Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Holidays

I am LOVING my Christmas holidays! I realized today that we haven't even been on holiday for a week yet and we still have more than a week left. Woo hoo!!! I knew I needed a break, but didn't realize how badly.

I'm not taking a total break, though. Although I'm not following through on the plans I had made on the weekend. I had listed out a bunch of stuff that meant I was going to be working on stuff a lot during the day. I've scrapped that and am enjoying myself for the most part for now. Have been tackling the basement, doing a little bit of school stuff, working on my crocheted blanket, napping (always good!), shopping, etc. It's been very nice. I figure I have to make sure this is a very enjoyable and relaxing time or I'm not going to be ready to get back into the groove when school starts.

It's been interesting seeing the kids' reaction to less structure and no requirements (essentially). They have their Christmas gifts they've been bouncing around with, but they've also been seeking out things they haven't touched in a long time. Dd even pulled out a Jon Nagy (sp?) art set she's had for a while and did a wonderful sketch involving shading. It's wonderful she's able to learn all that essentially on her own because I'm not much of an artist! Ds has been demonstrating just how much he does know about letters and sounds, crazy kid. It's been nice to see because there were questions Christmas day about my nephew (same age as ds and in school) and if he's begun reading. Of course, the homeschooling mom in me had my heart sink because ds has not really begun reading yet. Then he turns around and reads almost all the names on the tags at our Christmas gathering and two days later a 25% off sign. "How do you know that's 'off'?" "I just do." lol. There's always that little panic that people will judge your child's progress and 'blame' any apparent lack thereof on homeschooling. *sigh*

Monday, December 18, 2006

One week left before holidays

I'm so ready for our vacation! Except I haven't finished Christmas shopping. I just want a nice break for a while though.

Plans for the week:

*Class meeting today (discuss the week and somebody stole somebody else's lollipop), hopefully some work (ds threw up around 4am and dd is now complaining about her stomach), and we'll maybe see about park day this afternoon depending on how everybody's feeling. Also, really need to start putting stuff together for our meeting with our teacher tomorrow.

*Tomorrow: class meeting (discuss day, week), work, finish getting stuff together for teach meeting, meet with teacher, run errands (finish buying gifts!!!).

*Wednesday: MP, Christmas party prep.

*Thursday: Christmas party prep, party, cleanup

*Friday: ?, laundry, house cleaning

Throughout all that, I need to set aside some time to get presents wrapped.

House cleaning did not get done this weekend and I'm not about to ask the kids to do their bathroom cleaning when they're not well. I should go do that now.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I'm not feeling very well today. It's been building up kind of all week, although I was feeling okay, just tired, yesterday. I ended up taking 2 Tylenol cold this morning, but my stomach is queasy now. My congestion's gone, though. I think that must be a side effect for me because it seems to me the last time I took 2 Tylenol cold that I had a queasy stomach afterwards. Of course, it could just be coincidence. But probably not. It took twice of taking double doses of extra-strength Lactaid (because one dose didn't make a difference when having dairy products, so I tried double) to clue in that it was causing my violent reactions after taking them and not the milk!

The two oldest came, laid down on the couch, I read to them until they fell asleep then did other stuff--especially trying to keep my niece quiet which was quite the feat because this wasn't one of her quiet days. Finally, everyone was up again an moving around at 10. *sigh* Did some math with the 15yo, the stove repair guy came, playing went on, now I'm checking emails and typing here. I have to feed my children lunch then take the two girls (not counting niece) to the ballet rehearsal. I wish I could get rid of this queasy feeling though. I'd like to just curl up in bed! Not easy to do when you've got 3 kids with you you're PAID to have with you...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's been a week!

I haven't written in a week. What's been going on? Not sure. Still pondering this whole burnout thing, how to get downtime, what to insist on, what will we change for after Christmas...

The poor 15yo is having little panic attacks. She feels so far behind and just does not have the energy lately to get herself going more. We all just need a really good break! Yet she doesn't feel like she'll get the break she needs this Christmas because she'll be doing lots of diving training.

I've decided to read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"--again. I need some inspiration and guidance to get back on track. That and more sleep. ;)

I still haven't finished my Christmas shopping. argh. I hate that it's not done.

We're having our first meeting with our facilitator next Tues. I'll have to collect the things the kids have done and figure out what else we've done that we might not have actual stuff to show for.

We have a very busy week next week. I hope to still do a little bit of work with the kids Mon and Tues mornings, but Monday afternoon is park day--one we don't want to miss as it'll be like a little "holiday" party; Tuesday afternoon is our facilitator meeting; Wednesday--Millennium Place; Thursday--Christmas party; Friday--actually, Friday, nothing scheduled. I've even told the two oldest they don't need to come that day if they don't want to. But that'll probably be a day for me to get all the house cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping done. Saturday evening we're going to my mom's and opening gifts (an early Christmas eve) then sleeping over. Christmas Eve will be our Christmas Day with my mom--brunch and turkey supper. Then we go home, wake up Christmas Day, have stuff under the tree to open, then head to dh's parents' late afternoon. Of course, Boxing Day will probably involve getting out and taking advantage of sales on things we had asked for Christmas and didn't get but really want. lol. Then it's relaxation time. *ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh*

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Homeschool Burnout?

Having started a discussion in an online group about how things are going, I started thinking that some of us are describing symptoms of homeschool burnout. Here are some burnout symptoms I found online:

-feeling overwhelmed
-lack of confidence
-lack of enthusiasm/motivation
-feeling frustrated
-feeling discouraged
-wanting to give up

{Sources: , , }

They list various causes:

-setting expectations too high
-having daily pattern that is too repetitive (I found that interesting--I would have thought it would have been good! I guess being TOO routine could be problematic. As can not having enough of a routine.)
-forgetting to take time for ourselves
-life: illness, moving, new or change in responsibilities, change in routine

Oops, gotta go!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's Wed.

It feels like Friday.

We've been out all afternoon all week. It's thoroughly draining!

We have done almost no school work this week. The first two days, I wasn't too bothered about it, but now a couple are hitting the "I'm bored so I'm going to get goofy and annoying" phase. For them, I'm going to have them work on some sort of Advent or Christmas themed work tomorrow. They could make an Advent calendar with flaps, or create a bilingual board or card game or make up Christmas math questions or anagrams. Something.

The oldest, unfortunately, really has to keep going with her work. She is going to be missing time next semester for diving and just can't afford to stop working this early before Christmas. Not to mention she wants to be ready for her FLA 10-2 course, which means she's got to get moving on the reading and writing. I can at least find some sort of fun French Christmas story for her or perhaps we could write a Christmas story in French while taking turns--probably the die game (roll a die to determine how many words you write) because then she knows she'll only ever have to write up to 6 words at a time. Her math... Well, it's gotta get done. And it'd be really good if she could finish the theme she's on in social studies so she can get the next theme done before Christmas. Actually, I could give her an easier theme to work on. They don't have to be done in order. That'll probably work better. That means I need to be ready for next week. But she's got to get that one theme done this week. Her LA... I've pretty much let her scrap for now. I'm not worried about that. We took the year for her LA not because she needs it but because it was more relaxing than cramming it into one semester. I'd rather she do a bit of catching up in social and math.

Remember my plan to work on goals? It just seemed so pointless Monday, we kind of talked about things yesterday and the 12yo had said that he'd decided he was going to stay homeschooling for high school. He bounces back and forth. He'll hear about something about high school that worries him, so his plan is to homeschool. Then he hears about really great stuff and wants to go. So, today, I took him to the school website for the school he's interested in. We checked out all kinds of things. Although he still has worries about being picked on--particularly by football players--he saw there were so many great things going on at that school. The clubs really caught his eye. He's a social kid! Now he's talking about "when he goes there". So, I dropped in things about getting good grades and how he's capable of getting the marks he needs if he wants to get into the special science and technology program... Planting some seeds. :D

And now I'm waiting for a computer scan to be done. We've managed to get ourselves infected by some stupid malware: ipwins.exe . It then allowed some other strange stuff to be installed and I was getting pop-ups any time I opened Internet Explorer. I may have screwed some stuff up trying to get the darn program off of my computer and may never be able to get everything off completely without doing a clean install, but that's okay. The pop-ups have now stopped.

Did I mention lately that we still have not had any of the same crashes we were getting before? Yay! This fan seems to be doing the trick.

I guess I should go start preparing my chicken. But I want the scan to finish first then do a reboot of the computer. But I have nothing more to babble about at the moment, so I guess I'm done. ;D

Monday, December 04, 2006

Why you should never let a toddler out of sight...

I didn't take a picture of her belly--the hugest tatoo of all--but did take these of the beautiful job on her arms:

Some days, you just have to go with the flow...

I woke up to the alarm clock today--at 6 am. That doesn't happen very often. I had been awake a bit earlier, but fell back asleep and was surprised at hearing the alarm clock. My automated functions got going and I found myself in the bathroom getting ready. I really wanted to go lay down on the couch and fall back to sleep, but there were things I really wanted to get ready for our school time. Fortunately, I had written it all out very clearly the night before what I needed to do, so I didn't even have to think about it. I figured it'd take me about 30-40 minutes. I got started around 6:20 on the computer, 'soon' heard dh in the kitchen and thought, "Man, he's down early!" then looked at the time: 7:10. Oh my gosh.

I got myself off the computer and took care of breakfast and all that. The two oldest showed up. I started reading to them and the plan was to get to work once my niece showed up. Dd and the 12yo disappeared with cards. The 15yo and I ended up at the table. She hadn't even brought down her binder and usual stuff to get started. That's very unusual for her. She gets her stuff and then it seems to be snack time for everybody. It just kind of continued on like that. Because nobody was really connecting with ANY work, I did the memory thing with them (of course, my intention was to have the 12yo see how easy it can be to learn, but he wouldn't even call back any of the items once we went through them, so I don't know how much he applied himself and actually saw how easy it was to learn like that!). It was suddenly past 9:30. How'd that happen? I scrapped any intention of getting work done and we discussed our activities for the next 3 weeks and the 15yo and I discussed her social studies work. We had invitations to send out, which meant getting down to the computer.

Just past 10, very aware no school was actually going to take place and seeing videos we're bringing back to the library tomorrow, the 12yo asks if they can watch a movie. I say sure. The rest of the time was spent with them watching a movie, the 15yo on her laptop, me on the computer and making lunch and finding my niece who was doing self-tatoos (photos to follow). Then we took off at 12 to run errands before going to park day. We got back around 4, the 15yo rushes to get herself ready for work, her mom shows up before she's ready, and she leaves with her laptop still in my living room, her binder on the table and her lunch kit in the kitchen.

It was one of those Mondays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dd said it was just a continuation of Saturday: at her skating, the girls were falling left and right. It was actually rather funny at one point, with one girl falling here, then another there, the first picking herself up while another one fell, and so on...

I hope tomorrow we'll be functioning a bit better!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Montessori websites disappearing :(

Earlier this year, a favourite Montessori website of homeschoolers across the globe 'went under'. It is now only available at, with some things unavailable for whatever reason. The albums are still there, but some stuff is missing and the webboard is, naturally, no longer available.

Recently, there's been the discovery that just doesn't seem to be coming back. It had been off before, but always came back. It doesn't seem to be coming back. :( I've accessed it through Web Archive, but the Shockwave versions of certain materials don't work. :( I had been hoping to have the 12yo work with the multiplication materials this week.

Haven't posted in a while

It's been cold. I've been tired. We've been busy.

We've only got 3 weeks until Christmas. omg! I've done no Christmas shopping yet, we haven't figured out when we're having our homeschool Christmas party, the girls are going to the ballet soon, we were hoping to go to Millennium Place before Christmas, Monday Park Days... Time is going by quickly.

The 15yo is having a mad rush on her social studies. She let it go for quite a while and now has a lot to finish before the end of January. She doesn't HAVE to have it done by then, except that she wants it done then to do the exam, get it done with, then work on science. It also looks like she may be adding a distance learning course (FLA 10-2--French Immersion French, but at an easier level) that she will want to have done by the end of June. This means making sure she knows what she needs to in order to begin, so there will be some intense French instruction, too. She has just been so unmotivated, though... I'm kind of worried. I don't know how to help her find the inner motivation she needs to reach the levels she wants to. She has gone back to wanting to be a pediatrician, which is going to require a ton of hard work, not only once in the medical degree program, but just to get there. I haven't touched the book "What Smart Students Know" in some time. Perhaps doing the little assessments on attitude will help. And discussing together what it will take to reach her goals. And what her image of a student who plans on going to medical school is and how does she match up to it. Fortunately, it's only her grade 10 year, but still...

I do know one thing I have on the plans this week is to work on goal setting with the two oldest. Long-range goals, the sub-goals that have to be reached to get there, etc. I guess that should help with the 15yo a bit. Have her see it all written out what it will take to get to where she wants to be. With the 12yo, I'm going to have him set 1 goal for the week that is something aside (although perhaps still related) from the work I require of him. It can be academic--read a chapter a day in his Geronimo book or finish his ecosystems lap book--or behavioural--like not laying on the floor or doing front rolls in the living room instead of being in a chosen spot to work.

Another thing I have planned is to work on memory strategies with the 12yo. I might do it with the others, too, but definitely with the 12yo. I came across a book in the library catalogue called Super Memory, Super Student. I read a part last night about kids with learning disabilities and how they lack strategies, and specifically how the types of strategies in the book not only help with their learning, but with their confidence since doing the activities in the book show the student he can learn. I've noticed little regressions with the 12yo in terms of his approach to reading and writing and even just his auditory processing, although he did develop his own strategy the other day for remembering the 4 times table in order: use every other number in the 2 times table. I told him that was a great strategy and that it was obviously working for him. He seemed very pleased to see that he could do it so easily. I think doing the activities in this book will help him even more. And I also see just how much visualization is incorporated--crazy visualization--and I think that would work really well with him. I did the first activity myself and, without even trying, memorized a list of 10 items in order. I'm pretty sure I still remember them: lamp, paper, bottle, bed, fish, telephone, window, flower, nail, typewriter. Yep, still remember them. I can even do it backwards, although you probably won't believe me since I've got it typed 'forwards' right there. ;)

Other than that, I'm working on a new FlyLady control journal so that I remember to do things like Homeschool Tracker, which I haven't done in so long. I also have a little notebook that I will be keeping out to track what they do so that I can put it in later. I hate that I've paid for this program and am not using it!