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.