February 26, 2011

It's time for school...

I have seldom discussed the nitty-gritty of our homeschooling in any significant detail here.  Among my reasons for not visiting the topic very often is that not many of you who’ve been reading here are homeschoolers.  But in reality, every parent is a homeschooler in a way.  Parents whose kids go to school are still responsible for their education, and can and should enhance it when they’re all at home together.
I went to public schools from kindergarten on through to the end, but it was my mom who taught me how to read before I ever set foot in a school.  She also taught me by example how to express my thoughts and to love language.  She expanded my vocabulary throughout my childhood by decorating her sentences with elegant words I wouldn’t understand, knowing I’d ask about them or that I’d at least try them on for size in my own speech and writing.  And it was my dad who patiently taught me how to think things through logically, which is contrary to my emotional nature.  He also taught me how to do my schoolwork efficiently and effectively, and how to make the best use of the time and abilities I had.  My parents were my first and best teachers in countless ways, both before I went to school and throughout my childhood.
Though I have a degree in elementary education and had a brief blip-on-the-screen of classroom experience before the Lord blessed us with our own children, it’s not those long-distant resume facts that make me consider sharing my practical experience with you.  Educating our children has taught me the most about teaching.  Perhaps something that has worked for us will work for you, or can be altered to suit your child, whether or not they’re home full-time with you.
So stop by again next week as I take this blog in a new direction, at least for a little while.  We’ll be talking about a school subject that makes a miniscule percentage of kids beam with confidence, but brings most of the others to tears…

February 19, 2011

The past in the present, not the future...

I’ve written often of how I like to fill my home with family photos.  That is not limited to sweet pictures of our kids, though they are certainly my favorites.  I love the oldies-but-goodies of their ancestors too:
Until recently, most of these photos had been in plastic bins waiting to be put into albums.  Always having put it off for that future day when I’d have enough free time to do so, I decided instead to find ways to enjoy them in the here and now.  I grabbed some favorites, framed them, and created this new display.  It’s a memory-filled jumble of all the different branches of our family, with delicate accessories as a backdrop. 
A few days ago I added another way to enjoy these photographic treasures.  I placed a wide basket on our coffee table and filled it with some loose photos that take us to that time that fashion forgot, the 1970’s:
Ever the optimist, I fully expect to get all our old family photos into albums some day, but so far I’ve only managed to separate them by decade despite being in possession of them for many years.  Until I have the kind of free time needed to tackle the task, I can enjoy them now without completely undoing the organizational effort I’ve already accomplished.  At some point when I grow tired of the seventies, which shouldn’t take long, I’ll put this small sample back with the hundreds of other bell-bottomed memories in a plastic bin in the closet, and fill the basket on my coffee table with a different decade to enjoy.
And someday when that coveted free time finally comes, and I can barely remember who is who in these old photos, I’ll finally get them into albums.  Or maybe I’ll just carry on the family tradition and leave that job to our children.

Many Lovely Blogs...

My thoughtful friend Heidi Poole, who writes a wonderful book blog, has bestowed on my blog the honor of this One Lovely Blog Award:
The following are the instructions as to what to do when receiving the award:

1.  Accept the award and post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award along with his or her blog link.

2.  Pass the award to fifteen other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.

3.  Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Number one: check.  Number three I’ll get to right after I post this.  But number two is tougher.  With a limited amount of spare time, there are only a few quality blogs I read regularly, and they’re not exactly newly discovered, so I’ll have to bend the rules a bit:
Heidi's Books: the aforementioned wonderful book blog
Chandelierious: a decorating/lifetstyle blog written by a chic and talented friend
The Place Beneath: the blog of another friend and fellow homeschooler
Albright Acres: a former student's blog about her life and family
Thanks again, Heidi!

February 12, 2011

A note of gratitude...

One evening last week my husband came into the kitchen as I was preparing to take a steaming pot of pasta off the stove and over to the sink for straining.  He saw that before I took it off the stove, I laid a just-used cutting board at a slant across the stack of dishes in the sink.  Then he watched me place my colander on that slanted cutting board.  Excitement in his face as he saw my plan, he said, “What a great idea!  This is what you should write about for your blog!  Hold on a minute…”
He stepped into the living room to grab his smart phone, dashed back, and started snapping pictures of me step-by-step straining water from pasta, as though I were Ben Franklin with a kite, a key, and a genius notion waiting to be realized.
These are just two of the six pictures he took of what he viewed as a MacGyver moment.  Now ladies, who among you hasn’t perched a colander on whatever was in your way, and carefully guided the contents of a pot so you didn’t end up doused in boiling water?  More often than not, this is how I have to do it simply because of the volume of dirty dishes we accumulate by that time of the day.  But my husband was impressed.  And that made me smile.
Not one to spend time in the kitchen unless he's eating, he didn’t realize that this wasn’t innovation unfolding before him, just a typical housewife preventing first degree burns.  And so I don't share this incident with you in the way Joe intended; instead, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say how thankful I am for a husband who highlights the best in me, values what I do each day, and encourages me in it.  Even if he’s easily impressed.

February 5, 2011

A topical treatment...

In our home and in my own routine I have been injecting spring and newness everywhere I can: furniture rearrangement, springy flowers kicking those sinister snowmen out of here, the I’ll-try-to-stop-mentioning-it exercise routine I’ve established for myself, and all the all-around better organization that these changes have helped inspire.  I decided that this little blog needed some of that treatment as well.  The new background picture, seen also to the left, is a close-up taken last spring of the flowers making themselves at home in our garden.  With a new color scheme and font to top it off, spring has sprung at the blog now too.
You’ll also see that I’ve added a categorical list of the topics that have made an appearance here, in order of frequency.  (I do have a thinly-veiled nerdy quality about me.  Don’t let the fake blonde hair fool you.)
By no means do I consider myself as an expert on raising children, managing a household, interior decorating, or any of the other topics you’ll find there.  But better than anyone else, I know our children, how things function in our home, how I decorate it to suit my personal taste, and so on.  If you should find what I share here to be useful to you, that’s wonderful; but if not, that’s fine too.  I’m still happy you came by.
Our way might not work for everybody, but this is how it works for us…