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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're In FL!

Hey all,

This week we're in the FL Panhandle for an Ironman race.  My husband is a Triathlete-to-the-extreme. This will be his 3rd Ironman race. We make a week of it...taking in local sights and just hanging at the beach.

We had a rough time getting is teething and cranky, and snotting....we had a red-eye flight, but he didn't sleep much. Add teething and snot and no sleep, well, we ended up with a very cranky, very sick to his stomach baby. JOY.

After a good nights rest, things are looking much better!

We just bought a new camera, I'm getting the hang of taking pics with it and all of its amazing capabilities...not sure if I'll get to upload any while we're here, but I'll share when I get back home!

For now....we're here, we've shopped, the kids have played in the water, we're relaxing!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Welcome to Homeschooling Letter

Congrats on considering homeschooling! Here are some words of wisdom.

1. Know and understand your state laws. It is LEGAL to homeschool. A great help in understanding your state laws are.....local Support Groups!!!

2. READ, READ, and did we mention READ? There are so many great books available on homeschooling!! Here are some favorites:
The Unschooling Handbook
by Mary Griffith
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell
The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn (even if you do not yet have a teen!!)
Anything by John Holt , Linda Dobson, the Moores, and the Colfaxes.
If you have a teen/pre-teen, find a copy of And What About College by Cafi Cohen.
100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning, by Cathy Duffy
You Can Teach Your Children Successfully by Ruth Beechick
Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Homeschooling
Teaching Children , by Diane Lopez
The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield
Just to name a few!

3. Take the time to learn how your children learn best. This is a benefit that homeschooling offers tailor our children's education to fit THEM! There are 3 primary styles of learning: Visual Learners (seeing), Auditory Learners(hearing), and Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners (doing).

University of Minnesota: Learning Styles
A great book on learning styles is called
In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong anything by him!
Also check out books by Cynthia Tobias and
Still Teaching Ourselves by Agnes Leistico.

Know that there are many different styles of homeschooling....there is NO right or wrong way to go about it. It is about what is RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD and you!! Here are some"terms".....

- Deschooling- a period of time after a child has been in public school to get out of the mode of 'school' . You may find that if you try to go right into homeschooling you will have a battle on your hands.. so if you take time to have some fun, go to museums, out to lunch etc.. things you could NOT do during 'school' before.. it might help. The loose rule of thumb is...for every year spent in schools, they will need a month to relearn that learning can be fun!!! To love it again.

- Curriculum based homeschooling- it is just as it sounds, you buy a prepackaged curriculum that comes with all the 'bells and whistles'. There is such a wide variety to pick from. The Elijah Company has a pretty good writeup on different kinds.

- Eclectic homeschooling- An eclectic curriculum is where you pick and choose resources, books, textbooks, ect. for each subject to be taught from different curriculum publishers. So rather than purchasing your entire curriculum (prepackaged) from the same publisher or provider you build your own curriculum from a variety of publishers/resources. For example: A 1st grade English curriculum might use Hooked on Phonics , Pathway Readers , Spelling Power , and Writing Strands, all from different publishers. Similarly, you could choose Making Math Meaningful, Math-U-See, or Saxon Math for your 1st grade Math Curriculum based on how your child learns. And then read aloud the Little House in the Big Woods series by Laura Ingals Wilder for your Social Studies: History, Geography, Economics, and Government curriculum, all in one set of books!!! You are still using books and workbooks but from different sources that meet your child's interests and needs.

- Unschooling- Child led learning; Natural learning; Delight-led learning; Spirit-led learning. The child is given back his own education. Learning is happening all the time. The parent is always on the lookout for that 'teachable moment'. It is a lot easier to do than it sounds. If the child wants to learn about the Civil War, that is what they study etc. We use whatever resources work!! Life is the most popular!! Here's a hint: Unschooling is what you have done since birth. It is the way you helped them walk, and talk, and learn the alphabet...When they were ready, in fun happy ways, with you there helping and supporting!! Find some unschoolers to talk to.. it is very interesting!

- Unit Studies- Unit studies is like.. you are studying horses. You do your math with horses, (age appropriate.. like counting them, percentage of white and brown, etc) your history of horses, biology of horses, etc. You study one thing that encompasses everything. Many people use this when they have many different levels in the household... it is easy to provide for all grade levels. Also, it works well with special needs children because you can focus on what they want to learn about.

5. Love your kids :) Hug them, learn with them, have fun!

Here are some links:

Catalogs and Resources

Eclectic Homeschool Online

School Is Dead; Learn in Freedom!
Great site, offers a list of colleges that accept homeschoolers.

NHERI National Home Education Research Institute 's Typical Course of Study
curriculum overview by grade

OK, that's it :) Hope it didn't overwhelm is really a GREAT journey you are beginning!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


A Christian Unschooling EZine

Years ago, in conjunction with writing " Christian Unschooling; Growing Your Children in the Freedom of Christ", Teri Brown and I started an online publication called Seedling. We put it out faithfully for more than a year, then restarted it a few times, ultimately letting it die a natural death.

However, all of the articles are fabulous! Each issue has great articles on unschooling, resources, links and encouragement. They are archived here so anyone can find them in an Internet Search.

So, sit back, and enjoy! Hope they bless you in reading, as much as they did us in their writing!!

*Please note, since they were written years ago, some information may be outdated, ie email addresses, and websites. Sorry in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

Issue #1 Issue #2 Issue #3, Part 1 Issue #3, Part 2 Issue #4, Part 1 Issue #4, Part 2 Issue #5 Issue #6 Issue #7 Issue #8Issue #9 Issue #10 Issue #11 Issue #12 Issue #13 Issue #14Issue #15Issue #16 Issue #17Issue #18Issue #19 Issue #20 Issue #21 Issue #22Issue #23 Issue #24 Issue #25 Issue #26Issue #27 Issue #28 Issue #29 Issue #30 Issue #31

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FL Ironman

Finally! Man, I wish I could post every day!  I have so much to say, so many cool things we're doing, but just not enough time to upload photos, and sit down and write it out.  When baby's awake he's forever hitting SLEEP on my keyboard, and when I try to wait till he goes to bed, I'm too tired!!!

So, the main purpose of our trip to FL was my husband's participation in The Fl Ironman 2008.  It is held annually in Panama City Beach.  While Chris has always been a runner, biking came later in life...and swimming, truthfully was on the backburner. He did his first Ironman in 2005. That was also his first triathlon, and also his first race, since we've been married! Talk about jumping into something!

That year at Panama City he looked like he had died, afterward.  He probably wished he had. Gray doesn't look very good as a skin color!  But. he finished the race, just over 14 hours.  Yes, 14 HOURS, you swim, then bike ride, then run, consecutively, till you are done with the course. There are cut offs..he was 3 hrs under the final cut off, so by far not the first, but also not the last!

He skipped 2006, but signed back up for the same Ironman FL race for 2007.  That race went really well!  He shaved more than 3 hrs off his time! He signed up for the 2008 race the next day. 

The 2008 race should have gone better than it did, but 10 weeks out Chris got a leg injury. Luckily he found this great Dr.  (Thanks Dr. Nick!!) and he really worked with him to get through it. Happily, Chris was recovered enough to participate!

So....we start race morning off early.  Chris woke up way before us, getting his transition bags ready and to their checkpoints, and just being all -around nervous. Then he woke me up...come hell or high water I need breakfast!  So I ate quick and dressed warm!  As a point of reference...we  were plenty nervous, not just about the sheer length of the race, but because for 2 consecutive years someone has died on this very course, in the swim part. What's Chris' weakest part? Yup, the swim.  Of course, neither one of us is speaking about this, but we're both thinking it.

Oh, this picture....I couldn't determine where it should go, so here it is...This is from the day before the race, Elias was running up the "swim chute". You're supposed to run FROM the water UP the chute towards the bikes, he's going the wrong way.  Oh well, he was "pretending to be an Ironman".  He was so thrilled and so looking forward to this race. He loves finishing the race with's "their thing".

So, here's Chris in his wetsuit and goggles. No, he's not Chinese, everyone looks Chinese cause those goggles stick on tight and pull all the air away!

At 7am the Announcer sends this giant pack of crazy insane people into the water. Like about 3,000 people!  All fighting to get in first. I couldnt get a good shot, you need to see the arial shots that pros's pack mentality. Chris says it's like being thrown into a washing machine. One of his buddies got a busted nose. Someone in front of Chris kicked Chris' wrist and stopped his stopwatch  (a big UHOH for racers!!)  People literally get seasick swimming because of all the swimmers churning the water.  Here's a bunch of them out there.

So the idea for the swim is, it's a total 2.4 mile go out for a 1ish mile swim, come back to shore, cross the timing mat, walk/slosh/run through the water towards the deeper water where you can restart swimming your 2nd loop.  That's what these folks below are doing. These are random people..not Chris. They all look alike at this point!'

After they finish the swim part, they run up that chute, there's an area with volunteers who help yank their wet suits off, then they go up to the transition tent to change into their biking gear. They retrieve their bikes and off they go for a 112 mile bike ride.   Chris finished his swim in 1h 30 minutes.  He expected his bike to take about 5 hrs 15 min.  (It took 5:24)

What do me and the kids do while he's racing? Well, they slept in this time for the swim's brutally cold and early!  I went up after he got on the bike, and we went out to the beach for awhile, then came back and ate lunch, then went down to wait for Chris to come in off the bike. Here're the cuties waiting for a glimpse of Daddy.  We all were wearing our "Ironman shirts".

We caught sight of him after he exited the transition tent (from bike to run).  Here he is, after a 5 + hr bike ride, on his way to a 26.2 mile run

We let the baby nap for a bit, then ran down to meet him at the 1/2 way mark of the run. Conveniently it's right in front of our hotel! Here he is during the run.  He had a pretty rough 2nd half. He was hurting.

Then we ate dinner quick and went back out to the finish line. Total run time was 4 hrs 36 minutes. He made it! He did it slightly over what he had hoped for, but still beating his own Personal Record.  Elias ran the finish line with him..what a great moment!!  11 Hours, 42 Minutes!!!

Here's his attempt at smiling, through the pain.  His first year this picture is HILARIOUS, because he was so not with it. This is at least a decent attempt at a smile!

And here he is, walking to the Medical Tent.  He needed some salt and some rest. After a few bowls of chicken broth he was ready to get moving.

And this year, he signed up for next year, the day BEFORE the race.  Can you say CUCKOO CUCKOO?!?!?!

While I don't always willingly give him the time he needs to practice, over the years we have come to a great understanding that if he uses his time wisely I will b*%^$ less. Give us equal time to training and it won't be a problem.  Over the past year he's done GREAT spreading himself around. 

I'm so proud of my husband. His sheer will and determination won't let him quit. He's made up his mind on several things in the last couple of years and there is nothing that will stop him once he's decided. While choosing to do an Ironman is slightly nuts, other life changes he's made and stuck to, are fabulous.  Way to go Chris!  Looking forward to 2009!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Little Lovely- Hawaiin Style

We were recently invited to a friend's birthday party...theme...luau!  Here's Little Lovely ready to go...check out his sunglasses ....too cute!!!!

Oh man, I love this kid!!

On, off, on, off....and repeat!

Great idea to incorporate into your studies of history, culture or even specific people.....dress up and have fun with it! We have bits and pieces of cool things in all sorts of sizes, from firemen helmets, to darth vader masks, to karate robes, to pirate eye doesn't have to be expensive either!  Goodwill etc often have cheap costumes or bits and pieces of things to use.