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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8 things I would do differently if I was to homeschool all over again

Well.. It's been 2 years and 3 months since I last had a child I could call a homeschooler. My youngest is now a college Jr.  I think a thoughtful retrospective is in order.  So, here are 8 things I would do differently if I were to homeschool all over again, and a couple things I would do the same.

1. Consistency is visiting museums, parks, playgrounds, and shows weekly.  I think I did this well when they were both in middle school, but the wigglyness of them when they were little and the busyness of them as high school students got in the way. But, It was a great bonding time and I wish I had been more consistent.

2. Food control. Kids do what you do, and I did not mind what I was eating very well, nor what they were eating. The kids and I had too much access to the fridge. I should have planned ahead better and kept fruit on the table instead of a free-for-all.

3. I should have been more strict about deadlines for assignments.  There were plenty of times when I let them pat me on the head and promise to do better next time.  Once they hit high school, I should have been more strict about deadlines.  That would have helped with the transition to college.

4.  I shouldn't have discussed homeschooling with relatives and non homeschooling friends.  Too many times it just ended up with upset feelings... mine.

5.  I should not have discussed homeschooling at parties.  I found myself being the entertainment far too often.  I should have just answered that question about where they go to school as matter-of-factly as the kids did and then changed the subject.

6.  I should have pushed harder when they wanted to quit something.  Fencing for instance, they gave up too soon.  Not because they weren't good, but because they weren't making friends.  That's not a good reason to walk away.

7.  We should have taken advantage of duel enrollment programs.  My son, now a college Sr. thinks he would have transitioned better into college had he taken some courses at the local college first, or even taken some academic classes at the local high school.  Neither of these were easily available to us the year he was a Sr. in High school, but If I was willing to drive a little ways, we could have found a school that would take him.  (our county began welcoming students the very next year).  I agree with him that his first two years in college would have been less of a struggle with home real life experiences and easing into the college environment.  The good news  is that he eventually got the hang of things and has been doing great.

8. We should have put more variety in our outside activities.  The kids did attend a great program that taught history through the arts, and optional academics (we opted to do academics independently).  The only problem is that looking back, there were times when we should have stepped outside of the program for some variety, to try a different theatre program for one show, or do experience a different choir or something because what is best for the group isn't always best for the individual child, and too much loyalty can bite you in the butt. But, in all honesty, I was being lazy and trying to keep all activities localized to avoid too much driving.

Things I would not change.  

1.  We would have still joined the homeschool arts and history program because it was awesome and my kids did make life-long friends. It is important to have a tribe.  To me this was akin to a homeschool co-op. I am even glad that I spent a lot of money for this program.

2. I am so glad that we used free online programs and resources instead of buying boxed curriculum.  My kids had access to the world on knowledge on the internet and I was able to use those extra hundreds of dollars a year for experiences and specialty classes.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

GETTing shafted in NYC

update: GETT gave me a partial refund, but would not communicate with me. 

It's been some kind of week.  I wrote about the problem with Time Warner and Acceller in my last post.  I am waiting for my reimbursement that was promised AFTER I wrote a blog about it, tweeted it, and forwarded it to Acceller.

So everyone knows not to trust Time Warner, that is not a big surprise. But what about your friendly hot dog vendor.  A couple of days into my first trip to NY to apartment hunt back in April, or was it May, I heard about the following new story where a hot dog vendor was caught charging $30.00 for a hot dog.  This was the day after I paid $6.00 for a hot dog and a Snaffle.  I found out later that should have cost me $3 to $4 and prices should have been posted.  I walked by that same vendor yesterday, and I really wanted to punch him.  I'm just tired of people being dishonest like that.

Update of GETT situation, (below) no one would speak to me about it, but I did get a $9.00 refund in my account.  The chances of me using this service again is low... I do have a coupon for a $10.00 ride, which I may use to give them a second chance... maybe. 

Speaking of dishonesty and over charging, GETT, a car service/App similar to Uber and LYFT

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When Time Warner and Acceller ripped me off

Don't mess with a woman who takes notes
I knew getting an apartment in NYC had its pitfalls.  Needless to say, I got ripped off by companies that you would expect to do good business... but wait, they are monopolies, why should they bother.  I should have expected to get ripped of.

It went like this.  I called ConEdison to set up my electricity.  That went well. Before I ended the call, I was asked if I wanted their help in setting up my TV and Internet. I said sure.  They said, OK we are transferring you over to someone who will verify that your Electric was set up properly, and then they will help you with your TV and Internet.  I thought this meant I would be sent to another department within Con-Ed, but that was not the case.  They transferred me to a company called Acceller (AKA Home Connections), and no one ever once mentioned that I was now dealing with a company that gets paid to "help me" set up my utilities.

I asked the operator (name I was given is Cody Bland) what my options were.  He Strongly sold me on Time Warner.  I made it clear that I needed the smallest TV package as watching TV was not the reason we were getting an apartment in NY.  I was told, and I quote, " Basic service at Time Warner is $44.99 for 126 channels".  I said fine and move forward, and even paid a $50 deposit even though my credit is stellar.  I then asked about Verizon Fios, my

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Purging and simplifying

At the end of my last post I mentioned that being in a small apartment made me want to simplify at home.  After being in this house for 15 years and raising my kids, and homeschooling them here, I have accumulated more stuff than a girl can possibly need.  Even after giving away a lot of the homeschool curriculum and such, I am still overwhelmed with stuff.  Having the spare apartment in NYC makes that crystal clear when I come home.

So I have been home in Atlanta for just over two weeks and working on costuming a show.  It opened this weekend, and I am finally coming up for air.  Right before I started sewing, immediately after I got home, I cut the contents of my closet by 2/3.  I kept 1/3 of the items in my closet.  It was quite a feat, but I had to do it while I was still excited about it.  Since then, I have not done laundry, but have had something quite decent to wear every day, and could probably squeeze out 2 or 3 more outfits before I had to wear winter clothes or something exceedingly fancy.  So, I now know I did the right thing by paring down my closet!

I have spent all of last few weeks furiously sewing for Cabaret.  I am so pleased that so many people are mentioning the costumes in their comments and reviews.  We are so proud!  The show is definitely rated age 16+, I'd probably say 18+.  It is of course about a seedy night club and the happenings of people involved in it as Hitler came to power.  Suggestiveness, scant costumes, and violence.... but it is more than anything else, historical, and a reminder that if we look away from atrocities happening to other people, we are also perpetrators... AND it is just a matter of time before those horrors are turned on us.

I haven't had the time to take photos of costumes and did not get permission from the actors, so I will be posting costume photos later.