Southern Literature-Homeschool Girls Style

The South is steeped in lovely traditions.  Growing up here I was not really aware of it. It just was where I lived. It took some growing up and moving away to realize how lucky I am to have grown up in the South.  No everything is not perfect.  There are people who still think the south should have won the war among other things.  But we also have people who are truly caring and kind.

When I moved to California one of the first things I noticed was that no one looked at you when you passed them on the streets.  I couldn’t believe it.  Here when you pass someone walking you say, “Hello” and maybe even stop and chat.

When Keilee was planning her 9th grade year we discussed doing Southern Literature.  I loved it when I was in high school.  It wasn’t required but I took every Literature class that was offered.  My teacher was this lovely southern lady with that great old school Southern voice.  My Mother talked like that.  Very slowly and and with such an amazing accent.

When we begin looking for a curriculum we couldn’t find anything.  So with my brother’s help, who was an English major, we made a plan.

I bought a book he recommended called “Growing Up In the South: An Anthology of Southern Literature”. The stories were full of beauty and poverty and racism and joy and heartbreak and first love and more.  There was a bio before each one of the authors and Keilee researched each author and did a notebook page on each one.  We read each story aloud.  We looked up words we didn’t know.  We Googled places mentioned and found they were all real places.  One of our favorites was from “A Southern Landscape” that mentioned a church with a gold finger pointing toward heaven.  We looked it up and it is a real place in Port Gibson, MS.

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We spent the year in the Deep South, in cotton fields, during some of the most life changing events of the 60’s, on the Mississippi River, in old Southern mansions and so much more.

We read lovely stories by William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Maya Angelou, Flannery O’Conner, Eudora Welty and more.  We even found a few authors on YouTube actually reading their stories.

We used Shmoop as a reference to so many other things.  We listened to songs written about “A Rose For Emily” by William Faulkner.  Keilee took reading comprehension tests from the same site.  It is full of GREAT resources.

Each section of the book is divided into categories; “Places and Voices”, “Families”, “Southern Communities” and “Southern Stereotypes”.  After each few stories she would write a report on the story she liked best of the group and how the author used words to exemplify the category is was in.

The book that was on every single book list was “To Kill A Mockingbird”.  We listened to that book on audio when Keilee was 11 and she played Scout in the play.  We also watched the movie. She has such an unbelievable knowledge of this book now.

We branched off and did a short study on Truman Capote.  He was a beautiful writer but a tortured soul.  We read autobiographies and watched YouTube videos of him speaking. We watched and read “A Christmas Memory”.  It is a beautiful story about Truman Capote when he was a boy and his relationship with his aunt “Sook”.   I HIGHLY recommend it if you aren’t familiar with it.  We read it every Christmas. In fact this Christmas my brother recorded the story with him reading it and gave it to us.  He is a wonderful reader.  We read several short stories by Capote and watched “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and researched the background and making of it.

We also watched “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. We listened to “Fried Green Tomatoes” by Fannie Flagg. We watched “The Help” again and listened to the audio book.

I found a video on YouTube that an Advanced English high school teacher posted.  It was a summary of what her students would be reading in a semester.  It was 3 short stories!  I couldn’t believe it.  We probably read 40-50 stories and watched several movies and listened to several audio books.

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I feel like Keilee now has a great background in Southern Literature.  We are forever making references to things we see or hear and the stories we read. These stories and characters are a part of her now.  They are in her blood.  Just like the magnolias and the smells of Alabama dirt and the accents and the smell of rain falling on fall leaves and the hot summer nights filled with lightening bugs.  And no matter where she ends up, she will always have those memories.

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“I’ve barely said five words to you. What indication could you possibly have that I am a Yankee?”

“Well, we could start with the words ‘what indication.’ Someone from south of the Mason-Dixon would have said, ‘Who the hell are you calling a Yankee?’ Then we would have fought.” ― Jana Deleon

“The food in the South is as important as food anywhere because it defines a person’s culture.” ― Fannie Flagg

 

Linking with
Mary at “Collage Friday
Sylvia at “Homeschooling Blog Link Up”

Dreams Can Come True…

Keilee, as many little girls, grew up on Disney films.  Time after time she would watch The Little Mermaid and Cinderella.  For years the most repeated words I heard from her was “Rewind it please”.  We had all the movies on VHS at the time.

She would dress up in her Princess dresses and high heel shoes and want to wear them everywhere.  There are so many times she wore them to the grocery store and the sound of them ‘clicking’ on the grocery floor is a memory I will never forget.

When she was 3 she dressed up as a Princess for Halloween.  It was a huge, itchy outfit.  After going to a Halloween party we were going to go trick or treating and she wanted to go home and change clothes.  (I had a backup Pirate costume because I knew how uncomfortable the outfit and shoes were)  She said to me in her little 3 year old voice, “It’s tough work being a Princess Mommy”.

Now, 12 years later, she is still playing Princess dress up.  This group that she is a part of has been such a perfect fit for her.  It combines her love of all things Disney Princess with her love for acting.

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She has had 3 birthday parties that I don’t have pictures of.  Here is one of her coming back to the car afterwards though.

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They set up a booth at a local Market Day.  Keilee played Cinderella.  Even though she loves Elsa and plays her the most, she loves being Cinderella more.

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They got a call from an aunt whose twin 3 year old nieces and their families had lost everything in a fire.  They were most upset about their Elsa dresses.  The aunt bought them new ones and wanted to know if “Elsa” and “Anna” would surprise them with the dresses.  I love that they donate their time when there isn’t any monetary reward.

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Then they went to 3rd Friday.  They did this as promotion for their business.  It is downtown and we have always gone.  I love the looks on little girls faces.  And I love to watch Keilee interact with them.  There was also this little boy who acted so shy but made his Dad follow them up and down the streets.  When any of them turned around he would hide behind his Dad.  It was so cute. Oh and Keilee found a dog to pet. Keilee ALWAYS finds a dog to pet, even as Elsa.

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They also have gone to the mall to walk around.  On a Friday night.  It was the coolest thing.  Several “big” girls asked to pose in pictures.  And several boys!  Teenage boys!!  One little girl asked Keilee is she was the real Elsa.  When Keilee said yes she jerked on her hair.  Thankfully Keilee is able to use her real hair! :)

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May is chocked full of events.  Markets and birthday parties and library read alouds. Keilee has tons of ideas and even though she is the youngest she is always calling or texting the ‘main’ girl to share ideas.

This is such a perfect thing for her and I am so glad she found this.  It requires so much time and organization and commitment. And she is more than willing to do it all.  It is so special to see the little girls eyes light up when they see her.  To make them believe in the magic that is their favorite Princess come to life.  She always says to me, “I would have loved to see my favorite Princess when I was little”.

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“And yet, through it all, Cinderella remained ever gentle and kind, for with each dawn she found new hope that someday her dreams of happiness would come true.” ~ Cinderella

“Whatever comes,” she said, “cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess

“But they say if you dream a thing more than once, it’s sure to come true.”~Walt Disney

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3, …..

This girl of mine has been a bit stressed the past weeks. Everywhere we turn people are talking about the ACT.  Most kids around here take the ACT and not the SAT.  She worries that she won’t do well. That she will never pass the Math. That she doesn’t read fast enough to complete it all. Tests stress her out. We have never tested. She doesn’t take tests .

 

And it makes me so mad. When did the ACT/SAT become the end all of everything?  I took the ACT. I showed up on the day of the test and took it. There was no tutoring (for a mere $50 or more an hour), no ACT books or apps or classes. I seriously know people that have spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars so their child can “ace the test”.  And for what? I know it helps get scholarship money. And trust me, the thought of college tuition just about wipes me out. But really?

 

This test will never show anyone who Keilee really is. A girl who loves Science above almost everything. Who knows almost every animal in the world. Who runs her own business and has since she was 13. A girl who has Art Journals filled with beautiful pages. A girl who is writing a dystopian novel. A girl with a huge heart that has volunteered since she was 7. Who crochets every single night. A girl whose Bible journal is filled with beauty. Who loves Psychology and DNA and the brain. A girl who creates as naturally as she breathes. A girl who loves to be in Nature. A girl who swims like a fish.  A girl who comes alive on stage. A girl who interned at an Animal clinic when she was 13. Who rehabilitated a squirrel.  A girl who gives hours and hours of her time as a Princess making little girls dreams come true. A girl who dances and sings around the house. A girl who loves documentaries and loves to learn.  A girl whose dream is to go to Africa and work with animals .

 

And I worry.  You know, that “Mom Guilt”. Did I do her an injustice by not being more “schooly”?  Should we have done more, bought more curriculum, been stricter? And then I get mad that we are worried.  I KNOW with every ounce of my Momma heart that the way we have always learned is the best fit for us. That Keilee knows so much because she has always been free to learn what she is passionate about. That studying for one, stupid test for months and months doesn’t prove anything except that we have gotten it so very wrong as a society .

 

That learning will always be a part of her. No matter what she makes on a test .
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Karen

 

“Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” Albert Einstein

“Every hour spent on such exam preparation is an hour not spent helping students to become critical, creative, curious learners.” Alfie Kohn

“Testing improves education the same way that bombing promotes democracy” Steve Cohn, Education professor at Tufts University

Princesses, Parks and Pooches…

Keilee had the most awesome opportunity this past weekend.  She was asked to play Elsa at a March of Dimes Fundraiser.  She had the best time and was hugged and sang and danced and talked and laughed with so many little girls.  She is actually in her element with small children.  It always amazes me to see because she is such an introvert and can only handle people in small doses.  But around children she is different.  She was also asked to play Elsa the next day at a 3 year old birthday party.  She made $50 for one hours work.  She loved that too.

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This week was beautiful (well except for today.  It is cold today).  We spent Tuesday at the park with our homeschool group.  It was a lovely day spent by the Tennessee River.  Someone from our local paper was there eating lunch and saw some of the teens sword fighting and took their pictures.  They were in the paper!  I love what it said under the pictures of Keilee:
“Rhodes Ferry Park was the scene of a battle worthy of Knights of the Round Table, Robin Hood and Romeo and Juliet, that is if Juliet was wielding a cutlass. ”  :)

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Nomad turned 5 this week.  It is hard to believe we have had him 5 years.  But I can barely remember a time without him.  He has brought so much to our little family and turned us from a family of 2 into a family of 3.

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There was also Psychology and History and creative writing.  There was Art Journaling and crocheting and lots of Korean drama watching.  There was CNN Student News and Curious and tons of YouTube videos.

I can hardly believe April is almost  here.  I measure time by my Bible App.  It is the first thing I read every morning.  On the 1st of each month, I always think, “Ok here is a brand new month.  Please let me make something productive of it.  Let me find people to bless and laughter and joy and happy”.  Then I turn around and it is all of a sudden the 15th of the month or the 26th.  I just can not believe how quickly time passes.

Happy weekend all,
Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“Behaving like a princess is work. It’s not just about looking beautiful or wearing a crown. It’s more about how you are inside.” ~Julie Andrews

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” ~Josh Billings

Alabama Snow

It finally snowed here.  Really snowed!!  We got between 9-10″ and as of today, Saturday, it is still here.  It started Wednesday around noon and snowed until 11:00 PM.

It was magical and beautiful and something that happens so rarely here.

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We went out several times Wednesday and Wednesday night took a midnight walk.  I know it is so common place to so many people but to us it was just unbelievable.

Nomad had a blast too.

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The first day I had to do a photo shoot with Keilee.  She put on her tutu and my old black leather jacket from the 80’s.  This jacket is a replica of the jacket George Michael wore in “Gotta Have Faith” and I thought I was too cool when I wore it.

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Thursday was “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” day.  Keilee built it all by herself with me giving her a quick “Snowman 101″ class.  She didn’t know you had to start with a ball and roll it.

Snowman Selfie :)

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By Friday we were both ready for it to go away but it is still here today.  I love snow, and love the beauty of it but I don’t think I could stand a winter where the ground was mostly white all the time!

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood. “~Andy Goldsworthy

“I love snow for the same reason I love Christmas: It brings people together while time stands still. Cozy couples lazily meandered the streets and children trudged sleds and chased snowballs. No one seemed to be in a rush to experience anything other than the glory of the day, with each other, whenever and however it happened.” ~Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Things I Sometimes Forget…

This is year #8 of our homeschool journey.  I can hardly believe at times that we started this when Keilee was barely 7.  And now she is 15.

Time and time and time again the more we try to ‘check things off a list’ the unhappier she becomes.  She has said to me so often lately, “Mom I have so much I want to do but I don’t have time to do it all because of school work.”

I have NEVER wanted our school to look like the school down the street or for her days to consists of checklists.  But it’s a tricky thing.  You see these ‘High School Requirements’ and think ‘We have to do all of these things!’

In Alabama high schoolers take 2 years of US History.  2 YEARS!!  Keilee knows so much about US History.  We have studied it about 3 different times.  And she also retains almost everything she hears or reads (unless it’s Math).  So really, what is the point of doing that just because the High School does it?  She took Ancient History this year that turned into using “The History of the World in 100 Objects”.  Neither of these are offered at the High School.

She did Southern Literature which also is not an option here.  And has loved it so much.  We  have read so many amazing short stories by Southern Writers and watched plays and films.  We did an entire study on Truman Capote.

Next year she wants to study the French Revolution and the Renaissance.  She is obsessed with the French Revolution.

She wants to study Shakespeare, an entire year of Shakespeare.

Should I have told her no about all of these because they are not “High School Requirements”?

She is running her own business via Instagram, her Art Journal is filled with beautiful pages, and she is hard at work on a YouTube channel that combines her love of knowledge with her love of performing.  She is on Chapter 29 of a novel she is writing and has written several short stories.  She rehabilitated a squirrel who had his own Instagram.  She has a massive notebook of serial killers because she is fascinated with Psychology and what makes people do the things they do.  She has a notebook full of the events that are mentioned in Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Her Bible journal is lovely.  And so much more.

Keilee is NOT the kind of kid who would ever just sit around on social media (although she does love Pinterest, she is the only person I know that actually does almost everything she pins!)  or watch TV.  She is always doing something.

So why shouldn’t she just do what she loves?  Learning is as much a part of her as breathing.  It is just what she does.  Her ‘transcripts’ will never look like the kids who graduate from the High School she would have attended.  But when it is all said and done her 4 years will consist of the things she loves, learning that she always remembers  and experiences that could never be gotten by sitting in a classroom 7 hours a day.

And THAT, is what learning SHOULD be all about.

Our Week:

Mardi Gras Dog Parade, her first entry in her Learning Journal, painting a T shirt that she dyed and cut up, Mardi Gras breakfast and parade.

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Learning Rocks!
Karen

“It is… nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreak and ruin. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” -Albert Einstein

And one of my all time favorite quotes:

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” ~ Beatrix Potter

Linking with
Mary at “Collage Friday
Sylvia at “Homeschool Blog Link Up
Dawn at “Week in Review

Frank Lloyd Wright and Cypress Moon….

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is field trips. To my knowledge high school kids or even middle school kids don’t take field trips. I know we didn’t many moons ago.

Wednesday we had a wonderful day. We started out by touring the Rosenbaum House which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The Rosenbaums, Stanley and Mildred and their 4 boys, are a very interesting family. Stanley’s father immigrated from Poland to Florence, Alabama. He owned and operated 12 movie houses which was the entertainment of the day. Stanley went to Harvard at 16 and received his Masters at the University of Denver. He met his wife Mildred in NYC where she studied music. She was also a Vogue model. Stanley returned to Florence to teach English at University of North Alabama. He also spoke 5 languages fluently. They received $7500 as a wedding gift to build their first home and through acquaintances contacted Frank Lloyd Wright to design their house.

The Usonian designed house was an idea of Wright for middle income families.  He wanted it to fulfill the American dream of home ownership. The house originally contained 1,540 square feet, but when the household grew to include four sons, the family called upon Wright to design an addition. In 1948, 1,084 square feet were added. Wright was very excited by the addition because it was exactly what he built the Usonian houses for, so they could grow with the family as it grew.  He also designed ALL the furniture in the house.  Everything there is original except for 2 chairs that were reproductions.

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I have heard of Frank Lloyd Wright my entire life but until about 4 years ago never knew there was a FLW home in Alabama.

He was also very picky.  He had certain rules about his houses and gave the owners almost no room for changes.  We were told a story about Mildred wanting a door in her boy’s room during the addition and he refused and said it would ruin the lines.  She kept on until he added the door and she said it became one of her biggest regrets about the house.  It opened up a huge circle area around the house and the 4 boys would drive her crazy running round and round the house.

The first thing we noticed from the outside is the roof lines.  There are 5 different levels.  FLW believed in using the surrounding environment and natural materials found in the area to build his houses.  It isn’t built on a slab so it follows the line of the property which is higher at points.  There are so many levels inside the 1 story house.  These are mostly only a couple of steps down or up to each level.

The living room is one of my favorite rooms.  It is floor to ceiling windows and built in bookcases that run the length of the room.  The Rosenbaums requested screens and FLW refused but they insisted.  (Obviously FLW hasn’t spent a summer in Alabama with mosquitoes!)  But he made the screens on the INSIDE of the doors and windows.  And they are bronze so it can reflect the light.  It is beautiful from outside.  He also built the house on a grid.  In the living room he positioned the windows so that in the winter the sunlight comes all the way into the room for warmth but in the summer it doesn’t because of the heat.  (This was before AC)  Stanley would have ‘salons’ at his home for his students.  They would come and he would read the final chapter of whatever novel he had assigned and they would all discuss it.  That sounds like my DREAM evening.  Especially if it was in this beautiful room!

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The light is the main thing I noticed.  It is beautiful.  It gives everything a gold sheen almost.

There was a very small kitchen, a study, the living room, 3 bedrooms and a bath in the original structure.  But the kitchen was TINY.  When FLW designed the addition they added a larger kitchen in the new addition, a guest room, a bathroom and the boy’s room.  The boys room is a GREAT space.  There are 4 bunkbeds butted up against each other.  Each has their own reading light.  There is a fireplace (4 total I believe) and a huge window seat in front of more floor to ceiling windows.  Each bedroom always opens up to the outside.

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Keilee and I both loved it and both would love to live in a house like this.  It is perfect for us.  Since the house is smaller, he used space so well.  There are tons of storage places that are as beautiful as the actual rooms.

Mildred was a weaver and used one of the bedrooms for her weaving supplies and loom.  The picture in the top left and under are the new kitchen and the bottom left is the old kitchen.

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A bedroom, the master bedroom that Keilee is in, the Japanese garden outside the window, the bench in the boys room, one of the beautiful closets and the window in the guest room.  See how the glass is cut to form the corner?

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The bunk beds.

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After the tour we all went to eat lunch in the park.  It was a great day with Moms talking and kids playing with swords under the trees!

Then we stopped by the new Welcome Center.  I LOVE Welcome centers and we always stop at everyone we see.  This one was new and very cool.

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Muscle Shoals, which is right beside Florence, is a huge recording town.  After the park we went to Cypress Moon Productions.  It has an amazing history and we got a tour of the facilities from the owner.  They record music and do film.  Of course Keilee had to stay after the tour and talk to the owner about the possibility of her being an extra.  She is sending Holly her resume.  I am always proud of the way she will talk to people about things she wants to know.

There were WALLS and WALLS of people who had recorded here.  If you click on the link above it has more detail.  See the young Bob Dylan?

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It was such a beautiful day with friends and learning so much.  We have gotten into a bad habit of saying “no” a lot.  We blame it on the cold or this or that.  We used to do things almost every week.  Now the only constant is running to the grocery or Dollar General 3 times a week!  That is about to change.

We have plans this weekend even though its going to be BITTER cold.  And there is a possibility of SNOW the first of the week but we aren’t getting excited quite yet.  (well I’m a BIT excited)

Happy Valentine’s weekend all.  By the way, Keilee hates Valentines Day.  She said you should tell the people you love that you love them every day and there shouldn’t be a special day for it! :)

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Linking with Sylvia at Homeschooling Blog Linkup
Dawn at My Week In Review

Warmth, Driving and Living Life…

After reading Jessica’s post about how hard it was to blog High School I started thinking about some of the things she said. She was inspired to write her post from at Diane at Cabin in the Woods

This is so true for me too hence the ‘one maybe two posts a month”.  There is only so many pictures of Keilee on her laptop or Art Journaling I can post.  It’s not that our days aren’t lovely and full of learning their just not very picture worthy. 

Keilee has had a great 2 weeks.  She started Geometry right before Christmas and while she will never love Math it is going smoother than Algebra.   She is taking an online course through Coursera called  “DNA and Genetics” that she loves.  We are still loving Southern Lit and she is still LOVING Psychology.  Enough that she is exploring some career options.  We are still watching huge amounts of Korean dramas.  She has a Korean language app and has learned so many Korean words.

There has been a lot of driving.  Which I can’t imagine ever getting used to.  But I suppose I will.  We all have an amazing ability to adapt. 

In this picture we ventured a bit further. 

Across the “scary” road which is the main road in our town. She didn’t drive ON it |Mom, I can’t imagine driving that fast| she just crossed it. Her first traffic light. And ended up at the townhouse we lived in from the time she she was 22 months old until she was 10. 
And I lost it. Totally lost it. Cried so hard that I could barely see. Because it wasn’t the first time she had driven these roads. But the last time she was sitting in my lap and her feet didn’t touch the ground. And I remember her saying, “One day I will be driving by myself” and me thinking “Yes but that is forever from now”. 
But it wasn’t “forever”.  It is now.

 

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It was VERY warm this past week.  I think several places in the US had unseasonably warm weather.  We walked Nomad a couple of days.  He really isn’t a lot calmer when walking.  He gets SO excited still!

 

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1. Working on Psychology.  2. Her new Owl boots cuffs she made.  Aren’t they cute?  3.  Creative Writing class with Jessica.  This 6 weeks is “Fairy Tales” so she wore her tiara.  4.  Nomad love 5.  Stuffed Animal fun at Walgreens.

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It is a rainy Friday here.  We are planning to stay in where it is warm and dry.  There is a very small chance of snow tonight.  But I’m not getting excited.  I want snow so badly, just ONE SNOW but I don’t think tonight will be it.  So we will spend our weekend doing, hopefully, absolutely nothing.

What we really want is SPRING but I know that’s a long way off.

Happy weekend all,

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“What I like doing best is Nothing.”

“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.

“Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, ‘What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?’ and you say, ‘Oh, Nothing,’ and then you go and do it.

It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

“Oh!” said Pooh.”  ~A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

 

Linking with
Mary at “Collage Friday

Sylvia at “Friendship Friday

Michelle at “TGIF Hop”

~*~*~*15*~*~*~

My girl. Turned 15 Saturday

And here is my Birthday Love Song to Her:

How in the world is it even possible that she is 15? She is supposed to still have 2 little pigtails and run around the house giggling and skipping wearing nothing but her panties and pink plastic high heels. She is supposed to be rocking her baby doll and singing songs to her and feeding her. She is supposed to be falling asleep with her thumb in her mouth and her hand twisted in my ponytail.

But she is 15.

She is this beautiful mix of little girl and young woman.

She has taught me to love unconditionally. She has made me |finally|, after all these years, understand “I would die for you”.

She fills up our house. She is in every nook and cranny. She sings, she talks, she knits, she creates. It is almost like yarn and paint and paper and buttons and music follow her around like Pigpen’s dust. She is messy. She forgets things I tell her 5 minutes after I tell her. Her mind never stops.

She loves anything Science. She loves Hank Green because he is a “smart, geek” but she also loves her bands and Korean dramas. She has finally gotten to the point that she thinks an occasional boy is cute but it’s usually a band boy (but NOT One Direction :) or a Korean boy from her TV shows.

She talks to Nomad in the sweetest voice and gives him 100 kisses and hugs a day.

She prays beautiful prayers and I always smile with my eyes closed when she prays for all of you.

She is the adult in our relationship at times. I have a tendency to overreact a bit and she is always the calm voice of reason. She can be so much wiser than me at times. And then she can turn to me and say, “Fix it Mommy”.

She tells me she doesn’t feel 15 but like a kid at times. I tell her that I still do at times too. She has said to me often lately, “I can’t believe I will be 20 in 5 years” and my heart clutches a bit in my chest.

She is such an introvert. She finds calm and lovely by being alone and creating. She has little patience for people at times. She sees the world in black and white no matter how many times I tell her it’s really so much grey.

She questions everything. She wants to know why and when and where.

She is an amazing writer and blows me away with her stories. She seriously loves to learn. She remembers every science fact or History date she ever hears but forgets her multiplication tables at times. She could never do anything “Math” again and be perfectly happy but she goes a bit crazy if she can’t create often. She can art journal and listen to music and watch tv at the same time.

She loves serial killer documentaries and Cold Case and 20/20. She loves anything to do with the brain and what makes people do the things they do.

She loves theater. She auditioned for her first play 10 years ago. It is now 19 plays and 3 movies later. She doesn’t just ‘act’ she becomes her character. Whether it’s Scout from “To Kill A Mockingbird”, Amy from “Little Women”, The Wicked witch from “The Wizard of Oz” or Duchess from “Aristocats”” she steps onto the stage and she is the character. She has taken a break from acting since March but I pray she gets back to it because it is such a part of her.

I can not imagine my my life without her and it has been a beautiful adventure from the moment she entered it.

So Happy Birthday my beautiful girl. You shine bright like a diamond and I wish for you the most amazing year. I hope 15 is one magical adventure after another.

And she had such a great day

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Some of the highlights of the day:

Breakfast at iHop for the 13th year in a row. With the same birthday hat she has worn since she was 3!! (this year she added a birthday sash!!) Ice cream sundae and Happy Birthday sung by the waitresses. Manicure done. A CAR key made. (how can she need a car key??!) Family visits and perfect gifts. Just Dance competition with Seth. Lovely birthday wishes from IG and Facebook. Texts from sweet friends.
And her heart. Keilee always likes to give back on her birthday. When she was 13 she did 13 Random Acts of Kindness.  Last year she took candy to Hospice, baked brownies and cookies for the police and bought and gave a Starbucks gift card.
This year she took her birthday and Christmas money to buy the supplies to make “homeless bags”. These are things that she will always remember long after she has forgotten the gifts received.

And today. She got her permit. How can that be possible?  The last time she had a  “Drivers license” she was 3. And I printed out a fake one. For her pink Barbie car.

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 So my beautiful girl, I hope “15” is all you ever dreamed it could be.

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give.
– Laurel Atherton

 

 

Sick and Klutzy…

Another week gone.  Seconds turn into minutes turns into days turns into months.  It just goes by so fast.

We are taking a break in December.  We haven’t done much that some would consider ‘school work’.

Last week I got off the treadmill and walked into the kitchen still watching my iPad. I know it was stupid but I know where things are in my kitchen.  What I didn’t count on was Nomad sprawled on the kitchen floor.  I fell over him and since I had my iPad I didn’t put my hands down.  I fell so HARD on my chest.  I am almost positive I fractured a rib.  From all my ‘googling’ it sounds just like it.  I didn’t go to the doctor because they don’t do anything but give you pain meds and while that would have helped I am sure, I didn’t want to pay $75 for them.  It has hurt so badly.  It is a little better than the first couple of days when I could barely breath but it still hurts so much.  So I have tried to basically lay on the couch with the heating pad.  Which is so foreign to me! I hate doing that.  I can always think of 1,432 things I need to do.

Then Keilee got sick.  She had a fever and a sore throat and cough.  She said her throat felt like someone had poured gasoline down it and lit a match.  So I took her to the doctor on Friday.  She has probaly been to the doctor 5 times in her life because she was sick.  He did a strep test and it came back negative.  He told me to get some Mucinex and give her. Which I did.  It was $23 and if he had just given her a prescription it would have been $5!!!  Then she was so sick all weekend.  She felt horrible and slept the entire time and wouldn’t eat.  I called first thing Monday and they called in an antibiotic.  Which they should have done from the beginning!!  She has probably had antibiotic’s twice in her life.  She started taking them and felt so much better the next day.

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So basically we have spent the week on the couch.  We have listened to audio books and I have read aloud to her, Christmas picture books and “The Testing”.  We have listened to podcasts and watched documentaries and she has watched her YouTube Science channels she loved.

She did pop into her Knitting Club on Wednesday to tell them she was sick and wish them a Merry Christmas.  This group of ladies are such a blessing to her.  They love her and I love being in the other room and hearing them all laugh and talk.  They also love the things she makes.  As a homeschool kid she needs validation from someone besides her Mom!! Here is a picture of her and some of the ladies.  There is about 10 in all and they come and go.  Also one of them is opening a yarn shop and she asked Keilee to teach a Crochet class!!  Kei was so excited.  She is going to give her all the money that comes in for the class.  Keilee said to her, “I am getting paid?? I would have done it for free!”

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She also spent some time at Art For Kids Hub.  He has beautiful art tutorials.  Keilee loves art and art journaling but she has never thought she was good at drawing.  She is such a perfectionist that she is never happy with anything.  After drawing Elsa she decided to “Elsa” herself for the picture.  People always tell her she looks like Elsa.

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I decided I was not going to stress over Christmas this year.  I don’t have money and that’s ok.  I got family and friends very small things and most of them Keilee has made.  And I didn’t get Keilee that much which kills me but it will be fine.  We are reading our Advent every day and focusing on what is really important. 

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Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas from both  all 3 of us at Homeschool Girls!

Homeschooling Rocks!
Karen

“The magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence” Unknown

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ― A.A. Milne