Friday, September 30, 2011

First Month of Homeschooling

Wow, hard to believe tomorrow is October 1st and a whole month of school is behind us. We have had some ups and downs bother personally and with trying to figure everything out. The kids have taken to schooling at home far better then I had anticipated. I think they are truly learning.

My dear son has discovered the joys of success and a few not so successes, but those have been learning experiences. When he is working online and answers the questions he knows immediately if he is right or wrong and he cannot move on until it is correct. When it comes to assessments he has to wait until it is completed to know how he did and there have been a few repeats. He has discovered there are many times his first thought was correct but he second guessed himself.

Darling daughter, well she is so very different from her brother, like night and day. She struggles with some concepts because she begins to over think things. Just like her mom. If I can keep her focused she will breeze through everything without any trouble. This past week I started to reward her with scrap booking or craft time after school was over. I can proudly say we have scrapbooked 3 days and tonight we have tried a sewing craft. We are having great luck with our craft and she is already planning another.

Overall I have to say this has been a month of learning for all of us. I have learned to give the kids some say in how things are done as well as listening to them when they believe we can try it different next time. They have both learned how much fun learning can be. I think even dad has learned that homeschooling is a job for all and not just one.

Completed Project

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just Some Rambling

Have to say I am very happy it is Thursday, which means tomorrow is Friday. Duey has been with us for a week now and hasn't bit anyone since my dear hubby last Friday. He really is a cute little guy and he loves to follow our beagle around. There have been a few times I have turned around and they are both sitting the same way and looking at me like they are waiting for something, yes usually a treat. Not sure sometimes what is crazier, the kids or the dogs.

I have developed a frustration with people who only want things from you, or in my case, ME, without giving anything worth while in return. I might be just in one of my 'moods' but not too sure yet. There always seems to be a time when these kind of things happen, maybe there is an underlying stress. Who knows!?!?

We went to Costco yesterday and were checking out the Christmas decorations. We were all thinking about putting up lights in the front. Looking forward to the Holidays, not sure what our plans will be just yet but whatever they are we will have a great time. The most important part for me and hubby is being together with the kids for the Holidays. We have had to spend one set of Holidays without him, when he was overseas but we have planned to never be separated again for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

My darling daughter and I are already planning some decorations we can make as well as some other gift ideas. She is 10 and I figure it is about time to show her how to use a needle and thread. Pray for me! She loves to craft and loves one-on-one time with me so this might work to my advantage.

We have had a pretty good we so far with only one rough day and even that isn't too bad with all the VA runs we have made this week. We are on task for our monthly school goals and everyone is learning something, even mom and dad.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

VA Medical Services

There are times when I will completely praise the Department of Veterans Affairs for all the wrongs they are working towards making right but there are other times when I am amazed at the entire VA process. Both yesterday and today we have been to the VA for my dear hubby. Yesterday he had a regular appointment and there was a change in medications, then after waiting 45 minutes for pick up his prescriptions he just wanted out of the building. Today we went back to talk to the benefit specialist in regards to his paperwork that was submitted and they are requiring additional information.

The military is known for the hurry up and wait for just about anything unless you are in uniform but even that can take a while depending on which department you are going to. We got the information we needed to complete his additional paperwork but we were amazed that they were wanting another account of a stressful event for the PTSD portion of his benefits. How many times do we have to relay the same thing over and over again?!?! As it turns out of the whole packet sent to us only one single sheet needs to be returned. Really???

I am not saying we have been treated bad by our VAMC because that is not the case at all, but they are so overloaded with 10 years of combat veterans returning and adding to the already taxing burden of veterans they are simply overloaded. There is always a ton of people coming in, going out, or just plain waiting. I cannot go to the pharmacy and pickup my husbands prescriptions while he is finishing up with a doctor. He has to pick them up himself. So glad most of his meds are mailed to us when needed.

So grateful the soldiers are receiving the care and treatment they earned but I just hate watching so many waiting and waiting to get the help. I will say I know our VAMC does not have the same amount to patients some of the other facilities have. On a very positive note there is a level of respect at the VA that you only get inside the military.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Parenting Rules

When my oldest child was born I was just a few months shy of turning 30 and I was scared of this little tiny bundle. I was amazed at how scared of him I was since I was the oldest of 4 and I already had nephews and nieces, not to mention the fact that many of my friends had children. I am usually really good with kids but that tiny little bundle scared the CRAP out of me. There was a moment about an hour after he was born when everyone left the room and I was not allowed up just yet, here was this bundle just out of arms reach. What would I do if he started to cry?!?! We were only truly alone for 5-10 minutes but those were a few of the longest minutes of my life.

Two days later when we left the hospital we were given a book on newborn care, not to mention we already had "What to Expect the First Year". It is kind of ironic considering how many times we tell our kids or even heard ourselves, kids don't come with an instruction book. Well honestly we had an instruction book. Needless to say we really didn't need it my sisters had kids and they all survived, how hard can it truly be?!?!?!

Now as I sit here with a 13 year old boy and a 10 year old girl (going on 15, at least) I really wish I had an instruction book. There are times I still wonder what to do if they cry, because at this point the crying is just as bad as when they were babies but then they had a excuse, they didn't talk. There are times when I chalk it up to growing up. There are times now they are no better at expressing themselves then they were as babies but then I knew to check all the basic needs first. Now they can handle many of their basic needs.

I have realized that the key to parenting is making stuff up as you go along. There have been times when I have made up something and my dear hubby looks at me wondering what got into me. Those are the times I just smile and nod until he gets it. Yep, the bobble head look can work.

I am amazed at how fast our children grow. My son has been spending spare time watching videos of some xBox game he wants to get and my daughter is watching music videos on her computer or listening to the Disney Karaoke Channel and singing her heart out. Funny thing is the dogs will watch with her.

Just remember when all less fails to just make it up as you go and they will figure it out much later in life.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I have noticed since starting to school at home, weekends don't really mean the same thing any more. No I am not the least bit surprised but it has just really clicked maybe.

We spent a pretty lazy weekend for the most part. We welcomed a new dog into our family on Friday and Friday night he tried to take off the hubby's thumb. We believe he was abused and probably by a man. He is really a sweet dog and will go to hubby now. Duey actually bit right through hubby's thumb nails, yep both of them. Since then he has been a great little guy.

Finished all my planning and organizing for the week today. Still waiting on the history guides to come so I print the student pages on Sunday for the week and highlight what they need to be doing. My dear son is starting to realize mom needs him to actually answer the questions on paper and not just orally. He really hates the physical act of writing and will do almost anything to get out of it. Darling daughter on the other hand loves to scribble all the time.

We are working with daughter to be more productive. I explained to her we all have bad days and bad days are allowed, they happen but we need to work towards good days as well as productive days. I explained to her if her lessons take her twice as long because she is goofing off she will not get credit for the time spent not working. We are going to try this week at the end of every day if she has been productive, we are going to spend 15-20 minutes scrap booking and by the end of the week we should have a whole new page done. She loves the idea. made me feel like super mom.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank Heaven for Friday

I have to say I can hardly remember a Friday I was more thankful for. Wow what a week we have had. Nothing major or bad but it seems this has been a really long week.
Both of the kids ended up with several tests today so my dear son blew through his day and was done by noon I think. My darling daughter on the other hand was a little slower on her math unit test and decided to take over two hours to finish. When dad pushed because I was irritated she decided to guess which of course will not work in her favor. She did get finished about 2 pm but she was jealous brother was finished first.

We welcomed a new puppy into our home today. He is a 3 year old dachshund named Duey. I think he is in love with my daughter. He sat on the table behind the couch watching her playing outside with her friends smiling. This was after he tried to take hubby's thumbs off cause he got scared. Our beagle, Hailey, seems to be ok with the addition as well.

I am going to keep today short since I am really tired and it was pretty hot all day.

Ronie with Duey on his perch


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Homeschool Mom...from her, to me, to share

There I was minding my own business writing some of my personal ramblings to share with the world and I was tagged in a blog by another blogger. OK so now what?! After a little research I am able to finish the task put toward me. Thank you Garden Tenders for the tag. So the task is to answer some questions about without further adieu:

1. One homeschooling book you have enjoyed: What book? I did not get a book when this was laid on our hearts. I did, however, get Learning Coach Guides from WAVA to help me explain the lessons but I have no book on homeschooling.

2. One resource I wouldn't be without: Honestly I think that would be my sense of humor or the Internet but really my sense of humor helps more than the Internet at this point.

3. One resource I wish I had never bought: Well I have bought no resources at this point in time. We have resources which were sent to us through WAVA and all of the resources we have already had, but we have not purchased anything.

4. One resource I enjoyed last year: This is our first year with home based education for our kids so there is nothing to base this question on honestly...but I will say I miss the peace and quiet from last year.

5. One resource I will be using next year: Next year I hope to be feeling as positive about homeschooling as I am right now, minus the peace and quiet thing, but I will be using other mom's advice and thoughts again. Sometimes I just love to read what the other moms are saying about their own days with the kiddos, makes me realize I am not alone on this wild ride.

6. One resource I would like to buy: Ask me again in June. With the availability of so many resources online it is hard to determine what to buy, what to download, or what to ignore for now.

7. One resource I wish existed: A clone of myself to clean the house. Thank Heaven and the Powers that be my hubby is available to help with many chores in the house or some lessons so I can do chores or even breathe.

8. One home school catalog I enjoy: CATALOG!!! Who has time for a catalog? Between the kids, the hubby, the house, and my own schooling I am lucky I have time to read the mail.

9. One home school website I use regularly: WAVA and Facebook Yep you read me correctly, Facebook. I have made wonderful home school or virtual academy families on Facebook and they have been THE BEST resources in the world.

10. This said to tag other homeschoolers but I honestly do not know many home school blogs, sorry. If you have any to recommend for me to read please post in comments.

Now I know there are a few of you out there reading this and laughing and even more that do not feel sorry for me since this is a choice I made. Please laugh at me and my adventure but never think you need to feel sorry for me, I am loving this more than you can dream of. The greatest joy we have experienced has been the chance to have the kids home for school. All those 90 degree days we schooled in the morning, lake in the middle of the day, and schooled again in the evening when it was cooler. No two days are the same!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Mom in Me

I have to tell you I really feel like I have multiple personalities. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, etc...not to mention the fact I am a full time student as well as a full time homeschool mom. Would I change or give up any of these titles? Not for anything. There are times I would like to hang up one hat and give it some time off without seriously jeopardizing anything. Not sure if it will happen but one can always dream.

The mom in me would really like to get a shower in a reasonable timeframe but realistically I believe I need to get up even earlier to get that task accomplished. Pretty soon I might have to get up before I get any sleep. Maybe after we have established a clear routine I will get to shower while they are getting breakfast and started in the morning.

There have been a few times when the mom in me is ready to change my name to ANYTHING and then not tell them. I tried changing my name with my nephew when he was 5...didn't work out to well for me, he enjoyed the whole idea. I have never realized how wiggly my dear daughter is until we started schooling at goodness.

So as much as the mom in me wants that shower in the morning, mom really needs the coffee and peace and quite first before the shower. I am sure things will continue to take on a more solid shape as we progress through this journey but honestly it is A LOT harder than I imagined it would be.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life with My Husband's PTSD

This is not something that I would normally start with but there are aspects of the PTSD that wear on me. My husband suffers from combat related PTSD and in such so do I and the rest of the family. We are diligent in how we watch Dad and everything around Dad. The most common statement used is the house, "Is Dad ok?" Everyday is different, I know they are for everybody, but these are different in a whole other way. We never know from day to day what to expect and the medication does not seem to be helping.

There are times I believe the medications are hindering the process for handling the stressors of PTSD. The meds have added a paranoia that was never present prior. We have discovered he does not look people in the eye any longer and he is uncomfortable in a group of people even ones he knows. These are some of the factors that cause problems in our lives as well as with people around us.

There are times I wonder why this has happened or what I have done to make these situations worse. I know the general answer is there is no answer. This happens and not just to combat veterans. This can happen to everyone that has experienced a traumatic event in life. Do I know how to fix this? No I don't so I feel helpless.

I wish there was greater awareness available on how to recognize the signs of PTSD to help prevent additional traumatic events from happening within a family. I have gotten better at recognizing trouble situations but even I have missed a few things. Sometimes it is like living with a smaller child, we need boundaries as well as expectations but the lollipop at the end of the day is not the reward. The reward is another good day. Personally I would like every day to be a good day but I will take all the good days I can get.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Saturday Adventure

I have to say that we have had an interesting day, especially for a Saturday. We went out to our storage unit and an Estate Buyer met us to look at a few things we are thinking of selling and I can honestly say that some of his thoughts were a little out there. Now don't get me wrong we watch all those fun shows, Storage Wars, Auction Hunters, American Pickers, and Pawn Stars, we understand the difference between a retail price and our asking price but this guy had some really different ideas.

The retail prices that he mentioned for some of the items were 1/2 off Sunday Garage Sale prices. The really funny part is we could tell he was really interested in a few of the pieces but he was not willing to offer anything for those pieces so we could consider it. Needless to say I will continue with my Craigslist and eBay and see how I do.

After we came home from storage we did get a call for the elliptical. So hubby and I went back to storage, put it in the back of our SUV, and off to deliver it. So my hour or so away from the house turned into some quality time with the hubby and the beagle, she jumped in the car and didn't want to get out. I knew were I was going and I even knew how to get there but oh my one wrong turn and you end up VERY misplaced. The more misplaced I got the crankier I got and the funnier hubby thinks it is. I did print a map from mapquest but it did not print the correct section. It probably took us an hour plus to find the house and 10 minutes to get back to the main road from the house.

You have to love the craziness of life. On the positive side hubby was looking at an old picture in a frame, went to adjust it in the frame and found a 50 dollar bill behind it. Might just need to check some more pictures.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Survival Kits Etc.

When we lived in Ocean Shores the kids were to have a emergency kit in case of a Tsunami, our biggest threat. Now living in Lacey it is recommended to have an Earthquake kit in case of an emergency. Of course you can purchase a really great pre-made emergency preparedness kit at Costco and other retailers or you can design your own. Now having lived in the Puget Sound Region most of my life I understand about Earthquakes and have been through several but I never had a kit for it. In fact my mom raised four kids alone without a single kit or how-to manual. I wonder how she, or us, made it out alive?!?!

I honestly believe that I could survive without a kit but if I was going to design a survival kit here is what it would contain:
  • Chocolate - different varieties would be best for different situations
  • Coffee - a MUST and those little packets make it easy now
  • Nail File - many great uses
  • Flashlight or Book light - it might get dark at some point
  • $$$$ - always a helpful item, especially in emergencies
  • Book - never know when you might just need to escape reality
  • Pain Reliever - stress headaches can come on in emergencies
  • Vodka - a small bottle to help with the stress (will also help to lighten the mood and make you laugh)
There are probably many other things that could be placed in the kit but these are just the ones that came to mind right away. Many of these same items can fit right into our purses with room to spare, I could pack for a weekend in mine but that is a whole other story. Think about with probably one or two exceptions these same items are probably already in your purse ready for the very next emergency, Earthquake, Tsunami, broken nail, or the ever popular shopping trip from H*^l.

Now I am not really making fun of the fact that emergencies do happen and we have seen them unfold in front of our very eyes but honestly can we be prepared for everything?!?! In the 9 1/2 years that we lived in Ocean Shores we had been through three (3) Tsunami warnings and two of them were within 13 months of each other.

I wish that any of our greatest survival is making out of Costco without being broke and time will only tell what is next to come, but until then take life one step at a time and one survival moment at a time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Wednesday

Here we are at another Wednesday...almost done with the week and what a crazy week it has been. School has been going pretty good for the kids and we have had some up and down days. Darling Daughter decided to spend 4 hours on Math on Monday so we got very little actually finished. She was struggling so bad with the wording in this curriculum, honestly hoping to get past this soon.

My Dear Son on the other hand is confused by the grammar. We have slowed down a bit so he could completely grasp the concept but then he is ready to just surge forward. I still know I have made the right decision for my children but there are times when I want to running screaming from the room.

One thing we have done is allow them the freedom to work where they want to work, the office/classroom, the living room, dining room, or whatever would be comfortable. This has really helped with the fidgets a lot. They also both have spinning chairs and will spin side to side while working, I would be puking but whatever works for them.

Tomorrow my dear hubby has a VA appointment in Tacoma, early, so the kids have their plans and were told where to get started...lets see how this will work. Now my daughter just had to come and tell me all about her TV show she is watching on Disney. I must be tired, she made it sound interesting.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting Ready for the Week

Normally I would say the Sunday evening ritual of getting ready for the week is a pain in the back side but this is the first Sunday in all of our school years we have not had to find homework, re-read something, or sign papers to go back to school. WOW what a change this has been. I was probably a really good thing since it was very hot today. We reached about 90 degrees outside at our house and it was muggy. There is also a haze laying over the area due to a forest fire northwest of here.

We were really lazy today due to the heat, even the kids were just tired from it. I am not complaining about the heat so much as marvelling in the wonderful weather. Where we lived for the last 10 years I honestly think the last good hot summer we had was about 4-5 years ago. Don't get me wrong we had some great days throughout the summer but the long term good days did not happen as regularly as they do inland.

I did do some getting ready for the week by double checking schedules to see who was doing what tomorrow and if there was anything extra to do. Hoping some of our momentum from last week will be sticking with us this week as well. I really think it helps they are choosing when they do certain subjects. I also think it is good that we will not be starting composition until next week. My dear son dispises writing especially the physical act of writing.

Ready to go read my book and enjoy some mom time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Week of Homeschooling

WOW!!! We have completed the first week of our homeschooling adventure and what a week it has been. We have some ups and downs as well as the normal confusion following any school break. I can see certain subjects that my oldest child has missed in his education since he was a late reader needing extra help on a regular basis. So we struggle a bit with grammar but he has figured out quickly to do it quickly and get it out of the way and on with better subjects. I think he is really liking the options.

My dear darling daughter on the other hand sometimes seems to have the attention span of a gnat. My oh my...we had a lesson where she decided to play around more than actually work so I told her that I really do not care how long it takes her to finish the lesson she will only get 1 hours worth of credit for it. She looked at me like I have grown 2 heads. By the end of the day when brother had been finished for an hour and she was still working, maybe that did the trick.

Couple of other points came to focus when reading the wording in their lessons, it is not the same that they are used to so we hit a challenge. After a bit of rereading I explained that when you see that word this is what they want to know. This came up once for both of the kids but in different subjects.

On a better note Science is a hit with both kids, as is US History. My son also discovered that he loves the vocabulary. The vocab unit is on prefixes of uni-, bi-, mono-, he had no idea these were based on Latin and Greek words and then how many different words you can make with these prefixes. I love seeing the excitement in him for learning. He has also discovered Literature and he is loving the reading as well as the discussion questions afterwards. WOW...what a change!

This has been an awesome week and none of us can wait to see what next week has to bring.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day of School

Well our First Day of School proved to be very interesting. We were all set, got up on time, had my coffee and a friend called to say that they were in the hospital having a baby with their 18 year old daughter, my suedo-niece. So the younger kids do not start school until tomorrow in the public school so they needed to be picked up. So we went and picked them up and started breakfast.

I alternated kids and their class introductions while the others were playing xbox and then it was time for a break for ALL of us. Off to the lake, yep you guessed it, PE for two hours. They never came out of the water until I begged them to. I got some relaxation time in and read some of my book.

Finally, we made it back to the house and some more introductions. Then the ice cream truck came through the neighborhood so off we went and had a treat with some basic math added in. Everything is a lesson. Tonight the kids are watching the History Channel and something about WWII, yep we got some history too. This weekend my son found a show about PT-109 and is excited for more history.

I forgot to take some pictures of today but tomorrow when we really get into the thick of some lessons I will take some pictures. We had a great day! By the way we ended up with a "great-nephew" weighing 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 21" long. What a very blessed day!

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Days

School Days are upon us now. Tomorrow we start schooling, what an adventure that could be. I think we are all excited to see the shape that school will be taking here at home as well as to just start a more regular routine.

Lesson plans for tomorrow will be the introductory lessons for most subjects. My 7th grader has to answer a question every week from his teach but the kicker is these have to be meaningful responses with complete sentences. I want to laugh but only because he really does not like to write but maybe since the answer is submitted in an email it might make things easier for him.

I think we will break in the middle of the day for lunch and PE at the park. Give them a bit to swim and burn off some extra energy then carry on with clearer heads ready to work.

I hope my plan works!

Friday, September 2, 2011


So I have recently heard that I am not homeschooling my children since they are enrolled in a public school virtual academy. I have to say, I beg a difference with those statements.

I have chosen to teach my children at home for their benefit not for my own. I also believe there is A LOT of great teachers and great schools throughout the public school system and I believe that we have moved to one of those districts. My 7th grader is easily distracted and needs a bit more one-on-one attention. My 5th grader, on the other hand, needs to feel successful and get a little "push" now and then. For these reasons we have decided to give home-based schooling a chance.

We are using WAVA-Washington Virtual Academy, which provides the k12 curriculum. I feel fortunate I did not have to find and purchase the variety of subjects which were sent to us. For every subject there is a teaching or learning coach guide and a students guide, not much different from a brick and mortar school. We will be having lessons in math, language arts, literature, spelling for the 5th grader, history, science, art as well as PE (lessons are my job here), not to mention the study island site they will be working in once a week, as well as a success skills once a week. That is a lot of subjects as well as the ton of materials we received.

I have spent the last 2 weeks finding all the bookshelves we will be needing as well as purchasing the basics of school supplies to set up our class space. We now have tables, chairs, computers, and everything we need to get started. I get to plan our field trips to many places of interest as well as a few fun places. We can take our schooling with us to the doctors office. I can even use a trip to the grocery store as educational.

I will probably miss the days of taking the kids to school and being free to run errands alone as well as the first day of school breakfast out that hubby and I would enjoy, but I am only limited by my own thoughts and ideas as long as we are making appropriate progress we are good to go. We have the benefit of a certified teacher for additional questions as well as to touch base with weekly, a homeroom teacher.

School starts on Tuesday and we have chores to get done before then.
 These are the shelves of books and materials we received.
Here is my darling daughter admiring the globe she found at a garage sale.
She is sitting in her chair at one of the school tables we found at the state surplus sale.