Category Archives: homeschooling

What’s Up?

‘Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.’ ~ Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride

So, what’s up?

~ Hockey Season is over at Greenbrook Hockey Club. That frees up weekend time to find some weekend fun in the coming weeks. Museums, NYC and state park events are just calling us. I can make a nice, long ‘honey-do’ list for Dennis. Despite my complaining about the sheer amount of time Dennis devotes to the league, it is a fantastic place that has provided the boys with a great sport and awesome friends.

~ Homeschooling in November, for me, is always a strange place to be. Things that are not working become clear and we ditch them. Seriously – what’s better than that? Switching my brain to searching for ‘indoor’ type of field trips is a hard one – but I’m working on it now. I dream of filling these crappy, cold months with good books, great documentaries and brain-changing games. A quick trip to the basement has revealed that we have many, unopened ‘science’-types kits that are begging to be tinkered with.

~ This is the beginning of when I need to grasp tightly to a self-enforced set of routines that keep me putting one foot in front of the other. I have struggled with SAD for the last several years, with last year being particularly bad. I use multiple modalities to deal with it. My little lamp, super good vitamins, lists that keep me honest and the dreams about this place πŸ™‚ Maybe there is an encore in store for us?


I obsess over this scene. I don’t think it’s normal – at all.

~ I am working hard on getting some serious, ‘life-planning’ issues in order. I don’t know what is prompting this strong feeling, but when I feel like this, I need to take action. I would like for us to review our long-term, financial goals and revamp or life insurance policies. It is extra important for us having a child with special needs. Every one in a while, we question whether moving is an option for our family. We are in a spot where we need to do some serious fact-finding. Bring it on.

~ We are experimenting with having some help with house cleaning every few weeks. If you would have ever told me that someday we could squeeze that into the budget and that it would freak me out and cause me stress, I would have seriously protested. But it’s true. I am uncomfortable and as nice as she is, I hide from the cleaning lady at all costs – I just pack everyone up and leave. Is this totally weird? I am not ungrateful, though.

Strange, anxious, cold (as in chilly), and busy – but not ungrateful.

(Sunday Scenes was preempted by this because I forgot to take pictures on Sunday – because I’m like that.)

Liberty Hall Museum

What a hidden gem we found in Liberty Hall Museum in Union, NJ.Β  I have to tell you, I thought I hated all things ‘history’ until Gavin developed a real loved for it – places, movies, documentaries and historical novels. Gavin’s way of learning about history is way better than what I was exposed to in school. When I see something from this vantage point I am usually really impressed – like I was at this location. I remember things when I see them and hear the facts told in story form. I’m sure my kids do too.

The docent that lead our tour had first-hand knowledge of the family that inhabited this historic house. It’s a place that has hosted 8 presidents and goes back to 1772. Truly, we were walking in history’s footsteps πŸ™‚

001 002 003 013 018 019The English Garden was wonderful and right now apples are ripe and $8 a bag to pick. I’ve heard they host wonderful teas here as well. I think I’d leave The Boyz behind for that πŸ˜‰

Check out how I am doing on my 30 Day Challenge here.


We were already having a really nice family night out at Colonial Park and were headed for Alfonso’s Pizza, when we caught site of this…

291It was making an obvious landing and who can resist chasing a hot air balloon – not us πŸ™‚

We watched the pilot gently float the basket onto a spot in a parking lot with expert precision. We kept a safe distance from the balloon, but it was obvious that the crew had others plans and invited us to come closer, look up inside the balloon and watch as the pilot used the propane flame to fill the balloon a little more.

From the moment we met him, it was obvious that Jon Radowski of Apex Balloons is a man passionate about his craft and willing to share it with others. He was very animated about how balloons work and generous with time and expertise. Just when we thought we should get out of his way, he asked the kids to help him fold and pack up the balloon. All the while he gave the kids information about the materials they were seeing and processes they were participating in. We also had a chance to speak with Vinny Panico of Incognito Air who shared lots of information with the boys and us about the sport/hobby of ballooning.

I can’t even tell you how much I love this kind of unexpected, happy coincidence that puts us in the right place at the right time!

I honestly don’t think this is our last experience with these guys. I know a bunch of homeschoolers who would love a lesson in balloon physics πŸ™‚


Our Back-to-‘School’ Supply List

I know people are working on collecting the supplies their kids needs to go back to classes in September. Here’s a list of some of my essentials.

~ A subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime & Audible.

~ An endless list of documentaries for our viewing – Life of Mammals, Life of Birds, Raccoon Nation, How It’s Made, Going Deep with David Reese, The Ancient Life, Going West, The Blue Planet & many more. My kids never tire of them.

~ A list of movies to watch, discuss and think about – like these.

~ An extensive list of places to go and things to do before the stupid weather changes πŸ™ A list of indoor places to go when the stupid weather changes.

~ A GPS, a cooler, reusable water bottles and a picnic blanket. Totally. Required. Supplies.

~ Free Museum Passes from the Somerset County Library System. What’s better than sharp crayons? Free museums.

~ As many State Theater tickets as my budget can handle, because this, this & this look great.

~ A public library card and huge lists of books to read ~ pick a list, any list and we’ll read them.

~ Memberships to several places that we will visit time & time again. Right now we have Liberty Science Center and Turtleback Zoo.

~Β Therapeutic music. Seriously, yes. Yes, that’s what I said πŸ™‚

~ Games. Because I’d rather make them smarter than fill them with useless facts. (If I make them smarter, they’ll fill themselves with facts that they need πŸ˜‰

~ Classes held at museums, the county college, nature & environmental centers, planetariums, & libraries in which to glean the facts they may want to have.

There are other things that we will have. We might even have the occasional textbook or use some workbooks – really, we might. But these are, by far, my most important ‘supplies’.

Fort Hancock, NJ – Historic Walking Tour

Fort Hancock is located within Gateway National Recreation Area – same locationΒ Sandy Hook Beach.

We’ve meant to take this engaging and beautiful historic walk many times. With the promise of cool bay water waiting, we took in the sites that were instrumental during several wars and for the years between 1895 and 1974. As Gavin and I are in the middle of watching History Channel’s The World Wars, it seemed as good of a time as any to get a reference point to that place on the timeline.

Pick a day with fabulous weather and head over to the water when you are done. There are tidal pools full of marine life on the bayside and crashing waves on the ocean side – you can’t pick wrong – it’s all right at Sandy Hook!

‘I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.’
~Mark Twain