September 28th

Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the pl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I repost this, now and then. Today’s the day….

Today would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 84.

Life was hard when my mom was a kid. People had very little in the way of excess. She told us of having only three outfits: one for church, one for school, and one for choring. When a mom went to the trouble and expense of making a dress for a daughter, she would be sure to make it larger and take up that slack by making the seams deeper or thicker. Then as the owner of the dress grew, the seams could be let out. Same goes for deep hems.

My mom never was allergic to poison ivy. I’ve inherited this tendency from her, although I do get a bump or two if I am in it a long time. It is wonderful, though, to do all the weeding, including pulling up poison ivy, and not worry. My mom used to stand in poison ivy that was waist-high and pick wild grapes for jelly.

Because my mom could tolerate exposure to poison ivy, she was the gate person for their entire family. The gate had poison ivy growing on it and when the family left for an excursion, her job was to climb out of their vehicle and open the gate.

my mother

my mother

She also was the tornado warning person. If the skies looked threatening, it was her job to stand sentry and keep a lookout for tornadoes. Everyone was very sober and stern about this job of hers, so she diligently looked and looked for tornadoes during haying times. Only one trouble was that she did not know what a tornado was and imagined every sort of boogy except a cloud. Had a tornado come, she would not have known it.

She did encounter one, one day, though, and I am glad I had her on my side then.

Here’s to one good mom.

The $5.00 Gift

My Happy House!

My house is smiling.

I gave it a gift that cost me only five dollars.

It was gift-wrapped in dignity, grace, care, courage, and innovation.

Now its eyes are bright and shiny with happiness.

Making my gift one of those that gives both ways.

So I had a perfect chance to guest-post about it for Arkansas Women Bloggers and I’d love if you visited and left a comment! 🙂

Read about it here.

Do NOT Try Homeschooling. Part 2

Homeschooling - Gustoff family in Des Moines 020

Homeschooling – Gustoff family in Des Moines

If “trying” really means aiming at success, then, how to succeed really is the question. Let’s consider some of the sayings that belong to real success in home schooling. You may be surprised.

First, we do not want to do what some moms do, which is merely to take a stab at it. For these moms, it is not well-thought-out at all.

They just “give it a whirl”.

They do not pray.

They do not ask their husbands.

They do not research.

Remember this maxim:

Education is preparing your child for life.

It is not a hobby. It is more important than a new nail polish color, not something you try out and then abandon. It is nothing less than a life decision. In these days, many are beginning to call it a life-and-death decision.

Another:

Home schooling is not about curriculum.

Yes, you probably need curriculum, (although some do fine without), but you can visit with hundreds of families at any home school convention, and you will find thousands of folks succeeding, while using every imaginable curriculum made.

For instance, any child who is ready to learn to read can do so with almost any decent phonics curriculum.

Sure, there may be only one company “out there” perfectly able to meet your needs or style.

Yes, you probably need to shop with an unbiased veteran a time or two.

Still, as far as all the proven curriculum companies go, they are proven. Do not continually put on and take off curriculum until it is too late to accomplish anything. That is not trying to succeed at home schooling; it is merely trying, and at the wrong goal, at that.

I repeat, it is not about curriculum; trying on curriculum is not the same as home schooling.

One other surprising truth about home schooling is:

Usually, it is easy to do well without trying very hard.

For many, it is a little like falling out of bed, actually. The simple fact that the children are at home, instead of out on their own, will make them smarter. Yes, the act of being at home, by itself, will make your children smarter.

Of course, we want them to learn as much as possible, and we will take every opportunity to ensure that this is happening, but bringing them home, in and of itself, makes worlds of difference. They will no longer feel forced to waste mental energy on peer pressure, self-preservation, and competitiveness. They will be able to relax and the elimination of great stress will free them to excel.

Then there is the other side of it: they will have much, much less to un-learn.

Often our children at home seem accidentally to learn more than we expected, solely because they are in a more learning-conducive setting. It is much like osmosis.

This is, I admit, a lot of re-arranging to wrap our thinking around.

Do think about it, though.

More mottos, tomorrow.

_____________________

Photo credit: IowaPolitics.com

Schooling, study, trying1

Do NOT Try Homeschooling.

I often get asked about the one piece of advice I would give to all home schoolers. Probably folks want some type of motto that fits all situations and clears the air about many problems. I have thought and thought about this, and—for now, anyway—I think the best I can do is to say: “DO NOT TRY HOME SCHOOLING.”

Surely, you think, this advice does not belong on a blogsite dedicated to the advancement of the home school experience. However, it is enlightening to look at what happens when we try home schooling.

First, a definition.

“Try” is a worn out word. An example of good usage is in the old saying, “If you don’t at once succeed, try, try, again.” We can learn a lot from this adage. For instance, we can learn that the purpose of trying is succeeding.

Imagine.

How many folks say they have tried the idea of home schooling, when actually, they only dropped the H-bomb at the dinner table and met with opposition from some child who is badly in need of it? Or maybe they bought an inane, dime-store book or two, and someone worked the first few pages and became disenchanted. Who wouldn’t.

Encountering resistance is not the same as trying.

Pressing against the resistance, with the determination to overcome it, is what trying really is. If a child balks, a relative whines, or a neighbor threatens, what makes us think it’s suddenly time to stop? We must see that type of trying is really just letting those around us dictate our convictions to us. If we are not trying to succeed, we have missed the whole idea.

The goal is not to try; the goal is to succeed.

Once I realized that, I could think of several great sayings that belong to real success in home schooling. Check here for more about goals!

Help Me Save the U.S. Taxpayers $20,000,000,000

English: One Billion Dollar Artwork

One Billion Dollars

That’s twenty billion.

Dollars.

And that’s per year.

Every year.

We can do this and even more, one family at a time.

You, yourself, can save the U.S.$130,000 over the next 12 or so years.

All by yourself.

How?

By homeschooling just one child.

A cool $20,000,000,000 (TWENTY BILLION) is what homeschoolers are already saving all U.S. taxpayers.

Per year.

You should join us.

_____________________

photo credit: Wikipedia

When Enough Is Enough

Second and Third bouquets of the year

Hellebores and Daffodils

I do not normally ever think there are enough daffodils in my house. Ever.

However, when I think of all the daffodils my beloved has brought me over the years, I get a soft, satisfied feeling I cannot explain.

Fulfilled? Maybe. Or maybe just content?

Anyway, I promised to show you the very first bouquet from this year on the 21st, but I guessed wrong at the date and today is the day!

So, go here, where I am guest posting for a friend,  and see the lovely and very first bouquet of daffs from my beloved, and one of my off-the-cuff stories to go with it. Enjoy!

FINALLY Got Electricity After Winter Storm Octavia! Cannot Wait to Show You These!

Birdfeeder Covered in Ice by Winter Storm OctaviaThe birds had better wait to eat here…

Lounge Chairs covered in Ice after Winter Storm Octavia. Too cold to sit here!

Rosemary bush obliterated in ice after Winter Storm Octavia

My poor rosemary bush is totally encrusted!

Ice everywhere outdoors after Winter Storm OctaviaView of the deck through branches of a small maple.

All the beauty of an ice storm comes with a price: We lose electricity.

So after we had a nice* game of Scrabble-by-candlelight, we ate a great chili dinner by the same romantic candlelight, chili which I’d cooked on our wood stove.

Cooking chili on wood stove because of Winter Storm Octavia

Then I did dishes by candlelight.

Dishes done by candlelight after Winter Storm Octavia

Am seriously considering doing dishes by candlelight all the time. So romantic… 😉

*I won…