Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve

Well, I was kinda planning on working today. But I have a hard time justifying it. And it is always easier to work when the kids are back in school.

I love school. When it started this September, I was all thrilled, and offered to pay more tax levies to meet the schools needs. I love our small school, that has all sorts of programs to help challenged learners and many teachers who are passionate about their work and their students. It is a tool I use not just to help my kids but for my sanity.

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids, I love to do things with them. But with all the other demands on me (mostly business, small children, pregnancy...) I just don't have the ability to keep them busy and engaged enough around home to keep them out of troubles.

Hmmm, Now I am so off track, I don't even remember what I was going to blog about.

Well, Have a happy new years.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Guerrilla Learning

How to give your Kids a real education with or without school. By Grace Llewellyn and Amy Silver

A new book I am reading and would like to share:

"when you get down to it, unschooling is really just a fancy term for "life" or "growing up uninstitutionalized"

most of the homeschoolers- the kids in freeer, "unschooling" homes as well as those doing more traditional "School at home"- were engaged in ambitious, serious projects of one kind or another
...... in addition to their academic progress, they were learning the critical skills needed to devise a project, commit to a goal, and, at the risk of real failure, make something happen in the world."

Real learning requires meaning.
In schools it is a little too guided, too disconnected, too removed from the world.
People can be asked to absorb a certain amount of meaningless data in good faith, the promise that it will eventually be related to a larger world and transformed into information. But most people can't absorb 12 years of it.

Classrooms make poor worlds.
Children work on always putting things into their "world view", to make sense of the world around them and their questions are the most critical clue to what information is currently required by their emerging internal maps of the world.

That is why allowing kids to follow their interests can make learning so powerful.
They are searching for the missing info in their mind models.

Then it talks about the industrialized model of schools, turning out citizens to fit into cogs. That is one of the two main functions. The other is to babysit, so parents can be cogs.

Then it hits the apex of the first chapter: that it is our- the parents- ultimate responsibility to educate (or allow learning) for our kids.

I like that it also trys to help you work with in the system for some of it.

"you can view school as a deadly serious, meaningful test of what your family and children really are and the only significant source of your children's learning. Or you can choose to look with certain rules, certain penalties for losing and rewards for winning, and certain costs of playing. It doesn't have to define who your child or your family are, it doesn't have to be the only or the main source of your child's education. It probably won't much help your children find and develop their strengths, grow as a whole, healthy and spiritually connected, intellectually vital people, or find their calling in life. But neither does it have to crush their spirits"

First exercise given in the book:
List everything about which you know enough about on to contribute significantly to a conversation or to write a pithy booklet called "The beginner's guide to _____"
Write down everything you are good at- your skills, anything from webpages building to changing diaper....
Next put an a star by each of the items that you learned mainly in school or college.

I did a quick mental list, and about 99% was not learned in school.
Everything I do daily was not taught in school. I learned through doing, kind of trial by fire...
cooking, cleaning, financing, web stuff, people relationships, marketing, house repair, clothing...

Like many things in life school can be a poor master, but a good servant.
If you recognize it for what is it, and be aware of it's dangers, then you can use it as a tool
Like a skill saw.

And that concludes chapter one- hand around and I may share the best parts of other chapters.

Monday, December 17, 2007

digging out

In case you are not in the know, my household is slowly working on digging itself out from under the flu bug.

Yup Wednesday night. Clay woke up with it. He barfed all over his bed, several towels and Daddy several times.

On Friday I kept Galen and Ewan home, after Galen complained of a tunny ache and Ewan was so disorientated that he couldn't get himself dressed in 30 minutes. By noon they were up and running around, And I had thought that my diagnosis was off. But by 8pm, Ian started in with the barfing and Ewan quickly joined him. Then at 4 am Galen did too.

So by Saturday morning- when most of the barfing had stopped, I wanted to sleep, but all the kids were cuddling in my bed. And because of their illness we had to cancel our date- yup the date we had to put off before due to me being sick in November. It is not like you can blame anybody for not wanting to watch sick kids, or not wanting to catch anything themselves.

And then Saturday night, that blasted flu bug bit me. And I must say. It was quite exquisite pain. Never before had I remembered the feelings of havening nails pounded into my stomach and then being wrench around and twisted. And when it decided you were going to expel, did it pull all your muscles- on your whole body upwards and a tights and un-ended grasp- to a point where you couldn't even breathe. So between those muscle contortions I sat their panting, trying to catch my breath.

Sunday, I was immobile, while the kids were quite mobile. But I still didn't manage to sleep much, as every 2 minutes someone would crawl over me or ask me a questions that I didn't know or care about the answer to. So today- I am trying to catch up on sleep. And feel better and clean up some and all sorts of fun stuff that has to done, but hasn't gotten done in way to long.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

One More Time

yup, one more time, we had a date scheduled and sitters lined up, and we have to postpone it.

Wednesday night Clay woke up barfing- Thursday neither one of us felt very well. And by Friday I kept both of my school children home. When Ewan is so disorientated he can't get dressed in 1/2 hour- I knew they probably caught it too.

So by Friday noon, they were running like well, well, like a gaggle of boys through our house, and I had begun to wish I wasn't so quick to judge them that morning. But at about 8pm the puking fest began. First it was Ian, followed closely by Ewan. And then last night at 4 am Galen joined the fun. And Clay wasn't sleeping well either.

So I am feeling ornery and tired and wanting a nap. Galen and Ewan are lying in my bed. Clay is waiting on his blanket to be washed. And Ian doesn't want to use the potty in order to be cleaned and cathed.

Of course a good dose of stomach flu usually comes with the cancellation of all plans for the family. Yup- one more canceled date night. And I also called and told them that I probably wouldn't make it to church tomorrow and that they would be wise to find another teacher.

This whole month has been that challenging. Mostly small things, that gang up on you. But the water heater was a big thing. Sometimes I have been wondering if the universe doesn't want my customers to get their orders before Christmas. So far I have refused to give up trying. But in December, nothing is fast enough for the people who left the the shopping till the last minute.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

True Story

Ian's Dr Visits went well. At the last visit with the GI doc. It was almost hit or miss weather he'd be put in the hospital again, but we were all relieved when she just prescribed another med regime. (to clear the small, but definite blockage he has now. This blockage is about the size of a baseball, but compared to earlier with Ian, it is definitely smaller.) This regime is to give him 2 ducolaxes daily and 3 servings of the stool softener plus adding a bowel regulator. For 3-5 days, then we go back to the normal plus the regulator.

The urologist sounded pretty happy- we are cathing him regularly. His kidneys look great. Tests went well. Our first appointment was at 7pm our last one got done about 4:30ish. We were very thrilled to be going home.

Anyways so today is Ian's birthday, and I made a cake for him and made some frosting. I know it works really well to hide his meds in juice or something for Ian. And I decided to hide his 2 ducolaxes (crushed) in a few spoonfuls of frosting and then I could put the frosting on what ever piece of cake he chose and nobody but Daddy and I would be the wiser. I thought about putting on a corner piece of cake, but then thought about how easily that could back fire- And I didn't want to be up all night with the runs (or have those type of Diapers with Clay baby). (and kids always eat their frosting). As we sang Happy Birthday to Ian , Galen saw the little bowl with frosting and devoured it all.

When Mike and I found out, that Galen ate the "Extra" frosting. We laughed so hard we had tears streaming down our faces and it took us an additional 5 minutes before we could manage to cut the cake.

Friday, December 07, 2007

When Two year olds show thier colors

He is so sweet, but today, I am ready to sell him to any bidder.

He wanted to have some fun ( I guess, what else would go through his head? as we are zooming down the road at 55 mph?) And he crawled out of his car seat and over to the other side of the car where he opened the door.

When I noticed that the door light came on I thought "um, I guess I didn't close it tight enough." But I thought maybe I should reach back and check and low and behold, Clay caught my arm. That freaked me out enough that it sent my car across the road in a nice wide swerve. I caught control of the car and pulled it back into our lane and then quickly onto the shoulder. Where I got out, took Clay out of the car and childed him while walking him over to the other side of the car and buckling him back in again. I explained as calmly as I could that it was "dangerous" and a no no.
I must have been firmer with this babe (who is usually the apple of my eye), then he has ever seen. He didn't move a muscle the rest of the way home.

And just as I was about to forgive him..... he took a package a ramen and rammed it into my piano. Managed to get some stuck between just about every key.....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Why am I up hours past my bedtime?

Because the kids stole my mint gum (anti nausea med) from my purse, and so I had to make tea to fight it off tonight.

Because there was a silly Holiday Concert at the Elementary school and my Ewan sang in 2 of the songs in the whole 70 minute program ,but we are required to stay the whole program and them make purchases at the book fair later. If the teachers sent any homework home with the kids tonight- it will not be done.

There were 2 little highlights in the program. The first was the blond 2 year old in front of me. She often covered her ears. The second was the single best performer in the whole program. He is in 4th grade, and obviously a special ed student. His whole class wore black, he had on a bright red turtle neck. All the girls were dancing to the number the 4th grade did, and he stood on the risers and sang, and wiggled and danced with abandon. He was the most enjoyable to watch. And as a mother of a special ed student (mine is aware enough of himself, not to even want to perform) I hope his parents were so proud of him, instead of embarrassed (as I am sure any old enough siblings of his were).

And my poor Ewan. He knows his tired, ornery, pregnant mother too well. He lost a tooth this week. His second. And he knew there was no way pregnant mother was going to remember to play tooth fairy with out his help. So last night he handed me an envelope with quarters in it (that is how the tooth fairy does it here. She has you put your tooth in an envelope under your pillow, and then during the night she exchanges it for an identical envelope with money in it). And told me that this was all ready to play tooth fairy and that his tooth would be under his pillow ready for me tonight. Well it worked, how could any mother say no to that?

Man I love this blog

Here is a quote from her questions and answer session:

Okay, Dawn, I am gasping. 1000 square feet? Are you sure? I thought I was the queen of making everything fit, but you put me to shame. What do you do - triple bunks in the bedrooms?

Eh, we just make half the kids sleep outside. Which half depends on how they're behaving that day.

I thought I was the only one who threatened that based on children's behaviors. We also threaten it at dinner time. "If you behave like that at the table, you are going to eat outside with the dog."

but in reality we pull it off -with only 4 kids (until June). And our master bedroom has the 2 year old- who still falls asleep, happily and quietly the second you put him in the crib. And usually another kid is asleep on the couch in the Living Room- they all have beds, but often seem to prefer not to use them. And then 2 actually share a room- with bunk beds.
Which leads to my next question: Do we have to feed them every day??
Yes, but popcorn, cereal, cookies, cheese sticks, and fries all count as meals.

Another reason I love my two year old. He is happy eating anything that I am willing to put into my mouth.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I would like to lodge a complaint with the department to keep us Americans spoiled and complacent in the early 21st century.

I would like to complain about the lack of wisdom in plumbers, their high hourly charges, and the lack of the right part I need anywhere local.

I would also like to complain about the idiots who designed the water heater, making it impossible to reach the part you are supposed to work on, the idiot who put the water heater in a very tight spot making it hard to reach, or work on and every other idiot (as long as I am at it), and of course the idiot who didn't sell this brand of water heater locally. Or the idiot who didn't buy a locally served water heater.

And I would like to complain about being tired, and ornery, which a house full of junk mail- that I am trying to recycle- but in reality just manages to clog up space in my office and then spread, over and over again all over my floor.

I would like to complain about the idiot (genius really) who first discovered bulk mail advertising and the idiots who consistently choose to cut down living trees to make paper that will become junk mail for me to sort through, try to recycle and then pile up on my floor.