Friday, September 27, 2013

A Night with Sherlock Holmes

These are my favorite days of the year. The sun sets early. The chores are completed in the daylight and the nights stretch on before me. It is a little slice of heaven for me to curl up with my laptop, a good book and a little knitting to wile away a Friday night. The only dilemma that I find myself in in is which to do first.

I've been thinking a lot about homeschooling. The face of homeschooling is changing daily. It is hard to imagine that when I started to teach my kids at home, we still received concerned looks from those around us. It was not the 'cool' thing to do. Today, it seems that everyone is schooling at home. They are connecting to their local school systems via the Internet, charting schools online and living, what I would call, the best of both worlds. It seems foreign to me that some kids are 'homeschooled' but attending public school for classes, connect online with the same school for classes and homeschool a couple of others. I guess a swift kick and a hearty, Get with the times lecture is in order here.

The boys (my oldest two) are nearing the end of their homeschool journey. Their life discovery is about to begin. It doesn't seem possible that these grown [young] men standing before me are the munchkins that I started with- how time does fly. Now I am left to debate what I want their final homeschool years to look like, how to successfully settle them in college and how to let go as a mom who has been home for so many years.

I love the thinking and reading based curriculum that I have used for so many years. It has made intellectuals out of my kids. I love that my eldest is reading a leather bound full version of Sherlock Holmes for fun. Is that a little nerdy? Maybe but I am okay with that. It is also smart. I like smart. Are they smart enough to pass the tests necessary to get into college? I think so. I really do. It makes me wonder if I should have taught to the test a little more throughout their school career? I then shoo away the thought- we chose NOT to go that route. Why would I change my mind now? Perhaps it is the thought of college acceptance letters that need to be earned before I am done as their teacher. Interesting what kind of motivator perspective is...

Camo Pants

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I sit tonight in a very speculative mindset. It seems that everything is changing. Everything. The boys, now finishing their freshman year of high school, are starting to have an active social life and a demanding work life. They are rarely home- it seems. When they are, they are tired. Life has steadily moved forward. I have been out of the workforce for over 16 years and been home with the kids the whole time. Now they are starting to move on with their lives and I feel a little left behind. The funny thing is, I am pleased with the people these boys have become. I do not fear the fact that they are becoming independent. They can handle it. I fear the loss that I will feel.

There school year is closing with the 6 week corn trial that I talked about last post. We finally are getting around to it. It was delayed by the many things that they are involved in. All three kids now have baby goats, sheep and horses. They will get their chickens and bunnies in July. All of the animals keep the kids very busy. I like that. That keeps them occupied. Me too...

Life is good. School this year was great. The kids have grown. I have grown. Homeschooling has blessed me beyond measure.

~Camo Pants

Thursday, March 28, 2013

In the Midst of Chaos

I have figured out that if I had no home schooled children, I would post on this home school blog a lot more often. It is hard to imagine how busy a home school parent is. Tonight I have snuck away, cleaned the kitchen, started the laundry and now sit in the dark- regrouping. That is what I call my type of therapy. I regroup. There is so much that happens between these four walls on a daily basis- I struggle to keep up.

The boys won state with their FFA agriscience project. We are now looking toward Nationals-the best part of this is the fact that Nationals is in Louisville, KY. Yup, sign me up- I will chaperone. I love horse country. So we will run another 3 science trials on their corn plants before June. You know what that means, don't ya? A basement filled with emerging corn plants for 6 weeks! YAY! Thank heavens I love it.

The boys will also compete at the state level in for state 4-H awards. They both made it through regionals. I am excited for them. Loren will compete in the Horse Awards and Jared in Shooting Sports. It is amazing to see them progress so well. It is difficult at times to know what homeschooling is supposed to look like. All that I can do as the teacher is to structure things the way that I think that they should go and then trust that someone bigger than me will take over.

There is so little time for me to focus. Most of the time, I run behind the kids shouting directives that I hope will be helpful. This is a very precarious experiment that I am running here...

In the midst of the chaos- I find that I am blessed.

~Camo Pants

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Oh, Are You Getting Out?"

So I have been floating around and I have to say that my blogspot is the only one that sports the 'tools.' No matter what I do, I cannot fix this issue. What I really need is a tech guy to move into basement. I think that I could keep him full-time busy. Uggh...

So if you can stand my lack of ability, continue reading. If you can't...I guess it was nice knowing ya!

It is hard to believe that is it the middle of March already. The thought of school ending in 2 short months gives me chills late at night.

"Did the kids learn anything this year?"

"Am I ruining their education by keeping them home?"

Those are the questions that berate me when my weary head finally hits the pillow. Yet, I know in my heart that something is going right here. I have a 15 year old (fairly normal learner,) a 14 year old (severe dyslexic) who shudders at the thought of school and I am convinced will be living in my basement when I am 80 and an almost 11 year old (ESL learner who was adopted from China at the age of 8 years old.) This particular child is still learning how to transfer her allegiance, language, reading and writing from the Chinese way- to the American. Is it any wonder that I lie awake at night?

The kids are so involved outside of the house, sometimes it is difficult to fit school in our schedule. Yet, it is imperative. I did have to laugh though at the doctor last week. Every time we go and see him, we introduce home schooling to him. Every time. He has been our doctor for over 8 years and still asks, "So where do you go to school?"

My kids laugh. "Home school."

"Oh, are you getting out? Seeing other children? Socializing through church?"

I groan inwardly. "Getting out? Seeing others? Socializing?"

They have mastered the art of the reply, "Yes sir. We see other kids and attend our church youth group."

The whole time my eyes are spinning around in my head because in the past month, I have been home for a total of one hour in short one minute chunks. I wish I were kidding. The boys were involved (heavily) in FFA and competed at a state level with their Greenhand Conduct of Meetings team (3 practices a week.) They also completed a college level science experiment and competed at a state level. They ride at the stables 2 x a week, they attend youth group, Jared sings in the youth choir, they are both officers in their 4-H club and are running for 4-H State Awards. Jacie rides horse, swims at least once a week, has therapy and gets with friends between doctor appointments. Whew...yup doc, I think that they are okay socially. I just haven't figured out where to put school among all their socailizing.

I'm tired just from writing it all.

~Camo Pants

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Creeper for a Mother

I am sitting in the quiet of a lonely house, printing multitudes of state award forms for 4-H. It is a 15 page form and it needs to be printed 3x. Times that by 2 kids and....Wala that is 90 sheets of printing. AND that is only for regionals. If they make state, another 90! Thank heavens I have nothing else to do. I have to tell you though, I was so impressed with the boys and how they worked on their award forms independently. Last year, I hand to hand hold the whole time. This year feels like a breeze. Jared even wrote most of his story without me. I figured that I would have to dump the whole thing and start over. Not true! He even used periods and capitals. For those of you who have a struggling student- you know how gratifying it is to see those little grammatical pluses. I can't believe how old and able the boys have become, even under this crazy teacher's tutelage...

Jacie is working through some of the issues that come along with being almost 11 years old. Again, it is difficult to imagine that we brought home a little girl and now have a young lady. Time, no matter how hard we try to hold back, moves swiftly forward at an alarming speed. Jacie has a lot of things that she must work through as she develops into a young lady. Not only does she often lose her privacy (because of repeated Dr appts, surgeries and a creeper for a mother...) Okay, so the last one is not true but it is difficult to maintain any semblance of privacy when everyone wants to see and touch your 12 inch scar that runs down your hip. That, of course, requires shucking of the garb that covers it~

The good news is that Jacie is incredible. She fights things initially but seems to rebound after quickly. That in itself will be her saving grace. On the school front, I have found that she is quite smart and able- when she puts her mind to it. Other times, she is difficult to get focused. I supposed all of us are like that to a point. She continues to buy and make me read Junie B Jones to her daily. This is sheer torture but I recognize many of them because one of the boys went through a Junie B phase too. Thank heavens I don't have 10 children.

For now, I am enjoying the free time that printing has to offer me. It keeps me from having to work to hard.
For that, I am blessed.
~Camo Pants

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Junie B is a Naughty Little Booger

I find myself on the sofa enjoying the quiet stillness that everyone going to bed brings to this house- I couldn't ask for a more relaxing feeling then blogging to the light of my scentsy listening to the sound of silence. Whew! As much as I love being home with the kids, the constant background of bickering can fray these nerves of steel that I possess or is it that I desire to posses...?

We are incredibly busy right now which is not our norm but probably a sign of the age that the kids have hit. As I blogged about last time, the boys are heavily involved in the FFA (future farmers of America) and are really enjoying themselves. They are on a Greenhand Conduct of Meetings team that will compete at the state level in two weeks. This team is amazing, really. There are seven kids on the team- 5 of which had never heard of Robert's Rules of Order until they joined the FFA. The team consists of 2 kids that are adopted and have learning struggles. The first is my Jared who is very dyslexic and has major medical issues. The second is a little gal who is 17 and in the 9th grade She too is home schooled. She was adopted as an older child from an orphanage in the Ukraine, I think.

So this group has worked and worked. They competed in Districts and really did not do well but 2 teams go on to regionals and only 2 competed. At regionals, they did phenomenal. They competed against some of the hardest teams in the state and came out 2nd- so they will compete at state! That is the amazing to this pro-adoption, home school mom! Three of the seven on this team are home schooled. I have attached a pic to this post- enjoy. Jared, of course is the black handsome fella and Loren is directly opposite of him.
The boys are also working on their 4-H State Award papers. This is a 15 page form with a 3 page story, a business letter and a picture journal of their 4-H career. It is a lot of work but oh so worth it. In June, if they are selected, they will go to Michigan State and compete for awards. The boys tell me that the best part of competing for these awards is that they get to 'cut' in the food line past the other 3000 4-H members...Leave it to a boy to think of his stomach first.

Filling out a state award is a lot of work for my resident dyslexic. So it is a lot of work for me as well but I think that it is important for Jared to figure out how to complete a project. Everything that I can do to help him figure out how to compensate for his struggles is worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears- which we are working on drawing!

Jacie has a unique fascination with the Junie B Jones books right now. I keep telling her, "Wow, Jace...Junie B is a naughty little booger."

She replies, "Yes but I sure like her."

She probably sees similarities, as I do...

I love encouraging reading so I continue to invest my time and sanity in Junie B in the hopes that one day someone comes by and swats her little bottom in one of the books. I think that I will be waiting a long time for that one. Anyway, Jacie did read a three line story the other day with some assistance. I was excited. I have to say that homeschooling a dyslexic and an ESL child could put me over the edge some days. I am learning patience though.

I truly love what I am doing here. The kids are learning everyday. For that I am grateful~

~Camo Pants

Monday, February 11, 2013

Back in High School

I am in the process of renovating all of my blogs and websites- streamlining everything if you will. Whew! It is a tremendous amount of work but I am loving the results. Check out our ministry page at: or Jacie's adoption blog at:

On the school front, we are crazy busy. The boys are involved in FFA contests. They have practices several times a week, they are officers in their 4-H club and are completing a very large science project for Michigan State University through FFA. I feel as though, I am back in high school. These are all things that I was involved in- to a point. I did not ride horse two mornings a week. I did not home school. In that regard, they are blessed because they have a lot of paperwork that they are completing that we can incorporate into their school. For example, Jared spent three hours today writing a one page story (he has two more pages to complete) for his 4-H State Award paperwork and that is just the first part of a ten page required form. He will have to work hard for this because of his intense struggle with dyslexia. I am not certain that I am up to this...

Yet, I am determined that he will have all of the opportunities for success that others have. He will just have to spend the time and I will spend the next 11 days trying to 'clean it up' for him. That in itself is a full time job. It is difficult to help him figure his way through his schoolwork. His memory is good, but he struggles to spell, write and complete math. I am at a loss sometimes how to compensate for that lack. This is my patience project~

Jacie is still trying to learn to read. I am trying to help her to love to read- not just learn. She is beginning to get the hang of it but it is another slow process. Sometimes I feel perhaps I am not pushing her hard enough. Yet, we are going from Chinese to English at the age of 8 (10 now.) Between the ESL and the multiple surgeries, she has had a busy couple of months. Top that with therapy, swimming, horseback riding and 4-H- she is a busy girl. Check out her blog-

I feel as though I am truly a rebel in the home school world- nothing is normal here.

~Camo Pants

The boys working on their FFA science project. They planted 180 plants and did an early planting feasibility study. They will present it in March at MSU.