Archive for the ‘goals’ category

High School- So Far, So Good

September 15, 2008

I just started week three of our high school journey.  For several years, I’ve been dreading the thought of teaching high school.  But, as the time got closer, I got calmer.  Everything seemed to click- in the planning mode, at least.  After 3 years of homeschooling, I’ve realized the right curriculum has to not only be right for my son, but also right for me.  I can find a curriculum that I think he would love.  But, because of everything else going on in our lives, I have to be realistic, too.  And, if there is a ton of planning involved in making that curriculum effective, I’ve realized it’s just a waste.  So, this year, I successfully found curriculum I think we will all like.  It has each day specifically outlined and he and I both know what he has to do.  I think this make us both feel better.

I, once again, created a goal book for the year.  I was actually proud of myself for keeping that up last year.  And, starting high school, it makes me feel better to be able to show what he has accomplished.  I think it’s good for him to see as well.  Some additions to the book this year are the weekly sheets.  My son actually created it the first week of school as part of his computer class.  Using excel, he made a list of his classes and the days of the week with boxes large enough for me to write his assignments in.  Although I love the homeschool tracker, it became a chore and not portable enough for us.  So, now I write his assignments in sometime the week before and he knows what he has to do each day.  There is a small box in the upper left hand corner of each assignment box.  He writes one line of an X when he finishes an assignment and I write in the other line when I confirm or correct it.  So far, so good.

So, as I said earlier, as the time was approaching, I was getting more confident that I was doing the right thing.  And then, a phone call confirmed it!  My friend has a daughter the same age as my son.  This summer, I borrowed her biology curiculum to give my son a jump on his classes.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do most of the experiments and only got half way through the book.  So, she agreed they could do the experiments together at her house each week- a true blessing to me since I didn’t know how I was going to get them done!  But, that left me one other subject to worry about- foreign language.  I really wanted to start him in Spanish this year.  But, the program I wanted was way too expensive for us right now.  So, I wasn’t sure what to do.  And then my friend called.  Her daughter was going to take Spanish from a friend of hers and she said my son was welcome to join them- free of charge!  I am so excited!  They aren’t starting until the end of September so that will give him time to get into the routine of everything else.  But, I am sometimes just amazed at how things work out.

So, is everything wonderful in the world of high school?  Well, not as much as I had hoped.  But, for a teenager with hormones and mood swings, we are doing pretty well.  He whines about this or that.  But, usually gets it done.  (If only he’d realize how short his school day would be if he cut out the whining and daydreaming!)  He has his regular subjects and then 2 electives- typing and computers for this semester.  He’ll be joining the YMCA once the weather gets too cold for him to be outside for recreation.   So, I think it’s a well rounded day. 

So, I’d have to say that so far we’re doing ok- pretty well, actually.  At least we will be once he finishes Moby Dick!  Why he chose to read it, I don’t know but now I’m determined to make him read it all the way through!  Don’t tell him I never read it!

Goal Confession

March 11, 2008

After almost 4 weeks of doing very well with my goals- only a few minor slipups- I have to confess, last week I achieved none of my goals- past or current.  Instead, I did everything I could think of to get rid of a headache/ migraine/ weird spacy feeling that I’ve been suffering from for about 2 1/2 weeks.  So, that included drive-thru’s for pop, laying in bed instead of riding my bike.  Cooking and eating dinner at the table- what’s that?  I did do game night at church and I played games with my son and nephew.  So, iI guess I accomplished one goal.  As for the envelope thing, I was never able to get to the bank to get the cash  to fill them last week so that didn’t get done either.  On a good note, my dh told me several times that I really need to keep up with that so it doesn’t fall by the wayside.  I take that as a good sign that he has accepted the system!  On the other hand, he hasn’t accepted it enough to actually go to the bank to get the cash and fill the envelopes!  But, to quote Dave Ramsey, “Baby Steps!”.

So, today was a good day.  No headaches!  I went to the health store yesterday and got something new.  I’m not sure if it’s helping or if my migraine thought it had tormented me long enough.  But, either way, I’ll take it!  Ironicaly, yesterday I finally had enough and scheduled a massage for today.  (my splurge from our tax check)  So, even though my headache was gone, I enjoyed some pampering.  Actually, she put some things back inplace and it wasn’t all relaxing.  But, it was definitely wonderful!

This week, I will do my best to accomplish my previous goals and work on my new ones.  So, here is the list of old and new-

1) Use the envelopes

2) No caffeine (except for when I was suffering from my migrane yesterday)

3) No drive- thru’s (except for migraine)

4) 18 minutes on the bike at least 3 times- usually more

5) Play a game with family

6) Try the yoga DVD I just renewed from the library without even looking at the first week I borrowed it

7) Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day (this seems to be harder than it looks)

Ok.  I’m going to stop there.  Wish me luck!

Weekly Goals

February 26, 2008

Last week was not my best.  2 out of 3 of the people in my house had the flu.  I was the lucky one who didn’t get it.  But, I paid for it by being in bed with a migraine last weekend.  I think that being gone for work the first days of their flu kept it away from me. 

Since nobody wanted to really sit up and eat on a regular basis, the sitting together for meals goal was impossible.  I did work out some, but definitely not as much as the two weeks before.  I might have gotten three days in, but, it’s all such a blur I can’t be sure.  I was doing so well on the caffeine thing.  I couldn’t even remember the last time I had drank a pop.  But, after trying everything else to cure my migraine, it became inevitable that it was the only thing that would get rid of it completely.  So, I went to Burger King and got dinner- including my pop.  I had a great coupon so I really didn’t spend much money for our dinner.  And, for some reason, it sounded really good as I was trying to get over my migraine.  I usually crave things after a migraine.  Anyway, I didn’t go through a drive though during the day at all so, I am pretty happy with myself for that.  It’s still hard to figure out alternatives for lunch sometimes since I’m usually driving around. 

As far as the new budget system goes, we have successfully gotten through a month of the new envelope system.  And, my dh and I are still speaking- usually!  I really do have to give him credit.  I know he is trying and it’s been hard for him to adjust.  But, he is doing really well now.  And, I’m trying to be more patient when the system isn’t followed perfectly.  (I’m still working on that one!)  The good news is that we were able to pay off some bills off and work on our emergency fund.  That’s really good considering it’s my dh’s off season! 

The homeschool goals are on the right track.  So, I’ll just let you read my last entry to get updated on that one.  The one goal I did not even attempt to accomplish was playing a game as a family- or at least my son and me.  Was it because he was sick?  Maybe.  I was exhausted all week since I didn’t get a good nights sleep.  But, there is a family game night at church on Friday.  So, I should do better this week.  I will try to do something else during the week, too.

Here is where I should write my goals for this week.  But, since last week’s accomplishments are questionable, I’m going to stick to those this week before I add something new.

Going Off Autopilot

February 26, 2008

It seems my life is reflected in my writing.  I guess that makes sense.  But, it isn’t always a good thing. 

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a homeschooling blog entry.  And, that’s about how it’s been lately.  With everything else going on, we’ve pretty much been going on autopilot in that department.  But, I’ve been wondering lately if we’ve been flying in the right direction. 

So, last night when I couldn’t sleep- not sure if it’s the chocolate I ate just before bed or the mom panic that was setting in- I thought alot about our schooling this year.  It never fails that in the beginning of the school year I have a million ideas about what we are going to do in the new school year.  And it never fails that by December most of them have been  changed, ended in failure, or forgotten with the busyness of life.  So, I guess it’s about time to come up with some new ones!  Eventually, I should get it right!

So, idea one!  Remember my brilliant organization method for the school year?  It was a great excuse to go to Staples and get supplies!  I created a binder with a section for each subject that listed the state standards which I then used to create our goals for the year.  From now on, our goals will be the main focus of his learning.  Since these are the things I want him to know, these are the things we should be doing.  So, right now, all books and curriculum are going to be resources- not daily work.  I gave him the binder and told him to pick what goal he wanted to work on.  Some are short term and others will take him awhile. 

Today he completed 1 goal- know all states and capitals.  He also got a book of Edgar Allen Poe stories.  And, he got half of an algebra chapter done.  Since he sometimes has a hard time with change, I think this was a pretty good first day for him.  His incentive is that after completing 10 goals, he gets an entire day off.  That doesn’t happen much around here.  No snow days or teacher institute days for us.  Sometimes we even skip the holidays- actually probably most of the small ones.

And, I feel better knowing we are working directly on our goals and not just eventually getting to them.  I am sure by doing his research he will learn things other than the goals.  Also, some of them are pretty in depth and cover alot of information.  So, I now feel like we are back on track. 

The second thing of the day is this.  I was just researching to find study guides for Poe- not my favorite author (or even close!).  I came across this site and am amazed that this is all free!  http://www.sparknotes.com/ Most of the things I was finding were subscription things.  But, to find this many study guides and tests on so many subjects was amazing!  I am familiar with their books because I have bought several for my ds to use.  He loves the critical thinking one.  So, I am really happy to share this with you and hope you find it as useful as I have so far.

Thought number three.  I am so glad I am homeschooling!  Where else can I teach my son what I ant him to know and make sure I am teaching in a way he understands and retains the information?  And most importantly, where else can I change mid way through the year if it’s not working and still accomplish what needs to be done? 

And, with that, I’ll end. 

February 5, 2008

I just finished dinner and I have a little time to write before my dh gets impatient and wants to play his game on the laptop.

So, let me share the good news!  We have all – including dh- sat at the table for dinner two nights in a row!  I’m 2/3 on my way to achieving that goal this week and it’s only Tuesday! 

On the other hand, my exercising is not going as well.  By the time I get home, make dinner, sit down at the table and eat (yay!) and then go over any school work with my son, there is no time left to exercise.  Where do people fit this all in?  My only option seems to be to do it first thing in the morning.  So, maybe I will try that.

So, some of you have asked about my grocery shopping.  I have to admit that I get a strange joy out of spending as little as possible to get real food to make real dinners.  So, spending $20 is about usual- if not more than lately.  Alot of times, I have meat in the freezer from a good sale.  And, I had bought a lot of cans of fruits and vegetables when they were on sale.  But, here is what I bought on $20.  

whole chicken- frozen

cream cheese block

shredded cheese

pot pies- the only easy, processed food for the week

refrig crescent roll tube

2 lbs ground turkey- well, I compromised with my dh and got 1 turkey and 1 ground beef to mix together

tortillas

salsa

lunchmeat variety pack- turkey and ham

salad mix

pretzels

One thing that helps is to plan on using leftovers.  For instance, yesterday I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot and then today I used the rest of the chicken to make my chicken burritos- which were very good!  (here’s the link to the site I found the recipe on http://momadvice.com/food/aldi_meal_plan4.aspx )  My family goes in spurts with eating leftovers.  So, since I hate throwing food away, it’s much better if I can find another way to use them up.

The taco bake recipe I am going to use is one I found online, but have not tried yet.  http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=157947 I’ll let you know Thursday.

The envelope system seems to be getting easier.  I am realizing that each week should get easier because some of the envelopes accumulate each week.  So, the first week is probably the worst because there was nothing to start with except what I put in there Friday.  My dh called me today to ask which envelope to take money out of for something.  That, I feel was a step in the right direction rather than just using the bank card to get it.  As Dave Ramsey’s book says- baby steps!

Living the Simple Life- Not Starting Out So Simple

February 3, 2008

     Inspired by several people close to me, I have started a process to make my life more simple and therefore, better.  Living in the busy chaos of life in these times seems to be unfulfilling at times.  So, maybe by going back to the way things used to be before my time- simple and focused- I can become more focused on the things I enjoy and have more time to spend with those I love.

     The first goal I had was to create a better budget system.  I used to do the envelope thing and I lovrd it.  Pretty much, at each payday, money gets put in each envelope which is designated for a certain thing- groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.- and then, when it’s gone for the week, it’s gone.  I loved this system because after the initial planning and aside from the weekly “stuffing the envelopes”, there is no thnking involved.  I know how much was spent or not spent and I know where the money goes each week.  Unfortunately, my dh didn’t really get into this system when I tried it after we got married.  But, thanks to his friends recommending it to him and the book by Dave Ramsey, My Total Money Makeover, we are trying it again.  This is week one.  We started Friday with my paycheck and the begining of the month.  it seemed to be the perfect time.  The only problem was my dh was having pizza cravings and cheap pizza just wouldn’t do.  So, $30 later, he had pizza- from a place he loves and I don’t like- and our envelopes were already off.  Trying to relax and understand this is going to be a hard thing to get used to, I wasn’t very successful at.  But, by later that evening, I had refigured the weekly envelopes to add up.  We’ll see how the rest of the week goes!

I just spent $20 on groceries for the week- $10 less than our budget due to the pizza.  When I make out a menu and really plan the list, I’m amazed that I can have well balanced, good meals every day for very little money.  When I don’t plan ahead, it’s amazing how much I spend on the junk I end up buying!  This week we are having chicken in the crock pot, burritos, spaghetti, pot pies, and taco bake casserole. 

The next project for the day is what I am sitting here writing to procrastinate for.  My cousing had the idea to eliminate so much laundry and clutter by limiting the amount of clothing for everyone in the house.  I am not that brave since I have to go to work every day and need to wear different clothes.  Also, I am not worried about the amount of laundry I contribute.  My son on the other hand has two very bad habits.  The first is that he would rather put clean clothes back in the laundry than folding them and putting them away.  This is one of my biggest pet peaves!  The second is that whenever he gets something out to wear, he gets every single thing out of his drawers!  I mean everything!  And, then it all gets thrown in a pile on the floor where it stays until we have to yell at him to clean his room.  So, by giving him only a fewn options of clothing, there will be a smaller pile on his floor and he will be forced to put it away or else have nothing to wear!  I am hoping this works!

My other project for the day is to update my son’s school work.  Usually this time of year, I am not in charge of his school.  But, due to my dh having heart surgery, he has not been keepng up with it.  So, today I am going to make sure things are on track and plan for this week of school.  It will be a review week- which we have periodically to make sure he is retaining the information.  Also, at the begining of the year I created our book of goals for the year and I really need to start checking them off.  I know some of them have been accomplished and others should have been accomplished and I really need to regain my focus on his studies.  Pretty soon, it will be springtime and school will not be as easy then- too many distractions!

Focusing on taking better care of myself is on the list.  But, as most of you mom’s know, it usually doesn’t ever make it to the top of the list.  I hear people always saying you should take time out for yourself.  But, what do I take that time out of?  I get up and go to work early.  No high maintenance or prep time for me, it’s usually the get up and go look.  So, doing anything in the morning only takes time out of sleeping.  Does that sound like a good idea?  I’m thinking no.  But, then there’s the evening when I get home.  Ok.  I admit it.  I’m lucky to get dinner made before I colapse for the night!  But, I guess that seems to be my only option.  But, it just seems that since I come home so tired, I am setting myself up to fail by planning to excercise then.  But, I’ll keep you posted.   

I had thought several weeks ago about having weekly goals to accomplish.  Two weeks ago, they were to eat at the table more and to play games more as a family- or at least with my son.  I’m making an effort on both of these but fell a little short this week and didn’t make any new ones for last week.  This upcoming week here are my goals.  Although they sound easy, sometimes, they are not easy in my world.

Goal 1- excercise 3 times this week

Goal 2- keep up with schoolwork checking

Goal 3- continue the first goals- dinner time 3 times a week and game time at least once

So, I believe these are all good things- things to make life easier.  But, getting them started- making myself do them- sometimes seems to be a hurdle I’m not too sure about!  

Creating a Mission Statement

October 13, 2007

After a particularly stressful discussion, I went online to search for some inspiration.  Trying to regain focus in my life, I referred back to something from my highschool days.  I was in a test program for Stephen Covey’s 7 Habit’s of Highly Effective People.  They were in the process of creating a high school class and I was lucky enough to be one of the guinea pigs!  So, I went online and did a search for his website. The result was that I created a mission statement for my life- in about 15 minutes!  With the philosophy that the first thoughts that come to mind are the most important to a person, they use thoughtful, yet simple, questions to get people to realize thier values and thier purpose.  These answers are then repeated back in order to create action sentences- ways people will live thier values and purposes. Check out this link to create your own mission statement.  You can read mine below.  I might make some changes to it- mainly the order it’s written in.  But that’s ok.  Here is the great quote they gave as soon as the mission statement was saved.  “Creating,defining, and refining your mission statement is an ongoing process because life is an ongoing process.”  Interesting thought.

Your Kickstart Mission Statement:
I will try to respect all people, places, and things.
I will help my son to become the wonderful person he has the potential to be.
I will do what I can to have a happy and loving relationship with my husband.
I will try to laugh rather than cry, to look at the lighter side of things.
I will work to be a person of integrity.
I will put God higher in my life by listening to the direction He is trying to lead me in and by trying to follow it.
I will be honest- both with other people and myself.
I will try to be a good friend to others- listening to them and helping them when they need me.
I will try to listen to what others have to say and put myself in their shoes in order to understand where they are coming from.
I will try to be a happy, light- hearted, likeable person- easy to be around.
I will work to achieve happiness. Whether it is my original plan or I have been thrown a curve, I will try to make the best of the situation I am in.
I will spend time with my family, immediate and extended, knowing that they are very dear to me.
I will follow through with what I commit to doing, and also let others know I expect the same of them.
I will also look at the situation and try to understand if someone does not follow through with their commitment to me- realizing that I cannot change others, only my response to them.

Click here to create your own mission statement- http://www.franklincovey.com/missionbuilder/flash/missionIntro.html?c=MissionStmntC