Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Simple Woman

Outside my window...

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A shot of Rosie racing in a 5K one week ago during a very hot, steamy day.  Seriously, it was like racing in a sauna. I found out this week that she actually won her age group for that race - nice start for the season. She looks like a young lady in this picture instead of a little girl!

I am thinking...
about Noah, who started his running camp for college this week. Hearing him talk about his new team last night reminded me of four years ago when he started running with the high school team. It's hard to be the outsider coming in and you don't make best buddies in just a few days.  The guys he made strong friendships with on the high school team weren't his best buddies in the first few weeks. It takes time.  I am also thinking that once his regular classes start, he'll make some friends outside of the running club too, and that will be nice.

I am thankful...
for my granddaughter who somehow coerces me into taking a nap with her most afternoons. I enjoy those moments, maybe because I know how brief they are!  This week they are particularly soothing to my heart as  Noah starts spending more time away with the start of his college career. My goddaughter also leaves for college at the end of the week.  An era is ending. Having the baby around helps make that transition smoother.

In the kitchen...
Barbecue chicken breast bacon wrap.

I am wearing...
Gray skort with gray long-sleeved shirt.

I am pondering...
The month of September - which always seems to hit my family in the head like a sledge hammer. Mr. Pete, who repairs musical instruments, is working 12 hour days to keep up with the work. I have four weddings to oversee this month at church, which takes a good chunk out of every weekend. And of course, cross country season is starting this weekend.  It's just hard to go from the lazy and lax days of summer to the strictness of the school year.

I am going...
  • to walk or work out every day with Pfilates . I have to include some arm work out with this. Also, since Noah is busy now, I will probably be taking Sophie on more long walks.  I took her for about a three mile walk this morning and she was very happy to be back home!
  • to cut my carbs via the Wheat Belly Total Health: The Ultimate Grain-Free Health and Weight-Loss Life Plan  recommendations. 
  • See Rosie race on Saturday.
  • Sneaking a way to watch Noah's practice when it is held locally tomorrow. I will be doing this covert operation with my granddaughter in tow - not sure how inconspicuous I will be able to be! 
  • Start some heavy duty flute practice. 

I am reading...

I have two writings in this new book from Catholic Mom.com. I've been reading the other articles and I think they're very enjoyable.

From the Learning Rooms...


Izzy-Junior - heading into senior year!

Adobe Spark

Also, it occurs to me that this year, I start into my 3rd decade of homeschooling. I have two sets of emotions about this. I feel proud of what I was able to accomplish with my kids. Yet, when I started out all those years ago, I never thought that this would be my life's work. And I ponder that.

A quote to share...

“That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended - civilizations are built up - excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and the cruel people to the top and it all slides back into misery and ruin.”

C.S. Lewis

Some  of my favorite things...
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A few years ago, Akron's minor league baseball team changed its name to "The Rubber Ducks."  This year, Izzy and some other young artists, were commissioned with making a sculpture in downtown Akron to pay homage to the new mascot.  I think they did a neat job!

A picture to share...

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Mary Queen of Heaven

Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven

Queenship of Mary Delicious Links.

Pius XII was instrumental in establishing the Feast of Mary's Queenship. The liturgical Feast of Christ the King honors the kingly dignity of Jesus Christ and was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Mary's royal dignity is parallel, although subordinate, and the Feast of the Queenship of Mary was instituted by Pope Pius XII and her queenship proclaimed with the encyclical letter, Ad coeli Reginam, promulgated on October 11, 1954.

Mary Crowned Queen of Heaven
40. Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,[47] immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.

In our home, we will bring the stars out and hang them from our chandelier.  These represent heaven, and they will surround our statue of Mary.
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When the kids were younger, we made stars out of cardboard and aluminum foil. A couple of years ago though, Noah mentioned how much he disliked those stars. He thought they looked tacky.  So last year, I bought these on Amazon. Noah liked those much better.

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Once the stars go up, they stay up until Ash Wednesday, adding a festive touch to the dining room through the fall and holiday season.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Working through the Tangles - How we started in running.

Most of the time, God's plan to me is like the  embroidery analogy.

Sarah Altendorf via Flickr, licensed cc

I'm sure from the top, where God sits, looking down, the plan is working out beautifully.  But where I am sitting, looking up, there are a lot of knots and tangles on the underside.

Just before my last child was born 11 years ago, I hit one of those tangles.

Mr. Pete and I had all of our children involved with swimming and the swim team. We started by putting my oldest son in swimming because it tired him out and made him more manageable. As he got to be high school age, it became a big part of his life, and I think the discipline and the fatigue that came with being a competitive swimmer made him a better person.
I thought I had found the recipe for success with raising little boys. Being in the water took the fight out of them! I couldn't imagine that a drug would work as well as a couple of hours racing in the water. So all of our subsequent sons took swimming lessons and then joined the swim team. At the time, this was very expensive for us. But I thought it was worth the sacrifice to provide this for our children.
Noah racing
Two weeks before my youngest child was due to be born, one of my long-time clients sent me a note that said she had to cut costs in her business and so she would no longer be using my services. This was a huge financial hit for our family and being hormonal anyway, I fell into despair.  The timing of all of this, with a new baby on the way, wasn't great, but I had no choice but to accept it. Yet I worried about how this would affect my sons, and all I could see ahead of us were tangles.

But God started working His plan for us immediately. Not having that extra work and stress on me, helped with my recovery from a Cesarean delivery at age 46. But I still worried because I knew that we weren't going to be able to afford swim team for my younger sons any more, and I fretted about how to tell them and what to replace it with.

A few months later, there was a notice in the parish bulletin, that CYO was offering Cross Country for elementary students!  I thought that maybe that would be my answer. Financially it certainly was! The cost of joining was a fraction of what the team fees were.

I had never run before, and Mr. Pete is not a runner. We weren't sure what we were getting into, yet I felt compelled to at least give it a try. So we showed up for the first practice and my kids, who were avid and capable swimmers, started learning about distance running. Blessings started coming to us from that as well. Because this was a CYO activity, we started feeling a little more closely part of the parish life. Cross country practice was also a lot less time consuming since the practices were only about an hour long and the routine of that was better for our dinner time and family routine.
Sam and Gabe were never stellar runners, but they enjoyed the comraderie and the benefits of running. They occasionally run now as adults. But what I didn't know then was that two of my younger kids would be good runners, and that the new baby I brought into the world when this started, would possibly even be a talented runner.

Five years ago I put her in her very first one mile race.  She didn't ask me, "Mom, what if I don't finish?"  she asked, "Mom, what if I don't win?"  I knew right then that this was the sport for her.
Rosie at Tallmadge Meet
Next week, Noah starts running on the college level with an NCAA 2 school.  That never entered my mind as a possibility when we showed up for that first cross country practice all those years ago. I have no idea how God will use that. Maybe he'll meet a lifelong friend? or maybe there will be experiences with this team that will serve in the future? I don't know.

God either cleared out the knots and tangles for us, or showed us the purpose for each one. I know there will be more ahead. But when I have my doubts, I look back and see the design that I can sort of kinda make out from my new perspective, and this bolsters my faith, and makes me anxious to see how it will all work out in the future.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Alabaster Anniversary

When I was a little girl, my grandparents kept a beautiful silver wall hanging to commemorate their 25th wedding anniversary. It had Mary and Joseph on it with a big number 25 between them. That hung on their wall for as long as I could remember.
When I was in high school they celebrated their 50th anniversary with gold party favors and decorations all around the church hall. Everything from the program at their special Mass to my grandpa’s necktie was steeped in gold – the color of the day!
Maybe that’s why I like the idea that there are certain special “gifts” or materials that go with each anniversary. My son and his wife recently had their first wedding anniversary – the “paper” anniversary. When I went to get them something I wanted to find something special to commemorate their first year of married life. I found a charming paper lantern to memorialize the occasion in the years to come, or for however long paper things last.
Once you get past 30 years of marriage (the pearl anniversary) the items that go with each subsequent anniversary are kind of  unusual and rare until you make it to 40 (the ruby anniversary). A few years ago we had our coral anniversary and last year was bone china. With teens, tweens and a toddler around, it didn’t seem wise to bring those types of items into the household.

Roger via Flickr, licensed cc

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Wordless Wednesday

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Three brothers.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Homeschool book list for 2016/2017

Book list 2016/17

homeschool 001

Exploring Creation with Botany
Trail Guide to Bible Geography
CYO Cross Country practice
Children’s Choir at Oaks of Righteousness Co-Op

Art Studies at Akrona Art
Parish Choir St. Sebastians
Spelling U See Per Dr. Holinga
Saturday Soccer League

Kate at Flickr licensed via CC

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Ohio Homeschoolers Getting Ready to Notify


Ohio Homeschoolers are trying to get their notifications in before the start of the public school year. Here is the most up-to-date information I have.

Parents in Ohio homeschool under Ohio Revised code  3321.04.  Parents who wish to homeschool their children must notify the superintendent of their local public school system every year. This is a change from a few years ago when parents could simply notify their city or some other entity. So address all of your paperwork to the superintendent of the local schools. Remember you are informing them, not asking for their permission.

The notification form for Ohio Homeschoolers is available here.   This is the standard form for the state. Some school districts (like mine) send their own form.  Just ignore it.  The standard form is compliant with the Ohio law and that's all the school district is really entitled to.  YOU ARE ONLY REQUIRED TO GIVE THE INFORMATION ON THE FORM.  Do not give any additional information like social security numbers.

The first five items on the form are pretty easy to comply with.
1. School year notification this year is for 2011 - 2012.
2.  Name, address and phone number
4.  Full name and birth date of children to be educated.
5.  Check mark to assure that home education will include: language, reading, spelling and writing, geography, history - national state and local, math, science, health, physical education, fine arts, including music, first aid, safety and fire prevention.

I interpret that to mean that sometime, during home education, I will have touched on all of that and hopefully more - like government and world history.  It does not mean that I will touch on everything in great depth every year.  Even the schools do not do that.

However, in the past I have run into a little trouble with the #6 in the list of required documents.

(6) Brief           outline of the intended curriculum for the current year. Such outline is for           informational purposes only

I wasn't sure what a "brief"outline was exactly?  Wouldn't my list of books and resources pretty much suffice as an outline of what I hoped to cover?  No.  Because when I sent I sent in just the book list with the forms, I got a letter back that they needed an outline. For years, I took every textbook with me down to Kinkos and copied all of the tables of content.  It was a lot of work, a lot of money and a lot of paper! Plus, I'm pretty sure they never even looked at them as I totally forgot to put Calvin's math book contents in with the packet one year and no one ever questioned it!

So a few years ago I tried putting the list on line with links to each book. In my cover letter I mentioned that this was to be my "brief outline."  That's the year I learned they don't read the cover letters either.  I got a form letter in the mail a few days later asking for my outline.

What to do?    I wanted something I wasn't going to slave over, something that wouldn't require LOTS of copying and would satisfy the regulations.  That's when I found the Typical Course of Study Site by the folks at the World Book Encyclopedia!

They have all of the grades through 12th grade and they are easily copied and pasted into a word document where they can be easily adjusted and changed to meet your needs.  They met the requirement of a "brief outline" for my school district!  If you're a newbie in Ohio, or if your state requires an outline, maybe this will work for you too.

There are other options too. The Ohio Department of Education Standard Guides are available through grade 8. This isn't as easy to use for a quick cut and paste, but for parents that want to come up with a good outline, this is a useful tool.

For high school, The Ohio Department of Education Graduation Requirements are here, although that doesn't really help much in creating an outline.  I found a wonderful high school program with great course descriptions and outlines that could be helpful in designing outlines for Ohio notification.  Also see  these very well done course outlines!

A few  years ago,  I also purchased Cindy Down's Check list.  Here's a summary:

The Checklist contains 194 pages and includes:

step-by-step directions

a checklist (scope and sequence) of topics that students study from K - 12th grade. Unlike other scope and sequences, The Checklist is not organized by grade level. Instead, the topics are listed sequentially or by subject matter so that you can teach the subjects you want, when you want. For example, the history topics are listed by time period from creation through modern times; the math topics are listed by skill development; and the science topics are listed within subtopics such as oceanography, astronomy and meteorology.

lists of major events, important people, important places, discoveries and accomplishments, and/or terms to know for each history topic.

lists of important people related to each topic along with their country of birth, date of birth and death, and a brief description of their contribution.

lists of explorers of the world, countries of the world, U.S. symbols, U.S. States and capitols with their abbreviations and the dates they entered the Union.

lists of well-known authors, artists, musicians, and missionaries

recommended books for primary and secondary students (both American and world literature)

lists of reading, math skills, writing skills, grammar skills, art skills, and MUCH MUCH MORE!

There is no need to purchase more than one copy. There is room on The Checklist to keep records for two or three children. Purchaser is granted permission to make copies of The Checklist for additional children, if needed. (This permission is restricted to purchaser's immediate family.)

I have this on my computer and can print out any pages we are working on at the time.  This too is a good resource for coming up with the required Ohio outline.

Speaking of lists - The Homeschooler's Book of Lists    is also a very good resource for making up an outline to send in for notification.  It could be photocopied or just hand typed in.

For #7 I make a list of the books and courses that I am going to use. There are sample book list is here and here.  As I save the list on my computer making changes to it every year is a snap - but for large famlies I advise keeping a copy of what you do every year so that as a new child enters a grade you have covered with an older child, you can look back and see what you ahve done and you won't be starting over!

Make sure if you are re-notifying to include your composite test results.  You do NOT have to send in the entire test, just a copy that shows the name of the child and the composite score.  If you did not test, then the written narrative signed by your portfolio reviewer needs to be included. 

When all that is done then,  the following will be sent in to the superintendent

___Notification Form - completed and signed.

___Curriculum Outline for each child.

___Book list for each child.

___Standardized Test results for each child or

___Narrative Assessment for each child.

Put it all in a big envelope and send it in certified mail or hand deliver it to the superintendent's office requesting a receipt.

If you have a student who is graduating from your Ohio Homeschool this year, it is very important that you keep the letter your superintendent sends back to keep with your permanent records.  I blogged about that here. 
Have a great homeschooling year Ohio!

Check out my Homeschooling Page at the top of this blog.
Homeschooling Links on Delicious

If you want your child to participate in extra-curricular activities or sports at the local public schools via 2013 Ohio Law it is important to notify early and to be as complete as possible.  Homeschool mothers of high school athletes, should take some time now to develop some kind of a report card to fill out and return at the start of each sports season. I had to make one for Noah that reflected his grades in the spring and again in the fall when he ran track. In the spring I will need to have his winter grades before he participates in track.  Be prepared for this so you won't be blind sighted when they ask!

Here is a link to the form I used for my student athlete. 

Here are two parts of a speech I gave back in June of 2012. The part about notification starts at 7:35 on the first video and continues on the second.

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