Thursday, February 28


Thanks for being part of blog comment week. There's still time to make your comment count! This is the last day of Homeschooling and the Single Parent. So, let me know what you're thinking and vote in the poll. Thanks for your comment about public school, Sarah. I've been chewing on it.

We are wrapping up a really good week. Here’s some shots of our highlights:

Dissecting a Cow Eye – What other 8 year old does this? It was a good experience. Thanks, Jen for doing the dirty work for me! Maybe I can stomach the next dissection… in about four more years.

Reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – We are almost done with the book now. The boys have really loved it. I’m particularly grateful, for many reasons, that B in particular is liking it. We couldn’t stop after chapter 14 yesterday because it was the saddest part and the boys couldn’t leave it there.
J: “Does he stay dead?”
Me: “Isn’t that usually what happens when people and animals die?”
B: “Jesus didn’t.”
How cool is that to have resurrection so much a part of their reality that it’s ALWAYS a possibility? So, of course we had to read on because they knew what was coming and when it did J let out a great cheer.
The diorama project – This is an art project they have actually enjoyed. They wanted to leave their pieces all “unglued” so they can move their characters around and act out the story. You can tell that someone just had to copy someone else…

OMSI – The exhibit of dinosaurs from China is nice. J was sooo gracious to the docent who wanted to explain to him every detail of the history of the planet from an evolutionist standpoint. I could tell he was uncomfortable and the man wouldn’t stop, so I rescued him by calling him away. J said, “Who cares how old these bones are anyway.” I agree. They are really awesome though (we saw a thigh bone taller than B today).

Math – J in particular rarely likes this subject. It makes him think and follow directions… hard stuff, you know. But this week it was clicking and he was surfing through it all. When we went out to eat on Wednesday night I was trying to keep them from get antsy so I “interviewed” them.
Me: “What was your favorite part of today.”
Them: “MATH!”
Me: {scratch my head and stare dumbly at them}
Them: {giggles}

Friday School – We haven’t even been yet (it starts at 8:30) and I already know it’s going to be our favorite day of the week. J is taking Pirate Geography (taught by yours truly), Survival Skills, and Birds. B is taking Insects, Doodle Art, and Sign Language. S has a spot in the toddler room and I have one hour off in between the classes that I’m involved in to sit and talk to other moms. Our very favorite day of the week.
Better get to it.

His Agenda Today:
  • Take incriminating cell phone photos of Bob doing Christian Yoga.
  • A little more N.T. Wright.
  • Hopefully see his best friend.
  • A long wait in the airport.
Today's Coping Mechanism: Let other people teach my kids.

Looking Forward To:
  • Friday School
  • Bringing him home
{And, yes, my oldest DID wear the same shirt for a portion of three days this week.}

Miss You, Dad


Things I’ve Learned This Week

  • The eyeball is actually pretty hard to cut through.
  • Just because one person is missing from the house, does not mean there will be less dishes to wash.
  • Perseverance pays off when reading aloud to a six year old who is a reluctant reader.
  • It feels good to run and play soccer with your kids.
  • It just might feel even better to get lots of hits and comments on ones' blog.

On Our Agenda Today:

  • Finishing Adjectives… maybe do some Mad Libs
  • Chapter 14 of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Aslan has made a promise to the White Witch… I can’t bear to think of how J and B will react to what actually comes next.
  • Finishing the dioramas.
  • Spelling tests and memory tests -- and stickers and high-fives all around.
  • Reading with B… somehow we missed it yesterday entirely.
  • Blind Spots and Blindness
  • Jesus heals, er, blind people.
  • Prepare for Friday School.

On His Agenda Today:

  • Bible Study with N.T. Wright
  • Lunch with Dan Kimball (sigh, going back to where it all began)
  • Get a signed copy of Tony Jones’ book for wife
  • What the heck, hit the hot tub for the third day in a row.

Today’s Coping Mechanism: Sunshine!!!

Looking Forward To:

  • REALLY taking kids to OMSI this afternoon.
  • Dinner with the beautiful wives of my DH’s roomies.
  • Hearing from the tax man…hopefully?...please?

Wednesday, February 27

Totally My Day


You guys are awesome! I’m so stoked to get comments. Maybe I should pretend I’m a superstar and do a giveaway? Who’s game for a small male child? {Totally kidding.} Keep them coming! We're half way through!

I added a little poll just for fun. I'm actually really curious what your reasons might be so if you don't see your reason there, add it in your comments. I won't slam you for your answer, because I have been where you are and thought the same thoughts! If we get a clear winner though, I'll try to respectfully address it from my perspective.

Not On Our Agenda Yesterday:
Take J to the Endocrinologist because they had a cancellation and get him tested for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. A lot less fun than going to OMSI.

Of course that made it easier for them to talk me into taking them to Coldstone. You know, for being brave about the blood draw.

On Our Agenda Today:
  • Adjectives that Compare
  • Cursive “S” and “W”
  • Chapter 12 in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • Drawing Aslan for their Dioramas
  • Galatians 3:5
  • Invisible Writing
  • Reading with B
  • How the Eye Works/Rods and Cones
  • Spelling
  • Jesus Heals the Blind:Matthew 9, Luke 18, John 9
On His Agenda Today:
  • Bible Study with Gordon Fee (sheesh!)
  • 25 Minutes of personal time with Calvin Miller (I’m dying here)
  • Expelled
Most Likely Not on his Agenda Today: Christian Yoga with Shelley Pagitt
Today’s Coping Mechanism: Get up and shower and get ready for the day before the older ones are even awake. I don't feel totally behind now.
Looking Forward To:
  • Dissecting a Cow Eye with Jen V!!!
  • Dinner out with my kids
  • NE Homegroup
Yeah, I know dissection and then dinner…. That might not be so good back-to-back.

Tuesday, February 26

It's Easier This Way

When we had boy #3 we knew we’d be in for more energy. But we never imagined that he’d be so incredibly LOUD. This kid has lungs far more powerful than the other two. It’s not the crying that’s necessarily loud (though it’s getting there). It’s his yelling, his babbling. He is destined for opera, I think.

When he was coming into the world, I really had no clue what school was going to look like. We read aloud A LOT and I tried to introduce J to something called independent study. B wasn’t school age yet, so though we spent at least three days a week doing concentrated activities for about 20-45 minutes, it was flexible.

The biggest hurdle for me was just fighting tiredness and having to stop to feed the baby even if we were on a roll. But somehow we made it, and when we tested J at the end of the year, he was doing great.
Infants are far easier than toddlers to school around. Now he’s mobile and vocal. And those have become the two biggest hurdles. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a sweet interruption, but when he’s awake it’s hard to explain adjectives, to read aloud, to do a Bible story or explain the parts of the eye. But we can do math, spelling, drawing and art, handwriting, and memory work. And when those things are done, we take a break until he’s ready for a nap.

Teaching time happens when nap happens. There’s no other way around it.
(This picture's for you, Daddy)


Just reiterating that this is blog comment week. It's my adult interaction since DH is gone this week...San Diego... conference... friends... rubbing shoulders... time to read... and shop for more books... a pool -- probably heated... yeah, I'm not jealous. Send me some love. One comment a day is all I ask.

So, My Agenda for Today:
  • Feed the small men.
  • School tasks.
  • Feed them again.
  • Take them out.
  • Really, really try to avoid taking them out to dinner.

Vancouver...Partly sunny. Highs 55 to 60. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.

His Agenda for Today:

  • Registration
  • Breakout session with Scot McKnight
  • Other pastory discussions

San Diego...High: 73
Patchy early morning low clouds and locally dense fog with visibility less than one quarter mile at times...otherwise mostly sunny. Highs 68 to 73 near the coast to 72 to 77 inland. Light winds.

Today’s Coping Mechanism: Schoolhouse Rock Videos on YouTube … a great motivator and teaching tool all at the same time.

Looking Forward To:
Taking them to OMSI this afternoon.

Things I Wouldn’t Normally Have Done Yesterday:

  • Move the refrigerator to get a lost marble.
  • Unscrew the entire game to find the marble had actually gotten stuck inside.

Me: Did you see me move that refrigerator?
J: Yea, Mom! I was really impressed!

Monday, February 25

Home-schoolers gain college acceptance

Monday, February 25, 2008
The Oregonian Staff

Jenny Grant's transcript was written by her mom.

Her classroom was her home and community.

And her idea of a high school sport was fencing.

But none of that means she was less prepared for college than graduates of traditional high schools.

The problem was proving it.

As the number of home-schoolers multiplies, more students such as Grant are making the leap from home to college, creating new challenges for students and colleges alike.

The number of home-schoolers in higher education is hard to determine because colleges typically don't track them the way they do other groups such as international or minority students.

But colleges nationally say they are seeing greater numbers of home-schooled applicants as more parents choose to teach their children at home.

The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that 1.1 million K-12 students were educated at home in the United States in 2003, a 29 percent increase from 1999.

As those students reach college age, they first have to convince admissions offices that they are prepared for college-level work and then adjust to education in a formal setting.

Read the rest here

Day 1 Play-by-play

I won't do this every day, but today has gone along pretty well. No funny stories to tell, or frustrations. The key to getting it done and done well I think is #1 make sure the baby is sleeping and #2 do everything in small bites and only as far as their attention will allow. I remembered these rules today. And it was good.

6:00 baby wakes up. Chip gets him because he knows I have a cold and I will have to be getting him every day for a week. Pretty considerate, eh?

7:00 get the family ready for the day.

8:30 Take Chip to the airport.

9:15 Begin school

  • Read through B’s spelling words with him while J and S snack on some more cereal.
  • Read Chapter 11 in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe aloud. S actually cooperated so we could do this today.
  • J and B choose to work on their dioramas for the LWW. They drew the white witch’s castle to put in their background today. (Seriously, dioramas… we had to do at least one, right?)
  • We go over adjectives together…new for B, review for J. Then they work on a few sentences to identify or add them. S gets loud and can’t keep his mouth off of B. So, it’s nap time
  • J & B practice their memory verse while I’m trying to get S to sleep. J does handwriting practice. (Yes, they actually accomplished something while I was getting the baby to bed).
  • B writes on J’s handwriting paper spurring J to write on B’s drawing page. Time outs all around for disrespecting each other.
  • Giving things another shot, they recover beautifully. We sit down for Bible and book time. Talking about Jesus healing the paralytic today and how people actually become paralyzed. J shows great interest. B gets it well enough.
  • Math is five division word problems for J. B and I work on filling in blanks in an addition table with some old Think it Through Tiles from Discovery Toys.
  • B and I give a half-hearted attempt at reading, but it’s past lunch time and S has just woken up.

J just has spelling left and B just has his drawing book to finish.
Chip calls and says he’s there safe.



On my agenda for today:
  • Take Chip to the airport. Wave good-bye. Sigh deeply.
  • Take school slowly with the boys. The airport run will interrupt our schedule, so we’ll practice our favorite word…flexibility.
  • Maintain my sense of humor, in fact, kick it up a notch.
  • Send the tax info off to the tax man… who is my favorite person this time of year.
  • Look for houses -- again.

On his agenda for today:

  • Fly first class direct from PDX to San Diego (how is that for a vacation!)
  • Giggle because his travel companions are flying stand-by and who knows when they will all actually arrive.
  • Check in at the hotel and have the room and the pool to himself for a while.
  • Enjoy the quiet, read, rest.
  • See his mom and brother who will drive to his hotel late tonight from L.A. just to see him for an hour.

Today’s coping mechanism:

  • I bought a whole box of peach black tea. Yep, I’m going with caffeine this week. Caffeine and a sense of humor. This is going to work.

Looking forward to:

  • Lunch

Sunday, February 24

Homeschooling and the Single Parent

Here’s the real test of my skills: a whole week of home education sans adult partner. While my DH is basking in the warm San Diego sun at the National Pastor’s Convention this week (don’t all groan for him at once), I’m holding down the fort, putting one foot in front of the other, getting us all from point A to point B. The smaller male Anderson’s and I will persevere and we will prevail!

So I am declaring this blog comment week. I know you’re out there, I know you’re peeking at this and I crave your adult interaction this week. Send me some love by way of a comment here…daily.

What do you get for your efforts?

I will post every day how we manage to survive. Tips and techniques. Failures and successes and maybe even a photo or two.

A week in the life... This ought to be fun!

Friday, February 15

A Long Confession About Entitlement

I used to have a passion for the piano. I felt differently when I played it; I heard differently; I breathed differently. For over 20 years I felt that passion and nurtured it. My then new husband even promised me long ago that when we bought a house one day it would include the baby grand to go in it. I guess I felt entitled to that after investing all those years. Slowly though, several years ago that passion weakened and then it waned and then it died. I never, ever dreamed that it would be gone. But it is.

In the past several years I’ve developed a new passion – for education. It has manifested itself in homeschooling my boys – a truly rewarding venture. I’ve invested myself fully to it, put in a lot of time and tears, developed dreams and goals and even met them (or have seen them meet them). I believe 100% that my sons are getting the very best education anywhere and I’m so please to see them thriving and growing. It is something I’m committed to and I feel a sense of conviction toward it. Not conviction in the sense that “God told me to homeschool.” More along the lines of, “I have this gifting and they have this need so obviously this is what we should be doing right now.” Right + now have always been keywords for me. Though I would completely embrace the opportunity to homeschool through high school (so much great stuff to re-learn right along with them!) I don’t know what the future holds. If the passion (mine) and the need (theirs) hold out, then I suppose we’ll go for it. But since I’ve had this other passion … equally embedded and nagging … actually die, I wonder how long the breath will last in this one?

I have to confess that I have fostered a sense of entitlement around our homeschooling -- Isn't it mine to keep and nurture? I’ve invested myself and my kids and we are pressing on no matter what because I, like many Christian homeschoolers, actually feel a sense of priviledge and duty surrounding this choice. Of course I’m going to homeschool next year. It’s who we are; it’s what we do. I’m entitled to choose this method of bringing up my boys and I’m going to do it 100%. -- I have gripped this identity hard with both hands.

Perhaps my fervor helped me succeed on one level and helped them thrive on another. But it also, seemingly, began to choke out other things. My true companion has endured a meaningless job that he’s 100% DISpassionate about so he can take care of us and give us a home in which to HOME school. (Trust me, home schooling without a home is a tricky venture. BTDT) He is very passionate about doing something else, but it doesn't pay the bills. And over this past year I’ve seen him die a slow death inside. Here I am trucking along with passion and motivation reaping the rewards of being there for my kids and he’s regretting every new day. That doesn’t seem like much of a partnership.

I will sacrifice many things for homeschooling – time with friends, creative pursuits, long distance two-hour phone calls , even the laundry – but I cannot sit by and watch him fade out because over 13 years ago I made a commitment to be forever passionate about HIM; long before the little people arrived. I also said, “Where you go, there will I go also.” But it’s difficult to hitch a ride into someone else’s dark night of the soul. It may be time for my passions to shift because His are long overdue.

A couple weeks ago I did have one of those “God told me” moments. As I sang a song in which the words were, “Take my life, all for Thee…” it’s almost as if the Divine said, “How loosely are you holding it?” I tend to hold most things loosely… except for home schooling. That has been non-negotiable. I am entitled to it, right?

A million other home educators would shout a hearty, “YES” to that. But I know that entitlement only keeps me at arms length from the Almighty. I am really entitled to condemnation after all. Everything else is grace – life, breath, health, wealth and homeschooling. I’ve never really been dogmatic about educating at home, but today I’m even less so. It too is something to leave to the leading of God. And if he gives us a need for a new direction (as well as a passion…which has been there simmering, waiting) then I have to be willing to say, “Okay, I’ll give this up.”

I am not entitled to homeschool my sons. I am entitled to serve my Savior who rescues me from death… however my hands and feet do that is negotiable. And it feels like things are about to change.

Tuesday, February 12

Kitchen Table or Bust

We are trying to move over the river to Portland. This has been in the works for a while now (like, a year) and we are just waiting to hear if we have been approved to rent a house we've checked out. It will be a big change for us and it will change the way we live.

Right now we have about a 400 square foot room for schooling, art, scrapbooking and lego building. It also is where we keep our library and computer. It's where we display some of the things the boys have been making. It's where the boys go in the morning to play before the rest of the house wakes up. And it doesn't matter (to me) if it's clean. It's pretty much a luxury and I've viewed it as such all three plus years we've lived here. I think that most home educators don't have this kind of a set up. I didn't when I started.

The house we are hoping to get is about 500 square feet less than what we have now. No extra bedrooms and only one living area and that means one table...the kitchen table. And that means we're back to doing schoolwork, art projects, experiments and math games there. Which of course means we have to keep it clean. That may not be such a bad deal. I can use some help staying organized.

I began this venture at the kitchen counter with my preschool aged son. We got through Kindergarten at the table...sometimes using the piano bench and the couch. We've done first, second, third and part of fourth grade here. But, there doesn't have to be a designated room to teach in. I kind of like that we'll be forced out of the box, to making learning more a part of everyday life instead of relegating it to a room.

No matter where we end up moving -- we're still pretty mobile -- we will end up learning and I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with the size of our room.

Tuesday, February 5

Reason(s) Why I'm Glad I Made This Choice

When this homeschooling adventure began I was all set to buy a whole curriculum from ABeka for J to begin Kindergarten. They had beautiful workbooks for every subject. I drooled over their catalog and even babysat a little boy all summer just to earn the money to spend on the curriculum. It was going to be pricey. But it was so new and schoolish. I was excited.
Then I went to my very first homeschool conference and after being whooped up on in a couple sessions with Jessica Hulcey – man, I was glad my little guy was only 4. It got me off the hook for not having a clear philosophy of education ready to spout off to her – It dawned on me that I was doing the wrong thing. I was ready – cash in hand -- to order the curriculum that would send us into homeschool hell.
You see, J hated to write. His whole body would go limp. He would whine and slink off the stool at the thought of just writing his name at the bottom of a card for Grandma. And I was ready to buy a big stack of workbooks. But, this was how I was (public) schooled. I loved filling in the all the blanks as neatly as I could. I loved being able to easily check my work by scanning through all the blanks. I loved having a complete book… pages crackling with graphite as I flipped through them. But I had a child who was very different from me and fortunately Jessica revealed that to me in her session.
I didn’t go out and buy her curriculum, though I did peruse a friend’s copy of it and I did (and still do) think it’s terrific. I did choose a unit study that would allow us freedom to move around, flexibility to change focus, add manipulatives and leave out writing as much as possible. That was the Weaver and I’ll save my reasons for choosing it for another day (Ha! Don’t hold your breath!)
Gradually, I began to notice that while J hated writing letters he actually began to enjoy writing numbers and he even enjoyed making lists (that’s MY son). So, I latched on to that and ran with it. I let him lead and he grow more comfortable with pencil control and spacing and all the skills he needed to move into lettering.
I also am savvy enough to realize that he is growing up in an information age wherein it is far more important for him to learn to type than it is for him to have perfect handwriting -- I realize that he will probably never handwrite lecture notes by the time he is in college and he already wants a laptop -- so, pushing perfect handwriting was not only a losing battle but, in my opinion, was archaic.
However, there will always be honey-do lists and phone numbers scribbled on the message board in the kitchen, so some modicum of readable writing is certainly called for. But not when you’re 5 or even 6.
I saw other homeschooled children writing beautifully in cursive and I got caught in the comparison trap thinking he was behind. Usually students begin cursive writing in second grade. Well, at 7 he was in third grade and I’d never mentioned cursive to him. It wasn’t worth the battle.
Then one day he decided he wanted to write a book. Just like that. Chapters, Table of Contents, pictures and everything. He was so proud of his book. And therefore, he was proud of his writing. And thus our battles in this area were heretofore drastically reduced. HE decided it was time to write. He was ready.
Well, his grandmother kept writing to him in cursive on every holiday card and that frustrated him. He couldn’t read the “squiggly writing.” He finally asked the summer in which he had just turned 8 if he could learn cursive. He made up his own version of cursive and has signed his name a few times using it. Smilingly, I purchased a workbook and since January 1, letter by letter, he’s learning it. And he’s loving it. In fact he’s loving it so much that one morning after he let me sleep in a bit, he presented me with this little message:


Isn’t that beautiful?? THAT’S WHY I’M GLAD I MADE THIS CHOICE. His biggest struggles are conquered on HIS timetable. And they actually become his strengths.