Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Mother Made Me

I remember when my son was about ten. He was at a 4-H meeting and a reporter took a photo of him for the local newspaper. Underneath that picture, the reporter wrote these words, "Loren said that he does 4-H because his mother makes him."

I was abhorred. I couldn't believe it. How could my precious boy tell all of the world that I forced him to participate. I came up with the answer though. He told them that because it is the truth. It was never a question of whether he would participate- it was a given. I hear so many children say that they don't want to do things. They aren't interested. As a homeschool parent one of my life goals is to raise interested children. I want them to desire to learn. I want them to seize opportunities that come their way. I truly think it is one of the most important gifts we can give our children.

I can give you a list of things that I have made my children do- things that they have not wanted. They are better people for it. I am certain of that. I am not into torturing my children. I do not desire them to suffer. Yet, I have no issue with them squirming a little. They must learn how to handle themselves in all circumstances. For all of you who do not know me, I consider my children some of my best friends. I would do anything for them. Anything. Including pushing them out of their comfort zone.

I have a child who is an introvert. I have one who is an extrovert. I am not certain what the last one is- perhaps a hairball...?

The introvert I push to talking to others. The extrovert I push to hold back (periodically.) The hairball? Well, I just let her be a hairball. I make my kids do a lot of things. I am their teacher. Period. By staying at home and teaching them, I know them well. I know their strengths and weaknesses. I would be failing them terribly if I did not help them become all that they are intended to be.

The little ten year old truth teller? He is the most involved in 4-H. He loves it. He is also my introvert. You would not know it if you met him though. He is able. He is willing. He is thirteen. The reason that he is all of these things? His mother made him try.

~Camo Pants

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Love Summer Break

It has been a long time since I posted on this blog because we are summer break. I love summer break but I have been missing those lazy fall mornings that allowed for school work, reading and private pursuits. I know the time will be on us soon. I will then miss the hot, exhausting days of summer. I have been keeping the kids' journey in my other blogs, The Summer in the Garden ( and Journey to a Thousand Tomorrows (

The oldest two will be heavy hitting their 4-H projects soon. It takes a lot of supervision but I enjoy the outcome. That makes it worth it for me...kinda.

All of the kids went to camp. They were gone for three days. THREE DAYS of freedom and guess what I did? Yup, you guessed it. I mowed the lawn, did the laundry and kept up on the dishes. Then I went to the store and bought all of the foods that they like so that I would be ready for them to come home. I think I am crazy. I should have been lounging by some pool and sipping margaritas.

The kids won't start school officially until October- though I make them do all kinds of posters and notebooks, demonstrations and performances and showing at the fair. Let's hope that all of the work pays off and they will grow up to be interesting and engaging adults who are able to handle themselves with poise.

I will try to keep up on this blog. Thanks for the interest~

~Camo Pants

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Done...and Ready for Fun

We are done with school for this year. I couldn't have better news to tell...

I love this time of year because the organized portion of the kids' schooling is complete and we can get to the real learning opportunities. We are actively involved in 4-H and have already gotten in the pigs. The chickens will be coming in a month and the fair- four months. We have a lot to do before then.

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is spend time outside. I wait for it all winter and I can barely be convinced to come inside at all. I hope that the children pick up my love for the out-of-doors. I want them to love the feel of the dirt in their feet as they plant seeds. I want them to feel the heat of the sun on their face and sweat on their brow and still love to go out in it. For that reason, I am beginning another blog soon. It is called Summer in the Garden and its focus will be on my relationship with each of the children. It has been a year since we adopted our youngest and the journey has been interesting. Unfortunately, there are times on that journey that I lost connection with everyone in order to keep walking forward. So, my focus of this summer and this particular blog is a basic relational focus. This summer I will spend time with the children- really focusing on them and their specific personalities and needs. It is a stretch for me because I am geared to be an independent and I really like the freedom. Yet, I think this is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. The boys are thirteen and home for the summer. The youngest is beginning to really settle in and understand the world around her and I am not working outside of the home.

Check it out. I should have it up and running very soon.

Looking forward to keeping that blog and developing the relationships that are the most important to me.

We went to the home school convention last week. It was very cool. The oldest two have played a major part in picking what they studied and this year was not different. They enjoyed picking their reading materials and were able to choose math, history, grammar and writing. They chose different curriculum, of course. I knew that they would because their learning styles differ so greatly. I don't mind as long as they commit. They are studying typing, novel writing and Swahili as well. It should make for an interesting year. The youngest was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people crowded into the vendor hall. She was in a wheelchair and could not get around well. Though difficult, it was not impossible. She chose to study about knights and we found the neatest castle building kit. It is put out by Klutz and is building cards. She built a castle when she got home and started her Writing Curriculum, Draw, Write, Now. Her brothers both worked through it and enjoyed it greatly. Then I put all of the materials away and in October- we will pull them out again. Hopefully they are new to her. Every year the boys love their materials so much that they want to read them on the way home. It was no different for her.

I am looking forward to the sunshine on my face as I blog through the summer-


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Summer in the Garden

I have been diligently 'thinking' that I need to post on this blog. Is that enough?

We are nearing the tail end of our school year. I am so excited for the summer months. I know that we will relish the break. Daily, the boys seem to finish bits and pieces of their assignments. I know that they are feeling freer by the day. I am.

I am finally collecting their papers this week. Friday night by dinner time, I must have them in my hot little hand or the consequences are huge. So big I won't mention them here. I haven't really played a part in these papers other then assigning them and collecting at the end. I am trying to see where each of them are in their ability. I know that I am getting one about the history of the video game and the other about mummies. The joy of having boys...

Jacie has been working on a little different version of school. She does a puzzle or activity. Then she and I go out and work in the garden. We finish by reading books. Right now we are reading about plants and flowers. She doesn't have a lot of patience and does not understand all of the words so I am still reading her first grade books. This will change soon I think. I am trying to keep reading light and fun because she seems to not enjoy it. I want to take care of that so that she can develop a life long love of it. One thing that will help, I think, is that I am making required 'quiet time' this summer. In it she can read or sleep but no TV, video games or toys. I bet she chooses to peruse the many books on her shelf.

I am trying something a little different for the summer, I hope. I have dubbed it, "The Summer in the Garden."

All of the children will participate in outside activities (esp. gardening) on the days that we do not have other plans. We will work together and play together during the first three hours of the morning. I am hoping that it will encourage them to get their hands deep into the dirt and discover things. I am also hoping to connect with them all on a deeper level myself. I think that this is the way to do it. My oldest two are thirteen. They are still home, not working yet and I want to enjoy it. I am hoping to have a slower summer than we have had in awhile. For several years, we have had major undertakings occur through the summer months. This year we have some but none with the intensity that marked other years. The plan is that I will blog the journey of this summer. You know plans...

It is always bittersweet to see the end of a school year come because I normally think about what I should have done different but I have to admit, this year I am just looking forward to the break. I feel no guilt, just relief.

I love where I am today, I hope that you do as well.

~Camo Pants

Friday, April 22, 2011

Still in Existence

I love this kind of day around my house. It is raining outside and the kids have decided (so far) to play nice...

Jared cracks me up. I cannot get him to accomplish much without my assistance in regard to homeschooling. He wants to do his computer work but doesn't care about his math, grammar and piano. So, MT (Mean Teacher) strikes again. I have now made a rule that he cannot do anything on computer until all of his written work is done. Ugghh.. You would have thought I ripped is legs off and asked him to run a marathon. What a turkey. Get this, the master of procrastination decided that he had to teach Jacie piano and learn how to play the electric guitar...all in one morning. MT said, "No way!" and has become the bad guy again. Is it any wonder that when nighttime rolls around, I am the first in line to hit the sack?

Having said all of that, Loren and Jacie are building Legos together and it is kind of cute. Jared is completing the dreaded math and I am blogging my life story to all of you. Jared cannot understand that he is not allowed to join in the building of Legos because he wasted all of the morning 'learning the finer arts of guitar...'
Life is complicated when you waste, avoid and argue. It makes me tired as well.
I am excited that he has finally decided to pursue his guitar things. He wanted the guitar over two years ago and it has collected dust since. So, though his timing is off, I am helping him incorporate it into his daily regime. He is also an excellent singer and is beginning to work on his song for the fair. This will be the first time that he has sang in public. I never wanted to push him into it so I listened and watched... Now he is almost thirteen and decided that he loves it. He should, he is good. When he first came, at 23 months old, a lady stopped me in the store and said, "Do you know that your son has a perfect rhythm?"

She could hear him humming to the background music. I didn't even realize that there was background music...Of course, I had two 2 year old boys in a cart, in the Walmart so the fact that we all made it out alive was a huge plus. How times have changed. The boys are now thirteen. The issues have changed but are still in existence. Their mother has changed but thankfully is still in existence as well. Hehehe.

The truth? I wouldn't change a thing.

Hope all is well on your home school journey.

~Camo Pants

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Little Bit of Lounging Makes for a Great Summer

I have to admit that part of our financial academics have revolved around the onset of garage sale season... We love to garage sale. A lot. So it should come as no surprise to any of you that we can be found garage saling on Thursdays and Fridays from April to August. It has become a kind of sport for us. Now, don't go thinking that we are shirking our home school duties. If we garage sale in the guessed it, we school all afternoon. At first, this was a shock to the kids. They were ready to come home, sink in the sofa with a good book and fall asleep. Nope. Not happening on my watch. The mean teacher strikes again. School is very important around here. The oldest two are in middle school so college looms on the horizon. That is how I think. The kids are ready for school to be done. Yet, when you start school at the beginning of October, it takes longer to finish. We give on one end to get on the other. In the fall, the fair is at the end of September. We start school after that crazy week. I used to give myself a recovery week but as the kids got older and had more educational responsibility, I changed that. So far, I have enjoyed our schedule because most of our school times fall when it is rainy, snowy and cold. I love summer break though. Some homeschoolers don't take a break. I respect that but could not do it. I love lazy mornings, being outside and having a snitch more control over my time. I don't just love it...I require it. In order for me to 'winter well,' I must summer well. My favorite time of the day is before the kids get up (but only if they are sleeping in.) I have never been the type to enjoy getting up early in order to have silence. I do that on the other end. I stay up late and write or blog or whatever after they all go to bed. Then when morning rolls around, I have completed my responsibilities and can lounge. I love to lounge in bed. My mother would be so disgusted to see that... Hehehe. That is why my oldest gets me up in the morning. When he comes down for school, he wakes up the old sleeper and then he and I work together to drag the middle child out of bed. We have tried every method. He is such a hard sleeper. He might have a little of his mom's lounging mentality. I guess I know who is to blame for that one. Thank heavens he is cute. I am looking forward to the summer. We do a lot but it is all so good and wholesome. I want to hold these days forever and I know that is not possible. Enjoy your journey. ~Camo Pants

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eight Quarters in a Dollar

One of the most exciting things in my long homescooling career happened... Today. This is a day that will go down in the history books for me. My middle son, affectionately called Orange Shoe Guy because of his choice in footwear, asked me during his math, "If a dime has ten cents in it then a dollar has ten dimes, right?" I could have cried. I might have. I was so happy. Those of you who homeschool a child that struggles in school, you know what I am talking about. OSG has always struggled for every bit of school he understood but money was the worst. He is twelve and was not able to count the basics. Oh, how I agonized that he would be ripped off when he grew up. I always jokingly (of course) told him, "When you grow up, you better make a lot of money so that you can have a financial advisor or you will never make it." Imagine my surprise when he actually got it... As delighted as I was, my party was cut a little short when he excitedly said, "And there are eight quarters in a dollar!" At least I know where we need to go next. Life is like that I think. You just about start to celebrate and BAM... Thank heavens he is so cute. I am not sure I could walk this combat homeschooling for any less of a guy. He really wants to learn but just cannot get past the dyslexia. If it could, it would have him in bondage but we both know that there are many people who have great lives and are dyslexic. He just will have to be aware of what is difficult and work around it. He can do it. He is ready to be done for the summer. He must not realize exactly how much work I have planned for him to complete. ~Camo Pants

Friday, April 8, 2011

Another Day...

Homeschooling is an amazing journey. I was talking to a young gal who graduated as a homeschooler and is now attending a public university for college. She is such an interesting person for her age. In the course of the conversation, she said that she is grateful to her parents for homeschooling her and that she attributes much of her self-esteem and achievements to the fact that she was. She is incredibly articulate and able for her twenty-one years. I love to see what my children will [hopefully] be in the future. I have every faith that this will be the case. Like her, they have the time and space to develop. A large part of homeschooling for our family is wrapped in the freedom that it allows. The kids have the freedom to enjoy classical music if they want, play and instrument if they are inclined and still be considered cool by the people that are the closest to them. I am excited by the prospect of a future of freedom for them. It gives me joy. They are doing well with their work. The oldest two are still in school. The youngest, just coming out of hip and leg surgery will begin school again next fall. By then, she will be completely fluent in English and hopefully be reading. This is the time of year that the oldest get a little restless. They are getting done with some of their materials but are not completely on summer vacation yet. They struggle to keep their minds on their books, so... I scheduled them a paper to do. That ought to help them reign in their mind and thoughts. Can you say, "Mean Teacher...?" My answer would be a definite, "Yes." I am a mean teacher. Homeschooling is not something that I take lightly. I respect education and desire every aspect of it for my kids. Much to their delight. The middle child struggles the worst. There is nothing worse (for a child with ADD) then to sit and do school work. Yet, I know in my heart (yes, I do have one of those...) that the best thing for him is to sit, learn to concentrate and succeed in this area. He is making great strides. I am excited about his future. A lot of people with ADD have taught themselves to 'control their urges' and have figured out how to focus. I am glad he is at home and figuring that out. The freedom that he gets will be 'priceless.' We are headed to the homeschool convention in May. I love to go and take the kids. They will go through and pick some of their curriculum. Last year that went very well. They had a vested interest in the material. They are looking forward to going this year. We will shop the curriculum fair on Friday morning, have lunch and then tour the capital building in the afternoon. I love that it is in the capital city and two blocks from the capital. Then we can do both comfortably. Hope that all is going well. ~CP

Monday, March 28, 2011

Calling All Writers

The oldest two of my students are required to complete a four page paper with four sources in the next couple of weeks. They have the choice about what their topic is and they definitely have gone in separate directions. It is interesting to see. This paper is their second of the year. I am trying to familiarize them with the ins and outs of writing, researching and documentation. For the middle kid, this is a stretch. As a dyslexic, he struggles with spelling, writing and spacing within his paper. I have given him an example of what I am looking for but I am not hand holding him at all. If he cannot do it, he has to get help from someone. He can ask anyone, including me. So far he has taken off on it. It is the first thing that he works on when he does school. I am shocked. I wonder if I will be able to read and understand any of it? That is the beauty of home schooling. There are so many ways to do things and each kid is so different. I have taken two separate paths with the boys. The middle child has what would be termed as 'trouble' with school. Yet, at home, we can push and pull until we figure out his rhythm. I love this part of being home. Don't get me wrong, it makes for some hard times. But there is something about the clarity and truth involved in this style of teaching. All of my children are learning to see the world from a different perspective. I know that people are concerned that home schooled children aren't socialized enough. They also question the teaching. I have woven our methods to fit our lives. They are growing and developing and that is my biggest goal. They are learning how to interact with each other and I find value in that. The oldest has grow into quite a helper. Today, he picked up his sister (she had surgery last week) and carried her into the house. He also picked her up and loaded her into the truck at the store. Little glimpses into integrity give me hope. I look forward to trying read the papers that I will be receiving in the next week or so. I'll let you know how it goes. ~Camo Pants

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mama Said They'll be Days Like This

One of the hardest parts of homeschooling for me is the constant tripping over children, children's things and children's dirty dishes. I really like cleanliness and order. When the boys were little, I decided to give up on the idea of what I would like and work within the perimeters of what was actually there. So far I have made it...

Some days I do question the insanity, constant noise and bickering that occurs on an hourly basis. Perhaps I am crazy...? At this exact second the house is relatively quiet. No, I didn't tie them up out back (though I considered it.) One is reading while eating his very late lunch, one is doing his math and the youngest, who is sofa bound, is bellering that she needs to use the 'pathroom.' Which, of course, is bathroom in I am learning how to speak English Mode. She has broken the five second silence that I was enjoying. She needs water now so I had better hop to it. I'll be back. I have now taken her a glass of water, escorted her to the restroom, thrown a load of laundry into the get the idea. All in about five minutes. Welcome to the life of a home schooler. Those of you who are home schoolers are shaking your head in understanding. Some days I feel like someone pushed the fast forward button and I am running behind it all day long.

I know of ways that I could slow things down but am uncertain that I want to remove them from the children's repertoire. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the boys go to the horse barn and ride their horses. The youngest, I call her Little Miss (LM,) and I run to the store during that time. It is a nice bonding time for us and gives the boys a little breather from their new role as brother. They love to work out at the horse barn. When we get home, we work on school for the rest of the afternoon. It flips things around a little and that is difficult at times. We are heavily involved with 4-H, so the rest of their time that is not wrapped up in school and leisure, goes to projects. We love fair. I cannot think of a better learning activity. The boys, in the three years that they have been members, have given demonstrations, shown many different species of animals, completed writing projects, ink on glass, felting, many other still exhibits. I have to believe that all of these experiences will work together to create fully rounded children.

I have mentioned that we are building a house as well. It is a lot of work. I have a paper trail that runs from the front door to the desk and back. It is exciting to watch, as it is going up in our side yard. We are in need. Our current house is three sizes to small... hehehe

One of our favorite lines is, "In the new house..."

So I will start this paragraph with that.

In the new house, there will be an entire room dedicated to home schooling. I am having floor to ceiling shelves built. It is in the basement but will at least allow for the clutter to be downstairs and hopefully not on the kitchen table. So very exciting. This house has been shrinking on us since the birth of our first and with every addition, shrunk at least one size. My problem, well at least my biggest problem, with it is that I need space. I love my space. I love to feel free. With all of our extracurricular activities, home schooling and family endeavours, I lost sight of any space about thirteen years ago.

For all my complaining, you wouldn't believe that I love where I am, who I am walking with and the direction we are going.


Friday, March 18, 2011

A Slight Sabbatical

It is very difficult to blog about homeschooling when we are on a slight sabbatical. Our youngest (the newest addition) is having surgery today. Like right now, actually. She has been in surgery for an hour and a half.

If I were a good homeschooling mom, I would have been able to homeschool, prepare for surgery and my house would have been clean when I left this morning. Nope. The house was a disaster. I simply did not have time to take care of what should so I focused on what I had to. We are building a house amidst all of the other changes and I have to meet with the contractor, the kitchen people and try to schedule the gas line check. All of that to say that the boys have been schooling independantly for the last few days. They have learned to do that through the years and it is an asset for me. The oldest does his work without much instruction as it is. He has always been very focused and driven. The middle child...not so much.

I normally have to hand hold him more. To get through this pre-surgery, I set him up with a managable schedule. He did well. They will be off from school for 'Spring Break'. We will work our regular schedule through the public school's break to make-up the time. The kids are getting little bits of their school done already. That is always nice because as we look to summer the farm gets busy, busy, busy and the animals come in. The animals are the older kids' 4-H projects and keep them hopping all summer. I see 4-H as a major learning experience and thus we invest a lot of time in it. It definitely keeps us moving but I can't imagine life any other way.

Hope your homeschool journeys are going well.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

With a Side of Rebel...

This is a new addition to my repertoire. I have decided to open this blog pretaining to the homeschooling aspect of our personal journey. As homeschooling is a way of life, I know that it is an open book for learning experiences. These experiences are not dedicated only to the adoption stories that we are living but they do come into play.

Such an amazing journey that we are walking together and homeschooling only strengthens the bonds (most days.) I know many of you already have read about the family but for those of you who haven't I will do a quick introduction.

Our oldest son is thirteen. He is an amazing person. He is easily one of my best friends aside from being my favorite running partner and Barnes and Noble buddy. For me he is a chip off the old block. He thinks like me, has been said to resemble me (yeah, he's good looking...) and can figure math in his head (just like me.) Really he is a mini me, just don't tell him I said that.

Our middle son is an African-American child adopted into a Causacian family. He was born into foster care eight weeks premature, had heart surgery as an infant and currently breathes with about 54% of his lungs. He has severe asthma, sleep apnea and dyslexia. He was adopted at twenty-three months old (our oldest is four months older than his brother.) He too is an amazing guy. He always makes friends, wherever he goes. He is growing and developing into a young man of character.

The boys were joined last year by a little sister. She is currently eight years old and was adopted from China in June 2010. She was born with bi-lateral paralysis of both legs, bi-lateral clubfeet and hip dysplaxia. She is slated for surgery on her left leg and hip Friday of this week. She is such a little character. We have enjoyed her greatly. I have kept a blog of her journey at

It is my hope that this homeschool blog will delve into the life and circumstances that surround schooling at home particularly and schooling this adoptive family more directly. Our middle son struggles with any form of school. He will probably be the topic of much of this blog. Dealing with his health issues and major dyslexia has given me, his teacher, a different view of parenting, teaching and life.

I have always blogged under the name Camo Pants (CP when I am feeling lazy.) This name comes from my unique homeschooling experience and...

My absolute favorite pants.