Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Questions from Walking By The Way

I recently began following the blog Walking By The Way when I noticed some really cute printables she makes that are part of the lifeblood of our homeschool.  Today, she is asking her readers ten questions.  I decided to post my answers here in my blog (and give her a link) because I thought maybe some of you wonder this stuff about our family, too.  If not, feel free to skip ahead and I'll write to you later.

So, let's get started, shall we? 

1. Laundry Systems. Do they exist? Do you have one? How's that workin' out for ya?

Since I'm not entirely sure what is meant by laundry systems, I'll just answer this with what we do about our laundry.   In our house -- as in most -- laundry is never ending.  Around age ten, I teach kids to do their own laundry and then they are assigned a day each week, when they get the laundry room.
Now much to my sister's and mother's dismay (I'm sure), I've given up sorting laundry.  I simply do not have time to work that out and frankly, I don't care.  I wash everything on hot, except hand washed items (so I guess I do a minimal amount of sorting).  I use OxyClean and All Free and Clear detergent and between the two, colors don't run.  I hang dry all my own clothes because whatever I get seems to shrink too much if I dry it, but everything else gets dried on normal heat.
At the moment, I have a small load each week for E, which I do keep separate because for some reason, it seems like I need to.  That's based on no actual facts.  

I do not claim to be any kind of laundry role model.

2. Do you go to co-op? Have you taught a class? What?

We do not go to co-op and I have not taught a co-op class, though I am not against co-ops persay.  The opportunity has just not yet arisen.  Our kids do attend "homeschool" classes taught elsewhere, though, like at our local library (science, mostly) and through our local Parks & Recreation department (P.E., mostly).  It takes some of the pressure off me to teach subjects that aren't my strengths -- or like P.E., which is usually better when there are more kids.  But also, it's a great opportunity to meet other homeschoolers in our area.

3. Cursive Writing? My son is 10, and we haven't crossed that bridge yet. Yay or nay?

Our oldest, S, had already learned cursive writing in public school (one of the few things she actually learned, but don't get me started on that) before we began homeschooling her.  

When H got old enough to start working on it with him (in homeschool), he really struggled due to his sensory issues that include difficulty with fine motor skills.  Eventually, we gave up.  It was a battle we chose to avoid.  We'll work on teaching him to type and in today's world, that's about all he needs to get by.  I do want him to learn to sign his name in cursive at least, but he's 12 and we haven't gotten to it yet.

Now our 10-year-old Z asked to learn cursive!  So we began teaching that to him when he was about 9-1/2 and in 4th grade.  He loves it and is doing well.  So, I think it just depends on your child.

4. Read any good books lately {other than children's literature}? What?

Currently I'm reading Erma Bombeck's A Marriage Made in Heaven or Too Tired for an Affair.  My mom has compared some of my writing to hers, so when I found her book second hand for $1.99, I snatched it up.  I'm enjoying every page...which is all I get to read in a sitting.

5. Cheap, easy, and healthy meals — Got 'em? Please share 'em!

It's summer, so the kids' favorite meals are healthy and simple.  They love just cut up pieces of fruit, green salads, cheese and crackers or Sunchips (my gluten-sensitive J usually subs in some dry Rice Chex or a piece of her gluten-free toast).  It's easy for me to feed all nine kids with different favorites and the kids are back to playing in no time. 

6. My youngest son loves to destroy things. What do I do with him? How can I channel this into something constructive?

Ha, well, yes.  I'm hoping someone can answer this question for you with some actual advice because we're still working on this one with all our sons. 

However, I will tell you that when our kids destroy something, they get to expend lots of energy cleaning something or doing a job for the family that would otherwise probably not get done.  There is always something to be done.  Weeds to pull, door knobs to scrub, garage to clean, couches to clean under, wall molding to wipe down or trash and toys to pick up in the yard.  It depends on the kids' ages and ability for which extra work they are assigned.  But it works with all of them most of the time (mine are 7 to 17).

7. Homeschooling favorites? Tell me all about them. Please.

Good question!  I have so many things I love to use in our homeschool, but let me just focus on one today:  God's World News. They have a school year subscription (or a full year for a little more) and all age-/grade-levels.  It's a great addition to our social studies lessons and while a lot of our homeschool focuses on ancient history, I think it's important to keep the kids aware of current topics as well.  But these magazines present the topics in magazine form (short articles with pictures galore) and in a godly way so that we may help protect our children's eyes and minds a little bit more.

I also enjoy the lesson plans they send by email weekly so I can get the most out of our current issues.  I don't always use their suggestions, but sometimes I do ... it's a nice, added feature to the subscriptions though.  As we keep using the same curriculum with the kids who reach the next level, it's helpful for my own level of interest to keep material fresh and contemporary with these magazines.  

Plus, the kids are so excited to receive mail for them!

8. Pinterest? What's the best Pinterest project you've completed?

I am really clueless about Pinterest.  I get the gist of it, but I haven't had time to investigate fully.  Maybe down the road.

9. Going on vacation this summer? Where? Any free family fun ideas?

We don't have vacation plans for the summer (we try to vacation during the school year to save money), however, a simple way to enjoy the summer locally has to be the Movie Clubs.  Usually, these are held on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings (or both) at your local movie theaters.  They charge usually only a dollar to see movies that have already been released on DVD.  But for the kids, they get the movie theater experience even if they've seen the movie (and sometimes we haven't yet) and I can get us all in (all ten of us) for around $16, including a refillable large popcorn.  We bring paper cups to divide it up and I make them use the water fountain for liquid refreshment.

Here are links to Cinemark's movie club news and  Regal's movie club news and if you Google your local theater company, you can usually find out if it runs a summer movie discount program.  Many of them do.

10. How did you find my blog? An inquiring mind wants to know. 

I believe I got there around Father's Day when I was looking for a printable for our kids.  I don't remember exactly -- but I loved it so much (and your story), that I decided to follow you.  I don't (yet) have fancy printables here, but I do have some fun/funny stories about our five children, whom we adopted through foster care, and our homeschooling adventures that you might relate to.  I hope you stop by and check out the Mama Flock blog!


  1. I was sad when I learned they aren't teaching kids cursive anymore! So I guess in not teaching H, you're actually just following what schools are doing and it's not a big deal. But it's just weird for me to imagine that. I remember wanting to learn cursive so you wrote out all the letters and I would copy them (remember I copied them at night when we were supposed to be sleeping?). It's such a part of my writing. I know we type so much these days, but when I do write it's a combination of printing and cursive to make it something that flows and is fast. I don't want cursive to die!!

  2. Yes, I do think there is benefit to teaching cursive to kids. I wanted all our kids to learn it, but like I said, it was just one of those things that we had to put to the side with H because it wasn't worth the fight. But I still am a cursive-supporter!

    He already sees a slight disadvantage for not having learned it because he can't even read cursive writing -- never mind writing it. But his younger brother can. :) So who knows if maybe some day he'll teach himself.

  3. I also need to add, I apologize for the weird spacing and giant font (compared with the rest of my posts) ... I'm not really sure how it happened (or why). I've tried to fix it and I just can't. So here it lives ... gawky and big. Such is life.

  4. I'm glad you are reading one of Erma Bombeck's books. The older I get, the more I find myself fighting tears when reading one of her entries. (I don't know why!) They're usually good tears.

    I'm for cursive, of course. I, also, combine print with cursive when making lists, especially. I do understand, though, that most everyone types or texts anyway. (A problem I find when typing after texting so much is I start to forget to capitalize my letters.)

  5. I had read some of her stuff when I was still a teen or young adult and I didn't really connect with it as much. But reading it now, I appreciate her humor and zest for life with husband and kids. :)