Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why We Homeschooled High School

Lauren is off at college now.  During a phone conversation, I worried aloud as to whether I had covered enough subjects to prepare her.  How will she do? This is my "final exam".  She assured me, "Mom, you taught me how to learn."

In addition to raising a child who is now, in college, already fully engaged and volunteering at her Church there (faith), and who calls us several times a week to share what she is doing (family), she is doing well academically.  As one commenter on the website The Race to Nowhere stated, we do not have to "produce happy, motivated, and creative human being(s)".  They are born that way.  We adults need only be sure to not drum it out of them.  

This trailer brings up some very good points.  This trailer is all I know about the film, but I would like to see it.  I truly believe that our educational system won't succeed until we have focused in our society on what is truly important.

Evidently, the drought has also affected the corn production, candy corn that is.  It is candy corn season and I've already been to two stores looking for it.  They are sold out and apparently there is a shortage.  I've eaten the one bag I found early in the season and it can't be replaced.  I didn't know that there was a shortage and did not properly ration myself.  I have found the kind that is orange, brown and white, but everyone knows that's not real candy corn.   My sister reports a similar shortage in Cincinnati.

It rained today.  Not enough to make a difference, but enough to remind oneself that it can and to give one hope.

I had a nice birthday with many good wishes on Facebook, flowers, chocolate, wine and Chinese takeout, a back rub.  Family and phone calls.  What more could a person want?

Reading:  The White Queen

Friday, September 24, 2010

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

(I must say, my photography skills do not do justice to Anna's paintings, but still, I hope to share a bit of their beauty.)

Looking at our wedding album this week, I pointed to a photo of me on our wedding day.  "I still feel like that inside."  The girl in the photo wasn't half a century old, but she was young and vibrant.  Strong.  Still, there was a lot she did not know yet.

"You still look like that to me," dh said.  It is part of God's plan that our eyesight fails as we age.

Today, I pass the half century mark.  One down, one to go.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Can We Have A Little Privacy Here?

When dh suggested (jokingly) that we could pad the college fund with a pornographic webcam, I don't think he was thinking of wheel bugs.  These two provided a science lesson today as they climbed the tree while procreating.  Thank goodness humans don't have to do that.  Climb trees, that is.

This particular tree is right outside our front door, and unfortunately, seems to be dying.  An ash tree, the bark is split in places and sap is running.  As a result, lots of insects come to the tree to get a sip in this drought, providing a study for us.

At a visit to a college, Anna and I sat having lunch outside.  A glance at a nearby table, and I was convinced that the girl sitting there was someone I knew or had met.  It drove me crazy trying to think of her name.  I tried not to stare, but I did indeed know her.  From where?  Finally, it hit me.  She was the spitting image of "Daisy", a character on the TV show "Bones", and not at all a real person I knew.  I need to get out more.

The Erie Canal at Rochester, New York by Anna

Yesterday, Anna and I tried to figure out how to ride a city bus.  We knew the bus number and the busy intersection where it stopped.  We stood at one corner, wondering which of the four corners was the right one.  Our pale skin stood out, we looked about confused.  Looking at placards on the shelters, none had our number.   A man tried to get my attention, "Are you paying with cash or a token?"  He waved small paper at me.  Was that a token?  I ignored him and went on.  He muttered something about how you ask a person a question.....

Finally, we waited just to see.  The bus arrived on time, pulling up to a shelter not at the intersection as it was described, but one third of the way down the block - and on the opposite side of the street from where we were with the light against us.  Fail!  Luckily, this was just to investigate an alternative route home in an emergency.  We turned around and walked back to our car - one of the privileged who don't have to wait for the next bus.

Watching:  Lie to Me, season finale

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It Is What It Is
Coming downstairs, Anna smiled.  "Something smells....."  Her smile faded.  "Tell me that's not dog food," she said, looking at the happily bubbling pot on the stove.

"Yup, that's exactly what it is," I smiled back.  Of course, as dh says it is perfectly good people food, too.  In fact, he said, it is probably what we all should be eating.  With two in college next year, perhaps it will be what we will eat - lentils.  It will be easier.  I'll just cook up a mess of it every weekend and we'll, the dogs and people, eat from the slop bowl.

Note to self
Do not put an egg in your jeans pocket with your cell phone and then bend over to pick something up.  'Nuff said.

At the Zoo
William and I had an hour to kill yesterday, so we dropped in at the zoo.  It is an interesting place to observe not only animals, but people.   For example, a woman stood with her son and husband at the exhibit just beyond the meerkat exhibit.  William and I like watching the meerkat expressions, so we lingered a bit.  I hear, "Oooh, yuck, look at the babies!"  She tells her son that they are looking a the babies of those animals (meerkats) around the corner.  By now, William and I are ready to move on, so as I pass, I casually mention that she is viewing naked mole rats, adult ones, and they actually are not baby meerkats.  She looks at the sign hanging prominently near the exhibit.  She doesn't seem any less repulsed, and maybe more so.

Only minutes later, they seem to have followed us to the gorilla exhibit, our ultimate destination.  
"Look," she points out to her boy.  "Here comes another monkey!"
I sigh.  The zoo is a teaching ground for me for science.  I want to shout, "IT'S AN APE!"
See, no tail.  Monkeys have tails.  I shake my head.  We didn't stay long there.  It is hot outside, so the apes are inside lounging in an area that reminds me of a prison.  I feel sorry for them.

My schedule is crazy right now, arranging my life in minutes not days or hours.  It is all working, as long as there is no emergency, nothing goes wrong.  My heart sank when dh asked me to the barn yesterday, thinking Etta looked "bloated".  It appears my formerly starving horse is just getting very fat on the sugar-rich drought pasture.  We will have to make some changes.

Why do you blog?  William asks me.  He stands at my side while I type.  Waiting.  Wanting the computer to play a game.  When will I be done?  He waits.  He fidgets.  In case you wonder why I sometimes miss a day writing.

Finished watching:  A Man for All Seasons

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Results

My cell rang as I drove towards home, the flat golden soybean fields of southern Indiana sliding past me.  It was William.  Excitedly, he told me that the second chrysalis had turned black!  Only an hour after I last wrote on this blog and posted the photo of the blackened chrysalis and trying to get ready to leave on a two day trip to see colleges, William had called, "Mom, it HATCHED!"  Sure enough, the beautiful butterfly had emerged, still wet and unable to fly.   We propped up the lid so it could fly away.  We couldn't stay to watch - it was time for us to leave.

Anna and I have been visiting colleges, searching for her future.  Each place is so different, with so varied a type a life:  a cosmopolitan city life full of bustling students, an intense and vigorous lifestyle or a quiet, rural contemplative place, more nurturing and slower paced.  What fits her?

It hits me as I talk with professors and students alike that here I am, in the second half of my life, living the quite rural life, away from the stimulation of the scholarly world.  They seem so confident, so absorbed in their fields.  All the subjects pull at me.  I would study them all.  I would enjoy this environment.  The only one that does not pull at me is the one I majored in.  "You can skip that building,"  I think.  I don't want to tour the engineering building.

Instead, I work to find what will fulfill and fit my girls.  It appears that Lauren has landed in the perfect place, already, as her professor says, "making a presence".   I must find another perfect fit for Anna.  My feet, or more particularly, my recently redesigned foot, is having a hard time keeping up.

After Communion, William whispered, "I think I got a stale one."

Finished reading:  Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Closer!

This butterfly is going to have to migrate a little farther than it thought. William is going visiting to my sister's house, two hours away. He is going to take his chrysalis with him, so as not to miss it hatching. That is, if it doesn't hatch by this afternoon.  My sister also homeschools and appreciates learning from real life.

Farrier came today to trim the horses.  He said that all hooves are growing at fast rates right now, which is good for his business.  This spring, we had a lot of rain and great grass pastures, followed by drought.  The grass reacts to the drought by producing more sugar in the grass.  Horses, then, can get fat and even founder on very (apparently) poor pastures that are actually more like candy than protein.  Imagine, walking around all day on your food! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Backyard Visitors

"Come quickly, Mom!  Look what's in our backyard!"

William and I went creek walking to look for milkweed and the possibility of another Monarch caterpillar.  Did you know that only the ones who change into a butterfly this time of year live long enough to migrate to Mexico and California?   By the time we see them again in the spring, six generations have been born, reproduced and died.  Anyway, we did not see any milkweed but we did find some other treasures:

One spot in our creek I call the swimming hole.  There, even if the creek is dry, will be a small amount of water sheltering any fish or frogs trying to survive to the next rainstorm.  William went there today with dh and reportedly caught thirty fish with his net!  Walking the dry creek bed is interesting:  you see tracks of deer, raccoon and other creatures.  You find buckeye nuts:

and later learn about a boy game called "conkers".  Buckeyes are so called because Native Americans from this region thought they resembled the eye of a male deer. 

We saw wildflowers of many colors:

We also found an oak leaf with interesting attachments.  What are they?

As we walked, William shook his head.  "This is just sad, Mom," he said quietly.

What was sad? I asked.

"There is no water!  What do all the animals do?  Did all the fish except those in the swimming hole die?"

I assured him that soon, the life cycle would begin again and water would again flow.  The weather, however, has been a big tease this week.  Perhaps next?

Daisy woke me up with her intense itching at 1:30 a.m. so I got up, walked to the barn to get the special shampoo, and washed her.  She was much happier.  I, on the other hand, could then not go to sleep, and when I did finally, I nearly overslept the time to drive Anna to her ACT test!  We made it with no stress somehow.   What is wrong with this dog?

I love fall.

Special note:  I still have trouble watching it.   I got goosebumps watching the story of Ladder 6, and how they survived.  Prayers to all affected by 9/11, which I guess would be all of us, but especially to those who lost someone special to them.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Science Friday

Yesterday, as I sat writing to you, dear reader, I felt something crawl up the back of my arm.  It felt a good deal like a "daddy long legs" and I brushed it off.  To my horror, it was this:

also know as the Rabid Wolf Spider.

I am not particularly fond of spiders, but neither do I have a phobia.  This spider, (Rabidosa rabida) however, exceeded the bandwidth of the size of spiders allowed to crawl on me.  In addition, when I hear the words "rabid" and "wolf" and "spider" all put together on a creature that was crawling towards my neck, you'll have to excuse me for a little squeamishness. Rabid Wolf spiders are not poisonous, "but have been know to bite unsuspecting victims".

It seems this is the spider Anna had reported on Facebook only the night before.  She had found it in her bedroom.  They move very fast, and she didn't know where it went.  I did catch it and release it to the "wild", also known as my front yard.

While painting the fence this past weekend, we found two chrysalides of the Monarch butterfly.  One sported black fence paint before I knew it was there.  I wiped it off and gently removed both to protect them from our painting efforts.  William and I put them in a "critter box", hanging them by the stem with tape.  We will report their progress or lack thereof.  Yesterday, we checked out an armful of books on Monarch butterflies, and we are using this as a unit study.

It is darkening a little already.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

This Cat's a Chicken

Sometimes, I am asked if the cats ever mess with the chickens or baby chicks. Given the chance, I'm sure they'd like a little chickie snack, but it's never happened. Want to know why?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Photo Journal

Last week was quite a week.  Adjusting to four days a week of driving for Anna's classes, we were able to also fit in beautiful days in the sunshine.

We started, two Saturdays ago, being race car drivers...

...and secret agents.

On Sunday, we watched crazy people... the Ironman competition who swam in the Ohio River for 2.4 miles, biked all the way from Louisville to ride down my street and back (112 miles) and then ditched their bikes to run 26.2 miles downtown.  We happened to be downtown late at night for Anna's live model class and watched the end of the race.  Some participants were barely upright, with onlookers shouting encouragements.    I, of course could not participate, due to my recent surgery.  And if I did, perhaps I might do it in style as these two did.

We managed trips to two museums...

...and the zoo (though I forgot my camera for that).

We stood in high places.
Look to the right of the middle on the horizon.  See the little black spots?
That is Louisville.

The clouds and weather this week have been spectacular.

Dh and I worked side by side to paint our horse arena with black fence paint.  Which doesn't come off the skin or clothing very well.  After, we sat together on the porch swing with a brewskie and marveled at the beautiful place in which we live and admired our handiwork.  

And then dh said, "I was going to hug you but..."

"But what...?"

"I don't want to get dirty."

And then God smote him:  the eyebolt in the ceiling holding his side of the swing came out, and he fell to the ground.  My side stayed suspended!  Thankfully, he was not hurt.  

All in all, a great, but very busy, week.

Hawk (hen) died after a long and prosperous life.   

We cannot go to Church without snickering at our inside joke.  Our organist/music director is a meek looking young "church lady".  Yet, when someone in our family had to go to traffic school to rectify a speeding ticket, there was the organist.  We laugh that perhaps she was driving along, organ music playing loudly and she got excited, mistaking her accelerator for the organ pedal.  That has to be it.  

Just finished reading Jephte's Daughter, now reading Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet.

Watched Pillars of the Earth, though I think, as always, the book (The Pillars of the Earth) was better.  Still, it is fun to see what they think the clothing and scenery might have looked like.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

And She Means It

At Costco today:

Me:  Anna, think I should get one of those leopard print skirts?  (For those of you that don't know me, I was being sarcastic.)

Anna:  If you do, I'll never be seen in public with you again.

Perhaps she'll just shoot me.


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