Sunday, December 28, 2008

I haven't been giving time to the 'thoughts on marriage' idea

I was reminded of it recently by a column by Dennis Prager (

I think I'm going to distribute it to all the young couples in our church. I'll wait for Part 2 to come out, and perhaps distribute both. From a New Testament perspective, though, I'll add a couple of thoughts to Mr. Prager's article. (He's Jewish.)

The primary point of his column is that men take s*x (word altered to keep from being flagged as p*rn or found on searches by p*rv*rts) as "I love you" and the denial of same as "I don't love you," and there is nothing more powerful for good or bad in marriage.

I'll add two thoughts to it, though: First, a reminder that the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that we have not the right to deprive our spouses, and secondly, that God never allows us to predicate obedience to His ways on someone else's. In other words, nothing my husband does eradicates my obligation to obey God's revealed will regarding my behavior as a wife.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


1. The schools and everyone related to them, which for decades have been more interested in trying out new fads, lining their own pockets, making themselves look good, and keeping life easier for teachers than in education. As a result, we have a populace of sheep with no ability or inclination to think for themselves.

2. The media, immoral and thoroughly liberal, shamelessly manipulate the sheep.

3. The GOP, who had the White House and Congress, and went whole hog into big spending big government.

4. Black racism.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

School has begun

This year, we're teaching a 9th and a 10th grader, since we have decided to skip Becky's 8th grade. Fortunately, that is not an irrevocable decision should she not have the maturity to handle high school level work. There's no doubt about the intellectual capacity.

Both are taking courses online, which gives a different twist. Their science classes are online. That's not a change for me, as Doug has been their science teacher for years. It may add a little, as I am the one overseeing their online classes. Becky's taking Earth Space Science, and Tim is taking Anatomy & Physiology. Both are outside of the normal progression of 'Biology-Chemistry-Physics' because their science has gotten ahead of their math.

They are also both taking writing classes with Home2Teach, although that doesn't begin until October. Becky, in addition, is taking a Microsoft Office Applications course. Doug is teaching Tim a robotics class for a computer class, and he's teaching Becky's math, too.

That leaves with, theoretically, with less, so I'm hoping to find time to write this year. However, the American History course we're using (Notgrass Exploring America) involves reading a lot of historical source documents and speeches, and I believe they will get much more out of the course if we read the more important things together and discuss it.

So far, the online courses have taken a lot of my time to help each of them get comfortable with the format and the software, etc. etc. etc. I don't expect that to continue past next week or so.

I also want to spend more time developing some of my thoughts about marriage with the goal of encouraging and helping the young couples in our church.

Of course, if we end up buying this 120 year old house we're looking at, I don't know if I'll have time for anything anymore!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More on marriage

As I've spent the last few days pondering what makes a good marriage, I remembered a principle I came upon many years ago...

Most people tend to come into marriage with the expectation that their spouse will meet certain needs. I think this is a big mistake. As a believer, I am confident that the Lord is able to meet all my needs. Compare two marriages: The first is composed of two people seeking to take from each other that which they think will fill their gaps; the second consists of a man and woman, each of whom are filled and overflowing from their relationship with God, and who are continually pouring love into each other from the overflow of their primary source -- their walks with God.

It is not hard to see which of the two had a stronger foundation.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Respect vs. Love

It's wonderful how well God's commands provide for our deepest needs! I was talking with a good friend last night about healthy marriages, and was reminded of the fact that while men are admonished to love their wives, we women are told to respect our husbands.

Women, do you know that your husband's need for your respect and admiration is a deep and real as your need to be loved? Our criticism hurts them as much as their indifference would hurt us. Be your husband's biggest fan. Appreciate his efforts without finding fault with the results.

More to come, I hope....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Trip Highlights

Friday, 7/18
We drove to Waltham in one day… about 11 hours on the road, going to church after driving past our old house, and arriving shortly before the picnic began. Enjoyed getting to talk and visit with folks. Becky found to her distress that her memories of five years ago were somewhat inaccurate. In addition to the expected, “Everything looks so small,” Becky found the dense, urban nature of the area a very unpleasant shock.

Saturday, 7/19
Spent the day visiting favorite places and old friends, primarily in Belmont, Waltham, and Cambridge. We walked several of our favorite old trails, including Waltham Woods, next to the Paine Estate where Doug and I had our wedding reception. We also drove by our old house, and spent a little time talking to the folks who bought it – the kids were disappointed not to be invited in to see it – and a lot of time talking with our former next-door neighbors.

Sunday 7/20
Of course, we went to church and it was amazing how little some things change. The building has been markedly improved, though. They’ve been doing renovations, and have done a TERRIFIC job. Alex has been leading the occasional ‘faith field trip’ this summer, and so a large group drove to Newburyport after lunch in the fellowship hall. We went to a church started by George Whitefield, and learned about his part in the Awakening of the 1740s. We were allowed to go up into the open steeple of the church and see the bell, which was actually made by Paul Revere. VERY COOL.

Monday, 7/21
Thus begins the camping… we drove to Truro, Mass., out near the end of Cape Cod and camped for three nights. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the greatest, so we didn’t end up spending a whole lot of time on the beach. We got there early enough in the afternoon that Doug and the kids went to the beach closest to our campground for a while that afternoon. I think the weather was okay. The next day was pretty cloudy, and a little cool, so we spent much of the time going on ranger hikes. One I enjoyed a lot was across a tidal flat with nets and buckets at low tide. I found a live, closed razor clam, which even the ranger thought was pretty cool. Rained a little that night.

Tuesday, 7/22
Another hike looking at plants in the highland dune areas before all three of us went to another Truro beach for a while. The water was too cold for any of us, but some folks went in. The waves were pretty high, so I snickered at some impressive wipeouts. We also visited some interesting historical sites. Rained a little that night.

Wednesday, 7/23
Another ranger hike – this time examining tracks and scat in a wooded area near Provincetown. It was very interesting to see the different things they measure – not just the size of the track, but also the length and width of the distance between tracks. Since we were at Provincetown, we spent much of the afternoon at the beach there. Poured that night, with lightning and thunder. Only one strike close enough to make us all jump.

Thursday, 7/24
Clear and sunny and beautiful the next morning, so we went to the beach for a while giving the tent, canopy, etc. some time to dry off. I thought it was another one of our typical Cape Cod (or most others, too) camping trips, where the weather’s fairly rotten until the day we leave. However, on the way out, the weather turned seriously nasty, and though it wasn’t fun to drive through, we were glad not to be in tent. As we drove through Boston on our way to our long-time favorite campground in New Hampshire, we heard on the radio that the storm was widespread and had hit New Hampshire pretty badly. Reports were coming in about a possible tornado in Epsom. I was driving, so Doug pulled out the atlas… “Oh, great,” he said. “That’s only about 20 miles from our campground.” We expected to see some wind damage as we drove in, but there didn’t seem to be any. There were puddles everywhere and it was still raining, so we sat in the car for an hour hoping it would stop. Eventually, it slowed down a lot, so we went ahead and set up the tent. Eventually, the rain stopped completely, so even though everything was wet, it was our first night with no rain overnight. Doug managed to get a roaring fire going, even though all the kindling was wet. (Cape Cod doesn’t allow campfires, which definitely takes some of the fun out of camping.)

Friday, 7/25
A fun day and warm and sunny! One of the things we loved about this campground was the blueberries all around the pond, so we took our old favorite walk, and found lots of ripe blueberries along the way. We hung out at the swimming area of the pond for the afternoon, and had another campfire that night. Another rainless night!

Saturday, 7/26
I, at least, was looking forward to a hotel after five nights in the tent. We drove to Bar Harbor, Maine. Bar Harbor is on Mount Desert Island, most of which is taken up by Acadia National Park. We did laundry and went out for pizza that night.

Sunday, 7/27
The weather was beautiful again. We took a morning puffin/whale watch trip, which didn’t turn out to be as fun as hoped. We went to an island with puffins, but they’re fairly small birds, so although some flew near us, we couldn’t see them well without binoculars. We only saw one small whale, but I would have just enjoyed the boat ride except that it was cold, and Becky got motion sickness. So, after a while, I just sat with her and made up a long, fairly plotless story about our cats to keep her mind of it. It worked pretty well, fortunately. In the afternoon, we took a long drive exploring Acadia National Park, which I think all of us enjoyed. Acadia was not actually a ‘nostalgia’ part of the trip, as we’d not spent time there together, but Doug had visited and wanted to return.

Monday, 7/28
Back to camping… We drove past Unity College, which Becky found on the internet looking for colleges that are small, rural, and strong in Biology. Unfortunately, the biological sciences being what they are these days, it’s also very big on environmentalism and presumably, evolution. But it wasn’t far out of our way, and since she starts high school this year, anything to strengthen her motivation is a benefit. We drove on back roads all the way through rural Maine and into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It took a while, but was very scenic and interesting. We stayed at a campground in Crawford’s Notch. It was on the same river as another campground we had stayed at before, but when we got there we decided it wasn’t the same place. No rain.

Tuesday, 7/29
Nostalgia day… We took the kids on the same hike where 18 years, 1 month and 13 days earlier Doug had proposed to me. It’s a trail that goes along a very rocky, fairly steep streambed up to a very pretty waterfall. Partway up, Doug and I had had lunch on a huge boulder in the streambed, and he had popped the question. We actually found the same rock, and Becky took our picture sitting on it. The stream was much higher though. It took some fancy rock jumping to get across the water to the boulder. Afterward, we took off our shoes and socks and did some wading, just like 18 years ago. The water was just as cold though. The rest of the day, we drove the Kancamagus highway and stopped at all the scenic overlooks. The weather was perfect. No rain.

Wednesday, 7/30
Short, but somewhat steep hike in the morning… up to Ripley Falls. It was only about half a mile each way. We should have realized it was steep when the information said it takes 20 minutes! But it was a nice hike, and Becky had fun climbing all over the rocks at the bottom of the falls, and partway up, also. We had lunch at a nice stream by the road, then tackled our major hike for the day. We took the Davis Path trail up to the top of Mt. Crawford. It was about 2.5 miles each way, with a vertical climb of more than 2000 feet. We didn’t figure out the vertical climb until afterward, but we would probably have done it anyway. It was similar to a hike we did at Ouray, Colorado two years ago. The difference is that this one had a long level beginning, so once it started up, it was relentless. I was breathing so hard in places that Becky kept trying to urge me to go back. Tim wanted to stay behind me – to make sure I made it, I guess – but the pressure of him behind me was making me go too fast, so I finally ordered him to pass me. Doug was in better shape than I, but had to take enough rests that I didn’t end up too far behind them. He tells me he stopped for his own rest, not to wait for me.

It was beautiful on top, but then of course, comes the trip downward. After a while, I could tell they were waiting for me and asked them not to. I won’t say much about the trip downward… the word misery should suffice. Doug waited about 30 minutes after they got down and was just thinking about coming to look for me when I came limping across the bridge. He’d very thoughtfully moved the car near the foot of the bridge, so I didn’t have to walk across the parking lot. He’d had a lot of pain going down, too, so he knew what kind of shape I’d be in.
I don’t remember much of that evening. Fortunately, it was the night we were eating out instead of cooking at the campsite, since neither of us were up to much cooking. After dinner, we made a campfire and, as we’d been doing most evenings, read outloud around the campfire and in the tent. We’ve been reading David’s story in the Bible, and a book called The Giver, and example of what is called ‘dystopian’ literature, like Orwell’s 1984. At about 3:30 that morning, the rain came, and pretty much stayed for the rest of our time in the White Mountains.

Thursday, 7/31
Sore, sore, sore. I was limping around like a 90 year-old lady! My plan had been to stay at the camp by myself while Doug and the kids went on a hike, but the rain prevented that, so we had an unexpectedly nice few hours at a Laundromat. It was reasonably clean, dry, warm, and had comfortable chairs, outlets to plug in various electronics to charge, and even WiFi! We had an uplanned meal out – lunch at a really nice and reasonably priced place in Jackson, then found a waterfall we could park near, and Doug and the kids got out of the car – it was one of the ‘offs’ of the off and on rain all day – and walked around it for a bit. I still wasn’t doing much walking. After that we drove around for a bit, then went back to the campsite early, since I wanted to get started with some of the packing up. While I did that, Doug and kids went to the river beside our campground. With the almost constant, sometimes heavy, rainfall, the river was up considerably from our first day, when we’d gone walking and wading there. Or so they said. I was still avoiding walking.

Friday, 8/1
Up early, packed the rest, and out of our campsite by 8:45 a.m. It stopped raining sometime during the night, but everything was soaked. We put the tent, canopy and chairs and laundry in the car top carrier, and just hope it won’t get mildewy in two days of driving. Of course, it was a beautiful day as we drove away. We took back roads across the top of NH to Rt. 89 and drove south through Vermont to Route 90, which takes us most of the way home. We spent the night in a Best Western in Syracuse. After 4 nights camping, we were eager for beds and a bathroom. Doug and the kids watched Discovery Channel shows about sharks while I checked email and started typing this.

Saturday 8/2
Last day. Up and out early, eager to get home and reassure our cats that they aren’t forgotten and abaondoned.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I successfully pulled off a surprise birthday party for my husband on Saturday!

I didn't want to attempt the delicate dance of timing it such that everyone arrived while he was away, however. Instead, I just didn't tell him about it. He did know that his mom was coming over, but she usually does for a birthday, so that wouldn't give it away.

He commented several times on how hard I was working that day... he wondered about the size of the pots I was using, but I wouldn't let him look and told him I was making something special for his birthday dinner. (It was really just spaghetti, salad, and garlic bread, but enough to feed over 20.)

Eventually, one of Doug's brothers showed up with his wife and kids. At that point, I think he figured that maybe I'd invited them for dinner without telling him. He did make a comment about that explaining the large pots on the stove. The next to arrive was our pastor and his family, and that is when the light bulb turned on... I heard him exclaiming, "My wife is a sneak."

Happy 45th birthday, Sweetie. I love you.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Almost there!

Over a year ago, I started the process of editing and revising Free Indeed. I only have the last few chapters to go, though they will be the toughest as the ending needs revision, rather than just editing. Unlike a lot of writers, I enjoy doing it, but I'm still excited to be almost done.

My goal is to have it done in time to enter Christian Writers Guild's 'Operation First Novel' writing contest. The deadline isn't until October or so, so I'm pretty confident I'll be done by then.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Short Story

Another story I wrote; this one is titled NEMESIS

Terry looked up as Marsha crumpled her burger wrapper and expertly tossed it in the trashcan two feet away. “Would you like me to check again?” Marsha asked. “It’s been about fifteen minutes.”

Glancing at her watch, Terry nodded. Principal Hawthorne and some teachers were counting votes in Room 126, not far from Room 123 where she waited. She knew her nemesis was also waiting in a room nearby, accompanied by his best friend, Tom. The campaign had been fun, but tonight she wished she had never thought of running for senior class president.

Steven: she had been competing against him for as long as she could remember, and usually she lost. Her mind drifted back to one of the earliest times she recalled competing directly against him. She remembered how painstakingly she had worked on her picture for the third-grade art contest. In the end, she had to admit the judges were right. She had never been able to best him in drawing ability. Fortunately, she had more musical talent. A slight smile curved her lips. She was often the featured soloist in school shows; Steven was just another face in the choir.

Marsha returned. “It’s good. You’re still ahead, but he has caught up a little.”

“What are the numbers?” Terry spoke a little more slowly than usual, trying to keep the tension from showing in her voice.

“You have 175 votes; Steven has 138. There are only about three stacks left to count.”

Not trusting her voice, Terry nodded without speaking. She glanced down at her largely uneaten dinner. Although she usually liked fast food, most of her hamburger and half her french fries remained. Terry picked up a fry and nibbled as memories of the most painful defeat of all rose in her mind. Her eighth-grade teacher had announced that the school was hosting a spelling bee. She could still remember the excitement she had felt as Mrs. Wood told them that the winner would get his name and picture in the paper, and would advance to the tri-county bee, with the possibility of competing at the state level and beyond. Terry had always been a good speller and was determined to win. For weeks, she had pored over the word lists in the booklet her teacher had distributed.

On the day of the bee, she had felt ready. Her confidence increased as the bee progressed. She was able to spell every word with ease, even words given to the other students. Most were eliminated in the early rounds. In the end, only four remained, including Steven and Terry. Terry was able to spell each of the words her competitors received, but the pronouncer gave her a word that seemed unusually difficult. “D, A, N, S, E, U, Z., danseuse.” Her heart had broken when the buzzer signified her error. Sorrow turned to resentment as she was able to spell each word for the remainder of the contest, including ‘eglantine,’ the word with which her nemesis had sealed his victory. Terry stood up and paced around the edges of the room, avoiding tables and chairs haphazardly left by the departing students earlier that day. She glanced at her best friend, and Marsha rose without speaking and left the room.

They must be almost done with the counting. A sick feeling tightened her stomach. Her nemesis would beat her again. She was certain he would win – Steven the golden boy. Suddenly, she winced at the conviction that her heart and her attitude toward Steven were completely wrong. “I’m sorry, God,” she whispered. “Your will be done. Please help me have a better attitude.”

A few moments later, Marsha rushed into the room, her smile lighting her face. Terry sank into a chair as her friend announced, “You’re still ahead, 216 votes to 189, and they were almost done counting the last stack. You’re going to win!” Marsha threw her arms around Terry and hugged her tightly. Besides Steven, Marsha was probably the only person who knew how much this meant to Terry.

“Do you want me to go back and wait until they’re done counting?”

“No,” answered Terry. “Let’s just wait until they come tell us.”

They did not have to wait long. After several minutes, her twin brother walked in the room, a rueful smile on his face. “Good campaign, sis. You won fair and square. Congratulations.”

Terry stood up and hugged her brother. “Thanks, Steven.”

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jaw-dropping Astonishment

Several weeks ago, I decided to stop lurking and get involved with the FaithWriter's website... for me, that meant registering for the site and the forums, and entering the weekly Writer's Challenge.

Every Thursday, a prompt is given, and participants have one week to respond with a 150-750 word story, article, or poem. Winners are chosen in four categories: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and masters. Beginner was the obvious choice for me, having never been published or won any contests. (Actually, it was only the second time I've ever entered a contest like that.)

The prompt was to illustrate, without quoting, the saying, "Behind every cloud is a silver lining." Having had a storm deposit about a quarter-inch of ice the day before writing it, my story dealt with God using a traffic jam and a near-accident on a highway to reach a stubborn teen's heart. Perhaps my writing was influenced by the immediacy of the weather conditions, as well as living with two teenagers, because all the comments I received were very positive.

A few days after the close of the contest, the winners were posted, and (here comes the 'jaw-dropping astonishment) my story took first place in the beginner category! It gave me a big smile on an otherwise unpleasant day. (To me, it's a sign of God's goodness that the details of why the day were unpleasant are completely gone -- I just remember the incongruity of smiling that day!)

Gee... may I should post the story here! It's called 'Icy Day.'

For the third time, Sherry checked to make sure Arianna was wearing her seatbelt properly before turning her attention back to the icy road. She eased up on the gas and glanced at the dashboard clock. Gripping the steering wheel with both hands, she leaned forward slightly.
“Do you think we’ll get there on time?” her daughter asked.

“I hope so, sweetheart, but I didn’t realize the roads were so icy,” Sherry said. “Are you sure you brought everything? Do you have an extra copy of the scholarship application and essay?”
“Yes, Mom.” As usual, her daughter’s tone was insolent and slightly contemptuous. “Although they wouldn’t have made me a finalist if they didn’t have my paperwork, would they?”

Sherry clenched her teeth to keep an angry denunciation of Arianna’s ungrateful attitude from escaping. Unexpected brake lights glared in front of her, and she pressed the brake pedal hard – too hard, as the sedan immediately began to skid toward a concrete barrier on their left.


Sherry ignored her daughter to concentrate on her driving, taking her foot off the brake and steering into the skid before gently pressing the brake pedal again. Her fingers were claws gripping the steering wheel as she tried desperately to stop the car before hitting the bumper of the black SUV now stopped in front of them.

“Hold on, honey!” Sherry tried to speak calmly as she braced herself for the sickening crunch of metal on metal. It never came. The SUV rolled forward a few feet, and the sedan slid to a stop a few inches behind it. Sherry lowered her head to the steering wheel and silently gave thanks for their safety.

“Arianna, are you alright?” Sherry could tell that her voice was shaking to match her hands.
Wide eyed, Arianna nodded. When she spoke, her voice was also shaky. “I can see now why you always bug Dad about tailgating. If you hadn’t left so much room, we’d have hit him.” They both looked at the imposing black SUV in front of them.

Sherry took a deep breath and released it in a long sigh. “I guess God’s watching out for us today.” Arianna did not answer at first, and Sherry glanced over, expecting to see the usual angry reaction to anything religious.

After several minutes, Arianna spoke and Sherry leaned forward to make out the quiet words. “Yeah, Mom. I guess you’re right.” They drove in silence for about twenty minutes, but the traffic was bad and they were going slowly. Finally, Arianna spoke again. “We’re going to be late, aren’t we?”

“Yes, honey. I’m so sorry. I know you had your heart set on this scholarship.”

Sherry glanced at her daughter, and was amazed to see a genuine smile on her face. “It’s alright, Mom. I’m sure they know about the traffic and the icy roads. Remember? God’s taking care of us today.” Tears pricked Sherry’s eyes when her daughter added, “Thanks for bringing me, Mom.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I am officially...

a veteran homeschooler! Of course, if doing it for ten years didn't qualify me as one, I'm not sure anything would. On Saturday, March 8th, we made the decision to pull Becky out of school and bring her back home. By Monday morning, I had her course of study for the next 12 weeks laid out, all the materials foun either at home or at libraries, and my notification form filled out and ready for the school district.

Although I'm very glad to have her home, it will affect my writing. I'd been trying to write at least a little every day, as the advice goes, but I doubt it will be possible. As an example, she's interrupted me about half a dozen times just in the time it's taken to type this entry...

patience, patience, patience!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A little respect and admiration...

As a woman, I think I sometimes lose sight of how powerfully I can affect my husband. I've been told many times how much his wife's respect means to a man, but it's easy to forget... until I get a reminder.

One morning last week, at 6:30 a.m., I was sitting in my warm bed drinking coffee when my husband came in from shoveling a foot of snow off the driveway so he could go to work. I wasn't particularly eloquent, but I told him how much I admire and appreciate his work ethic, or something like that.

I probably wouldn't even remember having said anything if he hadn't mentioned later that those simple words had bouyed him up all day. I want to try and remember to tell him how much I appreciate him more often.

And, if my admiration can be such a lift for him, what a blow it must be when, in frustration over silly, meaningless issues I express the opposite.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Being Prepared for High School

How should the parent of a middle school aged student prepare the student for high school work? What should the parent of an 8th grader make certain is covered?

Much of what students must learn is content-driven, but some is more skills-based. Even in content driven areas, possessing certain skills makes mastering the content easier.

Let me try to put this in practical, though generic terms. Overall, since these courses won't go on their high school transcript, worry less about making sure this, that, and the other curricula is covered; instead, make sure the student is ready for high school level courses. In English, and this may be the most important area, make sure the student can write and write well, and has a grasp of standard five paragraph essay structure. I would make that a priority. Second, work with your student on strengthening his grasp of literary analysis. (Many high school courses teach this, but knowing it ahead of time will give your student a head start.)

In Math, make absolutely certain the basic concepts are rock-solid, and if ready, it's a good time to begin Algebra. If not ready, do whatever it takes to get ready.

Other skills I'd consider important to have at least a good start on before entering high school are logic, and understanding how to do good science. In addition to the scientific method, this would include how to carefully, systematically perform an experiment and write an excellent lab report.

For those of us who've homeschooled all the way, high school is the last lap. What a simultaneously terrifying and exciting thought!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Family Matters

Two snow days this week... As a homeschooling mom, snow days have never been necessary, so I've never given them. This year, it's a little hairy! Day One of little sister not having school, Tim handled it pretty well. Yesterday, however, he was a little grumpy. It doesn't help that these last couple of weeks have been unusually heavy for him, and his schoolwork is taking longer each day than he thinks is fair already.

Next year, assuming we stick with the plan of bringing Becky back home and skipping a grade, I'll have a 9th grader and a 10th grader. I've been focussing on planning the last month or so and this is what I have so far:

Tim - 10th grade
Language Arts: We'll definitely do the literature component of the American history curriculum, adding in literary guides like Progeny Press and Sparknotes for 4-6 of the books. We'll continue using Vocabulary for Achievement, and Rod & Staff for grammar work. I'll decide about the writing component after I see how the online writing course he's taking goes this spring.

Math: This one's easy. We've loved Videotext for Algebra, so we'll continue it for Geometry.

Science: Physics, but where? Science is one of his strong points, so I think a good choice for him to take outside of the home. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to locate any co-ops around here that teach Physics, so we may end up trying it at Cuyahoga Community College.

History: Notgrass's Exploring American History, with Teaching Company videos added in. Thanks to Sharon in MD for schedule dovetailing the two!

Computer Science: Another uncertainty... possibly an online Visual Basic class at The Potter's School.

Spanish: We'll continue with Rosetta Stone, but somewhere along the way I need to add the written workbooks in with the computer time.

PE: He'll continue in Karate, and I'll find some health books to read and call it a half credit in PE.

That comes to 6.5 credits, which is pretty standard. It's also very similar to what he's doing this year.

Becky - 9th grade
Language Arts: ? I may have her do that entirely as an online course. This is her strength, so she probably doesn't need the level of intensity in English that Tim has had this year. I'd like her to be challenged with a strong course. Of course, she's doing the same history as Tim, so that's a literature component right there...

Math: Her private school math this year was a joke, and I will not consider her to have mastered Algebra 1 at the end of it. I'm planning on having her use Videotext. Since she's had some Algebra at school and is so darn smart, I think I'll try to get her through Alg. 1 & 2 in one year. That way she won't be so behind, having wasted 7th grade at VCA and then skipping 8th.

Science: Also a big question mark. She never wants to do the 'expected' in science. She could do Physical Science. It would be the logical science after what she's done this year, I think. She could also repeat Biology, since in 6th grade she took the course and comprehended it, but didn't take tests or do all the experiments. She could also take some kind of advanced Biology like Marine Biology or Human Anatomy. Of course, she says she wants to take Geology, but I haven't managed to find a source for that yet. It's not a standard high school course, I guess.

History: Also Notgrass American, which of course means there will be times when they both want the book at the same time and I'll get to play referee. Maybe some day they'll grow out of the bickering?

Foreign Language: She says she wants to learn Chinese or Swahili. Rosetta Stone has both, but I can get the Chinese, at least, online through Potter's School or similar programs.

That's only five credits. I'd like to find an art class for her, and she'll also probably be involved in Karate next year. Perhaps we could find some computer applications course for her, instead of computer programming? Also, she hasn't had as much Logic or Ohio History as Tim has. Not having her home this year has really caused problems academically!

So, I've made progress in planning for next year, but I'm far from done.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Writer's Retreat

The Writer's Circle at the Twinsburg Library hosted an all-day retreat on Saturday, Feb. 16th. Cari Dubiel arranged it and did a great job. A couple of professional writers attended: one who writes mysteries and one who writes children's books.

After presentations in the morning, we took at lunch break. I found the presentation on agents particularly helpful. In the afternoon, we split into two critique groups. One went with the children's author, and critiqued a children's story one of our members had written. The other half stayed in the room to critique my 'Jairus' story. Actually, only part of it -- which was a good thing since I had to read it aloud... whew!

It's always good to get feedback. My need to get a better handle on POV was confirmed. In general, the group was encouraging. The mystery writer, Annette Dashofy, did say that she felt my writing was good enough to try for publication.

I guess I won't quit yet!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh, my!

I knew it had been way too long since I'd posted anything, but I just looked to see what was under today's post... I didn't realize it had been that long.

I should give the update on my first ever NaNoWriMo... I did it! I'd basically given up, and on Monday of the last week of November I had 32,000 words to go. Here's how it went:

Monday: almost 6K

Tuesday: about 7K

Wednesday: about 7K

Thursday: about 7K

Friday: a little over 5K

I was exhausted at the end of it. I told my husband, "I'm tired; my soul is empty; and I have no more words."

Identity Crisis?

I have to confess that I've always regarded agonizing over one's identity as a kind of unnecessary and narcissistic navel gazing. Now, however, the decision to have my daughter start 9th grade instead of 8th next year means that both kids will be in high school.

So, having been first a SAHM (stay at home mom) and then a homeschooling mom for the last 15 years or so, what will I be in five years? Or I could even ask (here comes the narcissistic navel gazing) who will I be in five years?

Fortunately, there is an easy answer to the second question, and it takes care of the first question, too. In five years, I will be what I was not just five years ago, but even twenty five years ago: a Christ-follower. I find that comforting because I know that the journey of motherhood has changed me in many ways, so it is clear that there's no going backwards. Going forwards is a question mark. I'd love for my writing to succeed, but I don't have to get my identity from that.

I was, I am, and I always will be... a Christ-follower. Everything else will fall into place around that.