Homeschool Portfolio Review

It’s over.

I survived.

Homeschoolers in Maryland are required to have a portfolio review, generally twice each year, either with someone from the county or from an umbrella school.  The law is fairly vague, requiring evidence of regular and thorough instruction in eight subjects (English, math, social studies, science, art, PE, music, and health).  But the umbrella schools I looked at required more, like a Bible curriculum, and of course you have to pay for the privilege of having someone decide if you’re properly educating your own kids. I decided to take my chances with the county.  It’s free, the law is vague, and I am confident that my kids are getting a fantastic education.  Bring it, county reviewer.

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Pulling Weeds

I never work outside.

Maybe it’s the bad childhood memories. My dad made us help with yard work and he wasn’t exactly pleasant about it.

Maybe it’s the dirt. I’m not a fan of dirt. Or bugs.

Whatever the reason, I’m not one of those women who mows the lawn and we have never had much in the way of landscaping, so I just don’t work outside.

But various flowers have come up in our new yard, planted by the previous owner, and Wayne has moved a few things around in an attempt to clean it up a little. Our neighbors have nice landscaping and we want our yard to look attractive, too.  Recently I noticed an area with lots of weeds and made a mental note : the next kid who sasses me or says they’re bored will be sent out for weed duty, stat!

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Camping with the Cousins

Last weekend we met up with my sister and her family at Eagles Peak Campground in Pennsylvania.

We rented cabins, which unfortunately were on opposite sides of the rather large campground. We got to take long walks whenever we visited one another!

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Bullet Journal Fail

A few months ago, I bought myself a little notebook and declared it a bullet journal.  I used it for a few weeks – a month, I think.  Guess what?

I’m back to digital. Continue reading

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What I Read in April / May

Some books about food, as I (once again) thought about cleaning up my diet:

100 Days of Real Food  – Good ideas about eating foods with fewer ingredients, influenced heavily by Michael Pollan.

The Case Against Sugar – Gary Taubes is such a good writer.  He is so convincing! At first I wanted to throw out anything with sugar lest we be poisoned from its toxicity. But upon further reflection, I just don’t know. Maybe it’s more complicated than that.  We should probably all eat less sugar. But perhaps it’s not to blame for all the world’s woes.

The Obesity Code – More low carb dogma. I was on a roll.

Nourishing Traditions – Fascinating but also strange. Foods made from scratch at home are better for you than processed foods with unpronounceable ingredients? Yes, absolutely, I am with you.  It’s also necessary to soak your grains before cooking/baking them? Hm, I’m not sure. We should eat bone broth and also animal brains? Now you’ve lost me.

I also skimmed/read Grain Brain and The Primal Blueprint, but didn’t “count” them on Goodreads because I didn’t truly read them and I’m an honest girl. 😉  I tried to “go primal” but then I remembered…I ate low carb/keto for two years and didn’t lose any weight to speak of. Also, I love toast. Like, a lot. So I went back to The Every Other Day Diet. Thus the obsessive food reading cycle ends once again. Continue reading

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Blogging More, Blogging Better

…but not more better.

I bought Crystal Paine’s blogging introductory course, since it’s only $7 (today, anyway). Sometimes I think I’d like to improve my blogging. But I actually hate blogs that are obviously monetized — all the pop ups! the constant begging for my email address! the “duh!” topics – so I’m pretty sure I don’t want to create anything like that. But maybe I’ll find some other helpful advice. Probably I just need to write more often. And learn how to take better photos. 😉 Continue reading

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Thoughts on Education in Community

Recently I’ve been listening to some older episodes of my favorite podcast, Close Reads, as they discuss Wendell Berry’s novel “Jayber Crow.” In the episode I heard today, they were talking about the (fictional) town of Port William and how it was dying out at this point in the novel – its very way of life as an agrarian society was disappearing. They discussed how farming is more rewarding when done as part of a community, how there’s an internal satisfaction in doing your work, on your farm, while knowing that your neighbors are doing the same sorts of things on their farms. You plant at the same time, you harvest at the same time. You help each other. You share the experience with the community around you. Tim observed that if you’re working a farm alone, just you and your family, it’s just a lot of hard, often discouraging work.  Living in an agrarian community changes the experience of farming.

Homeschooling can be like that. When I’m alone, isolated, trying to educate my children can be a hard and often discouraging task.  I question myself. I question the curriculum. I question my ability to do this enormous thing. Continue reading

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