Thursday, June 9, 2016

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night (The Night Trilogy, #1)Night by Elie Wiesel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wonder why we never read this book in high school during our study of the Holocaust. So very short but so emotional. The one we read in school was the Diary of Anne Frank. Hers was more personal and more in depth. This is the story of a jewish boy and his family's experience of being sent to concentration camp after concentration camp. I just kept thinking why did they keep making them run or hauling them around in cattle cars without food or water for days. What was the point? Then I thought about the timing. It would of been close to the end of the war. They were basically forgotten. It ended up saving some of their lives. Although this is a short book it leaves you with so many uncomfortable feelings and questions. Most of them start with.. WHY??! I cried for the boy so many times especially the end with his father. The hell that they were put through. Putting it on my 16 year old son's reading pile for homeschool next year. These things shouldn't be forgotten. I just realized this was a trilogy and now I will have to get the next two books.
Can be purchased at this link:  Amazon

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Saturday, May 14, 2016


This isn't a how to cope with anxiety post.  I don't have the answer.  This is an experience post about anxiety.

Homeschooling with anxiety AND homeschooling an anxious child can lead to some interesting conversations and actions. My son and I both have anxiety.  We both don't cope well with changes or pressures.  My son is 16 and has been in public school since he started 6th grade.  If you've read my blog then you know before that he was homeschooled.  His public school journey was a mixed bag.  He enjoyed being around kids and the changing classes made it more interesting for him.  He needed a change of scenery to keep him stimulated.  At the same time dealing with peer pressure, social norms, hormones, other people, and bullies made him miserable.  When he is anxious he lashes out or shuts down.  So you either get the glassy eyed stare or raging moody teenager. There is no in between.

I've realized that he gets it from me. I have trouble with people skills, changes, and knowing what to do in social situations.  Only difference is that I've had years of experience dealing with it.  I was never homeschooled.  School was the only option.  I spent many of my school years wishing a hole would open below me and swallow me whole.  Even as an adult when faced with a different situation I can react badly or shut down.  I think those experiences make me understand some of what my son feels and want to help/protect him.  I know that isn't always realistic.

The thing about anxiety is that people that don't deal with it have no idea what you are feeling.  They don't know how to deal with you or what to do.  They often feel we are over reacting or even attacking them.  When in reality we are just trying to cope with our overwhelming emotions.  It can cause problems in relationships and friendships.

Let me see if I can describe anxiety.  My anxiety anyway.  Its this feeling like the world is getting smaller, the place you once felt safe doesn't feel safe anymore, that everything is and can go wrong.  Its a feeling in your chest.  Mine feels like an asthma attack.  I feel like I have tensed up and can't relax.  All my emotions are near the surface.  All my fears are running back and forth in my mind.  All the doubts and all the scenarios have played themselves out in my mind.  I can cry without being provoked.  I can stare into space for an hour and not know it.  My head is full of cotton.  When I try to talk to someone, it makes it worse.  They stare at you like you are the craziest person they know.  They don't understand why you are so upset.  Then I second guess everything I said.  Did I say the wrong thing?  Should I have said that?  Will they be mad?  Will they run as far away from me as possible?  Now.. take that and apply it to all stressful situations.

The key is learning triggers and avoiding them.  Great advice.  Wish life would comply with that request.  

Homeschooling can be good and bad for the anxiety-prone person.  It can give you the calm, stable environment you need to learn in.  At the same time you build yourself a cocoon and shut out the bad things.  This of course can lead to stronger reactions when you do have to deal with difficult things.  Changes are hard.

As a first time high school homeschool mom, my anxiety is really high.  I'm dealing with some personal issues.  We have people staying with us while they get on their feet which was kind of sprung on me at the last moment.  We also have a mostly torn apart basement that needs massive work to deal with the after effects of being flooded twice.  All our homeschool things, my books, our possessions that were in the basement are either scattered through out an already full house or in a full storage.  My son also was attacked at school and has no desire to return to school next year.  So I'm trying to figure out the best options to homeschool him and make sure he gets all the credits and help he will need to eventually enter college.   Learning about transcripts, credit requirements, different curriculum levels, learning where your child is out at those levels, all the different testings (PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT II).  Also support systems.  Co-ops would be a great help but what if anxious child refuses (like mine did).  Then where do you stand.  Getting started is a challenge.

High school is no joke.  I'm not even sure where to start.  Research.  Research.  I know that much. The thing about me is once my anxiety gets too high I freeze.  So I've frozen.  At least I have the summer to help get things sorted out.  Oh and don't forget the budget.  I have a very strict budget to work with too.

This was a long, rambling post.

Do you deal with anxiety?  Have someone you live with that has this type of anxiety?  Do you homeschool while dealing with anxiety?  Do you homeschool an anxious teen?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Little library and Hand Rhymes

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Booktube Newbie Tag

Did you know I have a youtube channel for books, reading, and homeschooling?
I posted this and life got in the way.  I haven't posted anything since but you can check out this if you want.  Hopefully when life calms down I can get back to posting more.

Book Review: I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

In my quest for literature that I can read aloud or listen to the audio book that will allow my sheltered children to see how other children live around the world, I came across this title.  I personally wanted to listen to it first to see how graphic it is.  Its not at all graphic.  I wonder if my 9 and 10 year old might be a bit young to know really what the book eludes to in the married life part.  I may wait a few more years to let them read it.  My 16 year old I would have no problem with him reading or listening to this book.  

The AR Book site ( ) says the book is a 6.2 reading level so that seems about right to me.  If you didn't know, that website is great for finding out the grade level and finding the ar testing code for school children.  As a homeschooler we don't have AR testing, of course, but its helpful in finding appropriate reading material.  Quite a helpful site. 

Audible has a great audio reading of the book which you can download free when you sign up for a trial.  
Amazon of course has a paperback copy for around $7 new which is a pretty good price.  

The story is told from the girl Nujood Ali as she looks back on her ordeal.  She comes from a poor family in Yemen who have some family trouble.  Her father agrees to marry her to a man 30 years older than she is.  It is told that this is unfortunately not uncommon in this part of the world.  At the end you hear more of what is happening to help other young girls in similar situations.  She is very matter of fact and tells you how the events unfold from the eyes of a child.  I was amazed that after being beaten, abused, and mistreated in so many ways by her husband at the age of 10, she still had the determination to stand up for herself and demand a divorce in court.   I wonder what has become of her.  I plan to research more and see where she is now. 

I was struck by how much more of a child she was than my girls who are the same age are in some ways.  They are very sheltered (and I'm cool with that) but they aren't interested in candy or toys.  It makes me realize how different the culture there versus the culture here.  She spoke of not having a tv.  My children have always had a tv, ipods, and electronics.  Candy or toys wouldn't be exciting for them.  And her excitement at school.  School there wasn't mandatory. I say wasn't because I don't know if things have changed since the book was published.  I can already imagine working this into a unit.  Learning about Yemen, where it is located, all about the culture and the people.  I hope when they do read it aloud that it opens us up to conversations about change, injustice, morality, and being strong.  

I loved the audio version because they pronounced the words that I would probably have butchered if I had read it aloud.  

Hope this all made sense and someone finds its useful.  I just wanted to share my thoughts.  
Blessed Be.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Library Book Choices - March 1, 2016

The newest video is up on my 10 year old's library book choices for the week.

Some great books and some boring books.  If you are interesting in hearing more about any of these let me know.  Also if you need any names that I probably butchered, I can reply here with them.

Be Blessed!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Too old for crafts?

Do you think that kids get to old for crafts?  Or is it just the personality of the kid?  My daughters used to love crafts.  They would always ask to create something.  They loved beads, cutting paper, coloring, pop-up cards, making christmas ornaments.  Now at 9, 10 and 16, they inform me they are "too old for crafts".   They are even against decorating for holidays.

Today I suggested we cut out some shamrocks to hang or a shamrock suncatcher I saw here.   I got an eye roll and a firm no from the 9 year old.  Sigh.

Some days it seems that the only thing they are interested in is youtube and video gaming.

What do you think?  Are today's kids "too old for crafts"?  Can we convince them to keep being crafty?  How do you encourage kids who only want video games and youtube without taking away all electronics?

I even have a variety of kids in different school situations.  My homeschooled daughter thinks the same way my public school kids do.

Give me your thoughts.