Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ok, Mom, I Finally Counted Them All!

Books that is, not children.

My mom has been bugging me about counting all of our books, especially since they are mostly arranged conveniently in one place now. I think it's at 2,800. I got real close to that and then started remembering a few more in other places around the house so I rounded it up to that. I know that sounds like a lot to most people but thankfully I know of others who have more than twice that many. Like the DHM at The Common Room, who greatly eases my guilt. Ok, so she is the only one I actually know of who has twice as many, but I'm sure there are more out there.

I just love having them all upstairs now. I love that there is room to have them all organized and easy to find. My brother-in-law came over the night it was done and found amusement in calling out a title and seeing how fast I could locate it. He found out that I know my books.

Having them close has inspired me to revisit so many of these old friends with my younger children. I'm reminded that even if I couldn't buy another book, they could still have a great education just using what we already have. I think of the time some day into the future when my grandchildren will enjoy these same books and I don't regret a single purchase.

And it was really fun last week bringing over a brand new to homeschooling mom and watching her jaw hit the floor when she walked into the library/schoolroom. I love inspiring other moms to build a home library! It's fun being the one who will ease their guilt when they discover they are hopelessly addicted.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Our Weird Dog

Our German shepherd, Felix, has the habit of sleeping with his leg extended straight up. When I started snapping pictures he woke up and his leg leaned over a bit. It sure seems weird to see such a big dog sleep like this.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

She Almost Made It...

but not quite. We got the call today about the art scholarship and Priscilla did not win. They did say they were very impressed with her work and they really wished they could give two this year. Apparently she will still qualify for some money from the art department, but not the Emerging Artisit Scholarship. So, we will still be pushing ahead and hoping to get her up there this fall.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Remodeling Project That Took Over

We've spent the last couple of weeks converting our screen room into a library/schoolroom. I liked having a screen room but the animals had taken it over, even coming through the screen and ripping the doors apart to get in. It was impossible to keep clean.

I had books all over the house, spread over five different rooms. Now everything is in one central location and it's opened up room all over the rest of the house. Here are pictures of both ends of the room. It is finished except for a couple of piles of things to get rid of.

This project has sparked off a whirlwind of reorganizing and repainting in other rooms. It has helped so much to declutter our main living areas that we are having a hard time getting used to what seems like bareness to us. The girls are in the middle of repainting their rooms. Kezzi had some glitter added to the dark blue paint in their room and it looks really cool in the lamplight. She says it's fairy dust. The room downstairs that used to host the majority of the library has been converted into a cool hang-out room for the kids. They have wild paint plans for that room which are supposed to be acted upon as soon as the girls finish their rooms.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ski Pictures

**You can click on any of these pictures to see an enlarged view

Hope, Kezzi and PriscillaLuke Annalise coming down the hill with DadtoCherubs, who so generously took her down after being tired from many hours on the slopes.

Kezzi and her wild skiing

Priscilla and one of her favorite little friends, Cherub5


Kezzi and Hope
Me, being pulled up the beginners slope

Ford coming up the beginners slope

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Everyone is Hooked!

We went skiing yesterday for the first time. After a little while in the learning area, most everyone was riding the chair lifts and skiing down the slope time after time again.

We went with our good friends from Becks Bounty, who were outrageously generous with their ski time and helped us so much. MomtoCherubs worked tirelessly with Annalise even though she was very reisistant the entire time. DadtoCherubs saved the day by taking Annalise down the bigger slope and holding her next to him the whole way down. I think it finally dawned on her how much fun it could be and maybe that was why MomtoCherubs was working so hard with her. Hopefully, next time she will be a better student.

Kezzi is the champion because she was skiing down the expert slope (updated to say that it wasn't an expert slope, just a very scary intermediate one -- sorry, my misunderstanding) after only four hours! She thinks she has found the sport/love of her life. She was so cute with her long, blond braids flying down the slope. They may grow up, but they really don't change all that much.

Besides Annalise, I win the biggest loser award. :) I don't think skiing is a great sport to pick up after 40! I've never been athletic or daring with extreme sports as it is. I finally did gain confidence on the baby hill and after the girls talked me into it, I tried the slope that was the next level up in difficulty. At the top of the first turn, I wiped out, scraping my bare back on the snow until I skidded to a stop. How my bare back could contact the snow after I put on so many layers is crazy. Anyway, after struggling to stand back up, I strugged to get my skis off. Then I struggled to get them back on, realizing the only way down was DOWN. I set off again and became overwhelmed with the speed and lack of control. Nothing I did slowed me down at all. After succumbing to the terror, I decided just to sit down and wipe out rather than hurl myself faster and faster down the slope. That was it. I was done. When I finally got myself picked up, I was in tears from being so frightened.

Thanks to MomtoCherubs encouragement, I did go back to the beginners area so I wouldn't end on that note. DadtoCherubs offered to take me down with him and help me, but I had had enough. Maybe next time I'll brave that since he is an expert skiier who has been skiing since he was two years old.

I did have a great time though. I was worth it all to see the looks on all of the childrens' faces. They were having the time of their lives.

Cherub5 (from Becks Bounty), who is only 8yo, was hilarious as she skiied down the slope with wild abandonment and whooping. Cherub6 was an amazing tropper too as he worked so patiently until he attained the all-important stopping capability. He was so cute and had a constant smile on his face. I still keep laughing over a comment by Cherub6 (5yo) at the Mexican restaurant where he tried "whakamole", aka guacamole, for the first time.

As the title of this post suggests, everyone is hooked. On the way home the kids were full of plans to do it again. Luke is even making plans to move closer to the ski resort when he is grown.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why Huckabee?

I must admit I have been surprised at some of the homeschoolers reactions against Mike Huckabee. The articles written by those who oppose him have left me very disappointed with the lack of sound reasoning. My disappointment has only been keener because some of these writings have been by people I have respected. One article,by a very renowned homeschooler, suggests we not vote for Huckabee out of fear of what others will think about us if he makes unpopular decisions:

"Think of it. If Huckabee is elected, and then (like George W. Bush) takes actions that are deservedly unpopular (e.g., Bush's refusing to close our borders to illegal invasion), people might start saying, "It's the homeschoolers' fault!" They might say this even if we, personally, don't agree with Huckabee's post-election actions."

This has got to be some of the most ridiculous reasoning I have ever heard.

Over and over I read others saying he imposed more restrictions on homeschoolers in Arkansas, restrictions that HSLDA opposed. Doesn't that make anyone ask the question why HSDLA would endorse him now? When HSLDA and the men who have worked tirelessly to defend homeschooling support someone, doesn't that merit something? Doesn't that raise the idea in anyone's head that maybe there is a good explanation? I emailed HSLDA and asked why they were supporting Huckabee and what was all this controversy in the homeschooling camp. They replied to me and sent a link to this explanation of Mike Huckabee's record on Arkansas homeschooling laws on the their site. It made sense to me. I also watched a video on YouTube of some homeschooling pioneers giving their reasons they support Mike Huckabee. Maybe I'm naive, but I have a hard time believing these people are liars.

Now, I am not suggesting just trusting someone else's judgment or blindly taking someone at their word. But come on people. Are we just going to mistrust everyone? If I go that route, I will not have any incentive to vote at all.

I admit it does get frustrating at times. How can I really know what the truth is? How can I know if people are trying to fool me for personal gain or their own agenda? I really don't want to spend countless hours researching everyone's politics. I watch interviews and debates and read a little. That's the most I'm willing to put into it at this point in my life. So, could I be wrong? Could I end up getting burned by Huckabee? Yes, it's possible.

What I do know is Mike Huckabee claims to be a believer. He claims a lot of things that I believe in. As far as homeschooling goes, he says he thinks homeschoolers are doing a great job and should be left alone. I have watched many interviews and debates and I like what I hear. I don't know much about economics or foreign policy and to be honest, I don't really care to. I'd rather leave that to others. I'd rather have a president who is wanting to do his best before God and has solid Christian beliefs and a relationship with God. As for all of the other policy decisions, God can help him with all of that. And so can a good cabinet. God can protect us even in our ignorance, bad decisions, or lack of understanding and experience if we are seeking Him and acknowledging Him in all our ways. And that's what I've seen Mike Huckabee do ~ acknowledge Him. And I don't mean the cold, casual name dropping that so many ungodly politicians do. That's not what I've seen. I've seen him take bold stands for the truth. And I admire that.

Could he be a slick trickster? I guess it's possible. But until I see credible evidence of that, I'll just trust God with it and take a Christian man at his word until he proves otherwise.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

She's One of the Finalists!

We got the call last night letting us know that Priscilla has made it into the finals for the Emerging Artist Scholarship. Soon she will be going to the school for Scholarship Weekend and going through the final process. We are really hoping that she gets this because, not only will it be an honor, it will be a substantial part of her tuition. I am guessing we will know something by the end of this month.

Cranking Up the Daily Journal Again

This may only interest a few of my readers, such as those of you wanting to see what an academic day in the life of our homeschool looks like. I've decided to give my Shadybrook's Daily Journal blog another try. It's a new year and time to be diligent with things that you know you will probably get slack on later. This time I'm only going to record the activities that involve the three younger kids: Luke (13), Abel (11), and Annalise (7). It's these three that I am directly involved most of each day. Kezzi (17) only has some work in a couple of subjects (English and Math) in order to complete her senior year. And Hope (15) is working mostly on her own this semester so I won't be recording her work either.

Sometimes it will be "just the facts, ma'am" and other times, if the mood strikes, I may include some commentary.