Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Where's the School in Homeschool?

As I was browsing homeschool blogs this evening, a thought occurred to me. I share about our home life, but I don't say much about our schooling. You might begin to wonder if we really ARE homeschoolers. Yep, bona fide, card-carrying members of both Home School Legal Defense Association and our local umbrella school. Sometimes we even do schoolwork. Ha. Just kidding about that last. We do schoolwork every day! We do religion every day, we do math every day, and well, you get the picture...

We might do it a little differently, though. Certainly we do some things differently than I did twenty years ago. Because we live in an apartment, if the boys occasionally want to use their spending money to walk to the pop machine, I figure the exercise balances out the calories. And the treat (as well as the caffeine) boosts everyone's mood and production level. Ironically, I heard that soda pop has been banned in Baltimore County Public Schools, a decision I would undoubtedly have applauded a very short time ago. (And some of you may be shaking your heads at me.)

We do math a little differently, too. Robert (16) works on his own math, then looks up to see what Peter and I need help with. Math is not my strong suit and I tend to get through seventh grade math before struggling. (Peter is in eighth.) I always thought I'd learn upper level math right along with my kids, but there was always something else...babies and toddlers, and so on. Just when I thought I'd be able to learn math along with the youngest, I decided to work on learning Braille with him instead.

And of course, that's another thing we do differently. Almost every day Peter reads in three different "modes", as I call it. He listens to books on tape, reads to me in Braille, and reads to himself a few pages of a book under the video magnifier.

This isn't a picture of our whole schoolday, but just some snippets to let you know that yes, Virginia, there really is a homeschool here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

We Did It!

With Robert's encouragement, and with borrowing Paul's html from my Mothers Almanac website, I fumbled around until I got the pictures up on the template. Now you can click on either a title or a picture and go "read all about it" can order Chats with God's Little Ones...or you can view, download or print the free Little Saint Therese book. Enjoy!

Morning Coffee

Despite the cold (well, after all, it IS up to 38 now), I decided to make the short drive to the store to buy some MILK before school. But first I would make a nice hot cup of coffee to take along. Got it all brewed and opened the fridge to get the milk to pour into it. (I hope that makes you laugh.)

Well, I found out that a teaspoon of powdered milk serves the same purpose. And with fresh milk well over $3.00 a gallon, I think I've stumbled onto a great idea.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sometimes the Old Way is Best

I found a place in blogger, to click on, that said "Revert to Classic Template". Ahh, much happier. Got my window links back the way I want them now! I just have to learn how to do the html to add a picture to the template. Another day...

Computer "Games"

Google has been "inviting" me to change my blog template to customization. I thought it would be a good thing, because I've been wanting to put a picture of my book with the link for the book (make that two). So...last night I read a blog entry from A Catholic Mom in Hawaii. She had just done the blogger customization update. She said it was a three-hour headache. But just knowing someone else had done it, gave me the confidence to take on the project today.

Well, one nice thing is: no more html. Nice? A minute ago, when I checked out my blog, I realized that if you click on a link, then when you're done at the "other place", if you just exit, you just exit! Ha! Is that clear as mud? What I mean is that I had set up most of my links so that when you were done with them, you automatically came back to my blog (it's called opening in a new window, and unfortunately, I don't even remember HOW I did that in the first place). Well, no more. So I was just lamenting, "I want my html back!" (oh, boo hoo).

Not to give you the wrong idea. I don't "speak" html. But I know how to copy!

Well, before, I couldn't figure out how to get a picture on my template. Now I can't figure out how to open a new window...and I still haven't been able to post a picture on my template. Maybe if I keep working at this for three hours, maybe, just maybe, a headache later, I'll figure it out?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tidbit from St. Francis de Sales

"Since the goodness of God is so immense that one moment is enough to obtain and receive His grace, what assurance can we have, that he who was yesterday a sinner is not today a saint?"

St. Francis de Sales in his book Introduction to a Devout Life.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"My Putt-Putt Car"

This is my "putt-putt car". Isn't it beautiful? Each day that I drive it, I thank God for giving it to me for another day. It's a 1993 model, which we bought in 1998. It now has over 164,000 miles.

The reason I call it my "putt-putt car" is because I am "supposed" to drive it at or below 40 m.p.h. Obviously, I don't generally take it on the freeway. I don't generally take it too far away, because last time I did, it began to huff and puff (putting it in human terms). But most of the time - with the current driving - it purrs like a kitten.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Christmas" in January

Books! Oh, how I love books! So today is like Christmas. My bookmobile brought me an old friend from my youth, Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes. And my mailbox brought me an even greater treasure, The Catholic Homeschool Companion, Selected and Edited by Maureen Wittmann and Rachel Mackson.

Now I'm all ready to settle in for a long winter's read. See you in the Spring. Oh, wait; I was just kidding. Stay tuned. I will just have to read a little here and a little there...or do I mean a little here and a lot there?

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Sort of Non-Post

I'm trying real hard to keep on posting now no matter what else is going on in my life. However, when hubby goes down with the flu, it gets even more interesting...especially as he doesn't do things half-way. Why do we make so many tremendous mental discoveries in the middle of the night? Such as, were we to need one, where would the nearest hospital be? And that we really ought to have a doctor that we actually visit now and then. Seven months we've lived here, and apparently in some ways, I still haven't finished "moving in" yet.

However, the last couple of days people I run into while out shopping have been SO nice. I'm not even referring to the cashiers, but just people going out a door as I'm going in, and such as that. They seem to give me a big smile. So...anyone out there reading this who's been wanting to give us a smile or a hug or a kind word, maybe God is passing it on for you! Thanks!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Meet Paul

This is the son you're praying for. (If you weren't, you are now.) Paul woke up one day last week with blurriness in one eye. Yesterday he was diagnosed with the same thing that caused his youngest brother Peter to suddenly and unexpectedly become legally blind at the age of nine. It's called Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy or LHON for short. At this time, there is no treatment. Paul may or may not keep the vision in his other eye.

(In the picture above, he's only squinting because of the flash. There was nothing wrong with his vision before last Wednesday.)

Paul is an artist and as he says, a storyteller. He is a college student in Kentucky, enjoys his family and friends, and likes a good laugh. He has a strong faith and is in good spirits with a good attitude. He appreciates all your prayers.

Born Under the Sign of the Cross

Last night I received an email from someone who had visited my blog. She commented on my being into astrological signs. I couldn't believe it. Well, it turns out that when you clicked on my profile, it told my astrological sign. Interesting. I didn't put that information in there, so who did? An elf? (Nope, folks, I don't believe in elves, either.)

So this morning I took out my profile. Decided I didn't like that idea. So I put my profile back up, but instead I took my birthdate out of the profile information. That did the trick! How about that! Who needs to know how old I am, anyway? I have been homeschooling for over twenty years and have graying hair. That's all you need to know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Saturday Night Fervor

Household Hint: "It is better to do a half-way job than no job at all." I think I made that up...long ago. I used to say this often, but somewhere along the way I had totally forgotten.

Saturday is usually my heavy cleaning day. This past Saturday I spent a lot of the day on the phone with relatives and a close friend. It wasn't frivolous. But it did keep me from my cleaning. At nearly 9 p.m. I decided that I was too tired to clean and it would have to wait til next week...period. And then I thought of what I would be doing Sunday afternoon: I would be staring at my house in anguish, perhaps pulling out the vacuum because it was definitely necessary...when I needed the day of rest God gave me.

So I decided to just vacuum the heavy traffic areas...and clean the toilets...and sweep the kitchen. Now that's not exactly heavy cleaning. But I could muster up the energy for it in the evening and feel good about facing the next day.

Okay, I'm going to have to re-write that saying. "It's better to do (even) a 10th of a job than no job at all!"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Rosary Update

Last night I happened to get up in the night, and since I was up, I happened to start worrying about someone who was out (not my only worry). So of course I wanted to say a Rosary. Being alone and still in the quiet of the night, I thought it would be nice to say it through a Rosary website. So I went to my own website here and clicked on the Mission Rosary link. When much to my dismay I discovered that I didn't have Macromedia Flash installed on my computer, I decided to forget it (that website, not the Rosary). Who wants to experiment with adding new programs at 2:45 a.m.? case you have a similar situation, I have now added another link which I entitled "Simple Rosary Site". It has pictures and short meditations. It even has cute little boxes to check when you finish each prayer, so you don't loose your place. I think there is background music -- if you don't happen to be using it in the middle of the night, in a place where everyone could hear whatever you do...a time when my speakers are definitely off, and my only concern my noisy keyboard (my keyboards are always noisy after I've used them for awhile. I get accused of pounding the keyboard. Who me? I think that some part of my finger memory tends to revert to the old manual typewriters (if that doesn't date me!).

Good night and God bless!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Homeschool Carnival

You can visit the latest Homeschool Carnival, hosted by Mary Ann Bernard, where you will find lots of wonderful articles!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Peter's Gingerbread House

Here is the Gingerbread House that Peter assembled after Christmas (the kit was a Christmas present). He actually refrained from eating it until it was completed and all the pictures taken. Of course he is sharing it with us all. From Lego structures and Gingerbread houses, maybe some day he will get to build his own house...or at least repair and remodel.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Christmas Holiday at the Inner Harbor

Here's where Ed works. Well, no, he's not a longshoreman, nor does he work on a submarine, but this is a part of the Inner Harbor area of Baltimore, which is the area where his building is located.

This was the day after Christmas and we were showing the Inner Harbor to the kids visiting from Kentucky. It was SO GREAT having them here with the rest of us for a few days!

I would love to show you a picture of all six kids together at the harbor; however, I have one adult among them who doesn't want his picture out there for the world to see. We will have to content ourselves with individual pictures which I will include in the future.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Today Sam's Club; Tomorrow the World

Today we shopped at Sam's Club for the first time. I love all the open space in that place! Tomorrow my project is to "divvy up the goods". I plan to put the 28 weiners in smaller packages, and divide and cook some of the chicken and bell pepper, and such as that, before freezing them. And of course I have to figure out where I'm going to put the cases of soup! (Under the bed?)

I don't have the ambition (or perhaps the space) to do canning, like Maureen Wittmann does, but I think I'm going to have fun and save a little money with my new project.

Maybe come spring I will even start growing something on my balcony. Could a "black thumb" become a "green thumb" if one starts out small? I have an extra bucket, so that could be my plot of land, right?