Sunday, September 23, 2007

A long country drive leads to hydrogen/solar powered cars

Yesterday went well. We picked up Designer from his friend's house and went for a drive in the mountains and back home. We love to do the drives. It's like everyone is captive and we have some of our best conversations during that time.

We started talking about something we saw on the Science Channel (which is a favorite in this house) on a show called Eco-Tech. If you get the channel and have a chance to watch Future Fuels, it is quite an interesting show. Anyway, we started talking about converting our own cars to solar/hydrogen power. The savings to our pocket book would be the number one reason but then it has zero ecological footprint and would help get rid of dependence on foreign oils.

We came home so that we could start researching hydrogen fuels and solar power sources. It is absolutely amazing at what is available on the internet. If you go to Google video and type in hydrogen there is something like 4500 videos on the subject that range from two minutes to a full hour long.

I know that most of us parents are not thrilled with game consoles but I have to say that there is one great feature on the PlayStation 3 You can surf the internet with it. We were able to watch videos from the You Tube and Google on our big TV as a family and discuss each one. We must have watched an hour of videos.

After watching quite a few the boys decided to try some things that we had seen about creating hydrogen. We had empty plastic bottle and water but no electrical wiring. We'll probably pick up some today and do an experiment with that. Learning Master and the kids love doing this kind of stuff. Hmmm, Dark Oak Woman, you would be so proud with all the unschooling we are doing this year.

Obviously this will be an ongoing project for the year. I encourage each of you to show your children how to see pictures and videos and news stories on their favorite topics by using Google. It really has some incredible features for kids to learn from.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Children say the funniest things

I had to share this.

Little Miss is going through a stage where she eats all day long. After eating for the last hour Daddy started asking her where the food was going. He squeezed her arms, her tummy and then picked up each foot as if checking to see if the food was there. All the while she was holding a bag of popcorn.

Little Miss looks at him with this big smile and says, "Yeah, I've got room left for popcorn."

Those are the moments that I wish I had a video camera to record the whole thing. It was way too funny.

Friday's and Monday's are official unschool days

We have decided to do book work three days a week and unschool the other 4 days a week. The kids say the other two days but they learn on the weekend too.

Today we went to the college to get a parking permit for Mr. Easy Going. He starts classes on Monday. While we were there we decided to find all his classes. He doesn't want to admit it but he is a bit nervous. I think being able to find all his classes will help that a bit. I'm excited for him but will miss him during the day too.

Then we went to home school swim in Stayton. We had a blast. There were 9 kids there today. The lifeguard took the older kids to the deep end and took the rope down for them to swing into the pool. The older teen boys were challenged to climb the rope and drop into the water below. It was really high up there but the boys had a blast. I had to laugh because when we left the lifeguard said he was going to see if he could work every Friday because he had so much fun with the kids.

Little Miss and Princess Shy actually went down the water slide all by themselves today. The first time I put Little Miss on my lap and went down the slide with her. She loves that thing. So, she asked if I would stay at the bottom and catch her so she could go on her own. I wish I could have had the camera to see her face. She was so excited, happy and scared all in one look.

Princess Shy only went down once. We barely talked her into it at the last 10 minutes of time. She is my child that will NEVER try anything daring. She is very sensible and QUITE reserved. This was a huge thing for her. She's not a risk taker by any means. She enjoyed it but I'm not sure she would have done it again even if there was time. She is becoming a much better swimmer too.

Designer went to stay the night with a friend tonight. He designs characters and his friend loves to take pictures and piece them together to make movies. It will be fun to see what they come up with. I'd love for Designer to narrate one of the movies they do. Maybe I'll get them to upload one to You Tube some time soon.

Now we're all exhausted and ready to eat and drop in front of a TV. I wonder if there are any decent movies out?...

You all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guitar Hero and our school day

Our school day went well. There were a few grumbles but the newness has worn off so I expected that. Oh, and mom is requiring more than ever.

The boys are now playing Guitar Hero.

I started thinking about this and thought the makers of this should use an actual guitar and teach real guitar in this game like manner. This is the guitar that comes with the game.

Then I thought about it and thought it would be great if they did a piano version too. I think I'll be on the look out for something like this for actually teaching a musical instrument.

Hey, what if they did foreign language in this type of a game format? I think I just gave makers some great ideas. I wonder how long before these types of games are available. I'm not much for gaming systems but if they made something educational I wouldn't mind so much.

Well, we're off to Portland to do some errands. See you all tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Old vs new technology

I had to share this story because I thought it was too funny.

Designer called a friend today. He said, "Hmm, that's weird."

I asked, "What's that?"

He says, "It's not ringing. It's just going beep, beep, beep."

I started laughing so hard and then explained to him that before there was call waiting and voicemail there was a signal that was on the phone to let others know that called you that you were on the's called a busy signal.

He didn't find it quite as amusing as I did. Classic.

Can we count riding motorcycles and quads as PE?

Well, we're going to call it PE. If you've ever ridden motorcycles (dirt bikes) and/or quads you know it is quite the workout. The boys finished all their book work so I let them ride around in the back of the property for about an hour. They shoveled to make jumps and then rode hard.

I came out with Little Miss and Princess Shy to ride around the back one time and we were swarmed with bees. Little Miss didn't get stung once. Princess Shy was stung 5 times one was right on her nose. She couldn't get her helmet off fast enough. Then I was stung six times...this is one time that having long hair is not a good thing. Once they are in the hair it is way difficult to get them out without a brush. We survived though.

School has been going very well this year. Having two extra teenage boys around has actually been a nice change from having daycare. Designer and Mr. Easy Going are enjoying the company too. I'm thinking that I should have taken on other home schoolers years ago.

If you feel like praying for us, please do. We do have four boys here and one preteen girl. Princess Shy would love to have a couple of girls around too. Also, they just had lunch and the kitchen is wiped I need all the help I can get in cleaning too.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Nerd Herd stampedes

I don't get much time to write on the blog so this is catch up time. My sister called because she bought a new laptop and wanted to set up a wireless network for internet. We loaded up all the kids and decended upon her house. Once there we found out that she needed another ethernet cable and an ethernet card. We did what we could with the software she wanted loaded and then scheduled for Mr. Easy Going to come back to install it and set up the network. Three hours later we came home and crashed.

Saturday we went to Portland to look at a forklift for Learning Master's business. It didn't work out but it was a nice drive. Our family loves going on long drives and we spend a lot of time talking, laughing and enjoying each other's company.

From there we went to Bend via a run through Warm Springs Indian Reservation and Mt. Hood scenic tour. It was so pretty going through the different terrain. Coming out of the mountains and into the dessert. We came back through Sisters and the Santiam Canyon. We definitely live in a beautiful area of the country.

Sunday was the Lord's day and we relaxed for the afternoon.

Monday Mr. Easy Going took care of the computer issues for my sister. Learning Master worked. Princess Shy, Designer and Little Miss helped me clean house and catch up on laundry. We also harvest more we have tomatoes everywhere. It was a very productive day.

Today we had a new student start. He's 14 and a little on the quiet side but fits in well. We ran him through all the testing and then let him go out to hang with the guys.

School work went well. Princess Shy made some of her famous peanut butter cookies...that girl can cook. the kiddos are all working on their own little projects. Mr. Easy Going has the steering wheel back on and straight this time. Designer is of course designing new Lego Bionicles, Little Miss is chatting daddy's ear off. What is it with four year old girls that they never shut their mouths?

Well, that catches us up for today. It has been a busy few days but they've been good days.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The end of the first week of school for us

Well, it's the end of the textbook week for us. The first week went well and we didn't have to make very many changes in what we were doing. Usually the first week or two we discover that there are maybe a couple of things that could work better. This year we just need to go back and review a little more than I had intended to.

Princess Shy had another great day. I think this is going to be her year to shine in academics. She seems to be having a lot of lightbulb moments lately. That is such a joy to watch. She's really digging into her Bible studies a lot this year too.

Little Miss is loving "school" and is catching on to things quicker than I expected too. I'm having to run a bit to stay in front of her on the academics. I had plans but she is blowing through them quickly.

The boys finished school work and then all the children went out and played softball, played with Caesar He loves the attention. He is so fast though to catch. The kids try to run with him but no one can win.

Anyway, it was a productive week and I can only pray that the rest of the year goes so well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

School with textbooks

The textbooks have come out and we are actually doing school this week.

Mr. Easy Going is brushing up on all of his subjects. He wants to be ready for college. His classes start September 25th. He is so excited to start college and be a part of the "adult" world. Remember what it was like being 16?

Designer had a hard start to his day. He wasn't excited about backtracking in his math. We talked about how yesterday went so easy and that it was because he had a great attitude. Then today he started with a bad attitude and it seemed like the day was going horribly wrong. So, when the conversation was over I believe he had made up his mind to be happy about the work and finished it up in no time.

Princess Shy was one of the first to finish her school work again. She is really moving in leaps and bounds this year. I think that her speed in getting things done is the best thing this year.

Little Miss is loving school but didn't want to take the time to do reading and counting this morning. She just wanted to color. Being that she is only 4, we let her color and had conversations about the letters and numbers that she was coloring.

I've been asked many times about home schooling other people's children or helping parents to home school their children. So this year we have taken on more children to home school. You can visit our home school site at

There are many children that seem to fall through the cracks in the public school system. Some are learning challenged and others are gifted. This year we decided to take a few of these children that parents didn't feel they could home school because of time or ability, but trusted us enough to teach their children.

Our first student is Spud. He is 13 and fits in quite well around here with my boys. He was nervous at first about being around a bunch of "weird home schoolers". Once he hung out with my boys though he realized that we're about as normal, or abnormal, as everyone else. Anyway, he's enjoying coming to school here with us too. The best part is being able to lay around and do school work...

It's so nice that school work is done by noon and we have the rest of the day to take care of life. Mr. Easy Going put a new battery in his car and the steering is all put back together so now he can drive it again. Designer is still reading Eldest and is loving it. Princess Shy and Little Miss played softball with the neighbor girl. We all did some gardening and some chores. Life is good and we are blessed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pacific Coast visit

This weekend we went to the coast. For those that aren't familiar with our family. We live in Oregon and are within an hour's drive of the Pacific Coast.

On the way to the beach we had a bit of an exciting adventure. Our tire tread blew off of the tire while driving down the road. Fortunately we were very close to a pull out that was paved so it was very easy to change the tire. The boys quickly learned where to put the jack, how hard it is to loosen a lug nut and how to change a tire. The girls were busy feeding the dog, giving him water and taking him for a quick walk. I didn't think about it or I would have taken pictures of the whole ordeal.

After the tire was changed we headed off again to the beach. It was one of the nicer days at the Oregon coast. We went to Bandon, Oregon. The kids had a blast playing in the water and in the sand.

Then the boys decided they would catch a few waves. We didn't bring swimsuits or changes of clothing because we honestly didn't think it would be warm enough to play in the water. Anyway, the boys made it out up to about their hips and let the waves wash up to their chest. I thought I would die laughing when one of the waves knocked them both over. They first stood and started spitting salt water out and then they started yelling, "Yes, that was so awesome!" But, they were both ready to come out of the water after that too. It was quite funny and fun.

The girls made sand castles and picked up rocks along the beach. This was also Caesar's first visit to the beach. He was not impressed with all the water and waves. It was interesting to see his reaction. When the kids tried to bring him down to the water he all but sat down and was determined to go no where.

Overall, I think we had a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Unschooling Day 2

It's a really good thing we're not doing school. We wouldn't want to learn new things. Okay, I'm being sarcastic, but my children amaze me.

Today Mr. Easy Going was able to figure out what is wrong with his car. He needs ignition switch. Would you believe it's over $100 for a thing to plug your key in and turn? He is really enjoying the corvette message board though and learning a lot about his car.

Let's see, today he has learned more on auto mechanics, electronics, research, writing, reading and a bit of new vocabulary. Oh, and he learned a little math figuring how much he has to earn to pay for it.

Little Miss has been playing with her friend while she can. Her friend will be going to a new day care next week and Little Miss will miss her a great deal. It's been fun for them to play the last few weeks. They played the piano, listened to music, sang their alphabet song and played with all their dolls. Oh, and she did some chores...fed the dog and gave him some water. Isn't it funny that when they are 2-5 they want chores and after 5 you can't get them to do much?

Designer has been reading, designing new bionicles, created some new vocabulary...he had to name his new design. He is working on a story, writing, about his characters that he makes. It will be lots of fun to read what he puts together. I just have to be patient...not a trait I am known for.

Pretty Princess helped in the design of one of the bionicles today, rode her bike (PE), reading, music and email (communications). She found a new horse to put on her vision board this week too.

As for me, well I need to learn daily also. I've been playing around with a new to me program on creating web sites. I am determined to learn the program and create a web site for Learning Master's business.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Did I say we aren’t doing school today?

Well, I must have lied. This is for all the unschoolers out there.

The children asked this morning if we were starting school. I told them, “No, we’ll start next week.” They were all so excited to get another week off from school. So, here’s how the day went.

I gave the children each a list of things I wanted them to do today. Things like special chores…mowing the lawn, cleaning up the sewing room, taking in the recycling. We had breakfast and the kiddos started on their lists.

Now, here’s where I have to back up a bit. Mr. Easy Going bought a 1989 Corvette this summer that was supposed to be to tear apart and use parts for his 1963 Chevy pickup. Well, never let Dad go with a teenage boy to look at a corvette.

On to the story…this weekend Mr. Easy Going was running some errands and stopped for gas. After he bought gas he went to start the vette and it wouldn’t even click to start. Learning Master, aka Dad, took the car hauler and they picked up the vette and brought it home. They looked over it during the weekend but couldn’t figure out exactly what was wrong.

Here we are to present day. So, chores are done and the kiddos have the day to themselves. What do they ask to do? They ask if they can go to the library. Mr. Easy Going wants a Chilton Manual, Designer wants the new Eragon book and Princess Shy wants more horse books.

They return from the library and start reading…but remember, we aren’t doing school. Once they spend a bit of time in the books, Mr. Easy Going goes out to his car to see if he can tell what is wrong. He tore apart the steering column and the dash to get to the steering column. Mind you, he’s never done this before but he just read the book on how to do it.

He gets into it and the book says the ignition should be a pink and a black wire. He thinks to himself, “Pink isn’t a common color. It shouldn’t be too difficult” He takes everything apart and guess what. You guessed it. Every wire in there is pink and black wires.

Then he looks online to see if he can find the answer online. He posts a question to a corvette message board and now he and Learning Master are off to the shop to make a steering column puller…I don’t know what it’s called.

Meanwhile, Princess shy and I are in the kitchen cutting, blanching, shredding and chopping zucchini to freeze and can. That was a lot of zucchini!!!

During all of this, Designer put together a new Lego Bionicle. He is getting really pretty good at it. I keep telling him that he should start a blog so other kids can get directions on how to put these things together.

Little Miss, not to be outdone, created an art masterpiece and put it up on the refrigerator.

Now, for our day of no school we had auto shop, reading, basic physics (putting the vette up on blocks is nearly impossible), driver's ed(someone had to steer the car, home ec, engineering and art. Not too bad for a day of no school, huh?

Introduction to Reality Home School

For many children in our area today is the first day of school. Not so here at Reality Home School. Since I have daycare children through this week I decided to wait another week. Why ask for trouble?

Today I thought I would start with introductions. I am Learning Coach, mom to six children, so far, and wife to my best friend in the world Learning Master. We have been home schooling for about 15 years now. At this point it has become a way of life and not something that we do.

The oldest son, Genius, is now 22, married and has a 2 month old baby…my first granddaughter. He graduated from home school at 15 and started his college career and had to wait until he was 18 to start working in the field he chose, electronics. He now works for Intel.

Our oldest daughter, Miss Social, is now 20 and living on her own. She graduated from our home school at age 15 and started cosmetology school. She finished it at 18 and LOVES being a cosmetologist. I’m sure she will have her own salon some day soon. She’s great at what she does.

The next son, Mr. Easy Going, is now 16 and ready to embark on his college career. He graduated our home school at the end of last year. His plans are to take a couple of classes this term and then go in full-time during winter term. He is so excited and ready to get started on his engineering degree.

Our next son, Designer, is now 14 and is ready for the new school year any time. He doesn’t mind waiting since he just picked up the latest book Eldest by Christopher Paolini and is busy with that.

Our next daughter, Princess Shy, is 12 and ready to start a school year too, although, she’d be just as happy outside with the horses as anything else. When she’s not looking at the horses she’s reading about them or playing a computer game with horses. But, she is willing to pull her head out of the clouds long enough to do other things, if only occasionally.

Our youngest daughter, Little Miss, is four. She is REALLY looking forward to “doing school” with the rest of the children this year. She already has her school books, pencil, paper, markers and crayons along with her new Portable DeskWe’ll see how long her enthusiasm lasts.

Well, that’s all of us in a nutshell. We’re all looking forward to a new school year and sharing with all of you in our journey.