Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 143--I'm a Homeschool Supermom!

I'm a homeschool supermom this week. I spent at least 4 hours sitting on the bathroom floor yesterday helping Sam set up a very cool Lego beach scene and take shots for a stop-action video. It's an important one for a contest. He works so hard on these. The first session we had was a couple hours long; and after it was finished, we found that the lighting was too varied. It was making the video flash as it played. He was not happy. So I decided I was going to work on it after bedtime so it would be dark outside and there would only be lamplight. He and I worked another couple hours and went to bed at midnight. But it came out so great! It looked amazing.

Tonight, we're finishing up with the beach. He's doing all the work this time, but I'm still sitting on the floor giving moral support. We made the water out of unflavored gelatin and blue food coloring. It looked so cool. It looked like ocean water in motion.

I say I'm a homeschool supermom, but I haven't figured out a way to help Sam keep from getting upset when things go wrong. He really wants it all to be perfect. Wilson is a perfectionist too, but I don't remember thinking he got as sad about things going badly. As I think about it now, I suspect he just didn't say anything. Just kept it to himself. Now he's studying the relationship between perfectionists' beliefs about emotions as related to whether they hide their emotions. He's waiting to hear back about whether he's going to get a grant to do study on it this summer. I suppose he knows quite a bit about hiding emotions because of perfectionism. I used to wonder if he had any emotions when he was a teenager. He's good now though. I think being married helps. Especially to Kamille; she's amazing.

I decided we're going to be done with school May 19 instead of June 2, because Jeff has a vacation from May 20-31, and I know enough about us to know that we're not doing it after then anyway. We're set to take our standardized tests the week of the 15th, so that's perfect. We've been feeling so done anyway. It's a relief to be done for the year soon. I'm going to make better plans for next year, and Rachel will be here to help me, but not under my educational supervision; so I'm looking forward to that. She's going to do online classes and help with and a few other projects I've got going. She'll keep writing books as well. We're very close to publishing her first one. I'll let you know when you can get it on Amazon.

See you next week!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 142

I need to get Sam and Sarah writing something. They decided they want to do a project together about how cats hear, and something about cats and music. They found some article about cats not liking people music, so some scientists composed some music just for them. We saw a video of a couple cats just sitting by a computer listening to it. I thought it was pretty funny, but you never know. I think it was on PBS.

Sam's been working hard on his latest stop-action video for the Lego contest. He's been working on it in my closet so the lighting never changes. He says you can't do a decent video in natural lighting if it takes very long, because of how much the light changes coming in a window. So he's got some lamps set up in there to keep the light even all the time.

Rachel's research is going well. She's having people take an emotion survey every night for 12 nights, but the middle 4 mights they have to write in a journal. We're doing it, but we forgot tonight, which is the first journal day. But we can keep track of our days more easily than we can for the other people who volunteered, so we're just going to start our journal days tomorrow. Don't tell anyone!

We're so close to being finished editing Becoming Sencra's Queen, I'm tempted to stay up tonight and get it done. After we finish, we're going to send it to Wilson and Kamille for a read-through. Then off to Amazon for publishing!

See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Day 141

Earlier today, I posted a quick tip on the MyWritingCheck instragram account that said to look up a word in the dictionary that you think you know, and see what else you can find out about it. I love doing this. I've done it with lots of words. You can get so much more meaning from what you read, write or say when you know more about the words you're using. So later I found Rachel looking up the word hand. Really, hand.

I guess Jeff had asked why Sam was carrying a glass of milk in some awkward way, and Sarah said something about "that's why they call them hands." I don't know, but when Rachel looked up the word, she actually found out something new. About the word hand. It actually has a lot of ways to use it, which we know; but did you know that a bunch of bananas is called a hand? You should pick a word and go look it up. But I like to use my big, 6 inch thick dictionary--not the internet.

We started reviewing the Pre-Algebra book today so Sam and Sarah don't forget what they've done this year. I need to order our standardized tests soon, and we need to make sure they have everything down before they take them. Although I don't time the tests, so they can think about what they're doing. So that makes it a lot less stressful.

We had to do a bunch of cleaning today, because the owner's mom came to check on the house. The owners live too far away to check on things, so their mom comes every once in awhile to look around. They're all so nice. We finally sent the signed lease renewal tonight. Jeff's going to try driving from here for his new job--it's an hour away. We've had so much stress lately that we thought we wouldn't add to it by having to find a house and move right away too. We didn't have long on our lease, so it would have been a time crunch to move.

Rachel started working on the cover for her second book, so we can put a picture of it and a summary at the back of the first one when we have it printed. It's hard to find pictures that look good with the colors they have to pick from on the Amazon book creator thing. I wish you could make up your own colors; but it's pretty easy to just plug things in, so I shouldn't complain. She's finished typing the sequel, so now she's gone back to working on another book she had started last year. I think it's set in the 1840's. How fun would it be if she could make a living writing books?! Of course, I would be totally jealous. I should have started that at 18! Here I am at 46 just now working on getting my first one published this year.

See you next week!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Day 140--Excitement!

Yesterday was panic time. We had a thousand questions to answer. Should we take a job that only pays half Jeff's salary to have him home more? Should we continue to lease the house we live in? We can't do that if we take the low-paying job. Should we buy a small house so we can have the option of the low-paying job so we can have him home more? Should we apply for another job that pays the same as he makes now, but he'll be home more? Should we just keep the job he has now that drives us crazy because he's gone so much? We were almost dizzy with options and opinions yesterday.

So we decided to call today and take the low-paying job, because we really need him to be around more. We didn't like it, but we thought we'd do it. And I had an appointment with a realtor to see a small house today. We also thought we'd go ahead and apply for the job that lets him be home more and make the same money he makes now. We didn't expect to hear about it any time soon. (Both these other jobs are in the training department where he works now, and he's had them both before.)

But first thing this morning, he got a call offering him the job at the same money that he makes now. The guy was going on about how great Jeff is and how he's excited to have him. He's going to be a flight instructor. He might even start in a couple weeks. Amazing! I cannot wait. It's incredible to me how much my external circumstances affect my feelings. I want to be happy no matter what, but I've noticed it really makes a difference to me what's going on around me. I need to work on that. I don't like it.

Rachel got about 17 volunteers to participate in her study about the emotional effects of journaling. I can't wait to see if it turns out like we're thinking, with people feeling better after writing in a journal. I bought Expressive Writing by James Pennabaker and John Evans. It's so interesting, but not surprising. Rachel's not asking people to do expressive writing though. That's where they write about traumatic events. We didn't want to ask people to get themselves all upset, so she just asked them to write about something that may have irritated them that day as well as regular journal stuff.

Sam's been working hard on his newest lego video entry. He decided to do it in my closet this time so there wouldn't be any changing in natural light to make it look different from frame to frame. It looks great so far. I think he only has a couple more weeks before it's due.

We've been taking Sarah out to practice driving every few days. She's totally adorable. Don't they all look like babies when they start to drive? She's getting more confident every time. She felt like she was a little reckless today. I told her I think it's just that when you get a little more confident or comfortable and learn new things, you try them out and it feels like getting worse before you get better. That's they way it is when we learn anything isn't it? Like when she masters a song on the piano, then moves on to a harder one. It feels like you're starting over. I guess you are.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Day 139

Ok, so I've had a migraine this week. Yesterday I was wondering what I could put in a blog about a migraine day, and Sarah told me all about what she had done. This is exactly what she said: "I did the dishes, I read my book, and I did something else. Oh yeah, I got dressed. I didn't brush my hair though." Really, that's it. Well, I know she did some cooking in there. But Rachel spent yesterday typing the sequel to her book, Becoming Sencra's Queen. She doesn't have a title for it yet, but she's kicking around something like, Sencra's Fate. I can't wait to read it. She won't tell me much about it yet. I guess she wants to finish typing it first. She writes them out by hand while sitting in bed at night. I usually write by hand first too--just not this blog.

Sam worked on Lego stuff the last couple days. He's entering another stop-motion video contest. This time the winner gets his animation put in with the credits at the beginning of the Lego Movie! That's pretty serious. Also, they get all the sets from the movie, which haven't come out yet. He's dying to see them.

This morning Rachel was reading How They Learn by Cynthia Tobias, and she had us cracking up. They have learning types listed--more like personality types. She decided which one of them each of us is and read to us all the things that bother us or that would help other people get along with us. It was completely amazing. We felt like they had a hidden camera in our house. There are 4 types in the book, and the three kids and I represent one of each type. No wonder we're all crazy! Poor Sarah is the most organized one and has to put up with all of us and our chaos. Well, Sam's not chaotic, but he ignores the chaos. I don't think Sarah can ignore it. Wilson's just like her, but I think he could ignore it pretty well; so I guess that's how he survived.

When I asked Rachel if she had decided which one Jeff is, she didn't know yet; and Sam said, "He's unexplained." Which cracked us up further, because that's the truth! I think Jeff is the same one as Sarah, but I'm not completely sure. I know that he doesn't love my papers and books on the floor, but having them there is the only way I can find them. When someone cleans the room, I have to go around asking where it all is. And they're never quite sure. If I put it all away, I'd lose it. If it's right there on the floor, I'm good. In fact, here's the stuff by my bed right now. This isn't much, because I had to clean it up recently. Jeff thinks I'm going to fall over it one day, but I never do. I guess I know it's there even if I'm half asleep.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Day 138--Busy

It's nice to relax this evening after a busy day. First thing this morning, the plumber came and fixed a couple things I've been neglecting to tell the landlord. Just a couple slightly leaky faucets. He had to change the whole kitchen faucet. I was a little worried when he went to buy a new one that it would be one with a low spout. We have some very large pots and pans and I wouldn't want to go back to a low faucet. When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago in the old house, we put in a high one and I have loved it ever since. The plumber got a high one, but I don't think it's quite as high as the old one. We'll see when I have to wash a giant pot.

While the plumber was here, we tried to do math; and that was a bust. I actually got angry at Sam because he kept saying I wouldn't tell him what he was supposed to do. I kind of got loud (while the plumber was out), and then I realized that Sam hasn't been understanding this thing I've been saying all year. He just had gotten the problems right because. . . well, I'm not sure how he got them right. I know I was helping him through a lot of them, but I didn't realize he just didn't know. I guess we have more work to do after all.

After lunch, we went to the hardware store where my dad works to get a couple things. His boss lets us buy things at cost like employees. She's the owner, so that's okay. We made Rachel a set of keys--house and car--since she has her license. Now I won't find my keys lying around near my purse, but not in it. We also got some play sand. I love my teenagers that still like to play in the sandbox. I think it's relaxing to run their hands through, and feet. I guess big people play on the beach, so that makes sense.

After seeing Dad at the hardware store, we went to their house to see if they needed any floors mopped or toilets scrubbed. They needed both, so we did that. Mom said we brightened her day too. She didn't know we were coming. She fell down recently and she's still a little sore, so I want to check on her a little bit, and I like surprising her by swooping in to do some work that's not easy for them to do. Sam dusted ceiling fans with a long handled ceiling fan duster. Next time he's going to scrub the one in the kitchen. The dust on that one was stubborn because of humidity in there.

Tonight, we made stir-fry vegetables and I sat on the deck watching everyone play frisbee. I also worked on my writing project book. I came up with a name for it that I love. I always have to name everything before I can do too much work on it. I actually have the names for several books I need to write.

I came up with seven categories of projects and made a list of the ideas that I have for each category so far. I was thinking I should have about the same number of projects for each in order to have some uniformity. So I counted the projects on each list, and there were seven on every one of them. So I guess I don't have to come up with any more to even it out; I just have to give some details and find samples of my kids' writing or write samples for them. I am totally excited about it. Aren't you?

See you tomorrow!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Day 137--I'm an unschooler (this week)

Every year in May, we get tired of having school. After we've finished our standardized testing, I guess we just lose motivation. I haven't even ordered the tests yet, and we've already started feeling like we just want to be done. We have 8 weeks left. That's kind of early to be wanting to stop. I wonder if it has to do with Rachel graduating. She's giving us all senioritis; I'm sure it's contagious, and she definitely has it. She only needs to finish her math book and do the research project, but she just doesn't want to. Poor thing.

So this week we haven't done anything structured. We've been reading Jane Eyre, doing some random Strayer-Upton math problems, talking, talking, and talking. And Sam's been making some new stop motion videos. Oh, and we've watched several episodes of My Favorite Martian from the 60's. I've had my brain on some things I need to do to get out there a little better, and Jeff's just been tired because he's working early mornings this month.

We've taken Sarah out driving a couple times. She's getting better each time, but she used the wrong pedal once and got confused and flustered. I had her pull over, put it in park and think about what the pedal does as she stepped on it (going back and forth between the pedals several times). Then the next time she had to use the break kind of fast, she said her foot went right to it. I'll have to remember that technique for other things I teach them.

So I say I'm an unschooler this week because we've been doing what we want, reading what we want, and just thinking about what we're interested in. It's good sometimes. I mean we do that all the time, but not only that. We didn't feel very productive sometimes; and when Jeff called during the day and asked what we were doing, I didn't really want to say that we weren't doing anything much. Maybe next week we'll be less tired. I just haven't been able to shake it. Of course staying up late doesn't help.

See you next week!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Day 136--Better off with Siblings

On the radio, we heard that people are less likely to get divorced if they grow up with siblings. They said that by the time you're 11 years old, you're spending 1/3 of your time with your siblings (that is really sad). They said that for each sibling you have, the chances of divorce go down 2%. I thought it would be much higher. So Rachel said that when you get to spend 3/3 of your time with your siblings, it would go up to 6% per sibling. So clever!

Sarah observed that people in families can ruin each other's lives. And I said that may be true, and of course family members have a big effect on each other. But that's just what we do, right. We can have a huge positive impact on each other in a family, though. Feelings can be so contagious, can't they? Whenever someone's grumpy, the rest of us are. I know that happens at your house too. But if somebody's dancing around to bouncy music, the mood in the entire house lightens. Let's be clear; Jeff's the only one that does that in our house. But it makes us all laugh.

We listened to a speech about the power of words by a performance psychologist this morning. I've never heard of a performance psychologist. It was about positive and negative self-talk. We've had a lot of negative talk around here for a while. If we say this or that is terrible, then we get around to telling ourselves bad things about what we do or think or are. The guy talked about training an olympic skier and how she went from a nobody to being in the olympics in seven months by hard work and positive self-talk. It's amazing to think about, and I can see it in my own life. I wish I had known years ago, because I would have tried to change what I've been telling myself for a long time. I guess I better start now.

I couldn't resist this picture. It's from when Wilson and Kamille were here last.

Kamille posted a little video of Eliza taking a few steps on facebook today. She'll be 10 months on Thursday. How can she get cuter every time I see her? I guess that'll go on for years.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Day 135--Communication Game

We played the communication game tonight. You know, where one person has their eyes closed and they draw exactly what another person tells them to draw. I went first with Sam telling me what to draw. I knew I was going to draw a face, so I guess I had an advantage. It came out pretty well. Sam did a great job of telling me which way to move my pen and when to stop. Here's my face. I'm not sure if the pointy thing on top is hair or a hat.

Rachel had a little trouble giving exact instructions to Sarah. Here's hers. I just don't know what to say about that. I was there, and I still don't know what happened!

Sarah had another driving lesson in the cemetery today. Jeff gave it this time. Although it was very hard for me and Rachel not to give our opinions too. After Sarah got finished, Rachel jumped into the driver's seat to drive home. She said she needed to after that. I found myself wanting to tell Rachel what to do all over again. She didn't love that, but she understood it.

Since we finished Sam and Sarah's math book, I just had them do some multi-step money problems today. I thought they were fun, but Sam thought we were reverting back too far to the basics. I'll have to give them something hard tomorrow. I'm planning to have them do the unused pages from the student book during the next 9 weeks. I think it's 9. I can't believe Rachel is graduating in 9 weeks. Crazy! Then Sam's going to be in high school. Grown-ups! I like my teenagers.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Day 134--Our Anniversary

Yesterday was our 28th anniversary! Most people are surprised that I've been married that long. While I have started to look my age in the last several years, I got married at 18. So I'm a little young to be married 28 years. We made a nice dinner last night to celebrate, but we ate with the kids. We just didn't want to cook for us and them, since none of us can eat out because of allergies. But after dinner, the kids went to a party--Rachel drove them! So Jeff and I hung around the house for a little while. It was relaxing.

He's been taking Sarah out for driving lessons. Today they went on a road that has a 50 mph speed limit. She didn't go that fast, but I wasn't too happy about it. I don't think she's ready for that yet. There are a lot of 45 and 50 mile an hour speed limits around where we live now. When Rachel and Wilson learned to drive, we lived around a lot of 25 and 35 mile an hour limits. I liked that better. I guess we'll get through it, though.

Rachel's been driving Sarah and herself to an early morning scripture study class for high schoolers that our church has. It's called Seminary. They haven't been able to go before, because I couldn't get up that early to take them. It starts at 6:00 am. When I was in high school, my class started at 5:30! I had to wake up at 5:00 and leave 10 minutes later. Thankfully, their class is only 5 minutes away. They've been tired, but they like it a lot. They're studying the New Testament this year. Next year, Sam will be going since he'll be in 9th grade. Rachel's graduating, but she'll take them to Seminary so I don't have to wake up.

I can't remember if I told you that Rachel decided to stay home next year and not go to college yet. She'll take some online classes and help us start our business. I'm hoping that by a year from now, Jeff will be able to quit his job and we can just do our thing. I know that's probably crazy, but you have to dream big if you're going to dream at all. He's got vacation next month, so I want to spend it making plans and getting things started more aggressively.

Here's Sarah's first driving lesson! Love that face!
See you next week!