Category Archives: homeschooling

The Obligatory Tea Party Post

Last Wednesday, after a trip to the bank to deposit the monetary fruits of my tailoring labor and a trip to the post office to render unto Caesar the taxes on those fruits, the checs and I found a parking spot, grabbed our signs (covered with plastic to prevent sogginess, as it was a very rainy day here) and appeared on our courthouse plaza for a Tax Day Tea Party, in protest of the ridiculous power-grab currently being orchestrated by our government.

Despite the rain, it was a well-attended gathering and there were people there of all ages and walks of life, from grandparents to little kids, business owners to passers-by.  The checs’ signs were photographed by many in attendance, including the local NBC affiliate’s reporter.


Don’t you believe it!

This morning was our monthly Catholic Homeschoolers’ meeting.  It was rather nasty and gloomy this morning – we had freezing rain when I got up, but by the time we had to leave the house it had warmed up a bit and was just plain old rain, but accompanied by a rather gusty wind.

I got out of the car, sent the checs inside except for older boychec whom I needed to hold the umbrella while I got our t-shirts (made by me, photos coming) out of the way-back and into my arms for delivery.  When we turned around to go into the church where we have our meetings, a strong gust of wind chose that moment to  do this:umbrella

I should add that the umbrella in question is one of those with a double canopy, that is supposedly guaranteed not to turn inside out.  HA!  I’m sure that this is a one-in-a-million thing, but how fortunate that (a) I had the foresight to take a picture of it, (b) I just happen to have a blog on which to share it with my 4 or 5 loyal readers, and (c) the picture turned out so that you can tell it’s a windblown umbrella!

I did manage to get the silly thing turned right side out and folded up properly, and decided not to risk having it happen again today.  So we just got rained on after the meeting.

So there you have just about the most exciting thing that happened to me today.  BTW I have surfed most of the blogs in my blogroll and almost without exception they have had much more fascinating things to say so you should go read some of them now.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…..

Snow January 2 2008

This is what greeted us this morning!  There are about 10 inches on the ground now, and it is still falling.  Public schools were canceled today, and as of right now I’ve seen two vehicles and one person moving outdoors (besides the checs, who are enjoying a bit of recess after our Latin class).  Since I snapped this, the snow has covered the bumpers of my car and I think it’s safe to say that we are not going anywhere this afternoon.

I’ll take the opportunity to get some extra work done here, and begin cleaning in the sewing room in preparation for house blessing in a couple of weeks.  The snowflakes are getting bigger, which in my experience means it should be tapering off at some point (soon?).

Time to go put on a pot of homemade hot cocoa and call in the checs…..they would love to stay out all afternoon but someone has to be the voice of reason around here!

Happy New Year!


The above picture is a ‘before’ look at my kitchen….I originally took this shot to take to the paint store when I purchased the paint, as I was afraid I would not be able to explain how very dark the green is, as well as the precisely nauseous shade of yellow. Apologies to all of you with yellow and green kitchens by choice. I realized I simply had to do something about a year ago, when I had an entire bridal party in for fittings and as it happened, their dresses exactly matched the green of my kitchen. Alfred Angelo 2006 Sage green.

So….I collected paint chips, I thought, I pondered, and I finally settled on a color scheme I really like. Red, white and black. See below:


This is not the same corner, and it’s not a fantastic picture but I think you see and get the idea. The yellow is all white….the cabinets and door and window trim were green and they will be white as well. The green beadboard wainscoting is red, and the white chair rail is black. Formerly there was a dark red peel-n-stick vinyl tile floor, and it is now (thanks a million mom) solid vinyl commercial floor tile in black.

We’re going back to school tomorrow….I think the checs are as ready for it as I am. I heard a few noises about them looking forward to the new semester as I was finishing up our New Years’ dinner earlier this afternoon. We’ll also be back to martial arts, in the dojo’s new location. And in a couple of days I’ll be able to show you pictures of the new prayer shawl I’m working on for my mom – same pattern as before because it’s easy, works up quickly and is pretty, but this time in a lovely raspberry color!

My two sons, one of whom you already know as the biker priest <g>, the other shown here modeling his new nose mitten:

Boychec’s nose mitten

served the Divine Liturgy this morning. It was biker chec’s first time flying solo, so to speak, as he has been ‘shadowing’ an experienced server since just before Christmas. He did OK, I think. I have to tell you that it was just an amazing experience to see them both come through the deacon’s door at the Little Entrance…..I think younger had a couple of issues with distraction, and he did tell me afterwards that his feet hurt, but nobody caught themselves or the Church on fire, no one fell off the steps, and no one tripped over his vestments. And I didn’t have an insistent email in my inbox today from the priest, advising me to keep my sons out of the Sanctuary from now on!

Now…..anybody got any tips about how to keep the girlchec from being so fidgety during Church? There are no ants in pants that I can see…..


That’s ByzCat’s Christmas tree….see, the most exciting thing I can think of to do at a Christmas party is to sit around and take pictures with my phone!

Happy New Year, to all my few but fearless readers. Stop back often! And everyone who comments who has a blog or a web page, gets linked as a sort of ‘thanks’ for the input (that is a rather blatant hint for some links back to me, pleeeease?)

Another anniversary

has come and gone without any fanfare whatsoever.  As of December 21st, we’ve been homeschooling for an entire year.  Lots of progress has been made in many ways, but we’ve still got a long way to go.  I wonder if there is any way to teach the checs to be happy in their own company….they always seem to have to be playing to same thing at the same time, which creates bickering and unrest.  That’s not to say that my reason for homeschooling was to try to eliminate the bickering, far from it.  I just cannot for the life of me understand why they seem to take such pleasure in being so unrepentantly vicious to each other. (And, for that matter, why none of my homeschooling friends seem to have the same issue with their children… there something wrong with me? with my kids?)

I have discovered that girlchec CAN do work at grade level, she doesn’t much care to, unless there is an immediately obvious practical application.  For example, adding and subtracting make her eyes glaze over like some fakir’s charmed snake; perimeters and weights & measures mean every answer’s going to be correct the first time around.

Older boychec is dismally incapable of (a) self-starting anything and (b) managing time to complete a task within the time allotted.  Now,  I’ll be the first to admit that at times my motto is “if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever be accomplished” but for the most part I do a pretty good job of spacing things out over the course of however much time I have.  And leaving things unfinished doesn’t seem to bother him, either.

Younger boychec continues to be impossible to challenge.  He refuses work that is beneath his ability (which is rather advanced); but he also refuses to do work that is a bit challenging.  I am continually stressing about finding the right balance between easy and difficult.

We do have a routine, and as long as I play drill sergeant, things go rather well.  It’s only when they are left to their own devices that things get hairy.  One of my constant prayers is that they will develop the ability to amuse themselves without (a) pestering a sibling to the point of injury or tears; (b) requiring repeated supervisory visits from The Mom; and/or (c) finding it necessary to do forbidden things.

I just love them the best way I know how, pray for them and with them at every opportunity, and commend them to God each night before I close my eyes in sleep.  He knows best, after all.

Well, whaddya know…..

cash advance

I suspected as much, but it’s always nice to be sure!

Hope everyone had a thoroughly wonderful Thanksgiving.  I sure did.  Everything on the menu went over very well, and we spent a cozy evening in front of the TV watching no football.  I finally got to watch “Rocky V” and was disappointed with the ending.  They shoulda quit while they were ahead, at #4.  I’m glad I skipped it when it was in theaters!

The possible guests neither showed up nor sent their regrets, so I can only hope they are inexcusably rude, rather than hopelessly lost somewhere driving around in circles looking for my rather obscure and hard-to-find address.  Although I must admit I am a bit peeved at my neighbor across the street – an impoverished college student who evidently preferred dormitory food to my home-cooked Turkeypalooza.  He’s an engineering major, so perhaps that explains it.  (I am permitted to poke fun at engineers, as I am the daughter of a civil engineer).

I must do several things today:  pay bills, do laundry, clean my room, and clean off my desk.  I spent the morning sorting laundry and doing the next two week’s lesson plans for school. (Just remembered, also must file receipts…..the stack on top of the file cabinet  teeters precariously whenever the furnace comes on)

Of Spiders and the Pursuit of Perfection

This morning – just a few minutes ago, as a matter of fact – I stepped outside to send chec 1 to walk the dog, and saw a true wonder of nature.  A garden spider had industriously constructed a beautiful web between the young ash tree and the window frame by the back door.  A perfect web.  Every strand of silk evenly spaced, the spokes ruler-straight, the rounds in lovely circles.  It is at least 30 inches across, and Miss Spider is still working on it.  There is fog here this morning, and the strands of silk are lightly touched with dew; I wish my house was not white so I could preserve it on film.

Amazing to me, that God creates the living things of the world, humans excepted, without free will – so that they can only do what is expected of them, instinct rules their every action.  Our spider is doing what God created her to do, and in doing so she has given us a glimpse into the Wisdom Who created us.

Do we have the potential to achieve perfection?  Of course, but because of our free will our nature is a bit flawed.  We must choose to do the things for which God has created us.  We must open our hearts and souls to God, seek His Will, and strive to always conform to that Will.

I guess some might be discouraged by the perfection of the spider’s web, the perfectly timed notes of a robin’s song, the industrious community life of bees as they work to provide honey for their young and us.

Not I.  Instead, the contemplation of the perfect meshing of instinct and God’s purpose inspires me to renew my efforts at achieving holiness.  But for the Fall, we would all find it easy to be perfect, for our wills would be conformed to God at all times, and all our choices would be good.  We would still have the ability to choose, to be sure, but those choices which would take us away from unity with God would seem distasteful and tawdry – while those uniting us more closely with Him “in Whom we live, and move, and have our being” would be as shining beacons in the night, sweetly scented and beautiful as gemstones.

The logo of our homeschool is a spider (a garden spider, actually) on the pages of an open book.  I chose this design to evoke the perseverance and industriousness of the spider, and the knowledge to be found in books, especially the Holy Scriptures.  This morning’s nature moment was a perfect opportunity for me to have a little teaching moment as I softly called the checs out to see the wonderful sight God provided for us.

May we all practice the perseverance of the spider, and to borrow a phrase from a brand of luxury car, work constantly at the ‘relentless pursuit of perfection.’

May God in His infinite Goodness richly bless you today and every day.