Benjamin, heard practicing his letters….”A….B…C… Blue! E, F, G.”
(The D was blue).
Benjamin, heard practicing his letters….”A….B…C… Blue! E, F, G.”
(The D was blue).
Listening to… Cicadas, lawnmowers and wind through tree branches. Steady, lulling sounds of summer.
Wearing… Favorite summer tee, with the addition of a light jacket. Cooler temperatures forced me to dive through piles of warmer wear
Reading… I just finished Shakespeare’s Tempest, an entertaining first time read. Though the plot was not as deep as the dramatic tragedies, the text was as full of the Bard’s introspective wisdom.
Thinking… about making coffee.
I am thankful for… The medical technology of the day. With just over two months of working at the hospital, I have already seen many lives that would never have been the same without the emergency skills and resources
From the kitchen… Landon decided a pumpkin pie was in order, and baked one at a whim at one in the morning.
I am creating… working through the instep on my first pair of knit socks. I’m not sure if the proportions are turning out as well as they should, but I’m very happy after ten years of knitting I finally know how to ‘turn a heel’.
Motivation, productivity, consistency. Homeschooling offers incomparable flexibility, However, there’s not always the external forces present to keep a routine. And sometimes life just gets in the way. Key elements in a homeschool life, but oh so elusive. As a highschooler, I struggled on this when. It’s not that I’m not organized or motivated. the motivation to achieve a 3.9 GPA in a rigorous liberal arts nursing program, I couldn’t always find a way to maintain my routine to its full potential. Subjects I liked got done, but the harder or nonessential ones often fell by the wayside. I felt there was so much wasted time.
I had a few glorious exceptions to this rule. My geometry program, which I studied daily until the book was finished was one. I dedicated a certain part of my day to getting it done, linking it with breakfast and coffee, and before I did any reading.
I look at what the circumstances around things getting done in the past. Then I try to recreate those and see if
There was a program I really wanted to try out with my. It was also summer, and I knew this reduced the chances that a routine could be set up and kept. So I decided to try out one, manageable trick to help maintain the routine.
I noticed things that happen in a designated place got done. in a large family house, even the dedicated school room had many distractions and activities going on. I decided I needed a designated spot outside the house. Our local library had a study group room that worked perfectly.
I also wanted to link a positive reward. After our schoolwork everyone picked a book and we went outside and read on a bench behind the library. The summer sun and soft wind created a picture perfect scene.
This special routine was linked only to our writing and reading comprehension work time. Soon the boys looked forward to the weekly session. The high-schoolers weren’t super happy about the work day arrangement, but they did get 3 times more work done contained in the library than at home. Like a sandwich, squished or linked together between two separate activities. Going to the library, designated schoolwork, wind down routine reading books (still an educational and productive activity).
I have noticed that children love, love, love routines. They love predictability. The summer library schooldays were extremely successful. My brother who doesn’t like reading even began to read books on his own after being introduced to it in this way. I believe this is because the routine was linked to our routine of leaving the house to a designated space for a designated purpose.
On my mind:
A very full summer. Students have just marked the end of the season with the return to school, but only the temperature is changing for me this year.
The Job. The first six weeks were tumultuous to say the least. There is so much on the job learning in the field of nursing, and there’s so much that you never even begin to learn about in school. Responding to changing scenarios, interacting with other professionals, and working advanced technical equipment keeps each day extremely different.
Running. I never thought this would be me. If you told me three years ago I would be starting this activity I would never have believed you. Still, distance covered is nothing spectacular, but the consistancy has been there since May.
Wading through all of my childhood belongings that have arrived at my personal dwelling, as the family prepares the home for showings, and hopefully a sale. My room is filled with boxes in the process of sorting.
Fall: Food. Decor. Leaves.
Days off alternate between long and lazy, and frantic and filled with long walks in the outdoors. Hopefully a formal recap of some summer highlights soon.
Volunteering is a crucial part of a compelling college application. However,without proper emphasis in applications or interviews you will not benefit from the experience. indeed, giving the appearance of volunteering to check a box can give the opposite impression and count against you.
I first began interviewing for college scholarships as a junior. I wrote and interviewed not knowing I was clueless about what my audience was looking for. The essay I wrote later that won a full ride scholarship through my state was of a much different character.
Several qualities are needed in order to turn experiences in volunteering into an asset in the competitive college world:
To fully capitalize on the opportunities offered by a history of volunteering requires diligence. Volunteer at a variety of humanitarian organizations through high school, preferably starting in late middle school. As a homeschooler, you have a strong advantage in time and flexibility. Being free from the constraints of an eight hour school day gives homeschoolers an edge against your traditionally educated peers. A long term record of volunteering and service will set you apart. Find an area you are passionate enough about to give a long term commitment to it.
While there may be hundreds of worthy charities some organizations will be more trendy. These types of service experiences will receive much more attention from local colleges. Note which charities align with programs popular in your area. Efforts I noticed in my area included:
Journal, journal, journal. Write an entry after every volunteering experience. Organize your writing into themes. This is what will help you transform your experience into a powerful asset in essays and interviews. Without this, your presentation will be identical to a thousand other students who spent a summer volunteering. Don’t underestimate the power of the small moments and reflections in your experiences. Spend time reflecting on how you were changed in that moment. Were your beliefs and suppositions confirmed or challenged? was your worldview or life goal changed? Frequent writing will enable you to easily recall and discuss experiences under the pressure of a college scholarship interview.
Develop relationships with those you serve. Come to see every person as a story. It’s up to you to learn to read them like a book. Journal about the most surprising revelations in character in those you serve. Write about how that impacted you. Develop relationships with other volunteers as well, and write notes from interesting conversations. Ask them what the most significant issues are in the populations you serve. What are the current barriers to your mission? How could you remover those barriers as a team?
Leadership experience is essential if you really want to stand out from the competition. Think about Eagle Scout senior projects and the level of creativity and community networking required to make the most impressive projects successful. Start small, and work your way into this. Fundraising or raising awareness of your cause is a good place to start. Who has buy-in to your organization? Who would be willing to link you with people who can help partner to allow you to be more effective? For example, a local school that serves underprivileged children partnered with a local church to help make sure they could offer each of these children breakfast in the morning if they hadn’t eaten.
Develop a plan to bring those skills into college environment will help you stand out. Again, it is simple to write, “I was touched and inspired by my experience with Mrs. Smith at the soup kitchen.” Thousands of other students have done the same. Research what similar organizations or programs the college offers. Present yourself as a future leader in that program or effort.
In essence, this is a sales pitch on why the college should invest in your education with a scholarship. How will you help them accomplish their goals? How will you increase engagement among other students? How will you help their school stand out from the crowd and make a difference in the world.
They are growing up faster than they used to. I never noticed it so much as this summer. Each time I visit home, Benjamin has increased his vocabulary exponentially. “Pick up your lightsaber and fight me” is currently his longest sentence. He has been well trained under the influence of Master Johnathan.
As if to continuously claim her positions in this large family, Claire likes to use exact familial terms. “Did you come home to see your sister Claire?” is the consistent greeting for me at the door. Mother, brother, grandmother, family bonds are rhythmically reinforced.
These two are rarely apart. Both are slowly working their way out of ‘little boy’ status. Nevertheless, Dominic still charms the entire neighborhood with one smile. They usually smell gently of outdoors, rough and tumble, and peanut butter and jelly. And never sit still for a moment.
Fern prints, earth tones, and songbirds, Oh My! Nature walls and tables are a trendy standby, yet far from cliches as there are unlimited possibilities in arrangements. My homeschool family we grew up in a culture of nature journaling and collections. Nature tables are a great way to collect and display these finds, related books, and small souvenirs from travels. It also helps keep them from getting dispersed throughout the house.
Audubon paintings are in the common domain can be found and printed off at Audubon.com. A friend gifted me some gorgeous spare frames from her attic, and several matched my favorite avian watercolors. I also try to include some living plants as a backbone to the arrangement.
Three rules I follow when arranging make a difference in the visual appeal:
(design courtesy of my father, the weekend engineer)
I filled the bucket with moistened, loosely shredded cardboard egg cartons, black and white paper scraps, dryer lint, and dried leaves (these are the best!). Then I added some vegetable kitchen scraps and the biome was ready to receive the new arrivals. The red worms came by mail- one pound of them to be exact.
Worm castings are often marketed as black gold since the richness of the nutrients and live microbes fives unparalleled nutrition to plants. The price gives another reason to treat it as treasure. Ever since I started a to learn about the worm compost system, I’ve had a hard time just throwing away coffee grounds and banana peels. One man’s trash can be turned to treasure.
I had varying amounts of fertilizer from the box. The more established they were, the more I got! After I had mine for three years, the worms processed 4 bags of brown leaves in one winter. When I forgot to feed them regularly, they would usually go into hibernation and I would only get a few cups in a few months.I had to watch for escapees during the first weeks before they adapted to their new home. There were several close calls when I first started the box, and I spent an hour returning the migrant nightcrawlers to the bin. Any vegetable matter can go in the box, but definitely no raw meats, citrus fruit, or onions. I brought the box inside when temperatures dipped below 40 degrees. The material will compact as the worms do theirs work. To start a new batch when the current soil is nearly black, scrape most of the castings to one side of the bucket. Add more of the base material, and the worms will migrate that way over the next few weeks.
Getting to Church with children in tow is a challenge, but sometimes the
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There are now no homework assignments due, papers or reflections to write, or textbooks to pour over. I graduated over a month ago, but for nursing candidates degree completion means more studying. The dreaded NCLEX-RN exam that we have been hearing about for four years approaches. I did well on a few practice exams in school, so I wasn’t extremely worried until I started working through a study guide and realized I hadn’t looked at half of the topics for over a year. Frantic studying ensued.
But the exam date came, and I passed, and I have just enjoyed my first full week of holding an official RN license. I now enjoy a month until starting a new position as a pediatric (children’s) hospital nurse. In contrast to the stiff schedule I maintained while holding two jobs and a rigorous honors choir practice schedule, I’m enjoying a more relaxed nannying job for the meantime. And taking many long walks in the summer sun. (It’s the midwest. It won’t last forever.)
The tumultuous month following finals seems to be drawing to a close. The move is complete, wifi is installed, and most belongings are accounted for and restored to a partial state of organization. It seems that when change comes, it comes all at once, and not in stages that could be much more smoothly managed. I had envisioned the time after graduation as a calm restoring of balance post finals, but instead it has been a wild shuffle of getting things in order. But it seems to be nearly finished now. The in between dwelling filled with stacks of boxes is beginning to look like home.
The lull in amount of posting is due to the fact that I have been in the process of moving this month, and my new home does not have internet yet. I hope to have everything settled down soon so I can spend some time here again!
Me and my sister last week.
My neighborhood was up for the local free junk pickup, and I saw this table in a pile by the side of the road. I instantly ran over to inspect: it was in definite need of some TLC, but was solid wood and nothing was broken.
I immediately knew I wanted to salvage it, and quickly called my sister on the phone. “Maria, come help me get this table! It’s won’t fit in my car!” She did, and now we both swear by dumpster diving. The two of us must have made a funny sight pushing the table into the back of the truck, where it just fit. I have no experience whatsoever refinishing furniture, but it appears I am going to learn.
No picture, but finally found a good place to live after graduation!
Again, no picture. Just use your imagination to envision the state of my desk and room through finals week.