Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Goodbye Summer


I’d like to reflect on this summer as it comes to a close. We had a very nice summer. We started out with a fairly structured school schedule that just lasted a few weeks then changed gears. We read “Harry Potter 2”, “The Magic Thief: Found”, “The Sassafras Science Adventures: Zoology” and finished “Story of the World 3”. Big Brother enjoyed the Sassafras Twins so much we decided to discontinue “Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding” as our home science spine in favor of “The Sassafras Science Adventures: Anatomy” with the Activity Guide and SCIDAT Logbook.

Highlights included ending the spring/starting summer by meeting up with Grandpa in Tennessee, a visit from Abuelita (my mom) and camping with friends twice at a lake in West Virginia. Big Brother attempted a sleepover with a couple friends that just turned into a dinner and playdate in the treehouse but they had lots of fun. We enjoyed a couple evenings with old friends. Mommy pumped milk for a friends newborn adopted son (I was so happy to give this gift). I was excited to have two work weeks at home and got the school stuff, the kitchen and the studio organized but still have more to do. I enjoyed tending our new large veggie garden with Cisco at my side most of the time eating much and clover. The boys also kept busy with therapies. Big Brother did speech therapy to end with a perfect ‘r’ and improved ‘th’ but we are now taking a break because the spacer in his mouth is interfering with his ‘s’ and ‘z’ so we have to wait until it is removed to continue. Cisco worked on speech and occupational therapy and made great strides with each. His communication continues to improve and he loves brush therapy. As the summer was coming to a close, we finally had made it to the waterpark with friends (we tried all summer and there were very few dry hot days to go then the two times we had tried Cisco got sick to the stomach).

We ended this Labor Day weekend smoking meat, getting a new to us Weber grill , pulling weeds, swimming in our 8′ pool one last time, watching movies and just enjoying family time before our hectic “school” schedule starts up.

“Mom, what’s this?”


My kids and I were going through old pictures.  Cisco worked on eating all the old greeting cards and Big Brother had a great time looking at our old pictures from before he was born.  Then, as we were looking through separate boxes, Big Brother says, “What is this?” and holds up an old negative.  It is interesting to live in a world where my child thinks it is perfectly normal for your pictures to be digitally stored on cameras and computers and perplexed by the need and use of negatives to create photos.  

My Response to the President’s Plan to Create Manditory Preschool


I agreed with a lot of what President Obama said during his state of the union except that we should have mandated preschool throughout the country. More school is not the answer especially when we do such a poor job providing a good education in the grades the country already provides, K-12.

We are still following an archaic system that was designed to produce good factory workers and a system that is not often well taylored toward boys. Guarian and Stevens explains in “The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life” why our present school system is biased against at least half our population which doesn’t learn well sitting and listening but needs to do and interact to best learn. We also have an SOL dependent system that isn’t working that results in teachers actually saying to their kids that they have to do well or their teacher will loose her job. SOLs only tie the hands of the best teachers in our education system. In addition, we have children that otherwise seem normal medicated to get them to stay still in class during a time of growth when movement and interaction is key to their understanding of the world.

We are out of touch with what children need. They don’t need more time in school. They need dedicated primary care givers that involve them with their lives, love them and teach them about the world as they interact with it. You are asking too much to expect a teacher of 20+ students to be able to provide this to their young students. We need to educate parents on how to engage their children and incorporate them into their lives. We need to educate parents on how and why to prevent pregnancy until they are ready to dedicate the time and attention needed to raise the next generation. That is the answer.



Life really took over our little homeschool fantasy world last month. After battling a rare cancer for several years, my uncle passed away. I knew him well as my parents went out to dinner with them weekly when I was growing up and I’d often join them. We’d arrive, he’d pat me on my head, we’d go inside, the adults would then chat over a glass of wine (the ladies in the living room to discuss life and the men in the kitchen to discuss everything from politics to science). My uncle was mostly self educated. He’d read everything he could get his hands on and remember it all. My dad also has diverse interest and intellect. If I wasn’t self entertaining, I enjoyed listening to the men speak. Then, as an adult, we’d always go visit my aunt and uncle when in town (I now live far away). My uncle really liked my husband. For years they would send each other books they thought the other one would like. my oldest son would then be that child listening in on the adult conversation. We’ll miss Uncle Bryant.

As if saying goodbye to my uncle wasn’t enough, the day after I arrived, my mom was hit by a car. Her pelvis was broken in 5 places and her dominate arm was broken. We stayed longer, visited the hospital daily and then set her up in a rehabilitation facility. We are finally back home and mom is improving every day. I’m sad to have left her behind but left her in good hands with her longtime boyfriend and countless relatives. I’m so happy to be back home but wish I could be in both places at once.

DS1 learned a lot this trip I think. The impermanence of life and that life isn’t just about us. Poor DS2 suffered with sleepless nights and lower intake of milk (at his 5.5 mo doctors appointment yesterday, he fell off his growth curve). We will be working on increasing intake now that we are not distracted. DH learned that the house is depressing and lonely without his little family. I learned that even my mom is not indestructible.

Classical Education is Taking it’s Hold on Me


As I mentioned not so long ago, I, not so enthusiastically, read a chapter out of “The Core,” a book that outlines a classical model of education.  I found after that first chapter I had to keep reading.  The more I read, the more it made sense to me and sounded like something my son and I could do successfully and happily.  Previously, I saw the Classical model of education as boring filled with memorization and hours at a desk with little joy.  I was also turned off by the christian undertones I sensed from the classical community.  I then realized that we can still have a joyous educational experience with lots of freedom to choose what works for us while having an educational model that ensures we learn the 3 Rs.  After I finished “The Core,” I went and checked out a copy of “The Well-trained Mind” (TWTM) from my library.  I had previously read parts of it and was bored and overwhelmed.  Even after I brought it home this last time, I was intimidated (it’s a huge book), but I took it slow and it started making sense too.  I also only read the sections thst covered K-4.  I liked that “The Core” was a great overview and inspiration and TWTM offered some more details on laying things out.

So, I’m now on a path to set ourselves up for something that resembles a classical education, keeping in mind that I have no interest or desire to have a full day of school each day which is what you seem to be looking at if you follow TWTM to the tee.  So, we’ll take what works for us and leave the rest.

Here is why I’m attracted to the classical model:
– It offers a foundational structure (which I’m finding is important to nurture the personalities of both my son and I) while not holding us to an expensive and daunting packaged curriculum.
– It is strong in the language arts.  I truly believed that being a strong reader is the key to gaining knowledge and it’s already abundantly clear that my son will be a knowledge hog like his parents.  I’d also like to save my son the embarrassment I suffered with my poor spelling and grammar skills and I want to make sure he’s set up if his future job(s) require good writing skills.
– It leaves lots of room for us to explore and choose our science education.
– This educational approach may have high expectations but I feel that we can get in a rhythm with it that will allow us to learn the 3 Rs as a foundation for success by lunch time each day and then still have the freedom to explore the world and play.

Now to figure out what we do next.  I’m planning to take it slow adding one new subject at a time and getting it settled in before adding the next.  Per my sons request, we are adding Chinese first (no, foreign language is not recommended this early with classical ed but languages are important and loved at our house).  I just placed the order yesterday for the materials.

Importance of Multilingualism in Our Global Society


The recent re-emphasis on being a monolingual society in America has been very disturbing to me.   It goes against my interest in the multicultural world I live in and the importance of teaching my son to appreciate the many people’s of the world.  Language is a part of cultural.  

I think this emphasis on being a monolingual society is not only harmful socially, putting a stigma on languages other than English, but can also have economic implications.  Our children are growing up in an ever increasing global market.  We get goods from around the world and can catch a plane to visit just about anywhere in the world in a moments notice.  By teaching our children another language they will be better equipped to survive in the global marketplace that will only become more important with time. 

I will make sure that my son not only embraces his culture lingistically but also explore the cultures and languages of others so that he is not only able to communicate with the many immigrent neighbors he’s blessed with but also for survival in the global marketplace.  Right now, he’s a bilingual 5 year old that aspires to learn Chinese.  His father has a caucasian father and a Mexican mother.  As a result he is bilingual himself and has talked to our son in Spanish exclusively from the day of his birth.  

This decision to make our son bilingual was made before our sons birth.  It was important to both of us as we both have spanish speaking mothers.  So dad only speaks to him in spanish, we have an exchange student from spain living ith us for a year and he attend spanish immersion school once a week.  As a result of having s close friend that has a mother who’s fluent in Chinese and a really friendly neighbor that is from China, he’s been asking to learn Chinese.  We hope to both learn Chinese next year using the “Better Chinese” curriculum.