This morning I went out early to do some weeding in front of our house. Now before you start thinking that I am one of THOSE people who are up singing with the sunrise and doing 500 things before breakfast, I need to disclose the purpose of my morning chore: We are having people over. Yes, I really haven’t been focusing too much on that part of our household. After all, I live in Florida, where it rains every day in the summer, humidity is 1,000 percent, and the temperature is usually a lovely 85 degrees by 8 AM. I always seem to find “more urgent” things to do than weed the front beds. But because I was “motivated,” I went out to do it, and I am so glad I did. You see, as I was pulling weeds, I began to wonder how these weeds keep popping up. I have weeded these beds before. I removed the plants I didn’t want growing and allowed the ones we planted to stay. But these crazy unwanted plants still appear. And why is it that none of them are rose bushes or fruit trees? They always seem to be wild looking ones
If you are like me, you have some students who really, really, really (really!) do not like to write. I always looked for ways to make writing at least a little bit more enjoyable, and this was one way that helped. Whenever we read about an individual, whether it was a missionary, a scientist, or even a lead character in a book, I tried to help my children summarize what they learned about this person. We did a biography “report,” but we did it in the form of a little craft. Now don’t worry. This craft doesn’t require you to haul out the massive bins of craft supplies and sift through assorted sequins, pipe cleaners, and clay. This is an easy one. You just need a sheet of paper, colored or white, scissors, and a glue stick or tape. You’re going to make a little “shirt” for your character, putting his or her head on it. Then all their information can be written inside. First, fold the paper in half, like this. Then you need to make a cut for the collar. Begin the cut not quite an inch down from the folded side and cut in about 2 ¼
As a new school year begins, most of us are excited. We have new curricula, shiny pens and pencils, matching notebooks and paper, and we cannot wait to start! But I always had in the back of my mind some hesitation. Kind of like when you wanted to dive into the pool when you were a kid, but you knew the water was cold. You knew the sudden blast of frigidness was going to be shocking. But you just had to jump in. That was the only way. That’s how I usually felt at the beginning of each school year. A little hesitant to dive in. I didn’t share it with anyone, because they all seemed so excited. And, really, I was too, but the excitement was always coupled with a little bit of dread. What? How can I say that? Well, I’m just being honest. I knew the upcoming year was going to be filled with, let’s face it, hard work. And I just couldn’t be absolutely, completely happy about that on the inside. But as I faced this feeling year after year, I began to realize a few things. You see, a productive life is a messy one.
You’ve seen them in forests, parks, and perhaps even in your front yard. But you’ve probably never really looked at them. They are lichens – amazing creatures that have a fascinating story. You see, a lichen is not a single organism. It is composed of two creatures: a fungus and an alga. “Gross,” you say? Oh, no. These guys tell a captivating tale! You see a fungus is an organism that has a sturdy protective coating. Think of a mushroom. Mushrooms are growths from fungi and have pretty tough exteriors. That means they can endure harsh conditions. A fungus can retain moisture when the environment is dry. It can withstand cooler temperatures, too. But fungi have to take in food from another source. They have to feed off of dying material, such as decaying tree trunks or leaves. Now the type of algae living in a lichen is not too sturdy of an organism. It requires a narrower range of environmental conditions to survive. However, an alga (the singular for algae) can make its own food. It can photosynthesize, taking energy from the sun and using chemicals in the earth and the air, converting them to sugars. Well, a lichen
This week, I am sharing a post over on the Apologia Educational Ministries page. As you may know, I am a marine biologist by trade, but I am first and foremost a mom and homeschooler. Yes, I love science. So, of course, I try to encourage others in the importance of teaching it. Now, don’t say to me, “But, Sherri, you just don’t understand. I have never liked science and I don’t think I am good at it.” Believe me. I get it. I have never loved literature and poetry, and I certainly do not think I am good at it. After all, how do we know what that author was thinking when he wrote that important treatise? He is dead, and he left no annotations to explain it. So what I think he meant could be just as right as what someone else thinks he meant. Is he really comparing that tree to society’s monolithic structure? I don’t know. I digress. As a homeschooler, I had to learn to teach this material to my children. And I had to at least try to make it sound interesting. Well, after so many years of doing my best, I actually began to appreciate
In my last post HERE, I introduced some general ideas to begin thinking about what we moms will do once we have completed our homeschool journey. I remember for me, the realization that I had less than five years left was a huge wake-up call. I could count my remaining number of homeschooling years ON ONE HAND! And I knew that meant things would go quickly. What was I going to do with all that extra time? Before we get into that, I want to encourage you to not wish away those last few years. Remember we want to finish well! We need to stay engaged with our students, helping them to navigate their way through the high school years and plan THEIR future as well. That should be a given. I’m writing this series because I think we, as moms, tend to do that at the expense of forgetting what we will be doing when that last child closes the last book on the last day of class. Now what? Well, if you have been keeping a list of activities you would like to do, it is time to revisit it. Many moms share with me that they are
I know many of you taking a peek at this post are doing it with a bit of trepidation and guilt. After all, is it really OK to take some of our precious time away from our children and household and think of what we’re going to do with ourselves when this homeschooling journey is over? And, let’s face it, most days feel like it will NEVER be over. Believe me, I have been right where you are. I have homeschooled our four children for 21 years. There were days when I wanted to just give up. There were times when I felt like I couldn’t go on. So why should I spend any energy on what I am going to do when the homeschooling years are done while I have so many more ahead of me? Because you need an exit plan. And it is wise to think about it before you get to the END and don’t know what to do with yourself. That’s right. You see, homeschooling is so intertwined in our home life that it is difficult to separate from everything else we do. We plan our house-keeping/laundry/grocery shopping around homeschooling. If you are like me,
For me, it doesn’t really feel like full-on summer until we have passed the July 4th Independence Day celebrations. That holiday brings with it barbecues, picnics, outside family games, and slower days. But with several weeks of summer behind us, things can get a bit challenging when it comes to activities to keep the kids busy. School has been out for some time now, and the slower days can turn into boring ones for them. Heaven forbid they become…that dreadful word…BORED! So, summer camps, vacation Bible school, craft camps, movie days, and planned play dates fill their calendars. I have talked with many parents who spend their spring stressing over how to keep their kids’ summer calendar full. But, believe it or not, kids need something more than that…actually, they need something LESS than that. Why are we so afraid our children will become bored? Why do we go to such lengths to avoid that? “Bored” is actually a good thing for them. It makes them take control of their day and try to fill it up with their own ideas. Now, I am not referring to allowing them to spend entire weeks binge-watching television shows and playing unending video games.
I was watching a NOVA television show on a plane ride home the other day, and a scientist was asked if there was life on other planets. His answer began with, “I believe…,” and he continued to say that because we have evidence of billions and billions of planets in our universe, then the possibility is very likely that there is life on some of them. Now, he certainly has a right to his opinion. We all do. But he stated his answer so matter-of-factly. He has absolutely no evidence of life as we know it to exist, but he definitely assumes it is there. That is not science. We can take the observable facts we have and lay them all out, but what we do with them becomes at best hypothesis, or more often conjecture or belief. That is how science works, but too many times scientists err by stating their beliefs as fact. What do we know about other planets? Well, not too many details, but we DO know a lot about what it takes to sustain life as we know it on a planet. You see, the Earth is in a perfect position in the solar system
One of the challenges of having many children close together in age is that they all hit the teenage years at the same time. Now, three of our four children are boys and if you have any boy teens, you know that they are going through massive growth spurts and physical changes. That means that most of their day is filled with eating: breakfast, after breakfast snack, mid-morning snack, pre-lunch, lunch, after-lunch dessert, mid-afternoon snack, mini-meal, late-afternoon snack…and I could go on and on. Needless to say, I had to find clever ways to extend our meal budget to feed them while still trying to provide a semblance of healthful foods. One of the ways I did this was to have a “leftover” pizza night almost each week. Whenever we had any leftover meat, whether it was roast beef, chicken or even lunchmeat, I would quickly hover over it, claiming it as my own for tomorrow night’s dinner. In the same way that Gollum would huddle over “my precious,” when there was a lull in the dinner feasting, I would quickly swoop in with my arms, cradling the main course and say, “Dinner is over and I am saving