Friday, October 2, 2009

The Random Bits

  • It's October 2nd & fall has hit the great state of Maine full force. I love fall though. It's my favorite season even though it means snow isn't that far away. In fact, some parts of Maine further north are already reporting seeing the dreaded white stuff on the ground. To be fair, I don't mind "snow" as much as I mind how much it curtails my activities. I don't like having to stay home in bad weather. I don't like bad weather! I know, I live in Maine & I have no plans to move anytime soon so I put up with it.
  • Hubby started the wood stove for the first time this morning. It took the nip out of the air nicely. I didn't leave it going or else it would have creeped up to an uncomfortable degree of warmness in here.
  • I'm spending the day playing YouTube Christmas videos - just for the background music. My mom always started playing Christmas music in October (or September even if she could get away with it). Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year & I'm really missing having my mom to celebrate it with this year. As for the music - I'm listening to Casting Crowns' Peace on Earth album - all songs are on there. They are great.
  • School has been really limping along here lately. In fact, I've given the boys the last few days off this week. I'm trying to get some things organized & it looks like I'll be rethinking a lot of what I had planned to do this year. The TOS Crew commitment is part of it but another part of it is realizing how much my oldest son (and that attitude is being passed down the line) dislikes "school." So I asked each of the older boys yesterday what they wanted to study. Here's a list:
    • B's list (age 13)
      • Computers & all that goes with that. He wants to learn about hardware, software, programming & html coding. I know about Motherboard Books, but is there something out there (a bit cheaper or free) that might do the same thing?
      • He still likes me to read to him
      • Still likes history
      • More educational PC games - he wants more computer stuff period. SOS maybe?
    • N's list (age 8)
      • Trains & all that goes with that. His interest in trains continues to grow and grow and grow each year. As an aside: He doesn't know this yet & since he doesn't read my blog (unless he's peaking over my shoulder & he's outside right now) when he gets his tonsils & adenoids out next month, we'll be giving the Extreme Train videos. He'll be thrilled. We only have 6 or 7 of the 8 episodes DVR'd off the TV. Now to just set up a meeting with the host - that would about put him over the world!
      • How things work...I promptly pulled out David Macaulay's The Way Things Work for him to look for. He's pretty happy with it. Any ideas on how to make this more of just reading the book?
      • He still likes Math-U-See.
      • He still likes history but he likes the mapping we do with Story of the World.
      • Reading to him is okay but not his favorite. I'm pretty sure this is not my auditory learner.
      • Lapbooks - he loves them - or so he says.
      • Likes the science we are using (Simply Charlotte Mason's 106 Days of Creation)
      • Wants to desperately learn to play the piano. I'm looking at books on Amazon. I'm thinking of going for the all-in-one books by Alfred & teaching all three boys. This is something I've wanted to do for years (I played from 8th-12th grade - one of my biggest regrets is not keeping up with it after graduation. I loved it & want to get back to it. It looks like Alfred makes an adult version of the same book...hmmmm....)
      • N also likes the music workbooks we've done in the past so we'll start those back up as well. It teaches how to read music.
      • Explode the Code - we went to book 3 & stopped. He wants to keep going.
      • Spelling - he likes it when we do "the symbols." I use Spell to Write & Read & one thing I've had the boys do is mark their spelling words with the markings to help them remember how to spell them. Apparently this made a big impression on N. Although, I've been looking at MCP Spelling Workout lately & I wonder if that just might not be a better fit & less time intensive.
    • Needless to say - school is going to be getting an overhaul. I'll be reviewing Sue Patrick's workbox system for the TOS Crew so J will at least be using that but the other two boys seem excited about the concept as well so I may try it out with all of them. I am just worried about space. I live in a 14x70 trailer full to the brim of "stuff" so space is a premium.
  • Speaking of all my "stuff" - I have a friend who loves to organize. She's coming out here next week. Hopefully she can help me get a handle on what things need to GO and what truly needs to stay. I'm also reading It's All Too Much by Peter Walsh (the British guy on Clean Sweep on TLC) which is excellent so far.
  • We were blessed with a computer a few months ago. At first we were going to give it to one of the boys but how to figure that out? Neither one had rooms clean enough to warrant a PC in there. B used to have one when we first moved here but it died. At the time it didn't matter as N & J were too young to really use one without supervision. B's didn't have Internet access BTW. Then the laptop started acting funky. Problem solved. This past weekend the "big computer move" took place. I dumped all the necessary info on to my external hard drive & set up the "new" on the living room. Hubby spent the weekend cleaning the shop area (i.e. man cave) & took back possession of his laptop. We now have a wireless router so he even has Internet access. This will be helpful at times for school I think - to have two PC's available. I did loose some of my TOS programs I had planned to use for the boys in the move but hopefully we'll be able to fix that soon.
  • The new PC doesn't have a working CD-ROM player. A few weeks ago I went on Amazon & bought an external one. It arrived. It powered up. It spun. My PC didn't recognize it. I contacted the company & they immediately offered to take it back, shipped out a 2nd one & even gave me a $10 Amazon credit. The second one arrived. Same deal. I spent 30+ minutes troubleshooting it. Nothing. The lady I had been e-mailing even called me. Still nothing. It's there - I can see it under the device manager but not under "my computer." Going to try downloading a driver this afternoon. I really hope this works because....
  • I have a friend who owns her own graphic design company. She's offered me some sporadic part-time work revamping web sites. But I need to be able to download (from a CD) Dreamweaver & Photoshop so I can work for her. I need a working CD drive! Oh well - if this newest fix doesn't work then we'll have to bite the bullet and get an internal one. Hubby can switch it out for me.
I'm sure there is more I'm missing, but for now I'll leave you with one last bit of news....

Hubby & I get to go see the Newsboys a week from tomorrow. I am SO excited! It's been a few years since we've been to a concert. Hubby really splurged on the tickets as well. Floor seats with a CD & a meet & greet with the band. So excited!


  1. Oooh, too cool about the Newsboys! I expect to read the details and see pics, of course. ;0) We were just listening to one of their CD's this morning while we lapbooked.

    Good luck with the PC stuff. The work sounds cool, but aren't you busy enough already??? LOL

    I'm anxious to read about your workbox experience. I've been toying with the idea. Space/storage is a huge problem in our small house too.

    When your "organizer" finishes at your house, send her my way please! Of course, she'll end up with nightmares after seeing my boxes of books that have no shelves. LOL

  2. I definitely want to see how the workbox idea works out for you. I am wondering if such a system will keep my younger boys on task when I work this winter. My Dh doesn't want to do any homeschooling with them. I'm thinking they need something to show them, do this, this, this and this and then you can play until Mummy gets home!

    My Hayley (13)has been using SOS 7th grade for a couple months now. It's not as "fun" as she thought it would be so I don't know how your son would like it. Boys seem to want things to be more like games even more than girls do. If you do decide to try it there are ways to bring down the unweildyness of it. I found it was taking too long each day. Then Hayley would get frustrated and try to avoid doing it. I went in and deleted ALL the quizzes and a few things I knew she already knew or which seemed not needed. This brought the workload way down. Now she has only average 2 things to do each day to get through the work in a year, as opposed to 5 or 6.

    We have used the Way things work sometimes for cub scouts. Often you can google the topic and find easy experiments. Or the website How Stuff Works, usually has lots of links to experiments and such.

  3. I love the Newsboys! I know you'll have fun. Bless your hubby for being so thoughtful!

    And I love reading the random bits in your day.

  4. I was to read the peter walsh book after you!! I LOVE peter! "this is NOT your grandmother!"

  5. oops, I WANT not I was..... frozen fingers, sorry.


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