Tag Archives: homeschool

Focusing on Focusing


It’s been ages since I blogged, which I believe is the same thing I mentioned before.

The single most trait of a blog, and to keep blogging, is knowing if anyone reads it. This blog, I don’t feel gets read. It’s more blithering I suppose, so that leads me to thinking on what to focus on.

Focus. That’s not one of my characteristics.

My brain doesn’t work like that at all. If anything, ideas sort of bubble up to the surface. I have to jot down the idea quickly before it fades, and to figure out what to do with it later.

This year I’ve been trying to narrow down my main areas of focus, which is no easy task. Tons of ideas come, and I have to ignore them while trying to focus on the few on my list. Then I’m left wondering if those few on the list are even worth trying.

So here are some of my top things to focus on for the next month or so;

  • Finish my short story for publication.
  • Finish editing my dad’s book to help him publish. This includes the book cover design
  • Apply to REV for a closed caption work. (this is done)
  • Complete the ‘writer journal’ project. I’m working on a blank journal for writers which includes tips, prompts, and quotes, as well as a space for daily word counts. This should be done soon.
  • Finish the Playful Pagan web site, which will include an online ecourse, eworkbooks, and resources for earth centered spirituality.

I have more stuff, but these are the main things I’m focusing on.

And to update friends and family- here are some things I’ve been up to;

Blood donation

Donating Blood– I decided to start donating blood, so I gave my first pint. I found out I’m O+, and they would like me to donate platelets too. I hope to do that eventually.

No homeschool. In past years, we continued to do some homeschool through the summer. This year, we’re enjoying not doing homeschool. Dan passed last year, so he’ll be in 11th grade in September.

Working Learnthepc.net. I was referred to a new client and helped her with her computer issues, while another needed help with transferring VHS to DVD. Worked on a web site for a client but he backed out. That’s never fun for me. It means work without pay, so I’m not keen on doing web design. I’m considering no longer offering this service. Instead, having pre-developed sites for sale, or client tutorials.

Writing! I’ve been working one short story fiction, but also working on a blank journal for writers. It includes a spot to add word counts, but also includes tips, prompts, and author quotes. I’m also editing my dad’s book which will be published soon, and organizing my Writer’s Group for an upcoming anthology coming this Christmas.

WordPress Tags: , ,


First Day of Homeschool

PS_20150901103547Unlike the public school folks, homeschoolers can start a bit later. And today, one day after Labor Day, seemed fitting to get started with Grade 10.

Generally I schedule for the week over the previous weekend. This lets me plan ahead, juggle a schedule, fit in field trips and appointments, as well as meetings and other things that pop up. This week, he has scouts, doing yard work (which was yesterday), and I have meetings at various times. This means I have to plan ahead so he does assignments on his own, and I check them when I get back.

Wednesdays are easy days. He has scouts in the evenings and because we do homeschool in the evenings, I set only his Spanish lesson, writing, and daily journal for the day. Bear in mind, we also do things on the weekends sometimes. I even allow my son to trade days if he wants a weekday off.

So this year, we’re returning to the fun of exploring geography with hands on activities. We pick a country and explore arts, crafts, cooking, language, monuments, and the country’s history. We already covered Russia in the way of history via World War I, but this time we get to plunge a bit more in depth with its origins and culture. Dan picks out the recipes, and we’re trying to decide between Kalduny, Kotlety, or Pirozhki. For art, we might explore Faberge eggs, but we already learn about him a bit earlier. We could work on Russian Artists, and explore their style, or even explore Russian composers. We might also learn about the ballet in Russia, or try our hand at Russian folk dance. There’s myth and legends, such as Baba Yaga, the witch with a house that runs on chicken legs.

So much to explore.

We’ll be doing similar things with other countries.ww2Poster.Mock.2015.FINAL

History will include World History of World War II. This fits in great, since we’ll be attending a WWII re-enactment event in our town in October. There’s music, art, the war, technology, and medicine to learn in this time frame. We watch documentaries, read textbooks, and visit museums.

We went to the WWII weekend before and found it very fun. They had camps setup at the park of Polish, American, Russian, and other groups dressed as the soldiers of the WWII. They have a fashion show, and I remember a tent where you learned about the medical on the field of battle.

Social Studies also covers American history and Community which he gets plenty through the various topics we cover over the school year. As a Scout he regularly partakes on social events.

As for art, I want Dan to explore art journaling. Basically, we learn various techniques and he gets to try them in a journal. He doesn’t seem to like doing art, but I hope he can have fun with it. I’ve started an art journal playlist on Youtube where I collected some techniques and tutorials.

Music will include from the countries we learn (cultural music and composers), styles of music, and how music impacted our history.

Writing is also not his thing, but I’ve told him a hundred times that he needs it as a skill. We’re back into spelling, where he must look up word meaning, write out sentences, and utilize new words into his vocabulary. He will also keep a daily journal, and he will do regular reports, essays, and fiction pieces. Considering how he doesn’t enjoy it, he does have a natural flair for story telling, creative ideas, and even writes well. Spelling…well, not so good, but neither was I at that age.

Tomorrow I get his textbooks on Math and Science. We’ll be exploring Algebra, Economics, Biology, Earth/Space, and some Environmental Science. He likes Physics too.

For extracurricular, Dan picked Videography. We’ll be making and editing videos, maybe even trying out hand at special effects. He also agreed that he should learn computer repair since his laptop had issues the other day. I can teach him what I know. I think I still have my computer repair textbooks from the classes I took.

So it will be a busy year, but hopefully a fun, educational one.

History of a tissue box thief


My son is a tissue box thief. I decided I should share this sorted tale of woe, in case others may find themselves without a tissue box of their own.

It started innocently enough. Dan was lazy and didn’t want to go all the way down stairs to get another box. He opted to take mine instead. I discovered the theft, and took it back. It disappeared soon after. I took it back from his room, I’d find an empty box on my desk.

This was an act of war!



I thought, at this point, I might be triumphant. But again, I found a missing tissue box from the sanctity of my desk. I needed a new plan.


Surely this would make it obvious that he is not to take my tissue box for his evil intentions. He must learn to take the arduous path of going downstairs and getting his own damn box!



Alas, my plan was again thwarted by his deviousness.I knew I had to up the stakes.


Okay….there. I made it clear, right? That means I’m serious and mean business. Then I did this-

tb nuclear

Aha! I knew I had him then! I listened for his return where I heard him huff in disbelief. “Wha-? Who?” Mwhahahaha

Then this happened:



And then, I found this on my desk. Hm, how curious. Who could it be? Could it be Daniel? The Cat?


The tissue box war continues…..

Adventures in 3D and D.C.


Oh spring, how I’ve missed you! We finally see warm weather, even being warmed by the sun. The Crocus blooms in the back yard, and my dog decided it’s a great time to shed. I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the snow and ice gone.

Updates to my life include self-learning Blender, playing around with movie making apps, changes with Score, and a few new things.

blenderBlender, (free) if you don’t know already, is a 3D modeling and animation program. There’s something of a learning curve to master everything it can do, including adding special effects to movies, but it’s a field I’d like to stretch my creativity and see what I can make. So far, I’ve worked with animation an ocean, but texturing is a bit difficult. I’ll share when I get something to show off.

I hope to make things like animated text, film introductions, and special effects in film.

tinkercadAnother program I found was Tinkercad, (free)and what makes this 3d modeling program so neat is that models you create can be saved as OBJ (which can be used in Blender or DazStudio, but also can be used with the 3D printing services. This works on smart phones too.

There is a 3D print factory in Hagerstown, MD, by the way. And you can use 3D print-on-demand with  Shapeways. There are other 3D printing on demand, but you’ll have to compare and check file expectations.

The Windows Lumia 830 phone I upgraded to offers some lovely quality for photos and videos, but I find the Windows still lacks in the way of entertaining apps for video editing. Since I have apps for the iPhone 4S, and I still have it, I figured I’d explore the movie editing and special effect features.

Here’s a sample of GunMovieFX for the iPhone, which adds bullets or lasers to your movies. I can also add blood splatters and even sound effects to scenes.


WP_20150328_11_36_10_ProWe took a trip with the Boy Scouts to the Air and Space museum in D.C. Omg, it was so cold that day- near freezing. People wore jackets, and I reminded them how long the waits can be when you wait for the Metro train.

Danny was shivering at one point, where I did the old ‘told-you-so’. Maybe he will listen to his mom from now on! Um…not likely.

We saw rockets, planes, and the World War II exhibits, as well as a section on light. It was fun.


We also visited the Natural History museum, but by then the crowds were getting insane, and my feet were killing me. I got to touch a piece of mars rock, though.

Some exhibits I didn’t’ want to stand around to wait to see. I wanted to see the butterflies (real ones) but the line went on forever. And anything that required standing deterred me from looking at too much. I hope to be in better shape the next time we go- build up my standing tolerance.

The planes in the Air and Space.


My handsome boys, who never seem keen on my taking photos Dave plays along, but Daniel often glares at me. I insist he’ll thank me later as I am keeping the memories of his childhood alive.


David took my photo as I took my adventures to my (imaginary) sky. This was an exhibit on balloon flight.


I thought I would also add that although I entitled this blog with the word adventure, my own thoughts on what that means basically is that I go outside my comfort zone. Since doing that more, I’m meeting so many people, having experiences, and having a better attitude in Life.

On to the adventures…!

What I learned this week: Russian Cuisine, Faberge, and childhood memories

So I decided to start a series of post on my blog where I share things that I learned through the week. This will help provoke more regular posts, while sharing some neat and interesting things I discovered through the week.

In homeschool, we’re learning the World War I history, while also focusing on the Russian Revolution. The other day we learned about Faberge Eggs, by Peter Carl Faberge, a Russian jeweler who designed some lovely ‘eggs’ but also other things.

He made only 50 of them, each Easter for the Romanov family. Since then, a Faberge egg is any lovely designed egg that holds some trinket inside.

I remember helping a Russian friend of the family, an elderly woman named Alexandria, to polish the silverware. On the back of the utensils, I noticed a crest and Russian lettering. “What’s this?” I asked her. She peered over with her bifocals and said “Oh that is Gregory’s family crest and it says Faberge” She then added, “He was the royal goldsmith.”

I was stunned at how casual she was with this fact, and meanwhile. I actually polished Faberge silverware!

borshtWhile we’re learning about the Bolsheviks, I happened upon some Russian cuisine we might try. It’s fun to add in our studies some meals based on history and culture. Not that I’m a fan of Borscht. Ugh @ Beet soup! That was gross.

As a child, I remember Alexandria’s husband, Gregory, tell me about Borscht (in his heavy Russian accent). “We make this soup out of beetles.” He tells me. “Um, Gregory? That’s Beets.” I correct him. He chuckles back at me. “Yes, beetles” lol

I am not keen on making anything with beets (can’t stand them), so I found these recipes we might try instead;

pavalovaPavalova– Named after a Russian ballerina, this meringue type desert looks lovely as it must be yummy. Here’s a video on how to make them, and the ingredients are few. It seems the real magic comes from the technique.

I’m also intrigued with attempting to make Pirozhki (baked or fried buns with filling) or Pelmeni, which are Russian dumplings filled with meat.

While learning about the Romanovs (last Tsar of Russia), I also learned about the royal diseases that impacted history. Tsar Nicolas’ son had Hemophilia. One video by the BBC entitled Hemophilia and Porphyria – Royal diseases from Tainted Blood covered several royal families that had issues. It was interesting.

I’d love to learn Russian, so I’m currently exploring this site Russianlessons.net which teaches the writing as well as the speech. My son wants to stick with Spanish (Duolingo.com).

I’ll try to post things as I learn them. If you like this post, ‘like’, share, and comment. Let me know if you want more.

Adventures in Score.org and homeschool parties

005This month, I’ve been welcomed into the local Score.org chapter. And what is Score, you may be asking. Well. it is a small business group comprised of business owners and retired business people who volunteer their time and skills to help other business owners. They mentor on things like marketing, or if you need help with accounting, or designing a web site.  I highly recommend to any and all who have their own business. Score provides helpful mentors and networking opportunities, and it is for free!

For Christmas, Dave bought our son Daniel a flight lesson at the Hagerstown Flight school at the airport. As my son hopes to be a pilot one day. The ‘Discovery flights’ was a fun-filled adventure for him. As his mom, I remained on the ground, watched him take flight and fervently hoped they wouldn’t crash.

He came safely back, sharing he got to experience zero g’s when the instructor, for fun, let the plane drop a bit. He had so much fun. I’m sure the experience fired up this want to be a pilot even more.

Here is the video I took- (part of the video is screwy because of trying to stabilize with Youtube settings)

Afterwards, we headed out to the PHLC co-op Christmas party. We joined this month for socializing with other homeschool families, and Dan met some other kids his own age.

It’s funny how often we get the socializing question, (How do you socialize your son if he’s homeschooled?) when in fact, local homeschoolers I’ve met are some of the most socialized, and -dare I say it- friendly kids. When I talk to the teens and other kids, they are well spoken, enthusiastic, gregarious people. As are the parents.

Every time I’ve joined in a homeschool group I found someone eager to share a resource or tip, and I gain the validation that I am not screwing up my kid. Winking smile

I was so glad they accepted Daniel, even introducing to him to others. He said he had a good time- as did I, and we have a New Year’s Party we might go to as well.