Thursday, April 9, 2009

Highlights from the Texas Legislature

Here is some news that came out of the Texas Legislature. I'm not a big Perry fan but he does support us homeschoolers. The veteran stuff I'm not too sure about. It might mean an influx of people coming into the state solely for the purpose of going to school. That would mean that more jobs and housing would be needed. On one hand that would be good because the housing market would benefit but the job market isn't so great right now and I don't expect it to get too much better in the coming months (years). Will have to watch this and see how it pans out.


Republican Gov. Rick Perry revved up a crowd of home school families at a rally outside the Capitol on Tuesday, telling the group that government regulation needs to stop at their front door.

Perry said he is committed to improving public schools, but said, "I really do understand that public school education may not be the best choice for every family." He said home-schooled children are "some of the most gifted students in our state."

The governor and others speaking to the crowd urged them to support a bill by Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, that they said protects parental rights when grandparents are seeking custody of children.


Out-of-state veterans could get a major break for higher education in Texas under a bill that got initial approval from the House on Tuesday.

The proposal would allow veterans and their families to pay in-state tuition regardless of how long they have lived in Texas

"This is a very good benefit for our veterans for the service they have given to our country," said Rep. Frank Corte, a San Antonio Republican and the bill's author in the House.

But some lawmakers object to an amendment that would allow children of soldiers paying in-state tuition to be fully exempt while their parents are serving in combat zones.

Opponents of the amendment said the loss of funds could crush some schools, particularly community colleges near military bases.

But Rep. Marc Veasey, the Fort Worth Democrat pushing the amendment, said the provision is limited enough that it will not be too hard on the schools. He estimated that fewer than 1,000 students would be affected because the majority of soldiers serving in combat zones are not old enough to have college-aged children.

As approved, the proposal would require the state to pay colleges back for losses under the amendment.

The bill still has to be called up for a final vote on third reading. It passed the Senate without the House amendments last month.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Homeschool group

A short time back I wrote that I had asked another lady in my homeschool group to be a moderator. I was feeling low and useless and needed to have someone else take some of the pressure off of me. I'm really glad that I asked her when I did because we had a situation come up on the forum that if I had addressed the person posting it, I could have been accused of being biased. Instead, my moderator responded to this other person and dealt with the situation. She did let the person know that her type of post was not going to be tolerated.

The group is growing by leaps and bounds. We have an activity planned for every Friday of the month. We found out that our teens aren't too old for park day afterall! lol! They hang out with their friends and just enjoy being together. It also gives us mom's a chance to talk and socialize. Our movie and game days are well attended. We had about 34 teens come to the first one. Not everyone can make every activity but usually there is a core group of us that goes to all the events (or as many as we can). I haven't met everyone in the group and some don't participate at all. But that's okay. They know that this group is there for them in case they do want to get involved. Maybe it's harder for them to do stuff with us right now. Come summer, I expect that a lot of these people will be able to do things with us.

More and more people are joining my group. There are so few teens groups out there and some are very exclusive. Even though this group is mostly for people living in the Ft. Worth area, we do have some that are from as far away as Plano. If someone wants to join the group, I always ask them where they are located and if it's not in the area, I let them know where we are so that they can decide on their own if they want to join. They are the ones who will be doing most of the driving.

In addition to park, movie and game days, we also go to the roller skating activity even though my son doesn't roller skate. He hangs out with his friends and has a fun time. We also have some major upcoming events planned such as a dance and a camp-out. Some of us are going to Scarborough Faire. I look forward to all the activities we can do during the summer when most of us are taking a break from schooling. We plan on having lots of pool parties at our house. Lots of fun things to look forward to, and lots of great people to do them with.

I'm posting some of the pictures of my son and I at the various activities we've had so far. You can tell by the big smile on his face that he's a happy teenager!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yahoo Homeschool group

I asked a lady in my Yahoo group to take over the list. I have some personal issues going on right now that I need to take care of. Not having to worry about the list will help some. I was always worrying about how the other members would react to things said on the list and what my response would be. I didn't want to offend anyone and always tried to see both sides when posting my response to things even when I don't agree with the other side. I found myself going out of my way to do things for people in the group just so others wouldn't be left out or uncomfortable in awkward situations. I was being torn in several different directions and with all that is going on in my personal life right now, I just don't feel that I can't cope with that sort of thing. So this dear, wonderful, sweet lady agreed to take over for me and I am so grateful to her for doing this. She even cared enough to call me to find out what is wrong. Now I can't be accused of trying to sabotage things. It's out of my hands.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Party

We had our party and it was a success. This is how the day(s) went down.

My son and I went out the day before and got all the food and drinks for the party. We went to several different stores looking for "prizes" to give away to the winners of the games. I wanted to get more reindeer antlers for the "Santa Hat" game but the store I got them from last year were all out. I was going to skip that game but my son figured out a way to play it anyway and plus some people wore Santa or elf hats. I did find a container for the M&M's to go in for the "Guess How Many" game. We picked up several types of candy to pass out to the winners of the group games. Then it was off to find some deli trays. I went to Krogers but they didn't have any so ended up over at Albertson's. We had already decided to cook some of those Cocktail Weiners or whatever they are called. Little Smokies? I would put them in the crock pot in the morning and let them cook all day. I also picked up some carrots and celery for a veggie tray. We got chips and dip and even a couple of summer sausages. I wanted to make sure we had enough food. I asked my son what kind of soda we should get since our family only drinks Dr Pepper. He said "Dr Pepper" and water. I asked him "What if some people don't like Dr Pepper?" and he said they would probably drink water anyway. I decided to get twelve packs of Coke and 7UP anyway. I figured that if I had any of those left over, hubby and I could mix up a couple of mixed drinks. Yeah, right! lol! We were done with the food shopping. Yay!

That night we worked some more on the house. I was busy trying to figure out what kind of dishes to put the food in. I decided to just leave the chips in the bags so that I could close them up in case there were any chips left. There were just some odds and ends to do in between watching TV and eating supper. Plus I was tired from all the running around we did.

The next day we just finished straighten and picking up. Hubby came home at noon to help out with the vaccuming and mopping. I had hurt my shoulder the week before and it was still bothering me, so his doing that really helped out. I had forgotten to start the little weinies, so hurried up and got that started. I got the deli tray packages opened up and noticed that one of the packages of meat looked bad. I had hubby look at it later and he said it was bad too. Good thing I bought that summer sausage! I got all the trays arranged, cut the summer sausage up into slices and arranged the other one in another dish with Ritz crackers around it. I got the veggies in their dishes and the dips in their bowls. My son who is kind of anal about things being sorted out and put in order, fixed up the prize basket. He did a great job. I had a bunch of doilies from last year and found some more to use as coasters, so I placed them all around on our wood coffee table and end tables. I didn't want to end up with some water rings or soda spills on our furniture. My son opened up the Christmas hard candy (you know the ribbon candy and mints) and put them in the candy dishes. He was a big help. I printed out all the handouts for the games and made sure I had what I hoped was enough copies for everyone. As it turned out, I didn't. We finished up and I was able to take my shower and get ready with plenty of time to go.

Hubby made it home in plenty of time and the three of us waited anxiously for everyone to arrive. I think my son was more excited about the party and everyone coming to our house than he let on. After all, he wasn't real interested in having a party. I guess our first guests got there about 6:45. A.J. handed out the reindeer antlers and told them they had to wear them. We decided to wait till everyone got there before we told them the rules of the "hat" game. People gradually started arriving. We the toys they brought for "Toys for Tots" on the card table. I did find out that we were having extra people. I was a little worried because I didn't think I had enough prizes. But that worked out okay, and I even had goodies left over. Everyone that was coming arrived so the party really got started then.

The first game was the "Santa Hat" game. The object of the game is sort of like the game "Spoons". The last one wearing a "hat" was the "loser". My son was wearing a Santa Hat. No one could take the hat off until he did, and he wouldn't be doing that until later on in the evening. Once he took his off, then everyone else could take off theirs BUT you didn't want anyone to notice that you had taken off your hat. A few of the kids would ask me if A.J. had taken his hat off yet, and I would just look at them and shrug my shoulders. When A.J. finally took his hat off, it was funny how many of the kids did not notice. He even stood next to people and talked to them several times waiting for them to notice. We eventually ended up with a "winner" and she got to pick out the antlers that she wanted as her prize. The kids and adults loved it. It was quite funny watching my son and the reactions of the kids when they realized he didn't have his "hat" on. lol!

While the hat game was going on, we played other games to distract everyone. The first game was to guess how many M&M's were in the snowman container. Everyone made their guess and I announced the winner. I made a mistake though. After I told who won, I realized that I had said the wrong amount. I wasn't going to change it though. What difference did 30 M&M's make anyway. Afterall, it was done in fun. Guy got to keep the container with all those M&M's in it and I'm sure his mom will use the container for other things. The second game was called "Christmas Carols". It was a list of Christmas song titles written in different words. For example: "Decorate the entry-ways" is "Deck the Halls". I did find out that some of the "titles" were actually a line from the song. I tried to go through the list beforehand and change those to the titles but I must have missed some. This was a group game where I tried to have one adult and four youth. Somehow I miss calculated that one. We ended up having a tie between two groups - they each had two wrong answers so at the suggestion of our newest friend, I chose the group that had finised first. They each got one of those big candy canes. The next game was "Christmas Alphabet". I gave each person a sheet of paper with the letters of the alphabet on it. They had to fill in the blank with a word for each letter that related to Christmas. The original rule was that the first one who completed their list with legible words was the winner. But my friend Betty suggested we do it kind of like Scattergories which I thought was a great idea. So I had one of the Chris's give his answer for each letter and then those that had the same as his or even the same answer as someone else had to scratch off their answer. We had some great answers and then there were some really weird ones. Chris had put "reefs" for his "R" letter. I guess he thought that was how "wreaths" was spelled. He didn't live that one down the rest of the night! ha! I think we all learned some new words and our vocabulary lists have grown from some of these answers. I really got confused on one of Chris's words. The letter was "V" and he said "vibrant" but I thought he said "vibrator". When he said it, I looked at him really funny and had to go over to him and ask him to repeat it. When I finally understood what he said, I cracked up. A few people across the room figured out what I thought he said and they too joined in the laughter. I didn't live that one down! lol! Tiffany's son Liam who was visiting from Chicago won that game (he was the one that had all the new vocabulary words) and got to pick out his own prize. On to the next game. This one was called "Christmas Find Out Who". You had a list of questions that you had to fill in with the name of the person who had done or not done that item. For example, one of the questions was "Who has celebrated Christmas in another country". You had to go around to each person and ask until you found someone who had done it. This was probably a game we could have played at the beginning of the party, but it worked out well. I eventually gave up on this and just let everyone else do it. I didn't award any prizes for this game. The prize was getting to know people you didn't know. Steve and I were the only ones who had ever celebrated Christmas in another country anyway. He's done it in three different ones, Japan, Italy and Korea and I've done it in Okinawa and Italy. We give our thanks to the U.S. Air Force for those experience. lol! Most people have re-gifted a present. I actually did it that night. I had a plastic boot that had been filled with candy before and I used it for one of the prizes (filled with candy of course!), but don't tell anyone. lol! It was after 10 by this time, so I figured it was time for the kids to play Guitar Hero. We only had one guitar so they had to take turns. There was no fighting over it and I think everyone had several turns at it. There were several that were pretty good at it too! I was finally able to actually sit down and rest my feet and back. It felt so good!

We all had a great time. Everyone enjoyed the games and I don't think anyone got bored. We made some new friends and introduced our friends to new ones. We got reaquainted with old friends that we hadn't seen in a while. Now that everyone was gone, I finally got to sit down and actually eat some of that food that I had. Then it was time to clean up. Hubby wanted to just leave it and go to bed, but I didn't want to wake up to all the trash. So we picked up trash and cans and put away the food. We were all very tired but it was great having our friends over. I look forward to having them over many more times.

A.J. and I went to deliver the toys on Monday. I was a little disappointed that the store had taken down their "Toys for Tots" sign to put up their own sales signs but was glad that we were able to contribute to those less fortunate. The "Toys for Tots" program is a great one even if it is run by the Marines. LOL!

Here is a slideshow of a few pictures from the party and our delivery of the toys:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Christmas Party

I'm having a Holiday Christmas party tomorrow. It should be lots of fun. I found several Christmas games on the internet to play. If we get them all played before the party is over, then the kids can play Guitar Hero or we might play Cranium.

I have so busy getting the house cleaned up and decorated. I haven't done as much outside as I usually do but I plan on putting more lights around my porch. It's so nice to have a big porch now to really decorate with lights. I can't put as many things out on my end tables and coffee table as before because of the little one being around. She is pulling herself up now, so she's able to reach things on the tables that I didn't think she could. But the house does look nice inside and it has that Christmasy feel to it.

I'm really looking forward to having everyone over to my house. It's going to be a mixture of people. We've got people from the teen social group, some I've never met and the kids from Judo. Some of the people coming I haven't seen in a long time. It'll be interesting to see how they interact.

I still have some things to do, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to finish up. I'm really tired after going from store to store today, and then coming home to get more stuff picked up and put away. I've still got a sink full of dishes and I have to run the dishwasher. I'll do that before I go to bed. Hubby is coming home at noon to vacuum and mop for me. Isn't that sweet? I would do it, but I hurt my shoulder the other day picking up my granddaughter and it hasn't healed up yet (guess I should quit using it). He'll head back to work for a meeting at 4, then join us afterwards for the party. He wasn't here last year when we had the teen party, so he missed all the action. lol! Unfortunately none of the kids that came last year will be coming tomorrow. Most were in another homeschool group that we no longer belong to. Several of them weren't able to come due to other obligations either theirs or their parents. Hubby has met most of the kids coming tomorrow. It'll be nice having him home to meet my friends.

I'd better get to bed now. Long day tomorrow and if I know me, I'll be up either at 3:30 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m. or what I'm hoping for is 9:30 a.m. like the other day. I just want a good nights sleep.

I'll post more about the party this weekend after it's all over. I'll be able to post about my son's bowling tournament that he's in on Sat. He's playing for a big chunk of scholarship money, so wish him luck!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SOS and more

It's been about 3 weeks now since my son started doing the SOS English and History programs. It's going well for the most part. I've been checking over his work either before I go to bed or when I get up in the morning. He's doing well in all his subjects. His problem seems to be the projects and essays. I did not set up a term so there are no due dates on any of the lessons. He has skipped over the essays in English and some of the Projects/Experiments in Chemistry. I told him he is to have the essays done by the end of this coming week, or I will go back in and set up a term. Then he WILL have due dates. He's been doing two or more lessons/quizzes a day which is good. So I'm happy about that. I just wish he'd do the essays/projects/experiments a little faster.

He is suppose to be doing Wordly Wise too. I get frustrated with him because he doesn't tell me he's completed something and then give me the paperwork. He says he puts it on the cabinet, but how am I suppose to know unless he tells me? I guess I'm going to have to redo my assignment calendar so that he will do the other work that I want him to do. I still want him to do some of the worksheets I printed out for History. We are watching a video on English grammar from Standard Deviants that I hope will help him to understand grammar better. We have other videos to watch also.

I've thought about finding a tutor to work with him on his writing/composition. Maybe that's why he's been putting off the essays in English? He has some problems with writing complete sentences that actually make sense. I think he writes the way he talks sometimes. I should have made him write more when he was younger. That's mostly my fault. My own reading disability caused me to shy away from having to try and understand what he had written. I should have had someone else (like my husband) do that for me. So now we have to buckle down and work extra hard on that.

I am concerned about my son's social life or rather lack of it. He is more interested in playing his online video games than anything else. If he didn't have bowling, judo and now teen court to do, he'd never go anywhere. He likes being around other kids his age and always has a great time whenever there is some sort of activity going on. Unfortunately, there aren't that many kids his age to hang out with, and the ones there are, don't live close by. Everyone else is so busy, that I can't even get the teen group I started to do anything. I've tried to plan a couple of events but only got a couple of responses so ended up canceling the event. I'm getting real discouraged and have thought about doing away with the teen group. I could always keep in touch with those people in the group if I wanted to have a get-together.

I remember when I was in high school. I had a core group of friends that I always hung around with. Unfortunately, I am no longer in touch with them. My daughter has a few people she knew in public school that she still talks to, and there are some from the youth organization she was involved in she still sees. Who will my son have to talk to from his childhood? That really makes me sad. When we left a couple of homeschool groups that just weren't fitting our needs anymore, the few teens that were in those groups have never gotten in touch with him. I have since found out that they are all buddy-buddy with each other. It makes me wonder then, what's wrong with my son? Did he do or say something to the other teens to make them mad? I don't think he did. I'd like to think it's one of those "out of sight, out of mind" type things. I guess I just worry so much about him. It took a long time for him to come out of his shell. I'd hate to see him go back into it. It would be nice if he found someone his own age to be his "best friend" rather than only want to hang around mom and dad (although it's nice he likes to be around us, but he needs more than us). I will continue to do what I can for him to see that he has other teens to be with. He should be out there just hanging out and talking on the phone or perhaps going on a date, doing something besides sitting at home all the time.