Friday, December 10, 2010

The Autobiography of Santa Claus

As Christmas comes closer, I thought it would be a good idea to read a Christmas book to the kids every night. This year, I chose The Autobiography of Santa Claus. It's Santa's Story, as told to Jeff Guinn. There are 24 chapters, one for each night in December until Christmas Eve. Santa tells the story of his life, from his childhood as an orphan to the Santa we know today. The kids are absolutely loving this book. I read it several years ago and I decided that this was the year to share it with them. Eli is 8 and is starting to question Santa. This book has bought me at least one more year of belief. I know that everyone has to grow up and learn the truth, but I'm not ready for that innocence and pure belief to be gone yet. The few years we have to give our children the precious gift of belief in magic end too soon. The crossing over to unbelief is, to me, a sign that we don't have little ones anymore. The great thing about this book is all the history they learn without realizing they're learning. The story spans centuries, and as we travel with Nicholas, (as he was known for a while) we learn about the customs and major events of each time period. Reading this has become Eli and Ella's favorite part of the day. In the years to come, when they can't hear the Christmas bell anymore, I'll remember this Christmas and the 24 nights I spent reaffirming their belief in the magic of Santa.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Favorite Time of Year

It's that time of year again. My favorite season! I love fall, especially since moving to what some people would call the sticks. The colors here in the country are just enchanting. Yesterday as I sat wrapped up in my Snuggie, I looked out the window to what seemed to be a shower of yellow leaves blowing from the trees. It was beautiful and it reminded me how much I love fall in the country. I love all things fall. I love pumpkins and bonfires, chilly nights with hot chocolate or mornings with coffee on my deck, making piles of leaves for the kids to play in or being able to see them playing in the tree house when the leaves are gone. I love fires in my fireplace and seeing Copper and Hummer curled up in front of it, forgetting that they are dog and cat and shouldn't get along if it means they can sleep close to the fire. I love Halloween and Thanks giving, and knowing that Christmas isn't far away. Enjoy the season! And if you want to see it in all it's glory, take drive towards Chickasaw.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

7 Weeks Into Homeschooling

So, we're 7 weeks into homeschooling. Is it what I expected? In some ways, yes. In some ways , no. I love having Eli here with me everyday. I love the bond we've strengthened. I can't wait to have Ella with us next year. I still feel like I don't have it all figured out. We're working hard, and working together to make this an experience that public school never was and never would be for Eli. The schools here are wonderful. The teachers at West Chester are great. If my kids HAD to stay in public school, this is exactly where I'd want them. But public school isn't enough. It isn't what Eli needs. As I've said before, he's a square peg being forced into a round hole. I know him better than any teacher. I know his weaknesses, his strengths, his fears, his dreams better than any teacher ever will. And so, I'm glad we've made this choice. I'm glad that I have the opportunity to help him flourish and learn. I can already tell the difference in his self-confidence and his interest in learning because I control what we do. This is a journey, and I'm happy to be on it with him.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homeschool Bound

So, We've made the decision to homeschool Eli next year. Id' really like to homeschool Ella too but, baby steps....maybe the next year.

I'm a planner by nature. (Notice I did not say organizer....just look at my house for evidence.) I'm making lists, which I love and am obsessed with doing, writing lesson plans, buying books, researching curriculum, and generally working myself into a frenzy of homeschool excitement. Finally, I will get to use all those nifty theories I learned in graduate school. Those are, however, the very theories that are not working on my very unique little Eli at school. So back to the drawing board there.

I've decided not to buy a full curriculum. I'm designing my own. I'm using standard 3rd grade textbooks but we'll do so much more than that. Eli is excited about it and Ella is mad that she still has to go to school. But I have to get this going smoothly before I add her charming personality to the mix.

My first project is to decorate the classroom. Fortunately we have an extra bedroom to convert into our classroom. I have visions of bright colors and neat work spaces. I want to make a reading corner with beanbag chairs and big pillows. Eli loves to read and I want to encourage that. I'm sure I'll spend too much money buying things to make it feel and look like the classroom of all teachers' dreams. This will be the room I wanted when I was getting my Master of Education and actually thought I would be a teacher. Except instead of a class full of eager minds and smiling faces that I now realize would never have greeted me in a school, I'll have one reluctant learner with a smile/scowl that hopefully will learn alot.

Eli is already taking an active part in the planning. He is more interested in fieldtrips than textbooks. His first fieldtrip choices are Shiloh, the state capitol building and Pinson Mounds.
I have the feeling we'll both learn alot next year and I'm ready for the ride.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Open Letter To The American Government:

Dear Mr. President, Representatives and Senators,

I am citizen of the greatest country the world has ever known. I have known freedoms most civilizations throughout history can only dream of. I been afforded opportunities that the rest of the world covets and often gives life savings, security, and even life for a chance to share. I am guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I can assemble whenever and with whomever i choose. I can worship the God that gave me life on Earth and after I leave this Earth.This is the God that grants the freedoms that the Constitution also promises me. I can speak freely, without fear of retribution from those I speak against. I can carry a gun to protect myself and my family. I can make my own choices in life. I have always been able to make decisions for myself, and now my children, that my husband and I feel are in our best interest without interference from the government. There is a military force with an honor, strength, and might the likes of which the world has never known that protects my family from anyone who would infringe on these freedoms or our way of life. These soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors leave their own families and often give their very lives to preserve mine. I am blessed. I am free. I am an American.

The American public asked you to serve our country. You have been given a responsibility that few would envy. You were chosen to uphold ideals that were put into place over 200 years ago. The life that the Founders sought caused people to leave their home country in search of freedom. These men became traitors to their country and king. Can you even imagine the courage and commitment to their convictions that must have taken? To look the King of England in the face and tell him, “You do not own us. We are no longer yours. We are our own nation.” Many of them died for this idea. They willingly gave their lives in hopes that one day, the people of their new nation would know liberty. This is what you have been charged with preserving.

I feel abandoned. I feel as though your careers are more important that my freedom. Every decision you make should be weighed against its effect on ME, and the rest of the American people. I don’t care how it affects your career or if you lose an election because of how you vote on an issue before you. The seat you hold is not yours. It belongs to America. You were asked to represent us. In case you have forgotten what that means, let me explain. Webster defines “represent” as:

(1)to take the place of in some respect (2) : to act in the place of or for usually by legal right (3) : to manage the legal and business affairs of ,b : to serve especially in a legislative body by delegated authority usually resulting from election

In case this is confusing, it means that I send you to Washington, after having told you how to vote on a particular issue, and you vote that way. You represent me. You speak (vote) for me because I am not there. I can see how that might be hard to understand. Let me illustrate: Company A has a meeting with Company B. Company A sends a representative to the meeting, with specific instructions on the position of the company. The representative for Company A goes to this meeting and relays this information to Company B. He does not think to himself, “What is in MY best interest? What could I do to insure MY job, even if it is to the eventual detriment of the company who sent me? I know my boss said I should say this, but I don’t really agree with that. Yes, he pays my salary and I am employed at his pleasure, but I really think I know better what he needs.”

Is this becoming clearer?

I want my children and their children to love America, but you are all stealing it. You are putting into place forces that will make America as we know it a vague memory. One day, Americans will wake up and wonder what happened to their freedom. They will envy their ancestors for the liberty and way of life they wish they could have. How foolish we will all look then, for having done so little to preserve the country we profess to love.

For too long, we as Americans have trusted you to do the right thing. We have stood idly by, watching as our freedoms are slowly taken from us. We have cast our votes in elections, and if “our guy” didn’t win, well, there’s always next time. We have not taken your responsibility seriously. So it is understandable that you haven’t either. Those days are behind us. We have reawakened to the idea that you have a responsibility to REPRESENT us, not make decisions FOR us. As your employer, I am giving you a directive. Represent me, or your services will no longer be needed. Consider yourself on probation. I am watching, and if you don’t perform the duties that you were hired to perform, I will find someone who will. The D or R after your name is of no consequence. It should not matter what your position on an issue is. It should only matter what your constituents’ position is. Again, that pesky issue of “represent” comes to mind. You weren’t sent to relay your own ideas.

Please hear us before it is too late. You swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. Sometimes I wonder if you’ve even read it. If you haven’t, sit down now and do it. I will not beg or plead with any of you. I will simply say this: represent us, or go home. The choice is yours. The vote is ours.