I HAVE MOVED...

I have moved to a new blog: Nikki's Thoughts On

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November 30, 2009

More On Linux!

I mention the other day that I was testing Linux. Well since that test DH has totally wiped out my computer and loaded Ubuntu 9.10 on it! So now I'm totally windows/Microsoft FREE!

We found compatibility software via Ubuntu that allows me to still use my palm, camera, and video camera. I have OpenOffice.org for all of my word processing, spreadsheets, needs. As a matter of fact OpenOffice.org is compatible with Microsoft Office.

The downside is that pretty much all of our software, including the children's games, are not compatible with Ubuntu. However, we have found games and software for Ubuntu/Linux that is comparable to what we have so we are going to be using that instead.

One big thing that did NOT work was Homeschool Tracker Plus! I guess my statement about being Microsoft free was false! OOPS! We have a 3rd computer that my husband remote connects to for work while he's at work. It's a machine that he uses to test things while he's working. He as loaded Homeschool Tracker Plus onto that machine for me and has given me remote access. So when I need to use my tracker program I just remote connect to that 3rd PC from my computer. This is because I really did not want to give up Homeschool Tracker Plus! This worked for us, because we have that 3rd computer for my husband's job.

The other downside is that we have found our printer is not compatible. So we will have to get a new printer at some point, unless DH can find a patch for our printer to make it compatible with Ubuntu. Printers are somewhat inexpensive and I would at this point rather get a new printer then having to deal with a computer that crashed all the time because I was trying to do to much at once! LOL

I have not have any crashing issues. As a matter of fact things are running faster and better. I feel like I have a brand new, super fast, machine that can handle all of my needs! Especially my "need" to edit pictures, layer pictures, and make "movies". LOL

The Radio Show

With everything that happen with Superstar this got put on the back burner so to speak. This is defiantly something that I want to do. I think I just have to wait until after the new year to launch it. Mainly, because I want to be sure things with Superstar turn out okay and things get a bit settle with that.

I haven't shared the results of the last poll I took for what day would be best, and to be honest I don't have them! LOL That was something I lost when I switch my operating system over to Linux. It's not that I couldn't have them, it's just I forgot to save the file. LOL OOPS!!

I do remember that the most popular options seem to be Saturday, Sunday or Tuesday Nights. So I think perhaps after the New Year when this becomes more of a reality and not on the back burner I'll ask what nights again along with what time. I know I can't please everyone, but I would like to know when I would most likely have an audience to listen to the radio show.

Oh and it wouldn't matter where you are in the USA or World; anyone would be able to listen, because the Radio Show is going to be Internet based. I'm HOPING to be able to have archived files so that anyone can listen at anytime. I'm HOPING that files will be MP3, so anyone can download them and listen to them on their favorite MP3 player anytime, anywhere.

After all I know that with me being in the CST zone that the time of the show might not be best for those that live in Spain or Germany. I also know that I can't pick a time that will please everyone.

Well that's the latest on the Radio Show front. Stay tune for after the New Year (2010). This is when Catholic Christian Homeschooling Live will be launch! (I HOPE!) At least that's the plan; as we get closer to the New Year I'll have a better idea if this will work. :)

November 29, 2009

How important is it to know your state homeschool laws?

Just how important is it to know your state homeschool laws? Well if you ask these moms in Indiana it's very important. So important that it could have spared them from being charged with a felony, and pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.

If you are going to homeschool or if you are homeschooling it's critical that you KNOW your state laws and that YOU FOLLOW them! This could save you many heart-aches and being charged with a felony. Not only that but it can also help insure that homeschooling is an option for EVERYONE.

How do I learn about my state laws?

  • 1) Visit HSLDA: State Laws
  • 2) Visit YOUR STATE department of education website and look for homeschooling or home education laws.
  • 3) Read the laws and understand them!
  • 4) Review them regularly to be sure something hasn't changed.

I'm not about to list all of the individual states' department of education websites. I'm sure that most of my visitors will know how to Google for those things.

However if you live in Illinois like me: Illinois State Board Of Education: Homeschooling

PLEASE, PLEASE if you are going to homeschool know your laws!! Don't rely on someone else to inform you, especially those that work in public schools. If you withdrawal your children from Public School (or any school), it's YOUR responsibility to know your laws. The school employee's do not have to tell you the laws.

November 28, 2009

Testing: Linux

This post is really just for me to test Linux. I'm thinking about getting rid of Windows for Linux. However before I make the decision I wanted to test some things out on Linux. This concludes my test. Thanks

November 27, 2009

Look Who's Walking!

video

Superstar is walking! He just started to do that today. He still is walking on his toes. However, I some what expected that seeing that's his "habit". I'm more sure then ever that he will need some kind of physical therapy or we will need some training so that we can help break him of the habit.

However I'm happy that he's up walking! At the end of the video Web-Princess had a message for everyone. I think the camera didn't pick her voice up clearly so I'll share here what she said. "My brother is awesome. Kisses for everyone...kiss...kiss...kiss." Enjoy!

November 24, 2009

CurrClick: Black Friday Giveaway!


You simply can't afford to miss CurrClick's biggest event of the year, BLACK FRIDAY! HUNDREDS of TOTALLY FREE education resources!

No Traffic, No Crowds, No Cost! 10:00 am CST Friday, Nov 27th, 2009 through 10:00 am CST Saturday, Nov 28th, 2009.  Enjoy!

Are they behind? Homeschooling vs. Public Schools

A while back I gave my opinion about Public Schools, Homeschoolers, and Socialization. Now I feel as if it's time to give my opinion about comparing homeschoolers to public schooler in general. This like the other post is a bit of a rant! Let's just say you have been warn!

I love my kids and like most moms I think my kids are the best! I'm often very proud of what they can do, and perhaps time to time will boast about their accomplishments just like any other mother would do. I will also at times will compare what my kids are learning here at home to what some of my friend's children are learning at pubic and private schools. I do this really for myself and not as a means to say my kids are smarter, more advance, etc.

Honestly, I'm really sick of those types of generalizations. It makes my stomach turn in disgust. As my regular readers will know my son, Superstar, is recovering from ITW Surgery. Over all he's doing good, but does have a bit of a break down in the afternoons, evenings, because he's overtired. I made mention these break downs in a live internet chat recently. I even mention  that at one of these break down moments Superstar flipped out crying that he didn't want to die.

You see he was complaining that his leg itched and we offered to blow-dry it for him. DH told him how blow drying it would take the water away and that's when he lost it and started to say "I don't want to die". When asked why he felt that he said "I need water to live, so if you blow dry it away I won't have any". Cute I know! When I mention this in the live internet chat a poster came on and said something along the lines. Got to love those homeschoolers they are so smart!

Really? I just wanted to say hey, hold on, wait a moment.... My kids are not smarter just because they are homeschooled! Sure homeschooling has it advantages, sure test scores for homeschoolers tend to be better; but lets be honest, homeschoolers are NOT any smarter then those in public schools. Let's get of our high horse and have a reality check!

Public Schools are NOT evil! I sent my kids to a public school and I would do it again tomorrow if I felt that was best for them. I have no real ills again public schools. As a matter of fact I have a vested interest in how my local schools do because I still pay taxes for these schools. I care about what is taught, how things are handled, who the schools employ, because I still support these schools via my tax dollars. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water okay! Sure, they aren't perfect, but how can they be? Even homeschooling is not perfect! Nothing is perfect...

I have seen homeschoolers posse questions like "Is it normal for public school children to be so far behind?" Behind compare to what? To what your little Johny or Janey is doing? I thought I read in the parent manual, that came the day the kids were born, that we aren't suppose to compare our kids to other children. That they all develop and learn at their own rate, blah, blah, blah.

We tell ourselves that. We say we shouldn't compare, but then they hit school age and it all changes. All of the sudden it's my kids can do this, mine can do that, we can explain how quantum physics work at the ripe age of 7. We can write a paper, have proper grammar, we can....the laundry list goes on and on and on.

IN GENERAL homeschoolers get annoyed when their kids are compared to public school students, especially if their child seems "behind". (Behind compare to what exactly?) If a person was to compare a homeschool child to a public school child and the homeschooler seemed "behind", the homeschooler would automatically tell you "Well we learn at our own pace. We have plenty of time to 'catch up', etc". In other words it's okay, no biggie. BUT at the same time if the homeschooler is "ahead" then it's a in your face attitude: Homeschooling rocks, My kids are so much smarter, etc. These were GENERALIZED statements. I know NOT all homeschoolers feel this way, but I'm seeing it more and more and I'm disgusted with the attitude.

Perhaps some of it's a natural defense to defend our children and our parenting choices. Perhaps some of it's just plan pride. There is nothing wrong with either one of those things, but lets keep in mind how we feel about those things, when talking about public schools and public school students. Let's get off of our high horses, accept people for who they are, and learn to help each other grow and not stand around comparing and gossiping about how so much better we are because of...

Yes my kids are homeschoolers! Yes my kids have areas they exile in, but they also have areas that they struggle in. Yes I'm proud of my kids and will boast about their accomplishments. However I want to be clear my kids are NOT smarter just because they are homeschoolers.They are smarter because I am their mother! (FYI: that's a bit of a sarcasm there.)

Honestly, the statement my son made about dieing and water was made because that is his personality. It HAS NOTHING to do with the education he has gotten or where he goes to school. I know my son, and I know, he would have made that statement even if he was in public school.

If he was still in public school I know that response to that statement would not have been "Oh public school kids are so smart"; The response would have been something along the lines of "What a sweet kid" or "Poor thing, to have so much worries right now"; or "I hope he feels better soon". Or my personal favorite "LOL-Kids really do say the darndest things don't they!". They would have a chuckle and moved on, not make a statement about his education or where he went to school.

I just wanted to end with if you are going to compare your child's education to other child's education keep some things in mind.

  • 1) Not all schooling methods are equal
  • 2) Not all curriculum are equal.
  • 3) Not all homeschooling curriculum are equal
  • 4) Not all schooling methods follow the same scope and sequences
  • 5) Each child is different and despite what they are expose to will learn at there own pace.
  • 6) Not all schools have the same priorities
  • 7) Not all homeschoolers have the same priorities.
  • 8) What seems like a valid comparison could actually turn out to be comparing apples to oranges.

November 23, 2009

Lint Playdough



So I found via Google search a recipe to make some lint play dough. It took a TONS more flour then the recipe said it would, nearly a whole bag of flour to be exact.  I have made my share of play doughs over the years and this one by far is the WORST! It even after nearly a bag of flour is still "sticky". However the kids are having fun! If you don't mind the "sticky mess" then Google the recipe and give it a shot!

Back To School!



Today, we did our normal full day of work! Which is pretty good seeing Superstar just had surgery for ITW last week. He still doesn't want to leave the house, however he said it was "great to be sitting" at the table doing his school work. Seeing both feet are cast it's easier to sit at the table in his wheel chair.

November 20, 2009

Slowly recovering from ITW surgery

He is slowly recovering from the surgery he had last Wednesday. Last night was a little ruff. We called the doctor and was given Valium to go with his Tylenol with codeine. Just now he decided that he wanted to try to stand. He stood for several seconds, but that was enough.

He was asked to be taken to his room so he can play! I was able to get a few snap shots. As I type he is crawling around on his bedroom floor playing with his action figures. We are so proud of him!!

He also has gone 5 hours (while awake) without his medication. We just realized 5 hours has passed so we told him here is some medication. He may have been able to go longer, but we didn't want to totally risk it you know!

November 18, 2009

AFTER SURGERY!

We are HOME resting! Surgery went well this morning! We went to the surgery center at 9 am this morning and as you can see in the picture we are home now resting at home! It's about 3 pm here now!

November 17, 2009

Comments Are Moderated!

I LOVE comments but they are moderated for a good reason! From time to time I get the SPAM post about this or that and other things that would not be good for my blog or readers. Sometimes I get comments just letting me know about xyz, because it's tends to be an easy way to contact me :)

I know there are SPAM bots out there that will deposit their SPAM comments and those don't really bother me, it tends to be clear when it's a SPAM bot. I do NOT mind the comments letting me know about xyz, because I know they are doing it for a good reason and they just want me to know about xyz.  NO Biggie! I don't approve them because they aren't related to the topic of the post, but I do see them because of moderation!

I also know that not everyone is going to agree with me and that's cool too! I don't expect everyone to agree with me and for the most part I will approve any comment as long as it's related to the topic of the post. However, I had a comment today regarding my sons surgery that totally crossed the line! This is the first time I've had this happen and I've been blogging for almost a whole year! (I'm sure it won't be the last)

I didn't approved the comment because it totally crossed the line and I'm sorry that someone would say something so cold hearted, mean, and uncalled for about my 8-year-old son!!

Well I've said my piece! Carry on! For those of you that pray please keep my son and the unnamed commenter in your prayers. DH is right someone that would say something so mean and cold-hearted is in need of some serious prayers!

Surgery Is Tomorrow!

Just a quick note! Superstar's surgery is tomorrow morning. Please keep him in your prayers.

For those of you that are new to my blog, Superstar surgery is for ITW. (Idiopathic Toe Walking). He was suppose to have the surgery the Wednesday before Halloween, but that got canceled due to illness. (We had the flu). So it has been rescheduled and will be tomorrow morning. Thanks for the prayers.

November 14, 2009

Disney Homeschool Days

Disney is having Homeschool Days @ their Florida Location.

Dates: January 25th and 26th, 2010
Location: Disney @ Florida, USA

The Event is a series of classes that are offered on January 25th and 26th, 2010. The classes offered are basically a range of science classes: how to make things move, marine science, physics, chemistry, etc.

For more information check out Disney's Website.

Personal Note: With us being in IL it's pretty much impossible for us to go, but I do know that some of my readers live a little closer to Florida so I figured it was worth sharing!

November 13, 2009

Humbled: "I would fall to my knees"

This year of grammar we have been using Language of God for Little Folks. Superstar, being in 3rd grade, has been using the Level B book of the series. The last few days he has been learning the difference between a proper noun and a common noun.

He also has been learning that God's Name is a proper noun. It doesn't matter if we use Lord, Redeemer, Savior, Son, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, they are all capital letters because they are all proper nouns. At the end of yesterday's exercise he was to write what he would do if Jesus came to our house.

To be honest I didn't know what he would write but I have to tell you I was blown away by what he wrote and was actually humbled by it. He wrote one simple sentence and it read.
I would fall to my knees in front of Jesus.
Honestly that was the first thing that came to my 8 year old's mind!! Is that the first thing that crossed your mind? Just wanted to share!

November 10, 2009

Convergence Insufficiency and Toe-Walking!

I've made it known several times that we are "new" to homeschooling. We pulled our kids out of public school June 2008. This is our second year of homeschooling. I've had my share of struggles when it comes teaching my kids, especially my daughter, web-princess. I have shared in the pass how math, for example, has been a huge road block for us. So has the reading, she still isn't quite reading for her age level; she's still behind some.

Well we are pretty confident that we have found out why? It appears that our daughter has convergence insufficiency. This could every well explain why she isn't reading at her age level and why she struggles with math or anything that requires reading really. So we now have to work with that! Nothing is just easy is it! We have been given some vision exercises to do with her @ home and if they do not work she will have to have vision therapy.

Briefly for those that do not know convergence insufficiency is where your eyes don't turn inward properly while you're focusing on a nearby object. This can make reading very difficult because text can appear blurred or even floating on the page. It also can often go unnoticed because it's possible for a child to have 20/20 vision and still have blurred text while reading do to the convergence insufficiency. So this is not something that will be typically be picked up in a school vision screening test. It often can be missed at normal eye doctor's visit too. You need a doctor that would know to look for this or is a vision specialist.

Some of the symptoms of convergence insufficiency besides difficulty reading include difficulty concentrating. Learning all of this made me thankful once again that I'm homeschooling. I have a feeling given the symptoms of convergence insufficiency and that fact that my daughter has 20/20 vision she perhaps would have been mislabeled as child with ADD. Not only that but I perhaps would have been forced, or heavily persuaded, by the school to put her a medicine that she clearly does not need!

Now that we know this about our daughter we have to find way to work WITH her vision difficulties and NOT against them! I can tell you a huge weight was lifted of our shoulders this pass weekend.

Superstar Surgery: I've had a few people ask when is Superstar's surgery now? He is having surgery Nov 18th for his toe-walking! Thanks for asking and keeping him in your prayers.
_________________________________________________________

Now the funny of the day: So DH and I were IMing this afternoon and he said in the IM "Well I'm going to go read your blog now".  I then tell him, that's fine but I haven't written anything up yet about web-princesses vision. He replies "That's okay reading your blog is how I know what's going on with my family"

That just made me laugh and reply back to him: "What are you doing?" "I'm looking @ my wife's blog. She said she's schooling them but I don't know if that's true until she blogs about it" "Once she's blog about it then I know it's been done."

To which my hubby replied back:  LMAO that's sound like a blog quote!


So honey this is for you: Yes, I do educate those children of ours. They can now count to 3 and tie their shoes. It makes me proud to know that they got themselves an edge-me-cation!!!! Thanks for letting me teach them!
_________________________________________________________


Okay seriously that was a joke! My husband and talk regularly when he's home and we IM each other regularly during the day, especially @ his lunch hour like we did today! He's well aware of what goes on and doesn't need to read the blog to find out. It was just a funny! Those that know us would see the funny so I wanted to share! Oh and the kids can count beyond 3, they can count to 5! :)

VOTING OPEN FOR THE HOMESCHOOL BLOG AWARDS!

Join Me at The Homeschool Post!I a few weeks ago mention how the nomination process was open for the homeschool blog awards. That process is NOW CLOSED and the voting process is NOW OPEN! GO VOTE! I'm sure all of the nominees will be thankful!

November 9, 2009

Saving Money! Teach Me HOW to feed my family for $4 a week!

My friend Judy has stated several times that her lovely daughter is the queen of being frugal, but I have to wonder: Judy is your daughter this good? And if so is she willing to come to IL to teach me?

This mom with the aid of coupons has been able to feed her family of 6 for $4 a week. Her secret is coupons and buying items that can be bought for  free or near free with the aid of the coupons. On the day the cameras went with her she bought her whole weeks of groceries for 1 PENNY! Yep, that's right 1 Penny! She said that was her new all time low!

I have tried the coupon game several times but have NEVER been successful!! I never really saved any real money so I don't try anymore.

However, I want to LEARN HOW to to use coupons so I can feed my family on $4 a week! If you can teach me or know where I can go to learn, please share!!! I wonder if the woman in this video has a website? Where does she get her coupons? What sites?  I wonder if she is willing to give lessons? Or really share those tips and how-tos?

November 6, 2009

Fort Hood: Why Mama?

I will admit I don't watch the news on TV. I get all of the news via the internet. I do this mainly so I can be aware of what's going on in the world with little to no exposure to the kids. I can read the latest on my computer screen and they are clueless. However, yesterday was different. As soon as I heard what was going on @ Ft. Hood, I had the TV on, the phone at my side, and the computer in my lap. I was extremaly tuned in to what was going on @ Ft. Hood.

Why? Well that is where my dear sister is station @ and that is where the kids and I went over the summer. We had been there @ Ft. Hood enjoy the site; we knew that my sister (Auntie) was there.

This is Auntie, Web-Princess, Little Man (Auntie's son) and Superstar @ Ft. Hood Aug 2009.

At first we didn't know if she was one of the ones injured or hurt, that was until her text message came over my phone.

yes there is a mass shooting here, yes we are in lock down, I am not hurt, on base, the boys at home.

This meant she was safe on base and her son and boyfriend where at their home off of base. I was thankful to have read that text. I knew then that one of the fallen was not my sister. Although, I still didn't understand fully what was going on.

As the day went on from watching the new, receiving text and phone calls from my sister, we learn that the shooter was a fellow soldier. This left my kids asking: Why Mama? Why would a soldier do that to a fellow soldier?

I simply told them I don't know know. Clearly he wasn't thinking properly. At the end of the day, I talked to my sister again, and I was telling her how her niece and nephew couldn't understand how a soldier would do this to another soldier, to one of their own.


My sister, a fellow soldier, of the Ft. Hood shooter, said to me "Tell them that war does crazy things to people minds. Tell them that sometimes they don't realize what they are doing, they aren't thinking straight. Your kids are smart they'll understand that."

Honestly, I don't know if my kids will understand that, but I felt her words being right in the mix was so important. They know how war messes up people. She knows having been in Afghanistan for 14 months. She knows what it's like having to be deployed, what it's like having to leave your family behind, what it's like being gone for over a year, and what she's going through being back. She knows how war can mess up your head!  My sister may understand it, but I know she doesn't excuse it!!!

I asked her where she was during the shooting. She said she was on base just 2 blocks away from it. So she really was in the mix of it. She could NOT share what she was doing at that time, but she was there and she was safe! Thank-God.

November 4, 2009

To facebook or not to facebook that is the question.

I've been thinking about facebook! As Judy shared with us this morning it's best to be who you are! If you love facebook then you love facebook. I being on the outside looking in have my doubts about facebook and well it's those doubts that keep me away.

I have been tweaking Catholic Christian Homeschooling and I'm happy thus far about my tweaks. Blogging for me is a passion. I love sharing with people, but I also love it when people share back. So I think the new tool bar at the bottom of the page will make it easier for my readers to share.

I have the option to add facebook features to the toolbar below, but I have NOT added them because I do not belong to facebook. So I thought it was best not to included the facebook options. Like Judy, I try to take responsibility for what is linked here, but I can't possibly control all links. So if you decided to click on a link here you are really doing so at your own risk. That's the way it is with any website or blog really.

So back to facebook. I've been seriously thinking about joining facebook. Not just because of the features in the new toolbar, but because of articles that I have read that have stated that facebook is better for networking and driving traffic to your site. Networking like Shawntele is not the primary reason for why I blog, but unlike Shawntele it does influence by blogging habit and what I may or may not share on my blog. So all of this had me rethinking my position on facebook.

That was until I read the news article, this morning, about a woman in TX that is suing facebook and blockbuster over privacy issues. You see every time this woman rented a movie from blockbuster it automatically showed up on facebook. It automatically shared her full name, location, and what movie she rented. She wasn't even given a chance to opt-out. It automatically share her transaction at blockbuster with the whole world on facebook. This was done because of the web-beacon that facebook uses.
At the heart of the suit is Facebook's controversial Beacon system, essentially a tracking flag that follows you across a network of sites and reports back to Facebook on your activity. For consumers, it's a way to share more information about your daily activity; for advertisers, it's a way to learn a great deal more about an individual. source: Fox News
Reading the article this morning reminded me why I'm so leery of facebook and why I'm choosing to stay away! If you love facebook and are happy with it so be it:  No worries here. You are free to use facebook. Just know that I will not be joining you. Twitter on the other hand....well we can just tweet the night away. LOL
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