Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ooooh It's late!

It is WAY too late and I am up and working on .. what else?? School stuff.
I am trying to lay out some plans for the year. I am working on pacing. I have a software program that will help me keep records. Those of you who know me well know how much I HATE paperwork. Loathe, detest, abhor... paperwork. I am quite prepared to pay the bills because I HAVE to do it. I am qualified. But... I don't seem to be able to maintain much beyond that. Will a magical program do the impossible??? Develop in me a bit of self-discipline?? Methinks not.
Still, it does produce a rather grand looking transcript so I will at least use it for my gradebook whether or not I use if for planning remains to be seen... (who am I kidding?? I will use it for grades and transcripts... NOT planning. I am a paper and pen kind of gal. I LOVE notebooks. Especially decorated ones.

Now that would be fun... decorating all of the kids notebooks. I bought a ton of 5cent ones at Wal-mart. TONS. hhhhmmm
Well, anyway. For now I am off to bed. Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Okay... my friend Ann did one of these and as it is late on a Sunday night and I can't really think much I thought it might be fun to do this "meme" list. Here goes....

What were you doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago my girlies were one and three and we still lived in Florida. Brian worked at a little company called Sims Machine and Controls. I was staying home and at this time of year I think I was just about to be pregnant with Noah!

Favorite Snacks?
I love salt. I CRAVE cheddar and sour cream potato chips although I have sworn off of them several times over the years. I keep trying to quit. I like any salty snack though. I can pass up sweets (although I enjoy them too) to eat salt!

To Do List
1. Exercise (Bekah is telling me I always say this but never do it... still, it is on the list)
2. Clean
3. Get ready for school

what I would rather do..
1. Read even more than I do
2. Stamp!

Job's I have had:
worked at the mall: Miller's Outpost and County Seat
waitress, teacher, tutor
(these are the paying jobs here.. not the ones I do all the time)

Places I have lived
Ossineke, Michigan
Bossier City, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
San Antonio, TX (0ne summer)
Spring Hill, Florida
Siloam Springs, AR

Bad Habits:
Too much time on computer
lack of exercise (that isn't a bad habit but more of a lack of a good one!)
I am too often late

5 Random things people may not know about me:

1. I play the accordian (okay most of you know that.. but it IS unusual-- weird!)

2. I like westerns and baseball movies (at least the more modern ones... some old ones too)

3. I would love to be published.

4. When I dream at night I am very athletic. I can't fly... but I can swing through the trees like Tarzan. I can also run very fast and jump very high. I am very, VERY agile and quick!

5. I love pickled bologna.

CD's I would take on my stranded island

Michael Buble of COURSE!
Dixie Chicks
John Denver

What I would do if I became a Billionaire

1. Pay off my house and finish fixing it up. I would PAY someone else to finish it so that Brian could just do the parts he likes like making the furniture.

2. Pay off my parents house and make sure that all of their needs are met.

3. Go on a family vacation somewhere. Probably Disneyworld because Caleb really wants to go there. I would stay right there in a hotel and be there for a week.

4. Send my kids to great colleges!

5. Billions of dollars??? I would move all of our family up here (brothers and families on both sides) and start a family business.

6. buy more books!

Okay guys... that is me... what about you??

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Joyous asked for a discussion on schedules. Well... I am the queen of making lists and plans and then failing miserably. It is even more difficult now because of the skepticism of my teenager.
Still..I am forever optimistic and we try! We do more of a routine than an exact schedule. In the morning the kids are expected to get up, eat and get dressed. They each have a morning chore before school. Then I have tried having an lunch chore too.. but that doesn't always work. They help in the kitchen after supper and do whatever other chores I assign. Ideally they would just know what has to be done and do it... that works with ONE of my children. The rest of them have to be asked.. sometimes more than once I am afraid. We are definitely a work in progress.
Anyone else have something that works great??

Thursday, July 24, 2008

At long last: Curriculum

Curriculum: the materials used by a teacher for the purpose of instruction. WIDELY available in every format imaginable from hands on manipulatives, trade books or text books to software, there is truly something for everyone.

To understand where I am coming from I must tell you that to me, curriculum is like a PROMISE in a box. Sort of like that new box of crayons that will let you be an artist... books can take you ANYWHERE.

In the spring, right about the time that I am trying to decide how much we will ACTUA
LLY accomplish this year, I start to think about next year and all of the promise that it holds. Next year, perhaps, I will get it right. Next year, will be THE year that everything clicks and our schoolroom is a remarkable place of learning. I will provide the proper setting and offer the best materials. Materials I have read about and researched; asking all I know if they have used them and liked them or found them lacking. I pore over catalogs, high light articles, make notes in the margins and build my castles in the sky.

You see, while I love to talk about curriculum, writing about it here puts me in a vulnerable place because I have to admit that I haven't used all I have purchased. Every year I go through this process carefully selecting exactly what I think will be the best for my children and yet.. we don't always complete what we start. I have TONS of books. If I stopped now and just used what we already have... I am sure we would be fine. But, like the new box of crayons, you know the ones with points? They write sooooo much better than the worn ones that are broken and the paper is torn. Or do they?

Well, here is my plan. I have been looking at what I already own. I am reusing as much as possible which is good. I AM getting some new things, but they are consumables or subjects that I haven't taught before. I have ordered Rosetta Stone Spanish. I also got several Mind Bender books and a course on introductory logic. I also splurged on two art books for an art appreciation course. FUN. I know that the kids will do the Spanish and that I will love the art books no matter what. We will do history together and I got some really great Mapskills books that are a bit challenging but are pertinent and useful. I use books from Beautiful Feet for history. We read aloud a lot and then the kids will all be assigned books to read too that will count towards history and literature. I am getting a Spelling program as I haven't really taught spelling. I hate memorizing spelling lists as I don't think that improves spelling in a poor speller at all... we have worked more on phonics rules and exceptions, correcting errors in what we write. But... I am going to give this a try. (They promise it only takes 15 minutes a day).

We are going to do a LOT of writing this year so I got myself a book to help in correcting a writing paper. One of the selfish best parts of homeschooling is how much we learn ourselves.

So.. I am still trying to get my ducks in a row. I am reading novels that will be required for my kids this next year. I am taking and making notes. I am trying to organize and repurpose my materials.

With all of this preparation and planning what I know to be true is this: whether or not we have finished every text that we have started we .. my kiddos and I.. are working together. We have been introduced to a lot of things! We have read a great many books and will read a great many more. We have done projects and made crafts. We have seen plays and been in them! We have cooked and cleaned (okay not enough, but some) together. We have volunteered our time and spent time with those we love. Our homeschool may not be perfect.. they (the kids) are so limited by their teacher"s strengths and weaknesses.. but I don't think that I have ruined them yet. I surely know that I wouldn't trade what we have for ANYTHING in the world.

Now it is time for me to stop daydreaming about how perfect my school may (or may not) be in the fall and spend my time enjoying my days with my kids. I want to stop looking for the PROMISE in new books and find SECURITY in the KNOWLEDGE that we have all we need
right here at home.

I even think that I will make a new life for that drawer of old crayons... melted and molded into new ones!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Well, yesterday morning I went Blackberry picking with a friend. Now this is not the picking I remember as a child. As a child we would pick wild blackberries which, quite frankly, you really have to work for. The bushes are very scratchy and prickly and you have to wear long sleeves in the middle of the summer to protect your arms. Still, we would pack a lunch and make a day of it and then, if we had time, we would go by the falls on the way home and get wet in our clothes! (as somehow it was never a planned activity and we never had our swimsuits)

Next we would go home and stay up late cleaning and preparing the berries to be canned. Nothing is better than canned blackberries (which is basically berries in syrup). On a cold Michigan morning, it was such a treat to be able to get a jar of blackberries to eat. We would have a bowl of blackberries and toast. They are WONDERFUL and are something I remember so well from my childhood.

So, when Rebekah called yesterday and asked if I wanted to go picking I didn't hesitate for too long. We went out to Taylor Orchards. This is how EASY it was. We drove right up to the bushes that are heavily laden with luscious berries and they practically fell into our buckets. No thorns, no scratches. In a little over an hour we had picked 24 pints of berries. AMAZING.

Today I will make freezer jam. I found the recipe to can them like we did when I was young, but as I had to PAY for these berries I am not sure I can afford to set myself up to can too. (Jars, lids, a canner or whatever that big pot is called). Still, it should be fun (to make the jam), it WAS fun (to pick them and EAT them. I probably ate a pint while I picked) and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Hello!! It has been so long since I have written. But life is great here in Karptown. You may have noticed I changed the template of my blog. This is not what I want, but it will do until I can learn how to do this on my own. Who knew that I would ever be interested in designing something for the computer. I have a brother in law who is VERY knowledgeable and I may have to take a little class from him to figure things out.

So... yesterday we went to the movies to see Kit Kittredge an American Girl. It was fabulous. But the most fabulous part was that my girls (almost 12 and 14 ) and their friend (almost 13) all took their dolls! How incredible. It was so much fun. The boys even liked it though they may not admit it.

I still want to talk curriculum and that is coming soon... (sorry Mom). But until then just feast your eyes on my gorgeous creations.

Blessings to you all friends!