Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So the mall was an all-day affair, as usual. K was in her glories, as I did allow her to get a few things from her favorite stores (Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, Claire's, and Hollister). I am not a fashion nut, but K has always been. Even at 2-years-old she cried because bowling shoes were so ugly. So I know this is important to her. I guess it's the age (and the school, and the friends), but I understand her need to fit in. I never fit in and I was miserable. I have been reading about pre-adolescent girls and all the horrible crap they go through in school. If a few pieces of clothing can help keep her self-esteem intact, then so be it.

J and W, on the other hand, got new shoes from Payless and shirts from the sale rack at The Children's Place. Thank goodness they don't care - yet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

This morning J made herself a "money box" out of a small heavy cardboard box. She taped it closed and cut a hole in the top. Then she made a bunch of little crafts using twine, pompoms, popsicle sticks, paper, glue, recyclable plastic, and tape. She displayed everything out on her bed and opened a "store". I see that the main purpose was for us all to go in there and buy something so she can start filling the money-box. I felt bad since I could only scrounge up $.11 to buy a stick puppet. W used the same $.11 to buy a drum made out of a plastic gallon jug. LOL.

In the afternoon, K made us all a nice lunch out of crushed tomatoes, chicken bouillion, and tiny pasta. She loves to cook (and create!) and we all love eating whatever she comes up with. I wanted to clean the whole house today, but all I got done was one room. Putting away a 3-foot pile of clothes just takes so much time. I have a new catalog and found something perfect for my kitchen: The Basket Tower. Tomorrow the kids and I are going to the mall. K needs school clothes and we always have a fun time there. I hope we find some good sales.

In the 4 previous posts you will see what I use for my district correspondence. These are only examples and may not suffice for your district, but they are all accepted in my NY district. I hope they help.

I have also kept permanent links to these sample documents in the sidebar to retrieve them quickly.

There are new photos in the PHOTO ALBUM, too!



Homeschooler’s Parent’s Names

Today's Date

NYC Central Office of Homeschooling
333 7th Avenue 7th Fl.
New York, NY 10001

To Whom it May Concern,

We are sending this letter of intent as required of Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education.

We intend to homeschool our son/daughter, ___________________, who will be entering grade ___, for the 20__-20__ school year.

Parent's name

(More about NY paperwork)



NAME OF CHILD: ________________________
NYC Student ID: (optional)
ADDRESS: ________________________
DOB: (optional)
TODAY'S DATE:_______________
SCHOOL YEAR: _______________

11/15/__, 1/30/__, 4/15/__, 6/30/__

_______will be using various methods/tools for 4th-grade instruction in all the subjects specified in Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The corresponding subtopics may include and are not limited to:

Reading and writing numbers, Roman numerals to C, Prime numbers less than 100, Prime factoring, Numeration systems, Subsets, Decimal and fraction equivalents, Addition and subtraction, Facts to 7 places, Multiplication and division facts to 144, 1-, 2-, and 3-digit multiplication problems, 2- and 3-digit dividend, 1-digit divisor problems, Meaning of mixed numbers, Finding simple averages, Geometric concepts, Customary and metric measurement, Time to the second, Problem-solving methods, Charts and graphs

The English Language
(Reading, Writing, Spelling) Silent and oral reading, Choral reading, Listening skills, Telephone skills, Making and accepting simple social introductions, Summarizing simple information, Listening to literature, Critical reading, Short stories, chapter books, poetry, plays, Spelling, Increasing dictionary skills, Cursive handwriting, Simple outlining, Writing letters and informal notes, Written and oral book reports, Creative writing, Developing skills in locating information, Increasing indexing skills, Developing encyclopedia skills, Utilizing parts of a newspaper

Social Studies
(U.S. History, Geography) Types of community life, History and development of the local state, Relation of the state to its region, nation, and the world, World cultures, Reasons for our laws, Regions of the world, Continents, Time zones, Earth's resources, Climatic regions of the world, Map skills: longitude, latitude, scale, Using a globe

Environment of the local region, Biological organization, Classification systems, The insect world, The reptilian world, Plants and animals of the past, Structure of plants, Seeds, Ecosystems, Balance of nature, Human body, Weather's influences, Weather instruments, Climate, Cause of seasons, Earth and its history, Oceans and the hydrosphere, Air and water pollution, Magnets and electricity, Light and color, Solar system and the universe, Living in space, Scientific method and scientific inquiry

Personal and mental hygiene, Dental health, The body and its functions, Skeletal and muscular systems, Care and proper use of the body, Principles of digestion, Basic food groups, Good nutrition habits, Diseases, Safety, Substance abuse

Music/Visual Arts/Phys. Ed.
Wide exposure to all forms of music, Piano keyboard, Arts and crafts, Structured group dance lessons (tap, jazz, lyrical) 3+ hrs. per week, Free play indoors and outdoors

Instruction methods/tools may include and shall not be limited to: reference materials (atlas, dictionaries, globe, maps, encyclopedias, non-fiction books, videos, the internet), workbooks, worksheets, hands-on activities, experiments, projects, newspapers, magazines, frequent field trips, group activities, classic/contemporary literature, research, journal/narrative/essay/poetry writing, games, creative thinking, predicting/forecasting, gathering facts, written peer correspondence (pen pals), music CDs, CD ROMs, piano keyboard, abundant art supplies (clay, paint, crayons, pencils, sketchpads, felt, chalk, etc.), structured group dance classes and competitions, free play, conversations, and real life.

Primary instruction to ________ will be provided by _____________ and _______________, her parents. Supplemental instruction will be provided by others, as necessary.

Parent’s Signature

(Subject info obtained from Typical Course of Study - Grade 4 from FIND YOUR GRADE LEVEL HERE!  or if you like the old, simpler layout, as I do:  HERE

(More about NY paperwork)



SCHOOL YEAR: _____________

HOMESCHOOLING STUDENT: ____________________
STUDENT I.D. # : (optional)
THIS QUARTER COVERS: November 16, 20__ to January 30, 20__
DATE SUBMITTED: _____________

_______ is progressing at a satisfactory level or above in all subject matter.

We have had instruction in all the following areas, as per Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the New York State Commissioner of Education and ________’s Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP): Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language Arts, Arithmetic, U.S. History, Geography, Science, Health, Physical Education, Music, and Visual Arts.

We have covered at least 80% of the planned material for this quarter.

________ had no absences from instruction this quarter, and has exceeded the required hours of instruction (225).

Parent’s Signature

** If you are in a particularly difficult district, they may ask for more info. You can also list your individual subjects and give a letter grade for each (ABCD or EGSN) and/or a very brief description as to what was covered over the quarter.  This sample quarterly was inspired by D. Bennink.

(More about NY paperwork)


SCHOOL YEAR _________
Annual Assessment

HOMESCHOOLING STUDENT: _________________
STUDENT I.D. #: (optional)
DATE SUBMITTED: June 30, 20__

______ has satisfactorily completed at least 80% of the required material for this year. She has made adequate academic progress in all subjects and has surpassed 900 hours of instruction. Highlights of the year include:

o Several academic field trips, including the NY Hall of Science and Metropolitan Museum of Art
o Significant improvement in reading comprehension
o Greater interest in grade-level and advanced mathematics
o Fun and interesting study of pioneer life
o Creation of her own website and weblog
o New fascination with science experiments, sign language, geography, computers, and banking.

_______ will begin 4th grade in September 20__.

Parent’s Signature

If your child is in 4th to 8th grade and took a standardized test in the spring, you can include a sentence that he/she has taken XX test and has "achieved a composite score in the XX percentile" or "exceeded the 33rd percentile", or "made a year of progress". The district may ask for a copy of the results (NYC does). This is fine, just make a copy and send it.  This assessment sample was created from J. Munson's format.

Keep in mind:  Test results can stand alone AS your annual assessment.  You do not need to also write a narrative.  (I just prefer to).

(More about NY paperwork)

Monday, August 29, 2005

We went to a homeschool playdate today! I met 5 other moms with a total of about 15 kids. They were all different ages (from 2 to 11). My kids had a great time and made some new friends. I enjoyed talking with the other homeschooling moms, too. I just felt so comfortable being "on the same page" with these women - not only with homeschooling, but with various issues in our lives. It was great and we plan on meeting up with each other regularly.

The one thing that stuck out in my mind today was how cool the h/s kids are. They are also very polite, generous, outgoing, and really enjoyed the day and each other. There was no pretention or competition. There was no exclusion and no arguments. K didn't want to go to "this homeschool thing" but she came anyway and when it was time to go home she admitted she had so much more fun than she thought she would. :)

When we got home the girls showered off all the park dirt while W brought me a first-grade workbook from his pile. He circled the ending letters of certain words and wrote in the first letters of others. He's ready for his bath now. I'm hitting the hay early tonight.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Yay! I can now blog from mom's house! I did the "forgot password" thing and it mailed it to my home account which I accessed with "". So anyhoo, we're here and having fun. The Greek festival was a bit of a bust. There were a few sorry rides and the Greek music we heard was from a woman selling CDs. Not even a band! We left shortly after we got there. The kids have been enjoying the pool. The end of summer is here so they need their last swim. The temperature will stay in the 70s by the end of next week on, so I guess that really does mean autumn is right around the corner. Good. It's my favorite season.

So B was reading the paper when W asked him who the man was on the page. B said it was a playwrite (not expecting W to really understand what that meant). So, W said, "Oh, so he writes plays? Like Annie?". I thought that was pretty good for a 4-year-old. W seems to understand way more than I give him credit for. He is still full of philosophical questions every day. Yesterday he was going on about fire, and how it can burn off your skin (don't know where he got that from), and how it could make your house "esplode like a buh-cano!". I love the things he comes up with.

We'll be leaving here in a couple of hours. Tomorrow, I think I want to clean, do laundry, and grocery shop. This way I feel set for the week. B will be working til midnight for the next 2 weeks, so we probably won't see him at all. I want to make these 2 weeks nice for the kids. I think I'll plan lots of crafts, shopping, and fun for us to do. That always pleases everyone. I'm starting to feel more organized and together lately. That always happens this time of year. I think I'm going to take out my fall decorations tomorrow! Scarecrows, pumpkins, apples, leaves - my neighbors put out the Halloween stuff the first week of September! I really feel that this is going to be a great year.

Friday, August 26, 2005

We're back! Dorney Park was pretty good. We did the park in 2 days - the dry side yesterday and the wet side (Wild Water Kingdom) today. We only spent a couple of hours at the water park before going right back to the dry rides. The girls and I went on ALL of the big rollercoasters - and the free fall (The Dominator). They loved anything that went super fast or had twists and loops. Our hands-down favorite was Steel Force . This has a wonderful 205 foot drop right into a tunnel. The picture above is a shot of Steel Force from the parking lot as we were getting back to our car. It just towers over everything. And isn't the sky gorgeous? What a sunset!

We're off to mom's tomorrow and will be there til Sunday. There's a Greek Festival in Port Jefferson this weekend so we'll hit that one of the days. It sounds pretty fun: "The annual event features Greek food, music and dance, arts and crafts, carnival rides and games; Aug. 25-28. Fireworks Aug. 26 after dark". I love greek food, too.

I got an email today that my h/s group now has a Yahoo email group that will be for listing upcoming events, activites, and get-togethers. It's also for advice, suggestions, and support. They also now have a website. I already saw things such as a non-competitive science fair, knitting, music lessons, Scouts, and gymnastics. This is exactly what I wanted out of a h/s group. I think J is really going to enjoy being a part of it all. I know I will.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The girls have finally stopped going to bed after midnight and waking up after 11am. The "Annie" time schedule is wearing off, thankfully. This morning they were both up at around 9. Right before they awoke, W wanted to "do a project", so he chose to cut out an outline of a boat I drew on folded paper. He gets so excited when he finishes cutting and it's time to open the folded paper. He's getting better at using the scissors. After that he sat down to draw. I gave him the suggestion of drawing his favorite part of the "3 Little Pigs" and he started drawing a house. He drew a nice house with a roof, windows, and a door with doorknob. Then he complained that he really wanted to make an OPEN door so the pig could come out, but it's too late. I said to maybe draw the pig in the window. He said but he won't be able to come out. I said he could because you drew a doorknob. W said YES, BUT NOT ON THE INSIDE!

We "did words" after that on MS Word. He typed out his full name and I gave him 3-letter words to type starting with "A". We got up to "I" and he was done. We stayed home today - I cleaned and got ready for our trip tomorrow. We're going to Dorney Park in Pennsylvania for 2 days. B's colleague hooked us up with 10 tickets, a hotel suite, and dinner at a very upscale restaurant. I don't know if W is ready for a place like that, LOL. The kids had cabin fever all day today and got on each other's nerves a little too much for me. I definitely need to get them out of the house every day. When they weren't killing each other, the girls made popcorn, watched a movie, picked out their clothes to pack, worked on their websites, IM'd their friends, and talked on the phone. W and I looked through an old "Museum Tour" catalog (educational toys and kits), read stories, and played with the bird.

J has been into documentaries lately - especially ones about foreign cultures. We watched "Going Tribal" last night and she was fascinated with the Mongolian nomadic oxen-herding people. She asked a lot of questions and thoguht it would be fun to live with them for a week. Another cool thing was today when I was reading some old NYHEN (Yahoo Group) posts. She was sitting next to me and when I came to a misspelled word I highlighted it and she would spell it correctly. She's great at finding mistakes. (A little too good sometimes, lol).

We're going to my mom's on Saturday. B will be working at the US Open so it will just be the kids and me. We may sleep over. The kids have dentist appointments next week, as well as the eye doctor for K so she can get her contact lenses. I still can't believe summer is just about over. Wow.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The kids and I went to a homeschooling get-together today in Flushing Meadow Park. I met my friend, T, with her 2 kids, and 2 other moms with kids. We had a little meeting regarding our "new and improved" group and then went to the zoo, petting zoo, and carousel. J was thrilled to hang out with her best friend, G, and there was even another 11 y/o girl, H, for K to make friends with, but H was really shy or something because she kind of kept to herself. I loved meeting the other moms who both congratulated me on my h/s decision and told me there will be lots more get-togethers and activities in the near future. I know we're having a "Not-Back-To-School" picnic in September, and a couple of museums and science centers for the fall.

I started a new learning log for J. I want to get back into practice writing one. I still need that reassurance that J *is* actually learning. I'm sure one day I won't feel I need to write things down, but I right now I prefer to. Here's what I wrote for yesterday (includes my breakdown of the NYS required subjects so I can keep track of what she "needs"):

J’s 2005-2006 Learning Log


1. ARITHMETIC --- Learned and played card game (Spit)= hand/eye coordination, patterns, counting, order
2. ARITHMETIC --- Started keeping her own calendar; Wrote in many upcoming events
3. U.S. HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY --- Watched documentary on terrorism; included Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, and Pakistan.
4. READING --- Read the beginning of: Anne Elizabeth’s Diary – The Diary of a Young Artist (Anne Elizabeth Rector)
5. READING, SPELLING, WRITING, VISUAL ARTS --- Created new personal website (3rd one!) with links, text, and pictures

And this is really a "do-nothing" kind of day. She loves academic-type things to do, but not when her siblings are home. I think she needs uninterrupted time to really persue her interests the way she wants. Well, that will come soon enough. K and W start school on September 8th. I can't believe summer is over already.

I am happy to say that I got the entire rug ripped out along with all the old linoleum, staples, and those nailed down pieces of wood lined with (very sharp) carpet tacks. I took the bunkbeds down, transferring headboards and footboards. I swiffered up all the dust and dirt, cleared out a ton of clutter, and moved the dresser, tv, and bookcase to different locations. I love it, they love it, and now K wants to move back in there with J. LOL! My mom wants to buy the kids new bedding, curtains, area rugs, and cute knick-knacks for their rooms. Cool.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I never did get a return phone call from the sup't office. I spoke to my h/s friend today and she got the same letter, so I won't bother to call again. If they need something from me I'm sure they won't waste any time making sure I'm notified. Grr. So my h/s group is having a get-together Monday. I'm excited! It's been a while since I've been to one. My group created chapters for Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk so things are easier to manage, I guess. And, they are doing away with the yearly fee! The money used to pay for all the postage for all the mailings, but now everything is being done by email. Since I paid in April, I should be getting a refund in the mail soon. Woohoo! I really want to try and be more involved in the group's activities.

Today I started ripping out the rug in J's room. There is sheet linoleum under the rug and a nice wood floor under that. The linoleum is like paper and rips right up. The hardest thing is getting all the carpet tacks and staples out of the floor. I got about 1/4 of the rug removed. I think I'll paint the room before I rip out the rest of the rug. Once that's all done, I can take down the bunkbeds (W shares the room with J right now, but will switch with K in a few years), move around some furniture, and buy a new ceiling fan and bedding. K wants me to paint her room LIME GREEN. I may have to see about that. J doesn't know what color she wants - although she mentioned beige a few times. I figure I can spend a few hours a day on the rooms and hopefully get it all done by mid-autumn.
What kind of homeschooler am I??? AWESOME!

Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in
your reality. You are an unschooler. You will
tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort.
Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on
everything. If your school had an anthem, it
would be Dont Worry, Be Happy.

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, August 19, 2005

We went to Lake Compounce today! Our friends came with their 2 kids (8 and 5 y/o) and their friend's teenage son. He's the lead singer in a death-metal band and definitely looks the part (big and intimidating with long hair, black clothing, and spikey bracelets) and such a wonderful kid!! He and W were practically inseparable all day and K and J both wanted him next to them on every ride. The park is gorgeous, built on a lake and a mountain. We hit all the big roller coasters - my favorite was the Zoomerang. The tickets were free and I don't think we spent more than $50 in all today (lunch, dinner, a few games, junk food). We got there about 11am and left at around 8pm. I love theme parks!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The kids and I were at my mom's house for a few days. I tried to blog while I was there, but I have no idea what my password is and I couldn't get on (it's saved when I log on at home). They all had fun in the pool and seeing their cousins last night. J found the sunblock cap was full of little bugs when she left it off all night and said, "hey look, it's science!". LOL. There were lots of bugs that they tried to identify and W loved it. He wouldn't kill any that were in the house - he brought them out the front door to let them go. He played some baseball, swords, tag, and ninja turtles with his cousin, C. K was very helpful - cooking, cleaning up, and watching the little ones without being asked. J got another birthday gift from her aunt. I have to exchange them all since she bought all size 12 (J is still a size 8 in everything!).

Tomorrow we are off to another amusement park. This one is in Connecticut. Friends are coming along with us so I'm excited to go. I'm still debating whether or not to get a hotel room for the night, though.

I'm still in my cleaning mode. I just want to be a giant and shake out everything in my apartment and start from scratch. I love living with just the bare minimum. I am so much calmer and relaxed. I have to figure out what to do with J's room. I just feel that once I get this place the way I want it, my whole life will be more organized. I know I've been obsessing about it, but the amount of crap we own is just out of control. I think it's definitely Hefty bag time.

Monday, August 15, 2005

"Mom, will you teach me how to read?"

This is W's weekly plea. He said it again this afternoon. I don't know what he wants me to do, exactly. He likes to read little stories on preschool websites and type words in. Today he went to and played several games. We read a couple of books together. We played Crazy 8s. He did some quizzes on a V-Tech toy we have. He wants to read. I try sitting him on my lap and having him read what he can to me, but lately he acts like he doesn't know how to sound out the words and just looks at it blankly. He has been sounding out words for months, so I don't know what's going on. I don't mind, but he seems to want me to DO something about it. I've tried everything to make him happy (structured lessons, informal lessons, games, videos, word puzzles, typing practice, reading aloud, songs, toys, even stupid flash cards). He wants to read and wants me to magically make it happen.

I cleaned a lot today. I washed the window curtains, the shower curtain (and put up new liner), the doorframes and baseboards, the outside of the pantry closet, the whole bathroom, a load of towels, and the radiator cover in the living room. J and W both asked to help wash something so I gave them the parts closest to the floor (my back aint what it used to be). I was glad for their help. I have decided that I want all white linens and towels from now on. I will paint the bathroom white (after I scrape the rest of the wallpaper off) above the light blue tiles, I want white kitchen small appliances, and I want to touch up all the white paint in the apartment. My walls are sage green, the bedrooms are blue, and all have white ceilings and moldings. I love it. I get into this I-want-to-change-things-in-this-damn-apartment mood every autumn. I figure since I won't be moving any time soon, I might as well make it look like a new place once in a while! LOL!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The letter I received from the sup't office was actually a form letter (now that I'm looking at it again). It says:

"The Home Schooling year for July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2000 has come to a close. A review of your child's home schooling records indicate that you have met all the requirements for compliance with Section 100.10 of Regulations of the Commissioner of Education and the student will be promoted to the next grade level. If you wish to home school your child for the next school year, July 1, 2005 - June 2006, please be reminded that you must submit a letter of intent for that year."

I think the letter is just pre-made with those words and sent to everybody. I'm going to call Tuesday to make sure, though! It's nice to know that we were successful at jumping through the state hoops. It was our first year and it's refreshing to know that my saved forms can be used over and over again with just some info changed.

So, the play had its final show this afternoon. It's always sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I am so welcoming the break from all that running around. At the cast party last night, the girls got a cute award plaque with the name of the theater guild and "Annie 2005" engraved on it. And I got flowers for being the concession-stand lady 5 times. Tomorrow I want to do nothing but declutter this damn apartment and throw everything out. I want to get rid of the bunkbeds and get chair beds. I want to reorganize every room and have a place for everything. I want to arrange my photos in a scrapbook. I want to pare down to the bare minimum. I am tired of the mess all the time and being embarrassed for people to come over. This time I mean it!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

100 Things About Me

1. I have been married 12 years
2. I live in NYC and I have 3 kids
3. I homeschool one of them
4. I drink 2 cups of coffee every morning
5. I have smoked 1/2 pack of cigarettes a day for 21 years
6. I think I’m ready to quit
7. I am Catholic
8. I do not practice Catholicism
9. ...or any other organized religion
10. But I sing in the church choir
11. My apartment is on the 2nd floor and has 6 rooms(including the bathroom)
12. I love Oreos and Chips Ahoy cookies
13. My favorite ice cream is butter pecan
14. I am a terrible housekeeper
15. I am a terrible cook
16. I will get back into community theater again one day
17. I love to sing
18. I am nearsighted and wear contact lenses
19. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
20. I hated school from day 1
21. I worked in a 5 and dime store (Woolworths) in 1986.
22. After college I worked down at the World Trade Center as a temp (1991).
23. I worked as an outreach liaison in a residence for the mentally ill/homeless
24. Then I got married, had K, and became a SAHM on June 1, 1994.
25. I did the sing-along at the local toddler playgroup for many years
26. I hate shopping for myself
27. I love shopping for the kids
28. I do all the driving in the family
29. I have spent summers in the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore
30. Andie McDowell’s ex-husband flirted with me at a Montana airport once
31. I won a karaoke contest once
32. I don’t take any vitamins or other pills
33. None of the furniture in my apartment matches
34. I own a 1997 Nissan Quest
35. I am a great speller
36. I used to write a lot of poetry
37. I am Irish, English, Scottish, Dominican, and Portuguese
38. My dad hasn’t been in the picture since I was 5
39. I was raised by my Irish/English mom and grandparents
40. I have always been the darkest skinned person in the family
41. I hate my hair
42. I sold Mary Kay for a little while
43. I am allergic to some cats
44. I can do pretty good cartwheels
45. I was a tomboy as a child
46. My first kiss was when I was 12 at a roller rink – his name was Peter
47. I was scheduled to skip 8th grade (and I would have if I didn’t change schools)
48. I was reading words at 2 years old and the newspaper by 3
49. I have a scuba diving license
50. I have 3 ear piercings
51. I wear a claddagh ring
52. I have lived in NYC my whole life (except for 3 years in Long Island)
53. I love scary movies
54. ...and rollercoasters
55. I have nice teeth
56. Riding in an airplane makes me nauseous
57. I went to Italy 2 years ago
58. I think Venice is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen
59. I used to be on a bowling league
60. ..and a dart team
61. I am good with electronics
62. I am anal about finances
63. I love dollar stores and half-price clothing stores
64. I saved $118 at the supermarket once
65. I could eat Chinese take-out every day
66. I am a non-conformist – usually
67. I love learning about other cultures
68. I can water-ski
69. ...and skateboard
70. I was a vegan raw-foodist for over 8 months
71. I went skinny-dipping twice in my life
72. I am amazing at video games
73. ...but I get obsessed with getting to the end
74. My middle name is Marie
75. I can speak a little Italian and Spanish
76. I can drink anyone under the table
77. I can’t dance
78. I pledged a sorority
79. ...but thought the whole idea was weird and left
80. I love math puzzles
81. I like fishing
82. But the ocean scares me
83. And eating fish grosses me out
84. As a child I used to cry at any road kill I saw
85. I think drinking milk is just so wrong
86. My shoes are a size 9
87. I’m good at softball
88. I spit off the top of the Empire State Building once
89. I like card games
90. I love bookstores
91. I played Mary in the Christmas show every year in high-school
92. I took voice lessons for a few months
93. I love the movie “Overboard”
94. I believe in ghosts and aliens and guardian angels
95. ...but I don’t believe in “hell”
96. ...or coincidence
97. I never broke a bone or wore braces
98. I hate soft pillows
99. I can balance anyone’s checkbook
100. I have learned to love myself, who I am, what I stand for, and what I believe in.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The heat in this city is killing me. I hate summer weather. I like that my kids are home and we get to go on lots of trips, but they are at a point now where they don't even want to go outside at all. It's going to stay in the 90s for a while with a heat index of over 105. Shoot me now.

The show is still going well. The drunk guy was not let back and the new guy is doing excellently, considering he only had one or two rehearsals. The cast party is tomorrow night after the show. So this probably means we won't get home til like 2am. Do they really expect the 50 kids in the cast who are 13 and under to be functioning after midnight? My girls are begging to go, so we will. I don't mind too much. We have a Sunday call at noon so hopefully I can drag them out of bed by 11am. I got J's professional pictures from the Nationals today. Oh my God. They are absolutely gorgeous. Now I have to figure out how to scan them and get copies made.

I got a letter from the Sup't office. They are reminding me that I need to send my letter of intent. HELLO! I sent that as well as J's 4th grade IHIP 2 months ago! The whole department just so happens to be on vacation this week, too. I have to call back Tuesday. No one ever has their act together. Grrr.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I have been seeing a lot of message board posts about plans for the first day of school. I was thinking about that. Most unschoolers have no dividing line through learning times. I guess we are probably different from most unschoolers in that 2/3 of my kids are going to school which kind of creates a "first day" for J. September is when I will resume my record keeping on J's learning. Also, sup't correspondence is from September to June. And in the hours without her siblings around, J tends to be more creative, motivated, and has more time to think and concentrate. So yeah, we do have a "first day of school" in a sense.

I keep a list of suggestions and ideas for J in case she starts wandering around the house complaining she's bored. She refers to it often. On it are things like: Science experiment, Nature walk, Read-aloud, Website game/quiz, Craft project, Library, Journal writing, Letter to pen/e-pals, Board game, Cooking, Gardening, Trip, Playground (biking, skating), etc. Some of these may seems so academic, but J created this list with me based on all the things she loves to do. I also still think that J would like making lapbooks. I want to show her some online and maybe we can make a few together (or I'll just make my own! LOL).

This weekend we're going to the Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadow Park. There will be a lot of Chinese cultural events and activites, as well as ethnic music, food, and boat races all day. I have been so determined to "do Manhattan", that I forget that Queens has so many things to experience as well. I want to get out there and do it all! I have such a great feeling about this year. I want it to be amazing and unforgettable. I want to see how incredible homeschooling (unschooling!!) really can be - especially in a town like this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I am enjoying working the refreshment tables at the show. I like that I can pop in to watch whenever I want since the hungry crowds are only before the show and at intermission. I'm glad I was watching tonight! Daddy Warbucks was drunk out of his mind, forgot ALL his lines, stumbled around the stage, and sang so badly they had to escort him off the stage during the NYC number. Grace sang the whole song and she saved the whole scene. They found a replacement for Warbucks (from the ensemble) who was fed lines through a hidden earpiece and the rest of the show was pretty good. I felt so bad for the cast and very angry at Warbucks for getting wasted and acting like an asshole in front of 60 kids. I don't know what their going to do for the rest of the run. Hey, ya gotta love live theater!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

We just got back from Pennsylvania! We went to Hershey park on Monday and Dutch Wonderland today. It was cool because at Hershey it rained for like 20 minutes so went in to see a show (5 guys performed something like "Stomp"). When we came out 20 minutes later, the sun was out and the park was pretty empty! None of the rides had lines. We got to go on all the big rollercoasters and water rides. I love when things like that happen! Dutch Wonderland is in Lancaster - in the heart of Amish country. It's actually an Amish amusement park with rides and attractions for kids up to 12 years old. But adults have fun too. The rides are tame and there's a cool water-play area. Many Amish families go there.

And today is J's birthday!! My sweet middle baby is 9 years old today! I can't believe it. Here are some pictures from the last 2 days! (I'm getting faster with getting them up now, lol):


These last 2 are shots of the NYC skyline from Brooklyn through my car window. It looked so pretty at sunset:

Saturday, August 06, 2005

I like August. It means September is coming, and autumn (my favorite season), my birthday, and a new school year begins. I have always loved school shopping and got so excited those first few weeks of school. The kids were gone all day and I got so much stuff done. And then after a few weeks, I would miss them. I would start to dislike the teachers who would pile on the homework. And the nasty kids. And the getting up at 7am, rushing around like a lunatic getting out of the house on time.

This year, I feel more content about it all. I have given my kids a choice as to where they want to be. W will get to enjoy the mornings with me and J, doing fun projects and going to interesting places before the school crowds get there. K should have a better school year since NLBG isn't in her class anymore. I will do my best to make sure her self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence remains fully intact. Middle school is difficult emotionally. She's such a good-hearted kid. I pray that she can take all that social bullshit in stride. And I know J will have an excellent year, reveling in all the incredible freedoms that unschooling bestows.

J will continue with dance classes, her first dance solo, and competitions. K wants guitar lessons and yoga classes - maybe basketball or softball. W will start Little League baseball in the spring and either soccer or dance (only if it's the cool hip-hop kind, he says, lol). He's very well coordinated and already has some good moves - including the jumping toe-touch. We'll see how it all goes.

Other than that, the show is going well. The girls are having a great time with it. Both are very comfortable on the stage. I guess it runs in the family since I did lots of theater years ago (brag alert: I was Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun, Louise in Gypsy, and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof to name a few)

and B is lead singer in a rock band

. So, the apples really don't fall far from the trees. J wants to do a lot more theater. K likes it but can take it or leave it. A couple of moms I was talking to yeaterday have their kids in voice lessons, take them to tons of auditions (including Broadway), and one has her dd going to the Lee Strasberg School every Saturday. They want them in one of the performing arts high-schools around the city (like in the movie "Fame") and just all seem so "stage-motherish" to me. It's a bit sad. But they swear their kids insist on all of these things and who cares if it's costing thousands of dollars and lost childhoods. Whatever.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Orlando Pictures


THE COMPETITION TEAM (21 kids ages 8-25)



J'S DANCE TEAM (8 kids ages 8-10)

THE SWORD IN THE STONE (J, with W trying to give a cooling water squirt)




WATCHING THE SPACE SHUTTLE (Maybe if you squint real hard you can see it)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Opening night!! The show was great. I worked the refreshments before the show and during intermission (so I got to see the show for free, haha). Mom, Dad, and B came tonight, too. The girls were wonderful and except for a few sound problems, the whole show flowed nicely - though a bit long (3+ hours).

K enjoyed her sleepover. I took W to the doctor today for a checkup and to get his med forms filled out for preschool. Our pediatrician retired in May and I have been reluctant to go to his associate since I don't like her. But since she still has the kids files and I needed this done, I called. I found out she has taken on her own associate now and I figured I'd give her a try. She was fantastic! I just hate having to start all over again. Dr. H. was so used to my "different" ways - extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, organinc and natural eating (no milk!), opinions on circ, slingwearing, family bedding, etc. Who knows if this doc is over-opinionated or judgemental. I can tell she's not like me. When I mentioned homeschooling she was supportive but kinda had that blank expression thing going on. Whatever. I guess I just have to educate her, too! She gave W 3 vaccines (UGH) and now he's all done til he's a teen. I hate vaccines. Thankfully none of my kids ever had problems from them. I get them done, though, because NYC is an extremely diverse place, with people coming here in droves from COUNTRIES THAT STILL HAVE THESE DISEASES. So, I prefer to go with the lesser of 2 evils. But, anyway, I'm glad we have a new pediatrician.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ok, I felt a lot better today. I got a lot of cleaning done and dropped the girls off at play rehearsal around 6. W has been really whiny and grouchy (hmm, like me??) this week. I think he wants to join in on the girls' rehearsals. K is sleeping over a friend's house tonight. J has been curious about different cool things lately, like the intricasies of the sun, moon, and atmosphere. We saw the space shuttle take off while at the pool in Florida, so maybe she's still got that on her mind. W has been questioning the existence of God lately. The questions he comes up with are good ones, though. He just seems to be thinking all the time. I know I'll get a good question after he's been quiet a few minutes, or right before he falls asleep. He has also learned to count by fives and tens all the way to 100.

I still haven't had a chance to get the FL pix up. I will try tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I'm in such a foul mood today. I am bitchy, grouchy, and totally fed up. It's a culmination of so many things: our apartment (I can go on for hours about that), our debt (ugh), the play (getting on my nerves), my weight (double ugh), etc, etc, etc. I think a lot of it has to do with coming home from Florida, the Nationals, our first family vacation and just having that "crash" feeling. There was so much build-up to it and preparation and expectation and work. It was the sum-total of a whole year - and now it's over.

I'll get over it. Tomorrow I'll clean and grocery shop. Things will hopefuly start looking up by the end of the week. Sigh. I need a hug.
I'm baaack!!

Orlando was fabulous! It was truly the best vacation ever! First I'll tell you about the competition. Wow! There were over 1000 numbers over 4 days and then a Battle of the Stars on Saturday. The stage was gorgeous and very Broadway-looking. The spotlights and backdrops were spectacular. There was a dance-shop, food court, photo package area, and 2 performance rooms. J's group won Elite Gold for all 3 of their routines.

Now, the rest of the time was spent enjoying Orlando! Our hotel was great and all the kids played all day in the pool, gameroom, and all over. K spent all her time with the 11-12 y/o group and said this was the best time she's ever had. We all got several shades darker and my shoulders are bright red. We went to Magic Kingdom and MGM. We hit all the rides and attractions that we could. One night all the adults got to go out to dinner together while the teenage group watched all the kids. How cool was that? They had their own little party with pizza, movies, and a craft. We shopped a lot, too. Everyone on the trip got a lot closer and I feel we all made some great friendships.

We got home today around 5. B had a gig tonight and J had play rehearsal at 6. I dropped her off and zipped home to pay bills, make phone calls, and make dinner. I am glad to be home. It was hard for me to stay away from the computer for a whole week. Using the one in the hotel was too much money. I took a ton of pictures and will hopefully get them uploaded tomorrow! Wonder where we'll go next year!!