Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How are we doing?

Well, we've been at the homeschool thing for about 2.5 weeks and we're all still alive. Week 2 was better, this week has been up and down (and it is only Tuesday!). We are still trying new stuff, new schedules, etc. and I don't expect everything to go smoothly while we are fiddling around. I have signed up to add Latin I class to our schedule. I think it is an awesome foundation for understanding English, and many other languages as well. I had two years in high school and quite liked it.

Yes. I'm a geek. lol

I'm still waiting for all the pass codes to get into that one, but it looks like a nice online class. I'm hoping the youngest can be part of the class so that she can benefit from it too.

On the knitting/fiber side of life, I finished my Jason Stackhouse Cat's Face Lace socks. These were a fun knit, and went pretty quickly, for me. They got interrupted for another cross stitch quilt square, which slowed me down, but no biggie. The pattern is from Ravelry but is heavily, heavily modified. The modifications were to suit my artistic muse, not because the pattern is in need of modification.

The original pattern is alternating rows of cat paws and cat faces. I decided I only wanted the faces. Then I decided I wanted to readjust the spacing on them, again, my muse was feeling uppity. These are toe-up socks, so the faces on the feet are in slightly different alignment than the ones on the leg, but I'm not even sure I could tell now. I did have some trouble at the top. Since I had a very generous amount of yarn, I repeated the pattern more than called for in the original (you may be wondering if anything is like the original pattern, right?). I thought the sock was a bit loose, so I went down a needle size for the ribbing, did the bind off and started weaving ends. Then I tried on the sock and it was too tight. I pondered my options for a silly hour or so, then I ripped out the weaving, the cast off and the ribbing on both socks, went, back up to the original needle size and did it all again. And now they fit. The stripes are interesting as they mirror one another, but the back of one sock matches the front of the other. I think it is cool.

I then cast on the Love Bites scarf (Ravelry, again) with the Fangtasia yarn in the same vamp club. The colors are really nice and I love they way they blend. The pattern is easy to memorize and goes pretty quickly. BUT, this will take forever to knit up the 400+ yds! At the end of the scarf, you drop three stitches and let 'em rip all the way down. This will be my first project like this, so we'll see how I do.

I bought a jumbo flyer for my wheel. I spent the week before school staining the thing and getting it all put together. I've managed to squeeze in a little time during school to spin a little practice fiber to get used to it. I really seem to NEED to spin thin yarn. I would really like to loosen up a bit. lol I bought a bunch of lovely stuff, but I won't touch it until I can make it do what I want.

I'm not sure how the colors will show up, but there some lovely shades of green, medium blue, white and a medium brown. The colorway is Atlantis, and the artist is frabjous fibers in Vermont. It is Merino Top and I picked it up from the LYS in Snohomish.

I've joined the Super Sock Scarefest again this year, and I nearly missed it! I've just been so busy I wasn't checking the group. I missed the first pattern release, and decided I'd wait for the next one. Since I have so much spare time on my hands, ahem, I'm thinking maybe I'll go with #3 pattern. We'll see how it works out.

I've got other fiber photos, but I think I'll save them. Maybe I can use them to motivate myself to post more often.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Sort of. This is what has been taking up my time. My eldest has been agitating for homeschool for about two years. I promised her we'd talk about it this summer and make a decision. So, we did. I was trying to help a friend with zero homeschool contacts find some info about programs / curriculum that people liked. In the process, I stumbled upon WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy) and it sounded like a really good way to get started. If you know it and it isn't, don't tell me now.

This program is technically NOT homeschool because it is part of the public school system and I do not pay anything additional (to my regular taxes) for the materials. What it is is a home-based education program and I work with a state certified teacher on a regular basis, to make sure we are meeting our goals & requirements (state requirements). The teacher will also help me work out strategies for more successful work with my child. The lesson plans are already built, but I can mix them up a bit if I want (I can't drop any subjects, but I can add things if I want).

We're into day 3 today, and I want out! I expected to feel this way, so I'm not panicked. I also will not be quitting today, so don't worry. As with many new things in life, this is more time-consuming and much, much more tiring than I thought it would be. I have never worked so hard in my life, I don't think. Oh, sure, maybe shoveling snow or painting a room or rearranging furniture is harder in the short term, but this won't end until June 16, 2010.

My self-pep talk today was all about staying adaptable every day, learning new strategies from one day to the next, and just hanging in there! It sort of worked. I'm hoping we will see some real progress in our attitudes/habits after a month. That will really go a long way towards giving me some much needed energy.

I think.

Right now, we spend more than double the time expected on Math alone (today, nearly 3 hours!). Not because we like it. No. Because the child has to change seating arrangements 50 times, get more ice (she's addicted to ice, but at least it is fluids) and make drum sounds. sigh I've already learned that I cannot, CANNOT, do any other thing while she is working on math. That includes knitting. That may change, but not any time soon, I'm sure. I can almost read email, but usually only one or two. If the reply is more than five sentences long, I'd better not try it. After completing (successfully) 19 problems, the 20th problem will warrant a long questions, stony silence and borderline tears even though it is exactly like the other 19 (successfully) completed problems. She can read directions, but if they are for math, it is like she is reading a foreign language phonetically. It has no meaning to her at all. Mind you, she is breezing through all the language and reading materials at light speed, so she does comprehend words. Just not words in a Math Book.

Well, to put a positive spin on the situation, I am learning a lot about my eldest child. She is probably learning a lot about me. Maybe we can both improve over the next year.

The youngest, you say? Ah. She would rather eat worms than be home with me for school. At least, that's where she is this year. We'll see how she (and I) feel about it next year. This is a trial program, Eldest and I both have the option to say No More! for next year. The youngest has the option to join if she wants, but I will not force the issue unless some unforeseen event moves me to change my mind.

Himself is very excited we are doing this. He is (currently) very supportive of this change. We'll see how he feels a month from now. lol When all those things I've been doing regularly start piling up again.