Sunday, August 29, 2010

Taking the First Steps

I won't lie to you, this post is mostly for me to document this moment in time, take a page out of our life to mark where it all started, and how it started. Maybe someday, another mom who is new to homeschooling will read this and find some peace in knowing that she is not alone, or crazy. Perhaps only I will see this, and in years to come will look back and laugh at myself for being so stressed out. In case you missed the previous post, we have decided to homeschool Crawfish Pie. Since Pre-K is not a state requirement, we have not gone the official route and notified the school board. We will however, be sticking to a curriculum, figuring things out, and finding answers to our many questions. If we mess things up along way, we will use our mistakes as learning experiences and laugh at ourselves as we move forward. Deciding to homeschool is a scary decision. There is so much information that comes at you, seemingly all at once, and yet you feel as if none of your questions have been answered. I read somewhere online, that it's like trying to take a drink from a fire hydrant. And with that statement, I knew I was not alone and that everything would work itself out. All of my answers were out there somewhere, the flow of information just needed to be slowed down a little. So I took a few days off and then went back to work with a brand new outlook, and a plan.

 Identify our family's main concern with homeschooling. For us, the big issue was socialization. Our darling Crawfish Pie is an extremely social creature, making friends wherever we go. We had to make sure that there were plenty of budget friendly opportunities for her to interact with other kids her age. If we cannot solve this problem, then homeschooling will not work.

Address our main concern head on. We have exactly one year before Kindergarten starts, and in this time I must define a realistic solution to our problem that works within our budget and meets all of our needs. And so I set out on a mission to find friends. Not being a very social creature myself, this task scares the daylights out of me. But I am determined when it comes to Crawfish Pie, so I searched. And I searched. And I searched some more. I scoured the phone book, and practically crashed internet search engines. I signed up for every newsletter, joined every mailing list, "liked" half of facebook, "followed" many a blog, and possibly exceeded my limit of Yahoo Groups. And I suddenly found myself trying to drink from a fire hydrant again. For those of you that think homeschooling is a "one size fits all" bag of wackadoodles, let me prove you wrong now. The people, like the information, were scattered to the four winds. They come from every walk of life, they are stay at home moms and working moms, they all have different religious beliefs, they all have their own reasons for homeschooling, they follow different curricula, they socialize their kids in different ways, some spend tons of money and some spend very little. Their is a group for everything! Some of the groups are a bit too "our club is better than your club" and some even go so far as kick people off their mailing list if they bring the wrong snack for playdates (slight exaggeration, but those people are REALLY stuck up). Some of the groups are the most accepting people on the face of the earth. Truthfully, the homeschool community is an excellent example of "the real world".  With all the differences,  there is something that every homeschool family has in common:  they have worked harder than any other group of people I have ever met. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to find your way out of a broken system and create a whole new one that works for your family. So even though there are several "groups" of homeschool families in our state, none seemed the right fit for our family either due to distance or group philosophy. I needed local families, but I had found none.

Calm down, and try again. This may be the most important lesson, and for me it is much easier to say then it is to do. After my feelings of doom subsided, something occurred to me: If I cannot find other families in my area, maybe they can find me. Please join me in celebrating the grand opening ( if you can call it that) of Homeschoolers of Acadiana! A facebook page that can be sent out into the world, through email lists and facebook suggestions and simply word of mouth. I would have made fliers, but facebook has a weird rule that a group must have at least 25 members before it can receive a cool web address, and is kind of hard to remember. This group IS NOT better than yours. . . but it just might be closer! This group does not care if you live within certain city limits. This group does not care what curriculum you use, or what style of homeschooling you choose for your family. This group is not "capped" at a certain number (really, what is the goal in that one? are you actively preventing your kids from meeting new people?). This group will not kick you out if you bring the wrong snack for playdates, or if you fail to show on park days. After a week or two on email lists, blogs, and websites, the group is up to 20 members (almost enough to have a cool url!). The families are nearby and I can not wait to meet them all! (Don't let me lie to you, I am terrified to meet them, I'm the socially awkward one remember. Crawfish Pie, on the other hand, will have a blast! What kind of mother would I be if I let my insecurities get in the way of her becoming all that she can be!) Not to mention, in talking to all these wonderful local moms (and also the crazy ones from afar) I have learned of several homeschool family organized activities to add to the painting lessons! Homeschooling is looking GREAT!!!

Define our homeschool. With the major concern taken care of, we now need to decide our "style" and which curriculum we will be using. Yep, we're talking about the fire hydrant again. There are several "styles" of homeschooling, some with their own curriculum. And several more types of curriculum that stand on their own. I have decided that for the time being, we will choose to be "eclectic" drawing on the more structured styles and having a set lesson plan in Language Arts and Reading/Phonics for every school day, but still having a balance with the "unschooling" style in other subjects so that Crawfish Pie is free to explore whatever she wants to in the world. As she gets older, we will switch to more structured days so that she will learn all the material needed to pass standardized tests, and eventually qualify for TOPS and other scholarships. Don't get me wrong, unschoolers do learn all that they need to, but their momma's must work twice as hard to make sure that happens and I am simply not that focused. 

Just do it. With our homeschool defined, its time to start teaching. We choose Lesson Pathways, mostly because it is free. The lesson plans start at the kindergarten level, except for the language arts which starts in pre-k. That really didn't bother us because Crawfish Pie already knows most of what we will be covering and shows an interest in the other areas. It is a really nice resource even if you use other curricula, simply for the cute activities and games that they offer. Our lesson plan is now ready for Monday morning, Crawfish Pie has been ready, mommy has not. The feelings of anxiety still arise every now and then, but I am also excited about this opportunity. I will give it my all, and I look forward to cherishing this time I have with my Crawfish Pie.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yes, I am Homeschooling!

It seems as though every time we leave the house, a random stranger asks Crawfish Pie about school. Her adorable four year old response is usually something like "I'm done with school", at which point the random stranger looks to me for an explanation. When I tell them that we are homeschooling, I typically get the awkward "Oh" as a response, and occasionally its the ever so rude "Why?". At some point, I began telling people that she was only four and we were just skipping Pre-K. For some reason, skipping Pre-K is more acceptable to the general public than the idea of homeschooling. Perhaps because public school is considered the norm, or there is some underlying expectation that only religious fanatics keep their kids home to prevent the corruption of their spirit by theories of evolution. Their opinion is really none of my business, as my decision to homeschool is really none of theirs. However, one day it occurred to me that I may be sending the wrong message to my Crawfish Pie by not defending, and at times avoiding, the topic of homeschooling. I don't want her to think there is a reason to be ashamed or that homeschooling is somehow inadequate. In fact, I believe the contrary to be true. Why would I want to invest my child's educational future in a system plagued with budget shortfalls, crowded classrooms, and failing test scores? My reason for choosing to homeschool is to provide all the knowledge she can soak up, without the exclusions that occur when a school is forced to cater to the lowest common denominator and refrain from certain teachings due to political correctness, fear of religion in the classroom, or segregation. There may come a point in our life when it is financially required of me to find a paying job, thus forcing Crawfish Pie into the public school system. And if that time comes, I can rest assured that I raised her with good values and a thirst for knowledge and success that no four cinder block walls could ever contain. But for now, we are quite happy to be poor and at home, soaking up all the world has to offer. Afterall, the best lessons in life are free (and so are the painting lessons at our local library).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My First Award !

The Rules:

*Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
A huge THANK YOU to Kayla @ and Potato Makes Three!)
*Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
(Crawfish Pie!, crafts, recipes, pictures, memories)

*Pass it on to blogs you feel have real substance. 

Homeschool Science
The Tidy Nest
Pink and Green Mama  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Bug Days of Summer

Alexis loves bugs (especially rollie pollies)! She had a small bug house for about a year now, it has seen better days and hardly seemed fair to the little bugs that would get shoved in there. So we decided it was time for an upgrade. Aunt Erica was kind enough to give Alexis an old aquarium that was sure to turn into a fun summer project. The terrarium transformation began with a scenic landscape that any bug could appreciate. Custom designed by Crawfish Pie herself.

We have plenty of old cardboard from used boxes and Mommy cut a piece to fit the back of the aquarium. Please excuse the swim suit and ratty hair, we started painting after a long day outside.

 She had to make sure the shade of blue was just right for the sky. She is learning that you can make new colors by mixing two colors together, she is always excited too see how it turns out!

 The next day, there was more work to do for the bug house. We dug up lots of dirt from the yard, which of course came with worms and rollie pollies! YAY! 

Alexis handpicked only the best plants and weeds for the bugs new home. Such love and dedication.

Once the dirty work was done, we decided it was time to put on Alexis' custom art work.

I think the bugs will love their new home. Frogs and lizards coming soon!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

545 People

The article below is completely neutral, ...not anti republican or democrat. 

Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.


545 PEOPLE--By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.. 

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? 

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? 

You and I don't propose a federal budget.  The president does. 

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations.  The House of Representatives does. 

You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does. 

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. 

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does. 

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. 

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress.  In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank. 

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.  They have no legal authority.  They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing.  I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash.  The politician has the power to accept or reject it.  No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes. 

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault.  They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. 

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.  No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.... .  The president can only propose a budget.  He cannot force the Congress to accept it. 

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.  Who is the speaker of the House?  Nancy Pelosi.  She is the leader of the majority party.  She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want.  If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. 

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 
545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility.  I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.  When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. 

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red .. 

If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ , it's because they want them in IRAQ If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way. 

There are no insoluble government problems. 

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power.  Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do. 

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. 

They, and they alone, have the power.. 

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.  

Sales Tax 
School Tax 
Liquor Tax 
Luxury Tax 
Excise Taxes 
Property Tax 
Cigarette Tax
Medicare Tax 
Inventory Tax 
Real Estate Tax 
Well Permit Tax 
Fuel Permit Tax 
Inheritance Tax 
Road Usage Tax 
CDL license Tax 
Dog License Tax 
State Income Tax 
Food License Tax 
Vehicle Sales Tax 
Gross Receipts Tax 
Social Security Tax 
Service Charge Tax 
Fishing License Tax 
Federal Income Tax 
Building Permit Tax 
IRS Interest Charges 
Hunting License Tax 
Marriage License Tax 
Corporate Income Tax 
Personal Property Tax 
 Accounts Receivable Tax 
Recreational Vehicle Tax 
Workers Compensation Tax 
Watercraft Registration Tax 
Telephone Usage Charge Tax 
Telephone Federal Excise Tax 
 Telephone State and Local Tax
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) 
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) 
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) 
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes 
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax 

 Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. 
 We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. 

What the hell happened?  

Munchie Mug Give Away!

My friend over at and Potato Makes Three! is having a product review and give away! The feature product is the Munchie Mug, the perfect, toddler friendly, snacking on the go cup. Features include:

* Secure Screw-On Top with Easy Grip Handle
* Soft fabric closure for sensitive little hands
* Easy to clean: Top Rack Dishwasher Safe
* Great for healthy snacking: Cereals, dried fruits, crackers, etc.
* Additional stay-fresh lid included for keeping snacks fresh when mug is not in use
* Economically friendly: Made in the United States of America
* Child friendly: Made of all FDA food grade compliant materials
* Environmentally friendly: Made of 100% recyclable materials & eliminates waste created by plastic snack baggies that are used once and thrown away. Use the Munchie Mug, again, again, and again!!!

If you would like to win one of your own, head on over to and Potato Makes Three! and enter the giveaway!