Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vacation School...It's Got to Be Sneaky

We are so happy to be on vacation this week. A break from the routine of up before dawn, work on school, take care of doggies, work, and get home after dark. We are staying with our wonderful friends in Florida who live very near the beach. They are taking ridiculously good care of us and we are just enjoying being relaxed for the most part.

However, the last couple of weeks have been less than productive. We haven't gotten through our lessons as we should have. Plus, we're studying ecosystems for science and we haven't studied oceans and seashores yet. We're reading the same books I listed for last week as well as One Small Square Seashores

We're also going to add Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson since today, we went to the McClarty Treasure Museum and learned about how the shipwrecks of the Spanish Plate Fleet was a beginning of piracy in the Caribbean. 

We walked along the shore and picked up seashells and tomorrow I think we're going to rent metal detectors and find our fortune along the Treasure Coast! Here are some great pictures of our trip to the museum and shore:


Welcome to Crazyville, population me!

So, I have been blogging for a couple of years now. Inconsistently and without sharing to more than a small handful of people. I began on Wordpress and then transferred over to Blogger a few months ago. I am still in the process of pulling some of my posts over to Blogger, so if the dates look a little wonky, that might be why. I actually have several blogs: a weight loss blog, a blog about our homeschool study of the states, a blog about our homeschool, and each of the little kids have a blog under my account. As I figure this whole web design thing out, those will probably reside more seamlessly than they do now.

I have recently applied to and been accepted for a blogging review group which will both send more people to my blog and encourage me to write more frequently. It will also let me try out some great new homeschooling goodies which I LOVE to do! So, with that as my incentive, I am going to share my blog on FB and the World Wide Web at large a bit more freely. It's a little nerve-wracking, like trying out for the stage play in 6th grade or something. What if I'm awful? What if they don't like me? What if I have terrible grammar (I would argue it's rusty, not terrible)?

My name is Priscilla. I am a mom to three great kids. Heather is 23, Matthew is 11 and Emma is 8. My husband, Mark, and I both work outside the home full-time at my family's business with my parents. His mom helps watch the kids somedays. We also homeschool our two youngest.
We have 3 dogs: Lily and Humphrey are English Bulldogs and Joey is a rat terror...I mean rat terrier. She's actually my grandpuppy, but she's part of the pack now. We also have two cats, 2 leopard geckos and a school or two of fish.

So this is our life, it's filled with crazy and most days, we wouldn't have it any other way!

Why do I homeschool?

Why do I homeschool? 

This is a big question. It's a question I field every week, if not every day from someone in my life. At times, I field it from well meaning strangers, at other times I field it from friends or family. The neighbors have asked, the customers at our family business have asked, my parents and my in-laws have asked. I have asked myself countless times on those weeks where it seems that nothing is progressing and all I am doing is arguing with my kids. Strangely enough, my husband does not ask. He is completely sold on the concept and even though we've only made it 5 weeks into our history curriculum in 19 weeks of school, he's sure that our kids are doing great. And he's right, of course. And yet, I struggle with my answer, as many other homeschool mommas do, because I always feel like I could do better.

I will say first that we live in an excellent school district. My kids have had many teachers and counselors that have taught them well. Our decision to pull them out of school had very little to do with the school system/district/personnel/etc. It was an internal family decision that had to do with wanting more time with my kids.

Here's my list so far: 

I homeschool because:
  1. I know my kids. 
  • My son, the middle child, is filled with anxieties. Some of those anxieties are justified; he has a life-threatening food allergy and has to be wary of everything he eats. He has had teachers and other school personnel offer him foods that would kill him if he took them, from kindergarten on. He has a soft heart. When dealing with a bully in fourth grade, he told his dad, "Dad, I just can't say those things to him. He's my friend. It would hurt his feelings and I don't want him to feel as bad as I'm feeling." This was about the kid who had been relentlessly bullying him and turning other classmates against him for 3 months.
  • My youngest daughter, the baby of three. She is smart, scary smart. We've made jokes about her taking over the world since before she could walk. In first grade, she came home one day and grabbed a book her brother was complaining about being hard to read (he was in fourth grade at the time). She opened the book and read the entire first chapter aloud, missing only two words: Massachusetts and Chatapiqua (or some equally difficult Native American originated city name). She was considered behind in reading according to her testing scores later that same week. 

2.    I work full-time and kind of odd hours. When the kids are in school, I barely get to do more
       than feed them and put them to bed. 

3.     I love seeing them learn and get excited by what they've found out. I love seeing
        the enthusiasm slowly creep back into their learning process as they figure out 
        the world is their classroom now. 

4.     Standardized testing gave my then-fourth grader an ulcer. You could walk into the 
        school and feel the tension in the building. The kids were stressed, the teachers
        were stressed, and it was hard to breathe the air in the building for that last 5 
        weeks of practice testing.

5.     I don't think the government and the school boards and the teacher's union have a
        better idea of how to deal with my children than I do. The bureaucracy should leave the
        teachers alone and let them do their job. I also don't think strangers, no
        matter how well intentioned and educated should spend more time with my 
        children than I do. 

6.     They are only small for a such a short time. I have a 23 year old and I missed so 
        much of her life by sending her to daycare and working full-time and later sending her
        to school. I don't want to make the same mistake for the younger two kids. 
        There will be plenty of time for them to experience the real world when they are    
        older and wiser and better equipped to handle it.

7.     Although we are not super religious, the right to call a party a "Christmas Party"
        as opposed to a "Winter Celebration" is important to me. I want to share the bible
        with my children as well as morality and our family beliefs. I want them to be able
        to share their belief in God and defend it in an intelligent and thought out way
        once they are out in the real world.

8.     I want them to see the merit of hard work and accomplishment as opposed to
        skirting by to do just enough because the teacher will probably bump them up 
        to a B because she knows their smart enough to get a B instead of the C- they

9.     I want to read fantastic books with my kids, traipse through the woods and draw
        pictures of butterflies and rocks, look at pond scum under a microscope, and take
        fantastic trips with my kids and call it schooling, because it is and they will learn
        so much more than just cracking open a text book for 6 hours a day!

10.   We get to call Disney World a field trip! What's not to love?

I guess these are the biggest reasons; these three wonderfully individualistic, bright, funny
and ridiculously good looking kids. Who wouldn't want to spend all their free time with this bunch?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.