The Church of Henryism

January 27, 2012

Yeah so it’s totally normal for your 8-year-old to decide to start his own religion, right? (And it’s also normal for him to randomly choose ideas that sound good to him from all the world’s religions?)

I cannot tell you how much I love finding lists like this strewn about the house. Can you read it? It says:

1. Let there be world peace

2. Let there be equality among men and women

3. Ego’s cause suffering

4. being kind ends suffering

5. the bible proves faith

6. Do not drink or smoke

7. belive the bible

8. You are born with 3 things: your body, your beleif and your soul

We’re still waiting for the services to start. Although I think we’ve all been attending the Church of Henry for years now, without even knowing it.

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CATEGORIES: Henry

New Brain Burps review: Scapegoat

January 25, 2012

On today’s Brain Burps About Books episode, I have a review of a super-fun read-aloud called Scapegoat: The Story of a Goat Named Oat and a Chewed-Up Coat. Today Katie interviews the amazing Emma Walton Hamilton (daughter of Julie Andrews), who runs the Children’s Book Hub site. Check out info about the episode here, or click here to download or listen.

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Go sit in the corner, Angry Mommy

January 23, 2012

I love homeschooling. I love the idea, the concept, the warm fuzziness.

I’m having a bit of trouble, though, with the execution. For one thing, it’s just really hard to teach anything when Ramona is going through the shrieky “I have a voice!” phase she’s going through right now, and Zuzu continues her habit of  nonsequitor interruptions (“Julie! Julie! You have really long hair!”).

So there’s that. And then there’s the whole thing of: are they learning anything? Sure, they’re learning to get along. But are they learning anything?

After sending out a plea to one of the local homeschool email lists, I received many, many responses (which I’ve printed out and stuck in my homeschool organizer) that all said: “Don’t worry about it. The first year is crazy. We were all crying and shaken the first year. You will look back on this year and laugh at how ridiculous you were being, at how much emphasis you were putting on things that don’t actually matter. You are in survival mode. If you get to the end of the day, and they’re all happy and healthy, then your job is done.”

I will admit that, while these messages were massively reassuring, I’m still a weensy bit skeptical. If they want to learn Latin, shouldn’t we be, you know, learning Latin? And, more importantly, how will they learn to focus and work hard if we’re not all working on that? (Especially since it’s something I still have to work so hard on. I’m the most distractable person on the planet.)

Someone else said I should not worry about the younger kids, but should just focus on Henry, and the others will come along for the ride. So, for the rest of the year (until May, I mean), that’s mostly what I’m doing. Focusing on the three R’s, with Henry. If other educational inspirations come up, as they surely will, then we’ll pursue them to the best of our ability.

Because here’s the other thing: freaking out about getting enough academics is making me freaked out. When I’m freaked out, I tend to be Angry Mommy, especially when the kids sponge up every molecule of my attitude and are sassy and defiant in response. Vicious-homeschool-angry-not-learning cycle. So now I just try to breathe. Deeply. A lot.

I also am trying (well, today, at least) to speak slowly. I’m a fast talker, but eight or so years of sleep deprivation means my brain can’t keep up with my mouth, and I say things like, “Time for breakfast…lunch…dinner! Zuzramona!” Which definitely adds to the harried homeschool vibe. So I breathe, and speak slowly. If one of the kids asks me for something, and I’m doing something else, rather than sighing, dropping my own task, and resentfully going to the kid, I’m trying to say, calmly, “I’ll help you with that as soon as I finish with X.” And then I finish what I was doing, without rushing. They can wait. And they do.

Maybe you are all rolling your eyes at the common sense of this, but this is a revelation for me. Today, Angry Mommy was nowhere to be found.

What about you? Any veteran or newbie homeschoolers out there with words of wisdom/feelings of panic to share?

CATEGORIES: homeschool

Introducing: Z Braids

January 15, 2012

Yes, that’s right, just a few days ago, I was lamenting my lack of fun hair ideas, and now (thanks to all your suggestions, and inspired by the braided letter series at Babes in Hairland), we have created a Z for Zuzu.

CATEGORIES: Zuzu
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Girl Hairdo Inspiration Ideas?

January 11, 2012

Does anyone know of a book or website that has girl hairdo ideas beyond basic braids and ponytails? There must be something more instructional than just looking at the girls in the Hanna Andersson catalog. (I’m talking more about Zuzu here. Ramona’s options are basically random ponytails thrown about her head region.)

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CATEGORIES: Ramona, Zuzu

New Email Subscription Option

January 11, 2012

World of Julie has a new way to subscribe: via email! I think. It’s something I’ve been meaning to add for a while, and it only took angst, frustration, and a degree in computer mechanics to install it. Not really. Just seems like when I decide to tackle this before 6:00 a.m.

So! See that little box in the upper-right-hand corner? The one that says “Enter your email address”? If you enter your email address in that box, and click on “subscribe” (and then follow the directions that pop up), you will be notified via email when World of Julie has a new post.

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CATEGORIES: Julie

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake!

January 11, 2012

I cannot tell you how much I love this book. Well, actually, you can find out how much I love this book on today’s Brain Burps About Books podcast, which also features Julie Hedlund of the 12×12 in 2012 challenge. So many Julies!

You can find out more about the episode here, or listen directly by clicking here.

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CATEGORIES: Julie

High Fashionable

January 2, 2012

Driving in the car.

Eli (age 5): Henry, you know what I don’t get about grown-ups? How come grown-ups are so hi[mumble].

Julie: What? How come grown-ups are so hyper?

Eli: No. How come grown-ups are so high fashionable?

Dave: What?

Julie: You mean like me and Dave? We’re so high fashionable?

Eli: No, I mean all grown-ups.

Julie: But also me and Dave.

Eli: No. You two are the least high fashionable grown-ups there are.

Julie: What? We’re high fashionable! Wait, what do you even mean? Ok, what could I do to be more high fashionable?

Eli: You could wear lipstick and polish your nails.

Julie: Um.

Eli: And wear a big poufy dress and high heels and no hats.

Julie: Uh-huh.

Henry (age 8): And necklaces and bracelets and earrings!

Julie: I’m wearing earrings!

Eli: Yeah, you should wear necklaces and bracelets too, though. And what’s that stuff you put on your eyes?

Julie: Eyeshadow?

Eli: Yeah. You should wear eyeshadow.

Julie: Ok, ok. What about Dave? How could he be more high fashionable?

Eli: He should wear black pants, a black shirt, a necktie, and dancing shoes. And a top hat.

Julie: So you’re supposed to look like Fred Astaire, Dave.

Dave: What you’re saying is, Julie and I should go out dancing by ourselves more often, and you all should stay home with a babysitter.

[Kids all cheer.]

Henry: [thoughtfully] And the way you could be more high fashionable at a museum would be to wear a dinosaur costume.

[Eli looks at Henry disdainfully, and with pity.]

Eli: When you go out dancing, Julie, you should make sure your dress is really poufy.

CATEGORIES: Eli

2012, Here we come!

January 1, 2012

I am someone who embraces resolutions (not like my mother). Why not start out the new year making some promises to yourself? The key is not to make too many, and not to make them unattainable.

While I do have an ever-expanding list of general goals (keep the house cleaner, do laundry every day, plan homeschool better, exercise a lot more), I have two specific goals for right now.

First, I am participating in Julie F. Hedlund’s 12×12 in 2012 challenge. The goal is to write a draft of a picture book every month in 2012. It’s an extension of PiBoIdMo, and I had so much fun doing that, so I’m really excited about 12×12 in 2012.

Second, I am starting off the first 21 days of 2012 by eating the way I’m supposed to. I was going to do the Whole Living cleanse, but then I looked at it more carefully and realized that it doesn’t really include proteins (or, barely, solids) for the first week, and that seems like a bad plan for a nursing mom. So, I’m picking and choosing parts from it, like:

  • no processed foods
  • no added sugar (meaning no chocolate, but yes fruit)
  • no alcohol
  • no caffeinated coffee (ha! I can flippantly jump into this one because I haven’t had caffeinated coffee since December 2002)
  • no dairy
  • drink a lot of water
  • do it all for 21 days

They also say “no wheat” and then say that if you haven’t given up wheat before, you should try, because you might feel more energized. That’s fine. But I have given up wheat before, and I felt awful.

Whole Living also says you should be hungry at certain points during the day. That your stomach should rumble at least four times a day. I’m trying to embrace this too. I’m generally home all day, which means that often, if I get the teensiest bit hungry (or if I’m bored, or avoiding doing something annoying), then I eat. That stops now.

The other component I’m bringing to it is that I know how to eat well, I just choose not to sometimes. So I’m going to be cooking a lot less kid-friendly white pasta, and making more stir fries and squash and stuff like shiitake fried rice and barley risotto. And everything Mark Bittman recommends today in his “semi-vegan” article in the New York Times magazine.

What about you? Do you have any goals for 2012?

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CATEGORIES: Food, Julie