Archive for the ‘Homeschooling’ Category

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If it weren’t for Mondays…

we surely would dread Tuesdays.

Warning: Candid post follows.

Here we go…another school year underway.  If my math is correct, and it actually very often is, this is year #22.  Yes, that has to be correct.  We started homeschooling the year Hannah was born because seriously, why not start a HUGE new adventure with a brand new baby? Actually it was pretty smooth, all three of the older kids had been in public school so they were used to sitting and doing work.  Which we remedied as soon as we were able.

But…and there is always a but, what did I learn from this romantic notion of student led teaching/learning?  That at times it causes more stress than necessary because you will have a student (no names but her first initial is Rachel 🙂 ) who really and truly and honestly thinks you have to learn and retain every word of every text book.  One who must be fluent in Algebra as well as English and French, US and World Geography, American History, World History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and everything in between. They will not only have to read ALL of the classics, but as many banned books as can be bought or borrowed.  AND  have a part-time to full time paying job as well as some sort of home business (she had her own soap making business at 8 and made more money than I did that year).  And one must have beautiful penmanship, type 160 wpm, use words most college professors would have to look up, be able to identify 98% of any artist’s work one comes across, be an accomplished artist both by hand and computer.  That student must also be able to write code by 9 years old, build websites, learn photography and take brilliant photos AND write books (her first book was written and illustrated when she was just under 4 years old) and somewhere in there NOT have migraines and sleep at least 6 hours a night, and NOT have crippling test anxiety.  And while suffering with crippling test anxiety, to the point that you actually turn white and almost faint when you step into the ACT testing room, you still make an extraordinary score and ask after attending a week of college, “Why does the professor repeat himself?  I mean really if you are in college, shouldn’t you know some of this already and if you don’t couldn’t you figure it out? And if not, do you really need to be wasting your time and money?” And added, “I really, thought it would be harder than this.  Why didn’t you tell me I didn’t have to know everything in the books?”  I did tell her.  I swear I did.  But you know, nature and nurture clash sometimes.  My theory has always been, why should I cloud my brain with things I can look up? So you know they didn’t get ALL of this from me.

And then you have the student just older than her (again not calling names but she answers to Hannah, Hon-Yah, Hanny or Hanny Hole), raised in the same manner, same books, same atmosphere, same everything, who WANTS all those things, but knows it will interfere with her movie watching, bad TV (she loves horrible TV), online friends, traveling, reading, writing (several of my children are great writers – this one has 780 pages of a novel written), and napping. With test anxiety to a slightly lesser degree, who truly believes EVERYTHING is a competition if with no one but oneself, frets over a 92 on a homeschool quiz and explains it by saying, “Well, I could have done better.  What if that thing I didn’t know comes back to bite me in the bum one day?” What if, indeed.  Who went to vo-tech to try and help her find what she wanted to do, and found accounting to fit very nicely with her OCD and Anxiety disorder and drove both herself and me crazy if she missed 1/2 of a point on any assignment and finished with a 4.0 -DUH. Who also held down part time and full time jobs alongside school.

AND oddly, these two made exactly the same composite score on their ACTs.  Different strengths.  But it all came out the same…sort of.  One got 3 hours credit in English going into college, the other 6 hours.  Neither has any remedial classes and the one class they have together, both have over 100 percent.  Overachieving is a hobby of theirs.  And when one of them was told by the professor, “no one gets and A in this class,” they saw that as a personal challenge and their response was, “We’ll see about that.”

What I am trying to say is teaching to the test is not always a bad thing and quite possible the most efficient.  So I stand corrected on my theory of child-led learning being the ONLY right way to go.  At the end of the day (or school career) there IS a test.  Several – and scores are important.  To everyone.  Sad but true.

So how is this going to affect the next 4 years of Benjamin’s life?  Adversely, I am afraid.  He WILL be able to take tests like a professional 😉 We ARE teaching to both the ACT and SAT.  He WILL get as much math mastered as is humanly possible in this length of time.  He WILL be able to ace the English part of any test given, because, well, it is our native tongue.  He WILL have three years of a particular foreign language because when he makes 2380 on his SAT (I am trying not to put too much pressure on him by expecting a 2400), foreign language credits will NOT interfere with any college application.  And somewhere in there, he is going to learn to write legibly without aid of a computer.  Just paper and pencil…old school.

Now, here is the rub in all this.  Each of these children thinks one of the others is my favorite because of their differences.  I don’t have a favorite.  I coddle who needs coddling, I am a hard-ass with the ones that need that.  The whole multiple personality ability most moms have comes in handy at times.  However, each one thinks they are not being treated as they should be.  But, everyone that should be is gainfully employed, no one has a police record, and all are still speaking to me, so…so far so good.

I have had what I have considered failures in my parenting.  However, for the most part no one could be prouder of their children.  Like it or not, all 6 of my children are extremely sarcastic.  No idea where that came from.  All are extremely opinionated and vocal with those opinions. Again, who knows?  All are competitive with themselves.  They truly want to do their best at all times.  They all have a thirst for knowledge.  Differing subjects but thirsty none the less.  All are extremely devoted to family.  Do NOT pick a fight with one unless you have back up.  Right or wrong that sibling WILL be defended.  As much as they are all different and are quite capable of running their noses up in each other’s business, they love each other and feel pride in each other’s accomplishments.  They hold each other accountable and have trouble accepting things when they feel like one or the other is not living up to their potential.  They are also at times snobbish, elitist, prideful, and even hateful. They have even been known to feel entitlement because of the standards they hold themselves to.   All these things they DID get from me.  But my gene pool wasn’t the only one they drew from and if any two people were more alike than Jerry and I, those people likely couldn’t live together.  Even a month at the time.

Okay, got to run.  Edgar Allen Poe is trying to whip my youngest.

Edited by Hannah for spelling, grammar and to add Oxford Commas. 🙂


I am not going to let Facebook ruin my blogging!

Seriously.  I find I update my facebook page and feel like I would be repeating myself here! Not so.  Plenty of people have not gone the facebook route.  Many times I wish I hadn’t! So I am going to make it right!  Starting today!  I am going to catch y’all up on what has happened in my life since I last posted and reinstate some things that kept me writing and hopefully you reading!

WOW, where to start? Go ahead and get that cup of coffee or tea and a biscuit and have a seat, this may take a while!  And I will try not to confuse you and keep my timeline straight.

It honestly isn’t like I have been holed up not living life.  Au contraire, mes amis! This Summer of 2010 has been crazy busy!  Gardening, mowing, kids, grandkids, short adventures, long adventures.  I will admit the cooking bug has been squashed in this horrible endless heat.  We have had so many days over 100 and even a couple with the heat index into the 100-teens.  I don’t know all the statistics but July broke records for heat and drought in my area.  I will never believe anyone who says “But it was a dry heat so it wasn’t so bad.” BULL!  Hot is hot.

Last time I posted was my birthday.  And it was a very very good birthday indeed.  Big OLD 51.  Not a milestone but something about starting on the second half of a century is kinda mind blowing.  I got this great wagon from Jerry.


Isn’t she a beauty?  We have already put her to much use hauling pears from our one, insane pear tree.  These pears are inedible unless you are a raccoon or a possum.  And I forget how many Jerry said he hauled the last day he picked them up but it was a ridiculous amount.  They are gone and now the mama raccoon and her four little bandits are eating our cats’ food like crazy!  When Jerry gets home, if they are still around we are going to trap and relocate them before someone (namely Mo, Julius or Siobhan) gets hurt or killed.

Okay, so August moves along ~ rapidly it seems!  Jerry headed back to Tunisia the Monday after my birthday.  Here are a few pictures of the highlights of August. On the gardening subject, I have started some tomatoes I hope will be winter/greenhouse tomatoes.  This is a new thing for me.  I will see how it goes.  This is an early picture.  They are still alive, and have 6 little leaves, so that is a good sign, right?


Oh and I have new overalls!  I bought these for myself – sort of a birthday present – sort of I fell in love with them and needed them!


And the color is coffee!  Perfect!  And of course I needed new rubber boots and have been needing them for forever.  The ones I have are so dang heavy I can’t walk very far in them without getting leg cramps!


Cute huh?

Okay, let’s see.  OH both girls, Hannah and Rachel started college yesterday.  That is sort of getting my cart before my horse in the timeline but it is pertinent to the next bit of what is going on and what will be going on.  So yes, they are both Northwestern State University Demons as of yesterday.  Hannah is in Accounting.  Rachel in Fine Arts.  I am sure as time goes on, they will provide me with tales to tell!

With Rachel starting college, she is dropping the baking biz all together.  That was a given.  Baking does not fit in her very busy schedule.  So I did this order all by myself last week.


NOT FUN by myself!  Yes, that’s 16 boxes you count!  Petit fours, decorated cookies, mini Bakewells, cream wafers, chocolate chips…but it all turned out lovely and the customer was very very happy.


The person I made all this for is a friend from way back and she called yesterday to say it was all a hit.  So happy to hear that!  And I have a little baking order today and one for this weekend for family and I will try to get postings made of those.  But I learned a lot doing this big (to me) order by myself.  One thing, I want/need help for something that big.  Two, it’s not that much fun working in the kitchen by myself on something so important.  Three, I miss making soap.

There I said it.  I have been saying it to myself for 6 months. And to Jerry for almost that long.  Just blurting it out every now and again in the middle of a discussion that has nothing to do with soapmaking.  Then I would follow up with “I don’t mean that do I?”  I know how much he hated how the soap took over our house before.  Here is just a small example.  Look at all the soap stuff! My poor kitchen!


He even built me a shoppe.



And still there were oils in every corner, soap curing all over the place.  Stacks of wrapped. Girls wrapping soap.


Boxes waiting to be mailed.  UPS delivered something nearly every day. And this was a picture of my porch ONE DAY the week before Christmas 2007:


The post office sent a separate truck to my house. They were so excited!  So was I – as far as I know not ONE mistake in that day’s shipping!  Business was so good and then along came MaryJanesFarm!  WOW.  Amazing.

And then my mom got sick. And everything changed.  Everything.  Soap was WAY down on my list of things that mattered.

When I sold the internet part of my business and forwarded my wholesale customers information about the new owners, I agreed not to go back into the internet soap business and compete with the people I sold that part to.  However, I just learned last week that they are no longer making soap to sell.  And have closed their internet shop.  I found this out when an old customer of mine emailed me to say the site was down, she had been ordering from them since I closed, and I sent out an inquiry to try and help her get what she needed.  I got a response that said “I am still making soap, just not selling it at present.We have closed down the web site and do not now for the time being have an internet presence.”

WOW! Really?  So what does this mean?  Will they never?  Could I make and sell again without breaking my word?  I am still mulling all that over.  I never want to do wholesale again.  About all it did was keep a little money in the kitty for ingredients and work me half to death!  I don’t want to put up a website again.  For one thing I don’t want to maintain one.  That alone is a lot of work.  But I don’t think my making soap for customers who have asked for it since I quit, doing an catalog in pdf form and talking about it here and on facebook violates that.  Especially since they are no longer doing business.  It was almost like that was the door I was waiting to open.  I have not sold soap locally in over three years.  And that was always part of the agreement.  I could make and sell all I wanted to locally.  I don’t want it to get overwhelming again.   Some months I mailed 2000 bars of soap not counting the local wholesale and local retail.  It was too TOO much for just me. I always, ALWAYS, wanted to have my hands on every bar that left here. I never expected it to grow into something I needed to hire someone besides the girls to help with. And as girls grew up and got jobs outside home, they didn’t have time.  And now they are both in college.  And I don’t think Ben has one bit of interest in soap. Other than for his personal use 😉

So yeah…I’m a nut. That’s not news to anyone.  I have felt so happy since I decided to give the soap pot another stir.  I just have to keep it real.  Keep it manageable and do nothing to violate my agreement.  An agreement that may or may not exist any more.

Enough of that.  Here is what’s coming up.  Interviews this Autumn that you will NOT believe.  Seriously. I get butterflies just thinking about it.  Oh please, please, please don’t fall thru!  Opportunities of a lifetime!  To pick these brains!  And then share my pickins with you happy people!

So let’s see.  Soap? covered.  Interviews? said all I can at this time.  Squeeeeeeee!!!!!!! Now…more stuff. I am going to reinstate and reorganize some “Days of The Week with NotQuiteJuneCleaver”:

  • Magpie Mondays ~news from here, chit chat, talkie, talkie, interviews{squeeeeeeee!!!!!}
  • Treehuggin’ Tuesday ~ pretty self explanatory – I’m a treehugger and I am going to talk about it on Tuesdays! Green products, etc
  • Wednesday’s Woman ~ I will introduce you to a blog I follow and the woman who writes it-maybe even a short little something from her
  • Thoughtful Thursday ~ What ever is worth thinking about. Words of wisdom from all sorts of people who have inspired me & made me think.
  • Foodie Friday ~ Recipes and menus, food photography, trends, you know – food news 😉
  • Simply Saturday ~ things that simply find themselves bound to Saturday – movies, books, gardening, housework
  • So…It’s Sunday ~ recapping my week, announcing what’s coming up the next week, soap news – stuff, know what I mean?

This does not mean I will post everyday but I will at least have an outline!

AND I would like to do a  Photo Contest every so often.  Working on the details of that. Will announce that pretty soon.

So…whew.  Told you it would take a while. Okay, that’s what I have in mind.  Actually I have quite a lot in mind.  But the things I am most excited about are stirring up some soap and the interviews.  Whoa, baby! So excited!

By the way peeps, I LOVE comments.  So leave me some, mmK?  I know you visit.  I have a stat counter!  But you never comment.  I don’t mean NEVER never…but I do love comments.  Nice ones that is 😉 Okay, neither do I.  I visit the same wonderful blogs everyday but seems someone always beats me to the punch.  I think awwww someone already said that.  Well I have a new rule! I am not reading comments before I post mine.  If I repeat something well so be it!  I am saying my piece anyway!

Now for your Treehugging Tuesday Tidbit: Recycling Soup Cans – so cool! Click on the pictures to read all about it!


See you happy folks tomorrow.  It will be Wednesday’s Woman so stop by!


School Days, School Days!

They are fast approaching!  We will enter our 21st (I think!) year of homeschooling on September 3rd.  I wish I could say I am ready, but that would be a complete untruth!  But I am working on it. I loved the graphic above.  SOOOO 50’s.  The good old school days.  See I LOVED school.  I loved the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and crayons and paste.  I know you might find this hard to believe but I have had deja vu and that smell come to my nose from absolutely no where!  Such a warm fuzzy feeling.  But my, my how things changed from when I went to school to now.  I wont go into all the reasons we decided to homeschool but I will say it has worked for us.  It is what we do, kinda who we are.  Maybe one day I will feel like sharing all the whys and whatfors.

We are making a little trip today because both of the girls are off work and Husband has been wanting a meat pie from Lasyone’s in Natchitohces.

And we will pick Jess up and then we will all do a bit of antiquing if weather permits. If you click on the sign above you can read all about their famous meat pies.  They are amazing!

There is a fairly nice teacher’s store in Natchitoches as well, and I will pop in there and see what I can find.  I like to keep some workbooks around for days when we need a bit of a break and some “schoolwork lite”.  Or as I like to refer to them Mom’s Mental Health Days.  On thing I will be looking for is a pencil sharpener that sharpens fat pencils.  See, I still LOVE to write with and old fashioned real wood pencil.  And fat or primary ones to boot!  My pencil sharpener is worn completely out and hangs up and wont sharpen the pencils correctly so, that is on my list.  One day I will post some pictures of my vintage school books and supplies.

One more thing: I should have the S’more Cupcake recipe later today!  They were delish!

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