Sunday, January 27, 2013


(I cannot WAIT to see how many page views I get with that title) You see, unless you are a vegetarian the mere word  "BACON" will cause a person to salivate. What does that have to do with this blog entry? I'm getting to that!!

The last few months I am sad to say my two kids have been fighting non stop. This has made this mama's heart very sad. I'm not sure if it is the fact both are reaching that adolescent age or if Z~girl's patience threshold has been met. They have always been the best of friends until recently. A~man will sense her total irritation with him and unfortunately this causes him to pick and pick at her even more. She does get alone time with both of us (as does A~man) and she had a lot of one on one time with grandpa and grandma while they were here. Yet, still the constantly bicker.

This morning though something happened that totally warmed my heart more than the sun's brightest rays. After seeing grandpa and grandma off this morning we decided to go out for breakfast. We all ordered and when our meals came Z's had something bizarrely green on top. (what it was we still do not know) Needless to say we sent it back but that left poor Z~girl sitting there with NO FOOD while the rest of us ate. Next came the magic words that warmed my soul straight from the mouth of A~man. "Sissy, you can have my bacon." Then he preceded to slide his plate of bacon over to his sister.

Why does this cause me so much wonder? Well, I'm not sure I would share my bacon. Toast? Yes. Bacon....I'm not sure.

The look on her face was priceless as she knew the sacrifice involved in her brother, who has Prader-willi syndrome, to give up his bacon. I should add he did not want anything in return when her food arrived.  It reminded me of the deep love they have for each other, despite the near constant conflicts lately. It did this mom's heart good!


In homeschool news we will be back in a full schedule this next week. I feel we are a bit behind and I need to stop that thinking as that does not go along with my learning philosophy. While the grandparents were here A~man worked on his reading program and I did some math games with him. Z~girl worked on her math curriculum and her art curriculum. I looked at our homeschool groups geography club schedule tonight and realized we are supposed to present in a week. OOPS. 

Fortunately my friend that runs the geography club is very understanding and we will present a different month. My plan is to put a lapbook together for the country I have chosen. If it turns out well, I may share it in my blog. We will also be doing some geography games as both kids need a refresher on continents and oceans. Fortunately the kids, myself included, LOVE studying about geography. Any guesses on what country we will be presenting when it is our turn?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We missed it by THAT much!

Last week we had a strong forecast of snow for our area. What did we get instead? RAIN and lots of it! Plus now all the plants are confused as tulips and crocus are starting to pop out of the ground. I even heard a rumor that a local friend was enjoying fresh broccoli straight from her garden! I can't tell you how disappointed it made me that we did not get snow. I know we will still be hit by some cold weather and I hope it isn't the ice variety that damages all of the local apple orchards. 

Fortunately the weather was relatively cooperative for my mother and father in laws trip here from the midwest. They left just after a snowstorm hit their area. We are all enjoying their company very much. They are VERY patient and kind with the A~man but are not afraid to set limits with him.  Oh and the good news is I got the house clean. Now if I could only keep it that way. But I always think of this quote when I get discouraged by my lack of housecleaning abilities.

"Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing." (Phyllis Diller)

Isn't that the truth? I will say both A and Z have become enormous helpers to me in cleaning the house and yard. So there is hope right? Our family is going to be here for a couple of weeks (they do stay at other friends house sometimes too) so after they are gone I plan on shoveling...I mean cleaning out our basement. 

We are still doing our schoolin' while they are here I just have them do it while grandma and grandpa are out running errands to get ready to move down here. (I still can hardly believe we will have family locally!!) A~man is busy working on segmenting syllables (a hard concept for him) and Z~girl is enjoying her online art curriculum. (I am also really enjoying doing it with her) For Christmas she also received some more Go Fish art cards. I had to order them from Amazon as I couldn't find them locally. They are the Renaissance version which is one of my favorite time periods of art to learn about. I love studying about art as it can be tied to so much more like history, religion,'s endless. Well I am going to close by adding one of my favorite pieces (large piece that it is hahah) of Renaissance art. I cannot IMAGINE seeing this in person.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Winter Blahhhhs

January and February are my least favorite months of the year. My fathers birthday and the day he died was in January plus my father in law's birthday was this month. (he passed the same year my father did) February? Instead of the month of LOVE I remember having a miscarriage on Valentines day 20 years ago.  I can't begin to explain the pain that caused plus the years and years of infertility that followed. This is minor compared to all that but I also REALLY miss snow. Yes, we get it on occasion here in WNC but this is the second year it seems to be skipping us. It was at least 60 here today. It just doesn't feel right. I NEED some cold weather even if it is just for a month. Depression just seems to sink into my heart this time of year. Did I mention I believe I have plantar fasciitis so I can't even do my normal walking in this sunny weather??!!

Okay, after reading that paragraph the following song pops into my head so excuse me while I get over myself. < I LOVED HEE HAW WHEN I WAS A CHILD>

On a more positive note both A and Z (and C the hubby) are all doing well! Company is coming in a couple days...that's good and bad as NO the house is not where I want it. A and Z are doing awesome after an almost month long break where they only did some light "schooling". Z in particular is loving her art curriculum and also some new Go Fish art cards she got for Christmas. I love that we both share a love for learning about art! With homeschooling special needs sometimes progress is slow or comes to a halt but I'm happy to say that A~man's reading has had another leap the last couple of months. We have been using Reading Kingdom in addition to Time4Learning and he is doing so well and I can tell he is so proud of himself!

One thing that I would like to start with both...something I have been wanting to do for the last year, is get a creative writing tutor. I feel like this year writing is one of the areas that we are lacking. As creative as both kids are though, I'm sure we will get back up to speed with writing. This school year really is going well and speeding by way too fast!

So I guess, since I cannot currently go hiking in these beautiful mountains I live in, I should sit on the deck and soak up the sun. Maybe I should start planning out our garden for the year that I hope will be much bigger! I should add that the end of February symbolizes new beginnings to me. We were blessed with A~man the last weekend in Feb....we were granted guardianship 5 years later on that same date!

Please send me some snow this way though, before spring!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Journey

I didn't put this together, another PWS parent did and I just had to share it! (I asked the dad first :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Learning outside the box

I must admit. When we started to homeschool back in 2005,  <oh my goodness I just realized we have been homeschooling a year longer than I remembered!> initially I tried to replicate "school". Back then Z was still going to preschool and it was just A~man and I in the mornings. Back then it worked he had gone from being in a preschool for 3 years and that final year he was in kindergarten. So he was used to a classroom approach. Over the years things have changed though. 

There were a few years that I tried to teach the kids together for their formal sit down work, but then Z~girl passed A~man scholastically. That's around the time we started using Time4Learning for our main curriculum. The way we do it now is that Z~girl can do half of her online curriculum by herself (the Z~girl wakes up before me as she wants to be done early!) then, I help her later in the day with the things she needs more help with like math. 

After breakfast I do A~man's homeschool curriculum with him as he sometimes needs to be redirected back to it as he is easily distracted. He does so well using the computer though! It keeps his attention for the most part, and he really seems to enjoy the accomplishment of finishing his "morning work". (as we call it) In the afternoon things are a bit looser and we are able to explore some of the fun products we review for the Old Schoolhouse...and it's a great time to explore their other interests! 

Recently my husband started working as a "handyman" for another homeschool family that runs a vacation rental business. On occasion he is able to bring one of he kids with him, while I "do school" with the other one at home. Both have been having a blast learning how to fix stuff! Amazingly Z~girl in particular has taken off with it! In fact she asked Santa for a toolbox for Christmas! This is a brag but my girl has been fixing stuff right and left the last month. 

I have had several chairs that have needed some work done and she has fixed every one! Plus she has put felt coasters on the bottoms of all of our chairs plus an ottoman in our living room. Saturday morning I woke up to find her putting in a new towel bar in her bathroom that we had bought the previous day. The thought was that her AND daddy would do it...but she took matters in her own hands!

Don't get me wrong math, reading, history, plus the importance of spelling cannot be belittled in the whole learning experience. BUT I know I for one...ok and my husband too, did not learn things like this growing up. We learned things at school and of course our parents taught us a lot but ultimately after going to school, sports practice, practicing the flute (me), chores, there was little time for anything more but eating with the family and then doing homework. 

I truly value the fact that our family has time to teach beyond "scholastics". We are able to pursue their outside interests which in my opinion are just as important as learning the 3 R's! Z~is learning to sew, crochet, home repair, animal care, (her own plus volunteering at a farm) it goes on and on. A~man? What better way to learn to live in the real world but to learn in the real world instead of siting at a desk? He loves to help me take care of the yard and to mow with his reel mower. (a mower without a motor) Also, he is an awesome helper cleaning the house!

Plus, many of these outside interests can be incorporated into our whole learning experience. Learning about animals, taking care of plants and gardening are definitely science related! Here is a picture of Z as she is looking for a nut the right measurement for the screw from the chair she is fixing. She found it completely herself and I love the independence and confidence she has from figuring it out almost entirely by herself. 

Homeschooling is truly a personal decision but it is one that I am so thankful that we have had the chance to experience.

Time4Learning has a great online homeschooling guide for people considering homeschooling. I wish I could have read something like this when we were starting our homeschool journey. Homeschooling is an adventure. There are bumps in the road along with the joys, twists and turns, but at the end of the day/month/year it's so nice to see how far your children and your family have grown. 

welcome to homeschooling guide