Thursday, February 10, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

I told myself at the start of the new year (well, the start of last summer... okay, like two - ten - years ago) that I would exercise for at least 10 minutes every day. I would either take a 20 minute walk or I would do 10 minutes of indoor exercise - Wii Fit, yoga, pilates, sit ups, climb up and down the steps, something. I seem to recall looking at my 2lb weights once, but I'm pretty sure that was when Secundo was holding them out to me and saying, "Mom, you're not still using these, are you? Can I take them upstairs so that I can do my arm, wrist, and finger exercises?" (She's strengthening her hand for fencing per her coach's instructions.) I guess her taking them upstairs doesn't really count as exercising... well, not for me, anyway.

I made this goal simple so that it would be easy to do and to maintain. I can find 10-20 minutes per day, right? I seem to find hours to play online, read, sleep, watch movies, and play board games with the kids. How come I can't find 10 minutes to do a couple sit ups or 20 minutes to take a walk? (By. My. Self, I might add.) Well, because:

- I don't like to exercise in front of other people.

- I don't want to have to change my clothes.

- I can't find my exercise clothes.

- I don't want to have to take a shower during the day (I prefer to take them at night).

- There's too much of a mess in front of the TV to get out the Wii balance board.

- I don't want to see my weight displayed on the TV screen (especially if there are other people in the room).

- It's raining.

- It's snowing.

- It's cold out.

- It's hot out.

- Our road has a lot of speeding traffic and there are no sidewalks.

- I woke up late.

- I have other things that need to get done when I was hoping to exercise.

- I have to cart children all over town.

- I'm sick.

You get the idea.

Now, some of these are legitimate reasons. If I'm sick and it's 20 degrees out, I'm not going for a walk. (I've become a wuss after moving to the South, and I've made peace with that.) However, most of them don't hold water. For instance, I have a TV in my room. I could go in there, close the door, and do 10 minutes of a yoga or pilates DVD. I often get up before the kids, so no one would be in the living room when I used the Wii Fit. My road doesn't have that much traffic on it and I live less than a quarter mile from a youth athletic park where I could easily do a couple laps around the parking lots and roads there then come home; I'd be on the main road for less than 5 minutes. (Plus, I can see half a mile in one direction and about two miles in the other, so it's not like it's too dangerous to walk on on its own. Well, except for the fire ant hills. In the summer. There aren't any right now. See how good I am at this excuses thing?) So, most days, I really have no excuse... except that I'm lazy and stuck in a bad habit.

So, today I decided that enough was enough and took a walk. And how did I convince myself to do this? I took one look out the window at the beautiful snow and decided that I needed to go out with my camera. So I did. Easy peesy.

And I didn't set one foot on the busy road! Did I mention that we live on two acres in the middle of the country? Yeah, well... 

I think that I am going to take my camera out with me every day as my motivation to get outside. And when it gets warmer and drier out, I am going to go hunt for a place to walk to each day where I can sit and pray and read. Madeline L'Engle mentions having such a spot in her book A Circle of Quiet. I like the idea of a secret special place that is definitely special but not very secret. It calms the mommy worry that my kids won't be able to find me if they need me while also adding to the place's sanctity by being designated as "Mommy's Place."

Do you have such a place? How do you carve out time for exercise or jump-starting your sanity?

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's All Relative

Quarto and Terzo are compiling family history books as an exercise in learning how histories are put together. How do we know what we know from history? They have a page for each person in our immediate and extended family and had to interview people (or have mom send an email for them) to find the answers to the questions listed. Terzo interviewed me, and when we got to the question about what my school was like I told him, "My elementary/ middle school was very small. When I graduated from 8th grade, there were only 32 kids in my class... a lot smaller than my high school class of 575."

Terzo got a funny smile on his face and responded, "Mom, that's not that small. I am the fourth grade!"

True, that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Education Links

I came across these two news stories in my weekly Google Education feed and thought I would share them.

The first is about a new documentary coming out about the American public education system entitled Kids Aren't Cars. Given the recent or upcoming releases of Waiting for Superman and Class Dismissed, education seems to be the current "hot topic" among documentary filmmakers. This is the first time I have heard about Kids Aren't Cars; it looks into how the American corporate system (particularly the invention, implementation, and importance of the assembly line to American production and thus the American economy) has effected the organization of American education and defined positive educational results. Looks like we'll be having an education documentary marathon here at the Burrow. Do you have any suggestions of films that we should add to our list?

The second article that caught my attention concerned the rejection of previously approved history textbooks by the Virginia Board of Education (VBE). What struck me is that the texts in question are currently being used in some middle schools in Virginia... which means that the VBE previously approved their purchase in use by state schools. However, a panel of historians hired by the Board has just now discovered "dozens of errors." Also, "despite the withdrawal of approval, a school system that uses the books does not have to stop doing so." What?! What's the point of going through the process of testing books for accuracy after they are purchased then allowing the schools already using unapproved books? (That question was intended to be rhetorical, but if you have the ability to enlighten me on this subject, I won't refuse your assistance.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

COH - Passing on the Bad Juju

hosted by The Headmistress over at The Common Room

The first four times I hosted the carnival, something went wrong - I got sick, the power went out, something. The last couple of times have gone off relatively hitchless, and now I know why... I passed on the bad juju. Sorry, Headmistress. We've had a child with Nursemaid's Elbow also and it is no fun. Hope your grandson is back to his old self soon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

COH - Week 262

5th Anniversary Edition featuring quotes from The Princess Bride
 hanging out at its homebase, Why Homeschool
And Happy Anniversary, COH!

And as an aside: I think that Henry is right about The Princess Bride possibly being the most-oft quoted movie of our generation. I have already quoted "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means" and "As you wish" to my children today.

Rosetta Stone Giveaway

Now is the perfect time to give your child the gift of possibilities for the holidays with Rosetta Stone Homeschool — and you can WIN a Level 1 Homeschool program, language of your choice (valued at $249)!

Right now Rosetta Stone is having a special Holiday promotion on our Homeschool Edition program and we’d like you to help spread the word! Everyone can save up to $150 on Rosetta Stone Homeschool by visiting our website at
By helping us spread the word you can win a Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition Level 1 program, language of your choice, valued at $249.

This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever!
Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.

To win this program, copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR post about this contest on your facebook page. Then go to the original page at
and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post, and good luck!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy 5th Anniversary COH

The Carnival of Homeschooling will be celebrating its 5th anniversary this week. If you would like to contribute to the anniversary edition of the carnival, follow the submission guidelines here. Don't forget, submissions must be in by 6pm (PST) tonight!

Happy Anniversary COH!