Adding some more pictures

Here’s me and the hubby ready to do some cycling!

A picture of our cat, Bluetooth, in a silly moment.

A picture of me from my trip to Cairo in May

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Picture of the nephews

I wanted to add a photo of the nephews. Connor is the one on the right.

Duncan, Ian, Connor

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Tentative curriculum

So, after all my changes and tweaking, what am I thinking about using for Connor?

Math – either Teaching Textbooks or Videotext Algebra. Posts are even on either side. Some love TT and hate VT, others love VT and didn’t like TT. I’ll probably buy the 1st unit of VT and let Connor check it out.

Science – Apologia. I will start with General Science this year, then Physical Science, Chemistry, Physics, and maybe end with Biology (I know he just took that last year so we can’t go back there too soon).

Language Arts – Vocabulary from Classical Roots A & B by EPS and Progressing with Courage for Grammar by Rod & Staff. Then literature/reading and writing will come with the history work.

Logic – MindBenders A1-A4 from Critical Thinking. The software version looks good.

History – I decided to just start at the beginning so we’ll be studying Ancient times (5000 B.C to A.D. 400). I picked up the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia for guiding his studies. Add to that the reading list from WTM for primary sources and literature, plus maybe some Jackdaw packets. I was looking at the Notgrass World History. I don’t think I want to use the textbook, but I think I’d like what’s in the primary sources text. But we can find a lot of what we need at the library or online. We will definitely had a timeline on the wall, a globe, a big world map, and a subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica which will include an atlas.

I also found a good Homeschool Tracker to keep up with the subjects and lesson plans and create a report card and transcript every year.

I’m going to a session at Growing Scholars on July 1 to talk about home schooling and curriculum so I won’t make any final decisions until then. I’m also going to get some information from a friend on Carol Joy Seid and see if that changes any of my plans.

So, there it is. For now. Subject to change 😉

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Another week

Hard to believe a whole week has gone by. I’ve been busy perusing the home school curriculum websites and the Well Trained Mind forum. I’ve changed and tweaked my curriculum every day. On top of that, Rick calls me every day and brings up that Connor says today he’s on board with the home schooling. Since I’m about to start spending money on stuff, we better all be through with the debates. We’re all in now!

I drove down to Yoga One last night to take a yoga class that my sister Christine was teaching. We were talking about how all these years we’ve done yoga together and talked about yoga, but I’ve never taken a class from her before. She’s different as a teacher than one on one. And she’s good at it. Very similar to listening to her sing, she’s different when she’s performing. That was a tough 1.5 hours. I kept dripping sweat on myself and we spent way too much time in down dog (of course, I think anything beyond a few breaths is too long, especially when you keep going back). But I did really well and I can certainly feel it today.

After yoga we showered and then went to Lulu’s for dinner. I had the Lulu burger and frites. It was very yummy with the green fried tomatoes and jalapeno spread. Over dinner we caught up on all kinds of stuff. It’s been months since she and I got together. She’s started studying aikido and just got back from a yoga bootcamp in Helena, MT. I explained the classical education method I had found in Well Trained Mind (WTM) while considering ideas for home schooling Connor. I talked about the grammar, logic, and rhetoric stages and how the best part is the repetition so you learn something each time and it builds and you don’t have to learn everything all at once. But I’m starting with an 8th grader and I don’t know what all he’s even studied before (not to talk about what he’s actually learned).

I mentioned that it would be really nice to know what’s going to happen over the next 5 years so I could plan this all out. I was updating my development plan at work yesterday and realized last year I had mentioned I would like an opportunity at an international assignment down the road. Well, that won’t work anytime soon! And it isn’t just what may affect my immediate environment. There is another household involved. Rick moved his mother up here so I don’t see him moving anytime soon. It’s just all the uncertainty.

I told myself (most others aren’t hearing it yet) that this would be as much a growing experience for me as for Connor. I know that my faith walk will have to get deeper and more regular for this to work. I told the spiritual head of the household that I am going to have daily prayer needs so he better get ready. Part of that growth is stepping out in faith with what I’m feeling led to do, what looks right to me, knowing that it won’t be perfect and life may get in the way. I don’t know what’s coming, but He does and I can trust Him.

Christine helped reinforce that last night. I am devising a plan to fill the entire 5 years of home schooling. But if somewhere in there things change and he goes back to public school, he’ll manage just fine. If I do this right, he’ll learn how to keep on learning and that is a good gift!

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I have four sisters

God has blessed me with four sisters. I want to talk about them for a few minutes.

Nancy has been my sister since the day she was born. Like any good sister, she has known me better than anyone else. (Anthony knows me pretty well, and Nancy has missed some of the last few years, but deep down she still knows me best in some ways.) And she has always loved me, even knowing me that well. We all have things about us that we know make us unloveable and it’s a wonderful surprise to realize someone loves us anyway. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about marriage, realizing someone else loves you and wants to live with you even after they learn the unloveable things about you.

Nancy was always brave, outgoing, easy at being with people, didn’t hold a grudge, and did a lot of things really well (singing, sports, dancing, acting…). I wanted to be like her growing up. After our parents divorce, she went in different directions and life wasn’t easy for her. She has given me two wonderful nephews that teach me new things all the time. She’s moved out to Portland, Oregon, and I just think that’s too far away.

When I married Anthony I got a new sister, Christine. She’s actually a lot like Nancy – outgoing, brave, and good with people. She’s taught me some good things over the years. She’s right down in Charlotte and we should see each other more often than we do. We have good times when we are together, we share good authors/books and she’s got the physical flexibility that I wish I had.

Then Anthony’s brother got married and I got another sister, Alison. She is really wonderful. We have some things in common (in addition to being married to Navarro men), but she also does some things that I wish I could do. For one, she can come into my kitchen with nothing in it and whip up a meal to feed five. She is also a patient mother of three boys. I spent one year taking classes each month in Raleigh and I would stay with them for a night or two. I had so much fun hanging out with them and watching the boys grow that year.

My fourth sister is my nephews’ mother. Nancy’s ex-husband remarried and brought Tracy into my life. We are pretty different and that’s pretty nice. She’s been a nurse so she can be very practical, which is handy with three boys. She took a huge step marrying a man with two sons. She’s been a steady presence for those two and they quickly began to call her mom. It’s enough when you marry someone and have to accept his parents and siblings. But Tracy took it in stride that she also got an ex-sister-in-law as part of the package.

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Great day for a bike ride

Almost slept in, but we made it up and out for a bike ride at the business park. We only went for 45 minutes today, about 8.8 miles for me. I should have pushed us for one more lap because we did over 9 miles 2 weeks ago. Oh well, next time.

I got a rear view mirror after the bike ride today so I’ll have that next time. Not that big a deal at the business park, but definitely want it if we go back to Jetton. The new bike store on Gilead across from the post office is pretty cool. It actually takes up the whole bottom floor so there is a door from the rear where the parking lot is and a door in the front where he was displaying bikes to be seen from Gilead.

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What’s in a name?

Who knew naming a homeschool could be so difficult. We could go simple and say The Navarro’s Homeschool/Christian School/Academy.

The official NC Non-Public Education website suggests you not use your family name or address or student’s name (what if you move or add another student) and they politely remind you this is the name that will be in your child’s education record and on their diploma forever!

So, we started talking about it. I came up with the idea of having the word “Academy” in there. Connor and I both immediately thought of “Starfleet” and laughed. I read a blog where a family named theirs Fawkes Academy after the phoenix in the Harry Potter series. I liked that but phoenix is kind of famous for another school now and neither of us is that big a fan of Harry Potter. I looked up phoenix in wikipedia and saw Firebird. But Connor nixed that one too.

I’m riding the fence between having fun with coming up with a name and keeping Connor involved in choosing it, and being the adult who remembers this could be his education for the next 5 years and the name we come up with will be on his transcripts and diploma for the rest of his life which might even include college or military. I just don’t think “Starfleet Academy” will have the right tone to start that kind of relationship.

We have until July 1 to come up with something. Then I have to send off the paperwork registering our homeschool. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.

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It’s not what it looks like!

I hit 39 a few weeks ago (happy birthday Charlotte!). While I haven’t suddenly ballooned out, I do have to pay closer attention to the waistline as I get older. And I want to work on my strength and flexibility now so I’m not a hunched over old woman shuffling down the street some day. So, I go through spurts. Sometimes I even go 3 months in a row where I work out diligently. Then I get busy, travel, get sick, something comes up and I skip the workout for a week or two or more. Sometimes I even go 3 months in a row where I don’t work out at all.

I don’t have many excuses. We have a Bowflex and elliptical machine in the house, plus some good DVD series. I’ve done Body for Life, Five Factor Fitness (thanks to Kathy who heard about it from Mary Margaret), and Spark People workouts, plus Hip Hop Abs and others from BeachBody. All of them are good and if I were consistent and also watched what I eat they would probably make the right impact.

But, while my expanding waistline bothers me (that’s why they make elastic), my complete lack of flexibility and poor lung capacity are the long-term issues I want to work on. So, I keep coming back to Yoga. Well, ok, not yoga. The July/Aug, 2004 issue of Areopagus Journal says if it’s stretching exercises and mild deep breathing without the spiritual component then it isn’t yoga. I would agree with that and I do not subscribe to the deep meditation and “spiritual” part of yoga. But I do think the set of postures and exercises are great for addressing flexibility and increasing respiratory capacity. So, I do the Power Yoga exercises at home with Beryl Bender Birch, the first person I took classes with in New York City. I have the book and her DVD to make sure I do it right. Then once in awhile I go into Charlotte and take a class at Yoga One where my sister-in-law teaches.

I find the yoga exercises very hard. I am not flexible. Beryl is kind in her video and says it’s probably due to sports, running, etc. But I’ve never done sports. I’ve just always been tight. (Now my nephew Connor – he’s FLEXIBLE!) I can do the exercises for weeks and not see much improvement at all. Plus it’s very hard – we start with 5 Sun Salutation A and 5 Sun Salutation B and that’s the equivalent of 20 pushups plus. And I get very sweaty doing it and I don’t like being sweaty. All of that makes it very tempting to quit. I have quit many times in the 10+ years since I found Beryl Bender Birch. She would not be happy with me. If you aren’t doing it regularly, then you can’t say you are doing yoga. It must be consistent to be safe. (Yet another reason to just say I do exercises that look like yoga postures.)

My biggest complaint, and I grumble a lot when I’m doing the exercises, is that my limbs aren’t long enough. I can’t touch my toes because my arms aren’t long enough (or my fingers aren’t long enough, or my legs are too long?). I can’t put my hand on the ground on the far side of my foot because I run into my knee before my hand is flat on the ground.

Of course, I know those positions are hard for the same reason I can’t get my nose to my knee. My hips and shoulders are very tight and I can’t bend the way the posture requires. But when I’m trying to get into the position it certainly looks like I could do it if my arm were just a tad longer.

I was thinking about all of this today while sweating my way through my exercises. The first analogy that came to mind was how I have some sins that I don’t see as sin. It’s just that all three nephews at once make a lot of noise and keep asking questions and sometimes I just need to tell them all to be quiet. My tone may have been a little harsh, but they know I still love them. That’s different than some of the purposefully hurtful things I say or other obvious sins I see in my life.

But I have to admit that my tone of voice (and not just with the nephews when they are rowdy) can be very sinful. This was brought home to me Monday. Just as I was setting up to do my yoga exercises Anthony called. One of the topics that came up is very stressful for both of us right now and I spent a few minutes “telling” him how unfair I thought part of this was. Now, he is just as unhappy as I am and he doesn’t have any more answers that I do, but I certainly dumped on him. After we hung up and I started my workout I realized I had done it again, I had let my tone of voice get nasty. And my fear is that my tone of voice reflects my heart. I don’t want to have a nasty heart.

So, I can just give up and say my arms need to be longer before I can ever do this, or I can keep working at it. That’s the second analogy I found in this. I have a few sins that I have prayed about for quite awhile, but I have not seen a lot of progress. After praying and working on something for awhile, I quit and tell myself to stop worrying about it. Then my conscience will be pricked again and I’ll realize I really need to deal with the sin. It’s hard work, I have to confess and repent some sins many times a day (like my tone of voice!) and I have to keep remembering how unworthy I am and incapable of fixing this all by myself. Wouldn’t it just be easier to give up?

But I do NOT want to end up a hunched over old woman shuffling down the street.

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All alone

It’s been a quiet day and will be a quiet evening. Connor has gone back home for the summer and Anthony is away at a conference for the next 3 days. No one to worry about, feed, or clean-up behind but myself. Already spent some time today cleaning up Connor’s room, bathroom, and closet. I washed all the linens and threw away a bag full of trash. I feel better knowing that won’t be hanging over my head the rest of the summer. (Although, I’d like to talk Anthony into cleaning out our storage boxes from that closet. 😉

I also found our diplomas and made copies to apply for a home school. I want to make some decisions about curriculum soon so I can get that ordered and know it will be here in time.

All in all, a pretty productive day.

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Hello world!

Decided to try a public blog today. Of course, I have to tell people about it before anyone knows it’s here. I was trying to come up with a name for the blog that WordPress would like and happened to see the book I’m currently reading, The Relief of Imperfection by Joan C. Webb. I decided that described how I was going to treat this blog, I don’t have to post every day or even every month, I don’t have to have wise and pithy things to say before I create an entry, and all of that is a great relief. (Many thanks to my coach, Janet Caffray, for recommending this book!)

A highlight of what I’ve been doing lately. I am 3/4 of the way through my EMBA program at Queens University in Charlotte. Last year we went to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Vietnam for an International Trip. This year I opted to do another trip. We went to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, and Cairo, Egypt. I’ve posted my photos at Anthony’s mac gallery, broken into albums based on where we were: Click HERE to see the photos.

The trip was very interesting. Dubai seems very modern in many ways – lots of high rises and cars and cranes putting up even more high rises. We got to drive out onto the trunk part of the original Palm being built off the coast. We met with a few of the free zone cities that they have created in Dubai to encourage businesses to open up shop.

Then we went to Cairo, which does not seem very modern or new. We heard from someone from the Ministry of Finance talk about how much the Egyptian economy is subsidized, then we went to the Institute of Directors in the Ministry of Investment to talk about governance. That was interesting. Not surprising, they are having better luck educating corporations about governance than educating investors about due diligence.

Some of the things we ran into – men always got served first. Two of our group went into a store to buy water and had to wait for the men in the store to be served first, even those who came in after them. We had some great guys in our group of 33 who always made sure the women in the group weren’t traveling anywhere alone. And Bush is not popular over there, given the people we ran into. Cab drivers and even our tour guide in Egypt felt the need to let us know they didn’t like Bush. Some of our group seemed to enjoy that, but some of us don’t care for people in other countries bashing our President.

We got back home on Memorial Day. Took a week or so to catch up on sleep and get over jet-lag. It’s a 14 hour flight from Atlanta to Dubai so we spent a fair amount of time in airports and airplanes over the week we were gone.

Now it’s onto preparing for the Entrepreneurial project for 4th quarter and getting ready to home school Connor next year.

Oh yeah, for those who didn’t know, my nephew Connor moved in with us January and spent the last half of the school year going to Bailey Middle School near us. He finishes 7th grade this week. Then he’ll go home for the summer and return in August. After an enlightening conversation with a friend at church I decided to try home schooling him for 8th grade to see if that environment works better. Given the time and effort spent working through his homework and then trying to figure out if he actually handed in the homework, I am not sure home schooling will be that much more effort. I think the primary issue will be time to get him to/from the extra-curricular activities I find for him. The first half of the year, while I finish my EMBA will be the hardest.

That’s enough for my first blog entry. Talk to you soon!

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