Going Slow

This week is slow for two reasons:

1. We are all on the mend from strep throat. Yes, all five of us got it to varying degrees.

2. I am buried in planning next year, I will post about this in the future I am sure. This is the first year I am really getting detailed in my planning. I think it will serve us better in the long run.

The photo was taken today. As you can see, the southern states are finally getting rain. Now that my kids are getting better, they are itching to get outside and play again. I'll have more blog material soon.


Links I Liked

Here are some great articles I enjoyed this week. If you follow me through Facebook, you may have seen a couple of these. If you don't, there are a lot more than just these over there. Have a great weekend!

The Strongest Women In America Lives In Poverty With the Olympics on the horizon, this article about one of the US's top chances at gold, touches on an even larger issue: Is image still everything?

10 Things I Want my Daughter to Know Before She Turns 10 or in my case before my daughter turns 12, is one I read aloud to my daughter. I don't know how much of it sank in, but it won't be the last time I go over these points with her.

The Homeschool Scientist explains the Higgs boson and why it matters to us all. It isn't every day a major scientific discovery happens.

The Chemistry of Fireworks is a great video to follow up with your children if they have ever asked how on earth they make those glorious fireworks.



I often think that a child's attention is a lot like an unruly puppy that needs to be trained. The puppy wants to play and run wild, but in order to enjoy the puppy to the fullest, you just have to have some training. Given something unpleasant to do like memorize multiplication tables, or do a lesson before an afternoon of fun, my kids minds will do just about anything to keep from doing the work. This really upsets them and often they get frustrated and think they are not capable of the work rather than just having difficulty dealing with their unruly mental puppies.

If there are ways to do the lesson in a fun way, by all means do that! Yet, sometimes you just have to get through an undesirable chore, lesson, or other event. At those times, it is good to be able to focus and get through it. I call this puppy training. They have to train their pups no matter what kind of tricks they pull, and believe me, they can be very cunning.

Tricks their puppies use:
  • Distraction: Their minds jump subjects or their bodies feel twitchy. Sometimes they think of a million things they need to be doing right then.
  • Pity: I think of this as that sad puppy dog face. Why are you doing this to me? What did I do bad?
  • Anger: If they fall for the pup's tricks, they get mad at themselves and then they really can't think. It's just another puppy trick! When they are mad, the work is avoided. 
  • Resistance: Sometimes all the pulling in the world won't make a stubborn puppy cooperate. Best to use a treat. Make a promise of a reward if the pup will get let them get their work done.
The kids like thinking of this side of themselves as a trainable puppy. They would never be angry with a puppy for just being a puppy, but they also know they have to figure out the best way to get the puppy to behave so that they can get the results they want. Keeping this degree of separation allows them to not take it so personally and to treat themselves a little nicer, like the sweet pups they really are. 


Lost River Cave: Bowling Green, KY

When the weather is 100+ we usually stay indoors as much as possible, but after a while of this we are all craving a little outdoor activity. We decided a trip to a cave would be fantastic considering the temperature inside caves are in the mid-fifties all year long.

Lost River Cave has a rich history. Native Americans used it during the hot summer months. Later, it was used by settlers. During the civil war, it stored supplies first for the confederates before later being discovered by the union army. After southern reconstruction, a mill was built in the entrance to the cave, but it burned three times. It is even told that Jesse James and his men used the cave. In the 30's it was a nightclub and the most popular spot in town because it was the only place with air conditioning. After air conditioning became common, the cave became an illegal dump until a nonprofit decided to clean it up and make it into what you see today.

The tour is a boat ride through a few large caverns with interesting geological formations. I wish I had some pictures, but nothing turned out. Suffice it to say it was cool and fascinating.

The Blue Holes, or Karst Windows, are both beautiful and deadly. They are places where the underground river breaks through to the surface. Even though it looks stagnant, the water is swirling and flowing. The water had fish and frogs. These bullfrogs were at least the length of my hand. Limestone is the key ingredient for all of these formations. Because limestone is easily dissolved and worn away, caves and underground tunnels are made. Even the blue hue from the pools is from the dissolved limestone in the water. The beauty of these holes remind me of a scene from a fairy tale.

And, just like a fairy tale, there is often a cruel twist. The stories of the deaths that have happened here were shocking. Entire wagons, horses and crews fell off the path and into the pools never to be seen again. Swimmers would jump in never to resurface, nor did their would be rescuers. For years the pools were thought to be haunted, cursed, or bottomless. Measurements were taken that gave differing results. They now know the bottom is full of holes and tubes with the river's current being pulled through. These picturesque pools run swift and deep.

In addition to the cave tour, there are several miles of hiking paths that are free. Even with soaring temperatures, the shade made it tolerable. There is a butterfly house on the trails which didn't disappoint. There were tons of butterflies flying about that would alight on people if they were still for a moment.
The last stop for us was sluicing for minerals and fossils. My kids love this. We purchased a bag (either fossils or minerals) and poured it into a sieve which was then swirled in the troughs of running water to reveal their treasure. The bags were full of great things, but the best find was when my kids followed the water and discovered eddies that contained piles of sand from previous little miners. When they put these piles through the sieves, they discovered several treasures that had been left behind. My eagle-eye husband found several more just walking along and looking in the grass underneath the trough. If not for the heat, my little treasure hunters would have stayed there all day! 


Picky about My Produce

I love fresh fruit and vegetables. This weekend was our monthly pickup from Bulk Natural Foods. We ordered peaches and blueberries. Ever since I began making a greater effort to buy locally and directly from farmers, I have become spoiled to great tasting produce. So much of the produce at the grocery market is grown for its shelf life and appearance. This makes perfect sense from the store's perspective, but not for me.

Two years ago, I received a bucket of tiny filthy apples that were red and green with spots all over them. I thought I would make applesauce from them until I ate one. It was the best tasting apple I had had in years! These apples were picked from an apple tree that had been forgotten and neglected for years. They were ugly but fabulous! I have been picky about produce ever since.

Every diet out there has vegetables as a high priority. You can't go wrong by eating more veggies and fruits. Aside from ordering from Bulk Natural Produce, there are several other things I do to get the best quality food into my house:

  • Grow my own. I have a small garden and it doesn't produce enough to stock up for the winter, but it gives us a chance to have some great tasting heirloom veggies.  
  • Visit the local farmers markets and fruit stands, get to know the sellers, and ask questions. Did they grow their own? Or did they go over to Aldi an buy a bunch of fruit to resell. I have seen someone do this.
  • Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and get a regular delivery of farm fresh produce or, as in our case, grass pastured meats. 
  • Gleaning. Before the supermarkets, there was mother nature. There are wild blackberries along the country roads (or greenways) just begging to be picked. With prices at close to $5.00/pt. at some of the markets, it is really worth it to stop and pick a bag. 



The temperatures are 100+ this week.
My husband enjoyed raspado for a cool treat as a boy in Panama. Here, we call it a snow cone. But then he added the snow cap... sweetened condensed milk. Oh, boy! Snow cones have never been the same since!
Keep cool during this insane heat. And please don't let your pets suffer.


What If They Change Their Minds?

Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If I am completely honest, I have to admit I avoid the road that takes me past their old school if possible. When we do have to go by, it never fails that one of the kids will comment about their old school. Their comments are filled with nostalgia. I can't help but ask them about it.

Do you miss it? Do you want to go back?

I fear the answer will be yes. I worry they will want to go back to school because it matters to me what they want. So far, every time I pose the question, the answer has been no.

No way! Nope. Are you kidding? 

And I feel relief and vindication at getting that answer. The thoughts fill my head...  

See! This is better! They LOVE it! 

But what if they didn't? What if the answers start to come back with less certainty? What if they said...

Maybe. I don't know. It might be nice. 

What would I do then? Would that change anything? Would their wanting to go to school outweigh the benefits of homeschool?

No! Not yet! Maybe later. 

Homeschooling is full of moments where doubt creeps in, but there is no reason to borrow trouble. Homeschooling has been the right choice for us and I do not think that will change any time soon. I have to remind myself that I will handle the future when it gets here. If the circumstances change, if my children change their mind, or it no longer seems the best for any other reason, I will consider those new developments at that time. For now, homeschooling is exactly right for us as a unit and for each individual as well. 

And really, that is all I need to know to continue on.