“It just works”

I posted a long reply to an email from our provincial yahoo group, and since the archives are closed, I thought I’d include my reply here. It’s a to mom considering homeschooling.


Good for you for even thinking about it. It's my understanding that 
there are TONS of homeschoolers in that area.

I've been homeschooling for... 14? Maybe 15 years, I dunno, I can't 
remember any more. :D I have four children and the oldest two are DONE 
and adults. I only have a 16yo & 8yo, both girls, left. They largely 
teach themselves at this point.

His love of learning will likely be squashed on school. It happens for 
most kids. If you have concerns now, you'll have more when he starts. 
It's better to start homeschooling NOW than put him in school and "wait 
and see". The younger grades require so little work on your part, it 
just makes more sense to homeschool straight away, than to try it after 
he's been trained by the system. You'd have to undo a lot of things, so 
better to begin on the right step.

As for worries about the high school years - you have PLENTY of time and 
MANY options. Also realize you will never cover it all. Schools don't. 
Even a lifetime is not enough to learn everything. Your job is to 
prepare the children for adulthood.

The only other thing I can add is some observations about my two oldest.

Addison (my son - now 21) went to a private Christian school for a year 
and a half. It wasn't any better than public school. He went to public 
school for grades 6 & 7, his choice. It was also his choice to return 
home. He did exceptionally well when he was at school, and he says it 
was because he treated it like a game. Play by the rules of the game, 
then you "win" (ie, get good grades). He had a major accident in grade 
11 and didn't do any work at all. Then he went to NBCC-SJ, took their 
Computer Programming course (2 year program), graduated with a tie for 
the top of the class, and is now working for the Dept of Education in 
their student loan division in Fredericton. He also got married.  ;) 

Sarah (now 18) has been mostly working the last two years to save for 
college. She uses the computer a lot recreationally, and has chosen 
graphic design. She'll be attending the College of Craft & Design in 
Fredericton in September and has already been accepted. They asked her 
to take the GED, so we did - with 3 weeks notice. She passed with flying 
colors in all areas except math. In her case, that was fine as her 
interests didn't need good math marks, so we never worked on advanced 
math over the past couple of years. (She has mainly worked in fast food. 
She's the cashier who can actually give you change, so her math skills 
are good, despite test results.) She also play guitar and has been doing 
some web design work for us. Her current job is working at a computer 
access center and she's just redesigned the center's website, and 
updated 8 others in the next county.

Both of them have stated repeatedly that they are GLAD they were 
homeschooled and didn't have to put up with the ridiculousness of 
school. They got to LIVE their lives, not observe from a classroom or 
read about it in a book. Or waste their time.

As for socialization - if you aren't planning on keeping your kids 
locked up in the house all day and away from everyone, they'll be fine. 
Join a few groups, take them out, make friends wherever you go. Don't 
try to stress about it.

Just try to be a generally good parent, and they'll be far better off 
than any alternative.


Like moving, only not

This time last week, Ron and I headed down to Saint John and picked a literal van full of boxes and furniture from my grandfather’s apartment.

It was hard. Even pre-sorted and boxed and waiting.

After, on the way out of town, Ron and I stopped at a Chinese restaurant for our anniversary dinner, which was the next day. Good food.

We unloaded the van quickly, all these boxes stacked around the house, me making quick decisions as the where (oh god where) do I even put these things. I said we’d take all the linens, which we could always use, and anything in the kitchen (given Sarah is headed off to college). Boxes and piles are still everywhere. Some new frames are on the wall, on any available nail I could find.

Sometimes I catch one of the frames, and think to myself that it’s out of place. The same frame I’ve seem for thirty years, the same photos inside – just on the wrong wall. Me, me and my mom and my brother, with 1979, 1980, 1981 written under each photo in my grandmother’s neat slanted printing. Another frame, me and my two cousins, always children.

I now own real art – a chalk sketch of my father playing at a music festival, the program taped to the back with a newpaper clipped about the gallery show for the picture. Another pen sketch of the hospital where my grandfather worked, tall and big on the hill. They tore it down a few years ago, after standing empty and useless.

We’ve gone through all the boxes by now, most of which we packed back up. Too many decisions to make on each piece. Thankfully, my aunt had said that I didn’t have to try and keep it all, it was okay if I put what I didn’t want in a yard sale. I’m glad she said that, nothing’s worse than Memorial Tupperware. 😀 This way I don’t feel like I have to keep it all.

Even with the stuff I want to keep, there’s a bit of hoarding going on. There are all these everyday items with things I had given them but that are now returned. Unpacking was less like treasure hunting but still with treasures inside.

Just ones that make you want to weep.

Quiz time

Yep, still the same.

You Are An ENFP

The Inspirer

You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You’re quite the storyteller!

In love, you are quite the charmer. And you are definitely willing to risk your heart.
You often don’t follow through with your flirting or professed feelings. You break a lot of hearts.

At work, you are driven but not a workaholic. You just always seem to enjoy what you do.
You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.

How you see yourself: compassionate, unselfish, and understanding

When other people don’t get you, they see you as: gushy, emotional, and unfocused

Random media

And now, a few random bits and pieces.

Pictures: a grampy set, a chicago set and a Paddington Bear set. We’re almost “set” to have adventures. I’m going to write up my Chicago notes as I have time, and I’ll probably backdate them or just title them for hwen they did happen.

I got Sarah to upload a bunch of videos to our youtube account. You can see a bunch here, mostly from last year. yes, they are unlabeled. I can’t see videos on my computer (long story) and my connection – at least today when I have time & inclination – is not letting me DO anything in a timely manner. So watch and enjoy with no expectations.

Random Emma:

We were in a thrift clothing stores, and she went two aisles over to give a free hug to a stranger. I did pop my head up long enough to nod at the wary woman to let her know that, yes, it’s okay with mom. I wandered over a few minutes later while Emma was still chattering.

“Did you tell her why you do this?” I reminded her. Sometimes she gets me to explain that it’s to spread love and kindness.

“Oh yes,” Emma said, “It’s because I have a gift and I know how to use it.”

Well that was new.


Today, I went to wake up Ron from his nap and give him a quick snuggle. I was foiled by Emma following me. Canoodling away with Emma chattering around us and leaning on me, I said, “Hey, we’re trying to be romantic here!”

“And I’m ruining it for you!” she laughed.


On another night, tucking her in bed, she was complaining about her grandmother and how their taste in clothing is starting to differ. Emma and Meaghan had sorted out clothing previously sorted by Mam. She stopped mid-thought to ask me, “What do you call someone who just wants to spoil you all the time and buy you stuff?”

“A grandmother?” I said.

I got a tisk, sigh and preteen eyeroll for that one.

Meaghan made toblerone fudge. We told her she needs to practice more and make it again. Mmm hmmm.

A Remembering party

Yesterday we went allll the way down to Saint John and alllll the way back again. It wasn’t a wake or a visitation, but a “celebration of life”. And what a life! Everyone said it was long and full.

Paddington Bear has now been entrusted to a little girl’s care and she takes it very seriously.

I also saw a lot of people that gave me ehad trips – people who hadn’t seen me since I was this high, or at my grandmother’s funeral (in the same room no less), or a high school friend who is now a friend of my father’s (although that was more cool).

There were a lot fo “I didn’t know he did that..”s. Like roller skating on stilts. Or pioneering researching about the effect of color on epileptics. Or the many and varied jobs he had. One thing I did notice: he never stopped learning. He used the computer and the internet well into his 80’s.

Afterwards, just the family went out to dinner. It was really really nice.

pics to follow, plus entries about Chicago. Getting back in the swing of things.

Edit: forgot to mention yesterday was pi day. And I’d forgotten about it until a former co-worker of Grampy’s mentioned that’s how he signed his initials like he did, with the two T’s as the Pi symbol. And here I thought it was because it was faster.


Somewhere on my way home, while I was still in Toronto, my grandfather passed away. I found out in Montreal as I was changing trains. He loved trains. He’s the reason I learned about computers at a young age, a really smart man who expected the same in others, the funny English gentleman. He was always referred to as a gentleman, because he was. There was no other word to fit. He’d go down to the harbor whenever a cruise ship came in, and take a picture of it. He walked fast *everywhere*. In later years, he had a cane, and he told us all he had to do was wave it in front of him and people got out of his way.

We had been planning to move him into a nursing home, at his request, as his health had declined to the point he needed someone there all the time. He had been living in a senior’s apartment complex, with home care workers coming in. At first, a couple times a week, then recently almost every day. I say “we” but really my aunt has been doing a lot of the work. :-/

He wrote his own obituary, which if you knew him at all, should strike you as funny. That way it was done right, you see. Some of the things below I didn’t really know, but I do know every time I was pregnant, he wanted as many details as possible about the ultrasounds. One time I asked with, with less sarcasm as you might think, if he wanted me to get my doctor to send him a copy of the reports and he said that wouldn’t be necessary. He did have his shoulder operated on once, and got the doctor to videotape it for him.

We’re going to miss him, but are glad he’s at rest.

THORNTON, Alfred Thomas, of Saint John, passed away on Sunday, March 8, 2009 at the Saint John Regional Hospital, at the age of 93.

Born February 16, 1916 at Ipswich, England, he was educated and trained in telecommunications and radio in England.
He served his country during World War II with the British Post Office Telecommunications Dept., the Royal Naval Wireless Reserve, the 11th Middlesex Home Guard, and the Royal Corps. of Signals. He started his training in electro-encephalography in England and, after emigrating with his family to Canada in 1957, continued at the Montreal Neurological Institute. While working at the Provincial Hospital in Saint John, he did research on the affect of colour on epilepsy and became the first Canadian to win the Monty Wyand Award with a paper on that subject in 1962. After setting up a new E.E.G. clinic at the Saint John General Hospital, he pioneered the use of ultrasound for the detection of tumours in the brain and the breast, and also for checking the heartbeats of unborn babies. In 1976, he established a new E.E.G. clinic at the Dr. William F. Roberts Hospital School for Children, financed by the Colonel Harland Sanders Trust Fund.

Predeceased by wife Marjorie (Gayton), he is survived by 3 children: David Sr,of Toronto ON, Adrian and Glenda, both of Saint John NB; 3 grandchildren: Andrea (Ron) Rennick of Lakeville NB, David Jr. (Ashley) of Toronto ON, and Ryan (Cynthia) of Ottawa ON; 5 great grandchildren: Addison (Kaytlyn) Rennick of Fredericton NB, Sarah, Meaghan, and Emma Rennick of Lakeville NB, and Hunter of Ottawa ON.

According to his wishes, there will be no funeral service. Cremation has taken place at Fernhill Cemetery. The family will receive visitors at the Fundy Funeral Home on Saturday, March 14, 2009 from 1 to 4pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Alzheimers Society of Saint John, Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick, Saint John Free Public Library, Admiral Beatty Seniors Social Club, and David Suzuki Foundation.

You can sign the funeral home’s online guestbook here.