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Homeschool science lesson.

A few months back, there was talk on various message boards about whether or not homeschoolers adequately covered science. I can’t speak to long term experience with either an abundance of science or an embarrassing lack thereof, because I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years, but I can say that my girls love science. They love it just because it’s so HANDS-ON. Because when it’s time for science, it means (more often than not) that it’s time to DO something. To touch. Test. Collect. See. Find. Smell. Taste (yeah, sometimes).

And for the same exact reasons that they love it, I often find myself…avoiding it. Because they’ll touch. test. collect. see. find. smell. taste (yes, sometimes.) And every maternal instinct in me wants to tell them

DON’T!

Don’t touch that. Don’t test me that. Don’t bring that in the house collect. Must you stop and look at that right now see? Do NOT put that in your mouth. Whaddaya mean you smell something??? What did you do??? You found something? WHERE? Whatever it is, don’t touch it until I see it.

When I hear of homeschoolers who say that they just never get to science, I wonder if the reason isn’t so much that other “more essential” work must come first, but that rather it’s just that science can be a bit of a bother for us mothers (and I include myself here, because last year I, too, found myself shoving science away into the no-man’s land of maybe next week.)

Because let’s face it. Science isn’t easy for us. Oh, at this age, it’s a breeze for the kids. But for us, science means MESS. And science on top of a neglected pile of laundry and stacks of dishes can be daunting. Doing science INSTEAD of dishes and laundry requires concentrated effort.

But it’s worth it. It’s so worth it.

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This autumn, find yourselves a little patch of woods. Just a little one. And get yourselves a notebook and some pencils and a plastic bin. And go out there with juice and cheese and crackers. And touch. smell. find. listen. collect. see. breathe. sketch. photograph. dance. taste. be.

It’s not nearly as messy as you think.

Not just a poet…but an AWARD-WINNING poet!

So, Karisma ran this competition over at her place, the prize being a cute little cross-stitch kit that I just adored. She told everyone that they had to write a poem about cross-stitching, and well…how could I resist? Cross-stitching and poetry? That had my name ALL over it!

But I couldn’t think of anything truly lovely or poetic. All that kept happening was the phrase “there once was a man from Nantucket” would run through my head. Which irked me. Because let’s face it. No man (from Nantucket or anywhere) would ever admit to being a cross stitcher. Except that one guy I knew in college…he stitched. And in public too. But he had issues. And a really great French knot technique. (True story.)

So, in the end, with the extended deadline looming, I desperately went ahead and wrote an actual limerick. My poet-friends in Colorado would at this point be pretending not to know me. But screw them. They don’t have little kids. Some of them don’t have kids at all. Most of them have grandkids. And none of them homeschool. They have no idea how hard it is to write poetry amidst the drifted litter of empty cheese stick wrappers and those little bits of toilet paper that my 4-year-old leaves all over the place when I’ve just put on a new double-roll and she can’t get a good grip on it.

So, I wrote a nice little limerick. Complete with curse word. And I won! So, here…for your reading pleasure is my award-winning poem.

A Cross Stitch Poem for Karisma:
by RegularMom

There once was a gal who did cross stitch
Who found herself plagued with an itch
That bothered her nose…
But that’s how it goes,
When you stitch sometimes life is a bitch.

Many thanks to Karisma for running the contest. And for the fun. And for picking me. And for coming here and reading my stuff. It’s good to know people get me.

I’m looking forward to seeing my new sampler in the mail. Sometime in the next two decades, I might actually find some time to sit down and stitch that thing. 🙂

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PS: I know I’ve been tagged for a couple of memes, and I promise I’ll get to them as soon as I can. Sorry for the delay, but things are crazy around here as usual. Also, I’ve drastically reduced my caffeine intake which is screwing up my blogging time. (I used to stay up super-late blogging because I couldn’t sleep. Now I collapse in the hall sometimes before I make it to the laptop.) But I am finally getting a bit more sleep. So that’s good.

Memes are coming soon. 🙂

White-breasted nuthatch.

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This little (nonmigratory) darling has been busy scoping out the locust tree in my front yard as a possible good hiding place for winter food storage.

Here, she’s clinging to a post of my front porch. I like to sit out there with coffee and camera and keep an eye out for her.

The first geese are starting to fly, and a few choice leaves are starting to turn red and gold. I walk through the late summer trees and startle the deer and feel a good satisfying anticipation of seeing a real autumn for the first time in twelve years. Autumn out west isn’t really autumn. Not like here. And yes, I’m a little sad to see summer go, even as tired of the heat as I’ve become.

But the nuthatch makes it more bearable.

Because it’s nice to know that not everyone will be leaving. To know that the nuthatch will stay and keep us company in the coming cold.

Soon there will be warm tea and wool socks. Afghans and hot cocoa. Stories read aloud to giggly, pent-up children. And the chance, however slim, to say to them, oh look! there’s the nuthatch! and watch them run for the window.

Third day of school.

Here’s the living room after we watched a video on Ancient Egypt:

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And I should point out that we cleaned this room up completely last night. And this is what happened after one video.

And here’s a nice pile of laundry that’s been accumulating next to the basement door:

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But hey — at least the handwriting books finally showed up.

And hey now…wait a minute…wait a minute…wait just a damn minute!…What’s THIS?

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Ahh…the world map. And there we are.

Any questions?

Second day of school.

And then, on the second day of school, we actually sat down and got some work done. We did almost a full day, some subjects being shorter than usual since it’s mostly review. A full day, for us, is not more than 3 hours. It would really only take about 2 hours to get our work done except for the All-Important DAWDLE FACTOR.

Dawdle Factor is some sort of DNA structure that we’re born with and don’t lose until we become parents ourselves, at which point we realize just exactly how frustrated our own parents must have been when we were young. Let’s just imagine, for one minute (because we really only have one spare minute, if at all), the hours of childhood that we’ve all wasted just looking for our shoes while our mothers waited by the door, foot tapping exasperatedly. And now, we are the ones who wait impatiently, keys in hand, with the litany I-won’t-help-look-this-time…I-won’t…I-won’t…I-WON’T! running through our heads, knowing full well that in a few minutes we’ll be tossing the keys and the purse on the table to go show the kids just exactly how to lift up the damp bath towels on the floor to check if shoes are hidden underneath.

Depressing, isn’t it?

But now, I want you to imagine yourself 20 years in the future, sitting on a beach somewhere holding your favorite drink and your favorite book, and you’ve just turned off your cellphone because your kid just tried to call you to complain about how her kids just simply cannot find their shoes.

Feel better? Good. Me too.

In all, it was a good day back to the books. We’ve never taken so much time off at once before, and it’s amazing how quickly I had forgotten how it all piles up on you when you’re homeschooling. The mess. The stalling. The handwriting books that still haven’t arrived. The bored 4-year-old. I’d take a picture of how the living room looks right now, but I’m just too damned tired.

But we keep on keepin’ on, because we know deep in our hearts that the house won’t always look like this. And we know we’re doing the best we can. And above all, we’re pretty much guaranteed that as long as we persevere in our homeschooling endeavors, our daughters will never, EVER, sound like this:

It’s a brand new year, everybody. Here’s hoping you get yourselves some maps!

First day of school.

Better like this? (Imagine a heavy Bronx accent here.)

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Or better like this? (Again, really heavy Bronx accent. I’m talking HEAVY. Don’t be afraid to lay it on thick.)

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It was standing room only at the local Dunkin’ Donuts this morning as dozens upon dozens of homeschoolers descended upon the little shop and scarfed down several dozen of the famous sugary treats, not to mention large cups of milk and coffee and juices of all kinds.

After about an hour of that, we all moved on up the road a bit to our friend’s house where the kids swam or played basketball or badminton and the moms knitted or crocheted various things and we ordered sandwiches in and just had ourselves a regular-old good time.

And I should also mention that today is the day my 6-year-old turns into a 7-year-old, and what a joy it is to NOT have to send her off to school on her birthday of all days. Here’s my birthday girl:

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What a face! It almost looks like she’s thinking: Oh Mother, those poor, poor children! Tell me it’s not true, that children all over the state are being bussed away and sent into large, un-airconditioned industrial-looking brick buildings and forced to sit in uncomfortable chairs all day long. Oh please, Mother, say it isn’t so. Oh, how can they bear it? Oh, isn’t there any way to save them?

It does sort of look like she’s thinking that, doesn’t it.

But what was really happening in that shot was that she’d just run up to me and asked if she could go swimming, and because I didn’t say yes right away because I was busy dinking around with my new camera, she became concerned that I might say no, which would have been devastating. This is what she looks like when she thinks I might say no to one of her requests – reasonable or not.

Of course I said yes. It’s the first day of school…. Of course you can go swimming. And have another donut while you’re at it. That’s what the first day of school is all about around here.

And Happy Birthday, sweetie.


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