Yes, they do learn, thankyouverymuch

People don't understand kids. Or homeschooling. Or learning.

Seriously. I overheard a conversation where people were talking about homeschoolers. People who do not homeschool, mind you. They were talking about how this family does a really good job but this other family doesn't teach at all. They were wondering how this alleged lackadaisical family could expect the kids to learn?

This, my friends, is the problem. Until we trust that kids WANT to learn, schools won't change. The whole system models things on filling of a bucket, and then checking the bucket sometimes for leaks. In other words, forcing info down their throats and then testing to make sure they "get it." This model is not working, obviously. Why do the powers that be seem to think MORE testing will make it work BETTER? Does this work for YOU when you try and learn something? I doubt it.

Why not trust that humans of all ages enjoy learning things. Make this learning available. Encourage the learning. Light the fire and watch/help it burn.

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It's here already!

After an evening at a lovely child's birthday party where I got to chat with my friends but Stella spent the night in a tree by herself and Sandis hid behind me whining, I stopped at the liquor store.  Guess what I found?

Yes! It's here already! My favorite, favorite beer :)  And look what it says under the cap.

Yes, I do think it was a night bravely done.

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So I am not a master dream interpreter.  Really, I'm not.  I love when I can remember them, especially if they are all convoluted, but I don't actually find hidden mystery in there.  I usually find things from the previous days that hung around in my subconscious and mixed in with bizarre elements gleaned from my all-time memories and created something resembling what I assume a hallucinogenic trip would be like (never taken the magic bus myself.)

Take last night for example.

First dream, Miller Farms.  Not surprising since the kids want to go there and I need to plan it.  It's on my mind because I really don't feel like going.  It's a ton of work to process all that produce when we get home, not to mention finding a whole day to devote to the trip itself - harvesting food, playing on the jumpy thing, riding the mini-train, sledding down the dirt hill, etc, etc and doing the corn maze.

You see, the girls decided, out of the blue, they like corn mazes again.  After several years of hideous outbursts at the mere mention of corn mazes, NOW they want to do one.  Have I mentioned my graduate work was in corn? And I've walked through enough corn in my life thankyouverymuch.  So, do I go by ourselves? Rope Brian into going with us on a weekend (when it's crazy busy)? Try and organize a field trip with our friends? Yep, it's on my mind.

Second dream, playing hockey.  I often dream about hockey because I miss playing.  BC (before children,) I played all the time.  I was in two leagues, had games and practices 2-3 days a week, went to the gym on off days.  This time I was playing with some old team mates plus some current friends (yep, Lana, you were there.)  One person was out there in a wheelchair as a nod to my inclusive UU self (not to subconscious, they play in sleds, not wheelchairs when the need arises.) 

Third dream.  Third and fourth dreams morphed out of the 2nd so hang on! The hockey morphed into cleaning hockey equipment in the front yard, where there was also accumulated yard sale finds.  Why did I purchase several rugs, a plant stand and a ton of knick knacks? And why did I arrange them in the front yard? This is the drug trip portion, no explanation necessary.

In any case, some high school kids came by with there beat-up SUV and were collecting things from the neighbor for their huge HS rummage sale.  They thought *my* stuff was for the taking too (note to self, next time, say yes, even if it's a dream.)  I said no, but I had stuff inside.  I ran in and started stuffing things into bags (old clothes, toys, etc.)  This is when we proceed to...

Dream four, packing to move.  Yes, I decided to start getting rid of even more stuff because, well, we were packing to move anyway.  This is the whole crux of the post, my dreams of moving.  Over the past year, I have dreamed at least 4 times that we are moving because Brian got a new job.  And all these moves are rush - like 2 weeks to pack up, sell house (ha!), and be in the new place.  Is he looking for a new job? No. His job is quite secure and the company doing well despite the economy.

And guess where we move to in all these dreams? Kansas. Yes, Kansas.  Seriously? I would never want to move to Kansas! It holds nothing for us, it's windy, it's flat.  Why on earth do I dream we move to Kansas? (No, we have NOT watched the Wizard of Oz lately.)  Well this time my subconscious remembered that I didn't like the Kansas move.  I actually was telling someone in the dream about previous Kansas-move dreams as I told them we were moving to, wait for it, Kentucky.  Sigh.  I guess I can only move to K states in dreamland.

So, dream interpreters, why on earth do I dream of moving? And why Kansas? For the record, no new starts in my life currently, nor am I looking for any.  If you have ideas, please post in the comments :)


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It's Monday morning and we get up and start doing schoolwork.  Being homeschoolers this means we aren't dressed yet, isn't that nice? I think so.  Stella is excited to start her math, which is on the computer, Teaching Textbooks.  She's loving this new math because 1) it's new, 2) it's on the computer, and 3) it's all basically review at this point so it's easy.  Ask me again in 6 months how much she likes it.  That will be telling.

In any case, she jumped on her computer and asked where her math disk was.  Things went to hell from there.

  • Um, where did you put it? I don't know.  [frantic looking around on her desk while I berate her for leaving disks strewn about on said desk]
  • Did you even take it out of the computer? Well, no.  
  • Then why are you looking for it? Did you check the cd drive? Both of them? No.  
  • Which cd drive do you use? I don't know, both of them.  
  • Which one do you use when you play games? Both of them, I don't know.  

Are you confused? I was confused.

Turns out the disk IS in the cd drive.  Problem is that the cd drive isn't recognizing the disk.  Not good.  Gets even better, cd drive isn't recognizing the disk because computer isn't recognizing the cd drive.  Well, that does explain why things aren't working, doesn't it.  Glad the disk isn't wrecked as it's not actually ours.  We get the math curriculum through the quasi-school for free.  If we lose/ruin it, we have to buy it.  At $150 for this particular curriculum.  

I sit down at her computer to try and fix things.  Keyboard is a nightmare.  Stuck keys, keys that don't work.  I go through various things to try and fix the errant cd drive but no dice, computer refuses to believe that the drive exists besides the fact that I. can. see. it. right. there.  Dammit.

Email Brian to see if he has any ideas and get totally frustrated with keyboard.  Decide to clean it a bit.  Shake it upside down and a pile of nastiness comes out.  Stella says, "that's a lot of sand."  Um, how does she know that it is s-a-n-d and not some other dirt? Oh, because she has a balloon full of sand right here! Cool, right?!

I did not beat, or even scream at, her.  I get gold stars.

After cleaning out the keyboard, during which time she accused ME of breaking it, (honey, I only popped off some keys to get the CEREAL out of there, I didn't dump sand in it!) I got out this lovely pile of crap:

For those of you who were reading along and thinking, "spoiled kids these days have their own computers, grumble, back in my day, grumble, walk up hill both ways, bitch, etc," this picture explains why they have their own computers.  I don't want THIS happening to MY computer.  Their computers are the $10 castoffs from Brian's company.  When they upgrade the computers at work, they sell off the old ones to get rid of them.  This is how my children get their own computers.  It is a $20 investment for both children to have their own computers and not to ever have to touch mine.  Totally. worth. it.

Well, that lovely break is over.  I'm done swearing at Stella's computer (which is waiting for her dad to fix it) and the girls are done weighing the chickens (don't ask) and are working on their schoolwork again.  Just another day of chaos in our lovely little homeschooling home.

BTW, still in our pajamas.  Jealous?  ;)

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I'm NOT tired

After getting up early, attending quasi-school all day and then going to therapy group, Sandis was NOT tired.  Crying endlessly because you have to take a shower (which you have to do every day) is not a sign of being tired.  No, that's your mother being unreasonable.  Ditto on doing the dishes.

When someone suggests that you are tired, you should cry and throw yourself on the ground while repeating over and over that you are not tired.  That should prove to your parents that you aren't tired at. all.

I think she's really 2yrs old, not closing in on 11yrs.

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Poor parenting

Cutest damn jolly roger ever.

I am such a bad parent that I totally forgot that yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate day.  And it was the ONE day a week they go to school so they would have had other kids to pirate about with too.  My children could have been "Argggg" and "Matey-ing" all day long.  But no, instead, they were victims of poor parenting.

And, if that were not bad enough, when I asked them if they would have talked to their teachers in pirate talk, they said, "NO!"  Really? Not even a, "I'd rather swab 'e decks 'en take 'em notes!"
or even an, "Arg, I 'm present t'day."  They wouldn't even think of speaking like a pirate to their teachers.  Sigh.  Such a bad parent.  I don't even know where to go from here...

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Today while the kids were at quasi-school, I knitted while watching Lost.

All. Damn. Day.

It was lovely.

I have no apologies, it was fabulous.

The one where Shawn's head explodes

I used to plan field trips and I still do volunteer work that requires I send out information and could receive questions back.  You know what drives an introvert to not volunteer to do such things? Stupid emails.  They are an intrusion into my life to which I am required to respond.  Yes, many of the emails are completely valid.  Questions where the information is not in the email/flyer I sent out.  Or a special case that is really warranted - an allergy or something of that nature.  But soooo many are people who don't pay attention or want special treatment.

This is the type of email I might send out if I was planning a field trip.  It would read something like:

Here are the details for our FunLandSuperFun trip! Can't wait to see everyone there.

  • Date: Tuesday, September 5th
  • Time: 8:50am.  Our tour starts at 9am sharp! It takes 30 minutes to get there from OurTown, please plan on that.  If you are going to be late, please call xxx.xxxx and we'll let you know where in the tour to meet us.
  • What to bring: Lunch, water bottle, sunscreen, sweatshirt/light jacket
  • Cost: $5/kid, $10/adult, <5yrs old/free

  • Apple Family (3)
  • Ball Family (4)
  • Cougar-Dalmation Family (2)
  • etc

It's a simple, straight-forward, all the info is there and nothing else email.  Could there be questions? Sure.  But here will be the typical responses I will receive:

  • We can't make it until 9:30am, could you back the start time up a bit?
  • Tuesday's aren't good for us, because of blahblahblah and they aren't good for FamilyX either and FamilyY does thisotherthing on Tuesdays.  Can you set up another trip for Wednesday?
  • What day is it on again?
  • We didn't RSVP and I know registration closed 3 weeks ago, but can we come?
  •  How much does it cost?
  • I can't go to from my phone, could you just email me the instructions, preferably written in Sanskrit, on how to get there.  I don't have time to get on the computer at home.
  • My kid isn't allergic to anything but we're avoiding peaches because it might help with something.  Can you be sure that no one brings peaches on the trip.  I don't want my 10 year old to accidentally get a hold of one.  Plus she hates it when other people eat peaches and she can't. [note: real allergy concerns, totally valid.  And if you want to avoid foods, go for it.  I've done it myself w/my kids.  But totally NOT the organizer's issue.]
  • Can you arrange carpooling? I can't possibly do it myself, I'm too busy and I don't understand email.
  • Should I bring a lunch or is that provided? If it's not, can you see if we can have a lunch provided? Of course it goes without saying that it would need to be organic vegan sushi.
  • whatt ime does itstart? 
  • I'd really like it better if we planned this as an overnight trip.  Why don't you do that.
  • i never got the original email about this trip because i don't read my emails so i didn't know about it and i want to come can i come please pretty please
  • Why doesn't it cost $4.75 for kids? My cousin's brother's girlfriend's friend's grocer's kid went here as a school trip 3 years ago and they said they totally got in for that price.  You need to call.
  • I don't know if we can make it, but if we can, can we just show up that morning?
  • I don't think we'll make it because our hamster misses us too much.
  • I can't read this email attachment because the format is .doc and I can only read reallyolddocumentformateveryonehasforgottenusedtoexist.  Could you print it off and mail it to me?
  • I don't like to give out my email address or phone number but I will need a reminder the day before so I don't forget to come :) [told to you in person and you have no idea who they are]

In order to not be one of the people above you just have to follow a few simple rules.  Really, they are s.i.m.p.l.e.
  • Read your email.  Yes, I know, I skim stuff.  But if there is an email with information about a trip, class, etc, etc, I go back and re-read it thoroughly before asking a question.  I also check previous emails from that person.  I should NOT bother them because I failed to pay attention.  That is my fault, not theirs.
  • Realize that the world does not revolve around you. This means that the organizer didn't plan it on a day you couldn't come, she planned it on a day that worked for her - not about you.  Also, it's not the organizer's job to arrange extra things or alternatives that you want.  You may think you are a specialsnowflake.  You're not.  You are being a douchecanoe.
  • If you say you'll come, then dammit, you come.  There are a few acceptable excuses - the kind of things that would keep your kid out of school if they went to public school.  And even if you do have a valid excuse, you should still call and let someone know you won't be there.  Very few reasons that call couldn't happen..
  • Realize that everyone is busy, not just you. 
  • If your computer is a million years old, have a backup plan.  Maybe your spouse could print things at their work or you could make a trip to the library.  I realize not everyone is up to date on the newest technology, but if you are still in 2001, it's not everyone else's job to make sure things work for you.  Same if you aren't computer literate, find someone to help or teach you.

And I have to say many thanks to those who are considerate.  To those who thank people.  Those who may occasionally have a conflict, but they work it out.  You are the people who keep me going as I deal with the others.  I love you guys!!!   [and by others I just mean others.  Not like The Others on Lost.  They are freaky BAD people! They kill and kidnap people.  To my knowledge, no one I know or associate with kills and/or kidnaps people.  Some of them are just asshats at times.  Not nearly as bad as killing and/or kidnapping people.]

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I forgot.

Sandis is becoming a teenager faster than I can shake my fist and cry, "damn kids these days!"  Still, she is not quite there yet as evidenced by her little girl-esque tendencies.

For instance, losing everything.  She loses things practically every day.  Some things are obviously right. in. front. of. her. face. if she would only look.  Like the shoes which hide beneath the chair on which she is perched.  Or the drink that has hidden itself behind her book.

Other things simply vanish.  Take her masking tape.  One of her quasi-school classes required a roll of masking tape.  She and I purchased this, along with other school supplies.  In the car, she put all of her things in to one bag.  Upon arriving home, she put this bag in the designated school supply area to await the first day of school.  That day arrived and left, the tape, nowhere to be found.  Another week passed and the tape did not turn up.  It had vaporized, apparently.

She also forgets things.  Today she almost left for quasi-school sans backpack because, well, she forgot.  On the first day of school she also forgot fabric scraps, thread, the aforementioned tape and other things.  Do you know what her response to me was when I asked how she could forget things that were in a specific school supply place?  Things that I had asked her if she put in her backpack? She said, completely seriously, without a hint of humor, "You probably need to check my backpack every time to make sure the stuff is in there that I say is in there."  I laughed, which was not the response she was expecting.  Hello child, you are 10 years old, pack your own school crap.  It's sink or swim time, kiddo, you're old enough to take the heat at school when you forget shit.

Today after quasi-school, I asked if she had finally remembered to take everything.  Her shocking answer, "I need post-it notes for Shakespeare."  I had not heard of this requirement.  Yep, she forgot to tell me.

Let's not even go into the things she "doesn't have any" of because she can't find them.  Despite the fact that the eye doctor claims she has perfect vision, she can't find an awful lot of things.  Often, she doesn't have any shorts, shirts, pants, underwear....yes, it's true.  I refuse to give my children clothes.  Or maybe, just possibly, it's that I refuse to go into her room and retrieve dirty clothes hidden under things or strewn about? I'll let you decide.

I'm not hopeful that this will end when she hits her actual teen years.

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Really? Yes, really.

Stella claims to have not slept at all last night.  She says she took her nighttime medicine as well as 2 melatonins.  When Sandis came to our bed at 3am, Stella was on her computer.  Definitely was up by 7:15am when Brian got up.  Not sure if there was any sleep before or in between those points.

This morning she is a crazy manic child playing on her computer.  At the moment, she is a happy manic, not a cranky, mean manic, so I'll take it. Still, with that kind of behavior, you'd think it was she, not her sister, who suggested a walk around the block with the chickens.  You read that right, they are taking a walk around the block, each girl carrying a chicken.  Don't believe me? (It is pretty unbelievable, I know.) Photographic evidence:

Sandis, describing to me how much "Prey" will enjoy her walk.  Don't ask for an explanation as to why this chicken is named Prey.  Or why that is not her only name.  It's long and complicated and I usually stop listening after a while so I'm not sure what the conclusion is.

They're off!

Stella: "Mommy, no pictures.  Sandis, yes, we need to go around the long block.  I don't want to go the short way and neither do the chickens.  Look at how much Nemo likes it, cutelittlechickensmushywushy.  Ok, we can go the short block but we might have to do it twice.  MOMMY, no pictures!!" How could I not take pictures of this?

I can only imagine that this walk will need to be repeated 3 more times so that all the chickens get a chance, that would only be fair (and Stella is very, VERY into what's fair.) 

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A DIY Mace

One day, Stella decided to create a mace.  Not just any mace, one made out of a crab apple with cactus spines found in our yard.  She meticulously put each spine into the apple with a tweezers so that the barbed end of the cactus needle pointed out, just like on the cactus.

For the record, she didn't want me to show this to everyone as it's "not a real mace since I didn't put the handle on it."  I think it's impressive.  She thought it was impressive too when she later stepped on it - ouch! Still, she didn't complain.  Much.

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