Necessary Distractions

Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 in Homeschooling, Mothering | 2 comments

I haven’t been writing much lately and there are multiple reasons behind it all. Don’t worry, none of those reasons include pregnancy or moving to Nashville or any other life altering seeeekrits. My days have been FULL. I remember once listening to a mother of a lot of children telling me about another mother with a lot of children who said that once she leaves her bedroom in the morning, she doesn’t make it back into that room until the evening. I’m not in that place, but in the interest of full disclosure, the changing table is currently in my bedroom. I’m in there plenty.

The baby is in full-on-death-mode. I’ve found her chewing on cords, trying to make out with an electrical socket, attempting to sit at the top of the stairs where there isn’t actually any floor, climbing on top of toys in the crib in a feeble and ill advised plan of escape, leaning out of her high chair towards the floor while I put the tray down on the counter, shoving all kinds of things that could potentially choke her into her pie hole (none of them were pie. Sad face). She is the greatest reason for my full-tiltedness. She’ll be eight months old next week. Goodnight.

Gideon read his very first book all by himself today. It was about a rat who’s wearing a tan hat. There is also a cat. I think you can figure out what happened.

He got a sticker and tons of self confidence. That’s how you get proper self-esteem, by the way. You do amazing things, things you didn’t think you could do, things that look like a giant, St Helens sized obstacle and then you tighten your crampons and you go. When you’re standing on a precipice and you think you aren’t going to make the summit and then you do it. You summit. Like a boss. That’s when you know the next time that book or that volcano is taunting you with your possible inability, you remember that last Kilauea whose steam you felt but triumphed over and you think, “be quiet fear. This is doable.” You don’t build real confidence any other way.

Piper used scissors to make ANOTHER snowflake this morning. It is as if she is summoning the cold from December and wishing it upon our day. She’ll care when it arrives (this weekend, maybe?) and she can’t wear those shiny pink sandals anymore. In the meantime, she’s rocking out My Little Pony episodes and taking names from anybody who wants to mess with Twilight Sparkle. The show bleeds over into her play every day, but thankfully not so much in the details because I am guessing its writers drop acid and then beat their heads against a wall when they get a creative block and need more material to fill those excruciating 22 minutes of awful.

We’re knocking out work as fast as we can without compromising quality. It’s good and exhausting. It’s hard to know what comes first, the exhaustion or the sinus infection and mastitis. Do I wear my body down with lack of sleep and then get sick or does the sickness make me crazy enough not to sleep. Okay, yeah, it’s the first one. Regardless, there’s plenty more to do, which will hopefully get crossed off tonight while the Pres and the dude who wants his job square off tonight. I hope they throw in some jazz hands or that the moderator’s chairs turn around or something so that the rest of ‘merica will watch. Maybe they’ll parade out overweight southerners in pageant clothes instead. I say go where your heart leads politicians. Make us proud.

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By the Numbers

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Homeschooling, Mothering | 3 comments

3 – Mad Men Episodes I have watched since the last time I posted here

6 – Subjects covered in school today

2 – Times we listened to ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’

18 – Days the library claims a My Little Pony book is overdue (it’s not. Twas returned. How do I prove this?!)

12 – Times I feed Greer-girl milk every day

1 – Glass broken during lunch

6 – Number of cents over my Gap order for today that qualified me for free shipping

1 – Size of shoe I ordered for Gideon’s Rock N Roll shoes

5 – Times I’ve thought that I should have ordered a size two

24 – Digits with nails that I clipped (the baby only had four done before I gave up. It is the worst baby care job) today

3 – Beds unmade

2 – Children happily playing in Gideon’s room

1 – Baby sleeping

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Hearts and Sighs

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Homeschooling, Mothering | 0 comments

Maybe this will pass, but dudes, I really love teaching my kid(s) at home. A whole lot of moms who do this too keep reminding me not to stress about getting stuff done, but I’m not actually worrying about any of it. We really only need to do one to two pages of our books each day (some just two or three times per week) to get everything done this year so the morning moves really quickly.

I’m a person who loves structure teaching a kid who loves structure, so we’re doing just fine with the schedule. Honestly, it was harder to just be at home with them free form than it has been to implement the school work. I probably won’t be saying this quite so enthusiastically in May, but the second week into it feels great and you know how I love feelings.

So, as it turns out, I heart teaching formally. This really isn’t new news. I’ve always loved to teach, but now that I’m knee deep in it inside of our home, I am happy to be right where I am.

On the other hand, the tiniest one has some pretty messed up sleep going on. I’m gonna boot camp her tiny little bottom this week to try to get her back to two wake ups per night. She’s doing fantastic at everything else – naps are fine, she loves oatmeal but still doesn’t love anything else except oranges, she’s crawling quickly and trying to pull her giant self up onto things, she is madly in love with her older brother and sister, she looks at you when you say her name, but not if her two loves are doing something more interesting.

Meanwhile, this girl has been happy with Strawberry Shortcake coloring tasks and playing with beans for math. She helps me make meals and is in general a fantastic little Mama.

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I Don’t Have Time to Maintain These Regrets

Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Homeschooling | 2 comments

Week one of homeschooling is in the bag. Well, three days, half of a week is tucked away into those Target bins. We started on Wednesday and we ended at noon today. It takes 2.5-3 hours to accomplish everything we need to get done each day.

There were tears for two of the days. We don’t have a gym and there isn’t gym time, but we have a yard and it can suffice. We also aren’t just like preschool. We have a different routine, our routine, the one I am willing and able to keep up and he will adjust to it. I do give out stickers at the end of the day. That’s a routine we’ll keep up here until the love of stickers wanes.

Piper is struggling the most with it all. She can’t quite keep up with him during math (the very first subject each day due to its primacy and his intense love) and quickly looses heart. She sabotages with questions and table shakes. She is a beautiful saboteur, but a saboteur nonetheless. Once her preschool begins, this will all be a distant memory.That is three weeks from now (and absolutely I am counting).

Greer continues to do her own fantastic thing. She is crawling and sitting up and has two tiny chompers with which to bite you or anything you put near her fists or mouth. Look out world! She will conquer you soon (just as soon as she frees herself from under this chair).

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How We Store It

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Homeschooling, Mothering, Uncategorized, Wifery | 1 comment

One of the scary parts of homeschooling for me was the idea that our entire house would suddenly turn into a classroom. Don’t get me wrong. The whole house already is a classroom. We’re learning everywhere, but I didn’t want it to look like we live in a public school room. We still need to live here, ya know?

So here is how we are keeping our sanity in the midst of the addition of books and math games and geography puzzles:

Each day has a slightly different set of subjects to cover. This is Wednesday. Thursday’s includes science lab, Friday has history too. Math is first thing every day so that we start with his favorite thing.

One for each day! Once he starts reading these will make more sense.

These are the bins (thanks, Target!) that hold the school stuff. Well, they hold everything except the Science experiment bag. It has some semi-dangerous stuff in there, so we’ll be storing that somewhere higher.

Math manipulatives, tiny books with stories about Dan and how he ran, dry erase markers, dry erase crayons. This is the bin that makes me feel nervous for the day I find one of the girls writing on a wall. I’m sure I’ll let you know if/when that occurs.

The school books…all ripped up and inserted into page protectors so that he can write with dry erase markers and we can use them for the next child too. They fit so nicely in the bins. My organizational heart is happy.

Part of how he’ll learn geography this year — puzzles of every world region.

The best part! When school is over, everything is packed away.

Do you have an organization project that you are loving right now? Have you solved the problem of laundry baskets (you know, the one where I put the laundry in there but it takes forever for me to put the clean stuff away)? Tell me! Tell me how you are doing it!!

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And so it begins

Posted by on Aug 15, 2012 in Homeschooling, Mothering | 4 comments

I haven’t really told the whole world this yet, mostly because I’m not ready for all the judgement and opinions the world will immediately form about me and my little family once I do. Some of you will have excitement and some of you will think I’ve lost my mind. Some will say my kids are missing out and some will think they’re getting so much more. Maybe it’s all of that.

Tomorrow morning, we open our very first day of homeschool. The curriculum was purchased. The books organized. The manipulatives stored in cute bins that double as seating. His sister bought him some Avenger and Star Wars themed folders. He invited her to join him as he “learns to read this year!”. I made charts for each day, so that he can see what we’re doing and what’s coming up.

We were supposed to start today, but Gideon threw up on Sunday night and I got mastitis and impetigo and a giant fever to let me know I was going to die soon. Then I started main lining antibiotics with a tiny amount of the good tylenol to keep me from crying every time my left arm touches my side. The week blew up and I got the lesson right away. This is going to be a journey requiring patience and flexibility. There will be tears and bad days and it’s all going to be okay after some time and possibly some drugs.

We decided to homeschool for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which having to do with fostering our children’s strengths and treading lightly where they are weak. We love the idea of letting them be specialists from the get go, while making sure they know about all of the generalities one needs to comprehend good jokes, literary references in interesting conversations, music that has changed the world and visual art that you’ll never forget. We want them to be lopsided – not well-rounded. We hope they have a big bulge in their area of interest because we think all of us have the greatest potential for growth in the areas where we are strong. We know that’s a tall order in a classroom full of kids with different potentials and one teacher tasked with bringing them all along the education train.

We rode that train. We had very different experiences. We had different teachers – some who did very well, some that did a good job, some that weren’t trying and some who were straight up evil. The ones on either end of that spectrum have given us some good stories to tell at parties. Our choice to educate at home isn’t a reaction to any of those stories. It’s not a judgement of your choice to do something different either. It’s just our choice. For this child. This year. Things will change. Our education choices will too. We’re all learning as we go and I plan to share with you the successes and failures we face to help you get a good idea of what this thing is.

This train leaves at 9 tomorrow morning (what?! Not 8? she’s already a slacking slacker of homeschool pajama slack!)(what?! she got on this train 5 years ago! she’s already taught him how to sing his ABCs and count to 100 or beyond and potty trained him and discussed lemon sharks and blue whales at ridiculous length. she’s just continuing the process!). It’s finally here and I’m nervous but happy and ready.

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