Monday, September 28, 2009

Homeschool, oh Homeschool!

This morning was pretty successful. On a scale of one to ten, with one being screaming (both kids and me) and ten being schoolhouse bliss, I would say we hit at least an eight. The boys happily did the work presented, including reading, domino math, and the beginnings of a lesson on Alaska which also included reading two chapters from "The Klondike Kid Book One: Sailing for Gold" by Deborah Hopkinson. We also had a little free dancing, putting a puzzle of the U.S. together, and a walk with the dogs where we watched two Magpies perch in the trees. DD also started her first reading lesson, but decided in the middle that she just didn't want to do that, so she moved into some matching and then art activities. The boys still need to do a writing exercise that is sentence writing rather than just practicing letters, but if we don't get to it today, we will tomorrow. I'm going to take it pretty easy this week until the funds come in and I can get the rest of the curriculum materials.

I also seem to need to research some music lessons of some sort. The boys want to learn trombone and trumpet, but they have agreed to start with piano to give them a foundation in reading music. We'll see how that goes over time. LOL

Now a peaceful afternoon and then knitting guild tonight!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Winter is coming.

As I walked the boys to school these last couple of days, our conversations have been all about the coming snow! There is lots of termination dust on the mountains which can be seen clearly beyond the school and it has been cold and frosty. We have talked about why we can see our breath in the cold as well as what causes frost on the grass. Guess this home schooling thing may just work! LOL In the meantime, it's a joy to share these little discoveries of our new home with children so eager to take it all in!

DD and I spent our last girl only day at the library this morning. It may be the only "story time" she gets to attend as I'm afraid the boys will not be too enthusiastic. We will have to continue our little family story times here at home with a mix of books and songs of the kids choosing to off set not attending the overcrowded time at the library. I don't think she will miss it too much as long as she still gets to go and pick books. I think that was her favorite part anyway!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It hasn't stopped!

Well, after meeting with the teacher, seeing that this entire year would be mostly repeat, hearing no effort to change that, and worst of all, not receiving even a hint that she had made a mistake let alone an apology - we are in fact bringing the boys home for school. We have left them for this week to give me a chance to make all the arrangements/preparations and to give them a chance to say goodbye to classmates. I filed the application with Chugach School District Correspondence School yesterday and happily came home with an armload of materials to check out. They will be there with a teacher to assist me, materials on occasion, funding for those materials they don't already have, and in general support for my endeavors. They will also help with the necessary assessments and paperwork to maintain compliance with state laws. The program choices will still be ours though so long as the children meet or exceed the standards set. I'm nervous but also very happy that the fiasco will soon be behind us!

Friday, September 18, 2009

What a week!

I have been totally scrambling. Some of you already know that my husband and I are a bit unhappy with the boys school. In over a month of education absolutely nothing has been new to them, it was all covered last year and worked on by us during the summer to maintain the great levels they had achieved. Well, I began the research necessary to bring them home for home schooling if the school/teacher can not prove to me that this is going to change. I learned that if I planned on making this move we have to do it by the end of next week to get full funding for curriculum and materials so I have been scrambling to determine just what/how to do all of this and still meet state guidelines. I have run across some very helpful people in the process.

I have also determined that we have a bigger problem than just the curriculum not meeting the needs of our sons. This is appearing to be a bit of a teacher issue. Her method of dealing with our children has proven to be thoughtless and neglectful. I was compelled to speak with the principal of the school regarding her actions after she sent one son to the empty and locked classroom by himself when she was supposed to have sent him to the office to meet with me. For any of you thinking this was minor, all you had to do was see my sons tear-streaked face and heard the desperation in his voice and you would understand the severity of this action. He is only 6 years old after all, and was devastated that he was unable to complete the task he had been sent to do. He also never received the message that he was to go to the office. Had he been able to get into that classroom he would have proceeded to the parking lot, while I waited for him in the in the building and around a corner unable to see him. As a note: I have hesitated to write about this here, but feel my thoughts and reasons for the actions we are taking need to be understood by all.

So, I meet with the teacher this afternoon and anxiously await some form of apology for her lapse. I will also be taking a closer look at the work that is yet to come. We will be making our decision this weekend. Please say a prayer for us that we make the right one.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Super quick update!

Well, I finally got the OS updated this afternoon. I just love how Macs work. It took just under an hour, I regained nearly 40 GBs of hard drive space and it is running perfectly smooth. If I lost any software, it was stuff I don't use, because everything I've opened (and do open on a regular basis) works fine. When I can, I need to upgrade my Photoshop Elements, but since I only use this in creating tutorials, running the legacy app 'Rosetta' will do for now. (Rosetta is a method used by the OS to run older apps that were intended for the non-intel chip machines. It opened my old PSE and it ran just fine, it was just a little slow to actually start up.) So far I haven't noticed any speed increases, but since this is a newer machine at only a year old, maybe I won't really detect any of that. All in all, it has once again been a very smooth transition.

DS#2 is a little ill today and we will be headed to the Doctors soon. Seems he has a bit of an ear infection, but he's not in horrible pain. It interfered with sleep last night until we got the Ibuprofin in him, then he settled right down and slept through the night.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

First Photoshop Tutorial - Using Bridge CS4 Output to Create Photo Grids

Replacing the old Photoshop Picture Package is CS4’s Output in Bridge. Here you can choose one or many photos, create a page layout and then print, or save it as a PDF or web gallery. I’m going to focus on creating a PDF so that it can be opened in Photoshop and added to a layout. Here’s what you need to do:

Open Bridge and select photos for your grid. Click the Output workspace, found on the upper right next to Essentials, Filmstrip, and Metadata.

On the Output Palette (right side of your workspace) make your document selections; size, resolution and layout. In my case I chose 12 x 12 inches so that my pictures would fit a standard scrapbook layout, 300 ppi to match my layout resolution, and seven columns (this number will match the number of photos chosen, or if you want multiples of one picture, how many images you need across your paper) and one row (my choice makes a filmstrip type layout, you may want more rows to achieve the type grid you desire).

Click PDF at the top of the Output Palette then click the save button at the bottom, choose a location where it is easy to find. You will receive a message when the process is done. Now Open this file in Photoshop. You will get an import dialogue box, leave all settings as they are and click OK.

Notice that you now have perfectly sized photos on a transparent background ready to add to your scrapbook page.

Hope you have fun working on your Grid Layouts!

(as the photo's are hard to see, if you would like a PDF copy, please post a comment with an email address and I will send it to you. Thanks)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Todays Thoughts!

I was sitting reading stories to DD before her nap and having a hard time concentrating. You see, I had turned the TV on for a few minutes while we ate lunch and caught the tale end of the Today show (well really that semi-today show thing with Hoda and Kathy Lee). Like so many others they had a brief tribute to those lost eight years ago. So, there I sat, smelling peanut butter and 3 year old sweetness and thinking of those moments that we all spent in fear, anguish, and outrage realizing just how far away it feels. I also realized just how many of those feelings will never go away.

How many times in our history have man-made disasters like this been wrought upon unsuspecting and undeserving people? How many men, women and children have suffered at the hands of others so that a wicked few could prove a point? We are none of us innocent. Even our own have created disasters of this kind and perpetrated these evils in the guise of good. How many tears do the innocent have to shed for the world to finally realize true and lasting peace? Will we ever get it through our heads that war will not solve what ails us?

I pray that some day, maybe even in my children's lifetime, we can finally live in a world that thinks more about taking care of one another than about how different we all are. In a world that smiles instead of cries.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm wearin' a frown!

Well, for those of you waiting to hear: I did not get the online teaching job. I was aware that the techniques used to convey the information were so unfamiliar to me, that I was ill-prepared. Trying to teach in an online chat was so new that I really did not show my best side. I realized very quickly that I was not passing the material on to the "students" satisfactorily. It was truly a learning experience and I look forward to exploring the possibilities further. In the mean time, I will continue my bid to teach adult ed courses through our Parks and Recs Department.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Just a quick note!

It's been a busy weekend and not all of us have been well. DD came down with a cold and was just miserable yesterday, but even with a runny nose today was a much happier camper. But the weather has been brilliant, warm and sunny so we took off this afternoon and played a little. We checked out a park that is just a short drive from the house. It was OK, but not really enough real trails to be good with the kids, and no play equipment either. So we drove down Turnagain Arm a bit and played at the turn out where they have that old train snow plow on display. The kids loved that and did a lot of running around and around the train. Hopefully I got some good pictures and will be able to post them soon!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Upcoming Holiday!

Well, we have a long weekend ahead, and what will we be doing? Hopefully something fun, but so far no big plans. DH needs to car shop. The radiator hose blew and when you add all the little things that need to be fixed, it's cheaper to buy a new "used" car. One of the dealers here is offering his own "cash for klunkers" deal and is giving $4500 on any trade in whether it runs or not. Since that is twice what we paid, we are hoping to upgrade to something a little better running.

I also want to do a photo shoot of the dogs. I will add the family in and hopefully will get some of all of us together. I haven't used the timer before and with 7 living beings we will have to see what happens. But we are supposed to have good weather, so we can do them outside where I might get some decent shots. Who knows, we might be creating our Christmas photo's this weekend.

Add to all that, the software upgrades arrived yesterday, I seem to have a pretty full weekend ahead. As a matter of fact, it might be Monday before I really get to finish the computer.

Here's hoping you all have a lovely holiday! (And for those of you outside the U.S., have a wonderful weekend and don't work too hard!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another very normal day!

It's kind of quiet around here. With the boys at school and just DD and I at the house it can get rather humdrum. We had our girls outing yesterday though. This time we just went shopping. My daughter is really quite good so long as it is just her and I. It's when the boys come along that things get out of control. No matter how hard you run them, they just always seem to have more energy than I do. With her along, all I have to worry about is how many times I have to say "No, we aren't buying one of those today." Yesterday this included a Hannah Montana clothes hamper, every shirt in both the boys and girls clothing department regardless of size, and a few odd groceries that we really don't need.

I'm sitting on pins and needles hoping to have big news, but it will be at least another day before it comes in. Just say a little prayer that it all goes well and we will leave it at that!