Saturday, August 30, 2008

Homeschooling Field Trips

I recently wrote articles about some of the recent field trips we have been on.

Homeschooling Day Trips: Valley Forge

Homeschooling Day Trips: Boston Freedom Trail

Homeschooling Day Trips: Portland, Maine Lighthouses

Homeschooling Day Trips: Fort McHenry

First Day of School........will they remember?

Every year, we start school. There is always a first day. This Monday, we begin our tenth year of homeschooling and, as always, I wonder if the boys will remember what to do. We have been practicing a bit the last few weeks to get them ready. Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and start school. Will this be the year they "get" it? I can only pray. Every morning we go through the same routine....and every morning they wake up as if they have no clue what to do.

This summer we have been talking to other homeschoolers who say their girls do their work all on their own. They read their books and do their work. I admit, I am jealous. ~smile~ I can't imagine what it would be like to have boys who did their work on their own! I have to sit in the room after we've gone over the lesson to be sure they keep working. Oh My! Put on a load of laundry? That few minutes and the classroom situation goes down hill. Spit balls fly and touching begins. I hear the cries, "He looked at me! He's looking at my work!" I say, "You are in different grade levels and classes, so it doesn't matter if he looks at your work! Stop touching your brother!"

Non-homeschoolers usually wonder what we homeschooling moms do, sometimes surprised that our houses are not perfectly clean. One would assume since we are home, the house would be in perfect shape. Oh! That couldn't be further from the truth! While it is clean, it is far from perfect because I have to be on top of the kids all day long. Any noise I make is a no vacuuming, no TV or radio...... and listening to my iPod? Oh, pul-lease...... I get a question at least twice a minute, so that doesn't work. Now you know why I never know what is going on in the news! (I am always the last to know) Summer is a wonderful season and my house is ALWAYS neater than during the school year.

I can usually be found sitting in the classroom during school hours. Sometimes bored as I stare at the boys while they work. At least I can check email! A quiet task that doesn't distract the kids. A friend of mine tells me she sits at the kitchen table with her kids all day long--if she leaves, they fight. It makes me feel good to know that I am not alone! If you have the same issues, you are not alone! If you have boys and they do their work on their own, please tell me how you do it! I'd love to know!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Student Night at the Piedmont Opera 2008-2009

A section has been reserved for homeschoolers and you may now purchase your tickets! Just let them know you would like to sit with the homeschooling group. Call the Box office at 725-7101. Tickets to each individual Opera are available or you may purchase a subscription which includes an extra performance by the NC School of the Arts. Tickets are $3 for children and $15 for adults.

Homeschoolers have the opportunity to purchase subscriptions again this year! This includes 3 performances. The two student nights at the opera and a performance of L’elisir d’amore by the NC School of the Arts. The subscription cost is $27 for adults and $9 for children. (That’s $3 a performance for kids! And $9 a performance for Adults! What a great deal!)

Student Night Dates are:

The Light in the Piazza on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 7:30pm at The Stevens Center.

L’elisir d’amore on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 8:00 pm at the Stevens Center

The Marriage of Figaro on Wednesday April 1, 2009 at 7:30 at The Stevens Center

For more information, please visit the Piedmont Opera Theatre

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For Better Forever

Pastoral Solutions Institute

Wanted to tell you about a great CD by Dr. Gregory & Lisa Popcak that is available through Lighthouse Catholic Media titled "For Better Forever: A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage".

Here is a bit about the Pastoral Solutions Institute:

Whether you want to create a more intimate and godly marriage, celebrate a more faithful and fulfilling family life, or discover the path to a more grace-filled personal life, The Pastoral Solutions Institute can help strengthen and support you on your spiritual and emotional journey.

National Aviation Museum and Wright Brothers Memorial in Dayton, OH

Here at the Wright Brothers Memorial, you can see the field (in the background) where Wilbur and Orville did their test flights in Dayton. North Carolina boasts the first flight and Ohio boasts that they perfected flight there.

Icarus at the Air Force Aviation Museum. It is really odd that both Wright Brothers Memorials and the Air Force Museum have Icarus carvings and statues. One would think they'd pick a figure who had a successful flight......... Hmmmmm

Graeter's Ice Cream

After the boys' bone marrow biopsies, we met some SDS friends at Graeter's ice cream. The best ice cream in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Books, Books, oh joy!

The day the new school books arrive is always joyful. The books actually arrived yesterday, but we were too busy with hospital appointments to open the boxes. The boys were BUGGING me today to open the boxes...I mean BUGGING Me and BEGGING. I sure wish this enthusiasm lasted all year. All three of them went through each and every book. They are all excited about the new history books they have received. Ask me again in a few weeks--I am sure the history book will no longer excite them when they have to read it and answer questions daily. ha ha

Our youngest has some OCD issues and was in a panic because he doesn't like where we have the shelf this year. He had a meltdown when it came time to put his books on his bookshelf. oh My. He told me we needed to move the piano, the desk, the shelf, etc. Homeschooling a child with OCD issues is quite challenging. He has been upset all morning about his book shelf. Lying on te floor, rolling around....and now is putting his books on his shelf in alphabetical order. The other two had their books on their shelves in a minute. :-)Before bed last night, I just stuck his books on the shelf......this morning he's been working on it. Oh My!

Hard to believe that we are starting our tenth year of homeschooling! We will hopefuly be back up and running with exciting homeschooling events soon. Our youngest has a minor surgical procedure in a few weeks in Philly and we are trying to plan some sort of educational field trip.

Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful school year!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Getting ready for school

Joseph's Desk and prayer altar. We moved his prayer altar into the classroom. We still have no idea where to store the telescope.

Sean can now use his Notion music program near the piano -- we got a new computer desk..... which will hopefuly make it easier to get stuff scanned into the computer for Seton.

You can see one of the places the older two do their school work....... the table in the corner.... the sofa has been removed from the main classroom space.... the boys kept fighting over sitting on it.
or they can work here when they need space from each other (stop touching me! He looked at me!)
Henry still lives in the same spot...and gets to hop around the classroom. He has learned to open the top of the cage and hop out if it is left closed but unlocked! Smart bunny!
The chalkboard is in the same place......

Homeschooling Kids with Chronic Illness

I recently published an article titled: Homeschooling: A Good Option for Kids with Chronic Illness

Having kids with a chronic condition like Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome can make homeschooling a challenge. It makes regular school a challenge. We are heading into our tenth year of homeschooling and each year I think to myself, "This is going to be the year we won't have a surgery or several bone marrow biopsies that get in the way of homeschooling. This will be the year we won't have to go to as many doctor visits." Every year, I am proven wrong!

While I know that we will have these events, I want my kids to have a normal life and I think I try to *pretend* that they are normal kids so that we can live as normal a life as is possible. This year is different, though. I really thought we'd have their bone marrow biopsies in just over a week and then be free from hospitals for the rest of the year (she says as she laughs).

We've made it through over 15 bone marrow biopsies on each child, many, many endoscopies, oral surgeries, neurosurgery and other procedures. Several hospitalizations over the years...... so you'd think I'd be used to the ever changing schedule due to medical events. Not so. This fall one of the boys will be having surgery at CHOP, requiring us to arrive many days in advance (due to his complicated case we are told!) ........ I think I have a handle on the bone marrow biopsies. I can even go with the boys by myself and handle two of them going under anesthesia at once. It is the sheer number of things that never seem to end that wear us down. We've got DEXA scans, GI appointments, dentist appointments, eye apppointments, bone marrow biopsies, surgery,rheumatology appointments, travel to hospitals far away (8 hours drive to Cincy and 8 hours to CHOP) to see the best specilists...and the list goes on. Recurrent cellulitis and infections, infusions at home....... (all while thanking God it isn't worse!)

We've realized that we are not succsseful at homeschooling while the boys are at the hospital or having procedures so we have tried to organize for success when we are home. Certainly they do some school work while we are on the road. We listen to books on tape and education CDs in the car, we fit in filed trips to historicplaces and science museums. These are all thing swe can do to get educated on the road. If you look around the blog here, you'll see that we manage to fit in quite a bit of fun and learning into our days.

I truly believe that God will give us all the grace we need to homeschool around these events. We might not be the typical homeschooling family (is there such a thing!?), but God gets us through each day! There is a wonderful group of Catholic moms of Special needs join, send an email to
Sometimes it is nice to talk to those who can understand how tiring it is to spend a summer driving to hospitals around the country, going through various procedures with your kids, etc......

Here's to another year of homeschooling! I know that the Will of God will never take me where the grace of God won't be with me. I hope I can remember that when I start getting stressed out that we are behind due to hospitalizations and medical issues!