Friday, August 31, 2012

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool

     Two little boys!  So much fun yet so innocent.  So much potential.    So much energy.  So the question arose upon my retirement, "Should I homeschool them or not?"  I had conflicting emotions as I considered this question with all its ramifications.  One of the problems was that it would limit my opportunities to supplement my income heading into early retirement.  More than that though, as a former teacher I had serious reservations about homeschooling.  Too many home-schooled students had come through my classroom with serious deficits, some with significant academic problems, many more with social problems.  However, in recent years I had a large number of really good, well-trained students who had been homeschooled.  I began to realize that homeschooling could work if a parent is both qualified and committed to providing  a quality education to his children.
     Weighing the pros and cons, my wife and I finally concluded that  it would be beneficial for me to homeschool our children.  Some major considerations that we spent much time researching and working through were the curriculum, a support group, an umbrella, proper scheduling, and social opportunities.  We knew that getting the right curriculum was important if our boys were to enjoy this experience.  After much research I finally decided on a curriculum and ordered it.  Now I am not saying that the curriculum I ordered is the only good curriculum, but I felt it was the best fit for my boys and me.  The next factor to be considered was which umbrella group to all under.  I decided that my best choice was to go with the school where I had been teaching.  This provided me with the option of having my elder son take an extra class such as art or music there, giving him an opportunity for socializing with other students  with whom he had previously been classmates. We have also planned other opportunities for socialization such as Sunday school, AWANAS, and spring soccer league.  Logistics such as where to hold classes, scheduling and routines to establish all had to be considered.  A large section of Mom's and Dad's bedroom was dedicated to the primary purpose of education.  A nice perk for Mom and Dad is that we now have an upgraded lighting system in our bedroom.  Developing a good schedule with a solid routine is imperative if the students are to be successful.  Recognizing this, we developed a good routine although we do not slavishly adhere to it minute by minute.  Still the exceptions must be rare. 
     With some trepidation, I approached the school year wondering how this would work.  I believed it would, but I was a bit worried because I had never taught students younger than fifth grade before; however, I was firmly committed.  Two weeks prior to starting the school year, I received some confirmation from my sons when, after seeing the materials for the curriculum they would be studying, they told me they were anxious to begin.  The end of the second day I received further confirmation when my older son put his arms around my neck and whispered, "Thank you, Daddy, for thinking of homeschooling us."  Certainly I am getting a tremendous opportunity to have input on a daily basis into their lives.  I really am having a wonderful time with them.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sky Watching!

     The other day I left the house on this beautiful August day and after looking up at the sky decided to retrieve my camera take some photos.  The clouds against the blue with the sun peeking out formed a fantastic view.  While the clouds had a somewhat ominous cast to them for a time, they eventually blew off leaving us with a beautiful evening.  For other lovely sky photos, go to Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time of Bonding

     Several times this summer, I have had an opportunity to spend some quality time with my seven-year-old son, taking him to see a professional baseball game.  We had a wonderful time, and I had so much fun observing outing although one of those games that went eleven innings left him exhausted.  His patience had about disappeared.  At the beginning of the tenth inning, he suddenly stood up and started to move towards the aisle.  Startled, I asked him where he was going.  "Home," he replied with a quirky little grin and a twinkle in his eyes.  Since we had driven with someone else to the game, I replied that we had no way to get home until the game was over.  Rather than complain, he sat down once again with a big grin on his face.  When the hometown team won with a solo home run and a two run shot in the eleventh inning, he was on his feet yelling, "I want to come to the next game too!" 
     The next game we attended started almost three hours late because of terrible storms.  We had barely left the cover of the parking garage when we were suddenly lashed by horrific winds that nearly bowled us over backwards.  Eyes sparkling and a broad smile on his face,  he valiantly strove to keep up with us adults.  However, he was not intimidated but rather exulted in the wild weather conditions.  It was just a joy to spend the time together. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tired After a Long Day

A beautiful day was the setting for our visit to these falls on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We had a great time hiking around the falls.  The sky was a gorgeous, cloudless, sapphire blue which was  reflected back from the water here.  In the background one can see a beautiful small waterfalls with a rust-colored hue.  We learned that the rust color comes from tannic acid which comes from a type of oak tree growing in the area.  In the upper photo, it is easy to see that this little man is worn out from the activities of the day despite spending a great amount of time riding his daddy's shoulders.  The sky, while darkening, still displays the unclouded beauty that characterized most of the day.  For more sky photos, visit Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Clowning Around!

    Revealing the humor of my two sons, these photos were taken while on summer vacation in western Virginia.  The lake in the background looked so inviting, and from a distance we could see swimmers and fishermen down at the lake.  The reflection on the lake was so pretty that I could not resist these photos.  We had a great time at this resort area.  The boys had a fun time relaxing and just being funny.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Lake Superior

     One of my favorite places to visit is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Taking a boat tour of Lake Superior avails one a large number of photographic opportunities.  I love the scenery passing along the edge of the lake.  Picture Rocks present a vivid display of color as a lowering sun reflects off the rocks.  With a little imagination, all kinds of shapes can be seen by the passing observer.  The small lighthouse intrigued me as we passed by, and I just had to get a picture of it.  I am fascinated by the wilderness on the Upper Peninsula.  An area that at times seems so forbidding has a strong attraction for meo camp there., and I cannot wait to return someday  to camp there.  Visit Scenic Sunday for other great photos.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cooling Down from 105 Degrees!

Flying High!

          A gorgeous, cool, breezy day in late spring afforded an opportunity for this shot while flying a kite with our boys.  A sapphire blue sky with no clouds  provided a fantastic backdrop on this lovely spring day.  Looking up, one could not help marveling  at the beauty of the scene above while enjoying the peace and quiet of the country.  A nice if sporadic breeze provided just enough lift to take our kite high into that limitless blue sky.  This was a great day of fun and relaxation!  Visit Skywatch to see some truly fantastic photography.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spain - one on my wishlist


     Traveling through Europe someday is something on my wishlist.  I have spent time in London but have never spent time on the Continent.  I would love to one day visit both France and Spain.  Spain has such a diversity of landscape that I would love to see.  With its beautiful hills and mountains and lovely beaches, it would be an entrancing country to visit. The history on display in this country is also intriguing as well as the cultural aspect.  Of course, with the many varying landforms comes varying weather: thus, it is imperative to have a reliable website to check on  Spanish weather conditions at any given time for any given place.  One such website is

     This is a great site that will give comprehensive, up-to-date weather reports for thousands of cities in Spain for varying lengths of time.  Additionally, one can find some interesting information about the area he or she wishes to visit.  Preparing ahead of time properly by checking temperatures and precipitation can make your stay more pleasant.
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