Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fit for Society

One of the first concerns people bring up about homeschooling is socialization.

I can't count the number of times I have heard people gasp and express their deep distress that homeschooled children will grow up to be shy, backward and socially inept because they spend their days hanging out with their parents and siblings.

After nearly twenty years of homeschooling I have known hundreds of homeschooled young people and I can't even think of one that became an adult unable to function perfectly well in polite society. Quite the opposite in fact.

My kids receive regular compliments for their poise and conversational acuity with adults. I've experienced it with other homeschooled kids myself. Homeschooled kids do not spend their childhoods locked into days spent exclusively with their own peer groups. By associating with a mix of ages young and old, the young people develop social flexibility and comfort with any group in which they find themselves.

But homeschooled kids still get plenty of opportunities to socialize with their peers. Maybe homeschoolers make extra special efforts to be sure that the kids do. I know my children do not lack for social occasions.

Between performing in plays or orchestras, taking swing dancing lessons, group biology and history classes, and playing in sports, the kids have plenty of social engagements.

This week Alyssa attended the local Christian high school's formal dance.

She even had a sweet ride.

A bevy of homeschool beauties!

Waltzes, Tangoes and Swing.

No social ineptness here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blooming in the Garden Today

Something that is so intriguing and addicting about gardening is that the garden is ever changing.

The flowers bloom, fade and are replaced by something new creating another variation of the theme.

This is my late spring garden. So different from just a week ago when I had tulips and lilacs.

Lily of the valley are just starting to dangle their fragrant bells.

Sweet woodruff is new to my garden. I can't wait until it spreads into a carpet.

I know that summer is almost here when my rhododendrons burst forth in flowers.

They are the iconic Pacific Northwest shrub.

They're an evergreen that grows wild in the mountain forests.

Coming from the Midwest, I was intrigued by them and they were among the very first things I planted on our new property. I now have seven of them that bloom at various stages. The newest one is white.

Azalea is a cousin of the rhododendron.

Snowball bush grew on our Michigan farm also.

I'm in love with lilacs-which compels me to start a collection. So far I have five colors.

Peonies are my favorite. I have a number of kinds.
This is the standard variety for country farmhouses everywhere and the first of my collection to bloom.

I brought this iris from the family homestead in Michigan.
The blue lupin behind it is a western mountain wildflower that I added to my garden.
I love the symbolism of West meets Midwest.

This was the iris that welcomed us to our Oregon homestead.

I then acquired twenty more varieties.
These are among the first to open. More to come!

Columbine is another flower with endless variations.
They will actually cross pollinate and come up with new colors.

This is the wild flower variety.

Columbine from a nursery.

Forget-me-nots are impossible to forget since they spread their seed in an effort to take over the world.

Mysterious euphorbia.

I planted this viburnum to mark our 25th wedding anniversary.
I thought it was fragrant and was disappointed to find out is isn't.
Still gorgeous though!

The hummingbirds love this weigela!
I bought this as a little broken twig of a plant on clearance at a nursery.

It's been so rewarding to see it prosper.

I don't like things to be static in my life. Gardening epitomizes the change that I love.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Favorite (and only) Grandson here!
All the way from Michigan.

I'm gonna try to keep him well fed.

And there won't be a lack of things to do.

I'm still getting used to hearing someone call me "Grandma."
He's the only one on the planet who does that.
When he calls, "Grandma!" I still have to think, "Oh yeah, that's me!"

And I love it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thirty Years Ago On This Day

I graduated from high school.

In a class of two.

At the time, I thought I'd been deprived of proms and football games and year books. But it didn't take long to figure out that I had been very privileged to attend a small parochial Christian school where I got a unique and comprehensive education.

But, that wasn't the only thing of significance that happened on this day, thirty years ago. (But of course!)

First- that morning-
my mom popped out a baby brother for us.

How many graduates could brag that they got a baby brother on their day? I got to pick his name too.

Happy 30th Birthday Jonathan!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Three Thumbs Up!

Don't look at my garden feet or my bad (but free) home pedicure...

Look at these cute flips!

It's risky buying shoes on the internet but I checked these out after seeing a recommendation by another blogger. For $23.95 and free shipping I figured it wasn't too big a risk. The UPS man brought them to my door literally 24 hours after I clicked "submit order" on the web page.

I wore them for the first time for The Big Shop. I put them on at 7:30 a.m, walked all over the city and didn't take them off until 4:30 p.m. I have to say that they are by far the most comfortable flip flop/sandal I have ever worn for that long. They are extremely lightweight and fit me perfectly so it was like I was wearing nothing at all- except that the gravel didn't hurt my feet and the city scum didn't stick between my toes.

I wear them ALL the time. I forget they are on my feet. I have to force myself to take them off when I'm gardening to keep them clean.

If I ever (by some miracle) make it back to Europe to hike around the cathedrals and cobblestone streets again, I am definitely checking out more of these -maybe one in every color-because I think they would be a dream to travel with and wear for endless walking.

So I give them-
Three Thumbs Up!
One thumb for economy. One for comfort. One for cuteness.

We'll see about far so good.

Find them and lots more like them here.

Homeschooling is...

..."mobile" schooling.

When we gotta go, we gotta go....

...and thankfully, schoolwork can go along and progress can still be made.

Sometimes by keeping the scholars confined in a vehicle I get more attention from them then if they were at a table at home.

But then at home, if the sun is warmly shining- it calls to us...

For educational flexibility and portablity, homeschooling is where it's at!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Decoration Day the name Grandma R. always used for Memorial Day.

Grandma and Grandpa always faithfully decorated the graves of their parents and grandparents on "Decoration Day".

In 1993, our last summer in Michigan, Grandma took us to the old pioneer cemetery where her (and our) ancestors were buried.

This was the same day that they auctioned the centennial family farm and prepared to move west with us.

Grandma took us to see the burial stones of her parents. I thought it was neat to see how in these cemeteries families could landscape their plots as they wished.

This was Grandma's grandmother.

And this marked the resting place of her own great grandfather. Aduard (Edward)

The old pioneer cemetery was nestled under the trees, far back in a quiet place, almost forgotten.

This is AWESOME.
Someone please put one of these over me when I'm buried.

Then we moved west along the Oregon Trail.

For a long time we never had any graves to decorate on Memorial Day.
Now we have four.

My dad.

And Grandma and Grandpa-
who sold their farm and moved thousands of miles away from the land of their raising to live here with us.

And we decorate one more:
The baby of dear friends who now live far away in Mexico and cannot visit this grave on Memorial Day.

For some reason, when I pick a bouquet in remembrance of this baby, I choose symbolic flowers.
I look for sweet, tiny blossoms for a sweet, tiny baby- bridal wreath spirea and forget-me-nots.
Lilac, a country home flower. Columbine, a mountain flower. Fun "Snowball bush". A twig of blueberry blossoms, and a sprig of lavender which was significant on her birthday.


Both names are appropriate.