Thursday, September 20, 2007

School is in session

I've been looking over my past posts and realized that I spend most of my entries rambling ("bloviating", as one of my fellow bloggers puts it) on random subjects other than the alleged subject of the blog - homeschooling. To whit, an overdue post on subject.

School officially started a few weeks ago. DD1 is pleased to be in 2nd grade while DD2 is the cutest 1st grader you've ever seen. They could not be more different, and yet each so wonderful. After a few weeks of struggling with what to do with The Boy (age 4), we decided that our church's 4K program was the best place for him (and the rest of us). He has fewer opportunities to "socialize" with his buddies than the girls do, and DW was struggling with keeping him engaged while still actually getting some work done with the girls. He's extremely happy to be back at "chapel school" Tues - Thurs and likes the fact that he still gets to "homeschool" on Mon and Fri.

I'm still in charge of History lessons and still struggling with that. Both girls absolutely love history and we're all enjoying our SWB "History of the World". However, we're only 3/4th the way through Ancient History when we should be barreling our way through Medieval right now. I take comfort in the fact that, at this stage, I primarily just want to enbue them with a passion for history and a passion for learning. I'm sure we'll absorb far more the second time around (I love the whole Trivium concept). However, I definitely need to conquer my schedule and technique before then!

Meanwhile, both girls are continuing to love math. DD1 struggled with reading last year, but suddenly it clicked and now she's reading at every opportunity. DD2 has seen this happen and is really working at it now. Even The Boy is sounding out words and trying to read.

All three also LOVE learning about animals. DD2 has announced that she is going to be a farmer when she grows up and is going to have ______ (fill in the blank with random animals). While at Disney last week, we spent a day at the Wild Animal Kingdom. Here are all three bonding with the sheep and goats in the petting zoo. (yes I know, those hardly qualify as "wild" animals, but work with me here).

It is such a blessing to actually see the growth in all three.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quotes of the Week (v7)

Men have become the tools of their tools.”

- Henry David Thoreau

“Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says "Go!", a leader says "Let's go!”

- E.M. Kelly

“If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.”

- Unknown

“The good thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.”

- Andrew S. Tanenbaum

“I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of a national emergency, even if I am in a cabinet meeting.”

- Ronald Reagan

“There’s never just one bad employee; there’s the employee and the manager who keeps him.”

- Michael Josephson

“The 7 Modern Sins: Politics without principles, Pleasures without conscience, Wealth without work, Knowledge without character, Industry without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice.”

- Canon Frederic Donaldson

“If you stay humble, you will not stumble.”

- Unknown

“Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”

- Daniel Webster

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.”

- Ecclesiastes 9:10

“If you want people to blindly follow you, chances are their blindness extends far beyond their following you.”

- Friedrich Nietzche

“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.”

- Unknown

“Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,

We fell them down and turn them into paper,

That we may record our emptiness.”

- Kahlil Gibran

“To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.”

- G.K. Chesterton

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”

- Charles Austin Beard

Monday, September 17, 2007


OK, we're back. My a bsence from the blogosphere is due to a long overdue, badly needed vacation. However, instead of one of those, we took all three kids to Disney World for a week. 6 days, 5 nights, 4 different parks, 3 kids, 2 parents, 1 grandmother (thank goodness!). We're all home now, and we're all exhausted. But boy did we have fun.

Don't let anyone tell you different. The folks at Disney know how to do it right. Except for our hotel room (we opted for the cheapest room the Disney resorts offer and we regret it), we had a fabulous week. We also realized that there is much learning to be had at there. We didn't stress it this trip, but future trips (when the kinder are older) will include many more hours at Epcot and Animal Kingdom learning about different nations and about biology.

More posts as time permits. I didn't work at all the whole time we were gone, so I'm not likely to have much spare time to blog for a bit. However, we did get some great pictures that I am willing to post that won't expose my family to the world.

Until later. . .


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Life isn't fair (and Men benefit) . . .

Tuesday's in our life promise to be interesting for the next 9 months. DD1 (age 7.75) has piano, followed by "Atlanta Young Singers at Callanwolde" practice. Time range: 2:30 for piano (in Jasper GA); 4:45 for Young Singers (in downtown Atlanta). Return time to home - 8:00 or later. When I'm traveling, the younger 2 (DD2- age 6; "the boy", age 4) will go along.

The exciting days are when I'm not traveling! Then, DD2 and the boy will remain with me at home and we'll forge onward. All I have to do is pick the boy up from "mothers morning out" (when will they fix that name?), get everyone down for "resting/ reading time", tread water from then until dinner, fix dinner, eat dinner, clean up from dinner, maybe do a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, and get ready for bed. Oh, and by the way, WORK during that time.

Yesterday was my first experience with the above. Oh, it was sooooooo smooth.

DW left with D1 about the time I left (along with DD2) to pick up "the boy" from MMO (round trip distance - 1.5 miles; round trip time elapsed - 37 minutes; don't ask). We returned to an empty house and both offspring were banished / allowed to return to their rooms for reading / resting time. Books galore. I returned to my office and was amazingly productive for at least 75 minutes. Then, I accidentally walked down the hall en route to the kitchen for water. DD2 intercepted me and announced that she was "done" with reading time. Ergo - bathtime ensued. By the time she finished, the boy was up and cheerful. Reverting to the gut reaction that all fathers have, I planted them both in front of the TV watching a loooooooong video. In my defense, I actually got some work done during that video and prolonged the inward flow of finances into the family coffers for the foreseeable future.

Eventually, the video ended and paid work had to end also. Then, the real work began. In no time flat, I had:
- the boy in the bathtub
- DD2 writing thank-you notes for her birthday presents
- dinner on the stove
- a load of laundry in the machine (and another already in the dryer)
- was unloading the dishwasher, AND

- was thinking "don't get cocky dude, the other shoe is going to drop in no time. It isn't this easy!"

The shoe indeed did drop, albeit very slowly. The evening languished. DW and DD1 did not appear. Instead, I had to actually eat dinner, clean up from dinner, sit down and finish "thank-you notes" with DD2 and the boy, get both into jammies, take relevant medicines, brush teeth, and clean up toys. Any thoughts of "chapter book reading" were banished during dinner. All I could envision was the glass of wine waiting for me upstairs.

The amazing thing is, if my wife had done all of this, no-one would have had a second thought. But when I verbalized the above narrative to a friend, she (note the gender) was stunned. Wow! A man did all of that!? All I have to do is show up and have their hair neatly brushed and I've immediately exceeded all expectations that most people have. Meanwhile, if DW allows my daughters to appear in public in anything less than magazine-quality couture, she has failed in many eyes.

At some point, however, I start to get offended. When "the boy" was still in-utero, DW was on bedrest for 6 weeks (his wasn't an easy pregnancy). For 6 weeks, I admittedly had tremendous help from Mon - Fri from my mother-in-law. From Fri pm - Sun pm, it was all me. On Sunday mornings (for 6+ weeks straight) I managed to get both girls up, fed, dressed, brushed, bowed, shoed, and off to Sunday School only to be greeted in the parking lot by amazed friends (both men and women) who couldn't believe I managed to do all of the above single-handedly. If DW had done all of that while I was out of town (which she does 3 weeks out of the month on week-days), no-one would have even noticed. When I did it once, then twice, then again, they were continuously amazed. Why is it so amazing that a Dad can do that?

Two concluding thoughts:
1) there are a lot of Dad's out there who contribute to that stereotype and they should be ashamed of themselves;
2) this isn't 1970 (or 1950), and public perception of Dad's should catch up with reality!

I'll now step off of my soap box.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Not exactly a restful weekend . . .

So our "Labor Day" weekend was spent doing exactly that. Well, not "laboring" as in "giving birth to a baby" (yikes!), but rather "laboring" as in "working our butts off around the house".

Twice a year DW volunteers at a huge consignment sale for children's clothing/toys/furniture/etc at my parent's church. It is a great opportunity to 1) clear out everything our three have outgrown and 2) buy a lot of barely-worn clothes (especially "dressy" stuff that kids never wear out) for same. In fact, DW helped take the idea for the sale to our old church in Alabama and basically ran the sale for about 7 years there. The sale is extremely well organized and a big win for the seller (who keeps 70% of the sale price), the church (which keeps 30% and uses for children's programs)and the buyer (who gets a great deal).

Anyway, we haven't sold anything since we moved in early 2006. It takes a lot of effort to get your clothes sorted, washed, organized by size and gender, inventoried, priced, tagged, etc. Then you get to do the toys.

That would be how we spent our Labor Day Weekend. In preparation for the sale coming up this week.

The good news is that we have about 225 items to sell. While the extra money coming in will be great, the fact that all of this stuff is out of the house is even better! (We're suffering from "crap creep" around here; there is "stuff" everywhere!) Now if we can just keep from bringing toooooo much new stuff home.