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Michelle Conde

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About Michelle Conde

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    Hive Mind Level 3 Worker: Honeymaking Bee

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  1. One area in which I changed my mind was gun control. I used to think, why did anyone need a gun other than one that would be used for hunting? I supported the idea of either banning other types of guns for private use or having a driver’s license-like system, where you basically had to earn the privilege and it could be revoked at the government’s discretion. Two things changed my mind on this. Someone pointed out that the constitutional right to bear arms was not about hunting at all, but was to ensure that normal people had the capacity to fight back again if government became tyrannical. This was patently true and provided food for thought, but at this point I wasn’t convinced that this was still necessary in our modern, free society. Then I heard something on a radio show that almost exactly addressed my thoughts on this. One speaker was talking about the purpose of that amendment, and the other said (slightly derisively), “but do you honestly believe that we still need that right in a modern, Western, democratic country?” The first speaker responded, “My grandparents lived in a modern, Western democracy when the government came for them, and they died in Auschwitz.” It radically altered my perspective. I now believe that just because we have freedom now doesn’t mean we don’t need safeguards against tyranny. I think we need to search for possible solutions to gun crime that preserve the right of non-criminals to have guns.
  2. My oldest has already done SOTW 1, and regularly likes to look through her history binder at her old narrations and projects. And ancient history is one of her passions. While I am planning on keeping them all on the same time period in history, she needs more and deeper. I am wishing now that I hadn’t promised my youngest that he could start violin lessons at five—two years ago when I made that promise, I didn’t see any problem with that. But I can’t go back on my word. I hope I am wrong about the time for phonics, but that’s what dd needed. I’ve already been putting off science for my older ds until younger ds can do it with him. Maybe I could alternate doing science with the olders or the youngers each month, so I’m not trying to do two levels at the same time? Maybe I’m just a complainer. I know I need to find a way to lighten things up somehow. But I am loathe to go with “good enough” in anything. I love how their educations have been progressing. I have always said that I homeschool to give them a better education, and if I couldn’t, I would put them in school. But I need to force myself to be practical. I completely burnt myself out a few years ago, and I don’t want to go through that again. I guess my perfectionists come by it honestly.
  3. I have two kids like this. My strategy has been to require a subject that cannot be learned without some struggle and practice. This results in lots and lots of meltdowns—but it also results in consistent ongoing practice at having to try to do something they don’t already know how to do well. For my oldest, this used to be piano. She loved to play and would practice under her own motivation, unless it was time to start a new song. Starting something she didn’t know how to play would lead to 45 minute screaming meltdowns before I could actually get her to place her hands on the keys, because she was so averse to the possibility that she might do something badly. I would take little videos and periodically I would go back and show her videos of herself from a few months before and say “remember how hard that seemed at the time? And it’s so easy now! Look how much you have learned and how far your practice has taken you! You can even play _______ now!” (insert her most recent song she mastered after freaking out about). She is ten now, and it’s been almost five years since we started this. She has made a ton of progress in her ability to confront challenge, though even now we still work on attitude issues when she gets frustrated or feels overwhelmed. As she has advanced in piano to where it is not so consistently challenging to her, she now gets her regular doses of challenge from math. My second perfectionist is six, and I’m struggling to find an area for him to practice consistently confronting challenge in. He just learns everything so easily. He gets some practice from his music and from math and spelling, but I would like to find a medium to work on it more consistently. ETA: Not videos of the meltdowns, videos of her playing—usually on the second day of a new song when she was starting to sound pretty good but not perfect yet. I reread what I wrote and thought it sounded like I was showing her videos of her meltdowns.
  4. I keep worrying on how I’m going to manage our homeschool next year, time-wise. Dh is tired of hearing about it, and I feel like I can’t talk to anyone else about it, because parts of it might come across as bragging. I feel like I can just manage everyone’s needs for my time now, mostly, when everything goes right. Science and dd’s Latin do tend to get missed when things don’t run smoothly. Dd10 is starting AOPS prealgebra. I expect this will require a good chunk of my time, not only for instruction but also because dd is still struggling with perfectionism that manifests in major attitude issues when she gets frustrated. We have been working on this for a long time and have been making headway on it, but still have work to do on it. My dd8 is dyslexic. She now reads at grade level, and we have worked so hard to get her here. By the Fall, I think she will be at the point where we are just doing review and practice for her daily phonics and extra time on spelling work, plus more time doing read-alouds of harder books to deal with it. But I am pretty sure that my youngest ds(will be 5) is dyslexic, too, and the prospect of possibly needing to spend the next three or four years doing phonics with another one for 45 minutes a day, five days a week, year-round is just so overwhelming. Plus all the extra time a dyslexic kid needs of my direct involvement, like reading every math question and teaching music pieces note by note to him/her for years. Besides the dyslexia issues, just adding a fourth elementary student is more time to juggle. He’s been waiting for years to get to start violin lessons with a “real teacher” and counting down the months until the age I told him he can start. And for the first time I will be running two levels of history (oldest dd in one and younger three doing SOTW 1) and two levels of science (dds are doing BFSU 2 now and ds(will be 7) is just sort of tagging along and not really getting most of it, but next year I’m planning on restarting BFSU 1 with the boys). Older ds has been asking to start Spanish for a while, and has had to wait longer than his sisters did for foreign language. He would like a lot more of everything, actually. He works hard and fast, gets his work done well and is usually great to teach. But when he’s not engaged in learning, he will constantly stir up his siblings and pester and interrupt their learning time unless I am running interference, redirecting him when possible, enforcing boundaries and consequences as necessary. He was reminiscing yesterday about the “kids’ choice” subjects we used to do for each of them—uh, sorry, but no. If I can find a way to get Spanish in, that can be your “choice” subject. I’m trying to do what I can to mitigate the time press. The girls’ foreign languages are going to be online with CLRC next year. I’m thinking about finding a Spanish tutor for ds. And the middle two are semi-independent with BA Online now (I read the Guidebook and section instructions with them and get them started, and then they work through sections on their own unless they get stuck). But I’m still not sure how this is going to work out.
  5. She sounds like my third—his terrible twos put all the other kids’ to shame. And lasted from about age 1 to 4.5. Now we can see that he is super bright and intensely driven. Dh calls him the CEO, as he is the first one up and going every day. Whatever he focuses in on, he will go after almost obsessively until he achieves his goal. Which is pretty amazing once the goals change from “getting my way because I’m a toddler” to learning to read or master an instrument. Hang in there! Honestly, I think my most valuable parenting tool at that stage was a locked door. He would go on rampage and follow me through the house, screaming hysterically while kicking and hitting me. I started resorting to locking myself in my room so I wouldn’t loose it, while he screamed and kicked and slammed himself against my door. The tantrums would last about half the time when he couldn’t get at me (down to maybe 20-30minutes). But then I had some issues with him chucking items down the stairs and at his siblings when he was raging, so it wasn’t safe for me to lock myself in. So instead I would put him in his room and lock the door until he stopped attacking the door. It sounds awful to say I locked my toddler in his room, but it was the safest option we had to deal with the rages.
  6. Yeah, I love BFSU and think it works great for my kids, but I’ve found through experience that the only way I manage to get it done consistently is if I premake kits for myself the summer before so that everything is on hand.
  7. Last month I worked really hard at frugal meal planning and cooking from scratch. Even though I fell off of doing as well at this by the end of the month (still cooking, but not all from scratch so not as frugally) we totaled just over $400 for the month for groceries and cleaning supplies for a family of 6. I really should keep it up, but man, I am so cooked out! So right now, I am maintaining the meal planning and cooking, but allowing myself to use prepared ingredients. This past week I went to the bakery outlet store and scored. They always have better prices there than the grocery stores for bread and bagels, but that day they had organic bagels for 50 cents each, and they weren’t even nearly to their sell-by dates, yet. I spent $20 and got 9 dozen bagels, 8 loaves of bread plus 3 more from their rewards program, and 4 dozen hawaiian rolls. And 4 little packs of cookies free for the kids, which is why they love going to the bread store. I double bag the bread and bagels and freeze them, so the bagels will last us a good while. I decided to use my earnings from selling Goodwill items on eBay to attempt a project I’ve been thinking about for a few years: making and selling a kit for BFSU. I would love it if I could just buy an all-inclusive kit with everything ready to go instead of having to build my own, and thought maybe there’s a market for that. I guess only time will tell if this turns out to be a fiscally wise move, or if my kids are going to wind up with more science project supplies than they know what to do with.
  8. My girls will be taking Language classes from CLRC next year. DD10 will be taking Intermediate Latin I and dd8 will be taking Young German.
  9. Ann McCaffrey’s children’s pern trilogy (Dragon Song, Dragon Singer, and Dragon Drums) are good books for that age. Her other Pern books are all adult books with sexual content—though far less graphic and violent than the Robin Hobb series.
  10. No, definitely not. It has graphic sexual and violent content, including rape and assault. And an instance of a mother attempting to murder her own child. I don’t remember how much of that was in the first book, but I decided midway through that I wasn’t old enough for that content, as an adult, and quit the series.
  11. My dd who just turned ten is really loving math right now. She recently read about Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, and excitedly asked me to get her a copy. Is there an edition out there that would be less likely to scare her off when she sees it? She’s a bright kid and somewhat accelerated in math, but I will be surprised if she can make heads or tails of any of it. But I do want to encourage her. She has a reading comprehension of about high-school level.
  12. Yeah. I wish there were a source for bare facts news that just reported everything without picking and choosing. I find to piece together a more complete view I feel that I have to read everything and sift through the different sources and biases, and that just gets exhausting.
  13. My in-laws had all the concerns when the kids were younger about me not being able to adequately teach them since I'm not a professional. They now acknowledge that my kids' academics are superior to what they would get in public school, but it doesn't matter--that's not the most important thing to learn in school. ??? Actually, though, they rarely comment to us now. My sil, however, gets comments, criticisms, and her child quizzed constantly. She homeschooled her 3rd kid for K and then sent him to public school for 1st, and is planning on doing the same with #4. She actually has a degree in teaching. All I can figure is that they think I am beyond hope, but that they can nip it in the bud with her?
  14. My favorite is still my mil, when dh told her we were planning on homeschooling. Oldest dd was almost 1 at the time. "But you won't be able to homeschool, you'll be having a second baby her Kindergarten year!" Um, I'm still not certain how she decided that. I did actually have a baby that year--my fourth. And Kindergarten went just fine with baby in tow.
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