Thursday, December 30, 2010

A home for SCHOOL?

As many of you know I have been researching, surveying, meeting people, searching out options and moving forward with faith that the right steps will present themselves at the right time.

We, who are alternatively educating our children, share a common belief that our current education system is beyond reform (which is for prisoners, not children IMHO). We have already reinvented education. We are the pioneers of a new system that has been evolving for decades.

Many thanks to all of you who took our survey and helped refine the vision we have for:

Southern California Homeschoolers Options for Outsourced Learning 

We have been working to make it something that is financially feasible for all parties- from the talented teachers, to passionate parents, always keeping in mind that this is for our inspiring offspring.

This year Santa brought me one of the tops things on my list- a location for SCHOOL. Yesterday I met with a very nice couple who lease a building with an empty floor in...
San Juan Capistrano!! 
It has a large common area and 4 classrooms. It is a great location in many ways- a park that shares the same lotplenty of parkingfreeway close... it is very well suited to what we are trying to do. To be able to offer classes at an affordable rate for families, a co-op style arrangement has been settled on.

Non co-op members are welcome to register for and attend classes ...and use the lounge/ book nook during their class times and attend other events for a small fee.
Families are also invited to become members of the co-op for $15 a month and help guide the program. The monthly co-op contribution covers:
Lounge/ Book Nook 
It will be open for at least 4 hours a day Mon- Fri. This area will have cards, board games, legos and other recreational (non structured) activities. The Book Nook will be available for swap (or purchase) of used books and curriculum. A tutor will be available during some of the Lounge hours.
Monthly events
Co-op members are invited to attend one free monthly event (per child). Choose from several options each week- story time, science fair, astronomy night, board game night, cultural events and seasonal celebrations. Attend more events for a small charge ($3-10 depending on event).
Room Usage
Co-op members are allowed to use a classroom for any of their own events (book clubs, girl scouts, 4H meetings, etc) for a very minimal (or no) charge.
Field Trips
Will be scheduled and organized frequently.

We are committed to maintaining our vision, mission and values- learn more about the culture we want to create here Our website will be live by the end of the week. All instructors are asked to provide references and be prepared to present a sample class to ensure that we are creating a quality program and not just filling our rooms. If you would like to recommend a teacher, we would love to talk to them.

Potential Teachers:
  • 1 hour a week would be $25/ week
  • 2 hours a week would be $45/ week
  • 3 hours a week $60/ week
You will set your own class fees and track your own registrations. You can opt to use the SCHOOL Meetup for registration & scheduling (and be included in our marketing and advertising efforts) for an additional $30 a month. Contact me ASAP if you would like to commit to more than 3 classes a week.

We will work to get all instructors vendor approved with the charter schools ASAP. We will also be coordinating for summer camps very soon. There are a few opportunities to teach classes that are in demand.

Come check it out. Pass this on to anyone you think may be interested. Contact me for a private meeting if you are unable to attend our...
Meet & Greet Q&A 
January 6th, 2011 2:00pm - 6:00pm

Monday, December 27, 2010

S.C.H.O.O.L. Open House

Survey results are in! Come to our Open House on January 13th and learn more about S.C.H.O.O.L.

We are so excited to bring Southern California Homeschoolers Options for Outsourced Learning.

For the Spring semester of 2011 we will offer a few classes out of our temporary location while we search for a place to call home! Writing, Drawing, Science, PE, Theater and Arts & Crafts will be offered in blocks with themes that tie many of the classes together.

The drawing for a $100 gift card to Burke Williams will be held at the Open House and you can get extra entries for coming and checking us out. We will (of course) have activities for the kids.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

OC Homeschoolers: 10 Questions

Please take a moment to answer some questions for me if you homeschool in Orange County. Pass this on to your friends, too! Some lucky homeschool mom is going to win a $100 gift card to Burke Williams- but for that to happen we need at least 500 responses.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homeschoolers: you need to send your kids to SCHOOL

Ok now that I have your attention-
SCHOOL: Southern California Homeschoolers Options for Outsourced Learning.

Coming to Mission Viejo, CA in the Spring of 2011

So many of my homeschool friends talk of how much time is spent transporting their children to their various classes and activities. A couple of years ago G-pie attended a program that housed many extra-curricular activities in one location.

Moms need something to do, too. How about Yoga while your child(ren) write(s)? Krav Maga while they learn basic drawing skills. Aikido for the older ones while the younger ones learn Sign Language. Basic PE classes for your little ones while your older kids practice guitar. Study hall for the students, while mom attend a Women's Self Defense Seminar.

And while we are at it, don't you wish there was a place to get rid of (and pick up) used curriculum? Rent a microscope, plan a co-op, host a bunco night, and attend a family dance party. Your wish will soon be granted!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Never underestimate the power of cardboard boxes

As I did my usual sweep through the house tonight filling up my arms and dropping things off at their determined destinations about the domicile, I counted 4 cardboard box projects. My house is not large.

A 7-Up Robot that has gone the way of 3PO once Anakin gets a ride with Padme, sits with it's bright green colored shiny cardboard coating, waiting to be finished. On the ottoman perches a newly carved "pretend" rabbit cage, complete with fake food and droppings- a practice set to prove she can take care of a bunny. On top of the book shelf precariously balanced rests a Fairy House made with lots of glittery glue and scraps of fabric, ribbon... and a little pixie dust! Finally, my favorite- pulled out just before slumber from the evening of play in their room are two diaper boxes with large stuffed animals - a dog on one, a bear on the other- lashed to them to create ridable pets.

Last week I pulled out all the plastic parts and pieces- Pet Shop, Barbie, and Polly Pocket, alike. I sorted them into bins and packed them away in the garage. I announced ceremoniously that these toys could be played with but would be checked out and returned to their bin immediately after playing had ceased. This has worked quite well surprising us all in the process. They have only pulled each bin out once- and have been engaged in drawing, coloring, cooking and creating cardboard critters quite busily all week long.

Tonight I finally cleared the rest of the clutter from the dining table (yet again). We ate dinner together as a family. It is clean and awaiting our best laid plans for tomorrow.

All is well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So this is what "doing what you love" means...

Today as I was avoiding Facebook, I spent time training for my new position as an Instructor with the Signing Time Academy. The added benefit for me was that J-cakes is in toddler heaven. 17 repetitions of the Diaper Dance don't bother her a bit.

She spent the evening singing "Hi, hi it's nice to meet you" and all morning belting out "These are the kids I love" (she hasn't caught that it actually says "these are the pets I love"!) and she is super excited that we are all signing again.

As a middle child I worry that she gets sandwiched in, way too often. And making the decision to  work outside the home, even just part time, had me worried that would make her slice even thinner, but I am pleasantly surprised to rediscover my little blond beauty- an almost 3 year old with lots to share.

With the constant commentary and curious criticisms streaming from my 8 year old all day, I thought J-cakes was going to have to fight to get a word in. Not only does, she but her words are bright, funny, smart and charming. She has her sister to thank for her sparkling communication skills.

G-pie helped to teach her baby sign language, while she herself was learning to read using the reference book to look up signs. J-cakes is a living testimony to the studies that have shown an increased vocabulary in children who have signed as infants. 

Let's see... today is the 13th, so that means I have been Facebook free for 13 days. It doesn't feel so strange anymore. I don't feel disconnected. Honestly I feel more connected to my family and the path I am on.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wasabi Nori Facebook Connection

OK so why is it, that at 9:32 on Wednesday night as I am faced with surmountable tasks (updating my new website to reflect the fact that I am now a certified Instructor with Signing Time Academy, returning e-mails and posting checks for homeschool events and activities, uploading those pictures from Disneyland, learning how to make t-shirts cooler with plastic bags...) I am suddenly struck with the desire to update my status to inform Facebook at large that I am eating and immensely enjoying Wasabi Nori that I got at Mother's Market.

You may be asking yourself, now why didn't barefootOCmama feel the need to tell us when she ate the string cheese and pretzels for dinner? What is so cool about Wasabi Nori that it warrants it's own status update? Obviously I "Like" the fact that I am eating Wasabi Nori, and think that my Friends will "Like" it too, and may even Comment on it...

Today my father asked my why I was off Facebook... for just a beat, I wasn't sure I knew the answer. Why not? Because Facebook is HUGE and we all just nonchalantly go about our lives commenting and liking... (a whole 'nother query of mine: has Facebook made us more positive as we try to shine and polish the bits of our life into entertainment for others?). But the truth is..

It is a bit of a gimmick. I want attention. I am stepping out into a new venture, it is something I am excited about. I want to tell the world. I wanted to do something different- everybody Facebooks about their new business, I wanted to anti-Facebook mine.

Do you know and love a baby or toddler who you want to communicate with? I can help.

Now it is not that I am anti-Faceboook. My new web interface seems a bit one sided, I have much less feedback in the blog-o-sphere, than I did with in the safe confines of my "Friends" over at Facebook. Today I even considered that only blogging is a bit narcissistic. I am curious what everyone is up to...

Just like I used to be in college, when I should have been in my dorm room or the library studying and I was off in the commons checking out what everyone else was up to. Makes me really want to go see that movie!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Oh that insipid Facebook!!

Like a true co-dependent, I am finding that I cannot truly be Facebook free! I went to a new site (JumpStart) for G-pie to play some math games on, and there was this long Registration Page, that would no doubt be auto-filled for me as I tabbed through the fields, but then- there at the bottom I saw a familiar blue button that said "Connect with Facebook". I did it.

Not actually breaking my own rule of logging in, just using Facebook to log in to another site. And that is how the justifications begin. It is so much better to surf the internet with Facebook.

Facebook is to the internet, as sex wax is to the long board.

But as a mother of three I just don't have the time for sex wax these days. I just want to paddle on out and hang ten! So I have been slipping & sliding around the internet since I have been (mostly) Facebook -free. One of my favorite new-ish developments is the multimedia content. I completed another lesson in my ASL class ( today. It amazes me that I can even take these classes on my Droid smart phone. So instead of checking Facebook from a park while waiting for G-pie at Ronni Rowland's writing class, I learned more ASL.

Another amazing and awesome thing about the internet is of course another fairly recent development: cloud computing. I personally love Google for pretty much everything (except pictures, Flickr is tried and true)- Docs, Mail, Calendar, maps. Everything I need can chill online, so I can get to it from anywhere. Totally tubular.

Google also has a very user friendly new toy- Google Sites, so I built a website. Wanna see it? It was fun and easy, and soon everyone will be doing it. Toes on the noes, man, toes on the nose...

Almost 5 days Facebook free. All is well.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just saw this...

And yesterday received this comment from a dear woman...

"You gotta do what you gotta do, Tiffany. I have considered dropping off the facebook universe many, many times. But each time, I come to the same conclusion: I need facebook like I need air. Like I need water. Like I need chocolate. I am not naturally social. For all of my pre-facebook adult life I struggled with depression and loneliness and a general feeling of disconnect from the world around me. I had no way to regularly keep up with my family who was scattered, literally, all over the planet. I didn't have any close friends because my kids kept me too busy for social visits, and I tallking on the phone makes me nervous. l would read friends' blogs, but even that left me unsatisfied. People tend to only blog the very interesting or impressive bits of their lives. I would view the photos of their perfect looking children and hear about their fabulous vacations and get even more depressed. Facebook has given me an insight into human nature that I never had before. Suddenly I was reading about real people dealing with the very same challenges I was on a daily basis. Their lives became less of a fantasy to me, and I started to really understand human nature in a new and exciting way. Yes, it can be a giant time-suck. But I find that the times when I am most desperately searching for someone to talk to are the times when I most need to reach out to people, not hide away like I used to. There are those who only present the best of themselves on here. It doesn't take long to see through it. But I find those people are even more fascinating to me, because every once in a while they let go of their perfectionist ways and post something that gives me a glimpse into all they have been trying to hide. They become more human to me, and make me realize that I'm not so different from them after all.
I'm not trying to dissuade you from giving up facebook. You know your needs and those of your family better than anyone else. But if you just can't do it, don't beat yourself up over it. Leaving facebook would be like moving away from a neighborhood where absolutely everyone knows your name. It's a hard thing to let of completely."

Facebook has certainly changed the social landscape, and we are all adjusting to relating to people as we never have before.

G-pie's team, oblivious to my Facebook strike, went on to lose their third game today. What a great bunch of girls- it is so amazing, to watch as my daughter grows through the seasons of her life. 

I am proud of her in so many ways. Today she contributed to an out with a fantastic throw from third to home. I reached for my phone to update Facebook and then just smiled and sat back- and watched as C-dough laughed, the wind tickling his baby hair, and J-cake twirled under a shady tree near by...

All is well.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Facebook withdrawals

Uh-oh, accidental login number 2 already- and this time I stared at the page for just a moment, Marc Petric is up to something... I thought well, I don't know how else to get a hold of moonmonkeymama so I'll just go to her page and post a quick excuse on the wall, Facebook is the only way I am connected to her...

NO!! Just not true, justifications!! Tempting me to read those reviews, notice the notes, flip through the photos, find them with foursquare (ooh can I still use foursquare during my hiatus? a question to ponder...)

Well, with just a moment of thought I realized her website, would still be in my history. (I had visited it after seeing it on her Facebook Profile, score 1 point for Facebook: useful in providing interesting information on people we know casually). I can pull it up, find contact info and shoot off an e-mail...

OR, even better- if I am to use this hiatus to reconnect to human social skills as is my intent, I could just wait until Monday at the park and talk to her in person! But then she may not have time to fill the space I will be voiding... I will do both!

... and in taking a moment to think about communicating with a real, live, vibrant, whole person, I realize- I need to be totally, completely and with-no-regard-to-judgments-that-may-ensue - honest, about why I can't make it. Score 1 point for not using Facebook as a substitute for human interaction.

I have been Facebook free for less than 24 hours and I can't stop thinking about what I am missing!! 

But during that time I did enjoy creating a cool field journal from recycled materials, helping my daughter build a fairy house, walking up and down Del Mar- just for fun... (we did try San Clemente Smoothie Yogurt Boba and our Pineapple Coconut Smoothie with Boba was good, although a little pricey-if you play foursquare and want to add it to your to-do list, click below)...

I also sketched a picture of a tree with colored pencils, juiced and blended a delicious concoction for the family- and I even cleaned the juicer, as a matter of fact I have a clear counter and shiny sink, Fly Lady would be proud.

All is well. 

San Clemente Smoothie Yogurt Boba

Friday, October 1, 2010

Facebook on Hiatus

Hello my name is barefootOCmama and I am a Facebook-aholic.

This morning I have decided that I need a break from the constant updates, witty comments and endless sharing going on over there. Not so long ago- before my life revolved around logging in and keeping up with "friends", from lurkers to likers, frenemies and family- I used to enjoy just blogging. Finding a way with words to expose my feeling, express my thoughts and (sometimes) enlighten my readers.

But who were those readers, I wondered. Who are you? Facebook tells me- my own little form or market research, I can look up the demographics of my target audience over there. I can find out so much about you- check out your photos, what links do you share, are in you in relationship, how many friends do you have?

And don't even get me started on the mafia wars and farming chores..

Today I begin anew. I will not log in to Facebook again until after Halloween. I am taking the App off my Droid and I am stopping the SMS messages. What will I find to do, how much more time will I have? Will I stop comparing myself to others as much? How will I know what the people I care about are up to? I am most curious to find the answers to these and many others questions.

My last "like" went to a mom who has always put her children and family first- or so it seems from her status updates!! Facebook Free for 1 minute and counting... check back if you want to find out how it feels!!

BTW if you keep a blog, please let me know!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

100 Days of Holidays

Catching up with our family tradition... today we delivered a Happy Fall Greeting to friends.

Our 100 Days of Holidays Book is a journal we have added to every year, this will be our third year. We watch our rituals change and develop and delight in seeing where we were last year at this point. Some days get skipped, some days have never been "observed", and we do sometimes play "catch up"...

For example we missed the day to decorate for fall (September 27) so we made it up today, utilizing the same leaf template for both our Fall Greeting and our home decor!! We also missed the day for Fall Fashion Weeding, so that will have to be made up ASAP!!

Does your family have any special holiday traditions?
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