Posts from the ‘musings’ Category

Kittens are Here!

Molly had her kittens this week.  Four cute and cuddly kitties for us to adore for the next couple of months.  We have one calico and 3 molly juniors.  The kids were able to be here for the birth process.  Of course, the kids are LOVING the kitties.  Molly has decided that AngelBoy is a qualified babysitter.  Last night, Molly brought all her kittens to him while he was sleeping.  I guess she was looking for a break and wanted him to watch them for her.  Today, I took the kitties (in their basket) to the living room and Molly promptly brought them back to the Jeremy’s bed and hid them in his blanket.  🙂  It’s just about the cutest thing I’ve ever witnessed!  Who knew a newly 7 year old boy could be esteemed so highly by a newly (fiercely overprotective) mama cat.

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I’d like to have my cake and eat it too!

Yesterday we went to a local state park.  It wasn’t a field trip and we did no “school work” and I make NO apologies for that.  We are having lovely weather right now and if you live anywhere near the armpit of Texas, you KNOW how rare this weather is! 

One of the mom’s was questioned by the park ranger when she came in as to what we homeschoolers were doing in the park yesterday.  She wanted to know if we were learning or just having fun.  The mom replied that we were having fun and calling it learning.  From what I understand, she got a “tsk, tsk” from the ranger.  Here’s the problem I have with the question from the ranger (a former teacher, no less).  Are FUN and LEARNING mutually exclusive?  Can you either be learning OR having fun?  I really want to know. 

I’ve written up a few lesson plans in my day and I KNOW that teachers  assign a standard or educational goal to each activity that they do.  You can make ANYTHING sound educational with the right words. 

Yesterday the children engaged in critical thinking skills, engineering, physics, hands on life science, physical education, fine motor skills, identification and classification, cause and effect and problem solving skills. 

  State Education Boards have standards and guidelines as to what students must be learning at any given grade.  Does presenting the information and testing on it REALLY mean that the student learned ANYTHING?  What is learning?  Why must a third grader know what sedimentary rock is?  Do you remember the names of 10 different trees by reading about them in a textbook? 

I value education.  Literature, English, Writing, Geography, Spelling, Math and Science are ALL important to me.  I find value in formally learning each subject.  But I also value life.  I value my children’s interest, art and nature.  I want our lives to be enriched by what we see and what we do. 

In my house, we are going to learn AND have FUN doing it!

pp&j

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!!

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