Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 133--New Drivers in the house!

Rachel got her license! And Sarah got her permit! I didn't let Rachel drive home though, because I had forgotten to tell the car insurance guy and I wanted to be sure we were covered properly. It's all good now. I gave Sarah her first lesson on the way home. We went to a cemetery to get her started, and it was so perfect. There are several roads and stop signs, but not any traffic. When Rachel and Wilson got their permits, Jeff was with them and took them to a parking lot to get them used to controlling the car; so I had no idea what that was like. Oh my! They actually can't steer the car straight at first, can they? It was pretty cute though. She did a great job, but I don't know how anyone takes an extreme beginner onto the road right away. Seems stupid. Maybe people don't do that. I think we'll have at least a few more parking lot/cemetery lessons before that.

While we were at the license bureau, I realized something. You know how the workers always have a reputation for being grumpy? Well, as I sat there watching, I realized that everyone that goes in there has no idea what to do. Then the worker gives instructions about this or that and you have to pay attention and you're probably nervous. At least everyone in the exam station is nervous. So the worker thinks you're stupid. Then the worker gets impatient and treats you that way.

The guy we had sort of mumbled and when Rachel asked him to repeat something he was very slow and way to clear, like she was an idiot. Then Sarah was so nervous, she signed her name wrong which led him to treat her like she was stupid. Ok, so it's probably hard to be patient when everyone you deal with looks like they never use their brains. I started to have sympathy for the workers, but then I decided they could have thought of all that and my sympathy went back to the public. I told the kids that maybe when they all leave home, I'd get a job there just to be nice to people that are nervous or that come in thinking the workers are all grumps. They thought that wouldn't be a very fun job though. Maybe not; I guess I'll stick to writing.

The kids didn't have school today, except for going to the license bureau. That's definitely educational. We went from there to my parents to make and eat dinner and then to the store. We're kind of exhausted. A little My Favorite Martian before bed relaxed us though. Now I don't want to go to sleep. I'd be a great second shift worker.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 132--Instagram

I decided to make an Instagram account for MyWritingCheck to see if I could get the word out a little more. I had no idea! I should have done that months ago. I don't know how it will turn out, but it looks like you can connect with a ton of people--fast. We'll see. While I was doing that, Rachel came along and made an account for That Family on youtube too. We actually had to name it thatfamilyonyoutube, because thatfamily was taken already. In fact, there were tons of thatfamilies, or  some variation of it.

Tomorrow is the day Rachel's taking the driver's test for her license. I hope she doesn't get too nervous. She drives totally fine, and she went through the maneuverability cones at least 5 times in a row without any trouble at all. I need to go make her some keys and get her a phone. Sarah's taking the written test for her learner's permit tomorrow while we're at the license bureau. They're both so cute!

I made Sam a new list for school. I don't want to have to make a new one every day, so I made one that has the whole week on it. But I highlighted each day's stuff in a different color. So he can look at it tomorrow and all the stuff in blue is for Wednesday, and each day has its own color. So I can just do them both once a week. I hope he likes that just as well, because I will never remember to do a new one every day.

Sam's using Duilingo to learn Danish, and it's so fun for him. They always have funny sentences to translate. Stuff like, "The duck is eating a potato." Or, "The turtle is reading a book." Jeff says it's probably easier to remember words when they're used in a silly way. I imagine he's right. Sam's doing great remembering everything. Jeff's dad is using the same website to work on Spanish. I should ask him if they have silly sentences for him to translate. I suppose it would be for every language. I guess I did that sort of thing when the kids were younger. Maybe I should go back to being more silly. If I wasn't this tired!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 131

Sarah's been reading about Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity, and then today she came to an experiment about it in her science book. She took the couch cushion and put a marble on it. Then she put a heavy rock on it to see that the marble rolls down into the dip made by the rock. The cushion represented space, the rock was the sun and the marble was Earth I think. It was supposed to show space bending the path of objects with mass. I think we're going to have to read a little more about it.

Sam started reading The Real George Washington this week. He's really liking it. He says it looks like the kind of book that would be wordy and formal sounding, but it's not that way at all. I was only going to assign him 10 chapters, but he'll probably want to go on reading it after that. I haven't read it yet; I guess I'll have to.

It's after midnight, so I'm going to bed. I'll have a longer post tomorrow. See you then!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Day 130--We finished our math book!

I was just telling Jeff that the lists I made for Sam and Sarah were causing me a little stress, and Sarah's eyes got wide and she said, "You're not going to stop making them are you?" I told her I'm not going to stop, I just need to find a way to not feel pressure from them. Seriously. It's just written down instead of housed in my head. Where is the pressure coming from? Anyway, the idea is for them to figure out how and when to get that stuff done, so I HAVE to let them. Which takes the strain off me, right?

The weather has been nice here and the kids love to play back porch badminton. Totally cute. Here's a picture. If it's been raining any time recently, the back yard is soaked. I think there must be a two inch layer of dirt over rock, and rain never soaks in. The only problem with playing on the back porch is losing birdies into the gutter. Sam's tall enough to stand on a stool and get them out of the lower gutter, but I think there might be a few permanently up in the second story gutter. I wonder what else might be up there from people who have lived here before.

Sarah started talking about changing her research topic again! She'll never get over that disease. I don't think I want her to change it. She just needs to have it as narrow as it can be. I also need to help her understand the academic and very wordy, scientific articles I found on migraines and weather. I don't know if narrowing it to migraines and barometric pressure is too narrow though. We'll have to do some more looking around.

We finished the Math U See Pre-Algrbra book the other day! Now we're going to review all of that and use Strayer-Upton and Ray's Arithmetic books for fun and complicated real-world problems. Also, I need to go over metrics with them. We haven't really done that in an organized way. They're kind of shaky on percents too. I might use Strayer-Upton or Ray's for that. They're so straight forward. This is what Ray's says when introducing percents: "Any percent of a number is so many hundredths of it." Then it says, "One percent, 1% is 1/100 or .01" Plain and simple. Love it.

I think I finished my advertisement for to put in my umbrella school's yearbook. They're letting people with businesses place ads in it. So here's mine. I'll probably change it three more times before submitting it, knowing me. It's the editor in me. That's why I just type this blog fast every night, read it over once, and hit publish. No looking it over and over.

See you next week!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Day 129--"We learned from Gomer Pyle"

We like silly old TV shows, and Gomer Pyle USMC is one of them. The other day, we watched an episode about Gomer having a craving for Welsh Rarebit. We didn't have any idea what that was so we looked it up. It's basically toast with cheese sauce over it. We've been reading Jane Eyre, and they mentioned it in there. We were so proud that we knew what it was--all because of Gomer Pyle. See, you can learn from anything!

I like the schedules I made for Sam and Sarah. I really shouldn't call them schedules; they're just lists of what to do. They can choose when and in what order they do them. The only thing is that I feel this pressure to have them do everything on the list. Normally, I just tell them what I want them to do as we go along and it's nice and relaxed. But now I feel like I have to make sure they're doing things.

I know it's a good idea to have the lists because of my health stuff, but I don't like the feeling it gives me. I just know I'm going to be disappointed if Sarah's not finished with everything at the end of the week, but I never was before. It's ridiculous. I need to just give it to her and let it go. I wonder if I can do that. This is the reason I never buy other people's lesson plans or any packaged curriculum. The bizarre feeling that I have to do what it says just because it says it.

Sam just about finished his cooking merit badge last night with the other boys at church. I can't believe how much there is to it. There are pages of requirements. That's part of the reason that merit badges have never been that much fun to do. They have to explain all these things about cooking and safety and how to do it. I think they should just have to put there hands on it and show how do it. I guess they have to do that too--at a campout. I know it's scouts; but let's face it, those boys are going to do much more cooking in a kitchen in the future than at a campout. At least anyone in my family is.

I need to get on with writing a book. I have several started and ideas for others, but I think I'll do my book of writing project ideas. I think I can get that one finished most quickly and it goes with that I have going already. Rachel and I are getting close to being finished editing her book. We had wanted to finish by the first of this month, but migraines took over. I should be good for the next couple weeks. I can't believe my daughter's going to have a book published before I do. I've been wanting to do that for years and years! Guess I'd better catch up!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 128--It's Monday

Sam loved his campout! I guess he did a lot of scout stuff and maybe even made it to some rank. I know nothing about it. But he had a great time. He sure smelled like smoke when he got home though. I cannot stand the smell of campfire, indoors or outdoors. I can't seem to get rid of that awful smell. His metal thermos bottle even still smells like it after at least two washings. It's metal! How can that be? The laundry room still stinks too.

I finally made schedules for Sam and Sarah (with only 11 weeks of school left). I made Sam's for just one day and Sarah's for the week. I need to make a week's worth for Sam, so I don't have to do it every day. At least he knows just what he's supposed to do tomorrow. I hope Sarah remembers to spread her work out over the week so she doesn't get caught on Friday with an unreasonable amount left to do.

Rachel finally got started on her research today. I think she decided exactly what she's going to have her volunteers do as far as expressive freewriting to see how it affects their emotions. If any of you want to volunteer to do it for her, comment below. I think she's going to have each person fill out a chart about how much of certain emotions they felt each day for several days and then do the writing for something like four days and continue to fill the chart out to see if it makes a difference. It's supposed to really help. I can't wait to try.

Sarah started studying for her driver's permit. It's totally boring! Jeff took her out to the car and showed her a bunch of stuff about the pedals and controls and everything. I think she liked that better than studying the boring law book. The book is as confusing as they could possibly make it. They had this ridiculously long description of turning left from the left turn lane into the leftmost lane of the road you're turning into. It was completely confusing. She's got a week to study enough to get her permit, because Rachel has an appointment to get her license next Tuesday and we're doing it at the same time.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 127--Crazy Campout!

Sam is camping in the rain and cold tonight. It's a scout thing. When I dropped him off I told one of the leaders that I think only men would camp in weather like this. I'm not man-bashing; I think men are great, but you know any mom would have cancelled camping in the rain, sleet, hail, and nearly freezing weather. Well, we wouldn't have planned it for March would we? Sam's excited, but I just can't stand the thought of him out there. I know Rachel was probably right when she said, "You're thinking he must be miserable, but he's probably having a great time." But I can't stop being the mom.

I've been lying around on the couch all week with a migraine, so we haven't had much school. They've been reading books and taking care of me. I guess that's about it. Sarah started reading the book of laws so she can get her driving permit. Rachel's got an appointment to get her license a week from Tuesday. Neither one of them are excited about the test part. I also think Rachel doesn't want to just drive off with a stranger testing her. She gets nervous with any kind of test, and being alone with a stranger isn't her thing either.

We decided not to buy any house right now; we're just going to rent this one for another year. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a gas line and a new oven though. The owner of the house said he would split the cost of the line with us, and any house we do buy later probably won't have a gas oven anyway so I'd need to buy one. I just need the cooking to be easier than it has been for the last year and a half. I feel like we don't eat as well as we used to. The stores are further away, the fridge is a side by side that doesn't hold anything and the oven drives me nuts. I have a spare fridge in the garage, but something's wrong with the freezer part. Maybe I'll have that fixed and bring it in. If the owner doesn't mind his oven in the garage, maybe he won't mind his fridge out there too.

Jeff's been trying to get us to learn some swing dancing, which is pretty funny. So here's a little video of us trying to figure that out.

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Day 126

I didn't post yesterday after a very long day of cleaning. Normally I don't spend the whole day cleaning my house, but we had to let a realtor show it to someone for our landlord. Maybe if I spent more time cleaning, I wouldn't have had to do it all yesterday. We really liked the realtor, so we had her come over today to see about helping us find a house to buy now that our other one has sold. I'm becoming very tempted to buy the one we live in.

We decided to buy the traffic cones. The other kids will be able to use them too. So Jeff took Rachel out yesterday to teach her how to get through the course. It was pretty fun. But we went to a church parking lot today and found they had cones all set up for people to use! I guess we didn't actually have to buy them, but they're used now so. Rachel did a great job; she's totally ready. Of course.

Rachel practiced finding the volume of a cylinder with Sam and Sarah. They're getting close to end of the Pre-Algebra book. They're pretty excited. After we get the book finished, we're going to review everything and use Ray's Arithmetic to do real-life problems--from 100 years ago! I love those problems. Especially now that I learned that thing about ratios last week.

We're reading Jane Eyre. We've only read a couple chapters; and although it's kind of depressing so far, it's well-written. And Rachel says it gets less sad. I think we'll like it. The kids went to the youth activities at church tonight, and Sarah made "slime" out of glue, water and borax. It's a total homeschool thing, even though we've never done it. Does that make me a bad homeschool mom? Nope! The stuff is like the texture of egg white, and it breaks in half like styrofoam or something. Very weird.

She also did a quiz thing with real life questions like when are taxes due? and how many pints in a quart? and how much would a family of 5 spend at the grocery each month? She didn't know when taxes were due, but she knew most of the other questions. She said the other girls said a family would spend $400 a month at the grocery. Sarah said $1000. It's actually more than that for us with our food allergies, though. Sounds like fun activity. Rachel played chair soccer and Sam planned a campout for this Friday with the scouts. All in all a good evening.

See you tomorrow!

Oh, and we got some cute pictures of Eliza. You want to see, right?


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 125--Homeschool Moms Are So Smart

Sarah was reading about Newton's Laws, and she asked me what the second and third ones meant. She read them to me, and I explained each one. Then she said the nicest thing, "Homeschool moms are smarter than other moms." Of course I agreed, laughing; but she said, "I'm serious. I've made observations." I love it. She says it's because we remember all that math and stuff. Actually, I don't know if I remember anything. I've just learned it for real in my adulthood. And what about all those public school moms who are physics geniuses?

She continued to read past where Newton's Laws were stated and the book had explanations right there, of course. Then she asked me about something on the next page, and we talked about it for a bit. And again, the book answered the question. I love how it always tells you something big and then says something like, "You're probably wondering. . ." Sarah says they're so smart always knowing exactly what you're thinking. She's right.

Rachel was working on ratios in Algebra 2 and I learned something that opened up a world of math problems for me. I cannot believe I never figured this out before! A few months ago, I was doing a problem out of Ray's Arithmetic and it was something like, a certain number of sheep and cows were in a field and there are twice as many sheep as cows, how many of each are there? I got out beans and did it by hand. Trial and error until I had it. I couldn't imagine how to do it mathematically. I'm so silly.

So I know the total number of animals (let's say 39), and I know the ratio of sheep to cows (2 to 1). Now I just need to think of the ratio of sheep or cows to the total animals. Sheep to total: 2 to 3! That's unbelievably what I never thought of. I could only imagine the total as 39. So I just set up the proportion: 2/3 = x/39 and get 26 sheep. Same with cows: 1/3 = x/39, and I get 13. I had racked my brain and just could never do it. Funny.

We went and looked at a house to buy today. It was a total bust. The pictures online always look so good. I wish our lease wasn't up in less than three months. I'm certainly not going to buy something just because of that, but the landlord wants a whole year lease--no partials. Maybe we'll just stay another year and relax since we don't have to maintain two houses any more.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Day 124

I decided to teach Rachel the maneuverability stuff for getting her driver's license, so she called and asked the BMV if she could practice there where they do the tests. They said they used to have people do that, but they kept having their cones stolen so they took them in at night. We thought we could probably just go down there and use them during business hours and if it looked like someone needed to do their test, we'd just get out of the way.

So we went all the way there (it's at least 20 minutes away), and there those cones sat unused and ready for us. But there were big white signs at the entrance, "DO NOT ENTER." I figured we better not enter. The driving schools near here don't have cones set up. There's one pretty far away that has them set up, but I don't know if they'll let us use them either. I can't help but think they could just make the cones permanent at the BMV and leave them there for people to practice with. Do you seriously have to pay for driver's training to be allowed to use any cones? I can totally teach my kids to drive. I've been doing it a very long time.

We started reading the Lamb's Tales Much Ado About Nothing. We're planning on reading the play when we're done with that. Sam and Sarah openly admitted they weren't listening. I was reading in bed, but still. I've never read this one, so I only know what it says on the back of the play. I haven't read a whole play aloud to them before. I've tried but never could figure out the best way. Should I give them parts? I only have one copy. Should we pass it around and take turns reading the parts? That sounds like a mess. Seems like it would be boring if I said who was speaking each time. Maybe I should just get more copies and assign parts. They would probably remember it better if they "played" a character anyway. Maybe even understand it better too. And it just might be more interesting that way. They think the stories are a little messed up. Bad homeschool children.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Day 123--SOLD!

We did it! We finally sold the house. It closed today--for real. I had my doubts right up until the buyers walked in. But we're actually finished. I'm so glad it sold before we had to start mowing the grass again. And it'll be nice not to have 5 toilets to scrub any more. The three toilets we're actually using are enough. The buyers were really happy too. They absolutely love the house. They think it looks like a doll house. Maybe that's because it's so small.

The closing was at 1:00 and we didn't get much school done before that. I'm still not exactly sure what the kids did while we were gone. They did make a yummy cherry crisp for lunch. I don't know what we'll do about making all the desserts we want after Rachel goes to college. I think she's just about decided to go away to the college she's been thinking about. It's very far from home. I'll be sad.

Tonight, we started sewing on a quilt top that I volunteered to make for a homeless shelter. Several women at church are making them, and then I guess someone else is going to put them together with the batting and the backs. Everyone took turns sewing. The boys have never used the sewing machine before. Jeff was good at it of course. It's like driving or flying an airplane and he's got both of those down. Well, maybe it's not really like that. Sam did a great job too, and he thought it was more fun than he expected. It's powerful to be able to use the sewing machine. I'd like to get each of the girls a machine and have them really learn it. I wonder if Kamille would learn to sew if I got her one. She doesn't do any sewing at all now. Maybe I'll ask her.

We also wrote everyone's assignments on the board for the week. Well, we wrote Rachel's for the rest of the year, Sarah's for the week, and Sam's for the day. I love homeschool. I can see what each of them needs and try to figure out how to give it to them.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Day 122--Am I Depressed or Do I Have Mono?

About 12 years ago, I noticed that I didn't care much about anything. I was frighteningly tired all the time and my voice was kind of rough. This lasted four months until I finally decided to go to the doctor. I told him I was either depressed or I was a jerk. He did some blood tests and said I had Mono. He said I'd had it the whole time, but now it was going away. I have never been exactly the same since then.

I've struggled a lot with fatigue, and I have never been quite as smart as I used to be. And now for the last three weeks, I've had a sore throat and not felt sick. But I'm really tired. And I seriously do not care about school at all. I'm finding it hard to care about much. I know something's wrong, because it's harder to listen to the kids when they talk to me. And I don't have a problem with that under normal circumstances. I love when they tell me stuff and want to talk. I'm also feeling very sensitive and emotional. This all totally wrecks our homeschool.

We've been only doing the boring bare essentials, and it's getting to us. I guess it's time to see the doctor or naturopath. If I found out I had Mono, at least I could be less upset with myself for being this way. You know moms need permission to be tired. Especially homeschooling supermoms, right?

I helped Sam study for his test and then he took it today. I haven't graded it yet, but I think he did fine. Sarah was working on her study guide, but it was all that mathy stuff and I couldn't help her with it at the time; so I had her stop. We'll see tomorrow. Rachel loves her science book. I love her doing the book and not taking the tests. I might have Sam and Sarah stop taking the tests in their books. Sam would love that, but I think Sarah wants to do them because she's "supposed to." I told her they were just a tool for me to use with her if I chose to, but she still has that feeling of should.

We finished that book they hate today, and they were so relieved. At least it ended well. Now what to read next! Sarah's sitting by me reading some stuff from a writing course I took over 20 years ago from The Institute of Children's Literature. I think it's called Institute for Writers now. Oh, I loved taking their courses. They really did an amazing job. She's amused at some of the stuff I wrote. It was fiction, which is not my strength!

See you tomorrow!