Monday, February 22, 2010

Strategies consistently every day with him and try to find all my old nursery rhyme, counting, circle time type stuff and torture him inundating him with INFORMATION!

Older kids.........they miss a common math problem, they have to review all their math facts again. Staying home and riding herd on them and perhaps lose Saturdays till they can figure out what I mean by getting their homework done without constant monitoring. (Give up Saturdays forever?)

Oldest kids.......not getting much math done.......same as above. Their writing confidence as far as the manual, get the words quickly down on paper and be able to read it, ability is LACKING TERRIBLY! Their thoughts are fine but they just can't write fast enough. So.......I am having them do copy work from their favorite books three times a week and this week five times. I want them to SEE their progress and see the process in practice. Sigh. Can I remember all this?

Me. Grade, grade, grade, stay present as much as possible so I can keep them accountable to their mistakes and duh......(my favorite word lately) give them more time in instruction. I feel much like a slave driver. I'm also trying to do as much of the house work as possible so if you arrive at my home and it is dump......reread the above. I should market "Finite Creature" plaques instead of those "My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it" plaques. I bet I could make quite a bit of money on that one. Of course I would have to fit in shipping time etc and then hiring people to fill all the orders.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Fighting disorganization and clutter

Before my trip to IKEA yesterday I mused on what in the world would help put this place more in order. I couldn't really decide and then.......Sandy emails about the children's choir listening to some of the Ft. Wayne Children's choir recordings while she is gone to hear what a choir sounds like. SO.........thank you Sandy, I was thinking it might be really nice to have some place for our cds to call home. (If you give a mouse a cookie.......) At the moment they are here, there and everywhere and with that email I sort of pulled my hair out some wondering where my cds were at the moment! I ended up getting a dvd, cd shelf and another book shelf which will move out of the 'new' room when Charley gets the book shelves done sometime soon. I can never have too many book shelves and when I do I will start passing them on to the kids as they get places of their own. I also ended up getting a somewhat 'rough' looking shelving unit to put some of our larger appliances on rather than have them crammed in the kitchen cabinet. I am VERY excited to clear out some stuff and get other things organized. So far so good, the kids have enthusiastically collected all of their DVDs and brought them to the new shelves and I am going to have loads of fun going through the CDs and figuring out that mess. Goodwill is going to get some donations after this.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Karin's dream - the real weirdness at Emmaus (NOT)

Yesterday afternoon I had a conversation with Monica S. about dreams and her mom and I commented that dreams are not usually very long or detailed. Well...this morning, I fell back to sleep after Charley left for work around 6:00am. I remembering thinking I may as well get up as I might oversleep and not make it to the service.....but I wouldn't have had this bizarre dream if I had.

The dream starts with me trying to catch a bike ride before leaving for church. I get to this recognizable area and a teen age girl and boy come racing up on their bikes and start laughing at me and going in circles around me. I am thinking "Great, I really don't need this" and try to bike faster. I realize I am riding Martin's old bicycle so that is why I can not go very fast. And then.........the girl says, "I'm a Baptist, that is why I can bike faster." (Explanation number one - Anna had been talking to me in the last few days of how she does not like it when Bible class where she is at has a tendency to float into the 'we Lutherans are superior to other denominations')

Then I am at church with the kids and the Sanctuary does not anything like it does. The altar had been modernized and pulled out and we were all sort of sitting around it like we going to listen to a childrens sermon or something. At this point I wondered to myself if I was dreaming or if this was real so I turned to Sandy Rhein behind me and asked her if I was dreaming and she assured me I wasn't. (Next explanation - Sandy and I had been talking about the changes which had been made at Redeemer in South Bend to not have so many steps there are to be able to commune. And........they have childrens sermons..........)

Next (this part is pretty amusing), a woman in a iridescent purple chasuble came up to the alter and did something pastory. (Explanation - I sometimes amuse myself looking at the "Bad Vestments" blog and there is this woman in my dream with some bad vestments on). Pastor Stuckwisch emerges from somewhere and has this weird, plastered on smile and says hello. Hello??? He and many of us leave. There were many unidentifiable children there as well and also the Baptist bikers.

Next I remember I need to use the bathroom and go into this bathroom which is definitely NOT Emmaus's bathroom - huge, with as many stalls as a football stadium. Anyway, I come out of the stall and go to wash my hands and put myself back together again, as some pregnancy clothing can be a challenge and you might find yourself with your undershirt hanging out or something, and.....I begin to tuck in my clothes in front of the mirror and out of the corner of my eye....are you ready???..........Pastor Grobien is in the women's bathroom!!!!! He laughs a little and tells me "It's OK, go ahead" in his usual Pastor Grobien demeanor. (Explanation - nothing Anna tells me about the shenanigans at IU's dorms surprises him and the latest bit of news from IU was that while Anna was cleaning the bathroom in the dorm, there was a guy in the girls bathroom. This also must mean that I think Pastor Grobien is still some sort of college, party animal type or something).

I take my kids down this long shopping area sidewalk to try to find the van (explanation - going to IKEA with friends on Thursday and remembering where the van is is important). Pastor Stuckwisch and his wife are holding hands and walking to their car (where is their van????) and he still has that stupid smile on his face. He gets in this car and I ask him when he got his new car and he told me it had been in his driveway for a long time, hadn't I noticed? (NO) (Explanation - we are buying our parents car which is as good as new as they come. Perhaps I am thinking other people should find such good deals????? I tell them that I would see them later and Pastor says "No you won't there isn't a service this evening." I tell him there is and it even is in the bulletin. And with that same look on his face, without any explanation (it must have been the scary, bad vestment woman in the altar area) he and his wife drive away. (Perhaps I think Pastor holds some opinion in this area and I suppose I have had some relatives who have female pastors which have been in my thoughts as of late - go figure) I remember asking him if he was going to let people know there wasn't a service as he drove off.

The kids and I get to the van only to discover I don't have my keys and can't get in. Matthew and Erik come along and tell me not to worry as they had carved keys out of wood and they should work just fine. Sandy was with me at this point. (Explanation - the locks at church have not been working well and Sandy's key was being particularly testy. Charley has been working on getting new keys made to replace third and fourth generation keys. Wooden keys???????? No explanation needed). Oh, I also sent Erik back to the church to get Martin's old bike which I had left in the church..........weird.

Last, LaRena is magically in the van with me (where are their kids???) and I say to her something about how it was a good thing the Harrisons were not there this morning as they would have had to drive that whole way for nothing. (oddly they were not in church this morning). (Don't know the explanation for that one other than the fact that they do drive a long way and there are a lot of services coming up and they will have a lot of driving to do)

So ends my dream and I woke up at 7:30 a little freaked out that we had to leave in a little over an hour. I can not say I have ever dreamed such an involved dream. Monica would enjoy it and no I did not take any drugs before bedtime. I did here the life story of a man who took drugs though.........hmmmm.......this is Karin's brain on drugs........

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Documenting Benjamin's progress

For my benefit I am going to try to record how Benjamin is doing so either I will be discouraged a month from now or say "Wow, I feel better now". I'll keep it short. At the moment he is on lesson 23C and working on counting by fives. He still can not keep his numbers straight in even counting by ones to 50 so I am hoping to count with him every day to practice, practice, practice. I need to make a list to keep with his book. I like Saxon Grade two for this reason as it went through this sort of thing every day. Somewhere in my house I have the teachers guide. I need to hunt it down and USE IT! So at the moment he can barely count to ten, does know the concept of adding, and knows a little bit of skip counting but not consistently.

In reading, he is just starting to sound out words like mat and sat. Sigh. We could be much further along but I am taking the plunge and having him work on Explode the Code book one to at least start reading words and teach him sight words like 'the' and 'a' as we go. This was so much easier when there were fewer kids to keep track of.

My other goal for Benjamin is to read to him more. That almost seems like the hardest thing as by the time we get done with his school work I am exhausted. I will have to use the philosophy of reading a little bit is better than nothing at all.

Stay tuned hopefully for progress both on his part and mine.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Teaching Benjamin

Teaching Benjamin can be more exhausting than biking ten plus miles. He loses his books all the time and now I have insisted he has them or can show me where they are before each meal or he doesn't eat. This morning he could not find his math book. It was backwards on the shelf so he couldn't identify it as his. Eyes rolling. It is sort of a game. He does not make progress as there are too many breaks in between lessons for not knowing where his stuff is. So........somehow he needs to be my mission between now and the end of the year to make progress. Consistency is sort of a challenge with him. I think I said that already. We always seem to be starting over or back tracking so the motivation to be consistent is not exactly there if every time I work with him it is a hair pulling out experience. So......Benjamin and I are in mission status. I need to find every annoying counting and skip counting recording, learning anything recording and torture the family with it to perhaps give Benjamin a little boost. Phew.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another nice day

The Divine Service was very nice this morning with the youth choir singing, a chance to play my horn, the addition of and dedication of the Crucifix to the Sanctuary, and a great sermon and of course the icing on the cake, the Lord's Supper. People other than me, made some yummy stuff for the bake sale for Haiti and that all went well too. I've decided not to bake anymore for bake sales but will buy people who are able to bake ingredients so they can make even more awesome stuff for bake sales. I seem to suffer failure mode when it comes to such undertakings but other people make lovely stuff so will continue helping in other areas as I am able.

After Bible class I zipped home to catch a quick bike ride before heading out to another event. It was beautiful out today compared to yesterday with the sun shining, warmer temperatures and no wind. The sun was shining in my eyes and I almost ran into a jogger going down a hill but thankfully saw him in time to veer out of the way. The joggers were out in force. Another jogger and I took turns going down the little path of clear pavement at the top of another hill. The only wildlife I saw today was a very large hawk that I spooked and it flew up in a tree above where I was riding.

The kids and I had a nice time at a friends daughters birthday celebration. The cake was fabulous and the fresh veges and humus dip were worthy of seeking out the recipe. Even though we were there over two hours the kids thought we had just gotten there and didn't want to leave.

This evening I had fun making focaccia bread for my family and decided it was time to throw out some older spices and get some fresher, yummier spices to.........spice things up. This baby seems to like fresh fruits and veges and wonderful breads and pastas. Must be another Italian. We are enjoying watching the Olympics together and eating yummy bread. Oops, an American just goofed up the Mogels. Oh well. Hoping tomorrow proves productive. The kids are getting skiing fever from watching all this skiing. I think I will polish off the evening by cleaning out my purse and getting rid of the credit cards that I never use. Sounds like a plan!!! Loved the Flylady credit card funeral post. Good idea. They are just a temptation lurking in the wallet.....hmmmmm. Nighty, nighty!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Biking today

Yes, I am still catching some bike rides here and there. The roads were clear enough that I did not have to dodge too many snow covered areas. I was a bit slower than usual and then......pregnancy adds extra annoyances like needing to find a potty which there are none on this route. I was WAY south of town and began to toy with finding some area and thinking it must be nice to be a guy as this situation is not only easier but of course less shocking to anyone else who might accidentally come by. Needless to say (and I bet you didn't want to know all this) about the time I was thinking the area was clear I noticed a guy jogging along coming in my direction. Scratch that plan. I guess I could have scooted into the camp area the boys use for Scouts which I go by each time but.........onward I went. Exciting times. Not sure what to do about this issue...........

Then, there was an area that was QUITE slushy and there was an ongoing truck with a plow. He sped up and made sure to spray me with slush while going by. Nice. The traffic seemed heavier than usual. That was the first time anything like that had happened.

It was a little colder than I originally thought or it got colder so it took a little longer to get warm when I got home. I still enjoy the winter biking and biking in general. Not sure how long I will keep this up but things seem to be going fine. I am hoping the weather does warm up a little here some time soon. In March last year the snow was mostly gone and freezing rain started so I suppose I should be happy to just be able to get out.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Yes, yes, Cindy is the best!

Of course what I meant in that last post was that the only interesting friend I have is Cindy! :o) She tells me interesting things and I love it! The rest of you must just be sort of.....boring. :o) In fact I just humor you all that I am listening intently while visiting you and now the truth is out. Rats. Whatever am I going to do???? Now you all will KNOW what I am THINKING!!!! Argh! But in the meantime I am thinking of when next to get together with Cindy and probably even her very interesting husband and children. I wonder if they are free in the next few weeks??? I will totally understand if my phone no longer rings or if you look indignant and run in the other direction when you see me coming since now you know.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Very nice day

This day has flown by but overall was a nice Saturday. We slept in, which was really weird, til 8:00. I think I got ten hours of sleep! Unheard of! In the afternoon I went with my friend Cindy to the local Asian and Mexican markets for an education. We didn't have a lot of time but I now know where to get some weird stuff and some very yummy stuff. Cindy looks up information about spices and seasonings for fun on the internet. She also knows what to buy and how to use them. I picked up some honey lemon tea like mixture and it is awesome. They have wonderful fresh spices. We had some cinnamon basil on pasta with my canned whole tomatoes and Parmesan..........yum. There are some people who think they know a lot of insignificant, yet interesting information but, Cindy is the only person I've ever met who knows interesting stuff which is actually interesting. I think I have a thing for hot drinks as I also picked up some Mexican hot cocoa mix which is also awesome.

After my tour I rushed home to pick up Matthew, Martin and Cecilia to go to a Symphony concert featuring a solo pianist. Everything they played was great and I think the kids enjoyed it. I had played part of the concerto with the symphony for a piano soloist back in the 90's so it was fun to know the horn part and the rest of the parts for that matter. I do think that Anna has some potential helping musicians pick out appropriate clothing to wear for their concerts though. The soloist was awesome but her dress was not flattering. Crushed velvet sleeveless dresses in February on middle aged not pencil thin, but yet tall attractive woman would not be my first choice. I KNOW Anna could help people out in this department. The soloist's playing made up for the distraction of her dress.

This evening I actually somewhat enjoyed getting some of the ironing done. I fixed one of my favorite shirts by resewing a button on so having it ironed and fixed is a double win. I am fairly certain I have felt the baby several times today so that makes me feel better too. Twice during the concert so the baby must have good taste and once just a few moments ago. Yay! I usually feel the baby a lot more at this point and was basically not feeling the baby at all for quite some time so it was bothering me. Hopefully this is a trend.

The boys are going to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow at Pastor Grobiens. I hope that no one gets to chattering too much as I have the distinct impression that Pastor G wants to actually watch the game. I will probably go over after the little people are in bed to bring them home. I can watch some of it with Cecilia at home so she knows what in the world football is. I am NOT a big sports fan. I would watch tennis and soccer in high school but NOT football. When we ran a small Bed and Breakfast stint during ND games before kids we watched so at least we could bond some with our guests. I suppose having Lou Holtz as the coach then did make it more fun to watch as they tended to win. Now I just keep track of the games to avoid traffic in town.

The day went fast but I like a pleasant Saturday and look forward to a pleasant tomorrow.

Following curriculum vs too much

What I mean by actually using the curriculum that we purchase is that I had so many homeschooling moms (usually of pretty young kids) who would come to me and say their curriculum wasn't working for them. I would then ask them how long they had actually tried it and usually the answer was for a week or two or even just a few days. Hmmmm....well that is hardly using the curriculum. I know I have been guilty of enthusiastically purchasing curriculum and then planning too many subjects in and one or more of the subjects never happens. The joke is we could probably purchase nothing at all and get through at least several years on the stuff that is here in the house! That would be a savings.

By too many subjects, I mean requiring one student to do well in too many subjects with high ideals that they can do well in all of them. Sometimes I set my expectations too high for some of my kids and then they end up not doing great in any of their subjects. This is what I am sort of trying to figure out with at least Matthew. I have seemingly the opposite problem with another kid. Sigh. Each kid is different and handles things differently. Matthew is doing fairly well in all of his subjects but ends up having to steal time away to do anything he would like to do. I don't remember not having time to do what I wanted to when I was his age. That kind of time becomes less and less as time goes on. '

I am sure I will revisit this lovely subject many times. I am mostly trying to not let other people's definition of their school overly influence the goals I have seen as important all along. It is sort of a reality check. Academic subjects are important and having the ability to do them is important but there are also other skill and interests which are important as well. More school work for the kids also means more work for me and there comes a time when I have to weigh how crazy and cranky I really want this family to get and still leave in time to keep after the house and little kids.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting it all done

As Susan pointed out, getting to everyone and everything is complicated. It is Friday and I am pretty exhausted. Mount Ironing keeps screaming at me every weekend and I don't think I have gotten any of that done since December or before. But there are still papers to grade and I should think about planning for next week. Everything goes more smoothly planned. This week became a little more complicated with an unexpected social date for some of the boys but we adjust and roll with the punches. I do feel like the kids got a lot done and did my best to keep up. But....repeating myself.........I do wish I could figure out a way to make things less intense around here. It is Friday afternoon and I have more things screaming for me to take care of and I don't feel much like moving. I keep getting up to do this and that, including cleaning up Ingrid's latest mess making (as many wipes as she can pull out of the container while I left to check on Benjamin helping in the kitchen), and I hope I regain some energy so maybe I can put away the current laundry pile and run some more.

Next year, I am basically hoping (love how I start thinking about this in February), to simplify and keep tweaking my older kids weaknesses and trying to push the younger ones along so they don't have these deficits when they are older, thus making my life a little less painful. It is the younger ones we are going to concentrate more energy to in the cooperative effort with the Stuckwisch's

Yes, I still feel effective use of our homeschooling time is actually implementing the curriculum but I know I have at least one student who is drowning in work so I am toying with doing his work in quarters - lots of Grammar in one quarter and then no more - Lots of Math in the next quarter and then not as much expected. Maybe then he can concentrate on those subjects and do them well and thoroughly without cramming as much in as possible during each day.

And so it goes and so I will keep rambling.........

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Want to go visit Anna

I had the most vivid dream that I spent the day with Anna. It was GREAT! Almost like it really happened. I need to take a peak at the calendar and figure out a day to go do this or maybe even a Saturday/Sunday deal but that seems harder to pull off. She received her care package yesterday and I think she really liked it. She shouldn't get too hungry for a while. I'm glad she has a microwave now. Now for her to continue her quest to figure out the housing form for next year. Forms and task lists as I well know are exhausting. She seems to be handling that well.

I have a little package to pop in the mail to her. I actually forgot something to put in the box. I thought of it the day before but forgot........typical.

Nothing else too riveting to say.........

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tweaking school

If anything I think we do too much school work. Some do more than others I guess but some do too much. I did not start homeschooling so my kids could do MORE work but rather that they would have some freedom to explore their interests and invest more time in the things they love. I think this has worked pretty well through the years but slowly has escalated to too much homework. I would like to spread what is most needed to be accomplished out a bit more. If I want them to be good writers, I of course want them to be writing but simply cramming more assignments in without enough feed back is not necessarily helpful. I also do not have enough time to help them where it is needed. How do I figure out how to balance it all and get to everyone thoroughly. Sigh. I think I am stating the same thing here from before. Less is more I think. Maybe my house would be cleaner too...........

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I keep going back and forth with Matthew's school choices for next year. Now I am back to leaning towards him staying home. Matthew and I talked again this morning on the way to piano and back. What I have been thinking about the last couple days is that Matthew has worked harder than most 14 year olds I know considering he completed High School Biology, and now is half way through and doing well in Chemistry. All the other subjects I mentioned in a previous blog post (perhaps on my old blog) are a lot of work. He has Scouts as well and is very active at church too. So........I was thinking it might be nice to slow down a bit next year and concentrate on his weak areas. It would be nice for him to enjoy some of his High School years and not get bogged down with so MANY subjects. Our Literary Program is intense with tons of reading and so is History. I know for myself I learned more about history from simply reading and not doing so much text book work. We can still use the Mystery of History as a guide and a point of reference but doing all sorts of extra assignments and note taking is not what I think will help him the most right now.

Decisions, decisions. One obvious part of the decision is the financial and I guess in reality it would be asking a lot of everyone to experience a huge cut and not be as free to do things with others, help out others where needed, etc.

Maybe I will change my mind again but this is looking more likely at the moment. I would like to give him more opportunity to spend with others in some capacity so will have to think about that some more.