Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Reasons for Homeschooling

These are my thoughts that have come from a question Mike asked me a few days ago. We were discussing school options for the boys. He knows I want to homeschool them, but I have had a hard time articulating my thoughts and feelings verbally. I know, you're shocked. But pick yourself up off the floor and keep reading. When he said, "So why does Carody Lynn Kidwell want to homeschool her children?" I thought of a few answers for him, but I wanted to go a lot deeper and really get to the heart of why I feel so strongly about homeschooling.


I would like to have close relationships with my children during their school years, especially when they become teenagers, and generally homeschoolers have more close-knit relationships with their families during their school years than public/private school kids do. I know this is a generalization, but this is just coming from my own observation. Feel free to object and tell me what you think or have observed yourself.

I would like to be able to choose the curriculum that my children learn. If they have completely different learning styles, it would be nice to be able to choose from different curriculum that would be better suited to their individual needs.

I would like our school day and year to not have to revolve around the public school's time table. This would mean more flexible vacation time, and less stressful days for the family.

Nighttime could be spent as family time, rather than just time to get homework done and prepare for the next school day. This would probably change as they get into higher grades, as schoolwork takes longer to complete and they may have to work into the evening, but it could be avoided in the earlier grades.

The kids would be able to spend more time with their dad while they are young, since their homework could be done during the day.

I have read that when kids are in school, so much time is spent on coordinating the kids and going to/from different activities and subjects that not much time (compared with the amount of time per year that is actually spent in school) is spent in actual learning. I know this is highly debatable, but from my experience of being in public and private school, I can fully agree. I would like to be able to focus on learning for a portion of the day (a few hours to start, and longer as the kids get older) and not have their entire days taken up with being shuttled from one activity to the next.

I believe that I can give my children an education that will prepare them for college and the rest of their lives and will enable them to be outgoing, productive, godly people, as well as excellent employees or entrepreneurs.

I believe that when the Bible says "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6) it is telling us that every one of us has things that we are created to be good at ("a child" in the way HE should go, rather than training "children" in the way THEY should go -- I know that some people interpret this verse to mean that we should teach our children Biblical truths and they will not stray from it as they get older, but I don't read it that way), and I think that we as parents should help to develop those traits in our children so that they will have something they can lean on when they get older, whether for income or enjoyment or to further the kingdom of God. I know I would be able to do this even if my kids were in school for a large portion of their day, but if I got to spend so much one-on-one time with each child, how much better could I know them and help them develop these God-given traits?

I would like for my husband and I to be the first people that our children come to for guidance and help in becoming the people God intended them to be. (basically a restatement of the above paragraph)

I would like to eat lunch with my kids every day. :-)

I want to be there to see the look on their faces when they finally grasp a new concept or see something amazing for the first time, and know that I helped them to get to that point.

That's all for now, I'll add more as they come to me, I'm sure!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

I had so much fun at Bonnie's house carving pumpkins two weekends ago. I had never carved a pumpkin before, so it was a crash course. What a great time we had! I never knew just how icky the inside of a pumpkin really is.
We had all sorts of yummy food. Corn on the cob, partially husked. The poor guy at the grocery store didn't realize she wanted the husk ON the cob, and thought he was being nice by husking it for her. We had seen Tyler Florence make corn on the cob just the week before by throwing it husk and all onto a pan and baking it for about 20 minutes. It looked amazing, and you could hold it by the husk to eat it. Well, she had to wrap hers in foil since the husk wasn't all the way on, but it still tasted fabulous!
She had made finger sandwiches that were really yummy. I found out that I like smoked salmon, capers, and something green that I don't remember the name of... help me out, Bonnie.
There was a plate of fresh veggies (blanched asparagus, red pepper slices, baby carrots, and possibly some other things that I didn't taste) with olive oil/herb dip and a creamy Italian dip. I will not attempt to spell what she called the plate of veggies. But the Crew Di-Tay was wonderful. Teehee!
There were crackers and a very spicy, very delicious jabanero/haverto/jalapeno/something cheese. And the spiced apple cider. WELL. That was so good.
Bonnie is an amazing cook! Of course, I had gone to her house the night before while she was making a loaf of pumpkin pound cake, and had to smell it while it was baking. Bonnie also teased me that she had apple cider but I couldn't have any! AND THAT WAS JUST WRONG.
When she said it was time for pumpkin cake at the party, you'd better believe I was the first one out of my chair!
It was such a fun time, and as a door prize we all got a light for the inside of our pumpkins! How cool is that? The boys got a big kick out of turning the light on at night and turning it off in the morning.

In case you can't tell, the picture on my pumpkin is a ghost at the top, and the word "BOO!" on the bottom. No one could tell what it was on first looking at it, so I thought I would explain it.
Good times!

Yeah, They're All Doing Fine

Miles is on antibiotics for his mangled face and also a cream for one of his eyes that had started to swell up. Cleo was given her worming medication, and is as good as new. Gordon's ears miraculously were not swollen on Saturday morning, but we took him in anyway and the vet gave us some drops to put in them, and showed us how to keep the insides of his ears cleaned out so that he won't shake his head like that and hurt his ears again. I am so glad that he won't need surgery!

Now we just have to wait to find out what is up with Griffin. I was wondering today what would happen if it isn't any of the things the pediatrician thought it might be. Griffin has told me several times in a voice filled with wonder that "She made a HOLE in my arm, Mommy." I hope they won't have to make any more holes any time soon. But he loves the little bald eagle finger puppet. To him, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Maybe even better, to Griffin, considering he isn't all that fond of bread. Pancakes, yes. Bread, not so much.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wow, what a week this has been! And today was the doozy. First off, Griffin's lymph nodes, the ones on one side of his neck, have been noticeable since he was about one year old. Well, they seem to get bigger and smaller at various times, but last night I noticed that there seemed to be two (rather hard) lumps instead of just one, and the whole side of his neck seemed to be swollen. Then this morning he woke up complaining that when he swallowed, his throat hurt, so I made an appointment for a few hours later to get it checked out. I had looked online last night, and pretty much read that it could be anything from strep throat to leukemia. Yikes!

Anyway, before Griffin went to the doctor, Mike went to the doctor. He has been fighting a "cold" for the past two weeks, and his boss told him yesterday that it sounded like sinusitis, and that he should probably see a doctor or take Mucinex or something, so he did go in, and, guess what, he has sinusitis and is now on an antibiotic and a decongestant. He slept for almost 5 hours this afternoon, and seems to be feeling better this evening.

So at Griffin's appointment, Dr. S (his pediatrician) checked him over, and they ruled out strep and pretty much any other type of throat ailment. Of course, Griffin HATED the strep test. It took three of us to hold him down. I think the nurse was scared of him, after he blatantly refused to step up on the scale for her so she could weigh him. Well, she kept telling him it was like being on stage! And HOW many people in the world have stage fright?! Okay, so he probably doesn't even know what a "stage" is, unless you are referring to a stage of life that he or Sammy will hopefully soon outgrow; he has probably heard us talking about that kind of stage quite frequently. So anyway, the nurse thought she would need a little help, and when they all trooped into the room to do the strep test, I think he freaked out just a little. I know I would have! So we're all laying on top of him and she's making him gag, and he was talking about her shoving the Q-tip down his throat for the rest of the day.

So anyway, Dr. S decided that it is probably one of three things. Cat Scratch Disease, which doesn't have too many symptoms except for swollen lymph nodes that go away after a few months, or Mono, which she said seems highly unlikely given his "activity level"... yeah, he was misbehaving in the doctor's office, but he had just been lain on and gagged; I think I would have been a bit feisty too... or leukemia, which I hope and pray they will rule out with the blood test they did at the lab they sent us to after leaving the doctor's office.

Dr. S said she felt about 6 or 7 swollen lymph nodes in one side of his neck alone, and the muscle on the side of his neck was being pushed out by the lymph nodes behind it. It sounds painful to me, but Griffin said it didn't hurt.

She looked down his throat and said it really wasn't that red at all, and then she didn't say too much else about his throat, we mostly talked about the swollen nodes.

So now I have this to worry about for the next week until we get the results of the blood tests back. I was thinking about all of the possibilities, and hoping it was nothing life-threatening, and as we were leaving the doctor's office, Griffin turns to me and says, "Mom, my throat still hurts, did they give us some medicine?"

He was absolutely wonderful at the lab. I held him on my lap, and held his little arms down, and he sat so still, except for one minor kicking thing, but the nurse knew how to use her stern voice, and he stopped quite quickly. He loved his Donald Duck band-aid, and the little eagle finger puppet she gave him, and the sucker the lady down the hall gave him as we left the building. He was pretty proud of himself, too, as I told him over and over what a good boy he had been and how brave he was.

Okay, so that's Griffin. And Mike. Who else? Oh, yes. The animals.

ALL of the animals.

Cleo has worms that need to be treated. Yuck. Makes me shiver just to think about them! I wonder if there is an over-the-counter product that is effective enough to get rid of them completely... hmmm... or a natural remedy.

Miles looks like a prize fighter who just lost a fight to someone wearing brass knuckles with spurs on them. Seriously. Do cats do this to each other? It wasn't Cleo (although she does enjoy batting his face around with her claw-free paws), it was probably an animal (cat or possum or raccoon or squirrel) he encountered in one of his not-quite-so-frequent-since-he-got-torn-up outdoor escape episodes. He lost all of the hair on the front and sides of his face, half of his whiskers, and has scratches above his eyes and under his chin. He looks like he has a Roman nose, too. His fur is finally starting to grow back, and the skin is healing -- which makes him look like an alien cat with a pink, wrinkly face and whiskers that need ironing -- all in all, he still looks quite frightful. I'm sure he'll scare away plenty of kids on Halloween.

And then there is Gordon. Just tonight, as I was trying to get his mind off of his growling belly (yeah, we ran out of dog food yesterday, so the poor dog hadn't eaten yet today, but Mike was at the store buying some for him at that very moment), I sat petting him, and of course I reached for my favorite part of the dog-- his soft, silky ears. Well, they are still soft, but in a whole other way. They are both filled with fluid and feel like they have little pillows in them. We were told that this could happen with Great Danes if you don't have their ears cropped. Really, any dog with floppy ears. If they get liquid in their ears, the liquid has a hard time drying up because the big ears are blocking it from evaporating, and the dog shakes their head to get rid of the water, which causes the ears to hit the sides of the head with such force that it breaks blood vessels and causes swelling. It looks like he'll have to have surgery. I am wondering if there is another alternative. The websites I read said that if you leave it alone, the swelling will eventually go down, but the ears will be left looking like raisins. Yikes!

I just can't wait for the vet bill from this one. We'll be taking him and both cats in tomorrow. Griffin's swollen lymph nodes and Miles' face... are they connected? I don't know. I'm hoping I'll find that out tomorrow too.

Well, good night. I need some rest!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My First MOPS Meeting

I attended my first MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) meeting tonight at the church we have been attending for about a month now. It was so much fun, and what a relief to know that there are other mothers, in the same boat as me, who also feel like they are going down in a storm sometimes too. It was good to talk to them... you start to feel like you are the only one who straps your kids into their carseats and drives somewhere -- anywhere! -- just to get out of the house for a moments' peace. Yeah, I did that today. 45 minutes of sweet freedom, even though I was strapped into the car too... figure that one out!

We made a neat craft tonight too, a tile that we pasted a picture onto to make a coaster. Here it is, although this is a bad picture of a picture... I still haven't figured out how to work with the flash on a camera when I'm taking pictures of scrapbook pages or pictures... the flash always shines on the picture and it turns out funky. I just point and shoot, that's how far my photography skills have come! The other picture is one I printed out earlier today, and I'm sure I have it posted somewhere else on the blog, but it never hurts to put such a cute picture on here twice, right?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Autumn Wreath

I had put it off long enough. I have had the supplies sitting in my craft room for weeks. I finally made my fall wreath today. I didn't use all of the flowers I got (the big burgundy ones would have overpowered it), or the viney strand of berries/beads that I was planning on wrapping around the wreath (too complicated to attach), but they will grace some other part of my home in the near future, I am sure.

We also set out the pumpkins our family picked out, and I think it makes a pleasing arrangement. I would love to get a couple of hay bales and some burgundy mums to plant, possibly in some nice pots, but we'll see what happens. Sometimes plans just don't come to pass, but there's no use worrying about it or fretting when it doesn't happen. At least that's what I keep telling myself as I think for the 27th time that day how much I would like this or that thing to happen.

I have been attempting to take time each morning, while the boys watch a VeggieTales or a Bob the Builder movie, to write out the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the date. It doesn't take too long to do, provided the boys aren't terribly restless or in the mood for mischief, and I have been finding that verses will pop into my head at various times throughout the day. Sometimes they are comforting, sometimes condemning, but either way it is nice to know that they are sinking in.

I have been indulging in a cup of some form of caffeine during my morning Scripture time, and I find that I am a much more pleasant person when it kicks in. It has such a calming effect on my nerves, but it also gives me the motivation I need (call it a kick in the pants if you will) to get off my dairy-air -- I know that's not how it's spelled, but it just looks so much better! -- and get things done around the house.

I'm not sure what is up, but lately I have been highly unmotivated to get things done! It is a horrible thing for a housewife to admit, I know, that she feels like she has no reason whatsoever to clean...

How hard is it to move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer? Apparently it is easier to just continue to rewash it when it starts to smell funky.

or cook...

Mike made his famous chicken (barbecue, yumm-o!) and peas for dinner tonight while I laid on the couch and took a catnap (the boys got up at 6 this morning after I stayed up until almost 1 to finish a book I was reading... darn book... was it worth it? 100%). What a man. I think I'll keep him. Love you, Babe.

Griffin has been having a ball these days playing with his big cardboard blocks and a box or two we saved (the box is now laying crushed in the living room after being climbed on all day). It is amazing what happens when you take most of a child's toys away and leave him with only a few. He actually plays with them! Astounding, I know, but it took us a while to figure out. Okay, me. It took ME a while to figure out.

Oh, and one more thing. Sammy wanted me to show you this.