Monday, October 18, 2010

Field trip-Constitution Day

So on one of my homeschooling support group web sites, they mention a week-long celebration of Constitution Day. I had no idea I lived only 2 hours away from one of the founding fathers' homes, so we went to learn about Charles Pinckney and life in Colonial Times. It was a long drive from Columbia to Mount Pleasant so we got there a little later than we thought. Lesson learned .... (by mom only). C. Pinckney's plantation is a national park now but they didn't charge an entry fee, which was really nice.

You could see people in period dress walking around and manning tables that each spoke of a facet of Colonial life. The first one we walked too was a "mommy" interest, but they got a little interested once the woman explained that the cotton she was spinning would make yarn for knitting (my newest hobby). Look at their entranced faces! (insert sarcasm font here)

Candle making was the next table. It was interesting to see that not much has changed in the process. Upon seeing that they were the only boys at this table, the boys whispered to me that they thought we should move to a table that was more for boys. It was a good moment to teach them that back in the 1700's, there were very defined gender roles. "Boys did this, girls did that". They were amazed at how many of the activities they enjoy would not have been available to them because it used to be considered "woman's work".

Next was learning about food preparation. It was very funny when the woman asked the boys if they knew why the colonists had to dry and preserve their meat and food. My youngest piped up with "Because Little Debbie snack cakes hadn't been invented yet." I must say, the lady handled it well. Her reply was..."yeeeees, AND because refrigerators hadn't been invented either!"

Then there was a whole table of period toys. It was comical to see the boys look at all of the toys and think, "That's it??????" You could see how they were under the impression that colonial boys spent a lot of time being bored. The woman explained how even in colonial times, boys had lots of chores to do.

Next came learning about plants that were used in similar ways then and now. They got to pick out a modern substance (bug repellent, mouthwash) from a basket and she explained to them what plant they used for similar uses (citronella, mint).

We went into the plantation house from here where the boys immediately made me fear for the structural integrity of the building. They went through the displays with their typical monkeys on a rampage level of enthusiasm, so we didn't stop to read any of the history. We did take the time to have the boys sign their names on a piece of parchment like the founding fathers did.

Next we saw the blacksmith! Shazam! Instant entrancement for boys!!! I must confess I was pretty entranced myself. I didn't remember to take any pictures because we were so busy asking questions and I was buys asking Zack to back away from the hot coals.
After the blacksmith, we went to a brick making table. We learned about the types of bricks used to make Fort Sumter. We also got to see one made!

Then.... drumroll please.... oh no pun intended... maybe a little one....we learned about slave music, mainly drums! They taught the boys a kind of rhythm, Kuku, that came from West Guinea, Africa. We spent some considerable time there because they were having such a good time.

Then.... they spotted the Revolutionary soldier with the musket. Suddenly it was "MUSIC SHMUSIC! We want to see the gun" So this young man was very friendly and informative. He did a whole lesson on the musket, soldier's life in the 1700's, battle strategy and a field of battle descriptions. All while kids are talking, interrupting, not listening, etc. He handled the crowd very well.

Lastly the boys learned about how second to cotton, rice was a huge product in the south. They learned how to winnow the rice and to grind the hulls off of the rice.

By this time, we are all pretty tired, so we went to the gift shop and then went home. Yet another long drive, but it was a great day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

2 steps forward....

1 mile backwards!

Went walking with hubby... faster than last night's walk....still okay.
On the suck-o-meter only a 2 out of 10 (cuz I am NOT a morning person).
BUT then went to Waffle House for breakfast

Thus the one mile backwards!

Waffle House

How I love thee!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's a start!

Well, I didn't start as gung-ho as Bendoeslife did it, but I went walking with the husband! And the dog! I got off of the couch.... that counts right?

Oh and thinking of the comments my son has made this week to me not in a hateful way, but still hurtful, helps give me a little gung-ho-edness....

First he compared me to Garfield the fat, lazy cat.
Then he showed the Wii fit board to a friend and said "that's my mom's....she really needs it as you can tell..."


Okay, God, I get it. I'm picking up what you are puttin' down. I'm hearing you!

It begins......

Well, my friend Laurie posted on FB a video of a YOUNG man (24 years old) who by just starting to run one day, has lost over 120 pounds. I have been looking and looking for inspiration and energy and ..... well.... this video was really inspiring.... now all I need is the energy! I mean this kid (did I mention he's YOUNG....and 24 ?) weighed way more than I do and did it just to make his Memaw happy. That is so sweet..... I, on the other hand, am thirty *COUGH* *mumble* something years old. I homeschool 3 boys all day and then my fourth (the hubby) comes home to be taken care of as well. I won't post my measurements (because even I don't want to know) but I will confess that I have gained weight since leaving TX and I'm back up to .....sigh...... 203 pounds...*cringe*! Still WAAAAAAYY under what I was when my hubby left for the Middle East in the summer of 2006. The highest I have gotten is 274 lbs. Sooooooo not going back there. ever.... My goal? I'd be happy being in the size 8 to 10 sizes. I don't need to be super skinny or to look like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 (no matter how much my husband liked her arms). I want to be healthy and to enjoy long life! The problem is, when you are as unhealthy as I am, it's a viscious cycle. Your back hurts, sometimes due to weight, sometimes to injury (I'm the latter) so it hurts to workout. But working out may help the pain. It's hard to work through the pain so you stay overweight and unhealthy and with back pain. Unless you go on the workout plan that my husband did....
1) get deployed by the Army
2) get sent to the desert.
3) have nothing better to do to entertain yourself other than workout
4) have only yuck army food to eat
5) come home 67 lbs. lighter.

I don't have that option, so I guess I am stuck doing it the hard way. I'm going to have to push through the pain, the plateaus and the general suck-titude of working out. Because unlike my husband and sister-in-law, I don't have the addicted to working out mental illness (see previous blog so that makes it even more difficult. The thing that caught my attention the most about the video Laurie had on her FB page was it mentioned that this young man suffered from depression. In his he talks about it. Yet he fought through it to reach his goals and beyond! I can only hope to do the same.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I can edumakate my kidzzz

I just read an online article for a Charlotte, NC publication that compares me with Muslim terrorists, Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby (well, the devil worshipers in Rosemary's Baby)because I homeschool. It talks about women with braids in their hair (uh oh, I sometimes braid my hair and it is in the way if I leave it down.... uh oh!) and who wear long skirts (GASP!!!!! I sometimes wear long skirts because I find them comfortable!) as religious fanatics/martyrs committing "suicide book-learning". I realize that this is possibly a parody or a satirical piece, but the fact that ANYONE could compare homeschooling families to terrorists pisses me off.

Then, it discusses whether or not I am qualified to teach my children. In case you are wondering.... YES! I am taking this rather personally!!!! A direct quote from the article says "I know that homeschooled kids have won high-profile academic contests, but for every homeschooler that aces a spelling bee, there's some poor child being "instructed" by a parent who's barely literate herself. Teachers in the public school system are required to have certification and college degrees, yet any yahoo can force their kids to stay home as long as they pass an annual test." Ummmm.... satirical or not.... this is obnoxious!!!! There are bad examples in any sample of populace that you research (and there is a fantastic letter responding to this article talking about this) but I am tired of having to defend of what I am doing!

I may not have finished college, but this was due to poor choices not a lack of intelligence. I have 3 energetic, intelligent and loud boys. Yet I am enjoying the progress I am seeing happen in our little "School for Boys". I had always said" wow! I could never do that!" when talking to homeschooling parents. But circumstances in our lives made it the best choice for our family and our children. I am stressed and depressed and yet it has nothing to do with being a homeschooler. It has to do with having not a single local friend to go have some time out with. It has to do with not being able to have a date night with my husband because we don't know anyone who could watch the kids. It has to do with money and how expensive a move to NY is going to be. None of it has to do with being with my boys during the day.

Satire or not, there is a reason more and more people are making this choice every year. Maybe because people like the one who wrote this obnoxious article are rampant in the public school system....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nine years later.....

Another one has passed and I am always hearing that the pain recedes as time passes, but nine years later, it is still as hard as the week after the planes hit. I know it is hard on my kids to see me so upset, but I don't hide it from them because I think it's important for them to see that things that you hear about on the news affects real people. When we talk about Aunt Patrice who died in the World Trade center, she's not just the reason my middle son's middle name is Patrick. She was a hero who died trying to help a pregnant woman evacuate. She was a beloved wife, a loved sister, a cool aunt. She was murdered by people who hated this country NOT because of anything our military had done, but because our women are allowed to walk around heads and faces uncovered. Because women can vote, own property, and make decisions without a father or husband consulting. She and 2, 700+ were murdered because we refuse to stone to death gay people. Because we as a country try to judge people on the content of their character, not their gender or sexual preference. Because we are tolerant of other religions. Because our country is run on freedom (well, it was... but lets not go there) not on one religion.

It does make me sad that people seem to have become numb to September 11th. The date wasn't even mentioned in my church..not even a prayer for the victims. I noticed some people online who acted like it was any regular old day. I don't expect weeping and wailing, nor anger and rage! I don't expect black armbands. I just expect some circumspect behavior.... maybe just giving a thought to the heroes of that day; firefighters, police, the flight 93 passengers, or the everyday person who thought of helping others before thinking of themselves.....

Like my Aunt Patrice, wife, sister, aunt, great aunt....and in my opinion...hero.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Aaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!! Woke up and got ready to go to church this morning when the boys came bursting into the apartment (they had been walking the dog) saying "It's COLD outside Mom!". I was skeptical, but I have to say once we left the apartment for church, it was rather cool outside!!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE cool weather! It has been in the 80's for a couple of weeks and while it's cooler than the 90 degree days we had been suffering through, it hasn't felt like fall until today. I kept thinking that it's just an effect of Hurricane Earl's passage and it'll get very hot again this afternoon, but no, it didn't! It was nice and still warm enough to bring the boys to the pool! One of the pluses of moving to the North East of our country is that I will finally be able to have four seasons!!!! Having grown up in South Florida and spent my adult life in Central Florida the seasons are one of the positives of moving to NY. When my husband and I took the dog for an evening walk, even the air smelled different! The leaves haven't changed, not yet. I can almost picture God walking over to a big knob on the wall with all four seasons around it (kind of like an old oven settings dial) and he chose today to turn that dial to the picture of Autumn with a picture of beautiful orange and red leaves falling off of a huge tree. Hope the leaves start changing colors soon!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Homeschool shmomeschool!

This should be easy! They are only in elementary school! Readin', writin', and 'rithmatic, right?
Right? Hello?.... could you stop laughing and get up off of the floor? I only have 3 kids.... it's not like we are the Duggar family.... it's only ....3 boys.....3 wonderful, smart, caring.....loud....argumentative...pummel eachother at the drop of a hat....BOYS!!!!!!


What was I thinking???? Well, I was thinking that since the Army has only moved us here for 5 and a half months, that I need to provided continuity and stability for my boys so they aren't in 3 schools in 3 states in 2010. Now I am thinking I should just send the boys to a military boarding school!!!! Just kidding...a little....

I am actually starting to enjoy homeschooling! In the one month that I have been homeschooling, I have seen such improvement in their handwriting (one of our main focuses)! The little voice in my head (one of many) that gives air to my doubts about whether I am doing the right thing, seems to be getting quieter. I have a lefty, ZT, whose handwriting was illegible. His teachers (even the awesome ones in TX) just didn't have the time to focus on him. Homeschooling has helped sooooo much! All I have the 3 of them doing for writing journal, is copywork from the Bible. They are still on Adam and Eve and I am already seeing massive improvement!!!! Even Dr. Destructo (Mr. I am not a baby so stop calling me your baby!!!) has stopped crying and having a tantrum at the idea of writing journal time. When we started, he cried and cried.. So I told him he could write, or take a nap. He chose the nap. Then he didn't want the nap, but would do these extreme fake yawns to try to stop writing time. Yesterday, even with the distraction of Daddy being home from Fort Jackson, he went and got his journal, his pencil and his Bible book from his bin and started doing is writing journal ON HIS OWN!!!!! I didn't have to tell him, his brothers didn't even have theirs out yet and he did it!!! And he is improving!!! I know they don't work on handwriting in Kindergarten, but his writing was awful. It seemed almost like baby scribbles, Now you can understand each word! It's kind of exciting!

I never thought I'd enjoy the homeschooling. I know some parents could be around their kids 24/7, but I'm not one of them. There is too much of me in their personalities, I guess. I need breaks from them and also from my hubby! So I thought homeschooling would be like a chore that I would have to force my smile during school time. But I am actually enjoying it. We are reading some books aloud and I love that the boys laugh when I do some of the voices!

I guess the lesson of the day is I can get as much enjoyment out of homeschooling as I put into it.... sounds like fun to me!!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


My last post sooooo long ago is still very relevant is a scary kind of way. I was asking myself "how did I get here?". The sad thing is I was in a wonderful place at the time. I was in a huge house in TX. Had a great church, a job that I liked, lots of awesome friends and a school for my kids that we loved. Now I could still ask myself the same question. We have moved from San Antonio to Columbia, SC. We are in an apartment HALF the size of our former house. Most of our belongings in storage (like my books and crafting stuff...waaaaaaaahahhh!) No job, no local friends, Oh and did I mention I am homeschooling? Yup, me. The person who always said, there is no way I could homeschool my boys. But there are no other options. I can't ask my boys to go to school in SC until Halloween (just enough time for them to meet other kids and start to get attached to them) and then uproot them to go to school in NY! Nope. It's not fair to them.

So here I am... looking at hundreds (well it seems that many) of homeschooling websites. Checking out book after book on homeschooling from the library. And praying. A lot. Most of the time, my prayers are about needing strength, purpose and wisdom. Or just enough self control to not blast my kids into smithereens!!!! (anyone else ever wonder what a smithereen actually is? Just me? Ok.) See, my boys are great. They are soo good. They use their manners, they watch out for other kids, they are respectful..... for EVERYONE ELSE!!!!!!! When it comes to me, they seem to think I am a zoo keeper thus the behaving like a bunch of monkeys on parade for me! So imagine this behavior in a learning setting.... it's enough to give me heart palpitations! I just want to do what's best for them. I know I can do this and that they would benefit. I just find myself a tad sick of being the disciplinarian. I'm always the one laying down the law. I always looked forward to the boys learning in school that there are other adults i.e. their teachers, who expect the same rules to be followed. Not this year. Well, at least the first semester. Now my role is to be the good Army wife and homeschooling mama. Rolling with the punches, adapting to the changes. Trying REALLY hard to not kvetch too much. Because it doesn't matter how I got here. I'm here. I'm alive. My kids and husband are here, alive and well. If I look around I see many people who have more obstacles in their lives. They have a much harder time of it than I do.

Whenever I ask, "how did I get here" I now know I could always end up in a more difficult position. I still have good things that I can see. My children of course. My husband who gets mega brownie points for going to the store to get something chocolate for me. I have a roof over my head. My husband has a job. We have working (kinda sorta) cars to get where we need to go. I got to have a great visit to FL to see some wonderful friends and I got to smooch my niece and nephew's cheeks. I have Facebook to help me keep in touch with everyone. I now have Skype to help with that. I have God's word to nourish my soul and to show me how I can lift my own spirit when needed. I have God's grace for all of my MANY mistakes. I have God's love, so pure and limitless. WE have God. Suddenly "here" seems to be the place we need to be.