20Aug/15
Attention to Detail Fail

Frack’n File Fail

I love to hang on to things ‘just in case’.  Sometimes it edges into hording but I am pretty good at keeping the clutter to reasonable forms of organised chaos.  Today was NOT a shining example of how to achieve that.

Attention to Detail FailMy hard-drives are NOT free of hording. I keep downloads of units and paperwork that I MAY someday want the boys to study, templates and examples that I MAY want to use in the future, and old versions of things I have done just in case I MAY need them again in the future.  Yes, these are all filed in a system that is easy to use and understand but there are still a lot of files.  Today I clicked twice and didn’t think twice!  In a nanosecond I manage to delete my entire Homeschooling file system.

Yup.  All of it.

All of the unit work I was organising to do, the portfolio of stuff done, the schedule templates and the resources materials .  All of it.  The good, the useless, and the unknown all gone.  The files of course were too large for the recycling bin so they skipped the recycling bin and went straight to nuclear detonation.  * waves bye bye *

file systemWell.  Burning down a house does indeed deal with a case of hording but it may be a bit extreme.  Deleting an entire drive does clean it up but may be a bit harsh. :)

So, now ( in preparation of Windows 10 install ) I am uploading as many files to my online storage systems as possible.  Obviously, it’s a bit like closing the barn door after the horses are out but it will remind me to be more consistent with backups and system restore files.

This next week will certainly be focused on getting those portfolios actually nailed down and report cards/tracking systems actually designed and finalized.  All of this from a clean slate.

Frack.  LOL.

19Apr/15
just_one_more_block__by_destroptor-d5gcseg

Skrafty Crazy!

Minecraft is a very major part of our world.  For anyone who doesn’t get it, could be due to them never having played.  I went from ” snort of derission” to ” just one more block” very quickly. So as I am looking for online courses for homeschooling I wasn’t TOO surprised to find many of them in the Minecraft.  Tonight the boys and I battled through the Noob to explore the world of Skrafty .

We are hooked.

endermanIt took a bit to get the appropriate permissions and to understand the server speak ( /tell to private message, /port to claim land, /server to move around) but the boys got lost for hours playing paint ball, running through mazes and finding more and more premade worlds.

I happily staying in my BigIdeas space and began building the house from UP.  I have torn down and rebuild every wall at least three time already but it has some hope.

The sun has long set, the dogs are snoring and I have FINALLY sent the boys to bed.  Now I just need to  show some self restraint and not log back on so I can keep building.

I am an adult….  I am an adult…  I am an adult.

10Apr/15
Cursing Cursive

For those with children NOT winning in the Homeschooling Olympics…

After months of reading about AMAZING and ADVANCED kids, Charlotte Mason and children reading The Classics, poetry perfectionists and debutant doers, I couldn’t hold my hands still any longer.   I posted the following on the Secular CM forum today.

Cursing CursiveThis is by no means a slam of children who are really motivated to learn and who are thriving under their own momentum. This is more a thought from a Mom who has two boys who would love to be doing anything other than writing out a poem in cursive writing even when it is about gopher guts.

This is our first year homeschooling/unschooling (now that I know what that term means!) grades 4 and 8. There are many reasons for the decision to do so but suffice it to say we have spent this past year relearning basics and trying to figure out what is known and not known. The elder son is pulling around and is starting to self motivate in rudimentary ways so I have hope there. The 10 year old? BUAHAAHAHAHAHA

Posts come around saying ” Darling Daughter is finding grade 6 materials too easy, she is so advanced, what do you recommend for us to study next? We have completed all the classics…” and I look at my son and fight the instinct to compare. I was lucky if he brushed his hair this morning. Coo-dos, he got dressed. ( Don’t ask if they are clean or not.) Am I a crappy mother? ( I can hear all of you rushing to reassure me that I am not and I appreciate that. :) ) Is my son doomed to a life of flipping burgers (even though to do that you need a diploma now)? Is social services about to show up at my door and deem me an unfit parent of an uneducated heathen?

I have not read all of CM’s books ( O.O that is a lot of reading!!!) yet I can’t imagine that every student that crossed her doorstep was a born learner. She did come from a spare the rod – spoil the child era. Yet how did she handle it? After she counted to 1,000 so that she didn’t kill the child for the 8th time today, what did she do to ” plant that seed of LONGING to learn?” How did she handle the Tweens? The age where video games and itunes, of 11 am rising and rolled eyes, and the testing of the boundaries of ‘ how little can I get away with and dodge Mom’s rage?” … how did she handle that?

I would love to have my kids engaged in the classics – Treasure Island, Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Huck Finn – but getting them interested in reading about things even as boyish as Butt Wars, Zombies, or Wolverine still requires that dreaded reading and leaves us in the battle of will power!

We will not quit. We will stick to it and I consider how little they walked away knowing after so many years in a public system, reassuring myself that they have already learned this year so much more than they have up to now. Some of it is personal identity and confidence, some is times tables, and some is that your actions come with solid consequences ( yes, failure happens. Then what?) But let me tell you… there are days I want to take my binders of planning and rage quit along with the best teenage xbox-er!

Signed,
Mother of 2 Homeschooling Irish Heathens

P.S.
This week’s sign of encouragement – ” Mom can we PLEASE watch that Space DIscovery show on Netflix with supper? PLEASE?” In my brain, ” No son.. learning is forbidden during post classroom hours. Go watch Sponge Bob and don’t you DARE eat your vegetables.” I answered yes after appearing to seriously debate the request.

08Apr/15

Hello world! Again

Over the past year plus of changes, moves and upheavals I had let my blog go.  The Domain lapsed and the hosting set to the side until things are more stable.  It’s more stable.  Voila.

I was not aware of what an integral component to my sense of identity this blog had become.  It’s not a daily writing ( hell, even a weekly one!) but it is there and is mine.  I could always turn to it with sad hands, angry hands, or just creative or upbeat hands.  It was there as MY outlet and MY space for my words.  A place where if someone disagreed with my words they were welcome to but if they got uppity about them… then they knew how to leave.  ( it’s that tiny arrow that points <— )

I am glad to have it back.  I don’t know where it is going to go or what I will be writing about but it’s here and I can breath a sigh and see it as another sign of my life settling into my safe place!

02Feb/15
Write Right

“Cursive Writing was never needed and is a waste of time.” WTF?!

While on the internet today I read “How to Learn ALL Subjects through Unschooling” and I was not prepared for the intensity of my response.  While setting up homeschooling for my own boys this fall it had become very obvious that there is not a singular correct way to do it: the personal styles, content, schedules and approaches are as varied as there are parent-children combinations.  Still, this woman managed to hit a nerve – one I was NOT aware was so raw – with a 20 pound hammer.  My reaction to this article has inspired me to write for the first time in a very long time.

She wrote:

WRITING

  • Book Reports – Happen naturally as we talk about what we’ve read. We don’t need to require they are written down. If a child can orally give a report, they can write it out if they choose.
  • Letters – Will happen naturally, they can see examples online or from recent mail.
  • Penmanship – Not needed in today’s world. The ability to express oneself vocally will translate to paper if ever needed.
  • Cursive – “School cursive, called in my day Palmer penmanship, had evolved from an elaborate decorative script invented for engraving in copper, a very slow and painstaking form of writing that had nothing to do with speed. Someone, somewhere, decided that it would be nice if children learned to write like copperplate engraving, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
  • Children will learn cursive & calligraphy if they want.

MATHEMATICS

  • The only real math are word problems.

Even copying and pasting that has made me go put on a pot of tea to catch my breath.  Please go read her whole write up while I finish adding my sweetener.

There are three points in the above quote that I will restrict myself to discussing at this point: 1) “If a child can orally give a report, they can write it out if they choose”; 2) Penmanship and Cursive “Not needed in today’s world”; 3) “The only real math are word problems”.

Write RightI am greatly concerned that the next generations are unable to WRITE.  I do not mean ROFLMAO or the many other slang / abbreviations that focus on speed of communication. Texting, tweeting, and general conversations successfully utilize these time saving choices to convey information quickly.  However, this is NOT writing.

I want my children to be able to write fully; I want them to be able to write their thoughts in a way that allows them to be understood by people other than their peers.

Illiteracy is on the rise. This is not an epidemic of the poor. The perception from many educators is that being able to verbally communicate is JUST as good as being able to write out your thoughts on paper or take a test. Until grade 10, most schools will not fail or hold back a student.  Grade 10.  That is 10 years of building blocks each stacked onto the previous layer riddled with holes.  Grade 4 materials taught to an individual that only understood 40% of Grade 1, 32% of Grade 2…  by the time grade 10 hits you are now looking at a language skills equivalent to “English as a second language” or worse. I feel  safe to say… way worse.

So, being able to put a pen to a piece of paper, and convey your knowledge through the written word, is important.  It is NOT a waste of time and NO, it does not ‘ just come naturally’.  Book after book floods the market trying to drive home this very point.

“Eats shoot and leaves.” is not the same as Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.

“We had Grandma for supper.” is another very important example.

Second point ties in with the first.  Cursive writing is more than swirly loops and fancy ink.  It is an art form that allows the student to be able to read and interpret symbols OTHER than block text. While I will NOT be expecting them to create illuminated pages from The Book of Kells, being able to properly form and shape the letters of the English language in a traditional Cursive font will be required.  Just like reading an analog clock, all knowledge is useful and a tool they have at their ready.

clear as mudFinally, Math.  Taking math from a jumble of letters and symbols to applicable understanding takes memorization of what to do, how to do it, and then when to do it.  Compare it to learning to drive a car: You hit the steets for hands on practice AFTER you have studied the laws and signs.

In my opinion, there is no singular “real” math.  It is a language and being well versed in word problems and written equations gives a more well rounded skill set.

KidletSo while the boys and I explore what style of learning, software, textbooks, field trips and environment will work for us there are going to be a core beliefs. Reading, writing and arithmetic are going to be core subjects.  What we read, what we write about and what we count and calculate is going to be open for ever evolving passions and interests but I refuse to lower my standards because it’s ‘easier’!

06Nov/14
Gone Gypsy

What a ride.

Has it really been that long since I posted?  *shrugs*  Not truly surprised.  Months without WiFi, in house showers, or separate bedrooms for each family member makes blogging fall way down the priority list.  But we have landed.  Our furnishings have arrived like long lost airline luggage.  As far as each of us, though, we are feeling like the worst case of jet lag ever and lets not talk about the turbulence!

Morning JoeJuly 13th had the boys and I move into the poor old 5th wheel.  A 5th wheel that needs some explaining.  I never wanted the cursed thing.  I had LONG ago said I would not camp with the boys ever again NOT because ( as popular opinion would have it) due to discomfort of sleeping or bugs or dirt but because I had been-there-done-that with them since they were babies.  Diapers and tents are disgusting, crawling and tents are crazy, and toddlers and tents are tenuous!  So one rain sodden middle-of-the-night-moment I dug my feet calf deep in the mud, raised my filthy clenched fist ( the other one was clinging to a wailing child) and swore to the Gods ( and hubby) that I would NOT return to camping until they could ( language warning) wipe their own asses and forage for themselves!  That THIS cinderella was DONE!

This lasted for a few glorious years.  Weekends started to become like in-house spa weekends as the Male Bonding Times had hubby and the three boys head out on Friday and return yawning and bedraggled Sunday afternoons.  True I was still doing the packing up and unpacking BUT I wasn’t doing the childminding and child-chasing all weekend!  What a ray of hope that gave me.  Then we moved…
Dishwater JoysThe small town BC brought hubby back to his home town connections.  New coworkers and old school chums raised their hands in ” DUDE!!!” greetings and exchanged the ” lets go do something” invitations that led to weekend camping as couples.  Should I say… the OTHERS went as couples.  I still held to my “I don’t camp” declarations.  Ahhh… Peer pressure.  The glorious force behind many a bad decision!  Next thing I know I am standing in a knee high field of wild grass eyeballing a great-price deal.  An old 5th wheel that was still ‘structurally sound’. Hubby’s eyes danced like he was 8 and it was Christmas morning.  I sighed… and caved.

For 2 years that trailer sat in the back yard.  There was some frustrations and delays at the beginning due to finding proper rails for mounting the hitch into the truck, and then replacing water tanks, awnings, and hot water pilot lights ( which was never truly resolved) but it did see a couple of excursions with The Menfolk but never me.  I happened to, just coincidentally, have contracts that required me to be out of town on those weekends.  I know!  Shocking and disappointing !  Shocking and disappointing!

BreakfastWhich brought us up to July 13th where, for the first time ever I hooked up the trailer to the truck ( I may have dropped the trailer once!  HEY!  It was only once!), loaded up kids and dogs, and headed north.  I swear I was waiting to be the next Facebook fail thread with my truck and trailer in an unnatural arrangement of separation somewhere along the highway with men failing to hide their laughter at the ” stupid woman driver” and woman groaning in commiseration at the chaos.  Surprisingly, we made it to the campsite without incident.  I allowed the muscles in my backside relax.  I swear I held that trailer to the truck the whole way by clenching my… backside.

Kitchen, Dining Room AND Living RoomThe rest of the summer can not be held in a single post but sum it up to say – It was one hell of an adventure.  October 1 found us standing in an empty living room of our new home.  It would be another 3 weeks before we got our furnishing and, if you notice today’s date, another fair chunk of time to feel that there was time to surface to the world of more than survival level needs.  The trailer may have cooked the truck’s motor, the dogs may have decided they need to sleep with us every night permanently, and the child may have forgotten what a morning alarm sounds like but we learned a lot!  A lot about what needs truly are, a lot about what the world is like offline, and a lot about our selves.

Would I do it again if I was asked?  I don’t know.  I am not saying NO, but I am not saying ” Yee Haw Lets Go!” either.  In the end the good outweighed the bad and I found out a lot about how strong and ingenious I can be but it was out of necessity.  Time will tell if I do it again out of choice.

Until then…  WOOT for in house showers!

03Feb/14

2014 ‘s Adventure Diary Begins

I opened the Post Screen and quickly went to capture quotes on  January’s Astrological Forecasts.  Why?  Because they speak of this past month with a laughing singularity that can only be summed up as ” hold onto the rails… this is going to get bumpy!” and WOW they weren’t kidding.   A month to focus on closures before the ” Exciting” new changes to come.

Closures and ” tied up with a bow” is what is really needed in my world about now.  You may have noticed that the blog has been a lot of cob webs and crickets this past year.  It isn’t for lack of DOING or Cooking or any other capitalized word of exclamation that I could come up with but for the very opposite.  Our world is on it’s next path of adventure and transition.  The relocation plan to Calgary, AB. Home.  We all miss it so deeply and, as the world often works, we are finding new people and things here in this small BC town that we will miss deeply as well.  Shame we can’t just package it all up and take it all out with us!  Where is that tellaporter when you need one!

SacrificesDarling Hubby moved out to Calgary June of 2013 and we are doing the “holding down the fort” while he ventures ahead for us.  Yup.  Going to be a long haul but it is going to get us back to where we love.  In the mean time, photography course, kids, volunteering, cooking, self exploration and development,  creating creations and home renos has certainly kept me busy! Then why do I feel like I am ” wasting time”?

A perspective has been coming up a lot in my readings lately that is hitting a huge button for me.  ” Exhaustion and Productivity being worn as badges of Honor” and ” Achievements and Accomplishments paths of self worth leave no room for time for non productive creativity.”  These aren’t new thoughts but the degree of which society echos them has it being very entrenched.  So at a time when I am watching Hubby putting in so much hard work and bringing home the paycheck is it any wonder that I question my self worth and the value of my contributions when I am NOT bringing home an equitable paycheck?

I have GREAT f’n friends and I can feel them all launching for their keys to tell me just how great I am ( thank you) and how valuable my efforts and labors are ( thank you again).  I appreciate all of these cheer leaders in my life so deeply.  HOWEVER, this is not what I am driving at here.

The balance between the ” Do What You Love” fad and the ” Secure and Stabilize Financial Security” expectations is what I am struggling with.  Both seem extremist and unrealistic over the LONG haul.  They each require extensive sacrifices in the other and BOTH require a dedication and commitment that edge on rebellion – defiance at best.   Uprooting the perspective that your worth is measured by your To Do lists and Ta Done lists,  the degree of exhaustion and lack of sleep examples of how your are working, and the amount of struggle your are willing to endure equating to the value of your goals is not something that can be simply patted away with kind words and heartfelt words ( not that these aren’t important! Don’t get me wrong!).  These root-bound belief systems are supported and ingrained so deeply into MY spirit and thoughts that weeding them out is going to be one hell of a mission in itself and one that has no handy gardening manual to tell me how.

I am Imperfect - I am EnoughWhat does this mean to my everyday living?  Activities that you may notice that I DON’t talk about on this blog are ones that I am prone to whispering behind a bashful hand of ” don’t judge me” shame; photography, scrap booking, mixed media art, journaling, blogging ( yes I am aware of the dichotomy), and anything that I feel doesn’t directly either save us money or earn us money.  These I have self programmed ( with the help of society and media) to believe are selfish, self-indulgent, a waste of time and disrespectful to the Herculine efforts and labors of my darling hubby.  They get hidden and used to shame myself into pushing harder, doing more, sleeping less and keeping ANY acts of being creative for creative sake behind closed doors and in secret albums.

The Adventure for 2014 is going to be reprogramming that thought process so that I can be more whole and honest.  To plant seeds of:

  • I am Enough and do not have to prove it.
  • Play for no purpose is the purpose and is healthy!
  • Learning balance will help me to be able to teach balance, live balance and plant balance in my children and loved ones.
  • I worth is the sum of all my parts – hiding my creative parts reduces my worth as a whole.

The path is set, the road unclear, and for some reason I have the overwhelming feeling I should be watching over my shoulder for the Eye of Sauron right about now and muttering about ‘precious’.  ( bonus points for geek reference!  Go Me!)

 

 

25Jul/13

Timmies Pulling it Together?

I am a Canadian Girl.  Through and Through.  So when our foreign exchange student arrived last summer there were 2 places I took him before his first few days were even done.  7/11 for his first Brain Freeze Slurpy and Tim Hortons for a Double Double and a Maple Glaze Donut.  ( ok, maybe a flat of donuts)  I blogged about it way back when and today, as I go through and compile photos to send home with our ” adopted son” it dawns on me that I hadn’t checked the contents on those AMAZING Iced Cappuccinos I have been powering back now that it is summer.

As I click on their website, I am partially hoping to SEE Gluten on the list.  Why?  because it would be a very easy scape-goat for the struggles I am having of late.  Ya, I know.  The easy is seldom right!  Still.  A girl can hope.

So that website pointed out that I was in luck!  ( Damn) no wheat in the cappuccino.  Sweet!  So I kept scanning knowing damn well that there would be wheat in every other item served in those Canadian Icon Walls.   Imagine!  There were empty cells in the spreadsheet under the wheat section!   HOLY HELL I can eat lunch there!

Turkey & Wild Rice • • • • • •
Creamy Sundried Tomato • • • •
Cream of Carrot (Québec only) • • •

Awesome!  A new place to grab a fast lunch.