Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't let the bed bugs bite

I have a problem... I am a chronic insomniac. It is getting worse as I get older. I have tried all kinds of gimmicks and pills and can't seem to shake it. The last week or so I have been taking a combination of melatonin and Tylenol pm, but even that is not quite getting the job done. Of course, like anything the more stuff I take the more stuff it takes. Time to detox. I'm am waiting until after this weekend, because Bethany's 16th birthday is Saturday and we will be having all manner of friends and family over here. I am not very nice when I am tired. you're welcome.

In addition to being a hopeless insomniac, I am also a VERY light sleeper... when the happy moment actually does arrive. When Brian was little I could hear him if he left his room and wandered down the hall toward the living room, no matter how quiet he walked. Because he had to walk between the A/C unit and my bedroom door, the sound that the A/C unit was making would be disturbed momentarily and it would wake me up. OR... if he was smart enough to wait until the A/C shut off, the sound of the carpet piles squishing would wake me up. Poor kid didn't stand a chance.

Naturally, I married the LOUDEST snorer in the tri state area. Needless to say, I "sleep" on the couch alot. The problem with the couch is that it is in the living room. with the dish. Did you know that the DVR talks to the dish all night long? I have no idea what they have to talk about, but all I hear is rr.rr.rr.rr. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. That, and the clock. The one that chimes every hour and TICKS very loudly. So, I have developed this strategic process of pillows under my head and pillows over my head to block out this cacophony. Then there is the heating pad for my back and the pillow between my knees, but that's a whole nother subject.

So anyway, last night while the weather was so pretty the windows were open to let in the fresh spring air and the sounds of some incredibly loud bird who decided to TWEEET TWEEET TWEEET during the wee hours of the morning. I mean "wee"; as in it was still dark as midnight outside. Everyone knows that birds don't start singing till the sun comes up.

Stupid bird.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And so it goes

First of all, let me say that today is one of those days when I ask myself WHY, oh WHY do I have three - count 'em, THREE - dogs. What the heck was I thinking. This week we have been passing around a serious stomach virus between the canines. I am SO tired of cleaning up the toxic waste that they have produced over the last couple of days. I have moved them out to the sun porch to recover from their nastiness... Smells like someone is decomposing out there, just a few hours later. But, it is too early to start bathing them because this one is far from over. Yay:) Add to that joy, Zoe is back in heat. There is a reason that the "b" word is not a compliment. Zoe is ALL that. and a bag of chips. Off to the sun porch for her, too.

Anyhow... Bethany and I have been feverishly preparing for the summer before the great move. We want to get a couple of classes knocked out before she is at the mercy of any real teachers. I am not sure just what, exactly, I have been doing for the last ten years but you know what I mean. We need to get a credit for geography - which kept getting put off because she HATES geography. Her idea of travelling is getting to go to Target. I am hoping she doesn't wander off, so I'm okay with that. But we need the credit. fine.

We are also back to Spanish. She needs a two foreign language credits - the same language. New school doesn't offer Latin. We took Latin this year. rats. I had bought the Rosetta Stone Latin American Spanish with high hopes of sending a bilingual high school graduate off to college. We kind of hit a snag. It's real hard to teach a language that you don't speak. So, months ago, we put this very expensive program away with hopes of getting some of our money back selling it to some other unsuspecting soul.

Then, we decided that we really would like to have this credit on the transcript when we transfer. We dug it out from under this year's debris, put on our happy pants, and approached it with what I hoped was a better attitude. Turns out that it isn't so bad after all.

I have said in the past that the key to home schooling for us is momentum. The other key is timing. I have found that if you go too slow in certain curriculum that it takes too long from test to test for the kids to have to snowball's chance of remembering all of the facts that you have carefully placed into their very active brains. It also backfires if you go too fast. Because this curriculum is different than anything that I have ever used, I have had to take a great deal of time developing a "plan" that fits her needs. Not too slow... not too fast. Seems like we have finally hit upon the right speed for us. She has finished the first 2 lessons of the first unit and we have an A+ average. Now the hard part. She has already passed whatever knowledge I have retained from two years of high school Spanish. yipee.

What I want to know is why the brilliant minds at Rosetta Stone put the directions to all of the worksheets and quizzes and tests in SPANISH. I mean... clearly, we don't speak that language. Thank goodness I have discovered Google - translation. Saved my bacon.

That's all folks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is the point?

When I began this adventure of home schooling - many years ago - a very wise woman that I know gave me a tape by Cynthia Tobias called "Learning Styles", or something like that.

You remember tapes, right. Those plastic thingys with the endless reel of stuff that always slipped off of the track and ended up everywhere if you didn't put it back into the case... Which, of course always seemed to break on the ones you cared about the most. or borrowed.

Anyhow... she gave me this tape of information to help me on my quest to educate my children. Turns out that it did alot for my parenting, too, so it was certainly worth the time. One of the points that she was making was to be prepared for kids who learn differently from us. Everyone has there own "style". For instance, I am a floor person. I like sit in the living room floor and spread everything out on the floor so that I can see the bigger picture. I am getting older now, so I do that less and less but the truth is that that is when I do my best work. Weird, I know. As Cynthia pointed out, it doesn't really matter HOW a person gets where he needs to be. I just matters that he GETS there... at least when it comes to learning. It didn't take long to me to discover precisely what she meant.

My children, especially my daughter, do school work better if there is moderately loud music in the background. I TOTALLY don't get this. I find it distracting and frustrating and it makes me lose my mind. I used to keep a little classical music going in the background during class time, but nothing with words; and nothing too loud. That is in keeping with MY learning style, but not theirs. The prefer to JAM while doing homework. So, I have to keep my motherly need to control the environment in check and let them do what works for THEM. It isn't always easy. Mostly I just want to yell over the music to TURN THAT OFF.

But, as long as she is cranking out the grades and her work is done... that's really the point, right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The end of an era

yeah, yeah, yeah... I've been a little busy. I HAVE a life, you know. So today I took Bethany to a local private school to be "tested". The truth is that I was being tested, but whatever.

It's official. She is leaving the nest. pbbl. Bring on the Zoloft.

Actually, she is just going to school next fall for the first time in TEN - count 'em - TEN years. Okay, well technically she went to class one day a week this year but... this time its for real. Five days a week, and that's just for classes. That doesn't include extra curricular thingys.

So, I am searching her medical records for proof of her immunizations which I think is kinda funny since most of the people doing this are getting their kindergartner's ready for fall, not their high school Junior. I mean her shots were a while ago, people. I am NOT a magician. I'll be calling the health department tomorrow because, unbeknownst to me, her doctors are required to file that info with the health department... probably in case of stupid parents.

I also had to find her birth certificate and social security card. Wow... that took a minute or two. I also had to make sure that her transcripts were neatly recorded with all the curriculum info. Just in case. We have to make sure that she gets the rest of the credits she needs in time for graduation in two VERY SHORT years. And... it would be nice if she could get that cool "honors" diploma that comes with a full college ride to the college of momma's choice.

no pressure.