschooling Experiment. I have been distracted with a zillion things: garage sale, physical therapy for my neck, runs to and from ballet and choir, planning a vacation, upcoming testing, upcoming field trip... I don't remember ever having such a busy month of May.

It is difficult to continue school in the midst of such much distraction. I wish I could stop school now and just enjoy the nice weather, go outside, go on nature walks, learn to draw, do art, and then school more formally later in the summer, when it is miserably hot outside. I had a friend who did that. But I know my kids won't go for that. They would like to be out and done in the summer like all their friends. It is difficult to swim against the current!

Of course, you would say, isn't that what the unschooling experiment was all about? less formality, more delight directed learning? Well, I have discovered that
  • my kids are not self motivated. If I directed to something new then they can take off with it.
  • that to homeschool this way the mother has to be really present and in tune with her kids.
  • this mother, with half her brain in other stuff, doesn't do a good job at motivating her kids.
  • going into "unschooling" half way doesn't really work. You either do it or don't. Having to do certain things (like non-negotiables like math and religion) ruins the atmosphere.
  • I have to be the one making the big changes. I have to be involved. I either get involved with what they want to do or get them involved in what I want to do. I have opted, in most instances, for the second option. No fair. I need to be willing to play what Nicolas wants to play, listen to what Alex wants to say,etc.
  • with me, it is an issue of control. It is difficult to let go and let them be in charge.
  • it is also an issue of trust. I don't trust that they can self regulate. I don't trust that they would choose good things to spend the time with. I fear that they are going to choose the easiest thing to do: watch tv and play on the computer, talk to friends, chat...
  • it is funny how you enter into something for your kids and you end up learning a lot about yourself.
Now, I don't want you to get the impression that we are not having fun. Nicolas and I have sat every day for about an hour and just read. I haven't done that for a while. We are reading about plants, bees, butterflies. We are reading fiction and non fiction. Then we are going outside and doing some plant related "stuff". We have planted, weeded, watered, looked at seeds, drawn seeds... I have a mind of making use of some free lapbooks I have found here and here. Nicolas likes to work with his hands.

Other things we are doing:
  • Reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • Reading Amy Welborn's Prove It! Church.
  • Studying decimals.
  • Reading Introduction to Scripture the Scott Hahn textbook.
  • We just picked up again Story of the World vol. 4. We read yesterday about South Africa and Apartheid.
  • Alex is reading The Breadwinner a book that takes place in Afghanistan. ( I just discovered this have a sequel)
  • Gabi is reading Murder in the Orient Express.
  • I am reading Hold On to your Kids, subtitled Why Parents Need to Matter more than Peers.
  • Alex and Nicolas have spent some time playing together.
  • Alex is fascinated with the Toreador Song from Carmen.
  • Nicolas just thinks about baseball.
  • Gabi is trying to plan how she would remodel our bathroom (it needs it badly- believe me!)
  • Alex and Nicolas have watched some segments on plants from the LPB Cyberchannel.
  • Alex is drawing downtown Meratain, a city he has created in his imagination.
  • Gabi is busy preparing for her dance recital.
  • Alex is practicing his violin and his choir concert.
I guess learning is happening more than I realized.