Find Joy. Seek Truth. Be Kind.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How it is today

It's been too long since I posted! 
Life.  Kids.  School.  Homeschool.  But mostly because FLL.

Seriously, why did I do this again?  Oh, yea, because Hot Dog begged me to find him a team, and then told me he really, really, REALLY wanted me to be his coach.   You know, like I did for his brothers.  Oh the guilt... so I did - find him a team, and agreed to  co-coach it.  Two weeks in he informed me he hated it and wanted to quit.  Lovely (not).  I had to explain the meaning of commitment, and team work, and sucking-it-up.

Now, today we are 3 days from our local tournament, piled high with extra practices, but we can see the end.  How bad is it that I'm hopeful this team won't go to state?  (not like that last team that I was convinced couldn't go to state, but did)

Homeschooling wise we're deeply enmeshed in FLL meetings, just barely eeking out time for our basic academics and lessons.   We've been so busy I honestly don't have any idea what next semester will look like.  Perhaps there will be a big gaping hole of time that Hot Dog and I will struggle to fill. (She says hopefully)  However, a friend has mentioned an underwater robotics program...

Both my older boys, Bit Boy and Lego Kid, are loving their respective schools.  Lego Kid is in the process of picking out his high school and planning for that next stage of his education, even while he's learning the basics of how to "do school" in his IB middle school.   Bit Boy has scheduled next semester, which will include repeating Calc I.  Not because he was failing but because he's set his sights on one of the most exclusive engineering schools in the USA and wants an solid A on his transcript for this core class.  (Welcome to the politics of college admissions.  Ugh)

One day last month I clocked 134 miles on my car's odometer.  134mi.  It was a Wed, which is our crazy day.  I didn't leave down, I was just being the taxi-mom getting 3 different kids to school, to lessons and home.  No wonder I'm tired and have no time. While Bit Boy bikes between his campuses, I still have some guilt around our fossil fuel use.

That guilt did not stop me from gratefully turning on our gas fireplace last week during our single digit highs, nor did it stop me from driving Bit Boy between his campuses one day (rather than him biking in the 9 degree frozen slush).  I accept that I am contradictory and am a work in progress.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How it used to be...

It's Saturday.  Such a lovely day, and today in particular shows me what I've been missing with two kids in school.

Bit Boy is constructing an art/computing project using computer bits purchased last month at our church's rummage sale. He hopes to have it done by the NoCo Maker Faire the first weekend in October.  Lego Kid and Hot Dog are down working on the new EV3 to build a chassis for an FLL robot for Hot Dog's team to test.  They're all happy, working together, making things, and learning without even realizing it.

It hasn't been like this for a while.  Bit Boy is carrying 12 college credits, including Calculus I.  He's being academically challenged for the first time since starting school.  "I might be a 'B' Mom" he told me with concern.  Lego Kid has been enjoying the social aspect of middle school, but has been overwhelmed with the volume of homework and writing.  "Mom, will it always be like this?  Will I have any time for myself before winter break?"  Hot Dog is missing his brothers, and feeling a combination of overwhelmed and bored with a schedule that includes lessons for violin and piano, 4 hrs of FLL practice/week, chess club, jujitsu and soccer.  He says he'd like to give up FLL, but since I'm the coach, and have no older kids around to take care of him if I'm not home, he'd have to come with me anyway.  He might as well participate.  I've been feeling super busy, not with my own stuff, which has taken a back seat this year, but just with my 'work' as a taxi driver for 3 kids all going in different directions.

It's nice to have this day at home, interrupted only by a much anticipated soccer game for Hot Dog.  We used to have days like this, one after the other.  I think my teens are happy to be in school, so I'm happy for them.  But, my oh my, homeschooling is sweet.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Maker Kids

On an homeschooling list a question came up today
"Can anyone recommend some ways for me to incorporate making/engineering into our at-home time? Engineering curriculum for young kids? Resources?"

Here was my response:
The NoCo Mini-Maker Faire in Loveland is Oct. 4-5, there'll be hands on activities there for the kids, plus lots of local folks with ideas and resources.
If you don't live in Colorado, look for a Maker Faire near you.
Make Magazine has lots of projects on line, some are great for kids.
If you can afford a subscription you'd probably get some use out of the paper magazine too.  There are many projects in each vol, and many of them accessible to the layman or kids.

DIY is designed for kids and has ideas and give them the opportunity to share what they've done.
Google ran an online summer Maker Camp
My kids liked project books (because we're ancient and homeschooled before the internet was such a big part of everything)
Some favorites were
the Usborne Science Activities books Vol 1-3
Making Things, by Ann Sayre Wiseman
Science Crafts for Kids by Gwen Diehn
and  book about making musical instruments by hand.. sorry can't find the name of ti.
Remember too that "engineers" are often also artists and musicians.  That need to create runs deep.  I found that my role was to show how to safely use/ access the materials and then to just get out of the way.
Have fun!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

May's Books

Yes.  Pride and Prejudice again.  I love that book.  Also, Firelord got me a game for Mother's Day (surprise, surprise) called "Marrying Mr. Darcy".  It's a surprisingly fun little game, and Lego Kid is enamored of it, which prompted him to read P&P.  Of course I had to read it with him.  I love that my tough, ripped 6-pack 13 year old boy is reading Austen.  It gives me hope for this world.  :-D

I've discovered BookBub, a service that sorts through all the free and low cost e-books from sellers like Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, Google, etc., and sends you notices of those that are recommended according to the preferences you set.  It's made my actual pile of library books shorter, and my virtual pile of books much higher.  Give it a shot at let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Look who Hot Dog found in the basement.

Instead of doing our normal academics we've spent out morning trying to figure out exactly what kind of bumble bee this is. 

We found several websites and decided that it is Bombus Morrisoni. 

We found lots of good sites:
Western Bumble Bee Guide
Mr. E's Mysterious Bees
bumble bee dot org

And now we are learning how to get bumble bees to nest in our yard. 

We love spring!