Inappropriate High School Art Show

Tonight was the opening night for the IB art show, our town’s two high schools displaying together.  The cross town school had some pieces that I’m pretty amazed are being publicly displayed as part of the best that our schools have to offer in their art program.

Thirteen students exhibited.  Four were from cross town, and three of those four had paintings of couples having sex.  Another had two pictures of the same girl in a top cropped enough to show the bottom of her breasts to varying degrees.  There were a couple more that were nude with varying levels of exposure.

How is this appropriate for a high school art show?

I’m disgusted with the art teacher who allowed it.

Way to go, public school system.  You just strengthened the home school argument.

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Homeschool Plans

With only one year left to plan, I found  I haven’t fully explored the site, but have purchased two textbooks from them and received the books as described.  The paperback text was described as “like new” and looked as if it had never been opened – there was just a small crease on the back cover.  The hardcover was “good”, and you can tell it was used but it’s not marked in, just a touch worn.  No shipping was charged on either of these and I paid about $7.50 for both.  Today I ordered two books for literature reading and hope to be just as pleased for the $7.50 spent on those.

Previously, I’ve hit the library sales and loaded up on “fill a bag for $6” day, but needs are more specific now.  The library sales produced many history textbooks, a geography text, government text, college texts which were used for interest topics, and lots of books for literature.  The Kindle has been helpful as well, especially since many classics are available for free.

When DD was in elementary school we used the library a lot for history and science.  It was wonderful to have all of those informational books at our fingertips.

Some plans are finishing up yet for this year.  I have a few more crosswords to write – thanks to those who provide puzzle makers for free on the internet – and two review sheets and tests to type up for history.

Being on the Staples email list will get you coupons for purchasing paper for a penny after rebate.

Home schooling families don’t receive tax dollars to pay for supplies, so we need to find ways to keep the costs down without sacrificing quality of content.

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Could I BE any more tired?

Resurrection Day is over and chocolate is purchased for next year.  I’ve learned what will or will not last a year – soft centered things do not!  Some things are purchased after closer holidays, but the chocolate bunnies and crosses are only out now.  I couldn’t get the bunnies that I usually put in the baskets, and my kids like routine, so I’ll wait and get them next spring.

I had hoped to make the pants for DD2 this past weekend, but DH had other plans.  Friday we went to a park a couple of hours from us.  He wanted to get some photography in and it gave DD1 a chance to log some much needed night time driving.  (We’re so close to finishing and testing for the license!)  The park didn’t have it’s several mile drive open for the season, so we had to walk.  We were told it’s a mile and a half each way to the spot he had in mind.  I don’t think that was accurate.  We were on the paved road, constant incline, and my costo chondritis(sp?) acted up.  If I didn’t know what it was, I would have thought it was a heart attack.  It’s chest wall pain caused by inflamed cartilage where the ribs join the sternum.  Anyway, it gave DH the final answer about my ability to hike with him.

I keep telling him that I love nature walks, but inclines and I have never gotten along – since a very young age (around 10 – Dad was a hiker and tried to interest us).  I’m just glad that he finally sees how much I can and cannot handle.  We’ll find out if it makes a difference or if I’ll just need to make sure I always have a fully charged Kindle and a bag of needlework with me.

So on Saturday I woke up tired and sore, did a mountain of laundry, and DH proposed looking at shrubs/trees for the hedge we have planned.  Okay.  I hate the basketball and want the barrier up.  Never mind that I tried to get him to look at catalogs back in January.  We find something which will work in our zone, with partial sun, and is fairly fast growing, and then he wants to start work.  Okay.  The pants can wait for Sunday afternoon.  The garden is town down, sticks are picked up, the shed swept and grass seed spread in the lawn.  Mice had found the bag and chewed it so I wanted to use it instead of having it eaten.  The things I could do ran out so I went in and made dinner.  After dinner and showers for all of us, I took care of the Easter baskets and collapsed.  DH had wanted a breakfast casserole, but I barely had energy to brush my teeth and crawl into bed.

Sunday came and church takes a good deal of our day.  We went to MIL’s house after lunch and ended up being there all afternoon while DH delivered and set up her new computer.  Guess those pants will be made this week.  Only a week and a half before the competition!  Thank Heaven I’ve made tons of pants.

The laundry is now finished and waiting to be hung.  DD1 needs a ride soon to set up for the art show.  The list goes on.  Can I go to bed now?

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I Can Breathe (For Now)

The SAT is over and DD2 completed it.  Now, for 99.9% of the population, this is not a triumph, just another day in the life of a high school junior.  I was praying a lot from the time I dropped her off until I was on my way to pick her up.  She didn’t make it through the instructions for the PSAT.  Her sensory processing disorder comes with anxiety – big time.  The school called in February to see if we wanted to apply for special testing conditions, but DD2 did not wish it.  There are times when you can actually hear surprise and doubt over a silent phone line, and this was one of those times.

There was a second test yesterday (state mandate), which again was completed, and a third test (again for the state) next week.  I truthfully told my daughter that I don’t care what the score turns out to be for the SAT.  Life would be easier if it goes well, but the victory was in completion.

We’re actually on a streak of good news.

DD1 found out yesterday that she is graduating in the top ten percent of her class (over 300 kids), and has been invited to a special banquet.  We’ll be paying to eat (or pick at) what will most likely be poorly cooked chicken, but the food isn’t the point of the evening.

Today brought word that DD2 is invited to an awards ceremony at the high school which allows her to attend her veterinary class (at the county ISD/career center) and home school the remainder of the day.  Thankfully it’s the night after DD1’s ceremony, because I sure couldn’t choose between them.  This ceremony is followed by pizza.  Much more practical.  The fun thing will be to see DD1’s reaction to her sister getting the invite, because her nose was out of joint when the invite to the National Honor Society came.

I finished the dress I was making for DD2, so both girls now have a new dress for Easter Sunday.  That wasn’t the goal- they simply needed new dresses, but it’s nice when things work out this way.

We have a local Gardens with a greenhouse which fills with butterflies this time each year and I took DD2 during Spring Break.  DH went to take pictures last night and took her for a second visit.  His photography takes time, but I pointed out that she’d be happy to stay as long as he needed and he took her along.  The other two kids don’t get a thrill out of the butterflies, so they don’t care that this daughter goes every year.

I’ve got about two weeks to make a pair of pants for DD2 to wear at her competition for HOSA (student medical profession group – state level competition).  They need a pair of khaki’s, and the selection in the store was pitiful.  We found a couple, but the rise was indecently low.  I’m at the point where I tend to become angry when I need to shop for clothing for my girls.  They don’t want low cut or way open necklines.  They don’t want super low rise pants.  They don’t want tight fitting clothes.  They want to dress modestly.  Yes, my girls express this wish and often won’t even show me a top they’ve tried on if they aren’t comfortable with the neckline.  This is not simply me projecting on to them.  I don’t want to tell others what to wear, but I’d like to be able to find what we want too.

Okay, I’ll amend that a bit.  It frustrates me to have my son surrounded by revealing necklines and super tight pants because it will make it harder for him to keep his thoughts honorable.

Enough on that tangent.

The open house plans are coming along and the basement is filling with supplies.  I found a sugar cookie bar recipe and it’s been approved by DD1.  I told her I was going to buy a few extra pans and she sarcastically said that I could wash them.  I retorted that it will make preparing the large batches of rolls and cookie bars easier if I can have the pans lined up and oven ready.  Then she started talking about another cookie bar she’d like.  I put the brakes on that one.  There’s only so much I can realistically take on.  I’ll make the rolls at the front of the week and put them in the freezers at the church, since the open house will be there.  That means I’ll be making the cookie bars at the end of the week and that’s about as much as I can handle, considering the amount of people we need to plan for – I’ve been told to count on about 150.  I think I’m a bit relieved that we won’t be swamped with family on top of that.  We live three hours from the closest family, and we don’t expect many to come.

One thing at a time.  I think I’ll go back to being happy about the awards.

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Spring Break – Sort of

This year we have two Spring breaks.  DD2 (home schooled) is taking a veterinary class through school of choice in our neighboring county, and their break was this past week.  Our town’s school, where my other two offspring attend, is off next week.  It keeps things interesting.

This past week I enjoyed not driving thirty minutes each direction and waiting three hours for DD2.  It was wonderful.  Even better, DH took her to visit a college nearby on Thursday, then to his alma mater yesterday.

Several hours to myself in the house – that is a luxury I rarely have since beginning the home school journey.

This next week I’ll be taking DD2 to class while the others sleep in, but that’s okay.  DD1 will be making her last college visit on Monday with DH, and they are going to stay overnight to do some shopping as it’s a large area with a much larger variety of stores than we have here at home.

One of the days I’ll take my son along and we’ll visit the state park that’s north of town.  He’s hoping to speak with a ranger and find out more about what they do and the college majors which lead that direction.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to get a hold of anyone to set something up (being off-season and fewer staff available), so we may just have to drop in.

Another of the days I’ll take the kids to see Beauty and the Beast.  There are a few things in the movie which don’t thrill us, but this is DD1’s all time favorite Disney movie and she and I made the decision carefully and thoughtfully.  DH isn’t interested (shocker), so we’ll take the lower ticket price and run.

Today I finished cutting out a dress for DD2, so I want to get to sewing and hopefully finish it by the end of next weekend.

Home school needs some lesson planning, and a few papers are waiting to be graded.  I’ve recently gotten two of next year’s text books through  One was $3.50 and looks like it was never used, the other was $4, and shows it’s been used, but isn’t filled with highlighter.  No shipping was charged for either book.  Both are older (2003 and 2008), but the topics of health and economics don’t change so quickly as to scare me away.  I have a government book from one of the library book sales, and purchased a DVD program on the Constitution.  Physics is all set, and really I’m itching to start plotting out next year.  But, this year needs to be attended to first.

There are a thousand other things on the to-do list, but the above are the top priorities.  We’ll see what happens.

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A Sigh of Relief

DD1 applied for a fifth state university over this past Christmas break.  The incentive was due to information gained that they give out generous scholarships for the right GPA and SAT score combination.  Last week we received the offer letter.  It’s two thirds of the cost of the year, and it’s renewable for a total of eight semesters.  They also, with the right IB test scores, accept more of DD1’s classes than the other schools applied to.

DD1 has yet to visit this campus (scheduled to go in two weeks), but she’s already embraced this as the final decision.  We won’t decline the other schools until after the visit, but none of us see a reason that this latest acceptance will be turned down.

We can finally afford college for DD1 without the prospect of her being saddled with mounds of debt when she graduates.  Our own financial goals won’t have to be sacrificed.  We won’t be carrying massive debt on our own shoulders.

The cost of public university in our state has quadrupled since DH and I graduated 25 years ago.  We were seriously sweating the prospect of $125,000 for college (teaching is a five year program at the top three schools in the running for DD1) just for one of our three kids.  DH set up a Go-Fund-Me, which apparently offended my husband’s uncle, who commented on the site that we could “well afford to put that kid through school”.  I’m glad he’s looked at our finances and done the math.  That’s a load off my back.  Need I mention that this same uncle has been in debt since well before I married into this family 23 years ago?

Anyway…we’re so immensely relieved.  DD1 is also planning on trying for a Resident Advisor position her second year, which would take care of the rest of the cost.  She’s elated and so are we.  Hopefully our son is paying attention since he starts high school next year.  I was starting to lose faith that good grades and hard work paid off.

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I Surrender

I’m tearing out my garden plot.

It’s never been a wonderful producer, but I’ve done what I could because DH offered the garden to me, in spite of his dislike for them.  He gave me a shady corner, but I didn’t want to look the gift horse in the mouth.  Recently he asked me if we could take it out.  I was going to try one more summer until today.

A year or two after our garden went in, the neighbors added a basketball court.  They poured a cement pad and painted the lines on it.  It’s in the corner of their yard just off of our living room.  We are in town on a 1/2 acre lot and our back yard shares border with their yard.  Our hearts sank when we realized what was going in.

In our early years of marriage, we lived in a large apartment complex with our apartment situated above the basketball court.  Every child who lived in the buildings spent their every waking moment in this space.  The boys would even pee in the bushes to avoid having to run home to do so.  We constantly heard bouncing balls and yelling kids.  When we started our house search, we paid attention to how many basketball nets were near the house for sale.  Homes were rejected without ever crossing the threshold, based on the numerous ball nets.

Fast forward to today, and a court located less than 100 feet from our living room.  Winter is now the most wonderful time of year.  We’ve even thought about spraying down the cement to render the court unusable even with heavy coats.  The incessant bouncing is bad enough – especially as this is the home of a youth pastor and we’ve counted no less than nine balls in play at once when a large group of teens is over.  The crucial thing not included in their basketball court was a net to catch the balls.

The neighbors actually cut a hole in their fence to make a gate to retrieve the balls.  Strange boys are often in our yard.  They’ll even stop to try to make the shot from our yard on their way back.

My garden, pathetic as it is, has suffered.

Last summer I had to reinforce the rabbit fencing with bamboo stakes because no one has ever used my garden gate when getting their balls out of my garden.  I added tall metal stakes to protect the beds from balls slamming into seedlings.  A couple of those are now bent at a pretty steep angle.

Today I looked out in my yard to see a strange boy looking at my garden gate.  It’s now broken.  I huffed outside to inspect the damage then saw the ball still in the garden.  I whipped it back into their yard.  Four boys just looked at me.  No one apologized for the damage.

So now I’m giving up.  My garden will come down soon.  A physical barrier along the fence line will be going up in exchange, however.  Something fast growing that forms a hedge.  We’ve been talking about it for two years.  While the plants are growing, they will be protected from careless kids as well.

The really sad this is that before the basketball court went in, we really liked these neighbors.


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