Archive for August, 2007

Caterpillar Update!

Oh my goodness gracious! What’s this?

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Fluffy Fluttery has emerged. And she’s prettier than I thought she’d be. And we’re pretty sure she’s still alive, although I have no idea when she actually emerged. She might have been hiding in the top rim of that lid for days for all I know. But when I nudged her with a piece of grass, she moved a bit. Maybe she’s just sleeping.

Check out the markings on her head:

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So, there you have it. An exercise in homeschool science. We, of course, have other exercises sitting in jars all over the window sill now. Some of them have not survived, but that’s okay, since I’m not sure what they would have become. But we do have one more Fluffy Fluttery brewing in a cocoon for my 4-year-old. Not that I’m doing preschool around here, mind you. ūüėČ

Pretty damn cool.

Edited to add: Fluttery did eventually fly away when night fell. I’m happy for her, but maybe a bit worried about my sycamore tree.

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A little splash of color to brighten the day.

Whereas¬†most kids are experiencing the End of Summer Blahs, here at RegularMom’s Homeschool, we’re dancing on rainbows (after we’re finished drawing them, of course.)

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If it were to actually start raining, I’m pretty sure they’d simply grab umbrellas and keep on dancing.

Gene Kelly, eat your heart out.

Regarding Preschool.

The hot topic these days seems to be homeschool preschool. Or really we could talk about preschool in general. It doesn’t just have to be within the homeschool arena. There’s more and more talk these days in the education industry about making preschool a mandatory grade level. This isn’t surprising. Just think of all the money that could be made. All the new jobs. The administrative requirements. The regulations. The pharmaceuticals. It’s a cash-cow just waiting to moo.

That’s how kindergarten got started way back when. Kindergarten was supposed to be that preschool year. Now kindergarten is all about reading and writing and advanced calculus, not to mention beginning that all important process of¬†dividing the ranks of children into various¬†predetermined groups that range¬†anywhere from POTENTIAL GENIUS to¬†LEARNING DISABLED¬†to¬†IN DIRE NEED OF MEDICATION AND AN IEP.¬†It is the beginning of the separation of children into the Have’s and the Have-Nots.

Is it any wonder that most parents opt for preschool these days? Wouldn’t you opt for preschool, to give your child the best possible step forward, to basically help them get into the GOOD, SMART, WELL-ADJUSTED GROUP? Because once your kid is classified into a Have-Not position, there’s really no way out.

Oh sure, some parents put their kids into preschool so their kids will have fun, or make friends, but really the vast majority of people are putting their kids into preschool so that they won’t be behind when kindergarten starts.

Doesn’t the system set us up for failure, if it dictates that your child is already behind at the BEGINNING?

And shouldn’t homeschooling consider turning away from that mentality?

For those of you who, like me, have preschoolers in your home, can I suggest that you just play. And just go places. And just eat fruit. And just scribble with crayons. And just nap. And just read the same damn Arthur storybooks over and over again. Or Clifford. Or whatever it is they want to read that you’re so sick of you want to scream.

Let your preschool program be the antithesis of preschool. Or let it be whatever keeps you sane and your preschooler happy while you’re getting schoolwork with older children done. Or let it be a slow and steady course in not waiting until the last possible milisecond before you run to the bathroom to pee.

I’m not telling you to not do preschool. Because just by being with your little ones and doing what you already do, you’re doing preschool. You really are. And so are they.

Conversation over cheese sticks and apples.

The girls have friends over for the day. Right now, they’re having a snack of apple slices and cheese sticks. They’re discussing a couple of important topics: loose teeth and imaginary friends.

Each one of them has an imaginary friend. This pleases me to no end.

Their ages range between four and 10, yet they all get along well and play together well and treat each other kindly. The older kids are always making sure that my 4-year-old is included and when she messes something up, they laugh and explain the rules to her yet again.

When the oldest said let’s not talk about teeth anymore…it’s starting to make me feel weird, the other three simply said okay and moved on to another topic. Like it was all about making sure everyone felt good. And like making sure no one felt weird or left out¬†is a simple, everyday normal thing. Because it is.

Simple. Normal. Every day.

This kindness also pleases me to no end.¬†It’s the kind of thing I want to videotape and show to every idiot who ever said: but what about socialization?

Socialization? I want to say. Oh yes…you mean like this?

But chances are, they wouldn’t get it.

RegularDad ROCKS!

Last night RegularDad went to the Dream Theater concert with his brother. We’re, like, HUGE Dream Theater fans. Seriously. HUGE. RegularDad even had a few guitar lessons from their guitarist, John Petrucci, way back when we were still in college and living in a tiny room in a beer-soaked frat house.

Back in Colorado, I used to go to all the Dream Theater concerts with RegularDad. Grandma would come babysit, and we’d drive to wherever Dream Theater was playing and see the show. A couple of years ago we even went to see Yes just because Dream Theater was the opening act. We stayed for a few Yes tunes, but it got a bit surreal watching¬†senior citizens¬†dancing and screaming whooo-hoooo and forking the evil eye meaningfully at the stage. Not to mention the lead singer totally reminded me of Bilbo Baggins when he was really, really old and living with the elves and he got that evil look on his face when he tried to steal the ring from Frodo. And I wasn’t even stoned. Seriously. He looked Just Like Bilbo. So we left after a few songs. We’d really only gone to see Dream Theater anyway.

But, I digress.

The point I’m trying to get to¬†is, I am a totally cool wife. A RegularWife, you might say. Because there really aren’t any babysitters nearby these days, and RegularDad really wanted to go to the concert with his brother, so I magnaminously said, of course darling, you go to the concert. And have a wonderful time. I’ll stay home with the kids. Of course I don’t mind.

And when they found out Mike Portnoy was doing a drum clinic that morning not far from where we were, RegularDad and his brother (who’s a great drummer) and my little 3-year-old nephew (also a damn good drummer, and he’s only three) all decided to go on down to the clinic as well.

Of course, darling. You go to the drum clinic. See Mike Portnoy. I’ll watch the kids here all day. In the heat. And the mess. I’ll continue to brave the relentless whining and fighting and….

Just…could you get Mike to sign my shirt? You know…my Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence shirt I got a while back? And then could you get me a new shirt at the concert? Because if Portnoy signs my Inner Turbulence shirt, there’s no way I’m gonna wash and wear it again.

RegularDad promised to get me Mike Portnoy’s autograph on my old, worn out Dream Theater shirt. And here it is:

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And did you notice? Did you? RegularDad asked Mike to make it out to RegularMom. And he did. Look:

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To RegularMom — and then that blob is Mike Portnoy’s signature. Apparently when he was signing it Portnoy looked sideways at RegularDad and said: “As opposed to IrregularMom?” And RegularDad just laughed and shook his head.

You tell me…is RegularDad cool? Or is he cool?

I’ll be a little sad to no longer be wearing my Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence t-shirt anymore, because it has so accurately described my life with toddlers these past few years. I suspect that at least one band member had a couple of toddlers in his house¬†at the time that that album got written and named.

But my new t-shirt will suffice, I think. The new one says systematic chaos, which is also an incredibly apt descriptive¬†of my life as a Bad-Ass Homeschoolin’ Mama. Who lives with a 4-year-old.

It’s like they KNOW me.

Here’s to you RegularDad. You ROCK!

A day off.

RegularDad’s been working hard these days. Mostly 12-hour days, 7 days a week. But yesterday he took a day off and we all went down to the beach. The weather was cool and overcast, but I almost like that kind of beach day better. No suits or sunscreen required. Just playing in the sand and watching the water. And taking pictures. Here’s a great shot I somehow managed to get:

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I had just planned on opening this up real quick in Photoshop and doing a simple crop and contrast correction so I could post it and move on to other things, like popcorn and Pride & Prejudice on cable, but I got distracted by the different emotional states I created just by zooming in on the same picture and cropping it closer and closer. See the first picture up there? Have a look and ask yourself how you feel. Got your emotions identified? Good. Now, look at this one:

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Feel any different?

Here’s one more:

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Now how do you feel?

Here’s how it went for me: In that first one, I was feeling good and a little motherly, you know. Like, oh look how darling, the two of them together. In the second one, I wasn’t really the watching-mother anymore. I could feel the little girl’s emotions (a little afraid, but also secure because of the father’s presence)¬†a lot stronger. I became less of an observer. In the third one, I felt like I was intruding. It was too close, you know? And the emotional state of the little girl is virtually gone, in my opinion.

If I were to choose one of these three to print and frame, it’d have to be the second image.

Pretty cool, huh?

So, leave me a comment, if you like. Tell me how you felt. I’m curious. And now, it’s off to pop that popcorn.

Watch. Laugh.

Don’t ask me why, but this little video had me and RegularDad cracking up tonight. It’s not nearly as funny as that Mom My Ride thing Fourmother shared with us last month, but it’s still worth watching.


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