Monday, May 9, 2011

I Want To Come Home

     My day job is our family, specifically homeschooling the girls.  I take this seriously.  I study books on how to do this better, spend time researching websites and education theories in an attempt to do my best and give our girls the best they can have education wise.  I attend conventions, listen to speakers and talk to other moms who have been there done that.  In every way except monetary incentives this is my career. 

     Then in the evening, and on weekends I go to a store and work there.  I sell them my time, my energy, my smile, and my best in customer service as well as the knowledge I have in the department.  I am thankful in many ways for this job because it helps financially.  Since I do need a job, I am thankful for this one, and that I can help people, that it is flexible, that it provides 50% dental and medical coverage because even half covered helps.  It's a good group of people. 

     The problem is me.  My heart.  My desire.  I long to be home.  I ache to stay here.  I don't think it's unbiblical for a mom to work or a woman to work, I read WAY to many instances in scripture where women had no choice and did so (Ruth!), or had a career (Lydia-seller of purple),  in fact even that Proverb where Superwoman is described (Prov. 31) talks about her working with her hands and buying and selling property.  If that's not working, I don't know what is.  

     I want a miracle.  I want something to change for the positive that will allow me to come home. I want to devote more time to practicing what I am learning about how to teach and train our children.  There are things happening at work that make it a less enjoyable place to be, but those are just strands of straw, not the whole pile.  My energy is needed at home.  My attention is needed by my children. I am not sure I can take another summer of not seeing my husband except once a month or so when we are both awake.  I'm not sure I can handle for another season being gone at bedtime five nights a week.  I want to be home to read aloud to them, to pray with them, to tuck them into bed. 

     Time is slipping by and my babies are growing into girls and young women faster than I ever dreamed possible.  Saying it goes fast doesn't describe it.  It's like watching a minute of sand filter through the hourglass, you see it and before you fully understand, it's gone.  Forever.   I don't want to look back and say, "I wish I would've been home more." I'm saying it now. I want to be home more. 

     I hate whining and it feels like I am dangerously close to doing just that.  As I said above, since I do need a job, I am thankful for the one I have.  I am thankful for the extras it allows our family, like trips to Illinois to see a wedding, homeschool conferences, soccer for a child who has wanted to play.  I'm thankful. I promise.  If there is any other way, if God could work a miracle for us, I would be thankful for that in so many ways. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Second Grade, Fifth Grade and Junior High

     Oh MY!  I could spend the entire blog post talking about how quickly the time has passed and wondering where it went or bemoaning what we have not yet accomplished.  But that's the past and it's the present.  So I'm going to take this gift and go with it! 

    Tis the season, rain, flowers, warm weather, and homeschool conventions.  And homeschool conventions mean planning so you can buy ahead and save shipping!  It's a lot like Christmas for mom and not quite like Christmas for the kids.  Toys seem to get a louder cheer than new Math books.  Imagine that.

     With Jr. High looming ahead in the fall I knew it was time.  Time to start planning high school.  Can you imagine?  I try hard not to, honestly.  But the reality is it's coming and we need to be prepared.  It's time to think about online schools or classes, what Math and what Science she's going to need.  It's time to consider Grammar and Writing in ernest and since planning is something I enjoy I even find it a bit exciting.  I'd rather plan than teach.  *gasp* I don't anticipate Literature being a problem, but labs for Science. . .that's another story.  And in fact, they need to start NOW so she has a good idea what she's doing when it's time to keep records for potential Colleges to look at in the future.  Oh help.

     Thankfully, the convention I attended in Illinois had several sessions about planning high school.  I brought home great information and even a resource for planning that I didn't know existed til I found it.  I was able to hear Jay Wile, the author of Jr. and Sr. High Science curriculum speak about how to use it and what groundwork needs to be in place for which specific sciences.  Praise God!  I've had time to think, time to talk with Tim and then last night I found a sweet deal with the curriculum and the dvd lecture series for less than the price of the dvds.  I can check Science off our Jr. High needs list.

     As I confessed, I do enjoy planning more than the actual dirty work.  It's going to be a challenge over the next couple of months to school while I'd rather think ahead and plan.  But it's critical.  Planning without doing is garbage!  As I type this I have one one the computer doing school and one enjoying a fun read.  We still need to do our read aloud Science, History/Geography and Bible.  It'd be easy to let today slip by without doing it.  We're going to do it anyway.,

     Next Thursday is the next homeschool convention, and before that, on Monday I've coordinated a curriculum sharing day.  Moms in our area will bring curriculum they use and like to share with others who are interested in  seeing it.  Conference is overwhelming and getting a chance to get hands on with curriculum first is something I think will help some of the newer homeschool moms.  I'm hoping someone will bring Latin, but I don't think anyone around here is using it.  We'll see. 

    At the convention I really don't have a lot I need to buy.  The next levels of Math U See student books are all that are on my list as BUY.  There are still several LOOK AT items but even those will likely have to wait.  Latin for Children, English From the Roots Up, and a Greek Curriculum are on my look at list.  What I really can't wait for is the used book sale at the end of May!!    Is there a homeschool mom alive who doesn't love books? 

    Well, real life is calling my name, or rather my children are talking to me which means it's probably a good time to get started on our afternoon work.  My goal for today is not to be toady. To not lose my temper, and to make it through our work.  If there's a laziness problem in this house it likely starts with me! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What to do with her?

My  middle child causes me more concern than the other two combined at times.  She has a soft heart for some things and a hard, stubborn heart for others.  She'll cut her own nose off to spite her face.  Or, ruin her work in an effort to spite me, which of course as the adult we know perfectly well hurts only her.

The stomping. The temper.  The anger and frustration.  The stubbornness and defiance while silent is no less horrid than if it were screamed.  It's no less a "You can't make me!" than the words spoken out loud.

In the past month she lost every single toy and doll she had on her bed, and let me tell you, that was considerable.  She has earned back just two of those items despite having the opportunity to earn them ALL back by doing jobs.  She'd rather not.

I can see in her eyes hatred and can see the furious energy radiating from her.  I stand strong before her but inside feel a desperation.  How can I help this child?  I can not cave in, that does not help her, it would only feed the sin.  Would only confirm that what she is trying works.  But it doesn't work.  It hurts her, it cripples her from the person she could and can be.

I have a chart called Wise Words for Mom's by Ginger Plowman.  I find myself turning to it daily and reading the suggested questions and verses there.  Yesterday she wrote out and memorized two verses to help her resist lying.  Today it looks like it will be about Defiance and Laziness.  Because, in truth, that is what she is pulling today.  I can only hope that in the future these little battles will culminate in a Victory over the War and that her heart will belong fully to Christ.

It would be far easier to pack her off to school and not have to deal with this. To wash my hands and say it is the teacher's problem.  We would likely fight over homework but again I could wash my hands and say that I can only make her do so much.  It's true.  It's just as true here at home, except here at home, I love her.  A teacher wouldn't love the same way.

Just one more day in the life of a homeschool mom written in the basement and looking forward to sunshine in the future!

Monday, December 6, 2010

BOOT CAMP! Update 1 part 2

  So far in my week of Boot Camp, and we're on day #3, I've collected two small garbage bags full of stuffed animals, three American Girl dolls, a baseball cap, and a purple plastic jax. I've written two names on the board.  I've called in the Principal, assigned homework and jobs, and made all three pupils cry. So far it's a roaring success.  Note the irony in my tone? 

  I've taught my youngest to stand, look me in the eye and speak clearly when answering me.  Something she struggles with normally and yet seems to take as par for the course during Boot Camp week.  I like it.  The day has been quieter here.  I like that too.  We're whizzing through the work. I love that. 

The discipline has been good for them.  The discipline has been good for me.  I don't like it.  No discipline seems good at the time.  Sound familiar?  Ugh.  It's annoying that it's true. 

Let's talk about the attitudes.  In the last few weeks specifically if I asked my 6yo to do something she was highly likely to do the puddle melt tantrum. Ya know the one where she lets her muscles go loose, drops to the floor moaning and whining, "Do I have tooooooooooo?"  My typical response is a harsh, "YES. Now get up."   While there are still occasional moans they are low, short, and there are no limp noodle legs happening.  She has been more cheerful and more cooperative. 

She and I worked side by side cleaning her room.  She shares the room with her 8yo (9 on Friday!) sister.  The room is not immaculate but it's stayed clean to the point we got it to over the weekend. That is a minor miracle.   The morning, afternoon and evening picking up is working. Shock of all shocks.

My eight year old, soon to be nine year old also had major attitude issues.  She is the owner of the two bags worth of dolls and stuffies. I wasn't certain on Day 1 that she was going to survive the week.  I did let her earn back her favorite bear, but all other bears/stuffies/dolls will be earned back after Boot Camp, not during.  There hasn't been a major meltdown since.  The biggest challenge for her is keeping her mouth closed.  She talks without even realizing she's talking.  Hence the check mark beside her name on the board. 
She has worked without complaining today, and that's an improvement.

Uh oh. I spoke too soon.  Her passive aggressive resistance is showing.  It could be another long night.  *sigh*  I will stay calm. I will stay calm.  ;)

The oldest is upstairs working on her Time4Learning work.  She had the least attitude problem.  Our biggest issue is writing.  She needs to learn the mechanics and doesn't want to, or hasn't rather.  I think she's ready.  We discussed the attitude about it and she asked for help.  She will be starting a project this week on Rome or Greece, whichever she choose, specifically Ancient Rome or Greece.    We'll see how that goes.

Then there's my attitude.  I'm tired.  This is the fifth day straight of work at my part time job and I am tired.  Tonight is the last shift for a couple of days and I'm looking forward to the break.  Tonight I want to take a look at the rest of the weeks Sonlight Lesson plans and figure out what we are doing and what we are not doing out of the guide.   We're ready to start Week 7.  Ay yi yi. I refuse to think of where we could be and will instead focus on where we are and moving forward. 

There are consequences for actions God can turn even what we see as negative consequences into positive ones.  I can see that at work here.  The negative of Boot Camp is bringing about positives.  I pray that it will continue to do so and that God will reach the heart of my children through this week. 

BOOT CAMP! Update 1

     Some of you asked to hear updates back on boot camp. While the girls are having their lunch recess I thought I'd take a minute to share how it's going. Some of you may laugh as it doesn't sound like that much, others will be groaning with how much work it is. I am sometimes but not outloud, I don't want my name on the board. ;)

     You should also know that this Boot Camp comes as a result of weeks, possibly months if I look back that far of resistance, negative attitudes, disrespect, whining, complaining and just overall unpleasantness from the girls. I don't think those are nice traits in anyone and since we homeschool and the girls are with us 24/7 you can imagine how unbearable it can be. . .shoot, if you have kids or spend time around any at all you know how unbearable that can be! How much more pleasant is it to be around children who are polite, thoughtful, obedient, respectful, and cheerful? Like the difference between a sweet treat and spoiled vinegar.

Here's our schedule:

8:00 a.m. wake up, get dressed, get breakfast, put your jammies away, brush your teeth and hair. Free time
       without electronics.
9:00 a.m. School starts
10:15-10:30 morning break
10:30-12 School work
12-12:30 lunch (work on jobs or schoolwork while mom makes lunch)
12:30-1 Outside recess
1-2:15 School Work
2:15-2:30 Afternoon break
2:30-3:30 School work
3:30-4:00 Jobs (dishes, sweeping the floor, bathrooms, bedrooms, garbage)
4:00-5:30 Homework then free time until work is done.
5:30 Supper
6:00-8:00 Homework and jobs completed as needed may use electronics now no more than 30 minutes
                each.  Get ready for bed. Teeth brushed, jammies on, clothes away or in laundry.
8:00-8:30 In bed, lights out at 8:30.

School rules are in place. They may not speak without raising their hand first and being called on. No talking without permission. They must sit at a desk or table to do their work. They have a time limit on their subjects and we move on regardless if they are finished with the assigned work or not. Leftover work is homework (this is a foreign concept!). Permission must be recieved before going to the bathroom. Oh, and at lunch they eat what is served without complaining or go hungry.

Now, it's time to call them in for our afternoon of work so I need to go. Recess is over! If I have time this afternoon I'll share how this is affecting their attitudes.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just one of those days.

There are days when I glory in being a homeschool family.  When the sun is shining brightly and we're helping harvest carrots at the volunteer organic garden, or when we're enjoying time with friends at the beach, or when I watch one of my children understand something for the first time.  Those are gems of days. 

Then there are days when the headache at the back of my head pounds out a tempo mocking me and I wonder why it is again that I choose to do what someone else will do for free.  Why do I choose to work on daily schedules and weekly lesson plans.  Why do I spend hours choosing the right curriculum and then months implementing it when I could drop them at school and have blissful quiet hours in a house that stays clean until they come home. 

Days when one child comes to me after nearly throwing up to tell me that she lied to me all week.  That she had not in fact completed her work but had done part and then pretended it was done.  When my youngest goes to her room in tears because the playdate didn't work out and she's miserable because she'd looked forward to it all day!  Or when she wimpers, whines and cries because she doesn't want to do her reading, her handwriting, her whatever it is she was asked to do. 

There are days when my home feels peaceful, calm and is a place I enjoy being.  There are days when I wish I could just run away and start over in a new house and forget cleaning up and sorting through the old.  Sometimes I am filled with contentment and peace and somedays I am wracked with doubt, worry, fear, and shame.  Why don't I do a better job?  Why can't I think of things ahead of time? Why don't I take the time to do it well?  Why? Why? Why?

Well, because I'm not perfect.  I am a work in progress.  God has promised that He will complete the work He began in me.  Just as He will complete the work he has begun in my children.  HE will.  Not me. I can't. Doesn't matter how well I lesson plan and present those lessons.  HE is the one who will engineer my children's learning, growth, and being. 

Today is one of those days when I need to grit my teeth, cry out to God, throw up my hands and let it go.  It's just one of those days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blank Pages

I'm sitting here at my desk in the basement, which is the coolest place in the house.  I'm staring at the blank squares in my nifty new teacher's planner. And I'm panicking slightly. Why? Because I love new beginnings. Love blank spaces, squares or days and enjoy filling them, organizing and planning what we'll do.  Except today, I don't.  It's the second day of school and this my friends, does not bode well.  I admit it. I'm worried.

Is it the caffeine? I had two cups of coffee this morning, can I possibly blame this on that?  No? *sigh* Okay. 

I've ranted and raved, and something must've worked because my two older girls are quietly doing the reading they are supposed to do.  The youngest is playing with toys like it's the privledge it is to have them, instead of whining about nothing to do.  We've done Math, Spelling, Reading, and they are doing their History Reading.  Little one has done Explode the Code, Handwriting and Math.  It's been as successful day so far in that aspect.  Yesterday we hit History, Thurs. we will do Science some more. 

I like what we have!  I feel so unequipped to plan this year though.  My perfectionism is defeating me!  I'm warring inside reminding myself that just doing something is better than nothing because it's not perfect.  And that I can't know what will work until I try some things and find out what won't.  I know this.  I've  been there, done this, wore out the t-shirt. 

What is holding me back?  Laziness? Maybe somewhat.  Reluctance to let go of the summer.  Oh yeah, for sure.  I've enjoyed the last few laid back weeks.  The sleeping in, and reading whatever, chatting with friends online.  It's been nice!  But I know it's time to get back to it.  It's time.  Public schools start next week.  We are taking a week and a bit off at the end of September.  It's time. 

I feel so unprepared.  I've been planning all summer, working on getting photocopies made, cleaning, organizing etc. but last week was crazy with work at The Home Depot and in the evenings I did have off instead of working on homeschooling stuff I just relaxed.  Now I'm paying for not spending time a little more wisely.  I will get it together.  Slowly but surely we will pull it together and be just fine.  This is one of those things I need to grow through. 

Day 2 of 180 some days is almost done.  So is the laudry.  Life goes on, bring on Day 3.