To Conference or Not to Conference

Apparently it’s homeschool conference season. Everyone is going to one or planning one. I’ve been reading about the options and considering pros and cons.

There’s the big GHC conference in Cincinnati next month.  Because it’s so big, the registration is very reasonable.  At least one online friend will be there, and it would be great fun to meet her and get to chat in person. They have a classical track of speakers which will be fantastic, no doubt. And Andrew Peterson in concert! Tempting. Continue reading

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One of Those Days

It’s been one of those days. The weight of responsibility of parenting, and of homeschooling, has been heavy. Today it feels like I’m failing at all of it.

All the kids have struggled with math this year. I thought we did fine with math all the other years.  But this year, suddenly: math issues all around. Apparently I’m a terrible math teacher.  Abby wants to go to private school next year and she has to get Pre-algebra straight before she goes into Algebra I.  The pressure is on me.

I attended a webinar last week about parenting tweens. I shouldn’t have done it. I knew it was going to make me feel terrible. You know how sometimes you just know? The woman who presented is very sweet and sincere, she wouldn’t intend to make anyone feel this way, but my kids are extremely different from hers, our family dynamic is not at all the same, and I’ve felt like a failure ever since.  So, basically I paid someone to make me feel bad about myself.

A variety of other accusations are flying around in my head. Your kids spend too much time online. They fight too much. No one likes to read. How am I raising kids who don’t read? How did I fail at that?

I don’t have a happy hopeful twist here. This isn’t that kind of post.  This is just where I am today. But tomorrow is another day. I press on.

In happier news, the neighbor who hollered at me through the window the other evening came over today to apologize, saying he’d had a long day last Saturday. He brought a dog treat for Miley and said he was baking a dessert for the rest of us. That was awfully nice of him, wasn’t it? Maybe we’ll all get along after all.

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Saturday Stories

How is Saturday almost over already? I need another one. My task list is so long, and the days are so short. I have tried to shift some of the housework to other days – and to other people – younger, smaller people – but still…the Saturday list is unconquerable. And I have no patience. I look around and want it all done NOW. Why haven’t we organized the basement yet? The garage? Why isn’t anything hung on the walls? Why does the bathroom trash look like a carefully orchestrated game of tissue Jenga is being played against the corner wall?

But, alas, all those things did not get taken care of today. I did go to the commissary. In Pensacola if I had to go on Saturday I tried to get there when it opened because after about 9:00 it would be slammed all day. Lines back to the frozen section. This morning the parking lot looked like this at 9:30.

I can’t say I mind!

After that I attended a webinar for the Pillar Book Club. I joined Pillar in great excitement at the beginning of the year, but it’s been a bit of a disappointment. We all read a book, and then there’s a webinar once a month. But instead of discussion the leader gives a lecture. Which is not as engaging as I’d hoped.  He could learn a thing or two from the Close Reads podcast, which is one of my favorite things in life right now.  I mean, they came out with mugs and I bought one even though it cost about 4 times as much as I’d normally pay for a mug.

Today was also Fix the Bad Haircut Day. Three cheers for that! I googled “curly hair” and the name of my city, looked at a few reviews, and made an appointment.  I got a Deva Curl Cut (a dry cut, Jen!) which fixed the shape of my hair, plus they sold me some products. I was grateful and helpless.

The weather has turned gorgeous and the kids – two of them, anyway – have played outside much of the day. Wayne is working on building shelves in the garage, so I guess progress is being made on that front.

I met our next door neighbor tonight.  He was in his backyard with his daughter, and Miley was barking at them through the open window. I let it go a little while, because honestly, she’s a dog and dogs bark, but then I went to get her to stop. And he called to me through the window! “She’s not going to bark at me in my own yard is she? I don’t want to feel like an intruder in my own yard.”

Dude I’m sorry, and I’ll try to keep her from barking, but seriously, how much nerve do you have to have to chastise a neighbor that you haven’t even met yet through her open window because of what a dog is doing inside her own house?

Prediction: He is not going to be my favorite neighbor.

Have a lovely Saturday evening. May your list be short and your neighbors chill.

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Haircut Woes

Part of moving is finding all the new places: doctors, dentists, hair salons. I basically chose a doctor’s office at random; we’re rarely sick so I’m not that picky. (We’ve already been to the doctor twice, though. Abby needed a referral and Ben put a bead deep in his ear. And actually the doctor’s office messed up the insurance claims for both. So much for random choices.)

But for a hair salon, you need a recommendation. So one day after church I asked the woman I’d been chatting with if she could recommend a stylist. She gave me a name and number, and I made an appointment for a cut and color for me, and a cut for Abby. We went yesterday.

The lady was very nice, and her prices were extremely reasonable.  But it didn’t go well.

Abby’s cut was…okay. She showed the stylist a picture of a short cut styled with light waves. The stylist straightened Abby’s hair and repeatedly suggested that Abby could curl it at home to get those waves.  Neither of us understood why she didn’t curl it herself. But whatever.

Me, on the other hand.  My color turned out fine. My cut did not.

I mean, it’s not terrible. I had several inches taken off, because it’s so dry up here and I felt like I needed to lose some dead length.

But she obviously didn’t know how to cut curly hair. When she styled it, she couldn’t get it to curl. Like, at all. I got nervous. Then she decided to straighten it. I hate having my hair straightened.

It was a little better after I did it myself, curly, but the ends are still too thick.

Also? Those little pieces sticking out underneath? I specifically told her that those pieces would stick out if she didn’t cut them shorter. No stylist ever believes me the first time I tell them that.

Curly hair has a mind of its own. It will mess with you.

She did say that if I had any trouble with it, I could call her and she’d fix it. Why do they always say that? You messed up my cut. You don’t get to cut my hair again.

And now I need another recommendation for a stylist.  I guess I’ll ask someone with curly hair this time.

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Overhaulin’ When A Tweak Will Do

When you realize something in your life isn’t going the way you want it to, do you ever decide to scrap the whole system and institute something completely new?

Please tell me I’m not the only one.  I’m just realizing that I do that.  And with some frequency, actually.

When I decide we’re not reading aloud enough in our homeschool, I start looking at literature-strong programs – usually Ambleside or Sonlight. All those books! Scheduled and everything! If we switched to those we would just read and read and everything would be perfect.

And then I start to really think through implementing a completely different curriculum, with a completely different philosophy, and (after spending hours online) I come to the conclusion that I like my current curriculum, because I agree with its philosophy, and if I want us to read more we could…wait for it…just read more. Continue reading

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Spring Break: Acceptable Progress

I really want to blog regularly, but I just cannot seem to make time to do it. I also want to read blogs, but days – sometimes weeks – go by and I don’t even open my feed app! It’s all very Romans 7.  At any rate, here I am again.

We’ve been on Spring Break this week. I was feeling burned out and weary from school, and also overwhelmed with house tasks. When you move – or at least when I move – the first level boxes get duly unpacked and the essentials are put in their places rather quickly. We have to eat, sleep, shower, do school. But by the time you make all those decisions, you are sick of boxes (and decisions) and mostly just wondering why you even have all this stuff. And so it gets shoved in a corner and ignored for a few months.

This week was supposed to be about unpacking those boxes, finding homes for their contents, buying needed furniture, and making some attempt to decorate. Continue reading

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Bullet Journal: One Notebook to Rule Them All

I did it, ya’ll.

I bought a bullet journal.

My systems have been digital for 3, maybe 4 years. Before that I always had a calendar on the kitchen wall, sometimes one in my purse, too, though I could never find a planner that did everything I wanted it to do. A few years ago – several phones back – I decided to put everything on my Google calendar, which has worked because it’s simple and all my stuff is Google; also because Wayne and I can share calendars. We don’t often need to, but we can.

I’ve used a variety of digital productivity apps. Generally I use something for awhile, Gtasks or Todoist, and then eventually life feels overwhelming in some way and I waste spend an afternoon researching apps and systems because ISTJ, people. If something is wrong in my life, it must be the fault of the system.  Obviously the system. Not me. Ahem.

But I’ve been watching the bullet journal stuff float around for awhile, and thought it might be nice to rely less on my phone, but also to keep the contents of my brain in one place. And to have a customized calendar system, although I still plan to use my digital calendar.

I looked at notebooks online, and in about 4 stores, but, frugal minimalist that I am, in the end I decided to go with a simple and cheap composition notebook with grid paper.

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Continue reading

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