Monday, April 29, 2013

aren't you just lazy?

So, people give you some pretty weird looks and comments when you mention that you are unschooling. Many people aren't even sure what that is and it really just sounds like lazy parenting to them.

*You aren't making your kids do 50 math problems a day??  That is basically child abuse!
*How on Earth will they actually learn anything?
*Do you even bathe your kids?
*That's just laziness. Real parents sit down and force learning on their kids!

Babies learn. Think about the incredible amount of things your baby learned in that first year!!  Just in the first year!

Why do we think natural learning stops? Why do we think we need to turn our children over to the government for proper teaching? And why do we think the best way to learn is through boring repetition and useless information?

As I have said before, I had to memorize the entire periodic table in seventh grade. I have not used it since. I don't need to know the atomic weight of Francium.

So, why learn this stuff? Why make our kids learn it? Because the government said that is what they need to learn? I'm sorry, but that isn't good enough for me.

My kids are learning. They are learning a lot. The difference is that they are learning what they are passionate about. And we are relaxed about it. I'm not worried that Super J (6) isn't where his friends are in math. He is way ahead of them in Science and Nature- because that is what he is passionate about.

We will get to the things we need to learn. We will cover the stuff that it is important. And we will do it in a way that works for them.

We are learning about money by using it. Going to the store. Comparing prices. Talking about wise spending and saving. Not by looking at some numbers on a worksheet.

We are learning science by doing it. We experiment every day. And the kids are constantly in the kitchen with me- mixing, measuring, experimenting.

Can they go to college like this? You betcha! Will they want to? I have no idea. If their passion requires it, sure. If not, they could just go into an internship or something similar. Or trade school.

They have plenty of choices. And they are more involved in their education and have more freedom than any public schooler.

Is it lazy? Not at all. In fact, it requires a lot more work at times. I have to find ways over and over to learn about the same passion. My son is obsessed with animals. And we have done every animal project I can think of. And every day I have to come up with new ones.

So, go ahead. Judge us if you want. We are too busy learning and having fun to worry about it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I have heard from several people lately about silent lunches.

What kind of lunches??

Apparently, now children are being asked to sit boy girl boy girl at lunch. And to eat without speaking.

Some schools are playing music. Wow. That's great. That really makes up for taking away what tiny bit of freedom these kids already have. Music. Stellar decision there, powers that be. But don't talk during that music. Or you will get punished.

They say it is for safety and so the kids will actually eat and not get up.

I'm just disgusted. The schools already have too much power over little kids anyway. And now they are taking away one of the tiny little perks of the day.

Lunch should be fun! You should get to hang out with your buds. Joke around. Trade food.

But, no dear public school. Let's just suck the fun out of lunch, too.

Friday, April 26, 2013

In the works

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you miss most of your life. ~Buddha

So, this is what I'm working on. I've been working on it for a long time.

I got that piece of advice a few years ago from a dear friend regarding my, at that time, business. What ever you are doing- do it. Be there. Be fully present playing with your kids. Be fully present in working. Be where you are.

I have a bit of an addictive personality. I don't mean that I have ever truly dealt with a debilitating addiction such as drugs or anything like that. But I easily get sucked into things. I used to play SIMS before I had kids and I would get so wrapped up that I would play for hours! I would play at living. How dumb is that?

Electronics are a suck for me. They reel me in. And I use my phone take pictures to document our lives. So, I'm not going to put that one down without a struggle.

But I'm trying to step away. To ignore the ding of the new message. To ignore what every one else is doing on facebook.

I still check. Frequently. But I'm spending less time there. I'm there for a couple of minutes.

And then I'm back to slaying dragons. Or planning a zoo. Or giving belly kisses.

I love those belly kisses.

Now, I can't be fully present when doing anything else. I'm a mom. So, I have little ones hanging off of me and needing me while I make dinner or clean or fold laundry or do anything else.

So, I'm trying to take time for me, too.  It's a challenge, but I feel like we need to recharge. We need to be there for ourselves, too.

And now the baby is up. And that belly won't kiss itself.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

follow up to warts

Well, y'all sure know how to make a gal feel better! Thanks so much for all the encouragement!

We did a lot of talking while Super J was sitting at the table. We talked on and off all day. He was there for hours. He did have books to read, but nothing else.

Oh, and I don't think it helped that I am running on little sleep. Sugar Britches is still teething like a bear! I didn't sleep more than 30 minutes consecutively the night before this incident. And she has been crazed like this at night for more than a week.

The Mad Scientist came home and talked with him.  Then during dinner we talked in front of him. I wanted him to see the heartache this caused and see the process of us trying to parent.

Other than pretty mild stuff, he really has never had to be punished. I thought last week after the violent episode, he had enough. But there is obviously still something going on.

A friend and I were talking. She thinks Super J is trying to gain some independence. (He is special needs and has had to have more help during his life than most- for instance, he still can't ride a bike.) I asked him and he said that was it. But I'm not sure if that was really it or if he was just saying that because I asked him. It make sense, but I'm not positive.

We talked and talked more.  I explained to Super J that he has a right and obligation to question authority- even us. But he needs to be careful in the manner in which he questions. Questioning is good. Being rude and hateful are inexcusable.

We decided that the "grounding" was sufficient, but we did take away outside playtime with friends for the next two days. (One of his favorite things.)  There was a lot of crying and talking and crying and talking.

He says he gets it. He realizes how much his words and actions have hurt me lately. He is a very kind-hearted person.

I hope we are there. I hope he understands. I don't want to go through this again.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Warts and all

Super J (6) is going through something. I'm not sure what is going on with him.

Usually he practically has a halo following him around.

But lately? He's started with these little snide comments and some rude behaviors. Last week he even physically attacked me.

This kid is darn near perfect, so I really haven't known what to make of it.

And today? Well, today we got kicked out of Fernbank Museum.

We went there to meet some new homeschool friends. He had a couple of moments where we were having some issues. Nothing too major, though. He had run off and when I tried to talk to him about it, he was very, very rude to me. I told him that he lost treats for the day because of it.

Later, when it was close to time to go, he said he wanted to see an exhibit for a second time. We were taking the last of the friends left on the trip to see the star display. I told him that if he was nice during that time that we could certainly go back to the exhibit again.

He wasn't.

I very matter of factly told him we had to go and couldn't do anything else, because he was choosing to be unkind.

He started getting very upset and said he was going back to the exhibit himself. The elevator came. I calmly told him to get on the elevator, that it was time to go. He grabbed the stroller and started jerking it around screaming that we were staying. A security guard was on the elevator. He stepped out and helped me get in.  At this point (with other people on the very tiny elevator), Super J started screaming. Ear drum bursting, paint peeling, screaming.

I apologized to the other riders.

As we exited the elevator, he laid on the floor and continued to wail. I very calmly held his arm and started pulling him. Tornado started crying from sheer fear of Super J melting down. Sugar Britches started crying. And the security guard continued to usher us out the door and down the steps to the parking lot.

He remarked how calm I was. I looked at him and said, "this is not the good type of calm".

At the car, I had to nurse the baby. Super J was asking for a leaf he had found. This was the first time I turned on him. I told him that we had just been physically removed from a building for his behavior and he better not dare ask me for a single thing.

Great job, mom!

On the way home, I stopped for a rare treat of a drink for tornado. I refused to let Super J have one. I was trying to demonstrate that he didn't get rewarded for poor behavior.

Probably not the best parenting move.

Once we got home, I have made him sit at the dining room table with only books.

I'm hurt. I'm heartbroken at the things he has said to me lately. I don't know what to do.

This is not the way I want to parent, but I don't know what to do.

I don't think he can be allowed to treat people this way.

We have talked a lot.

But we talked a lot after the violence last week. And apparently, it didn't help.

This is me. Warts and all.

Fighting through this parenting thing pretending I know what I'm doing. When I don't have a clue. I'm second guessing myself all the time.

Wanting to give leniency and not wanting to raise a little person that is disrespectful and hateful and horrible to other people.

Wanting peace and finding discord.

Wanting love and being told I'm unlovable.

And trying again tomorrow.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.

I am SO sorry for the blog neglect. I am not going to lie. That exchange kicked my tail. It was literally hours and hours and hours worth of work. Totally worth it! But still a ton of work. I just did not have time to do any posting. My apologies! But I will get back to it now that the exchange is mostly done.

In the ever present responses to "oh you homeschool?", one that I get is "I could never do that. I'm not smart enough."

A lot.

So, let me get this straight. The very same system that spit you out after twelve plus years made you "not smart enough" to educate your own child. The very same child that you know better than anyone else in the universe. This child that you watch every day. This child that you know all their quirks and what they are interested in and what they are passionate about. And you can't teach them.

That system failed you. But you think that system is good enough for your child.

Instead of making the world bigger to learn, you made your child smaller to conform. To regurgitate.

And you are trading your child's childhood for that system.

You aren't smart enough. You know what?

Neither am I.

But I will not put my kid into that system. I don't want them to grow up "not smart enough".

We will learn together. The system failed me.

It will not fail my kids. And neither will I.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On a more positive note...

Do you practice positive thinking? Do you implement into your schooling?

I'm a huge believer in positive thinking. I read a book about it when I was in my early 20s and immediately started using it.

And it changed my life.

I was not in a good place back then. And I had a lot (A LOT) of damage to undo.

But I started changing my life simply by changing my mind. I started slowly changing the way I thought about things. It was really difficult at first. And nearly two decades later, it can still be tough. It is really easy to fall into mental traps.

For instance, it is hard to think in your head you have extra money coming in when you are worried about how you are going to pay rent. Or it is hard to think about how relaxed you are when you are super stressed.

But the more you practice, the more you see the rewards and the easier it is to have the faith to see that it works.

I was in a bad relationship when I started. And then I brought my husband into my life.

I was very, very sick with lupus when I started. I took 27 pills a day and was barely able to function on many days.  I haven't taken anything in years for lupus and have very few bad days.

The good news? You don't even have to really believe what you are telling yourself. Just keep saying it. Over and over. a mantra.

Some of my current mantras (some of these are constants and some are just reflecting issues that are going on right now):

We have a great marriage.
I am a peaceful parent.
We are happy.
I am a great mom.
We are healthy.
I am neat and organized.
I am a money magnet.
I am calm and relaxed. (Kind of goes with the peaceful parent one.)

These are the types of things I say to myself. A great time to say them is when you are falling asleep or when you are waking, in that twilight stage. I say them all the time, but I try to make it a point to say them during these times in particular.

"I AM" are the two most powerful words in the universe. What ever you say after those two words creates your reality.  What you speak about or think about is what you bring about.

The other good news? It is never too late to start creating your new reality! You can write your own happy ending!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood..

We live in a strange neighborhood. We chose this neighborhood for its diversity. We didn't want to have our kids grow up in an all white, all Asian, all anything neighborhood. When we drove through this neighborhood, we knew we had found what we wanted.

The houses that are immediately surrounding us are inhabited by a Pakistani family, a Somalian family, Jamaican and black and German. We get some really great food!!

Most of the people are fairly recently immigrated to the US. (Within the last 10-15 years.) Many of them do not even speak our language.

It is a plethora of sights and smells and customs. I love that part of it.

One thing we did not bargain for was the way other kids are raised. There is virtually no parental supervision. I'm all for letting kids have freedom. But you don't come into my yard without proper behavior.

A great many of these kids have very, very few toys. (Not because they can't be afforded, but because they are a waste of time.) Many of them don't celebrate the same holidays. So there are no Easter baskets or Christmas trees.

So, our house is like a magnet. Which is fine. Except when kids come into our yard with rude or bullying behavior.

There is one boy in particular. We'll call him W. When we first moved to the neighborhood he was less than a year and a half old. We saw him every day for hours and hours (seriously like four to six hours) outside riding a big wheel with a bottle. BY HIMSELF!!  We have lived here for seven years and I only found out that he had a mother that lived with him LAST WEEK!

I kind of have a love/ hate relationship with W. I feel very sorry for him and try to extend him some of the attention that he doesn't get at home. But the behavior. It kills me! When he was six years old he was in my yard talking about sex! He is very rude much of the time and he, just to be honest, can get on my nerves.

We offered to take him to the zoo with us this week. (I saw his mother for the first time in almost seven years of living here.) 

It started off well, but then turned into a huge sense of entitlement. "Get me this!" and "I want that!" Which I would understand, if he were spoiled. But he isn't. I kept trying to explain that this was rude behavior and not appreciated, but it continued. Finally I cut the trip a little short and we just left.

I had such high hopes that it would go well and we would be able to take him on other adventures and show him other experiences.

But I don't think I will be offering to take any of the kids anywhere after that.

I know this is kind of rambling, but it would take forever to give the whole story of the neighborhood. I hope my point came across.

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Beat That Child"

In an effort to branch out and meet new homeschoolers, the kids and I drove WAY far away last week to attend an impromptu meet up at a park.

It was a bust.

There were other people there, but neither the kids nor I made any new friends. In fact, the other kids were down right rude at times.

Super J (6- closer to 7) went up to a little girl and simply said "hi". She turned around and screamed, yes screamed, in his face "I DON'T CARE!!!!"

So, it was what it was. I told them I wish things had turned out differently but we came all this way, so let's just enjoy the park. We ran around and played and snacked and had a decent time.

After we had been there for quite awhile, there were only two other adults besides me at the playground. Well, there was another set of parents, but they were in the parking lot washing their car while their son spit at Tornado (almost 4) and told him he was going to punch him in the face. Nice. (yes, I intervened. He ran off somewhere in the parking lot.)

So, I could hear the other two parents pretty well. They were fairly close to me and talking fairly loud. They didn't know each other but had just met at the park.

I must have heard the phrase "beat that child" at least eight times. WHAT???? Not only can I not imagine "beating" my child, but to BRAG about it????  To someone you just met?? What is wrong with people!?!?!? They were smoking and cussing and talking about beating children to make them behave and act properly.


One of their children (she just so happened to be the little girl that yelled at Super J for saying "hi") was going around telling the other children she was "pissed". She is four.

Great plan you have there ladies. I can see how that is working out really well. Let's just beat those children into submission. If they don't do what you want them to do, just bully them. I'm sure they will learn some really wonderful lessons there.

I was beat as a kid. I'm adopted now, but my bio dad and step mom used to beat me pretty good.  It was very, very effective as a learning tool.  Know what I learned?


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm not perfect...

So, guess what y'all? 

I'm not perfect. (The title kind of gave it away, huh?)
My house is a mess. And I mean a mess. As in a "I'm completely overwhelmed and will just ignore it because I don't know where to start" kind of mess.

My daughter is almost 8 months old and our room together is no where close to being completed. Granted, I didn't know I was having a girl, but still.

My To Do list is impossibly long. Even if I had three weeks straight of no children and needed no sleep, I'm not sure I could make a good dent in it.

Sometimes I'm just too tired to do anything.

Sometimes my lupus gets the better of me and I spend a lot of the day sleeping. Like today.

Sometimes I don't want to be responsible for every bite that is consumed in this household.

Sometimes I let the kids eat junk.

I second guess myself. And third guess and fourth guess....

I worry about doing what is best for my children.

I'm not perfect.

But I'm trying to forgive myself for these imperfections.  Where has this idea come from that we need to be all things to all people all of the time?  Why do we inflict this upon ourselves? I know it would be easy to blame society (or pinterest!!), but it really is self inflicted. If we all stopped doing it, the pressure from society would be gone.

Because some days I do get some cleaning done. A small victory, but I'm trying to take it.

One day I will have a great girl room for my little Sugar Britches and me to make some fond memories.

Even when I'm tired, I still get a ton of stuff done in a day. Just the sheer amount of  questions and Mommy can you's that I do are enough to knock anyone out.

Most of the times I like being able to say that I feed all of these people.

Sometimes it is okay to eat junk. Even if it is just because mommy is too lazy to cut up an apple.

I will always second guess and worry. But I guess that means I'm doing my job.

Homeschoolers choose a hard road. Not that anyone else has an easy road. But it is really hard to not ever have time to do things like clean or go to the dr while kids are in school.

I have three kids. I know a lot of people have more and do more. But I don't need to compare myself to them. I just need to realize that I'm trying to do the best I can with three kids.

I am not going to strive for perfection.

I'm only going to strive for greatness. And I'm going to keep working on forgiving myself when I fall short of the mark.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Smarty Pants Exchange Update

Hi! I know some of you follow us on facebook (Sweet T Homeschool) and you are aware of the complete explosion that has taken place with the exchange. But I did want to post a little update here, just for those who haven't been over to our page.

I had every intention of getting all the pairing information emailed out on April 1st. (This was NOT an April Fools joke! Promise!)

But then we had more and more and more and more people sign up! I really hate to turn anyone away. People have been so nice and excited! I just couldn't say "no".

So, I'm a little behind! I do hope to have all the pairing done by this weekend and will start emailing everyone their partner(s). 

We have about 135 families participating- some of these doing up to 5-6 packages!!!  I am sorting all the info and will be pairing as close in age and as far in geography as I can. I'm also trying to accommodate the special requests!

I plan to do this twice a year- Spring and Fall. And, believe me, I have learned a lot! Next time I will be more organized and prepared!

Thank y'all so much for playing!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

You are missing out!

When you decided to homeschool did it ever bother you about what your children would miss out on by not going to public or private school? It bothered me. Even though I don't really remember much of what I learned in school and I was bullied and picked on, I started waxing sentimental about all the fun experiences my kids would not be a part of by staying home.

Oh! They will miss out on the Valentine's Exchange!

And what about Field Day?? That is only the best day of the whole school year!!  (The last day of school being a close second!)

Prom! AGH! They won't go to prom!

I remember going to The Fabulous Fox Theater to see my first movie: Helen Keller, Miracle Worker.

Does anyone see a pattern with this? After a week or so of being really distraught that I was ruining the lives of my children by keeping them from these wonderful experiences, I saw a pattern. Never once was I upset about them missing any of the learning experiences that I had. I was concerned about the fun things. I never thought, "Oh dear! They will miss out on memorizing the Periodic Table!" Ugh! I remember having to be able to fill that whole chart in from memory in seventh grade. That little life skill REALLY helped me out in the future. Before I could open a bank account, I was asked to fill in the Periodic Table from memory. AND before I can order at my favorite restaurant, I am required to give the atomic weight of Francium. I use it all the time!

Oh, I got sidetracked!

And then I realized something even better! My kids won't be missing anything!!  They will be doing! My kids will have their own experiences! The field trips were so exciting because we got to go once per year! We were like prisoners on road side trash duty! Whoooo-hoooooo!!  Fresh air!!  Change of scenery!!!! 

My kids get to go on field trips at least once per week.

My kids will get to go to prom. It might not be a prom with 700 other students, but it will be a prom.

My kids exchanged Valentine cards with friends this year. And bonus: they exchanged them while on a field trip to the fire station!

And this week? Well, my kids are attending a homeschool field day. And that won't even be close to the best school day of the year.

We are making our own memories. Will they be like mine? No. They will be better!

Friday, March 29, 2013

It builds character...

My boys got a first hand lesson in building character yesterday.

They actually got two.

Someone said something very unkind to me. And my feelings were hurt. That was the first lesson. They got an up close view of how your words and actions can hurt others. They saw mommy cry and be very upset. (I admit that I'm sensitive, so maybe it was a bigger lesson than it would have been with someone else.)

Next, they got to see me respond. I asked them how I should respond. Both of them said I should be mean back. They both thought that I should hurt the person that hurt me. And this is where I got to have a very good discussion with them about what that would accomplish.

Me: How do you feel when you are mean to someone?
Super J: bad.
Me: And, yet, you think my response should be mean. Just like the person was mean to me.
Super J: But they were mean to you! They hurt you.
Me: Yes, they did. But if I'm mean back then we are both wrong. If I treat them with kindness, then I will have nothing to feel bad about. But if I am mean to them, I am no better than they are. We would both feel bad. And I would rather go to bed tonight knowing that I was above that.

It was a tough lesson- for me at least! :)  But one that I'm glad I get to teach them. I know there are a lot of bullies and mean people out in the world. I would rather they get to see it with my guidance than getting a lesson from school.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The weather is thwarting my science

Super J, Tornado and I are trying to do an science experiment with seeds. We have been simulating an underground environment to watch seeds sprout.

We have used various kinds of seeds/ beans with the best results yielded from pumpkin seeds. See those beautiful sprouts?

Well, they should have gone into the ground long before now. But the weather in Georgia has decided it is possessed. Our temps should be in the mid to high 70's by now. We've had snow the last few days. We rarely get snow even in the dead of winter. So, now the roots are all tangled along the bottom. It makes for a very interesting research project. I just hope we can get them in the ground before it is too late. And maybe one day get some actual pumpkins out of them!
It has been really neat to watch them sprout and grow.
If you want to try this experiment, here are the directions:
*Soak seeds in water overnight. (or beans. As I said, we had great results with pumpkin seeds.)
*Place wet paper towels in a clear cup. You don't want soaking wet. That yields moldy seeds. Trust me.
*Place seeds between the paper towels and the cup. Hide them in the dark and watch them start to sprout after a few days. The amount of time to sprout depends on the seeds.
We are also doing lemon seeds, but they are sprouting at a very slow pace. I would love to have a lemon tree! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Getting Messy

Oh, the art of getting messy! It is so much fun. The problem is that it is just so, well, messy.

I think it is a hard internal fight to allow kids to get messy. I mean outside is fine! Just don't bring that craziness inside.

But it is such a beautiful learning experience. And when you homeschool, there aren't really that many other options for a flour covered kitchen or to get glitter in your hair. You have to do most of that at home.

I know it is easier to sit at a table with a neat work book and read about homemade crackers or how to make play dough or construct a volcano.

But your kids will learn more by doing. Our children need to get their hands in there! They need to have the mud squish between their little stubby toes. Life is not a workbook. Life is an experience. And in order to live it you need to experience it! Not just read about it.

And think of all that messy bonding that awaits!

Go forth and make a mess!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Get Away From Me!!

So, I'm starting to notice that we have been together a little too much. Has this happened to anyone else? We love each other dearly. And the two boys have always had very little in the way of sibling squabbles. But lately? It seems as if all of us are clamoring for a chance to get away from every one else. Including me.

I had never really thought about this before homeschooling. But now I'm trying to figure out ways to give every family member some space. The boys even sleep together. I think this 24/7 thing is just a bit too much. They are fighting more and just in general we are starting to get on each other's nerves.

I take breaks away from them during the day. Usually just for a couple of minutes. I think I may start trying that with them. I'm not quite sure how I would work that. But I'm thinking on it.

My husband, The Mad Scientist, and I are trying to separate them a little on the weekends, too. But that is hard, because we really value that time as family time.

They want to play/ learn together. They don't want to be away from each other. But sometimes they just can't stand each other any longer.

I'll let you know if I come up with any brilliant ideas.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Don't Forget!!!!!!

There is just a little over one week left to sign up for the Smarty Pants Exchange! I'm really hoping for some more entries! And some from farther off places! :)

We are really excited about it!! 

Quick review of the exchange:

You can sign up for as many packages as you would like to exchange!!

Email the following information:

Please include: Names and ages of the children that wish to participate
Number of packages you wish to exchange
Email address
Please list any household allergies in case the family
shipping your package would like to send food items.

Please join us for a fun way to learn about other places and for your children to connect with others!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

day trip (part two)

Once the tour started, we we guided around the zoo learning all kinds of interesting facts about the animals. Our first stop was the porcupines (I can't remember what specific kind, but they were the second largest rodent in the world!) and a beaver that hated water!


We saw all manor of animals! I was very surprised by the number of surrendered "pets" that were residents of the zoo. The darker colored timber wolf in the above picture was some one's idea of a dog. And when their "dog" ruined their furniture, they weren't happy with her. The guide mentioned several animals used to be pets. Sad.
At the last part of the tour, we got to hold and pet and get up close with a few animals! This is the point where my phone decided it would hold no more pictures! My husband has quite a few on his phone, but here are some that I was able to get. (As I was frantically trying to delete photos to get more!)

Our last bit of the tour was a big surprise to us! We were privileged to witness wolf training! Two young timber wolves were brought out and trained right in front of us! And, then much to our delight, we were welcomed up to pet and take pictures with them! I can not even begin to describe this!  The pictures do not do them justice- these wolves are huge beasts! They are so majestic and flawless. And, I couldn't believe this, but there was no fear! I was right with them- being licked in the face, my fingers being nibbled all while holding seven month old, Sugar Britches.  They were very interested in her, and even then I had no fear. They would lick her and sniff her and I just knew that none of us were ever in any danger at all. It was one of the neatest experiences of my life. We got to spend about 45 minutes total with the wolves.


And to end a just perfect day, we saw a winery on the way out. We stopped and picked up a couple of bottles of some local yumminess!
The only bad part? It ended all too soon! Next time we will stay for a weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day trip

This past Sunday, our little family embarked on an adventure!  We drove about an hour and half North of us into the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains to a little town called Cleveland.

Our first stop was Babyland General. This is where all Cabbage Patch babies are born. I had never been before and while it was interesting, it was really just a giant gift shop. I can't wait to take Sugar Britches when she is older, though! It was a lot of fun to get to see a baby being "born" and to see all the different dolls. Many of the original dolls on display there are worth $15,000! Makes me wish I still had mine!
Our next stop was lunch. The kids wanted Sonic. They were vetoed. We can eat that junk at home! So, we chose a little country restaurant, Ma Gooch's. It was quite yummy! And the kids were very happy to eat there!
With full bellies, we headed on to the main adventure of the day: a behind the scenes tour of the North Georgia Zoo!!!  It was beyond amazing!!  The zoo was closed except for this tour. We were split into two groups of about 12 or so in a group. While we were waiting to get started, we all wandered around the petting pen area. It was mostly goats, but we also got to pet a zebra and some llamas and tortoises and other interesting animals!


And, of course, some family shots.

 All wearing our green!

Then the tour started. But I feel like this post is already picture heavy (and I didn't even put in near as many as I wanted to do!), so I will continue another day!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

self doubt

There has been nothing like homeschooling to make me doubt myself. Especially in the unschooling arena.

When you have known "school" your whole life, when you have been told what you have to do, what you have to learn, what society deems appropriate- it is hard to change or rebel against that.

When we first decided to homeschool, I recreated a classroom. It was GREAT! For about two days. It just wasn't exactly what we were looking for, I guess. I kept at it for awhile. It wasn't un-fun, but it certainly wasn't the greatest thing ever. It was very forced. But it did work. We were doing some learning and some playing.

And gradually we started shifting. I never set out to unschool. In fact, I was kind of against it for us. But the more pregnant I got and the more newborn baby-mommy I was, well, it just didn't work. And we slowly started to slide towards interest-based learning. Oh, happy mistake!

At first I felt pretty guilty about it. But then it just became so darn interesting! We were learning on our own! Whatever we felt like looking up that day was what we looked up! Our weeks were made up of mostly field trips. We became very hands on learners!

We still aren't totally unschoolers and I'm not sure we ever will be. I still feel a very strong tug from society about what is appropriate for my children to learn. I still worry that on paper they are very different from their peers. And society makes that paper, not me. So, the paper is skewed towards public school kids. If the paper was all about science, my kids would blow the top off of it. But public school kids get science once a week, if they are lucky. If it were geared toward math, we wouldn't be at the top of the paper. My son certainly wouldn't be able to do 30 addition/ subtraction problems in one minute. I would never give him a worksheet and ask him to do that. It gives me anxiety and I'm an adult. I can't imagine what that does to a first grader.

We still do a little "school work". And I'm okay with that. I have a lot of doubt that we are doing the right thing. But isn't a lot of parenting like that? At the end of the day we just jump with a leap of faith and hope that we land on stable ground.

Homeschooling has been the biggest learning experience of my life! Every thing I believed in not so long ago has changed. The more research I do, the more I know that homeschooling is right for us. And our reasons "why" keep changing. What started out as a way to help my special needs son has grown into a lifestyle. A lifestyle that I can't imagine being without. Our home is such a different place now. Sure, there are down sides. But it is overwhelmingly one of the best decisions we have ever made for our family.

Monday, March 18, 2013

To catch a leprechaun

 I've seen many leprechaun traps, but most recently I saw it over at Creekside Learning. The boys and I decided to try to catch us a wee little leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day. They were very, very, very excited at the prospect of having our very own leprechaun to catch and release.
Painting some pennies gold to try to trick the leprechaun.
We covered a shoe box with green construction paper and added some fun things as "bait". Then we put it by the front door as we went to bed.
The boys awoke with much excitement on St. Patrick's Day! They were very nervous to check the box to see if we had a little green leprechaun. But, alas, we did not. He left a note saying that we couldn't catch him, but he did leave some yummy chocolate gold coins for the boys... and a LOT of mischief! Toys were on the ceiling fan, chairs were on tables and there was even green pee in the potty!!  (The boys loved that!) He took our shamrock decorations off our year-round-tree and hung them all over the house!
We had quite a fun time with this! And that little Peevish McMurphy... well, we will try again next year!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a life lesson disguised as science

Lately, we have had a couple of experiments that didn't go exactly as planned. Our dried beans and lemon seeds molded instead of sprouted. Our homemade sidewalk chalk turned out more like play dough than chalk. Things of this nature.

It has given me a chance to talk with my boys about this happening in life. Our best laid plans are often changed due to unforeseen circumstances. It might rain on your outdoor wedding. Or maybe the birthday cake, that you worked so hard to complete, was knocked off the table. Or maybe your beans molded.

Our lesson isn't in the failed experiment. It is in what we do with that "failure". We learn from it. We try to see the sunshine in it. Just as in life. Things go wrong all the time! ALL the time! But if we are constantly looking at what goes wrong, we will never learn from it and see all the things that go right. We adjust and try again.

One of my favorite quotes:

"I didn't fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong." Ben Franklin

Tomorrow we try again.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The World-Wide Smarty Pants Homeschool Exchange!!!

I am so excited to introduce The World-Wide Smarty Pants Homeschool Exchange!!!

Our little family had the brilliant idea to set up a group exchange open to anyone in the world as a way to learn more about other locations AND to meet some new friends! Interested? Keep reading to learn more!

The idea is that you will be paired with someone in another part of the country or even another part of the world from you! Your family will put together a fun learning package about your area and you will send it off to your partner! In the meantime, a package will be prepared and sent to you! Super fun, right??

*This is open to anyone in the world. It is geared toward homeschoolers, but all are welcome!!  (Homeschoolers are cool and welcoming like that!)

*Packages should contain items that will help the recipient learn more about your area- in a fun way!

*Sign up by the end of March. I will send out your partner information the first of April. Ship your package(s) by the end of April. (You may sign up for more than one package exchange.)

Email me:
               Please include: Names and ages of the children that wish to participate
                                        Number of packages you wish to exchange
                                        Email address
                                       Please list any household allergies in case the family
                                      shipping your package would like to send food items.

I'm not sure if the kids are more excited or I am! We really hope to have a lot of participation, so that this will spread all over the world!

(I will post updates on our facebook page. Feel free to keep up to date over there:!/SweetTHomeschool)

Feel free to contact me with any questions!!  Happy homeschooling!!

Something in the works!

The boys and I are working on a project. A world wide project. I'm super excited! (They are, too!)  I can't wait to share with y'all! I really hope this is going to turn out the way we envision!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

you learn something new every day!

I have to say that one of my favorite homeschooling perks is the learning! And I don't mean the kids! I get to learn SO many things! Did you know that an armadillo can jump THREE feet in the air??? Or that a leather back sea turtle can grow to nine feet long? I get to learn all kinds of things about our world. And to remember all that I've forgotten. And I get to do it with some of my favorite people!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Their eyes

The boys, especially Super J, have been getting behind the camera a lot lately. This is some of their shots from our day today. I love seeing the day through their eyes.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Ask a question; get a science experiment

Tornado asked me how to make purple.  This was his answer.

Man, I love homeschool!