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Amber in SJ

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About Amber in SJ

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    Hive Mind Royal Larvae

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  1. Seriously, what is it about the end of the school year that makes parents think it would be so much "easier" to homeschool? Every year at this time, it seems like every homeschool group, social meet up, play group or online forum gets swamped with new people asking where they can find (and yes, this is an actual quote) "Free or extremely cheap, online, complete curriculum that requires no work from the parent" because she works 60+ hours/ week at her high powered corporate job that she can't give up because she is an example to young girls everywhere, or she is a social media influencer and her blog, Insta, and other social media sites need all her attention or her yoga/ pilates/cross-fit/ spartan race training lifestyle take up all of her time. I have actually met these three women in the last two of weeks at homeschool events and have been asked several variations of that question by many others. Not only does the curriculum need to be free or cheap, it needs to be challenging & creative because her child is gifted. It also needs to be self grading and produce completely official looking transcripts for the Ivies. And completely re-usable for the child she is currently thinking about adding to the family (there is a poll on her blog "Should Steve & Amy have another baby? Vote below") Don't worry that I am letting down polite homeschoolers everywhere by being unkind to the askers. I usually respond with something along the lines of: "Homeschooling generally takes a lot of work or a lot of money; and sometimes both." or "Homeschooling is not for everyone." OK, Phew. I feel better Amber in SJ
  2. Here is the situation: My youngest sister has 5 kids ranging from 11yo to 2 months (11, 8, 6, 3 and 2 months.) They live in another state. She is a strict CM homeschooler (No twaddle!) The kids are not allowed to watch TV or non-educational movies, no video games, or other screens are allowed (the opposite of me!) She homeschools in a very mom-intensive way. Unfortunately, her oldest is struggling with a major health issue and will be hospitalized for several months. Her dh is taking time off of work but he can only take so much. My dad who is a semi retired 73 year old is headed there to help take care of the three kids in the middle. His only experience with homeschooling is that all three of his adult daughters do it 🙂 I am trying to look at some resources that are pretty "open and go" for my dad to help finish off the school year. My final two homeschoolers are in high school so it has been a little while since I did pre-school or elementary. I am sure she is going to have to loosen up on her rules some for the kids to spend a major amount of time with my dad because he is a big "TV is the grandkid babysitter" guy. So gimme all you got, oh hive mind..... If you had to let a clueless but loving grandpa be in charge of your kids during an extended family crisis what would you give him to do? Thanks, Amber in SJ
  3. Here is the situation: My youngest sister has 5 kids ranging from 11yo to 2 months (11, 8, 6, 3 and 2 months.) They live in another state. She is a strict CM homeschooler (No twaddle!) The kids are not allowed to watch TV or non-educational movies, no video games, or other screens are allowed (the opposite of me!) She homeschools in a very mom-intensive way. Unfortunately, her oldest is struggling with a major health issue and will be hospitalized for several months. Her dh is taking time off of work but he can only take so much. My dad who is a semi retired 73 year old is headed there to help take care of the three kids in the middle. His only experience with homeschooling is that all three of his adult daughters do it 🙂 I am trying to look at some resources that are pretty "open and go" for my dad to help finish off the school year. My final two homeschoolers are in high school so it has been a little while since I did pre-school or elementary. I am sure she is going to have to loosen up on her rules some for the kids to spend a major amount of time with my dad because he is a big "TV is the grandkid babysitter" guy. So gimme all you got, oh hive mind..... If you had to let a clueless but loving grandpa be in charge of your kids during an extended family crisis what would you give him to do? Thanks, Amber in SJ
  4. I haven't read all of the replies here because just from the first page and the last it seems like things got derailed. Here is my experience with adult children living in the house. He does not have a curfew per se, but he is expected to have an understanding of common courtesy. If he gets out of class at 9:40 pm and decides he is going to go study or hang out it is only common courtesy to text mom or dad so no one thinks he is dead in a ditch. If he does not text me, I will text him asking if he is dead in a ditch. Maybe he & whomever he is hanging out with will get a good laugh at his uncool mom. I don't care. I am not treating him like a child. If Dh, who plays hockey late at night, didn't get home when I expected, he would get a text too. This is one of the consequences of living at home. If he wasn't living here I wouldn't know when to expect him home & therefore wouldn't worry. I go to bed at 10:30pm. If he gets home after 10:30pm he may not make an excessive amount of noise & wake up younger siblings, he may not cook food (but eating something like yogurt or a sandwich is OK,) he may not take a shower. Plans should have been made for the shower before the middle of the night. He may not watch TV, play video games, or listen to creepy podcasts without using headphones. Why do I have so many really specific examples? Because I have been through this more than once. Other than expecting to know when he would be home, all of these things are common courtesy things that he would be expected to think about if he lived with a roommate. You are not infantilizing him by expecting common courtesy. Each of these things were dealt with one at a time; "Hey! I had a hard time falling asleep last night after you came home at midnight and banged around the kitchen......In the future could you take off your shoes?" As for consequences....That is a tough one. I am more of a rewarder than a punisher. And the sad fact is 18-20 year olds are notoriously inconsiderate. Hang in there, I hope you find a good place of balance. Amber in SJ
  5. I do plan on cross-posting this to several other forums for max opportunities 🙂 I have to say that in my 16+ years of homeschooling, my one big fail has been high school foreign language. None of my children have been interested in learning the one and only foreign language in which I am barely fluent. I have not been able to afford the very expensive online classes available. This year my French loving 15yo tried an online course from Global Goose Languages and it has been awesome. The format is a weekly online class with textbook assignments as well as many other online assignments like Duolingo & making videos on FlipGrid. The teacher gives tests & grades everything, it is perfect for transcripts. I don't have to do anything which is great because I don't speak French! You can check it out here: https://www.globalgooselanguages.com The reason I am reviewing/ recommending the program now is the French Teacher has teamed up with a Spanish Teacher and a German Teacher to offer a "Language Sampler" where each teacher teaches 3 weekly lessons in his/ her language, but the class is in danger of being cancelled to lack of interest. If you click on classes available at the link above you will see the Language Sampler class. The cost is $85 for all nine weeks. If anyone thinks this is too much of an advertisement let me know and I will delete. It has just been such a success for us this year when we have consistently failed at foreign languages. I hope no one thinks this is spam because I get no benefit if others sign up and I have been on this forum for years (years, I tell you!) Have a great day, Amber in SJ
  6. I do plan on cross-posting this to several other forums for max opportunities 🙂 I have to say that in my 16+ years of homeschooling, my one big fail has been high school foreign language. None of my children have been interested in learning the one and only foreign language in which I am barely fluent. I have not been able to afford the very expensive online classes available. This year my French loving 15yo tried an online course from Global Goose Languages and it has been awesome. The format is a weekly online class with textbook assignments as well as many other online assignments like Duolingo & making videos on FlipGrid. The teacher gives tests & grades everything, it is perfect for transcripts. I don't have to do anything which is great because I don't speak French! You can check it out here: https://www.globalgooselanguages.com The reason I am reviewing/ recommending the program now is the French Teacher has teamed up with a Spanish Teacher and a German Teacher to offer a "Language Sampler" where each teacher teaches 3 weekly lessons in his/ her language, but the class is in danger of being cancelled to lack of interest. If you click on classes available at the link above you will see the Language Sampler class. The cost is $85 for all nine weeks. If someone feels like this is too much advertisement, let me know & I will delete I hope no one thinks this is spam because I get no benefit if others sign up and I have been on this forum for years (years, I tell you!) Have a great day, Amber in SJ
  7. I do plan on cross-posting this to several other forums for max opportunities 🙂 I have to say that in my 16+ years of homeschooling, my one big fail has been high school foreign language. None of my children have been interested in learning the one and only foreign language in which I am barely fluent. I have not been able to afford the very expensive online classes available. This year my French loving 15yo tried an online course from Global Goose Languages and it has been awesome. The format is a weekly online class with textbook assignments as well as many other online assignments like Duolingo & making videos on FlipGrid. The teacher gives tests & grades everything, it is perfect for transcripts. I don't have to do anything which is great because I don't speak French! You can check it out here: https://www.globalgooselanguages.com The reason I am reviewing/ recommending the program now is the French Teacher has teamed up with a Spanish Teacher and a German Teacher to offer a "Language Sampler" where each teacher teaches 3 weekly lessons in his/ her language, but the class is in danger of being cancelled to lack of interest. If you click on classes available at the link above you will see the Language Sampler class. The cost is $85 for all nine weeks. I hope no one thinks this is spam because I get no benefit if others sign up and I have been on this forum for years (years, I tell you!) Have a great day, Amber in SJ
  8. Poo-Pourri (I hear Wal-Mart has an equivalent), a pack of flushable wipes and/ or the cushiest TP you can find. It is silly & useful. Amber in SJ
  9. It took me forever to get used to and I still cringe when I brush the backs of my upper teeth. It took me a good 6 months to be able to go the whole 2 minutes. However...... Between the sonicare brush & the air flosser I no longer have the deep pockets that they have been worried about for years. My mom lost teeth to periodontal disease and I have struggled with the same thing for years. Needless to say all of the kids have them too 🙂 Amber in SJ
  10. I happen to be considered the "most granola" mom in my mom group at park day because of my cloth diapering & other frugal ways, but one day I had my title stripped from me, when another mom said she used generic instant pudding mix to make fudgesicles. That wasn't the shocking part. The shocker came when she told us she used the leftover milk from her kids' cereal bowls to make the pudding. I admit I gagged a little. I will collect shower water in a bucket to water my garden, I will ration toilet flushes, I will wash baggies, line dry laundry, pay for my groceries with my change or re-purpose leftovers like a mad fiend, but I will not save the last bit of scummy milk with cereal flakes in the kids' bowls. They just have to drink it. Amber in SJ
  11. My ILs are funny about Thanksgiving food. The menu never deviated: A turkey cooked in an oven bag, stovetop stuffing, green bean casserole with canned soup & crispy onions, canned yams with marshmallows, mashed potatoes made in a mixer until they are glue, cranberry sauce out of a can, Costco rolls & pie with no deviation. None at all. Every year I have brought something "weird" that no one except my family eats: One year I volunteered to bring the green beans. I made bundles of steamed haricot verts tied with roasted red pepper strips & crispy bacon. Everyone complained. I made cranberry orange sauce from fresh cranberries. Didn't get eaten. Stuffing made with sourdough bread, sausage and caramelized onions. Where's the stove top? They literally threw away the full pan of this in front of me. I filled the bread basket one year with fluffy potato rolls, sweet potato cloverleaf rolls, garlic knots, focaccia squares and anadama rolls. FIL demanded that someone go to the store for the "good" rolls. I have brought salads that don't get eaten. I made quinoa salad with cranberries, green apples,almonds & feta, dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette. FIL complained about the "girl food." Several members of my family are lactose intolerant. My ILs don't believe this is real, so they refuse to make substitutions. I started bringing mashed potatoes made dairy free and my FIL's wife was so offended that she insisted that she would make them next year, and she did.....with CoffeeMate. Hazelnut CoffeeMate. Anyway...we go and eat what we can. My kids get their year's supply of canned/ processed food. They buy tons of Sunny D for the kids and guilt them into drinking it. I am not looking forward to this year because my 15yo dd decided to be a vegetarian at the beginning of the year....I am sure that will go over like a lead balloon. Amber in SJ
  12. I have 2 of these: https://www.amazon.com/Solutions-Progressive-GBK-8-Adjustable-Expandable/dp/B001BB2LMM/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1542349605&sr=1-5&keywords=bread+keeper If I bake more than 2 loaves at a time I freeze the "extras" Amber in SJ
  13. I second the photo calendar with the important dates filled in. One year, before the era of photo calendars, I got a calendar that had a the calendar part had a big pocket on the bottom that I think was meant to hold bills. One year after my aunt passed away I gave my uncle this calendar with all the dates filled in & in each pocket there was the appropriate card with an addressed, stamped envelope so all he had to do was write a note and put it in the mail. He really enjoyed that. One of my mom's favorite gifts (according to her) was the year we realized she needed a set of large print scriptures for church. She was really resisting the large print thing. She said it made her feel old. Well before her birthday, I bought her a set of large print scriptures and had her name put on the front. My kids went through and each one underlined his/ her favorite scripture and wrote a little note to Grammy in the margin about why he or she chose that one. Then I sent it to my farthest away sibling, he and his kids did the same and boxed it up and sent it to the next sibling and it traveled on & on until it had gone to all 5 of us and all of our kids had written in it or at least drawn a picture in it. The last place it went was to my sister's house in the same town where my parents lived. After they had marked their favorite scriptures, she wrapped it up and gave it to my mom for her birthday from all of us. She adored that present and when she passes, I took it home with me and found that she had also marked her favorites and after some of the little notes written to her she had responded with notes of her own. Amber in SJ
  14. I only have four, so I never consider us to be a big family but around here we are certainly outside the norm. I have had strangers at the park ask me if they all have the same Daddy. Maybe it is because of where I live but many of the comments I get are about how selfish I am because my "giant" family is using up more than our share of the planet's resources. So I would say, "I am not trying to overpopulate the planet. I am just trying to outnumber the idiots." My family was excited by each pregnancy announcement, and my in-laws kept their thoughts to themselves for the most part. Except when pregnancy announcement #4 coincided with our purchase of a newer/ larger vehicle and my MIL blurted out, "Oh my goodness! It isn't like a goldfish growing to fit a bigger bowl! You don't have to fill all the seats of that new car!" I did have one shocking comment that left me speechless. Years ago when #4 was a toddler, my youngest brother was getting married. I had never met his fiancee and the wedding was being held in another state in her home town. After the rehearsal dinner I was juggling the baby & watching all the kids who who were not a part of the wedding party when the pastor (a total stranger) came up to me, introduced himself and asked me which children were mine, so I pointed out my kids in the pile of cousins. He then asked me if I was planning on having more.....which I felt was awfully personal.....my surprise must have shown on my face because he rushed to explain his interest by saying, "Because you have perfect aryan children, so pure and lovely. We need more of them." And then he walked away. I have never been so shocked. For a split second I thought I must have imagined it, like maybe I had sunstroke or something, but my SIL was standing nearby with her kids and she said, "Did he just say that?" What would possess a person to say that to a stranger? Just because my children are blue-eyed blonds I must share his racist views? Congratulations on #4. The more the merrier I say :) Amber in SJ
  15. To be fair, this has been an ongoing problem for me for the past 28 years. I got married while in college, and I was the first in my family to go to and graduate from a four year university. I wanted that diploma to have the name I started with on it, so I didn't change it for the first few years. Once I graduated and went to work, it seemed like a hassle to change it, so I didn't. A couple years later when I became an at home mom, I figured it was time to change it so I would have the same last name as my kids. Unfortunately, Dh's last name is two words, so a hyphenation would have been awkward. I had already put my last name as one of the kids' middle names so I did that with my own. Now I had one first name, two middle names and a two word last name on my ID & SS card. This was fine until the last time (10 years ago) I had to renew my ID. When I got it in the mail it had my first name correct, but now I had three middle names including the first word of my last name and my last name was only the second word of my last name. The thought of returning to the DMV & fixing it was just too much, so I let it be. The only time it has been an issue is the rare occasion when I get on an airplane. And even then it really only matters that the name on the ticket matches the name on the ID, so Amber "second word of last name," has taken a few flights in the past 10 years. Interestingly, my FIL's wife has the same problem; her ID only has the second word of our shared, two word married name as her last name. The DMV refused to change it when she went in with her marriage certificate, because on her marriage certificate, someone made a mistake and took out the space so the last name is one word, which in their minds made it a completely different name. So there I was with a birth certificate that said one name, a bill that said another name (married name only,) a SS card that had all my names and an ID that had all the right names, but not in the right places. The moral of the story might be; if your spouse has a difficult last name, consider keeping your own :) Amber in SJ
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