Archive for September, 2010

Welcome to the Big Thicket

Ah! The Piney Woods.  We met up with other Triangle Homeschoolers for a day of hiking in The Big Thicket. 
Our first trail  was a mile long hike in the woods.  It was an easy hike and the kids had a blast running up ahead and around the bend.  Not so far guys!! 

     

We looked tirelessly for Pitcher Plants, those carnivorous plants that this trail is known for. We almost gave up but just as we were finishing up the trail…. One of  our observant homeschoolers pointed them out.  We spent a few moment taking photographs (I don’t have any, AngelBoy had my camera at this point.  🙂 ).   

After we finished our 1 mile hike with no hitches, we stopped at the pavilion for a lunch  break. 

  

“Give us your Pringles and no one gets hurt!”

Next we all piled in our cars and drove down to The Big Thicket Nature Center.  This was a treat for everyone.  The kids were able to see a life sized display of a pitcher plant, check out microscope slides from things found in the big thicket, learn about fires, snakes, crawdads, butterflies and the many habitats of the Big Thicket. 

Our final hike of the Day was probably everyone’s favorite.  We stopped at the trailhead for some group pictures

and the kids took a moment to discover just what really is under rotting bark.

My cameras battery went dead at this point.  Remember how Angelboy had my camera??  He decided to make movies on the way to the Nature Center.   I wish they were great and I could post them, but mostly they are just movies of his nose. 

On the Kirby Trail, we found a stag beetle that we were able to observe (speciman containers do come in handy), we looked for armadillo holes, listened to the bugs and walked down to the slough.  I won’t lie, the end of the trail was a killer.  We were ALL ready to be done about .5 miles before we made it back to the trailhead.  There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and the kids complained a lot too. 

In my delirium, I allowed kids to go in two seperate directions to find the nearest trail marker that would let us know which way to go and NO ONE came back.  One of our mama’s followed the kids that I had sent down the wrong trail to gather them back up (sorry h~) and I took the remaining children and we trudged the rest of the way back. 

We had the special treat of NICE WEATHER yesterday!!  I am just LOVING our field trips this year.  Thank You Triangle Homeschoolers!!

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Birthday Fun

Saturday I took Bella and a few of her friends out for an evening of birthday fun!  I don’t have much to say but I had to post a few pictures and say how much I love my quirky girl!  She loves life so much!!  Those silly glasses are NOT real.  They don’t even have any lenses in them but she loves to wear them.  Quirky Kids Rock!

I think the girls had a lot of fun.  I took them out to eat, bought them gelato that was ENTIRELY too expensive and then we went to see Legend of the Guardians .  I didn’t love the movie.  The computer graphics were great but the movie was meh.  Too creepy for little ones (imo).  I didn’t like how the movie was glorifying MYTHS as REAL, if you just believe in them.  According to the old wise one, you should listen to your “gizzard” and not your head.  Belief and believing was a theme in the movie and I’m just not a fan.

pp&j

Learning for All

We are taking a break this week.  It’s not “on the schedule” but I’ve needed some time to regroup.  I attended an Attention deficit Disorder Meeting Monday night and it confirmed my suspicions that I have a son with ADD.   Inattentive describes him well.  For whatever reasons, I’ve been under the impression that this was a behavioral problem.  I’ve treated it as such.  Each year, I’ve buckled down a little more and accommodated a little less.  I don’t even know that I truly recognized the validity of ADD/ADHD.  Maybe for other people’s children, but certainly not my own.  For the most part, I’ve thought it was an excuse for bad behavior and bad parenting.  (Hangs head in shame) While this is NOT the mindset of every homeschooler I have known, it was for most.   Even my own husband has said that ADHD is a made up condition caused from lax parenting.

I’ve always known that my Puddles has learning issues.  What causes those issues has been a mystery to me.  I’ve often tried my hardest to MAKE that boy change.  I’ve hesitated to label him because I didn’t want to be making excuses for bad behavior.  To my fundamentalist mind, that was a sin.   Yes, there could be some acknowledgment that a child has ADD/ADHD but the undercurrent was usually that the kid was just bad and not spanked enough or disciplined enough.  

I’ve believed that my son’s inattentiveness has been my fault.  I’ve felt that the solution lies in discipline and not the good kind.  I’m sad about that.  But it’s one of those things that I’m dealing with right now. I’m Seeing my children in a different light. I’m learning who they are and how I can help them with their strengths and weaknesses.  Not to make them selfish, or lazy but to allow them to learn in a way that works for them.  I want to understand them. 

One of the things that the speaker said Monday night that really struck me is that if you don’t let children know that they are different, that their brain works differently and how that is no reflection on them, they WILL internalize their disorder and start to think they ARE stupid, no good, slow, etc.   That’s what I’m fighting against now.  I’m fighting against ANY internalization that he has done in the wake of my trying to parent or discipline the inattentiveness out of him.

So major parenting fail for me.  I’d love to point fingers and blame others for my parenting snafus but I drank the Kool-Aid.  I bought into the mindset that right behavior was the best sign of a good parent and good child.  I’m just glad that I’ve seen the falacy in it.  Because my children deserve more than that and so do I!

Chocolate Cake- A parable

Once upon a time there was a little boy who liked to bake chocolate cake.  On fine afternoons, he would take out his bowls and spoons and measuring cups.  He’d open the cabinet and get out his cake mix, eggs and butter.  He’d pour all the ingredients into his bowl and mix and stir until all the lumps disappeared.   As he poured his batter into his cake pan, he’d think about the delicious cake and he’d smile and call out to his mom that he was almost ready.  His mom would rush to the kitchen and together, they’d place the pan in the warm oven and set the timer.  In thirty minutes, the smell of cake would fill the house and his mom would remove the cake from the oven to cool.

As time went on, the young boy made more and more chocolate cakes.  He followed the directions, cooked the cake and out came his masterpiece.  One day though, he was missing some ingredients.  Inside of 3 eggs, he could only find one.  He looked and looked for butter but they were all out.  So he put his one egg in and replaced his butter with olive oil and soon enough, he had stirred and placed the batter in the warm oven.  30 minutes went by and his mother pulled the cake out and she was shocked by what she saw.  The cake was flat and it didn’t smell quite right. 

That afternoon, the boy cut the first slice of cake and took a bite.  He expected a bite of heaven and chocolate goodness.  Instead, it was like dirt filled his mouth.  He couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.  Every good chocolate cake he had ever baked was banished from his memory.  He tasted the dirt and he was certain that he was indeed not fit to bake chocolate cakes.  He threw his cake in the garbage in disgust.  He abandoned the cake pan in the sink.  He could not make chocolate cake.   

A month went by, and when the boy would think about chocolate cake, he’d tell himself he was not a very good baker.  He had made a cake and it turned out to be a disaster and he was just not worthy to stir that magic spoon and let the velvety sheets of batter fill up his precious cake pan. 
His mother noticed that her son was just not himself lately.  She asked him what was wrong and he said, “nothing” as boys often do and she nodded and went about her day. 

One day, he was filling particularly sad that he was such an awful baker.  He’d like nothing more than to have some chocolate cake.  So when his mother asked him to take out the garbage, he huffed and puffed and drug it halfway through the yard and dropped it in a fit.  When his brother asked if he’d like to play ball, he growled at him and shuffled away.  When his mom asked him to vacuum the living room, he pushed the vacuum around in a circle and slunk off to his room. 

Later that evening, as his mom stood outside in the cool of the day, the little boy came up to his mom and told her, “I’m just feeling like I’m not a good baker!”.  His mother was shocked!  Not a good baker??  How could he think such a thing?  But he told her, “Mom I baked that cake last month and it was horrible! I can’t bake cakes!!”.  She looked at him thoughtfully and asked him to stop and think about all the cakes he had baked over the past year.  Memories of chocolate cakes flooded his mind.  He raised his eyebrows and wrinkled his nose and suddenly he remembered.  He COULD bake chocolate cakes, in fact, he’d baked them time and time again and each one had turned out yummy and delicious and made everyone shout for more.  He threw his arms around his mom and said, “Thanks mom! I’m not a bad baker, I just made a mistake!”  And his mom laughed and smiled inside because her son suddenly realized he was more than just his mistakes! 

Thanks for all the great chocolate cakes son!!  A stinker, every once in a while, is no reflection on the goodness that you are. We all make mistakes!  Bake chocolate cakes and be glad, You are a VERY good baker!!

Our New Name

I’ve  been pretty ho hum about our Homeschool name.  After creating our new crest, I felt inspired to think of a new name.  Our School Motto is : Let Nature be our Guide.  The word VIS in our motto has a ring to it.

I got online and researched the many definitons of VIS.  Here are my findings. 

Latin: Force or Power
Afrikaans: Fish
Anglo-Norman: Face
Danish: NOUN Manner, way or ADJ-Wise
Dutch:  Noun- FIsh
Norwegian:  Wise
Romanian: Dream or vision

I had a few misgivings about Vis when I thought of it as FORCE. We’re not forcing ourselves to learn or being forceful in a negative sense. But there are so many ways to look at force. We ARE a force to be reckoned with and the force of the Universe is our guide.  The Power within ourselves and the power we see in the world around us inspires us and makes us strong. 

Because of our nature theme, I was tickled when I read that vis can mean FISH in some languages.  Words like Wise, Vision,  Manner and Way speak to our enlightened journey! 

We are a wise force to be reckoned with on the Way, full of vision, dreams and Fish. 😉

pb&j

New Look

The Header is a work in progress.  🙂  I’ll keep tinkering with it this week. 

I’ve spent some time (read every waking moment) playing around with paint and word documents this weekend.  It’s been another fun creative outlet for me.  Me?  Who’s me?  I don’t know.  Apparently, she likes creative outlets. 

Today I’ve been struggling with a migraine headache.  This is new territory for me.  I’ve been on some medication for the past 3 years.  Recently, I’ve been weaning myself off the meds and ran out a couple of weeks ago.  Withdrawls are not so much fun.  On the plus side, even without meds, I’m no longer in a state of depression or anxiety.  So that happy place I keep talking about, it’s for real! 

I’ve added some new pages to the top of my blog. I have a Halloween Lapbook that you might want to take a look at and use with your kids.  🙂

pp&j

Unveiling our Homeschool Crest

Let Nature be our Guide

Thanks to ~h at this adventure life for the tutorial  on how to make a homeschool crest!