Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG


I suppose I’ll get the grodie news out of the way.  My dear darling fellow Watch-From-A-Distance-And-Make-Snappy-Comments-Until-We-Laugh-Ourselves-Silly-friend came over with her family, and her highly well-rounded and diversified husband talked Geoff and Coie thru butchering two goats.  Boy that was a long sentence.  I wonder if it makes any sense to anybody besides me.

Anyhow, back to the story, my daughter (mostly) killed the goats (long and gross story) and then gutted and cleaned them.  Um…. Sick.  And then the talented Mr. Roy and Geoff the Great skinned and carved up the goats.  I won’t give the details, but it was not as gag-inducing as I imagined. Me and Maria sat in our Princess Chairs and watched the whole thing. They almost looked like large piñatas – never mind, I said I wouldn’t give the details.

So now, we have over 30 pounds of fresh goat meat in our freezer (and two bagged goat hides that we’re bringing to Bo’s friend today so he can tan them – I cannot BELIEVE I actually have those things in my fridge right now).  So if you are planning on coming over for dinner any time soon, you’re probably gonna get some goat meat on your plate.  (That means YOU Charlie and Jess and Dad)   Our friends from MO are also coming down to stay a few days in July and we’re gonna spring some on them without telling ‘em what it is first.  That’ll be fun.  I’m gonna make stew.  Which I think will be good.  It always makes me hungry when I read about the goat stew that Jacob brought his dad when he was weaseling his brother’s blessing away.

Ok, in non-carnage news, I thought I’d share an email with you guys (I got permission first), I’ll also share the answer I gave.  It’s an interesting question and I thought getting other thoughts on it would be interesting as well.  I think this is something that a lot of us hyperventilate about around this time of the year… 

Hi Jen,

I have been a "blogstalker" of yours for a while now.  I don’t believe I have ever written you though.  I really enjoy your advice and your approach to schooling most mimics my own so I wanted to ask for some much needed advice if you wouldn’t mind giving it. 

1. Do you always finish your curriculum for that year?  For example, we use mostly Abeka books…some Saxon…and Spelling Power.  Out of all the lessons the books offer, we have just now reached lessons in the 80-90 ish range.  Granted we do lots of field trips, zoo and museum trips, etc. I am fearful that if I stop at the end of May they will be behind when we move up to the next level in the fall.  I am mainly talking about the subjects of math and phonics/language.

It just feels like crunch time to me right now and I could easily lose my mind over it! 🙂  Not to mention now is the time of curriculum fairs and matters of the upcoming year….I haven’t even completed this year!  Ergh!  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!



Dear Talysa, ok, your email totally made me laugh.  i will tell you the absolute truth.  We have never ever ever in the history of homeschooling ever EVER finished a curriculum book within a school year.  Most the time i skip around and pass over lessons or add ones of my own.  I’ve been going thru our Mystery of History book for THREE YEARS.  And i love it.  This is *our* class room and we get to pick and choose and pull and skip or re-do just as much as we want.

It is very easy to fall into the government school way of doing things… and just looky how well it works fer them!  no thanks, that’s one system i do not want to follow or reproduce in my own home.  Believe me, if you are consistently teaching your children, they are more than likely already way ahead of many of their public school peers (except in the lessons they would have learned on the playground… teasing, fighting, relating the latest rated R movie, playing doctor, etc).  

The goal of curriculum is not for it to be completed… but rather it is a tool for you to implement the lessons you choose to teach — and on *your* timeline.   Don’t let those schoolbooks hold you hostage, sister!

 Much love, jen


I think a lot of us deal with that – or have dealt with that – especially when we are relatively ‘new’ schoolers.  I still will have those days where I will begin questioning my methods – but I think that is a good thing.  Self evaluation plus a little bit of stress and/or worry can be a good motivator to make sure we are doing well.  But it is easy to cross that line and start blindly running around and bumping into walls inside that ‘paralyzed with fear / overwhelmed / ready to quit’ crazy lady room. 

In other news, our tree is starting to get plums on it, but I’m not getting my hopes up because every year the birds eat every single last one of them.

Ok, I’m off to make something goatmeat-ish.

May 5th, 2008 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

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  1. Anonymous said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Untitled Comment

    Mostly unrelated to this post: WE HAVE THOSE SAME STILTS!!


  2. Anonymous said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    curriculum use

    I completely agree!!!!

    Curriculums are tools that do not have to be completed. I'm 7 years in and so thankful that I have had wise women to encourage me in this area.

    We are not slaves to the books and lessons. Not just public schools, but christian schools and homeschool co-ops often fall into this trap, as well.

    We are not doing a better job by finishing a curriculum!

    Thank you Jen.

    BTW – I'm a lurker, too. 🙂

  3. ClagettsFLStyle said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 11:30 am


    We had a small farm in MD. I raised meat chickens one year. My DH killed them while my father in law and I skinned them and cut them up. Chicken is much cheaper to buy in the store so I won't be doing that again.. though raising your own meat is TONS better ( as we raised steers).

    The reason I am laughing is your comment about the meat in your freezer. One year we took our girls on vacation to FL, while we were gone – our family rabbit died. My poor mom didn't know what to do and it was VERY cold outside, so she just wrapped him up in plastic and stuck him in the freezer – she said she thought her grandaughters might have wanted to bury him when they got home. I remember coming home and looking in my freezer thinking.. I can't believe our rabbit is in there.. LOL..

    Needless to say we decided not to leave him there till spring so we could bury him.. he just went the way of any other dead things around.. the trash..

    Sorry for the long comment.. your story just brought back this memory..

  4. Anonymous said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Untitled Comment

    I think it was 2 days ago when I was lamenting no finishing math by this summer. But I liked your answer to your new lurker friend. I'm not a slave. (just have to keep telling the slave driver 'flesh'. He's hard on me)


  5. jess4him said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    <em>Untitled Comment</em>

    Goat meat? that'll be a first.

    Not to play devil's advocate or go against the flow, but I think there is something to be said for finishing a curriculum or book. I don't think it means you're being CONTROLLED by it (you determine before STARTING a subject or curriculum if you endorse its content and you address the parts you might not agree with), it simply means you finish what you started- getting your money's worth and learning everything you possibly can during that particular study or course.

    Plus, I know that whenever I was able to finish a book (while being homeschooled), it provided me with such a tremendous feeling of accomplishment- i loved it! If I never FINISHED something, it was always lingering, even if we agreed it didn't HAVE to be done. I hated having to be disciplined and GET THROUGH it, but once I did, It felt so good (and- i think- normally learned more than I would've had I stopped short of completion).

    Once kids get out of school and are on their own, general, day-to-day tasks (taxes, jobs, butchering goats, etc) require 100% completion, and entirely completing a curriculum is great practice for this… Just our humble thoughts on this subject.

    Edited by jess4him on May. 5, 2008 at 1:51 PM

  6. Anonymous said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Looks like it went well for you guys, not the goats.

    Yeah, you have raised a pretty well rounded and do-it-yourself daughter. I grew up with a Dad who was a former farm kid and I hear all the blood curdling stories of life on the farm. Not to mention we have seen our fair share of deer hanging from our basketball goal post in the winter. As I know it is a part of life (or death for the animal) it still makes me cringe during the whole killing process. I'm usually fine during all the guts and glory. Enjoy your goatmeat meals though! Nothing like meat from your own back yard.

  7. floridamomto4 said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I agree

    Not with the goat thing – my neighbors would FREAK if we tried anything like that. Of course, we can't even have a rabbit around here… 🙂

    This time of year can be so hard on a homeschool mom's psyche. Did we "finish", are we ready to move on to next year, etc… I drive myself crazy some days, and then other days I remember that it is not about how many pages we completed, but about the life lessons we learned along the way. That is not to say that I don't make my older students reach a certain goal before taking the summer off, but it is not usually the end of the book. With my younger two I just start the next school year on whatever page falls next in their math book. No big deal. We own the books, they don't own us!

  8. Anonymous said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Untitled Comment

    Oh Heavens! I was becoming SO fond of your goats! I am mortified and am planning a memorial service as we speak… and you are NOT invited. Hee, Hee!

    Jen, I always have so much fun reading your posts, you make me laugh *almost* every time…today not included.

    Mortified in KY (but still love your blog!),

    Gina D.

  9. Jaynee said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Goat Meat

    Goat meat is soooo yummy! Birria is a super yummy soup that they serve for special occasions and it's almost always made with goat.

    Goat cheese is the best too! It is readily available here and we buy a kilo of fresh goat cheese every couple of days for about $2.

    We get to watch our neighbors kill and skin animals all the time…chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and cows. I'll cook anything, but I'm sure I'd get woozy doing the killing.

  10. Jo said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks for the answer!

    Jen –

    Thanks for posting this homeschool question and answer. This is my first year, and I was feeling the same way about our curriculum. With a 1 year old and regular daily life in tow, our schedule flexes alot. I am happy with all that my daughter has learned this year but was wondering if it was "enough". I like what you said about our curriculum being the tool and not becoming enslaved to it. It is really a freeing perspective.

    Thanks again,


  11. LindaI said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 8:06 pm


    I seriously never thought about eating a goat! lol And yes I read it in the bible but just did not think twice about it! I Thought people had them for milk only!

    Saw the gross pics on your dds blog. Yum. lol

    Good Advice for your email person. I find myself wanting to check everything off too. I would think Math might be the only thing I Did not want to skip but I would not cram. I would just keep going longer on math lessons… (what I Am doing this year) we are done for the summer but saving extra math lessons for rainy days.

  12. MARIA said,

    on May 5th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Untitled Comment

    Somehow we ended up with two packs of back strap. Any idea how that might of happened?

    I am so thankful for my princess seat. Now you have learned something new. Make sure all your friends have the proper seating. Anyone you don't want to have stay long.. have them sit down without the seat.

    We enjoyed reading Coie's take on her day.

    She was brave. Braver than me and YOU!


  13. Dewgin said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 8:36 am


    That sounds SO gross! I wouldn't eat goat but I do wish we had cattle to butcher.

    Check out my blog…I have a homeschool giveaway!

  14. kellieann said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Untitled Comment

    Thank you, Jen and Talysa for addressing this. I always feel the end-of-school-year guilt over not completing things by now. Yet my kids are smart, witty, weird, and perfectly capable of everything I want them to be capable of, so I try to be happy with that. Yet there is still the twinge of guilt with the last 20 or so unfinished math lessons….so thanks again for confirming what I already know to be true.

  15. homeschoolhighlites said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Regarding the goats….

    Gee, up until now I was so proud my of my daughters FROG dissection – thanks a lot for bursting my bubble! Oh well, she's only in 9th grade so we have plenty of time to move on to goats. 😀

  16. Anonymous said,

    on May 7th, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I'm so glad someone wrote about this!

    I have been wringing my hands for weeks (more now that we are in May) with anxiety about not "finishing". We are in our third year, and I admit I am stuck in public school mentality that we have to "do school" a certain way and finish everything. I have been told that teachers in the classroom don't finish everything either, but the monster of perfection keeps rearing its ugly head. Thanks to the gal who had the guts to write the email and thanks Jen for your real answer. I know the kids will learn more if I relax and have fun!



  17. foxvalleyfamily said,

    on May 8th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Untitled Comment

    Ugh – I SO needed to read this today!

    (Well…not the part about the goat butchering, but the part about finishing up the curriculum!) 😉

    I literally stayed up until 2 a.m. last night trying to figure out a 'plan' on how to finish everything this year…and I eventually gave-up and went to bed plan-less. This is only our 2nd year homeschooling, and while I'm fairly comfortable on some points, I obviously need a lot of work on others. Thanks for putting my mind at ease that it's okay if we don't do EVERYTHING in the books!

    And, um…I won't be dropping by for dinner anytime soon, but enjoy your stew! 😉



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