Thursday, July 23, 2009

The best laid plans . . .

Last Friday I had planned to take on the task of organizing our upcoming school year, but that didn't happen.

Instead I ended up going to the World Series in Jefferson, GA with my son and husband. They left Thursday morning, but I went Saturday afternoon. I'm so glad I did!

We all had a great time. The kids played hard. They didn't win, but they won some games and had fun. My son met kids from Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and other parts of Georgia who all love playing baseball too. They traded pins, they participated in Opening Day ceremonies, they ate bad-for-you concession stand food, they swam in the hotel pool, and ran around the halls in the hotel more than they should have been allowed to. They asked the lady at the hotel desk to make chocolate chip cookies for them and she obliged every single night!

It must have been as close to paradise as you can get for an 11 year old boy!

It was kind of great for my husband and me too to see our son so happy and having so much fun. I'm glad I got the opportunity to go.

We got home Monday evening and the race is on to get everything in order to be ready for our trip to WV next Thursday.

But first --- I'm going to work on those school plans TODAY!

At least that's the plan for now. . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Friday plans

My husband and son just left about an hour ago to go to the Dizzy Dean World Series with my son's 11 year old All Star team. I'm not sure how long they'll be gone -- it'll depend on how many games the team wins -- but they'll be away at least 3 nights.

What on earth am I going to do with myself?

Cleaning is always an option. The house is in much better shape since we've had a break from baseball last weekend, but I could always find something to do like deep cleaning, decluttering, etc. So I plan to do a couple of little projects involving cleaning and decluttering.

Another thing I really need to do is work on our upcoming school year. I've been thinking about this a lot, so I was very excited to run across this post from Kris about having a Mom's Retreat.

Kris uses the time to get away from the house and make plans for her family's upcoming school year. I think this is a great idea, but I'm planning on doing this at home tomorrow. Because I'm a total geek, I'm really excited about it!

I don't always take enough time to plan ahead, think about where we want to go with our schooling for the year, or think through the things that are working well or not working at all. I need this time to focus and make some choices about curriculum for the upcoming year.

I can really see the benefit of getting away from the house to do this, but since my house is empty (except for me and our little pug, Smokey) I think sticking around here to plan out the details will work too.

I'll let you know how my Friday "at home" Retreat goes. I'm hoping to get some issues resolved for the upcoming school year so we can start off right.

I'm also checking out this post on planning tips by Kris. I'm getting some great inspiration from her blog!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Music at the Lake

My son and I went to Lake Allatoona this afternoon to soak up some sun. Wednesday is "free day" at the lake. You can park without paying the $5 parking fee. (By the way the fee used to be $3. They just raised it 2 months ago!)

It was a very busy day at the lake. People cooking out, playing at the beach, riding their jet skis, driving their boats. After we had been there about an hour a couple of guys pulled up, unpacked their car, started cooking out, and playing their stereo in their car for all around them to hear.

They actually weren't "blasting" their stereo. We could only hear it so clearly because they were just a couple of picnic tables away from us. Still it annoyed me. I never like to hear loud music being played. My husband even gets annoyed with me because I don't like it being played too loudly in the house, but people playing music outside really IRKS me and I'm not completely sure why.

I remember years ago being at Cranberry Glades with college friends and a college professor and his wife, with whom we were also friends. We did some walking and cooked out. One of the guys suggested pulling out his "boom box" and the professor said "I've never understood why people have to go out in nature and listen to music." So the boom box stayed in the car and I remember thinking I had found a kindred spirit in that loud music hating professor.

Our afternoon wasn't ruined because of the two guys playing music from their car, but it would have been a lot more peaceful if they had just brought their iPods!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homeschoolers, you should fear me

I got a response from the email I sent to my state senator about a possible bill allowing homeschoolers to participate in public school sports. He was very receptive and said he and some other colleagues were drafting legislation in support of equal access and in support of homeschooling in general.

Very nice to know.

What's not nice to know is that, apparently, in my quest to help my son fulfill his goals, I will personally bring down homeschooling.

I apologize, in advance, for the disruption.

What bothers me about that article in Home Education Magazine is it's like that dude behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz.

"Pay no attention to the myriad of homeschooling laws your state has. Forget about the fact that your tax dollars support public education. Try not to remember that your child is subject to standardized testing. Forget all of that and believe it is the homeschooler whose child wants to play sports in public school that will put the final nail in the coffin."

I'm up to here with it. (I'm holding my hand way above my head -- fyi.)

I choose to face reality in this situation. The fact is we have a limited right to homeschool --- we don't have complete homeschooling freedom. We live in a country where the majority of children attend public school, therefore they have the most access to certain undeniable educational advantages. That's a hard truth, but it's still true.

I am willing to make sacrifices to homeschool. And, make no mistake about it, there are sacrifices involved. We spend money that public schoolers don't have to spend in order to educate our son. Plus we pay for other kids to be educated through tax dollars. I wanted to do a science unit study that involved a microscope, but couldn't because the microscope I wanted was so expensive, so we put it off for a while. My son wants to take a homeschool enrichment class in the fall and I'm not sure we're going to be able to afford it.

There are sacrifices.

There are also undeniable advantages to homeschooling. My son can pursue his interests. He loves to learn about World War II. We study a lot about it. He is good at math and I know he doesn't need to go over for the fourth time in a week how to cast out 9s, so we skip that. We are planning a Civil War study in the fall and we'll go to every Civil War cemetery, museum, and battlefield in our area (there are plenty in Georgia) to make that part of history come alive for him in a way it wouldn't if he spent the time just reading about it in a classroom.

Not to mention there is no doubt I have his best interests at heart. I can guarantee he will get what he needs, because I'm willing to fight for it.

So, I get it. I'm on board. I love homeschooling. I'm proud to talk about the great things about homeschooling, but I'm honest enough to admit some things bug me about homeschooling.

Why can't I be sad that my sports loving son won't have access to a competitive sports program if things are not changed? Why can't it bother me that he can only receive the Hope scholarship retroactively if he maintains a good grade in his first year of college? Why can't I worry just a bit about the cost of his college education when he doesn't have access to all of the scholarships that are available to public schoolers?

I belong to two local homeschooling message boards and haven't mentioned my email to my state senator on either of them. Want to know why? I would be blasted for doing it. "We are fine homeschooling and we don't want our freedom taken away because your child wants to play sports."


Just stay behind your curtain. I'll stand there with you.

"Don't think about the four homeschooling families I personally know whose kids now go to public school just so they can have access to the sports programs."

It's hot behind this curtain. I don't think I can stay here much longer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I immediately regretted hitting the send button

I found out a week or so ago that my homeschooled son is not allowed to participate in sports through his local school district. He loves sports. We've always paid for sports programs for him, but some things we can't provide. Like access to a huge baseball, basketball, or football program.

I have mixed feelings about this issue. The thoughts that fly through my head while thinking about this include:

1. We have the right to homeschool.
2. We incur extra expenses to homeschool because we buy our own materials.
3. We still have to pay taxes to our local school district. We don't have the choice to stop that.
4. My son is heading into the sixth grade. The baseball program he is in will only last a few more years.
5. My son loves sports and playing on a team.
6. The homeschool options for teams are not convenient for us.
7. My son has said multiple times that he wants to keep homeschooling through high school (We've told him if he decides he wants to do something besides homeschooling, we are willing to consider it.).
8. It bugs me that we don't even have the option of considering school sports. How can they make us pay for something we don't use then not allow us to use the portion we choose to use?

It makes my head spin.

I read that 24 states allow homeschoolers equal access and that Alabama and Louisiana are considering measures to allow homeschoolers access to public school sports. Armed with that information, I chose to email my state senator to see if any legislation like that is being talked about in Georgia.

So, I sent the email and immediately wished I hadn't sent it because I can only anticipate two responses:

1. "Thanks for your email, but we are not currently considering any legislation regarding this issue."

2. "Thanks for your email, but if you want your son to participate in public school sports, you should enroll your son in public school."

That's it. Those are the only two things I can imagine hearing back from my state senator.

Of course, 24 other states have successfully passed laws regarding this issue, so I'm not sure why I feel so negative about it. Maybe something good will happen.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Congratulations Warriors!

Our Warriors took second place in the 11 year old State B Georgia Dizzy Dean tournament! The boys really did an excellent job!

The last 4 days we have been driving to and from Ringgold, getting home after midnight, and eating yucky fast food. It felt strange to get home last night at around 9:30 p.m., knowing we would not be heading back to Ringgold today. I made tacos and they tasted so great! I forgot how great home cooked meals taste!

The team has practice tomorrow night and then the weekend off. It is our first weekend home since the weekend before Memorial Day. It will be a welcome break.

Next up is the World Series in Jackson County, GA starting on July 16th!

But first a much needed breather! And a whole lot of housework!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Tonight our Acworth Warriors play in the championship game of the Georgia Dizzy Dean 11 year old State B Tournament!

If you happen to be in Ringgold, come by and cheer us on!

Friday, July 3, 2009


We are in the midst of our summer baseball blitz with my son playing 11 year old All Stars for our baseball association. Actually, I guess we're at the end of it. We have our state tournament this weekend, the next weekend off, and the world series the following weekend, then it's over.

The boys have played tournaments every weekend since Memorial Day, so our summer has gone by in a haze of travel, ballgames, and practices. We are looking forward to finishing up, taking a trip up to WV for much needed extended family time, and then getting back to life as normal.

Life as normal includes school and I have been going over so many things I absolutely want to include for Evan's sixth grade year. Wouldn't it be nice if we could actually get it all in? It hasn't happened yet, but one year it may!

I really love the summer with the hot weather, the unpredictable schedule, the novelty of every day, but by August I will be craving the familiar. I'll be ready for the days of schoolwork, the structure, and the predictability of life.

Sorry to be so out of touch with the blog lately. I'm anxious to write about some things when life (and my brain) settle down!

Until then, have a Happy Fourth of July weekend! We will be spending our holiday weekend on the ballfield in north Georgia rooting for our Warriors!