Yes, Trust Me…I Get The Irony

The irony of a gal who teaches a blog writing course, but never actually blogs.  Mm-hmm.  I see all your eye-rolls and giggles. 

But until I figure out how to find time for both, then the course wins.  Why?  Because they haven’t figured out how hypocritical I am. 

You guys knew that ages ago. 

So there.  I’ll try to do better this week.  I swear I’ll try.

So go ahead and enjoy some Alanis and roll your eyes all you want until then…


Cancun is Highly Overrated

I have officially come to the end of the first week of Topsy-Techie spring break.  No homeschooling.  No work.  No worries.  I barely even opened up my computer except to veg out to some older episodes of House and Everwood. 

There was lots of hiking and searching out waterfalls.  I offer the following evidence…

011 Wildcat Branch Falls

020 Long Shoals

027 Twin Falls

007 Issaqueena Falls


Now I know that for a lot of people a couple decades younger than myself, you haven’t HAD spring break unless you’ve hit Cancun, Lauderdale, Miami Beach, or Acapulco.  You also probably haven’t had spring break unless you’ve done jell-o shots off of a stranger’s belly or played enough drinking games to show up on Girls Gone Wild XIX. 

However, in my humble Topsy-Techie opinion, this spring break was almost perfect.  Aside from the aforementioned hiking, there was plenty of catching up on needed z’s, playing family games, eating out, watching the first season of Big Bang Theory together (priceless!), bowling, playing with the dogs, and reading, reading, reading. 

I say almost perfect because H-T and I came down with chest colds near the end of the week which caused us to miss out on a couple days of fun.  But all in all, a glorious week.

One week down.  One to go.  Golly, I love spring!!!


Friday’s Hardwired Homeschool Hints

fridays hardwired homeschool hints pic I’ve meant to do a blog post on this website for such a long time, and I kept putting it on the back burner…so this is the week to finally introduce you to…

I simply love the idea of creative, excited educators making videos about the subjects they are passionate about, and then offering those videos to students.  Being the parent of one VERY right-brained kiddo, and a left-brained one who still appreciates the power of a good video, this is a program we plan to utilize a lot in the near future.

I’ve glanced through several of the videos myself, and I think I might like to go back to high school tomorrow, if it could all be like this…

Brightstorm has video courses on subjects like:

  • **College Readiness
  • **Algebra I and II
  • **Literature
  • **Writing
  • **AP Biology
  • **AP US Government
  • **Geometry
  • **US History

Purchasing a course gives you one year access to the videos, so that students can work at their own pace through the lessons.  In addition to the videos, students have access to interactive quizzes, downloadable resources, and teacher-selected web resources.

For students who want to learn according to their own learning style, and in their own timing – – (throat clear) UNSCHOOLERS (throat clear) – – this is a lovely way to work independently through a subject.  But anyone, homeschooler or public schooler, could benefit from this learning tool.

So head over to Brightstorm, take the tour, and check out what they have to offer.  I’m telling you right now that you will be impressed…


Looking For The Emergency “Off” Button

Yet another busy week is passing by, and I am looking around wondering if the guy who controls this merry-go-round might have stepped out for a smoke.

This past weekend I attended a youth conference with some of the youth from my church, including Uber.  After two nights, three days, and one lost hour of daylight savings with around 80 teenagers, I’m a bit coughed up and spit out.  Hubby seems, wisely, to be mostly steering clear of me until I have completely recuperated.

I’m also in week four of the Blog Writing Course.  We even added another student this week, so I’m trying to corral around 20 newbie bloggers now.  And the diversity of their themes fascinates me to no end.

We’ve got mom bloggers, homeschool bloggers, self-improvement bloggers, travel bloggers, educational bloggers, business bloggers, and one gentleman who is blogging about the ethics of drinking in America. 

Multifarious much, eh?carousel

So all this busyness has continued to keep me away from Topsy-Techieland for far longer than I like. But the good news is that the  next two weeks are spring break for the Topsies!!  I’ve kindly requested that the merry-go-round be closed for repairs, so that we can get some much needed waterfall-visiting time in (ok, and maybe a smidge of yard work as well). 

Pictures of our hikes to follow.

Stay tuned…

Has Keyboarding Ruined My Children For Life?

So I’ve found one sincere downside to the big wide world of high-tech homeschool.  My children’s handwriting is ATROCIOUS.  Think : second grade essay without lined paper.  That’s my boys.

Actually, I can’t blame it ALL on the constant keyboarding.  Uber’s neurological issues have always given him the unfortunate side handwriting effect of hand tremors and insufficient fine motor skills.  And H-T’s dyslexia has always made writing anything a chore.  There might also be a genetic component…I had award-winning bad handwriting as a kid.  Every report card I got in elementary school was full of back-handed compliments like…”she has such promise as a young writer, if only her work weren’t so damn sloppy.”

Ok, maybe I added the “damn” for effect, but that was basically the way my mom read it, based on how hard she would come down on me afterward.

My handwriting didn’t seem to improve, either, as I edged closer to middle school, until one day when I went to visit my dad (my parents were divorced and I visited my dad often on weekends and summers).

Dad was one of those classic guilty divorced dads who tried to buy me things to make up for his absence.  Only problem was, he was always dead broke, so instead of picking me out the latest Bloomingdale treasures, he went thrift shopping for me. Dad was a regular fixture at every flea market, yard sale, and thrift store within a 100-mile radius of his house.  He would take hours each week scouring through other people’s cast-offs to find the very things he thought I would like.  And doggone if he wasn’t usually right on the money!

Well, on the day in question, when I showed up at my dad’s, he had spread across his kitchen table a gorgeous used calligraphy set.  It had a wide assortment of pens, and nibs, and papers and colored inks.  Granted, some of the inks were half empty, but do you think I gave a hoot?!  Having never even seen anything like this before, I was fascinated.  I pored over the instruction book as if it were my Teen Beat for the week.  And in two days time, I had conquered every pen, nib, and technique it had to offer, and was begging for more.  Dad let me take the stuff back home with me, and I became a die-hard calligrapher for about six months.

I guess you can see where this story is going.  When next  semester’s report card rolled around, my teacher had nothing but glowing praise for my handwriting.  “’Bout damn time!”, it probably said.   And I’ve been getting compliments on my handwriting ever since.

So, Topsy-Techie is considering this low-tech solution to her current remedial handwriting crisis…what do you think?  Calligraphy class for boys? Will it be successful, or bomb as flat as all the other “it-worked-for-me-so-surely-it-will-work-with-my-boys schemes”?

Sound off below, you moms of boys with bad handwriting…

It Smells Like Boy Around Here

The testosterone fairy has been here again.  He has absolutely no compassion in that winged little body of his, because he forgets that aside from the black lab, we have only one female representing around here.  It’s lonely at the boys club sometimes.

Anyway, the testosterone fairy feels the need to remind my guys in their sleep that clothing strewn around on the floor is much more manly than in the hamper.  And that it is perfectly ok to make whatever bodily noises and smells you feel like as long as no one gets hurt. 

He convinces my hubby that the more revolting the joke, the more opportune it is for the dinner table.  And if ANY of my guys forget, the testosterone fairy makes sure that the milk jug gets put back in the refrigerator completely empty.  Every time.

testosterone fairyThanks to the testosterone fairy, the toilet paper holder  is perpetually empty, there is shaving cream decorating every part of the bathroom sink, the laundry room smells like a marine latrine, and we are ALWAYS out of potato chips!!!

Even more significantly, the he-fairy felt it apropos to convince my youngest son that he should ask for an air rifle for his 13th birthday.  And if that weren’t enough, he whispered in the ear of one of our close friends that a hydrogen-powered rocket would be another perfect gift.

So here I am, the lone voice of reason, in a house full of stinky, sloppy, greasy-fingered boys armed with air rifles and hydrogen rockets.  Anyone know the number of a good testosterone fairy exorcist?


Want to Go on a Virtual Field Trip?

Yarns of the Heart is hosting a virtual field trip, next Monday, March 9.  She is going to be featuring blog posts that have to do with some of the great homeschool field trips you and your kiddos have gone on lately.  (Firefly Mom: try not to make everyone else look TOO bad)

So go through your annals, and see what field trip posts you’ve created and submit them to the virtual field trip.  This could be a terrific educational opportunity with your kids if you let them enjoy the VFT with you and you explore and discuss all the wonderful places other homeschoolers have visited. 

Nothing says spring like a virtual field trip!!!!