Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like.......................................

The tree is up (kinda, I put it up myself so I expect it to fall over any time now), it's decorated mostly (there are still some ornaments in the box to put on it, if anyone feels like it), and the presents are wrapped (yeah). So Saint Nick can come anytime he feels like it.

Oh wait, we have to have Sean's birthday first. My baby will be 15, December 19th............

Anyway Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to Everyone ~ The Alawine's

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Renaissance Fair

December 6th, we went to the Renaissance Fair in Hammond, LA., with Gwyn & Mikaela. The picture is of Gwyn playing a musical instrument from that time period.

If you haven't been, I encourage you to go, especially if you are studying Medieval England.

After the festival we stopped for a late lunch in Slidell and discovered a wonderful Lebanese Restaurant called Zaynati's.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One Homeschool Association to Rule Them All....................................
Ok, maybe it's not that bad. But the military has decided that they need to define homeschooling in order to meet their needs.
Apparently there was a goverment funded study (don't you just love the things they spend taxpayer money on??). Anyway the study found that most home schooled males choose to go to college rather then enlist in the military unlike their public school counter parts. Personally I want my kids (both boys) to go to college so to me that is a Good thing. They also found that the home school population in the military did not represent the home school population over all. Most of those classified as "homeschooled" had dependents (in other words they were married{and/or} had kids). What they were mainly concerned about was that those enlisted classified as Home schooled did not complete their enlistment period and did not re-enlist as often as their public school counter parts.
I am concerned about this bill for several reasons.
  • 1. Could all homeschoolers be forced to join HSLDA (or another National Home School Organization) in order to "prove" they were homeschoolers and provide a central data base for the military.
  • 2. Would we have to "teach" courses that the military deemed necessary for them to meet their goals.
  • 3. Would we have to allow the military to come into our homes in order to recruit our children.
There seems to be a lot of "unknowns" here. The biggest how does the military intend to define homeschooled.
I intend to work to defeat this bill.
If you agree please contact your U. S. Representatives NOW and let them know you oppose section 522 of H.R. 1815, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2006. Otherwise Section 522 will slip through hidden in this huge bill when Congress approves the Defense Authorization for fiscal year 2006.
Here are links to contact information for both the House and SenateArmed Forces committees.
Here is a link to sign a petition
I just signed and there were 700 signatures.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Mud Shack
Tuesday, November 15th the Gulf Coast Peak Group enjoyed a field trip to The Mud Shack, 10008 Government Street in Ocean Springs (in case you want more info their # is 228-872-6113). We had toddlers to 16 year olds and a good time seemed to be had by all, even the Mom's got in on the act of decorating their own Christmas ornament. And I do believe a new tradition has been born in the Alawine family. I had such a good time I want to do it again next year, and maybe get hubby in on the act.

After The Mud Shack some of us went to Al Fresco for dinner. It's nice to know that some of my favorite restaurants are still around. I read in the paper Mary Mahoney's had reopened. Bo and I spent a very enjoyable anniversary there one year so I was pleased to know it survived Hurricane Katrina. The kids and I keep driving by Sicily's on LeMoyne to see if they have reopened. Looks like it will be awhile before we can visit our favorite pizza hangout.

We picked up our ornaments November 29th. I was very pleased with how they turned out. You will find a photo of Jonathan's Christmas Tree above.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Peter Anderson Festival was Wonderful.
First we had a lovely breakfast at Bayview Gourmet, then Jonathan and I went to the festival.
There was lots of stuff to see. Some of my favorites were windchimes made out of agates.
I also like the art work of Frankie Buckley. I found her paintings "Five on the Prowl" and "Get Off my Tail" to be whimsical and cute.
My friend Cissy's "Eye Candy" was fabulous, I would have been happy to wear any of the jewelry she had for sell.
There were several pieces of pottery that caught my eye, and what sounded like a South American Rainforst was coming from one booth. Wooden animals that made music when you stroked their back with a stick.
I found some turquoise earrings to match a necklace I have had for ages at one booth. I also discovered a new rock Larimar too bad my rock hound Sean wasn't with me. And there were some lovely hand carved wooden bowls. The weather was lovely, sunny and warm. I can't wait to go back next year.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Peak Halloween Party

I have really enjoyed being a member of Peak, and the Halloween Party Monday, October 31st, allowed me to meet some of the people I have been e-mailing face to face. I had a great time, hopefully my guest did too. I hope we will be able to do a field trip or get together again soon.
Peter Anderson Festival
I am planning to go to the Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs Saturday, after Sean's soccer game, time and weather permitting. I am just so thankful they are having it this year. Since there is a lack of motel rooms local people are putting artist up in their homes.
A fellow homeschooler just told me about this wonderful resource for homeschool Mom's, and I thought I would share it with you. An e-magazine for homeschooling Mom's it covers everything from menu planning to homeschooling

Monday, October 31, 2005

by Frank Delaney
I enjoyed his tale immensely. First we have the family the story is about John & Alison O'Mara and their son (or is he?) Ronan, and Alison's sister Kate who lives with them. The family has 2 secrets and as this is Ireland everyone except Ronan seems to know them.
On Halloween (ironical post date huh?) the storyteller comes. Nine year old Ronan and his father, John, are thrilled at his arrival. He tells his stories until Alison throws him out. Ronan spends the rest of the book (a good 10 years) looking for the storyteller. He usually just misses the storyteller, but we get to enjoy a good Irish yarn from each of his near misses. In the end the storyteller sends for Ronan as promised and Ronan learns the second of his family's secrets.
If you enjoy historical fiction and are interested in Ireland do give it a try. It's a lovely book.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Should You Continue Homeschooling
Once Your Child Reaches High School?
According to Dr. Phil "NO".
Based on my own experience, I would say YES. Having successfully taught one son high school subjects and having him enrolled at the local Community College, I would have to say homeschooling benefited him tremendously. He was able to complete High School at his own pace, and start college at 16. Why should he be stuck in a public school where he would be bored silly, as they insist on sticking you in grades based on your age not your ability?
My other son who is still at home being homeschooled, enjoys the one on one attention, and has no desire to attend public school. He also enjoys an active social life with other homeschoolers as well as the public school students on his soccer team.
I did a little research on what the experts had to say about homeschooling during the highschool years and this is what I found.
And Zan Tyler's article refuting Dr. Phil's statement that high school kids should not be homeschooled.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Princes of Ireland
The Dublin Saga
by Edward Rutherfurd
I enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading The Rebels of Ireland when it comes out Feb. 28th, 2006. Guess while I am waiting I'll read the books he has already written.
My only complaint was lack of character development. Of course since he covered such a large period of history he couldn't spend as much time on the characters as I would have liked. In fact if I had, had my way instead of the one large book he wrote, he would have written four or five large books and developed the characters more. They were all very interesting, and I do feel like I have learned a lot about that period of Irish History. Guess I'll just have to make up my own fascinating stories to answer all the questions I have about the characters.
Other books by Edward Rutherfurd
(as I read them)
Sarum The Novel Of England
So far I have just read the first chapter. And since I am eager to get back to the auroch hunt this is going to be really brief. The book takes place in an area near Salisbury Plain from the Ice Age to the Present Day. And in case you want to know what auroch's are

Russka, The Novel of Russia

I just finished reading it, and it's a wonderful book. I feel like I understand the Russian people so much better now. The book begins in A.D. 180 and ends in 1990, so a lot of territory is covered.

London, The Novel

It starts in 54 BC and ends in 1997. The most astounding thing I have discovered so far was that the Catholic Church ran the brothels. I have only read up to 1376, but I am finding the book very enjoyable.

The Forest

This time Rutherfurd decided to do something different. Instead of starting in the past and working up to the future, the book begins in April 2000. Dottie, is doing a feature on "The Forest" and is looking for answers to the mystery of what really happened to King William Rufus, The Norman king. As I love a good mystery, I am anxious to jump into this one.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The weather has been really lovely out. We spent Saturday watching Sean's soccer game in Laurel. As Sean's team has improved, it was an enjoyable game to watch.
Today I planted some wishbone plants, in my flowerbed. So many flowers were destroyed by Katrina, it's nice to see something colorful blooming. Best of all they will reseed themselves, I do like plants that look after themselves. ;>)
I have seen hummingbirds at my hummingbird feeders and some mourning doves at the birdfeeder, so I am looking forward to spending some time outside.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Soccer Fall 2005
The U16 soccer season has finally gotten underway. Sean had his first game Saturday, October 1st at East Central. It was a good game even though we got slaughtered. Most of the kids had their uniforms, which are turquoise this year. It was just nice to get to do something normal for a change. I for one am looking forward to more soccer Saturdays.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Where Did September Go???
I was reading a blog by a fellow homeschooler and she had gotten her days confused, understandable in Katrina's aftermath, but after reading her blog I realized I had misplaced a WHOLE MONTH!
Where did September go..............................
There was the weeks without power when one day seemed to blend seamlessly into another. Instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wed etc. I had the day I went to a friends house to do laundry, the day I got my hair cut, the day the Public Library was open, etc.
Once power was restored it seems like I have been playing catch up. Catch up on the housework, catch up on homeschooling (while Sean did an excellent job keeping up with his school work, I didn't fair as well with keeping things printed out- I discovered you have to have electricity to run the scanner and printer LOL), catch up on emailing friends etc., I think I may have actually caught up today.
And now today I realized that tomorrow is October 1st. Where did September go????

Friday, September 16, 2005

Home School Non-Discrimination Act of 2005

This bill seems to have generated a lot of controversy. HSLDA supports it and actually helped draft the bill. Many other homeschoolers oppose it. I urge you to read the bill for yourself, consider the consequences and make you own informed decision.

Article on HONDA
Link to Home Education Magazine

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hurricane Katrina
We have been blessed. Our little community of Latimer; escaped from Katrina almost unscathed. Minor roof damage, trees uprooted. But as of today September 15th our lives are back to normal, all services have been restored. I don't think I will ever take hot baths for granted again, and boy is it nice to be able to get online and catch up with friends and family. For awhile I felt pretty isolated up here.
It's sad going into Ocean Springs and seeing the things that are missing. Our favorite eating spot in St. Martin Sicily's Pizza received severe damage. Phonecian's in Ocean Springs also suffered extensive damage. But the beauty shop where I get my hair fixed Today's Hair in Ocean Springs on Government Street was open for business and I am now sporting a new "shorter" hairdo. Aunt Jenny's, which is right on the water is open for business and serving delicious food as always. And thankfully St. Martin Public Library has reopened. What's a homeschooler to do without a library? (pull her hair out that's what). And then there are my friends who have lost their homes. My heart bleeds for them, and other friends whose homes are still standing but received severe damage. I just wish there was something I could do for them.
Jonathan, started back to college Wed., and poor Sean never got out of school. We took our school books with us when we evacuated (Yeah, I know I am a slave driver). Actually Sean didn't mind, when everyone else was cleaning up the yard he had the perfect excuse "I have school work to do!". So school wise we are back on track.
Soccer is temporally on hold. We will be rescheduling games soon, and Sean's U16 team will start practicing Saturday, September 17th.
There are a lot of friends I haven't heard from yet. If you get a chance send me an email, or post to this blog so I will know you are ok. The phone is finally working again so I'll start making phone calls trying to track everyone I can down.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Here We Go Again

Here we go again another school official (County School Attendance Officer Dave E. Collins III) is trying to give homeschoolers a bad name (Probably because he is afraid of losing his job). His complaint "Last summer, we had two couples out in the county who were home-schooling their kids. I think one kid was 16 and one kid was about 14 or 15. The kids were working on the farm in the day. The law does not allow us to question the parents. The way the law is written, the parents could circumvent the law by claiming they are home-schooling the children at night."

And what would be wrong with homeschooling your children at night? Many public school students hold after school jobs. So why can't a homeschooling family work on their farm during the day and homeschool at night? The law is 100% right in NOT allowing school attendance officers to dictate when a homeschooler can homeschool.

Another complaint Collins has "Another frequent problem is that of students who dropout of public school during the year and then register with school attendance officers to be home-schooled. What is the problem? Should parents be forced to keep their children in a unsuitable public school until the end of the school year, just so Collins will not have to do extra work? Public school students are free to transfer to another public school at anytime during the school year. Parents should have the option of deciding to homeschool at any point in the school year. After all, lots of parents do not know the condition of the public schools until after their children start attending them. And even if you are perfectly happy with the school one year you may not be the next. All public school teachers are not suitable teachers.

Then he goes on to rant about how a public school parent couldn't get her son out of bed in order to go to school and had to call the police. What on earth does that have to do with homeschoolers? You can bet a homeschool Mom could have gotten her kid out of bed without police intervention.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

2005-2006 School year
This is an exciting year for us. Our 16 year old son is going to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gautier, where he will be studying Computer Science. We are very proud of him, he scored high enough on his ACT to get early admission as well as a full scholarship. The early admission deal meant minimum paperwork for this homeschool mom to fill out. Although I do recommend transcripts for students in Jr High and High School. It doesn't have to be anything fancy just the student's name, social security number, birth date, and ACT/SAT scores along with the courses taken and the GPA.
I have a pretty heavy workload for my remaining homeschool student. We will be studying:
Physical Geography
Runkle World Physical Geography Set w/Hardcover Text & Teachers Guide
(Supplemented with The Learning Companion by Southwestern )
Art Appreciation - 1st Semester
Music Appreciation -2nd Semester
Physical Education - U16 Soccer with Ocean Springs Soccer Organization
Criminalistics - 1st Semester
Criminalistics - An Introduction To Forensic Science AP by Prentice Hall
Driver's Education - 2nd Semester
Drive Right Driver Education - Student Workbook with Answer Key by Prentice Hall
Algebra I Review and then Saxon Algebra II
The British Tradition Literature and the Language Arts (EMC Masterpiece Series)
Living Environment Biology Set w/Student Text & Teachers Guide by Amsco
* Those listed in RED were purchased at the Homeschool Supercenter

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Home Schools Run By Caring Parents

As a homeschool Mother I found Dave Arnold’s article “Home Schools Run By Well-Meaning Amateurs” insulting. What are Mr. Arnold’s credentials? He is head custodian at Brownstown Elementary School in Southern Illinois. So where does a janitor get off thinking he knows what is best for my child, or anyone else's? Maybe HE doesn’t have the skills necessary to homeschool; but I and many other homeschool parents certainly do.

There are many resources available to homeschool parents. If we don’t know enough about a certain subject we are free to engage tutors for our children, enter co-op arrangements with other homeschool parents, find on-line resources, etc. After all the one thing all homeschool parents have in common is we want the best education possible for our children. I am sure it would surprise Mr. Arnold no end to know that some homeschool parents are retired schoolteachers, who have seen first hand what an abysmal failure the public school system is.

And not all public school teachers are fit to teach. My fourth grade teacher was verbally abusive, my eleventh grade English Teacher didn’t know proper grammar, ask around most people know at least one public school teacher that has no business teaching.

Homeschooling isn’t as difficult as it looks. All you need are organizational skills, and a desire to do what is best for your child. A mega dose of patience helps. After all who knows your child best you are some stranger who has 25 or more other kids in their class to worry about?

Socialization, gee I thought I was sending my kids to school to get an education? Most public schools no longer allow their students to talk in the halls or to talk at lunch so exactly when are these students suppose to be socializing?? There are many opportunities for children to socialize besides schools; recreational sports, church youth groups, and Scouts are just some groups your children can be involved in. And many homeschoolers belong to homeschool groups that get together for park days and field trips. With IM students can even pass notes in class, even if their fellow classmate lives in another city.

Considering what an abysmal failure today’s public schools are doing educating our children parents have every right to seek the best education for their children; rather it’s a private school or homeschooling.

Friday, July 01, 2005

When will you children have a chance to socialize? Home-school critics ask. The answer is simple they socialize when we go to church, when our home-school groups get together for field trips, when they go to their youth groups, when they play recreational sports, and when they get together with their friends to just "hang-out".
My youngest son's soccer team won first place in the U14B District Soccer Competition in Gulfport, MS this year and went on to the State Competition in Tupelo, MS.

Link to Ocean Springs Soccer Organizations website

Why home-school?

Home-schoolers, home -school for a variety of reasons. I home -school because we felt like the Jackson County Public Schools were failing our children, and that we could do a better job educating them. We must have been right our 16 year old starts college this August. He scored a 28 on the ACT and was eligible for early admission.

The advantages of home-schooling
1. Allows students to work at their own pace.
2. Allows students to study in depth areas that really interest them.
3. A flexible schedule
4. One on One instruction.

How can you home-school?

First register your children with the school attendance officer for your school district as home-schooled. Mississippi laws concerning home-schooling

Second choose your curriculum. I use the HomeSchool SuperCenter

Third find a support group. One I recommend is the PEAK Group for the Gulf Coast