Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Kathryn at Grandma's.... Day 1
One year many years ago, Mark started a tradition in our house; We have "Birthday Weeks" instead of just the one day of birthday cake and presents. It all started with me one year when Mark gave me a birthday present. This present happened to be the exact same present he gave me the year before, a beautiful pair of earrings. When Kathryn , who was 7 years old at the time, saw that the earrings in the new box where the exact same earrings I had on, cried. Like a good daughter, she was very worried about me not getting a proper birthday gift. At the time, we thought it was all very cute and funny. We calmed Kathryn down and let her know it would all be okay. I handed the gift back to my embarrassed husband and told Kathryn she would have to go with her dad to the store and help him out. She then started to cry again. She was not only worried about me not getting a proper birthday present, she was worried about me not getting one on time. Like any mother would, I told her it was okay because "I would be accepting presents all week" and as she could see, her dad really needed her help. That was the year it started...................everyday for a week Mark brought something special home for my "birthday week".
It really was all very wonderful! Now that years have pasted and things have changed this is one tradition we try very hard to keep.March 23, started off with a"Birthday Breakfast" of muffins and a candle.
Sam came by with presents!"M" gave a beautiful picture for Kathryn's room we are redecorating.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In the afternoon, we had a cookie cake with Nana, Grandpa and Nana and Grandpa's neighbors......the boys next door........... Sadly I forgot my camera and I do not have any pictures of that.
There was also the lunch and dinner with a very tired Daddy.....
Monday, March 23, 2009
As usual, we stayed most of the day and Kathryn practiced much of that time. Even though my dad really didn't feel well he sat in the room with Kathryn as she softly practiced.
When we talked during the week my father told me how he "thoroughly enjoyed" her playing. He told me, her playing lifted his spirits and it all seemed to help him feel better that weekend. Without knowing it, my 11 year old daughter gave her grandfather a gift of love. Even though Kathryn is a novice player, I started to think...............my father is very much a positive person and the music really seemed to help him find strength that day. I started to wonder, what would it do for someone who does not have the optimistic out look that my father does? I wondered, what would it do for Kathryn? She loves music. She is always playing her harp or the piano. I thought maybe if we look into this she may find this to be something she would like to do as a career..........Music Therapy........ I e-mailed the other moms in the home school co-op Kathryn belongs too to find out if anyone would be interested in putting on a little concert for the folks in the nursing home we as a group have visited. There was lot a of interest. The nursing home could not wait for us to come and the children in the co-op could not have been more enthusiastic about it all. All the kids were so delighted to play their instruments. Some of the kids where excellent and some only pecked at the key boards. But, all the children wanted to share what they knew. When we first started our concert the hall was mostly empty with only a few residents in the room. One by one men and woman came into the hall. One by one the men and woman sat down and listened. One by one the children became more and more excited andthe "Captive Audience" enjoyed our concert . When I think back on the experience; I think once again I am the one who received the gift that day. Even though everyone seemed to really love the whole thing, I walked away in 'awww' and a full heart.
I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the children and the residents.
I was most impressed with my daughter who, after the concert, went over to talk to a woman and answered the same questions over and over again. This woman was most definitely suffering from Alzheimer's. She could not remember that she had told us, many times ,about her son who played in a band . She had told us about her husband who died and she told us about her little dog. She told us she did not get many visitors and she really enjoyed it when children came to the home.
She would then tell Kathryn, she had beautiful skin and then ask about her school. The conversation went like this; "Oh yeah, you told me that........and did I tell you about the time my son played in a band and I really loved the music today.........and Kathryn answered and answered and knew...........Even though this lady looked perfectly fine this woman needed a little extra care. Kathryn gave it to her...........I was so impressed with my daughter once again. This experience filled me with pride to see what a wonderful woman Kathryn is growing up to be.
It is funny to me, how I think I am the one that is giving but then for me, the giving always turns to receiving more then I could have imagined.
I guess I am just lucky that way.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Win! Win! Everyone loved the idea.
We as a group really do not know much about gardening but we all thought maybe we would get a good summer tomato out of the deal. My boys suggested to their grandfather it might be a good idea to build a shed to hold all the tools they would need for the garden. The shed went up and the tools went in. Through the summer they worked and worked on the garden and the shed. Many fruits and vegetables were eaten. However, that was not the only thing that grew the summer of 2008. Huge things developed from these little ideas……Relationships grew stronger. My son’s got to spend real time with their grandfather learning and building and just dreaming… Matthew started dreaming of a muscadine farm. He started reading and researching and talking to my dad about how wonderful it would be to have a real muscadine vineyard. Like any reasonable person talking to a 16 year old kid would say………. “Sure that sounds like a great idea”…..”Let’s do it!’ Did I say reasonable? I meant crazy man would say………….
They went on field trips to the neighborhood farms. They started to research. They went to a convention out of town. They had the small fruit expert from Clemson University out to the land to give them advice. They held business meetings. THEN They started to clear land.
The kids (I mean we) have learned so much about soil, seeds,wine making, clearing land, driving trucks and tractors.………..We have even learned that scientists are using the seeds in research to try to make diesel fuel and are researching uses for the skins for cancer research. We have learned muscadines are the highest known natural resource for antioxidants and for resveratrol…….. What the heck is resveratrol?? SEE This is why you need kids to study hard to teach you things like…resveratrol……Which is a natural compound found in grape skins that slows aging, prevents cancer and something else. Look it up if you really want to know more. I forget! The kids want to grow muscadines and sell them, make wine and earn money for college…..
When we started home schooling 6 years ago I never imagined where it would take us……… I never imagined these kids could teach and give us all so much.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
It is about being a Judge in a home school debate class:
This class is more like a political science class then anything else. The class consists of home schooled high school and a few middle school students. This program is a nationally recognized program that is run by the parents of the students.
The kids that debate take old issues that have been argued in Congress or the Senate and have been passed or maybe not passed and rework them. The students write up thier own ideas of how to make things work better for the policies and then they argue them.
The last couple of years the class has debated issues such as:
Medical Malpractice, NATO, and Emigration Reform....This year the students are debating whether or not Sanctions should be placed on India. Every team has a different approach.........Human rights for the Dalits , a work study program in the US, Free trade in India and on and on. You get the idea....right?
As a parent, I pretend to happily go to class with my son and listen to brilliant kids argue their brilliant cases. I am to pick a winner of the debate. I should know why I picked the team I picked and why the other team didn't win.........I should know what each team member should work on to make them a better team. I need to know what they did well and most of all I am to UNDERSTAND the whole thing.
I am to tell the students, in person, why I think what I think. I should stop the debater when he or she makes mistakes.........I am to rate them as first, second, third and fourth speakers....decide how they did on their persuasiveness, organization, delivery, how the evidence worked for me, how well they cross-examined the opponents and refutation............ and ,to me, worst of all, I am write all this out on an official NCFCA form.
Every time I do this I feel like I am being weighed............ in public..........ugggg!!
The students debate on stock issues and reforms and transparencies and harms and definitions and Policies and Advantages, and disadvantages and core issues, and inherency, and, and, and, and....................when I listen to all this I think my head is going to explode!!!!!
I use to think I knew a little bit about something and then 'we' joined this club and I became a parent judge..........I listen to these brilliant kids that know these brilliant words that I have to sometimes (try) to write down so I can look them up later or worse ask one of my kids what it means...........because I forget!!! or I just don't know the word!
I am a terrible speller. I am not a good writer. I get confused easily....... I forget things all the time.
AND! I really don't know what the heck these kids are talking about! I sit and listen and pretend..........and I think..............Huh??...........What???..... The who?? Now is India anywhere near Charleston SC? Or is it in NC near Cherokee Valley? Kidding!!! BUT!
I know I should be fair. I know I should be informed. I know I should kind of know what I am doing. After all, these kids are our future.........I have to keep in mind they are debating to win scholarships, get to college and maybe even learn how to lead this Great Country of ours...............not to make me feel stupid.
Now, if I am asked whether this top looks good with these pants.......I am your woman.......or if Susie's eyes are to close together. I can give you a big.......... YES!! You know make up could do wonders for her.... AND Why the heck is she wearing those shoes with that dress??
But, THIS!! It is just too darn hard! These kids are just too darn smart! The worst of it all we cannot judge our own kids..........I would be good here because I would know if my kid cleaned his room or not that day. I would know if he worked really hard in school that week. I would know if he was very nice to me and very helpful to his brother and sisters……. then..........
If he wasn’t and made me crazy that week......... It is a BIG lose!!
At one time, I use to think I knew a little bit about politics and policies and maybe a big word here and there ......but now……. I know........... I know nothing!!
Gee, being a Parent Judge in a home school debate class is really hard.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Stephen is caught in the first Snow ball fight of the season.
With the power back on and with a good cup of coffee...... the snow was a welcoming sight.