Dewey’s Read-a-Thon 2014 – Mid-Event Survey

Mid-Event Survey from http://24hourreadathon.com/ :

1. What are you reading right now?  The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

2. How many books have you read so far? Still working on my first.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  I’ll just be thrilled to finish this one.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  Nope, no interruptions from anyone other than myself.  I couldn’t sit still for awhile, so I got up and cleaned some things.  I also fell asleep for a couple of hours.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  How quickly the day has passed.

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Dewey’s Read-a-Thon Fall 2014 – Opening Meme

From http://24hourreadathon.com/

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Delaware

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Everything by Jennifer McMahon!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Honeycrisp Apples.  Mmmmm.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I’ve participated in several of the Dewey’s Read-a-Thons over the last 3 – 4 yrs.  My game plan is simply to have fun.  Read when, where, and whatever I want and for however long.  I won’t make the full 24 hrs and I’m okay with that.

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A New Venture in the Burbs…

A few weeks ago life started tumbling around like the die in a Yahtzee cup.  The school year was coming to an end with all its inherent hustle and bustle: school finals, Black Belt camp, baseball play-offs, talent shows, birthdays, anniversaries, go, go, GO!  And then, I was told that I probably wouldn’t have a job next year.  I guess I should rewind a bit.  I work worked at a small Christian school where my son has attended for the last two years.  The tuition was affordable, the class sizes small and the teachers excited about teaching.  Over the last six months our school has chosen to step in and purchase a larger, failing Christian school.  The result being that next year all students will merge onto one campus.  Honestly, we were excited about the acquisition and were the very first to turn in our application.  Because our current school only went to 8th grade and the new school went through high school, we no longer had to worry about what to do for 9th – 12th grades… or did we?!?!?  Without going into all the details, the teacher’s aides (that would be me) were told that if enrollment did not increase for the new year that we would not have jobs.  We would, however, not find out definitively until sometime over the summer.  This started the Yahtzee cup shaking and spinning.  No job means no 50% discount on a tuition that was raised nearly THREE-FOLD over the course of the acquisition.  No 50% discount means that we can no longer afford to send the boy-child to that school.

With finances being a factor in schooling options for the coming year, we just didn’t feel it would be prudent to wait around to see if I would have a job or not.  Finding out in August that I would have no job, and thus no back-up plan would have been a recipe for disaster.  We tossed out that Yahtzee cup full of dice  a dozen times and one option kept popping up most prominently – homeschooling.

I am beyond excited.
The husband is skeptical, terrified and confused.
The boy-child is sad to be leaving his friends, upset that he will miss the 8th grade field trip to Williamsburg and excited at the prospect of finishing school by the time his peers are heading to lunch.

Once we made the decision to homeschool, things moved fast.  Within hours of sending the official unenrollment email, the “intent to homeschool” form was filled out and in the mail, he was enrolled in the homeschool co-op classes at our church and the curriculum was ordered.  My head is still spinning.

I have been asked several times if I am angry or bitter about what happened and my answer is a resounding, NO!  First, I have always wanted to homeschool.  ALWAYS.  And second, everything happens for a reason.  In fact, I was standing at the kitchen sink one night when God reminded me of a little something.  When the boy-child was going into first grade we were planning to send him to this particular school that our current school has purchased.  We took him in for a placement test over the summer and he failed SPECTACULARLY.  The school actually called us to say that they would allow him to enroll ONLY if he were held back and repeated kindergarten.  Now, let me just say that my child is smart and that is not just the mom in me talking.  In the 7 yrs. that he has been in school, his lowest report card grade was a B+.  He has made second honors (all A’s and B’s) EVERY. SINGLE. marking period of EVERY. SINGLE. year.  This is not to brag on how smart my kid is but to say that he was simply not supposed to go to this school.  Now, fast forward 7 yrs. later and we try to enroll him again under different circumstances only to be met with yet ANOTHER roadblock.  CLEARLY, the boy-child is NOT supposed to go to this school.  I can’t say that I know why but it is blatantly obvious.

And so, our little Homestead in the Burbs embarks on yet another adventure… HOMESCHOOLING!  Stay tuned for a post on how I plan to organize the year, what curriculum we’re using and other tidbits.

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Goals for the Week of 6/10 – 6/16

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  1. Clean out kitchen pantry.
  2. Post homeschool books to lists
  3. Organize tutoring shelves
  4. Clean out lunchbox Lazy Susan
  5. Organize my car to be more efficient for summer
  6. Declutter one room or zone per day and pull out stuff for a garage sale
    • Mon. – master bedroom, closet & office closet
    • Tues. – living room, family room & dining room
    • Weds. – bathrooms
    • Thurs. – kitchen
    • Fri. – boy child’s bedroom & studio
    • Mon. – basement
    • Tues. – garage
      Basically, the entirety of my “to do” list for the next week(ish) involves cleaning, organizing and decluttering
      ALL. THE. THINGS.

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Totals for Last Week

From the garden last week:

.5 oz Romaine
1.6 oz. Chive blossoms
5.1 oz. Mixed greens (spinach, sorrel, arugula)
4.3 lb. strawberries

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Goals for the week of 5/19 – 5/25

I’ve decided that I want to post a weekly goals list to include homesteading, personal and family goals.  I think it will help me to keep myself a bit more focused.  Not to mention, I LOVE LISTS!!!!!!

  1. Freeze strawberries
  2. Plant lima beans
  3. Prime bistro set
  4. Help the boy child write birthday thank-you notes

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Summer Organization

As summer vacation approaches I find myself furiously planning out the days ahead.  Ninety(ish) days of total freedom.  No work.  No school.  Okay, maybe that’s a little overstated.  I tutor and work a very part-time job over the summer and I do a relaxed homeschool schedule with the boy-child.  But after that, baby, it’s all fun and sun.

Some people plan big vacations in the summer.  Personally, I find vacations to be stressful.  The packing, the traveling, the stress of navigating a new location, the spending exorbitant amounts of money.  In my opinion, there is a very short period of time in which said vacation is enjoyable and more often than not, it’s just not worth the hassle.  Thankfully, my husband feels the same way and my son, while he loves dreaming of going away and doing things, is really a dyed in the wool homebody at heart.  As a family, we decided a few years ago to compromise and do a larger family vacation biennially.  In the off years, however, we opt for a quiet “stay-cation” at home.

While the idea of having nothing to do and endless hours to lounge and laze around does sound appealing, it would get old after awhile.  Really.  Really.  Old.  In all honesty, I would go out of my mind.  I need some structure.  So, what in the world do you do with three months worth of freedom when you want to keep your budget reasonable but still have a memorable summer?

Early on I will typically spend some time researching special events that will occur throughout the summer and write them on the calendar.  Then, as a family we will sit down together and make a list of local attractions that we would like to visit.  This year we’ve also compiled a “100 Things of Summer” list, which includes some personal goals for each of us, home projects, day trips and fun free things to do at home.  Finally, we purchase season passes for places that we will frequent many times.  Every year our season passes include a State Park pass, Philadelphia Zoo and Plumpton Park Zoo a small, locally owned zoo where we sometimes volunteer.  While it may seem redundant, we get our money’s worth and then some from both of these zoos.  I love the Philadelphia Zoo pass because of its fantastic Reciprocal Zoo and Aquarium program.  In recent years we have also added a fourth pass to the mix though it has changed each year.  A local museum was usually the choice, however, this year we have decided to go with a private pool that is less than 5 min. from our home.  To say that they boy-child is excited would be an understatement.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times that he has asked, “how many days until the pool opens?”

At the beginning of the summer I lay out a basic template for each week:

Monday – library
Tuesday – park/$1 movie day
Wednesday – zoo
Thursday – stay-at-home, board games, movies etc.
Friday – misc. outings

Sometimes the weather dictates that we swap days here and there but this gives me a general idea of what I want to accomplish in a given week.  My husband has off every other Friday throughout the year and in the Summer, he will typically take off those other Fridays using his vacation days.  This gives us one day as a family to head off to places I might not necessarily drive on my own.  Making Thursday our “stay-at-home” day is perfect then since we are able to get the house clean before my husband’s day off.  The other days are pretty self-explanatory.  We go to the library each week for new books, CD’s and movies.  We hit a state or town park each week and sometimes participate in the $1 Regal Summer Movie Express.  I am excited since this year the theater will be playing plenty of movies that we haven’t seen in the Summer Movie Express.  On zoo day we visit our small locally owned zoo and oftentimes volunteer.  On weeks that we don’t volunteer we make sure to take bags of produce and herbs for the animals.  Last summer the boy child and I were able to feed Jimmie the Giraffe some of said herbs.

Something else that we do in the summer is a modified summer homeschooling but that is fodder for another post.

Until next time!

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