Posts Tagged ‘summer vacation’

G R A D U A T I O N ! ! !

June 4, 2012

We did it!  We successfully got one whole child through homeschooling.  This is a monumental achievement for a homeschool mom.  We wonder all along if this day will ever come.  We hope and pray that we aren’t wrecking the kids by doing this ourselves.  And that right there is the key…. I never felt like I was doing this by myself.  It was me, and my terribly supportive husband, my co-op mamas, our support group, the state organization (Arizona Families for Home Education) and mostly God, who called us to this way of life and education 12 long years ago.

I have no regrets for choosing homeschooling.  All the sacrifices and tears have been worth it…. every little bit.  I do have a few regrets involving course choices and follow through, which we all encounter our first time.  I have learned from my mistakes and have already made corrections for guinea pig #2 who just finished his first year of high school.

I liken the homeschool journey similarly to childbirth.  The painful memories diminish as the joys grow each day.  Truly my happy homeschool experiences outweigh the horrible ones 100 to 1, for which I am stupendously thankful.  Our family is close and we love each other.  We love being together.  We love playing games together and they don’t end in yelling matches or wrestling fights.  We even love vacationing together.  Secretly, the kids even love learning together, but they try to keep this under raps.

The great news is that I am still looking forward to planning next year!  I still love homeschooling.  I love being with my kids.  I love learning and teaching.  However, it is with great relief in my ever-loving-heart that I have exactly 81 days of NOT homeschooling ahead of me.  They will be busy days of summer movies, packing and planning for college for our graduate, swim parties, a 9-year-old birthday celebration, a marriage retreat, a relaxing vacation to the beach and then Tahoe, the homeschool convention and a visit to friends in Kansas and Colorado.  I have waited for THIS DAY…. June 4, 2012 for a Loooooooong time.  It arrived.  I am beyond elated.  :o)

Not According to the Plan

July 4, 2011

Yes, we were vacationing in Tahoe, when BAM! our plans took an unexpected turn.  Without clear warning I was thrust (happily, I might add) into a Curb Appeal mixed with Trading Places real life scenario.  A five bedroom home needed to be decorated so it could be a rental property… and I willingly signed up for the inexperienced decorator position.  This was like a dream come true for me…. shopping with someone else’s money and then setting up each room.  I have NEVER shopped until I’ve dropped until this last week.  We browsed, bought and brought home six Suburban loads … and let me just brag on my car packing abilities for a moment here.  When it looked like the car was full, NO!  I still squeezed in two bedside tables, two rugs and a giant lighthouse.  All my years of playing Tetris paid off big time!

Tomorrow we start our journey from California home to the sweltering heat of Arizona, and I’m sad for more than that reason alone.  I do not get the opportunity to see the finished product.  There are still two rooms to set up and carpets to unroll, but I’m hoping for pictures of the finished product.  Here are two sneak previews of rooms:

Several important concepts were learned through this decorating extravaganza that I feel compelled to share with you at this time.  #1. Buy an iPad and keep a list of what you need for each room and what you have purchased.  By the third day in the fourth TJ Maxx, we couldn’t remember how many single sheets we bought, or if we still needed neutral bath mats.  #2.  Pace yourself.  Five straight days of shopping is extremely tiring.  #3.  Always get two carts when you enter the store.  You will inevitably need them if you don’t.  #4.  An extra lamp can always be utilized.  #5.  Adding black or dark brown to each room gives it a grounded feeling.  #6.  Too much matchy matchy is too much matchy matchy. #7. Pick a color scheme for the whole house.  That way you can move items from room to room as you see fit. 

See how helpful this was for me to do this before you have to??!!??  Whew!  Now I need a vacation.

Quads are Not Just for Boys

July 25, 2010

We returned home on Thursday night from a ten-day quadding adventure that would make most children quiver with glee.  It sure gave my kids plenty of thrills.  My daughter is 16 and drives, so the excitement of speed is not really doing it for her on a quad.  But my boys are 13 and 11 and I think this was the most fun they’ve had …… (thinking)…. EVER.  Their first motorized experience.  WOW!

Larisa flying through the air with the greatest of ease.  Even though my daughter and I rode the four-wheelers, it’s not really our cup of tea.  I’m down with speed and the thrill of a bumpy uphill trail…. but the dust and grime I could certainly do without.  Every article of clothing from each person from each quad trip had to be washed immediately.  I wouldn’t even let the kids sit on the wooden kitchen chairs in filthy clothing!  The cloud of dust following each child reminded me of PigPen from Peanuts.

See how much fun you can have accessorizing a quad?  Helmet, gloves, bandana, clothing.  It really does meet some feminine needs.

The county road out to our meadow with trails requires a “street legal” driver… so I was sequestered into getting dirty two different times.  I’m the good mom.  I complied.  But after riding with their “living-on-a-prayer” father, the boys didn’t sincerely relish riding on the quad with me.  What’s up with that?!?  We have been Emergency Room free for over 18 months now!  That is a record for our family and I plan to keep it that way.

Both boys have decided that they are now saving their “car” money for a quad.  Whatever.  They looked up used quads on Craigslist and eBay withing minutes of being home from vacation.  This will take a LOT of lemonade stands, I’m telling ya’ what!

End of the School Year

May 12, 2010

Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of school for LAKE Academy.  (L = Larisa, A = Austin, K = Keeve and if Zaza’s real name starts with E… it will all be so perfecto!)  However, none of my pupils are finished with their work.  My most hopeful student did not pass his last math test with over 90%…. which is not a passing grade at LAKE Academy.  We have high standards to uphold… and math requires skills that need to be remembered over and over.. and mastered.  He will be doing some review and then retaking the test.  Some of you may balk at my expectations, but the kids know they can live up to them… so I set them HIGH!  If I set them low, they would live up to those as well.  We are not striving for mediocrity in this home school!  No, I’m not pushing my kids beyond their capabilities either.  Calm down.

Pupil #3 got braces put on this week and it has slowed his progress in math and grammar.  I gave him a check-off list five weeks ago with what needed to be accomplished each day.  He has been faithful and diligent until this week.  He may be able to complete his work for the year on Friday… if his mouth is not distracting him.  Wires poking your cheeks can be such a detriment to every day life.  Good grief!  Thank God for wax!

Pupil #1 has had an unbalanced year.  She had way too much of a good thing during the first semester and much making up for the lacking things during second semester.  I also gave her a list of what needed to be accomplished to complete her sophomore year.  Frankly, it will probably take her another month.  But that’s OK.  Her calendar is wide open!  She’ll be winding down the same time as her cousins in Washington who don’t finish school until end of June.  Perfect.

As the homeschool marm, I reflect on my teaching for the past year… right about now…..  Mid-May.  I didn’t do as well as I had hoped with staying on top of high school history.  Spanish for my boys died mid-winter and is still in need of resuscitation.  We may be doing that all summer.  For spelling, both boys advanced more than a year!  They also finished math and are right on course… actually, #2 son is about 2/3 of a year ahead.  Their writing dramatically improved this year thanks to an IEW course.  (Institute for Excellence in Writing)  They know how to take notes from three sources, compile them, make an outline, write a three paragraph paper with opening and closing/clincher sentences… AND know how to add strong verbs, adjectives, adverbs, clauses and sentence openers.  (More than most high school graduates!)  So I feel great about that!  Not so great about high school history.

Out of my nine years of homeschooling my kids, I would only say I did a great job one out of nine years.  That’s not good odds. I’d tell you the exact percentage, but my calculator is missing from my desk.  And I don’t do math in my head.  As soon as I have to carry a number, they all get mixed up.  My great year was last year…. year EIGHT!  But, hey, there’s always next year!  And if we don’t set our goals high… we wouldn’t accomplish hardly anything at all!  Next week I’ll be breathing easy.  Whew!