People Peeking in...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Week 11, 8th


Ok, well, after a catastrophic week, socially, emotionally, educationally and parentally, I am well ready to start again already. 

I initiated my "you screw up with the small amount of responsibility you have, there, Banker dear, watch me pile it on, no, I am not removing any responsibility, I am quadrupling it" plan.  First 15 minutes in and it's going swimmingly. 

I wrote the week's plan in the Banker's binder, the purple, 'this is what we do' binder.  I put days and dates at the top of each page and filled each with the instruction, chapter and workload for the day.  There's 5 of them in there for this week, Friday only says "coOp" so it's not so bad.  

The new moment in time this week is that I handed the binder, the paperwork, the test, the project form and told him to do it and we'll meet Thursday at 4pm.  He looked gobsmacked then I smiled and said, "I don't care what order you do this work in, when you do it or what time at night you finish, it has to be done by Thursday at 4"

If he feels like History, he can do History, if he feels like physics on Wednesday instead of today then so be it. I'm not going to supervise the schedule at all but I have asked him to check in with me when he's finished various pages (because I can't totally not peek)

I can't wait to see how this plays out.  It will either go very very well or very very badly. 

He has an appointment with a friend who is a brilliant photographer and we are going to lurk around south Lamar in Austin today, on this brilliant sunny Texas Fall day, and take pictures of the food trucks and art and buildings.  It'll be a good diversion as well as take 4 hours out of his work week... ooooooh you're going to have to really schedule tightly, Banker to get it all in. 

I haven't figured out what, if anything, will happen if we doesn't get the work done, this is more an experiment in maturity, responsibility and reducing stress and increasing the love of what it is that he's learning and doing.

We are also going to figure out a Minecraft creeper head for Halloween   We have a green box base and just have to pixel it.  We are going to hang about with friends, having a drink while the boys hand out candy then go out and then hit the trick or treat road for a bit after the little kids are done.  Hey, it's a night out ;)  I must add, I hate HATE hate what Minecraft has become to some of the Banker's friends.  Way too serious and WAY too intense and we are almost done with it if it keeps up.

I've had an epiphany that has fixed me and my committee for a while.  I was sent a message by 9 friends, who I haven't seen in 14+ years, went to lunch together.  They talked about me, I matter to them, it fixed the hole I had.  It's not, after all, what I do that matters; it's who I am.  Who I am mattered enough to people I haven't seen in so many years that they gathered and sent me video messages and there isn't anything else that could have fixed me the way that did.  I am wrapped in the original inner sanctum blanket and feel warm and safe and yummy. 

The Banker will do fine this week, I have almost total faith. 

I'm off to get us ready to head to the food trailers in Austin because, well, if you are going to take pictures in Austin, you need to start with food ;)  


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Week 10, 8th

School, it's fine.  Life?  Oh it's ridiculous.

I am in the midst of a whirlwind of drama both self imposed and beset upon.  I'm trying to find my place in the universe while fighting demons that have haunted me for my whole life and trying to determine if it matters whether I matter.  Yeah, light stuff like that.  Everyone around me seems annoyed, anxious or just angry all the time which doesn't help my precarious and infinitely fragile grasp on whatever it is I'm holding on to.

Yeah, school is fine.  The Banker is progressing through, on the whole successful and seemingly enjoying the education process we have established.  He thinks he's learning things, seems engaged and academically content.  He's being challenged and is still humming and singing through lessons, that's got to be good.

He's 13 and going through all the appropriate teen angst that boys do.  He is equally pissy, angry and needy, demanding and withdrawn, silly and weepy.  He needs as many hugs as smacks.  I don't think I've experienced quite so proficient an eye roller either.  It's delightful.  My only saving grace is the coffee chats with dear girlfriends who offer support, commiseration and one hell of a giggle. We aren't the only ones.  whew

He is not as mature as some of his friends in some areas yet he's much more mature in others, it's a precarious place, 13.  He takes games intensely but lightly and is shattered when those around him take it oh so seriously, "...I've never been more disappointed in anyone or anything in my whole entire life" isn't the sort of text one likes seeing your son receive in relation to a game.  It's a GAME!  Take your play seriously or not but don't throw that sort of drama out into the universe, and certainly don't throw it in my house. Watch me not explode, implode or hide a body.  We need to get out more and find more humans to take up more space, it'll help take the edge off some of the expectations I think, I hope, I'll make it.

In other news, I discovered that I'm being stalked online.  Stalked is perhaps a bit intense, I'm being followed and then that which I share, dramatic or funny or culinary or cryptic as they may be are being copied and emailed out into cyberspace.  Creepy? Sure.  Yesterday I would have fallen apart at the supposed betrayal but really, if (I) put it out there you can't expect not to be busted on it.  I tell the Banker daily that there are no secrets and there is no privacy online.  It's there...forever.  I'm now looking at it as a cool, I'm so interesting that my thoughts, feelings and cryptic observations are being copied and sent around the world.  Does that make me famous?  More famous. I'm no victim, I'm a rock star.  

I also had my weep at not belonging where I thought I did, I had an epiphany in the wee hours last night, after a whole life of trying, I can't make people (who I thought just would like me) like me and I think it's about time I stopped.  I have allowed my own self worth to be based on the perceived opinions of other people.  As I said, it's about time I stopped.  I thought a relationship was fixed but it was so horrifyingly clear the other day it hasn't.  I think that stops too.  Look at me being all together.  It's not mental health or direction found, it's exhaustion.  I'm exhausted and can't fight any more. 

I've also been playing a game I shouldn't play.  I've been waiting for a compliment, just an out of the blue, random, you look/smell/sound nice, you did a good job, i liked that, you are good at whatever it is you do.  I was keeping track in days, now it's weeks.  Sometimes you just can't stop, I have 4 months invested and it'll be interesting to see if it ever comes to pass.  See, it all feeds into me thinking I suck and aren't good at anything.  If you have to constantly ask if it's ok and there's no support or joy coming back, it's hard as hell to not fall off the cliff.  But I digress, this isn't supposed to be about me it's about home schooling a very straight line kid when I'm, well, look at me *ugh*

We are going to go to more movies in the next couple of weeks, do more outdoor stuff.  We are going to watch movies from the couch and eat popcorn for dinner.  There will be less online games, more live people chatting.  There will be a review of the sorts of people in our lives and what role they play.  You don't have to do everything with everyone in your life, kiddo, some people you just don't want to play cards with and some you can't imagine going to the mall without.  Everyone has a place and the place isn't always everywhere. 

I'm going to call a little girl who makes me feel happy when I see her projects, crafts and read her stories and I want to tell her so.  I am going to make some bread, supervise some algebra and assign a photography project on feet.

I'm going to divide up the leftovers as dinner and eat a very large mug full of chocolate ice cream at some point in my day. 

So, how about that home schooling. 


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 9, 8th

Oh good grief this see saw world I'm in may be the death of me.  Just when I thought we had a solid handle on all this home school stuff, the Banker goes and makes some very unfortunate choices.  He made questionable (and I use that term loosely) choices in quality of completed work, volume of "completed" work and then decides, in a split second, to roll his eyes and mock something I'd all teenagers are wont to do at some point, however he did it directly in front of me.  Good grief, child. 

I snatched "screens" from him for a day for the mocking and until all the work was completed as required and in a much more readable and professional format than a piece of scrap paper with 3/  A,B,B,A,C,B,D,7  scratched across it... what the hell is THAT?  "Section 3".  of WHAT?  "History".  Oh I think not not not not. 

I'll admit it's probably me being lazy or that I just suck in general.  I'm peri-menopausal and am having my own issues with a complete and total lack of self worth, exhaustion, massive confidence issues and am totally convinced that I have no relevance.  I have no help, no support and am generally feeling useless and like the help.  I'm also hot all the time, think I'm too fat, wrinkled and am living in free tee shirts I've found and haven't had a hair cut in a year.  I just need some stinking clothes that fit and don't make me feel hot and gross.   Nice to have THAT tidbit of work tossed my way as "completed'.  Ugh.

I'm trying ways to get kudos, support, or a cheering section from the inner sanctum but it's not working and I'm setting myself up for all levels of confirmation that I suck by waiting quietly for any form of recognition and when nothing comes; I feel worse.  Did I mention I'm in a funk? I am looking for enthusiasm, excitement, laughter and just a way to not be so exhausted by it all. I just don't want to have a weep today, oh wait, too late, maybe tomorrow.  Helluva think to shoot for every day.

I will say this, on the schooling front, the Banker did pull up his bootstraps and has done some beautiful work yesterday and today but c'mon, we need some consistency here.  I guess I failed miserably, what else is new, at monitoring and supervision.  I did put an immediate system in place to rectify that.  New system?  Banker isn't finished until I've reviewed the books for the day, every day.  He only has 3 subjects a day so it's not going to take hours.  He had been putting the books on my desk every day for me to review before he needed them again the following week, that descended into, "I'm going to finish something THEN put it on your desk" then to "what book? you saw it".

I'm in a gigantic funk.  I want to get away for a couple of days.

Now, he did do lovely work yesterday, as I said but then when I came outside to check on my family, (who only sit outside to watch TV) I discovered the Banker playing on his phone... um, that's a screen, dear.  So, even though he finished his work and corrected the old stuff, he did mock me and then snuck onto screens so it's another day, or two, before he'll be reunited with the Great Glowing Rectangle.

He finished the book, Divergent, that my mother brought him.  He read it voraciously, we love that.  He finished last night and is desperate for the next in the series.  Yay!  I think he's emailing my mother today asking for the next, we love that. 

I'm going to supervision lightly today, try not to let the funk overtake me and weigh me down even further.  I'm going to be delighted in the work the Banker completes, help him when he needs it and have a giggle when we stuff BBQ pulled pork into the dough that's rising to make BBQ bread pockets, that's gotta be good.  I'm going to have a very stiff drink in 3 minutes because it'll be 10:30 and my Nana always had her "elevensies" at 10:30. I'm nothing if not my grandmother's granddaughter.

I'm sure it'll be better tomorrow, it sort of has to. 



Field trip day.  Oh heck we needed this.

We went to Pease Park in Austin and hung out.  The Banker took the camera and took a bunch of really really cool pictures, visited with friends then we went to lunch.

We needed this time out.  We are both rejuvenated.

Every other Wednesday is now field trip day, bonus.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 8, 8th

Ah, back to the grind.

We are in physics, science and latin today.  New science, the book that he's love love loving.  New Latin, we switched to Wheelock and he's doing a perusal day and it's continue on with the system we have in place for physics.  All good.  I'm going to jump online to some Wheelock links and see if I can find work pages, not worksheets (hahaha) for him to use as practice.

I like how this year is shaping up, I like that the Banker is so into the 2001 book.  I spoke to a friend of mine this weekend and he also suggested the Rama books when we are finished this segment. I hope the Banker continues to enjoy the choices we're making.

I spoke to a local educator friend this weekend about how we're doing and she didn't send any red flags my way, you know along the 'i'm breaking him' theory.  She is going to reintroduce me to friends of hers, also educators, and we're going to see about getting a couple of science projects for the Banker to complete after this Arthur Clarke series we seem to be doing. Two of the friends are science educators here in town and work in or around the Banker's grade level so it ought to be great.  I'll keep you posted on that one.

It's Canadian thanksgiving today, I grew up there.  A friend thought thanksgiving in October sounded like a fabulous idea so she's preparing all the sides for a feast, her mother is roasting a turkey and I'm on bread and dessert.  I made ciabatta, baguettes and rolls already and just pulled a dump cake out of the oven.  All good!

He is working, I am working... I'll update later!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 7, 8th


Well, it finally feels like we are back to normal.  We have no company, human or otherwise and although it's lonelier, it's quieter.

Lola (BoxerX) is resting her legs and back, she's been playing a lot and is still frequently.  There's no one interesting here at the moment so she is spending time just relaxing on the couch.  I have every faith it'll help her heal up.  Nothing like a rest to let your body fix itself.

Walter (Pug) is pleased for the quiet of GuestPug going home.  Although lovely, GuestPug does follow the crowd around and seems to think Walter should be a better host.  I love GuestPug but it was a rough week for him being here with trying to train baby Alice.  He's back after Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to it.

Alice (Pug) is adorable, painfully so.  She's smart and has settled into the family beautifully.  She's back on track, training wise, after the fun of my mom and GuestPug being here.  Back to the grind, baby Alice.  She's sleep on my foot as I write this, yeah, she fits in nicely.

Five of the 6 chickens are laying eggs regularly now.  Edna has failed to impress, so far but I have faith in her ability to perform.  I will admit that we have been unable to confirm the identity of the giant mutant double yolk egg that was laid in the coop.  We assumed it was Martini because of the consistent gigantic size of her eggs.  I'm keeping a watchful eye to see when Edna comes through.  They are still huge fans of laying in my chair outside and in fact had a line up this morning waiting to jump up and lay.  It's ridiculous and anarchy, fun!

The Banker is back on track as well.  We have a full, regular, week of school planned.  We headed out to get new tires on my car today and stopped at Half Price Books to have a look around.  We decided to switch gears in Latin and we bought him a Wheelock latin book.  We have been futzing around with a few different Latin ideas and neither of us have been delighted with any of them.  We are streamlining to the one Wheelock book and we'll see how it goes.

We also bought 2001 A Space Odyssey, he'll start reading it this week and when he's done we'll do a little project and see the movie, great plan for a science unit, I think!

I feel frantic for some reason, maybe just overtired or worried or fat or all of the above.  I'm taking some well needed and deserved "me" time tomorrow to spend time at Ikea (one of my favorite places to lurk about) with FriendC, I like her vibe and am looking forward to the spending of time.

I don't feel too much like I'm breaking the Banker this week, bonus!

We did stop on the way home and bought copious amounts of Chinese food so I don't have to cook later although I am playing around with one of my tried and true millionaire shortbread recipes, never one to rest on my laurels :)

I think it's cocktail time...



I'm going out to play today.  Here's a little something to keep you entertaining for a few moment, it's how we roll at my house now.

Sunny lays an egg:

Chicken lays an egg:

I'm leaving the Banker to his own devices this morning and heading off to Ikea with a friend.  I need the diversion and FriendC is the one to divert me.

I had a culinary crisis yesterday when the insert of my pressure cooker (Nesco Electric) took a tumble and crushed it's side.  I actually wept.  I use the pressure cooker all the time and had just done a massive meat shop, specifically for meat to cook in the pressure cooker! GASP!  I toyed briefly with just going out and buying another one.  I got mine at Walmart for $62 but they are $70 now and frankly I was afraid to spend the grocery money on one.  I called the company and they are shipping me a new insert for $25, it's going to be a long 7-10 days *whimper*  I don't cope well with waiting.

The Banker is going to be responsible for completing his "English" day work, literature, grammar and vocabulary.  He also has to finish the first chapter of his new Latin book from yesterday and I want him to finish his laundry (you BET he does his own!) and empty and refill the dishwasher so I can come home to a clean space and make dinner.  I think I'll make a meatloaf, I haven't made one forever and it'll be quick and easy when I get back.  I was going to make meatballs with the ground beef but since I discovered the pressure cooked meatball, I don't think I could go back to the oven or stove top cooked kind.  I'm a snob about my own food apparently.

I posted a couple of chicken videos for you.  There was an actual wrestling match in the chair between Sunny, who was in the throws of laying an egg and Chicken who needed the spot herself!  Sunny laid her egg on Chicken's head and left, that's why there is an egg on the chair in the video.  I have video of Sunny laying an egg and now of Chicken, very different techniques and yes, it's the kind of thing I notice.  I'm on a mission to get a video of each one of them although Peck lays in a very tiny dog crate so it'll be far less dramatic.

I'm off to do what I want to do today and leave my poor Banker to do all the work, poor Cinderella.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 6, 8th

Wednesday (see, only 2 days late)

WOW, what a great time we had with my mom here. We didn't do real touristy things but there was a lot of chicken watching, egg gathering (five of the six now lay consistently) and puppy wrangling. We also took in a guest pug to watch for a week and the chaos was palpable. I don't like guest dog sitting when I'm trying to train a puppy. At all. I really like the dog but not this week, when I've had my mother here and the chickens and home school and trying to keep a puppy organized with a dog (even a cute one) that is in the way and doesn't "do" our rules, messes it up just a bit. It didn't help that husband told me the dog was coming 2 days before then he went to pick it up and came home with it 2 days early from the original time he told me. I think the dog goes home Sunday and I can get into actually seriously training Alice without the distraction of an oversexed old pug or a mother I want to play with instead of paying attention to poop schedules.

School, oh that pesky thing; we did it fine. The Banker was on his regular schedule, more or less, and managed to get through it while we futzed here, played out and were generally distracting in either our presence or not.

Mum left yesterday, as did husband for a quickie business trip. My plans for 2 free days went out the window but it looks like I might get a portion of one today. I just want a day I don't have to go anywhere or cook or clean something, I just want to relax. I don't think that's in my cards but I will continue to strive for it in my head.

Back to school, I do digress, I think it's going well. Banker is managing to keep up with the 2 biggest subjects, history and literature. I have an expectation he complete a week's worth of work in one day on those subjects and he's producing beautifully. I think math is going well, he's mastering the subjects and we are ready to order the Algebra package. I think he's figured out how to learn from the dvd as opposed to watch it and then complete the problems using tools he'd gotten in school. I didn't realize that is why he was struggling through a couple of the lessons. I don't think the Banker thought he'd be learning actual new processes and formulas and got frustrated when the methods he'd learned in 6th grade no longer worked through the entire problems he was being given. Successes, like he's been getting now, breed success and joy and he's back to humming and singing while he does his math and that is always a good thing.

Physics is going well, he is working through the Khan Academy videos then doing followup activities on 2 websites and then he has an iPad book with activities and quizzes that he is working through. Good stuff.

Science continues to frustrate me. At the moment he's working through the Khan Academy astronomy and cosmology videos, taking fabulous notes and discussing the theories with me in reasonable detail. I still feel it's lacking somewhere and is the source of my fretting and worry that I am sending him down a path of becoming a terribly annoying (with just enough knowledge to drive people crazy) drive thru MacDonalds professional. *sigh* *this is a good place to throw in a "you're not breaking him" comment.

He has started to read Divergent, my mum brought it for him with high praise from my niece who is the same age as the Banker. I hope he learns to enjoy books again, he used to and has lost the love of it's a mission of mine to get him back into the sheer joy of books. I would happily let him use a book as a course, read 2001 and get back to me in 2 months... Here's your next subject, honey, and hand him a book.

HEY, wait a minute. That's a GREAT idea. And yes, that just came to me from my fingertips as I type this. Why don't I give him 2001 A Space Odyssey and have him review and research the details as he reads it AS his science class for the rest of this "semester". HEY, I'm going to think about that with a reasonable amount of seriousness today.

The Banker is doing well with his photography, he takes 20 pics on one subject matter. He edits then logs them and puts them in a cyber album. We review them and discuss the voice and feeling of the pictures. I'd like to get him a more sophisticated photo editing program, I'll look for something online I think initially.

He loves the CoOp and is working hard at it. He loves his Volunteering class where he assists the teacher in a 3-4 yr old class. He loves his Art Class and can't wait to show us what he's produced. He has a stronger affinity for the Art than I thought he would, excellent. He loves his Spanish Class and works hard in it. He has a lot of home work, considering it's a CoOp and takes it seriously to complete and complete well. I'm proud of him.
I am doing my CoOp volunteering weekly. I think there are 9 weeks left. I can't even describe my own experience and out of respect to the people who work so hard to make it happen, I am not going to describe it here. There are 9 weeks left. I can do anything 9 times. I can do anything 9 times that results in the Banker, my sweet boy, being so happy and enjoying it so much. This, by the way is why I intend on being a burden to him when I'm older, not that I begrudge any happiness he may experience as a result of this but my unhappiness is the reason I'll show up on his door step with bags in my hand and a drool bucket over my arm..."I'm here, dear...remember CoOp". HAHAHAHAH

I think I'll grade some of the Banker's work from last week (ooops) and de-"my mom is coming!" my house. After that, I think I'll take the damned day off.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 5, 8th

Well, this is just ridiculous.


My mother is here and we are playing every day.  With the puppy and the chickens and the dogs and the home school and the cooking and eating and playing and restauranting, there's no time for anything silly like sitting down or blogging.

Just quickly, school is going beautifully.  The schedule is working beautifully and the Banker has mastered those pesky concepts in pre-Algebra that had been kicking his butt.  He breezed through the last chapter and aced the test.  We were both terribly proud.  I think he had been concerned and the success did wonders for his confidence and faith in this home school thing.

We are cooking and shopping and then cooking and cocktailing today.  Well, mum and I, the Banker will be doing Latin, Science and Physics.  Sometimes it's good being the grown up.

I'm loving the time mum is here.  She's digging the chickens, Alouette has decided to lay eggs in my chair on the patio,  Luckily the Banker made a nest from my chartreuse Ikea blanket for such an auspicious occasion. The two of them sat and watched her, in my chair and on my blanket, lay a beautiful brown egg then hop down and wander off, job for the day well done.

It's weird here at the moment, I kind of love it.  I'll be lonely as hell when mum leaves, it's been fantastic and amazing to have a grown up to chat to on demand :)



Every once in a while there is a moment in time that confirms to me the Banker is getting it. "Hey, mom, is it ok if I do another chapter in my Newton iPad book? I'm really enjoying it..." Um, sure dear ;) The temptation to do a fake anger and send him to his room was rather sizable. HAHA I love love love this part of the home school experience. If he digs something, he simply keeps researching/reading/studying it. Wow, what a crazy concept. I think he's finally stopped looking at clocks and doesn't ask me how long he needs to do something any more. He reviews his daily schedule and simply works through it until it's all complete, hands the comp books to me for review and bingo, day done. Sometimes he's working until about 1-2 and sometimes, like yesterday, he works until close to 6 because he's enjoying the experience of learning something and investigating something.

I am having a blast with mum here.  Yesterday we played with coconut rum (she'd not tried it) and make the best cocktail on earth, dangerous cocktail because there isn't the slightest hint of anything alcoholic in it.  Coconut rum (1x) Pineapple juice (2x) 1 banana and loads of ice.  Blend in my Ninja and you've got a smoothie, refreshing, 2 fruits! and it's ab/so/lutely delicious.  I don't think we should have more than 2 in any sitting though, well, unless we have no intention of standing. HAHAHA

The Banker and mum just went for a walk around the neighborhood and now she's getting organized, the Banker is working on his literature work and I've just put millionaire shortbread up to cool and am going to go walk on my treadmill for a few minutes before my shower and then I'll be ready for a Monday Afternoon (which is what we're calling the rum cocktail) and a think about what we should do this afternoon that's almost touristy without being blatantly so.

Alouette and Chicken are still the only ones producing eggs but they're pretty much each giving me one a day.  Alice pug puppy is coming along nicely with her training and is now on a solid 11pm-7am crate schedule and is going in for 2 hour naps without a peep. She has figured out I need her to pee/poop when we go outside THEN she can play and she adores Lola, who has the patience of Job and is the best mother of any species I've ever seen.  Walter Pug may have come to figure out Alice isn't going anywhere and has stopped being so grumpy with her.  She plays, loves on, cuddles (and runs to for support) with Lola  and she sits, stoically beside Walter watching the world go by, she's found her spot in the pack.

For the moment, it's all good :)


Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 4, 8th


Well, it was a very busy weekend. My mother arrives today and I waited until Friday night to start doing anything around my house. You know, silly things like washing bedding and towels so the poor woman can lay down and bathe :)

I'm looking forward to loads of cooking, cocktails and giggling. It's what we do. The Banker is well set with school this time around (we were in chaos when she came down last time in May, I felt like a true failure). He has a much more organized and flowing schedule this time, one of each class, laid out in a relatively cohesive order. He likes the work, completes the work and we seem to have a decent thing going. I hope.

Of course, this morning I started looking online for 8th grade science text/work/project books. I think I found one I might like,

Ready-to-Use Science Proficiency Lessons & Activities: 8th Grade Level

I'll have my resident expert, Ms.Zan check it out for me. I always defer to her experience with such things. I think it looks like a good basic resource that we can use to learn, direct and do some hands on work/projects/problems.

I've added an iPad book, Newton's Physics which the Banker is using as a companion to his Khan Physics lessons, in addition to the student extras on and he's been registered for months with, and gets the problem/s of the day emailed to him from, I think we're covered there :)

I love Ms.Zan's Literature and History lesson plans which I stole, she donated to our cause. The Banker loves those the best, he says they are the most professional of our classes. I like that.

In any event, I think my mother will be impressed with our progress from the anarchy of last year to the more organized this year.

One of my chickens, Alouette, has started to wander the garden to lay her eggs in new and exciting hidden locations. I think it's delightful she's added a playful element to what could be the drudgery of lay an egg in the assigned location, one of us gathering it, then eating it. Really, adding a hunt into the mix is, ok, it's going to be a pain in the a**. The problem is that the girls can jump (!) out of their run and into the yard to wander, forage, eat bugs and generally piss off the blue jays in the area but they can't jump back IN! Husband is moaning and threatening to cover their run with netting but then I can't go in the run, where I actually go and hang out and clean it and rake it. IF he covers it with netting then I have to shrink my bulk down to 3 feet tall and I'm not crawling in ANYwhere for ANYone, seriously.

We have 7 eggs in our little bowl at the moment and plan on having a number of them, lightly fried on homemade bread for dinner tonight when my mother arrives. Nothing says welcome to the farm than, "here, hold the puppy, Hurricane Alice, go hunt for eggs and dinner? oh it's that thing the chicken just squeezed out of her back end, sorry about the sticky butt residue, i'll just go wash that off..."! Hmmm, worth the flight to Texas.

I am not even going to comment on the fact my mother is arriving this afternoon from Ontario, Canada and my husband is flying to Ontario, Canada, tomorrow morning. His company is owned by a company not far from my mother's house. He is going for a week, will be back a week and then both he and my mum fly out the same day, both Canada bound. Different flights/destinations but it'll be weird waving them both off. I told the Banker we are taking the day after that completely and totally off. I said we will do ice cream for breakfast, popcorn for lunch and cookies for dinner that day, in jammies, watching trashy tv. We may even rent a couple of movies and just sit that day.

He's well into his work today, he enjoys Monday. Monday is science, physics, and latin day. He likes the computer and then iPad then computer aspect of the work/information on his first day out of the shoot. Tomorrow is his Literature day so there's more paper and working out of 2 books day, his Nook for his read and then one online exercise. I like the way his schedule is balanced that way.

While he has climbed into his iPad and is reading more about Newton and those laws, I'm off to deal with my final laundry, puppy, chicken coop clean out then dash to the store for limes and yeast and more wine...much much more wine!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 3, 8th

Wow, what a Labor Day weekend!


We had a great 3 days, loads of playing, chickens, puppy time, eggs, friends, cocktails and plans for the future. WOW.

I will be honest, it was hard to get motivated today, I need a day off :)

Alouette is laying 1 egg every 30 hours or so, the other chickens are lollygagging about and resting on her laurels. I'm not above eating them. I think they know it and start to squawk and honk loudly when they see me, in a veiled attempt to lull me into a false sense of thinking they're trying to lay eggs. That's my current theory.

The Banker is working hard today, it's language arts day. I'm trying to ensure we're back on track so we can move into some of the 'elective' things he wants to do. It seemed we were fighting upstream last week and I don't want to feel that way.

I simply removed Mondays classes from our roster this week so there's no trying to make up the classes we didn't do Monday (labor day) sometimes you simply have to play the day away with friends without consequence. I like that.

I am going to download the second Hunger Games book for the Banker to start reading this week, hopefully we'll have a less stressful reading program than we had over the summer. I bought it for his Nook, I hope he enjoys it! I bought the second and third books actually so he can finish the trilogy. My mom told me about some teen book that is all the rage (she's further in the loop than me!), she's bought him the paper book, "Divergent", my niece is a huge fan of that series apparently. We like a little familial pressure to perform ;)

The CoOp starts this Friday and I am dreading it. That's all I'll say about that right now. I don't want to jinx it or send bad vibes to the Banker. I can do anything 12 times, 11 if I catch something and as long as it's not chaos, the Banker will have a great time and that is the whole point there. I may pack a flask. No one need know.

In other news, Pug puppy Alice is a joy, a sheer and utter joy. She hasn't had an accident since she arrived and has rung the bells to go outside a number of times. I can't see an accident happening. She is still very young, 3 mos, so no doubt she could forget or just squat but since the other two are regular bell ringing goer outers, Alice is on their schedule anyway. She does start to charge around the house like mad when she's playing with Lola in the evenings and when I send her outside when she's frantic like that she always produces, like any youngster, having too much fun to want to stop and go to the bathroom. Only a week and I can't remember our house without her in it.

We are supposed to go to a park tomorrow morning but we are blowing that off. I want to get the work this week under our belts. My mother arrives on Monday and that'll give us loads of reasons to divert over the next two weeks so we may as well work while we have the house to ourselves and no diversion to goof off. We can take time when she's here to play.

I haven't made any noises about getting a minecraft play time together, I've been busy playing myself. I have that on my short list of things to do this week, maybe we can do one at the Microsoft store at the Domain in Austin in which case the Banker can cyberplay and my mother and I can shop at my new favorite cooking store there, Sur La Table. We'll see.

I'm cooking a big roast dinner tonight for some reason, 102 degrees isn't going to get me down because sometimes I just feel like roast chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, glazed carrots, gravy and stuffing. Mmmmm. I have a hankering and when the mother has a hankering, everyone eats well ;)



I have a treadmill in my house now.  Hubba surprised me on the weekend with one.  We have an elliptical but I can't use it with my crazy ankle and hip.  When I turned 48, something happened to me and I found myself starting to swell, not unlike a balloon being inflated.  Peri-menopause symptoms, said my Dr.  WTHell? Now, after no change in my lifestyle or intake I'm 2 sizes bigger and rounder and moodier (yes, it was possible apparently) and menopausal and figured a way to help me (enjoyably!) cut a pound or two (other than removing a limb) was to start walking on a treadmill. It's Austin, Texas, it's always too hot for me to walk outside. I walk 1.25 miles in the morning and again in the afternoon. Unfortunately, walking on a treadmill makes me starving hungry and after the walk this morning I walked downstairs and ate half a BLT with cheddar that I made on a half loaf of ciabatta I made, a banana, a glass of milk, a cookie and 14 milk chocolate covered pretzels. Yeah, this is going to work beautifully. *thud*


It's first day of Co-Op today. I'm trying not to fret.  This isn't about me, after all.  It's about The Banker.  He is taking volunteer hours (which everyone should) he's taking high school art (to mess with his academic brain and loosen him up a bit) and then Spanish (which everyone should, any foreign language).  It's his fruits and nuts semester.  I told him he can do 'serious' class/es next semester at One Day or Bronze Door ($$!)  I'm going to spend 3 hours a week with little children.  I planned this badly but am not going to moan about it anymore.  As long as the Banker is happy, I will be happy.

This, by the way is the moment in time I intend to use in later years as part of my 'becoming a burden' to the Banker.  This story, this experience is why he has to take care of me when I'm old and feeble.  I'd thought about it over the years and tried to determine which moment I could pinpoint as the one moment he owes me for.  This is the one.  It's not that I don't like other people's little children it is that I don't like other people's little wild children.  I am not going to prejudge too heavily today though.  I haven't even met those children.  Perhaps they'll be delightful.

Baby Pug Alice is still doing wonderfully, no accidents and doing well in the crate.  She loves the chickens, doesn't chase them anymore and completely and fully believes Lola is her mother.  I have been really consistent with the crate and feeding and schedules which is why there's been no accidents in my house.  She comes to her name, is relatively obedient, for a little girl, and loves to have a good cuddle.

I have been working her up to almost 3 hours in the crate in the morning then 2 in the afternoon after a play and a feed.  She has to do her longest stint yet today, 3 1/2 hours and I fully intend on using her as an excuse to bolt out of there after CoOp today.  Sure it's lame but it's what I am going to do.  I can't remember a time she wasn't here, crazy little dog.  Lola is doing a beautiful job training her and keeping her occupied at my request.  I can't imagine having a puppy without Lola around to do the actual work.

We had a great day yesterday, changing the subject.  FriendE came with her boys, FriendJ and FriendZ.  True to form the children vanished with laptops and we only saw them when their need for food and drink surpassed their need to do whatever it is they were doing.  Mining emeralds apparently.  Minecraft of course.  I made an enormous platter of sandwiches and chips and sent them away upstairs.  Sometimes I really love my gameroom.

FriendE and I chatted about homeschool things, she'd purchased a book we looked through.  It was nice to have the chat with someone in the same boat.  We both feel overwhelmed and underwhelmed by our science options and choices.  We designed the perfect 8th-12th grade science curriculum, now if someone would merely produce it, we'd be set!

An interesting thing happened as well.  FriendE brought her crochet.  I haven't crocheted for a while, choosing to switch to the much faster and more instantly gratifying sewing/serging and embroidering.  I haven't played with my hooks or sticks since the fire in the craft room.  She had seen a pattern online she wanted to do but wasn't prepared to pay $9 for the instructions.  I agreed.  We deconstructed the pattern, we can do that, and wrote our own version and voila, our own pattern and that poor girl who spent all that time and effort writing her .pdf to sell, well, sorry for your luck, dear.

I had a small epiphany about it actually.  I realized I really do enjoy knitting and crochet.  It's infinitely portable and something I can do in addition to the food and the writing while we are in school mode and in the same room as the Banker.  Something I cannot do with the machines. Hmmm, sometimes it takes a simple question, "hey, do you think we can figure out this pattern so we don't have to pay this girl?" to make you rediscover something you thoroughly enjoy doing.

I'm going to play with my sticks and hooks more again and I'm sort of delighted about it.  I am also completely delighted with my treadmill and am continuing to do 1.25 miles, twice a day, with my headphones on, unplugged from everything except the noises in my head.  I love it.  I may not be able to ever go out or ever be on my own but this machine buys me 30 minutes of 'leave me alone' time and that is never ever a bad thing.

I'll report back on how our day progressed, of course.


FRIDAY, part deux

Sometimes, when we fret and worry about something we've never experienced, it becomes bigger than life.  I am a firm believer that most of the time, the fear of the thing is so much worse than the actual thing.  Well, usually.  Not today.  Today it was worse.  Much, much, much worse.

The Banker had a great time, he loved helping out the little kids for his volunteer hour.  He knew one of the little boys in the class which made them both feel a little more special.  He absolutely loved Art class and got kudos for a job well done from the teacher.  He loved his Spanish class and excitedly told me about the homework he has, the similarities between Spanish and Latin and generally bubbled over about the whole experience.  It warms my heart to see him so joyful about this.

I was in hell.  I thought I would hate my experience but had no idea how much I would hate it.  All my nagging little fears were incalculably multiplied.  I have to do it 11 more times, 10 if I can manage to catch something horrible.  I wonder where I can catch something horrible.  Leprosy? Plague?  I'm easy and don't really care which.  Summarizing my experience?  OH,  For fear of anyone involved potentially seeing this, I won't do any detail, it would be disrespectful and I don't want to do that.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings...a blog or my opinion are never worth it.  All I will say on the matter is the Banker is happy and glowing and excited and for that, I will continue to do anything.  I on the other hand, spent 3 hours of my day today watching to run screaming, I'm not being over dramatic here, I literally wanted to run...screaming...

I think I'll go have a little nervous breakdown now, just a little one, in my room, all alone.  I told the Banker how much I hated it.  He knew by my face and my frantic exit from the facility.  I told him how much I hated it with a smile and a giggle of course, you can't take this too seriously and the level of which I hate this is actually comical.  I hope I made him feel better about me hating it.  He does worry.  He was concerned I'd quit and then he would have to.  I assured him I would never quit something he enjoyed so much.  I can do 11 more.  Or 10, there's always the potential for Scabies? Rabies?  Lice?

When I go to my room for my little breakdown, I may actually shed a tear or two, stress tears of course.  Then I'll be over it and will suck it up.

Besides the fear I had/have of breaking the Banker and ruining the rest of his life, this moment in time is the worst home school moment (so far).


Monday, August 27, 2012

Week two, 8th

I'm not going to post daily but will update this post through the week based on day.  I may have nothing to say ;)


Week two seems to be off to a rousing start.  We have a new diversion in the house, I've named her Alice. Good grief, 2 dogs, 6 chickens and now...a puppy! What am I thinking?!?!

I am sort of hard core when it comes to dog training so, cute as she is, we're in full on crate training.  Her daytime schedule is 2 hours crated, 1 hour out, no squealing, whining or barking allowed.  So far, she's spot on and hasn't made a peep.  She's also not allowed to come out of the crate until I invite her, also, she's nailing it and waiting patiently until I open the door and then stand back and invite her to come out.  As I said, cute or no, I have things to do and I'm hard core :)  She'll be trained quickly because she's smart, I'm consistent as hell and Lola and Walter are doing all the work for me :).  My dogs are bell trained and it took Alice all of 30 minutes to figure out the bell ringing (Lola and Walter both ring it) means the doors is opening and we're all going out.  She also comes to her name already!  (I changed it to Alice because, well she LOOKS like an Alice)  She is in the crate all night, 11-6:30 without a peep and isn't making a sound when I pop her into the crate so I can get something done.  Puppies are never.ever.ever unsupervised at my house, even for a second.  No accidents so far :)  

I turned my office/craft room/ sewing room/ writing den/ classroom back into the space we needed after transforming it into a sewing space to finish a rug that was ordered from my Etsy store.  I am suspending the store (for the craft stuff) for the time being.  I can't do both in here and I prefer to write.  I finished one rug, at the cost (almost) of the top of my finger, a gash which I keep reopening *ouch*  I am going to trim and ship the white rug and am going to return the money of the second rug.  I don't have the teeshirts here and have no intention of going to shop for them then cut them then make the rug for the cost I charged.  I set the price when I was making them regularly and had the t's in stock.  I am trying not to feel like a failure.  I just don't feel it anymore.  I think it's because I finally made the decision to move on, to write, to follow my passion and am feeling obligated to make these tshag rugs and you can't be creative and happy if you feel obligated.  That's my thought anyway. 

Science, Latin and Physics went fine today.  I did buy the Banker an iBook for his iPad, Newton's Laws, for him to use in conjunction with his Khan Physics.  He's delighted. 

We have a good system with the big purple binder that we pass back and forth with notes and expectations and schedule, daily agenda and completed work.  It's like a game of tag, you're free until it's your turn to work in the binder! 

He finished by 1pm today and is on full puppy duty, I hear giggling and cartoons and the odd happy puppy noise coming from the other room.  Most excellent. I think I'll make him garlic cheese biscuits to go with the farfalle with two sauces I'm doing for dinner.



The week has been a rousing academic success, well, up until 10:30 on day 3.  The Banker got all the work done on Monday he needed to, all the work yesterday and is well on his way on MathUSee day today.   I finally *ooops* graded the rest of his tests from earlier weeks and discovered there was one that he failed miserably.  I mean there's failing a test then there's failing miserably.  The good thing about such an abysmal score is that he was obviously thinking about something completely different.  He was so far off that I think he wasn't paying attention or something else was going on that day.

When I sit and think about it, I seem to recall he did a bunch of tests that one day and this may have been the last one or he was just done with it all. I get that.  He is going to redo the test today, gotta love home school...  the retake without worry or ramifications.  That makes me happy.  He was sort of surprised when I told him how horribly he'd done and agreed he was just off.  You're allowed to be off when you're in the 8th grade, you can't be off when you're in high schools exams or college placement tests but he's 13 and working at home so he is absolutely, completely, allowed to have an 'off' day.

I'm also going to test a theory and give him 'review pages" at the end of each chapter instead of 'tests'.  We are having a hellish day because he's shattered about failure. Having him redo a chapter (at my request as opposed to his decision to review the work) is being met with drama befitting of a 15 year old girl rebuffed in the lunch room over a love note.  *gack*

I'm not delighted.

Alice, that puppy, isn't interfering too much.  I am a hardcore crate trainer so she is in her crate from 9-11:30 every morning so she can rest (hahahaha) sure, we'll say that.  It's so we can get our stuff done and it prepares her for when we go out, did I mention I really really need to go out.  She comes out of the crate for about 1 1/2 hours then starts to fade so we crate her for another 2 hours.  That schedule seems to work for her and then she's ready for bed at about 11 or so and she's down for the night and back up around 6:30.  Not a peep in the night, this is my kind of puppy!

I am going to start the Banker on his photography class later today if for no other reason as for the diversion.  I'm sending him out with a camera.  Sure, we could talk about theory and history, naw, he's going to take pictures, experiment with hue and focus and the best way to learn what the million buttons on my Samsung digital camera do is to use them.

I'm thinking it might be wine time already. I have a hissy pissy teenage boy doing math in a snort and the puppy is only good for another half hour before I have to go be perky and joyful (and I'm in no mood suddenly).  I should take my window of opportunity here and now.



Well, what a week, with my ridiculous decision to get a puppy, which is going beautifully by the way, then the drama that was trying to get through a 12 hour school day and today, one of my chickens laid their first egg!  In the nesting box, wow.  I'm over the moon excited about it.  It's a little thing, barely brown and it's a big bowl on my counter waiting for more so we can have a meal.  I am not going to get anything done today for running outside to check the run, the yard and the coop for another!!

School kicked our butt this week a little bit.  We did math for an entire day which pushed everything back a day and today, which is supposed to be our 'free' day, is going to spent on the final math test then chapter for this week to bring us back in line.

The Banker told me he doesn't feel well and has gone to lay down.  I don't think he feels ill, I think he feels guilty from a little drama outburst he had at bedtime last night.  He wakes up feeling guilty when he's acted like that.  That's a good thing.  I'd be upset if he didn't give a damn about acting like a mouthy 'i know everything and you are obviously an idiot' teenager.

I think it's going to be a low key day and that's fine.  We are in week 2, are up to date on everything I wanted to be into by now and if we put off the next math chapter for a week then so be it.

I realize it's a short week next week and then we lose Friday by having the CoOp start.  Yeah, my time is ticking away there.  I'm still trying not to fret, even with the diversion of Alice and the chickens' egg I am feeling pretty consistently ill about the whole thing.  I will have to decide which subject stream day we blow off.  Just because Monday is Latin/Science/Physics doesn't mean that's the day we'll lose on a holiday.  I'll talk to the Banker about it

I think friends are coming over on Monday to talk about a food trailer (be still my heart) and even if we weren't having people come play, I think we are going to take all the school holidays off.

I have to research chickens today, about their laying habits, I can't spend every minute wondering if I should run into my backyard to check for an egg!  ACK!  I'm excited **GRIN**

Have a happy weekend, I have work to do.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Day Five, 8th

So, we went to Orientation at the new CoOp today.  The people are lovely and I'm sure it'll be fine.  

The Banker is going to be volunteering with 3-4 year olds for an hour, go to an art class held in a hallway with 4 other teenagers and then he's taking a Spanish class with about 10 other teenagers.  I, on the other hand, am going to be assisting in the nursery (under 2) then helping in an Early elementary "general science" class for the K-2 crowd then in a phonics type class also for the K-2 age group.

The Banker is a product of both some military drilling from public school but also from his own desire and need for the straight and narrow, rules, regulations and organization.  Sure, I am a hippie but I can't deal with chaos and there's a 'need for order' strip in my head that needs constant attention.  We learned today some people who home school feel their children may be too precious for rules.  I may not survive.

Well, ok, I obviously will survive, I can do anything 12 times and maybe the little kids will be adorable and darling and I will be counting the days until my next encounter with them. 

There is then the set up and take down, the CoOp is at the local church so all the seating /tables /chairs supplies are temporary and need to go up and down each Friday.  I don't really know what I thought this would be, but this isn't it.  Ok, I said it.

I'm sure it'll be fine, I think it'll be good for the Banker.  He saw how shattered I was after the orientation today and started to go down the "I don't have to go here..." road.  Oh, no no no, Banker, baby...that's not what I meant when I teared up in the car... It'll be fine, you'll have a great time.  Guilt from you?  Oh, I'm not having THAT!  We had a chat that I wasn't happy about my having to deal with little kids but that was hardly a deal breaker for him to attend.  

We knew this semester was going to be a CoOp "fruits and nuts" semester, he didn't have to take anything that mattered, this was to get us both out of the house.  I'll be even more honest though, if I am going to be able to get out of the house, I do not (read that in capital letters) want to spend that limited time in the company or care of other people's little children.  

I am absolutely filled with horror for the next 12 weeks of my life as well as all consuming guilt at feeling so negative about this.  After all, I am fully aware this isn't about ME, it's about the Banker.  I am doing this whole home school deal for him.  Life, for me, would be far less stressful if he was in a public school turning into a robot like the rest of them.  I want HIM to have a better life and am willing to do whatever it takes,  however I have to spend time, for the next few months, in order for that to happen, I have to give up a full day a week to babysit.  I feel ill about the whole thing.

Luckily, it'll only be until November (yeah, that seems years away) because we had already decided we would find the Banker a credit course next semester.  I think I'll reopen my One Day Academy folder and revisit that idea. 

I'm going to take the next week trying not to be frantic, judgmental or fret.  I am going to calm down, look at it as a fun diversion and take advantage of any opportunities this affords.  Maybe there's some brilliant silver lining I can't see through my ... "horror" seems a bit extreme.  Trepidation is a better description of what I'm feeling. 

Have I already said I'm sure it'll be fine?  

He finished his History from yesterday and I've given him the rest of the day off to play in Minecraft land (he is going to try the new server through austinareahomeschoolers) and anyway, he's worked hard this week, he just needs to be able to have a great (rest of his) Friday. 

Me?  Oh I'm going to fret and have another glass of wine.


Day four, 8th

I think the Banker is already 'getting' that he isn't going to want to save work from one day to the next. 

The deal we have is that he can move work one day but then has to finish up after CoOp on Fridays (or before he if has the stamina).  We also agreed that no work, other than projects with extended due dates, moves over a weekend.  I can see us jumping on that slippery slope.

He still asks me if he can do the work out of the order it's written on the page.  I supply him with a daily agenda with the 3 classes and chapter/test/project/answers that he's to do in regard to the classes.  I think it funny he asks if he can do grammar before literature or read last...  bless your heart, Banker, you're so well trained.  Every once in a while I am shown, in shocking technicolor, that he was locked into a military (bordering on penal!) system that is the Texas Public School system.  

You will be given the page of work to do.
You will do the work in the order given.
There will be no diversion.
You will not look up, look around or speak
No peeing without a formal request and a pat down to ensure you're not "carrying"  (technology or answers)

A little question like, "can I do grammar first?" just confirms the decision to yank him out of that system and give him freedom to think, to explore and to grow.  When he goes to college, there's not going to be any culture or learning shock, it'll be a smooth transition from what he does now; learn, work, explore, manage time, hours, plan, THINK!

Speaking of public school.  I was asked to help volunteer at the school we don't go to over the next week.  The students stand in line, fill out forms, are assigned books and  locks and agendas and whatnot after they've already started school... serious time/day wasters...if they HAVE to go to school, teach them something, don't make them stand in lines for days getting a locker for pete's sake, that drove me crazy.  In any event, I didn't know how to respond to the call for help.  I'd love to help out because I like helping out but I felt it would be too odd to be there without a child who attended.  So, I simply didn't respond to it.  I feel, well I can't put it into words how I feel about it, but I do feel something about it.  I still get emails and letters from the school even though I keep asking to be removed from lists.  I just junk them so it's not the end of the world but again, it makes me feel something, maybe slightly annoyed.

The Banker is into his history videos, has completed his math test from yesterday then he gets to dive into his world study, he's chosen Fiji as the first country he'd like to know more about.  

Husband is going on his weekly outing to spend time having a beer, seeing a band and hanging out with his friends.  My envy knows no bounds.  I need to have some time to myself, *I* want to go out for a drink, *I* want to watch a band and spend an evening NOT being in charge.  I'm 'on' 24/7 and that's the only part of this venture than exhausts me.  I never get time to myself to just be myself.  I think I'll try to find a way to have my own regular night out every week where I go to the bar, eat dinner out, see a band and have a laugh.  I've been asking husband for 2 years to invite me, I guess I took the hint I'm not welcome so I'll simply have to go find it for myself. 

Today, however, Banker and I are going to get the work done, have a giggle, cook some delicious fresh fish I picked up for us yesterday for our mother/son dinner (although they are all mother/son dinners just tonight I don't have to watch it go cold waiting) so I'm looking forward to our day and evening. 

I think day four of 8th grade will equally as fabulous as the first 3. 

And it was... there's something perpetually joyous about listening to a child sing when he's working... there's no part of that I don't love.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day three, 8th

Well, well, well.  How beautifully is THIS curriculum, plan, schedule, idea, system, setup, idea working?  Yeah, sure, it's day 3 but yeowza!  The Banker keeps telling me how "professional" school feels this time.  *insert happy dance here*  I have to agree with him. 

My biggest worry, ok, not biggest worry because there is the ever looming confidence I've screwed him up for the rest of his natural life, ruined any chances for success, education, joy or happiness of any kind.  Besides THAT sorry I didn't know if we would be able to keep up with Ms. Zan's Literature and History schedule, hers being daily and mine being weekly.  Well, much to my abject delight, the banker flew through the week's worth of Literature, handed me in a beautifully written and need composition book and didn't seem daunted by the taking on of 5 classes in one sitting at all.  *insert yet another happy dance here*.  He said he felt he learned a lot.  He completely loves the formality and organization of it.  Ah, that's my Banker.

He will tackle the 5 classes of History tomorrow, we'll see how that goes. I have a reasonable amount of faith he'll be able to tackle it.  I purposely wrapped "elective" classes on the big work days like math, literature and history.  

He isn't too bothered by the knowledge he's doing in one day what his friend is being asked to do in a week but then it all comes back to the schedule dilemma of many classes for a short period every day or a few for hours once a week.  I think we'll continue on the one subject "stream" per day, he really likes wrapping his head in the one direction and staying in it. 

Today got side tracked a little bit because of some leftover work, namely the worst book report i've ever read, so he started a bit late then there was math on top of the work so he is going to carry over his math test to tomorrow.  I don't think it'll impede the day too terribly. 

The Banker suggested he and FriendH do one of the personal writing options together and I think that's a great idea.  I'll get with Ms.Zan about it, we already know which days FriendH will be expected to do the work.  What a delight being able to peek into other people's children's work load! 

We also helped FriendC and FriendA get some additional information for them to start the same math.  Two of the Banker's friends are starting the program he's 3/4 through and one has completed the next level,  it's lovely to have that resource available.  Friends helping friends.  Yeah, also brilliant.

I am in a tizzy about my various ventures.  One seems to be on the cusp of taking off and I don't want any part of it and am finding it difficult to be motivated.  The other seems also to be starting to pick up steam and I can't dive in until I finish the previous obligations.  Gasp, hardly the crisis of the century but still it's making it a little bit more difficult for me to focus completely. 

When I do get the rugs made and shipped, the setup we have here of us working in the same room, opposite sides is completely and totally conducive to a successful and fulfilling (for me) work space. 

So far, three days in, it's a sweet deal all the way around! 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day two, 8th

The new routine, apparently, is that the Banker is setting his alarm for 7.  He is going for a long walk then jog around the block.  He returns to deal with the dogs, the chickens and then go have a shower.  He is making himself some breakfast, making a coffee for me! (and delivering it to me in bed) then being ready to start school for 9 or so. 


He is so delighted with the schedule, plan, system and format of this year that it's oozing out all over the place.  It's so delightful to see learning elicit such pure joy.  I do realize it's only day 2 but there's a palpable change in The Banker's mood and demeanor where school and education is concerned.  He loves this stuff and is, literally, giggling and humming while he works and organizes himself and his comp books for the year ahead.

How'd we get this lucky?!?!

We are into literature, grammar and reading today, it's the most non-online day he has. I have stolen the curriculum and planning directly from my dear Ms.Zan.  FriendH is doing the same literature and history and his mother, rocking the scheduling, shared with me the whole syllabus for the whole year! *motherlode*  

FriendH is doing his classes daily so there's 5 literature and 5 history lessons per week.  We are doing the one subject stream per day so both literature and history only come around for us once per week.  We are going to try 3-4 of her daily units in one day to see how it works.  I think The Banker could do all 5 but I want to be sure we hit successes right out of the gate.  Either way, he's stoked and keeps telling me how professional "our school" feels and how much he thinks he's learning already.  *yay*

My last holdout was wanting to find an online vocabulary add on to grammar and I found the perfect thing for us...he'll do 1 lesson and 1 activity a week.

After school today, 1:30, we are heading over to the Microsoft offices for a free seminar in movie making.  Cool!  FriendA is coming with us and we're meeting Friends J and Z there.  The four of them will have a blast I'm sure.  I may take my laptop as well to get a pointer or two, we'll see.  I may toss it in a bag to take along just in case.

I, on the other hand, am in the throws of undoing the 4 days worth of work to contain the sewing and need to get sewing some rugs that were ordered.  I am going to use the opportunity to make a tutorial on how to make them, secrets and all, and will post that instead of the rugs. I think it so very silly that the moment I make a plan to focus on food and writing, the error of my ways is so blatantly pointed out by the craft universe.  

The few dollars these rugs will generate I will use to take my mother to dinner when she's here next month.  She says she's not flying down to see chickens and be there for the inaugural egg because that would just be weird, but we all know she is (sort of) with a little bit more of us thrown in there for appearance.  The fun thing is that it'll be here birthday when she's here, which has never happened, so we will be able to spoil her a little bit and maybe have a big lunch party here with some of my girlfriends who adore her.  I'm really looking forward to having her back here.

Ok, that's what's that today and now, we all have our missions and an actual time frame, which never happens, so off we go, back to the grind. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Day one, 8th

Well, we're here, the first day of 8th grade.  Husband left early (for him) and the Banker is still snoring.  I'm going to thoroughly enjoy this 15-20 minute window of quiet and solitude before I go get the boy up for school. I think 9:30 is an entirely appropriate time to start, he will be done 1:30ish because we figured the days would be about 4 hours long.  They'll be slightly longer at the start while we get our groove on.  Although Mondays are easy for me because he's got online classes for those subjects.  I'm basically a resource to him on cyber days, I'm the manager. 

daily summary page
Unlike last year where I printed him out a weekly schedule, the Banker asked for a planner, like in school where I could write the daily expectation and he could write notes, comments and check off what he'd done for the day.  We couldn't find a planner we liked so we have a binder with filler paper and I'm going to a daily schedule for him, with the big three classes listed plus any additional information he'll need or what my expectation is of the work he'll complete.  This week will be a lot of review, some new work but in the physics and science video classes, he's already 1/3 through them so I want him to do quick reviews to get back in the zone.  I like that we'll end up with a single 8th grade binder that we will be able to use as review and reference and even though no one is checking, proof of what we did.

Everything is in place and we're ready to go.  It's Monday so it's Latin, Physics and Science, which is Astronomy/Cosmology and space, day.  Heck of a way to kick off a year.  I thought it rather brilliant to put some of his favorites first.  

I sold yet another rug so I am certainly going to be spending time moving my writing zone and turning it into a sewing zone for at least this week. I actually paid into the promotional opportunities on Etsy to push the recipes and tutorials so let's all keep our fingers crossed people don't want me to DO anything for them but rather just tell them HOW to do it.  

I'll check back in at the end of today.  Although The Banker has been a royal, colossal, teenager for the past day or so, I'm looking forward to diving into this adventure together.  I really, mostly, think it's going to be great.  The abject horror of being convinced I'd broken him has been replaced with a slow seeping fear of it, I'm calling it improvement. 



What a brilliant day. The process worked beautifully, the information was accessible in a smooth and fluid motion.  The Banker took a break and took a walk.  He read outside, he read inside, he worked, took killer notes and completely and totally approved of the requirements for work and of the followup.  We.are.delighted.

When a good loaf goes wild!
OH and look at this ridiculous loaf of bread! I added whole wheat to my standard sandwich loaf and then, well, I must have rolled it differently.  It is a different pan than usual, this one is long and thin.  The Banker moans about sandwich bread being too big.  Really, nice crisis, Banker.  Anyway, I thought this would make it smaller.  I am thinking not.  :)

The recipe, the normal recipe, for my sandwich loaf is here:

Also, by way of an update, here's the girls!  20 weeks in 2 days!  c'mon girls, we're READY for eggs!!  I love these chickens, each one has such a personality and really, I've said it before, there's nothin' like chicken luv. :)

/happy monday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Eighth grade is off to a fine start.

Obviously, we didn't start on Tuesday.  Ooops.

We did start talking about the classes, looking at various websites and discussing what we thought was reasonable expectations for each class/course.  I think that counts. 

The new setup is rocking my world.  I have been writing like mad.  I started a second Etsy store to sell my recipes with full photographic tutorials, we'll see what happens there.  I had the recipes anyway and I was making the bread and jam and marshmallows for myself so taking the detailed pictures was easy.  I hope it works, it's what I'd love to do. 

Of course, in the middle of working on writing, setting up a writing workroom and setting conducive to the fostering of the brilliance in me...I started selling rugs from the Tracy's Altered Reality store.  Are you kidding me?  I don't want to sew right now, I want to write!  For Pete's sake!  A gal wrote me asking for a coral rug, I flat out said "no".  Really?  and I wonder why on earth I'm not selling this things like hotcakes.  Another gal asked for a large rug, I also replied with a firm, "no".  The coral gal wrote back and said I could pick the color and the other ordered a smaller, white, rug.  I find it ridiculous that I am trying to not sell something.  Only in my head, only on my watch. 

I think it's going to be a royal pain to un-de-sew this room for the week it'll take me to make the rugs.  I hope I have enough tshirts because if I have to go out for them, I'll be in a right snit.  The Banker packed them up by color for me in enormous boxes (brilliant move Banker!!!) so finding the white whole and cut t's will be easy.  

Luckily, I have a new method of making the rugs so they'll go faster than the last ones.  I had also wanted to post a tutorial on making the rugs so this is actually a blessing in disguise because I don't think I would have dragged it all out to take the tutorial pictures.  I get so many people asking me how to make the rugs and what the trick of them is that I hope the tshag tutorial will sell.  C'mon a girl just wants to make a living. 

So, back to homes school matters.  This week will be less fluid because I will be sewing in the same room he's schooling in.  It'll work but it may be a bit distracting so he may have to go into the kitchen or living room for some of his work.  We will go with the flow and see how it pans out. 

The plan is to start on the 20th.  Banker will have 3 classes per day.  The online video lesson will require copious amounts of notes taken.  He has a composition book for each class and will hand them in to me at the end of each day.  The beauty of the system is that I have a full week to review any one class.  Way to give yourself a break there, mom.  I'm all about me this year.  I don't need daily homework.  The academic schedule is broken down like this for 8th grade: 

  1. Monday:  Latin (online video lessons).  Science (online video lessons).  Physics (online video lessons)
  2. Tuesday:  Literature (book).  Grammar (book).  Reading (list to be determined).
  3. Wednesday:  Algebra (CD learning program).  Java (Stanford online video lesson).  Photography (book and internet and me!).
  4. Thursday:  World Study (book and internet).  History (book).  Geography/Geo-cache (outside)
  5. Friday:  Volunteer (CoOp).  Art (CoOp).  Spanish (CoOp)

I have field trips to planetariums and star parties planned as part of his science this semester which is all space, astronomy and cosmology.  I am going to try to have an overnight trip to a very cool Planetarium in west Texas,  we'll see how the budget works.  The Banker is working on details with a couple of professors at UT for more astronomy opportunities over there so that would be way way way cool. 

The banker joined a Minecraft meetup club so teenage boys can get meet up with their laptops and do together what they do when they're alone (HAHAHA)  I think we will be able to meet at the Microsoft offices for the free WiFi, that would be fantastic.  We are going to a computer animation tutorial there on Tuesday so I will be asking loads of availability questions.

There are evening functions, renaissance recreation events for archery and swordsmanship(!), and pick up soccer at Zilker Park we'll be throwing in the schedule whenever we can.  He's joined a youth group for some diversion and more introduction into some religious study/exposure that we can discuss.  I hope he'll meet some nice kids, he's in the 13-17 group.  He's met some of the kids before as a guest so he's not too concerned about the whole 'new kid on the block' thing.  I'm pleased he's also going to meet some kids more geographically convenient.  I think this is going to be a great year. 

Speaking of geographically inconvenient friends, I'm going to rant a minute.   This is my blog, I can say what I want and it's about time I said this.  The Banker had a great (I thought) group of (lifetime?) friends he played soccer with from the time he was 5 until he was about 10 then the team disbanded when everyone went to middle school.  To my shock and horror, the kids turned into a**hole gang of thugs and completely ostracized him.  The first middle school dance, where Banker paid for a girl to go, resulted in the Thug soccer kid picking the Banker up and walking him across the room to toss him into a group of girls (he still thought girls were icky!) telling him he wasn't welcome with the "team" that he could hang with the girls...and it started there.  The Banker was more mature and never thought girls were icky (how ridiculous).  He was shattered.  I remember I was volunteering at the dance and when I saw Banker's face after the incident.  Well, it took all of me not to punch the kid in the mouth.  I wonder if part of it may have also been the fact he lived so far from the school so wasn't able to participate in some of the casual gatherings.  I like to think it was just those particular kids are just idiots.  Banker joined the band and clubs and was highly involved in extracurricular activities but didn't go to people's houses after school, we were on a tighter schedule.  I never minded waiting on a school event but had to draw the line and just going to watch TV 40 minutes away from the house.

I'll admit, I cried many hours about seeing how hurt he was that the kids he'd played with weekly for years and years turned on him because one Napoleon kid needed to be a ruler and they all needed a victim to feel better about themselves.  Hardly big men on campus at 11 years old.  What better victim than a friend.  

I was very proud of myself and didn't call any of the parents (or go punch out the children) involved in the bullying.  Banker wasn't "allowed" to eat lunch with them or sit facing them.  It was horrible and stressful.  I thought about calling these people I'd known for years then realized there wouldn't be any repercussions anyway so why.  The Banker found other (better) friends quickly and easily (he's a pretty easy going guy) and has maintained those friendships even since leaving public school.  The Thug, the wimpy Follower, the uber-creepy "Eddie Haskell" and the weasel Sneak can go have ordinary, boring public school lives.  The Banker is off on the adventure of a lifetime.  He sings during science and hums during Algebra, there's an academic joy in this child that just has come alive when he learns.  

The bullying by the "friends" wasn't any part of the reason I made the final decision to home school.  I'd never give those kinds of people that sort of credit or power in our lives.  The decision is all about offering The Banker the best possible opportunities for the best possible, coolest, most fun life.  Anyone can be ordinary, I've opened a door to spectacular for him.  I don't know why I felt the need to share that story today, I have never talked about it and feel better having gotten it off my chest.  I saw one of the kids the other day on a drive and grinned to myself that we're well rid.

In any event, we are ready for Monday to learn, explore, (sew!), giggle...and generally enter this next phase of the adventure with great excitement and anticipation of something great.

Banker is excited and ready, I'm excited and ready.  On your mark, get set..........GO!