Category Archives: Homeschooling

Feeling ‘blue’

I found a minute to pop on…. Kiki is taking a "tv break"….. We are trying hard to get caught back up on her school work – it’s the price we pay for taking the trip to Virginia, I guess.  This is something I will not miss when we homeschool on our own in VA.  Most homeschool moms I know, if "life" happens, they just skip certain parts of their planned schoolwork – being in the co-op, we have certain guidelines to stick to…. part of me would just like to quit, to be done for the year…. "throw in the towel" so to speak…. if it wasn’t for the fact I have to be there Tues. & Thurs. anyway to do my coffeebar job,  I probably would.  Because it would be nice to just stay home, work on this horrible house, and not have to deal with teaching school at the same time.  That would be the benefit of having your child in full-time school, I suppose…..having someone else in charge of teaching your child, so you could be at home alone actaully making some headway in housecleaning…. sounds nice at the  moment.    I’m trying not to freak over her bad grades – she’s a bright child, it’s only 5th grade, it’s not the end of the world….. however, the low grades upset Kiki.  Not enough for her to work harder….. huhm. 
My mom came over to work again this morning….she finished the pantry.  I guess it’s a good thing; when she came I was curled up on the couch reading and drinking coffee… and I could have stayed right there!  I got a few things accomplished since she was here… so that’s good.  Don’t ever let your spouse move away without you.  It sucks.  The realtor is supposed to come over the end of the month – that’s just next Friday.  Yikes. 

Mama’s Got Braggin’ Rights!

I have a feeling this has far more to do with Kiki’s inherent abilities than with my awesome teaching, but I just have to brag her up a little here!  Back in, March I believe it was, the co-op kids all took the ITBS tests… those are the "Iowa Tests of Basic Skills" that schools nationwide are supposed to give.  I don’t think most homeschoolers take this test, for various reasons, but at the Co-op we give them – mainly to show the ‘outside’ world that homeschooled kids are certainly not behind in their education.  The tests (at least at the Co-op, I don’t know about ‘regular’ schools) are first given in 4th grade, so this was Kiki’s first shot at it.  Well, let me tell you – WOW!!  We got her test results back yesterday – here’s a blip from her score description:
Kiki earned a composite grade equivalent of 9.1 on the Level 10 test.  This means that her test performance was approximately the same as that of a typical student in the ninth grade at the end of the first month. 
So, I’m not sure how these tests work – what is involved in them.  Does that mean most 9th graders are really low achievers, or is my kid pretty dang bright??   Somewhere in there it did say  Her overall achievement appears to be high for fourth grade.  On one graph they have it all broken out as to how your child did on each group of tests (Math, Science, Language, etc.) and the Grade Equivalent score on each section – in ‘Language Usage and Expression’ she ranked 13+!  That’s college, people!  I guess the non-stop jabbering has paid off for her, eh?!  So, I told her "don’t you ever again tell me ‘I can’t do it, mom, I don’t get it’….those days are over, missy!"  Lol.
Okay, so Linda tells me that what really counts is the NPR on the test – "National Percentile Rank".  Here are the results:   Kiki’s composite NPR of 99 means that she scored higher than 99 percent of fourth grade students nationally. 
You just can’t make me stop bragging here, people!!  Lol!!
Well, today is Derby Day!!  I’m going to go plant myself in front of the tv for a bit.  It’s not quite as fun as back in our espresso bar owning days, when I had my own bookie…lol… now it doesn’t really matter which horse wins.  I love watching those horses run, though!

What a Week!!

I am SO glad it’s coming to a close!  Whew!!  Yesterday I barely made it home, threw together the stuff that had to be done, in time to go back to finish teacher interviews.  They took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  I’ve mentioned before that I am on the school board – what some people might not understand is how our Co-op school works.  There are lots of homeschool co-op groups, but very, very few schools that run the way ours does.  A lot of homeschool groups get together as "co-ops" and are basically a group of several families that get together to go on field trips, or do art lessons or PE – the kind of stuff missing in a lot of homeschooling – or maybe one parent teaches a group math because he/she is really good at math, while another parent who is a good writer works with kids on doing essays.  Which is awesome, but is not the way our co-op is set up.  We have a building we meet at (the church’s sunday school building).  We have a teacher for each and every grade (preK through 10th; next year we will be adding 11th grade).  We have a principal, and she has an assistant.  These are paid positions.  Not well paid, mind you!!   But paid positions, nonetheless.  We are a 5 day a week school, but 3 days are done at home and two at the school… it’s the same curriculum, though, with the "paid" teachers doing the lesson plans…we "home" teachers follow them!    The classroom days are 8:30 to 3:00; they have recess and a lunch break.  So they get a lot of the social interaction that can also be missing in homeschooling.  We have a very unique thing going on!  Which brings us to the interviews.  We have a few teachers who will be doing something different next year so we need to replace them, and then we need teachers for the 11th grade courses we are adding.  We had quite a few applicants, some so well qualified you know they truly have a heart for it because they sure aren’t doing it for the money!  What I loved is that we had some great applicants who were the only one for that particular position – that’s nice because you don’t have to tell someone "no".  We did have a bit of that going on, though… it’s really hard, especially because some of them are people we know from church and/or the school;  people who are just really nice people, but for whatever reason someone else was a better fit for the job.  That’s a tough thing to do.  What is awesome is that we (the board and principal) lift it all up in prayer, so we feel like we are making the right choices because (hopefully!) they are God’s choices.  At this point we have most of the positions filled, so it won’t be too stressful going into next year! 
Today was Alan’s day off.  I hope I get adjusted to his new schedule soon!  It’s messing with my ‘system’.  We went out to do some shopping (I really need to start walking, whether outside or on my treadmill, so I needed some good shoes) and Kiki needed a gift for a birthday party.  We barely made it back home to drop Alan off, we ran out to Kiki’s drama group with our other (little) homeschool group, then back to turbo-wrap the present and deliver Kiki to the birthday party.  So, now I am gratefully sitting here, with nothing else to do.  Ahhhh. 
It’s been a crazy week!  Tomorrow is Alan’s first Saturday at work, and he will actually have to try to sell some RV’s!!  Yikes.   

My moment to gripe!

If you could hear me,  I’d be screaming!!  Tonight we have a homeschool co-op board meeting because we are interviewing teachers for next year.  Now, that is dandy.  No problem there.  Here’s the problem – yestersday the principal emailed all of us on the board copies of the applications.  Between the format they are sent in, and my limited knowledge of this stinkin’ computer, all I can get the docs to do is load up to my photo application – which is totally weird.  I don’t understand why it’s doing that.   The biggest problem with that is I cannot figure out how to get a good print preview – they are tiny little thumbnails (of handwritten pages!) which are impossible to read.  I’ve tried everything I can think of to enlarge them, but to no avail.  So, I’ve just printed off each set (there were six) and so far, I’ve done 5 of them and I have 3 copies of one person’s app., and 6 copies of another one!!  UGH!!!  A total waste of paper, not to mention ink, and time!!   I should’ve left 15 minutes ago to pick Kiki up…. crud!  There was also an after-school meeting I wanted to attend, but with this last-minute meeting, there is no way – I’ve got to run and pick her up, get back here to finish the process, then go back for the interviews… can you hear me SCREAM???!!!! 
I feel a bit better, because I wasn’t the only person to have issues with the attached documents…. so at least I don’t feel like a total doofus!   The interviews went well… too well, actually;  it’s going to be hard to make some decisions.   We have more interviews on Thursday night – and the good news there is that the Principal is going to give us (the board members) copies of the apps. when we drop our kids off on Thursday morning… so no more of the screwy email mess!  Yay!  So, I’m done with the screaming.  For now. 

Bad News for Homeschoolers

They (some stupid, liberal court) just made it illegal to homeschool in California!!  Are they insane?  (The correct answer is:  Yes.)  The Calif. court decided that unless the parent has a teaching degree they cannot homeschool.  Period.  Now, of course, the particular family involved is fighting this decision, as are various homeschooling agencies.  I don’t know the full story behind this one particular family; and it’s possible they shouldn’t be homeschooling.   It’s not like there are never abuses of the situation… but to make it ‘across-the-board’ illegal for anyone is ridiculous and extreme.  It’s also frightening, because these types of judicial decisions do tend to have a ‘trickle down’ effect.  Several pro-homeschooling groups are trying to get the decision "unpublished" (I think that’s the right word) because then it would only apply to this one case and not be a precedence for any future cases…. I’m not sure how that all works…
I just feel like the implications are terrible….  that we, as parents, do not have the right to decide what is best for our children.  That they ‘belong to’ the state to be indoctrinated the way the state sees fit. So, did you know that these rulings are based on judgements made in Germany at the time of Hitler??  When he wanted to ‘teach’ the children what he wanted them to believe??  I’m not making this up, honest.  Do you know it is also the law in Calif. to include "all alternative lifestyles" into any and all teaching, and the words "mother", "father", "husband and wife" are discriminatory and not allowed?  Again:  Are they insane?  Again: Yes. 
I loved growing up in California, and certainly there are things I miss about living there…but I thank the Lord I don’t live there now.
But I knew there was something about this guy I like!!
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement regarding the recent
Second District Court of Appeals ruling on home schooling:
"Every California child deserves a quality education and parents should have the right to decide
what’s best for their children. Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of
their children’s education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts and if the
courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.”


Talent Show!

Last night (Thursday) was our Co-op’s annual Chili Feed and Talent Show.  I really cannot believe the level of talent of the children in our group!  Playing instruments, singing, dancing, recitations…. It’s nice to see how our little homeschool families invest time and energy into getting their children exposed to a variety of lessons and such.  Kiki sang.  She loves singing, especially to a crowd!  Or in the shower, lol!  I would never have been brave enough to do that when I was her age.  She just sang a cappella again – and she never goes flat, or hits a bad note.  Yeah, I think my kid rocks, lol!!  The song she chose was "Here I am to Worship".    It was a fun night.
I have been wiped out all day today!  You know I went back to bed – and my sister called, like, 4 times….my home phone, my cell phone – and when I didn’t answer either, she called back and left a message on my home phone, then called again on my cell phone and left a message there!  Sheesh… I have a weekend alone – quit calling me!!!  lol.  Then my mom called…. oh, well, it was a good thought!  So I got up and dinked around a little.  At about 5pm I just couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I went back to bed again.  Which I thought might be a bad idea since it was so late – I’d wake up with it dark out, or sleep right through til morning maybe!  About an hour later, the phone rang again.  Jiminy crickets people!!  I got up, fortunately, because it was Kiki…she was in tears, missing mama.  I really didn’t expect that until bedtime!  They had a great day – went out to breakfast, to the zoo, then downtown and rode the train.  Glad she missed me anyway!  hehe.  Well, I think I will pop some Exedr*n PM and get a nice night’s sleep. 
Lazing around was the order of the day!
I have a dog blanket I put on my bed to keep the creatures off my bedding – you can see here that the dog got that blanket, plus the quilt, comforter, blanket and sheets all pushed down so she could lay her stinky hairy bod directly on my pillows!
Now, that dog blanket must be comfortable, because the cat is on it, and you know he’s doing it because it feels good, not because he wants to be good!
Then they slept in the den while I watched a little tv…check my dog out – she really thinks she must have a pillow!  The cat was happy on a footstool.
Oh, yeah, we were all feeling lazy today!

Snow Days

These are the things that make me laugh!  Yesterday I received two emails – one from the kid’s ministries at church and one from school (of course, the same gal is secretary for both!) and they cancelled Awanas due to the ‘big storm’ and also school for today.  The weatherman was forcasting some big snowstorm to pass thru…. and I just had to laugh.  Don’t they usually make that call in the morning if it seems like  the driving will be bad?  Especially in our valley.  We are flanked on three sides by large mountain ranges, so the weather here is awfully hard to predict – a storm can be headed our way, then hit the air over the mountains and head off some other direction.  I think the weather guys here are wrong about 80% of the  time!  As I expected, the whole evening went by without a flake coming down…we could have made it to Awanas without any trouble at all….oh, brother.  That’s okay, Kiki is always up for time off.  This morning, I have to admit, is another issue.  It has been snowing since very early a.m. – not a ton of snow, but the wind is howling so it’s really driftng up in spots.   Alan said the roads really aren’t bad, though, and he just has a two-wheel drive pickup, which is about the worst possible vehicle for snow, so if he can make it around, the rest of us could have!  Oh, well.  As you can imagine, Kiki didn’t protest at all about staying home again!  I’m protesting, though…. this was my ‘day alone’ to get some stuff done, and now I have to do the teaching….on my ‘day off”, lol!!  Not fair.   Poor me, I know   Well, I better get to it – that schoolwork isn’t going to get itself done…. I don’t  think Barbie is doing my teaching for me, dang it.

Field Trip!

This afternoon we are going on a field trip – we (the little homeschool group we belong to) are going to be given a tour of the Post Office!  Heehee.  I think it’ll be fun, but it’s in a pretty small town, so it’s not like, well, I don’t know – it won’t be like the New York one in "Miracle on 34th Street" or anything!   Still.  I think it’s good to let the kids see the ‘behind the scenes’ sort of stuff – what makes the world go around, you know?  Well, I’m off to make a little lunch before we take off…. we need a bit of an early start since we had a dusting of snow this morning….just enough to slick up the roads, of course.   

That Colorado Thing

I don’t generally talk about ‘current events’ on my blog, but this hit a little close I guess, because I know a lot of people who’ve gone through YWAM (Youth With A Mission).  Plus my nephew is currently in another mission school that is basically the same type of deal.  And one of my other nephews dropped out of our church’s mission school.  It saddens me that the media is trying to put the lovely ‘church messed him up’ twist on it… but maybe his church did.  It also saddens me that churches do sometimes mess people up.  We’re supposed to be the "Body of Christ", and then we beat people up.  I hate that.  I suppose this incident is also going to give homeschooling a black eye for awhile.  Because all our homeschooled kids are unsocialized freaks, you know.  I also just get so sad thinking how messed up our world is… we have to worry about things we’ve never had to before.  Wednesday night is child/youth night at our church, and the youth building is across the parking lot from where the little kids meet.  We (my sister and I) dropped off our younger kids then were headed out to our cars, when we saw firetrucks and paramedics at the youth building.  Now, it just turned out that some silly teenage boy jumped off something he shouldn’t have been on in the first place – weird, eh??! – and hurt himself.  The sad thing is that the first response of each mom walking out was the initial fear that something horrid like a shooting had occured.  It’s a terrible thing that our minds have to go there now.