180 Days

In accordance with our state homeschooling laws, I make sure we get in exactly 180 school days in our year.  Yesterday I say down and crunched our numbers– we are right on track to finish up in mid-June (the 15th).  However, if I can squeeze in a few weekend field trips we can try an shave off a few more days.  Technically, we still do some sort of  "school" in the summer, but it's all the fun stuff.  Field trips, art projects, nature journals, science in the form of gardening, rock and shell identification at the beach, that kind of thing.  I really look forward to it!  I put a lot of pressure on myself during "regular" school time to do the three Rs, so this a nice change of pace for me.

That said, I am probably going to continue with some sort of Math instruction this time.  Because I switched DS to Singapore from a different Math program, I started him a year behind to make sure he would "get it" (Singapore teaches Math concepts much differently).  I shoulda known… he picked it up no problem and has whizzed through.  So I'd like to maybe continue at least somewhat with it over the summer to get him where he's supposed to be.  For DD, I'll just give her a math drill sheet once in a while to keep her facts in her head.

Next week we're on Spring vacation and I have a few activities planned. I'm really looking forward to that.  Sometimes I think we get our best "schooling" done during vacation!

Props to the Peeps

Spring is coming… the tulips and daffodils are poking through the ground, the seedlings have been started in the greenhouse, and our chicks arrived this week.  They are sooo adorable, and so fragile!  We already lost one.  Apparently it’s not uncommon for chicks to die for no apparent reason, which is why I got more than I wanted (I figure 3-5 is good, so we got 6).  But it’s sad– I admit I was more unsettled by it than the Peeps.  I keep worrying that I did something wrong, even though I know that’s not the case.  Sigh…

On a cheerier note, they are providing us with hours of entertainment!  Peep #2 loves to hand feed them and the feel of their little beaks as they peck at her hand.  They are endlessly curious and any time a hand goes into the cage they come running to see what’s what.  Peep #1 on the other hand, ever the worrier, is afraid of accidentally hurting the chicks.  I’ve been encouraging him to hold them and help with the care and he’s growing more comfortable with them.  They both are doing great so far and I think it’s going to be a really positive experience for both kids.  I love watching my Peeps take care of the peeps!

Edited to add some photos:

chicks07c chicks070001

Feminism, Staying at Home, and BSG

There's been a gargantuan thread over at the scifi channel boards about the role of women on BSG (and I'll get into that another time).  Mrs. Ron (for those out of the loop, that's BSG creator Ron Moore's wife) posted, in Ron's defense, that the BSG women were still strong, even those that have had children, remarking that Athena, and Callie are "back on the job."  The comment really irked me.  It's a sore subject with me and something I come across more often than I'd like– a lot of women infer that if a woman chooses to stay home, she is some how less strong, less valued, less of a feminist.  (Unfortunately feminism a much maligned term these days, but I don't have a problem with the word.)

Anyway, I don't understand this line of thinking.  Those of us who are at home are often portrayed as a bunch of harried, unkempt, mistreated frumps, chained to our sniveling brats and our never ending housework, married to an over bearing ogre-like caveman who bellows about ring around the collar or about his dinner not being ready on time.  I'm sure there are some unfortunate souls who are in fact married to men like that, but some of us have simply made the choice to stay home, because we love it.  

Now, back in high school, the idea of being a housewife (another term with a lot of negative connotations) was anathema to me.  I didn't want to get married.  I didn't want to have kids.  I pictured myself becoming a high-powered career woman, jet-setting around the world will a well-worn (but fashionable) briefcase.  Then, I met DH freshman year of college and it changed the course of my life– for the better.  Over time, the idea of hearth and home didn't seem so bad to me after all.  And here I am now, still married to my college sweetheart, and I *love* being the keeper of my home.  Early on in our marriage (Before Kids) I worked for many years as a psychotherapist.  I loved it; it was challenging and fulfilling work.  But when we decided to have children, I wanted to take a few years off.  I didn't want to miss one minute of those precious early years.  As time went on (and Peep #2 came along), I began to realize I enjoyed learning to cook (DH had previously done the cooking), I discovered a new passion (gardening), and loved being home with my kids.  (The cleaning… well, still not liking that so much…)

So here I am.  People occasionally ask me if I'll go back to work some day.  Maybe–   I'm keeping that option open.  But for now, I'm perfectly happy and satisfied with my life.  Don't get me wrong, it's not always easy… in many ways working with the mentally ill was less of a challenge.  Now instead of one job, I have many:  accountant, housekeeper/laundress, cook, chauffeur, life coach, teacher, landscaper (hey, I MOW!!), and Chief Resident Boo-Boo Fixer… to name a few.  But I cherish it, and wouldn't trade it for the world. Isn't that what was so great about the feminist movement?  That it gave women the freedom to CHOSE for themselves what they wanted– to work out of the home or in?

To be fair, there is judgment going on on both sides of the issue.  Stay at home moms often accuse working moms of being neglectful of their children, which is ridiculous.  But my point is, I don't think I should be made to feel like I somehow have "let down" the feminist movement because I have decided to be a "Home Maker" (okay, even *I* dislike *that* term).

Anyway, I still love you Mrs. Ron!  You are eternally cool for mingling in a VR sort of way with the BSG rabble.

Bugs Ahoy

Ugh, must be spring– the bugs are back.  I found a soldier bug in the school room, a spider in the hall, and  (worst of all) a centipede in the kitchen sink.  As a gardener and nature lover I've come to tolerate most bugs but there's no getting around it:  the centipede really freaks me out.  It's just downright creepy looking!!

Anyway, I finally got motivated last weekend to start some seeds.  It's hard to get motivated when the weather is still so crappy, but I will be kicking myself in May if I don't get a move on.  And on cold March days the greenhouse is toasty and a great spot to be!   So, so far I've planted:

*Lady's Mantel
*Bee Balm

Something killed my Mugwort this winter (Okay– it was me.) so I need to start some of that, as well as Coriander.  The rest of the herbs and plants I brought inside in the fall have survived nicely.  This weekend I'll get started on the Tomatoes and Peppers, and I'll (miraculously) be on schedule.  Also, now that the compost pile is thawing, I've started that back up again.

Other than gardening news, there's not much going on.  School is going well; I can't believe that there are only two more full months of class left!  The Peeps are excited for summer break, and so am I!  The Vernal Equinox is next week and we'll plan something fun to do (I haven't decided what yet.)  And oh yeah!  Supernatural is new tomorrow!

Daily Prophet Headlines…

Muggle family of four anxiously awaits the release of Deathly Hallows!

This week we signed the peeps up for a Harry Potter book release event this July.  We are all so excited!  Harry Potter is big in this house.  In fact we have sometimes been known to refer to our homeschool as Hinkley Hill School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and have had the occasional Potions lesson.   So, the release party will be a blast; we’ll get to dress up like wizards, play trivia games, and mix with other fans.  Each peep will get a copy of the book which is good news for me, since Peep #1 (it’s too advanced for Peep #2) can read one and I’ll read the other.  One copy would have meant I’d have to pull rank on him   DH is still on the second book (though he’s seen all the movies) so that leaves him out of the running.  Speaking of which, number 5 comes out in July as well.  It’s going to be a Harry Potter summer! 

Confessions of a hair product junkie…

I have a confession.  I am a hair product junkie.  There is a box in my closet filled to the brim with bottles of gels, mousses, conditioners, shampoos, de-frizzers, volumizers and sprays that are only two squirt shy of being full.  It's a sickness!!  Perhaps it's the plight of the long-locked.  Keeping hair looking healthy as it grows (and once it's long) is difficult; you have to treat it carefully.  But sometimes, no matter how nice you are to your hair, it just stands up and smacks you.  Over the years I've come to embrace my wavy hair, after years of pining for the Botticelli curls my sister was blessed with or the stick straight Asian hair I've always admired.  Wavy to me was just a euphemism for UNRULY.  I am stuck (I'm trying not to use the word "cursed") with that wavy, and yes, slightly unruly hair that I attribute to my Scotch-Irish heritage (Dad was Italian– hence the Botticelli's).  In the fall and winter months, my hair looks pretty good… lays pretty flat and even looks silky.  But the minute humidity strikes, there rising up like little demons around my head are the frizzies.  Ugh.  

But it's not just the Battle of the Frizz that brings me repeatedly to salons and drugstores to try the next product.  I also simply like testing the stuff.  That's where the "sickness" comes in.  WHY I like trying these things out so much, I have no clue.  (I also have a strange love-affair with office supplies… Staples is one of my favorite stores!  But that is for another post…)

At any rate, I've tried 'em all.  The high-tech "latest" stuff.  The all-natural stuff.  Even made (make) my own.  So, I thought I might start a folder of reviews for different products I've tried… maybe someone else will find it helpful.  At the very least it will be a reminder to me that I've already tried something once before. Sigh. Hey, it's  hard to keep track!

To start, (and since this post is long enough already), I'll just say that I've had really good luck with making my own hair products.  I love to experiment with different oils (BIG surprise), but my current favorite is grapeseed oil.  It's moisturizing without feeling too heavy for my fine hair.  I've been mixing it with an equal part of aloe vera gel to make a sort of leave-in conditioner/gel with excellent results.  I also put in a drop of an essential oil if I want a little scent to it.  So, that's that!  Next up:  Burt's Bees Grapefruit and Sugar Beet Conditioner… does it have a place of honor on the vanity, or has it been relegated to the dark cavernous realm of my vast product graveyard?  Stay tuned….