Posted in Homeschool Adventures, photo challenge

Ribbit’s Picture Day

Yesterday when I wrote the “Unexpected” post, I only added a tadpole photo but not Ribbit as a frog. Its habitat was not picture-friendly, but it’s much better today with a water change.

Hello! My name is Ribbit. My favorite things to do are pooping, swimming, eating, pooping (oh wait, I already said that), stretching, playing, relaxing, exploring, and smiling to those who admire my cute face.

Nice to meet you readers!
I’m thinking…I’m thinking…yes, I do want flies for dinner.
Don’t mind me. This is just my fancy way of coming up for air.

Posted in Homeschool Adventures, learning with kids

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Unexpected. This tadpole of ours.

The topic of sharing something “unexpected” fit right into a picture taken 3 weeks ago. Thank you Anne-Christine for hosting this challenge.

An “unexpected” package arrived in the mailbox. It was the size of an upright tissue box and felt like it held nothing but popcorn inside.

I brought the box in and wondered out loud what it could be. My kids immediately dropped what they were doing and asked, “Is it a package for me?”

The package held a clear cube-shaped box with a plastic bag of water in it. This was our mail-order tadpole for our homeschooling science study this term.

Our new tadpole

This tadpole was specifically bred in a Florida laboratory, and it has special characteristics: its tadpole body is transparent; and when it becomes a frog, it will live entirely in water and only surface to breathe. This specific breed is called Pipadae found in Africa and South America. The facts sheet clearly explains that these frogs have never been to those places.

Our tadpole may have went through a quicker metamorphosis due to our overzealous attempt to make it happy with natural rain sounds. We learned that tadpoles like the sound of rain, which can be mimicked by slowly pouring spring water into the tank. As I did more research about this, I learned that this sound hastens metamorphosis.

We can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl yet. If it makes a sound, it’s a boy. If the body size is larger, it’s a female; although I have no basis for comparison. I’ll just have to wait for that sound or lack of it.

And as I was writing this post, I learned something totally unexpected. Pipidae is the family name for the species African Clawed Frog. It is an invasive and very aggressive species that like to eat anything in its path and cannot be released into our local waters. If you can’t care for it anymore, it could be sent back to the supplier or to a pet store for proper…you know….and environmentally friendly farewell. Also, it could live 5-15 years. Gulp. Knowing beforehand that this species cannot be released into the local waters and its long life-span would’ve been helpful information.

You learn something new and unexpected everyday. With all the surprising facts we’re learning, it’s more likely that the kids will remember this frog life-cycle and frog-care study. Also, they enjoy feeding it and interacting with it, but cleaning the tank is mainly my task. .

p.s. I was going to show a picture of Ribbit metamorphosed into a frog, but its water is too cloudy and not camera-ready. I’ll have to take a picture right after replacing the water.

Posted in Homeschool Adventures, Uncategorized

Do all kids read by the beginning of second grade??

This is hard for me to admit, much less put it into writing. It makes me feel vulnerable, but here I go.

My second grader is struggling with reading. When we do phonics or attempt to read together, he immediately gets uptight and starts to fidget. It’s like he convinced himself that reading is too hard. Reading is not his thing; he is more drawn to science and math (like his daddy, not mommy).

It’s frustrating. I feel responsible for his lack of reading skills, because I’m his primary teacher. With homeschooling it’s so easy to blame yourself when things don’t go well; and easy to take for granted when things do go right.

When I wrote this post yesterday, I asked Elliot to write something (about his favorite season) for a new spelling book we started this school year. He asked why the following page was blank unlike the previous pages. When I told him (in a very uplifting tone…or so I thought) he could write whatever he wanted any way he wanted, he burst into tears.

I almost cried with him; my heart hurt. I could sense his frustration and fear. After a long talk reassuring him that learning is hard, no matter your age or subject, and praying together that God would give him courage to try and to learn from his mistakes, he decided to give it a try.

With the time set for 10 minutes as advised by the Instructor’s Manual he started to write some words down. He used inventive spelling. When I looked over his work later, I so wanted to correct the errors and ask him to write in complete sentences.


I had to look at the bigger picture and think long-term. I overlooked the errors and instead praised him for working on this challenge. This was not an auspicious time for that discussion. He softly asked me if all his words were wrong. I said it was okay. There’s always the next lesson and plenty of opportunities to improve.

Second grade started less than a month ago, and here I am freaking out that he’s not a fluent reader. Being a teacher is not only about teaching but building up my student (my kid) to become a confident, persevering, and thoughtful learner. There’s a lot of learning for me too: learning to teach according to his interests, pacing ourselves, and respecting his learning style.

Posted in Homeschool Adventures, Personal growth, Raising kids

Watching my kid in gymnastic’s class gives me that worried constipated look

My five-year old daughter has been dreaming of doing cartwheels for months now, which probably seems like an eternity for a small person. Much to my dismay, she has been practicing her jumping, bending, climbing, and tumbling any chance she gets.

The look on her face is priceless though; at the end of some acrobatic move, she smiles proudly with both arms stretched high and legs straight together. She’ll stay in that position till we clap and cheer.

I worry about her budding interest in gymnastics. Although her third heart surgery last fall improved her exercise tolerance, it’s still an ongoing issue. She tires easily and plops into a fetal position after running around a lot. It’s frightful. So I’ve been convincing her that maybe she’d prefer some other extracurricular activity, like art, music, cooking, or something other than strenuous physical exercise. She nods no. It has to be gymnastics. Positive side to this: she’ll learn how to cartwheel safely and build stamina.

Raising her I realize how much I need God’s peace every moment. If I went through this life without God helping me, I would be a wreck. I can’t control circumstances and I can’t forbid her from trying new things: how will she know if she doesn’t try? Instead, I need to offer support, encouragement, and reasonable boundaries so that she can discover her potential. The one thing I want to avoid is transferring my own fears to her.

At her first class yesterday, I was all nerves and had that constipated look from worrying so much, especially when I saw her sweating and running out of breath. I almost asked the coach to end the lesson early. But we stayed till the end.

Ellis must’ve picked up on my concerns; she reassured me that she was feeling okay and just needed a little nap on the ride home. Then I panicked that she needed a nap and kept checking her face through the rear view mirror.

Gulp…a hovering parent?!

Pure joy. Even though she barely made the 10 jumps, she kept going and smiled throughout. Proud of her for trying.



Posted in Homeschool Adventures

Cheers for an awesome 2018-2019 school year

School is or almost in session for fall 2018. On social media, I see pictures of kids heading off to school, kids smiling for the camera holding “First day of ……,” and all the back-to school shopping ads. Beyond these first few days, I hope everyone has a splendid, productive, memorable, and discovery-filled year!!

The cooler weather is helping me transition from summer to school. But I’m telling myself that summer vacation is over and that it’s time to move on. How does time pass so quickly? It really does: scary how fast time flies. Every summer my kids are bigger, more opinionated, more adventurous, and definitely more against listening to the wise words of mommy.

Before I know it, they will be older and they will want to spend time with friends and do their own thing during summer breaks. That’s a normal part of growing up and I want my kids to become independent, but it’s hard to let go. I’m sure I’ll have sleepless nights remembering the good ‘ol days.

I hope to live today like that good ol’ day I’ll remember years later.

Overall, YAY for new grades, new books, new school supplies, new clothes, new teachers, new school (for some), new experiences, new friendships, and new learning.

Parents, kudos to you for all the rides, packing lunches, helping with homework, encouraging your kids, bandaging ouchies, going to games, showing up for school events, and keeping it all together!! As the initial excitement wanes and inevitable challenges crop up, I hope you remember that God is in control and that He is interested in every part of our lives. He listens to prayers…even my feeble, emergency prayers for patience and energy when I feel like I can’t do anything else. I’m always amazed at how He answers.

Philippians 4:6-7

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”