Adventures in Homeschooling

So…we have survived the first week of homeschooling.  It was not pretty.  In fact…it was rather overwhelming, which is a bit embarrassing to admit especially when I have the curriculum, the lesson plans…the whole 9 years laid out in front of me.  Am I good enough to teach my own kids?  What makes me qualified to think I can teach my kids?  I am not a teacher, am I?  I mean, I’m pretty good at having kids, but actually teaching them?  Oh dear Lord, sister…that is a whole different ball game!  I love it when doubt rears its ugly head.

My 2nd Oldest.

My 2nd oldest was rather upset that her version of home school…and my version of home school were apparently vastly different.  She thought it was going to be easy-peasy…and well, I selected curriculum that is more geared to where I feel she should be.  We researched lots of curriculum and I chose the one I did because it reflects our beliefs and it also believes in a firm foundation of fundamentals to help a child achieve academic success.

I have learned that my 6th grader does not know how to put together a simple sentence.  By that I mean, she can write sentences, but she has no idea why what goes where.  This was something I did not know and makes me feel like a loser for not knowing that my daughter was struggling this much in a basic English function.   She simply does not know what a subject of a sentence it.  She does not know what a predicate of a sentence is.  She does not know how to separate the two nor does she understand how to identify them.  Whoa!  This is an issue.

She absolutely refused to write in cursive.  A 10 minute lesson took between 30 and 40 minutes to do because she was that resistant to actually doing the work.  Once I got her back in line and focused she did it grudgingly.  The next day, no problems.  She did it without complaint.  Score!

The first day she flipped over her spelling words.  35 in all and we go over the Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes.  Again, a lesson that should take no more than half an hour…took almost an hour and a half because she fought it.  Today…she only missed 6 in her pre-test.  And we laughed through most of it.  Yay!  Another win in my book!

Science and History she has not fought me on.  We just got her math in today and will start that on Monday.

But already, her attitude is improving.  Thank You, Jesus.  And I am not being facetious about that.

What have I learned?

I do not have to go by what the pre-written lesson plans say I do.  I was starting to freak out and worry because we are already “behind” based on what my books say we should be.  Day 1, Lesson 1.  Day 2, Lesson 2…Day 3…still on Lesson 2.  OH CRAP!  We’re falling behind.  Here comes the stress.  I hate stress.  I do not thrive well in a stress environment and if I am stressed, then baby you know my whole family feels it.  But wait.  Who says we have to follow the lesson plans verbatim?  No one.  Liberty and freedom! 😉

I have learned if we have to take more time to make sure the lesson cements in her brain…then that is what we are going to do.  If it takes a week to get her to understand Imperative, Declarative, Interrogative and Exclamatory sentences and their sentence structures…then we will.  If she needs a remedial course in subject and predicate then that is what we are going to do.  I don’t want to shuffle her through because she is “acceptably” meeting the standards.  I want her to exceed the standards because she understands it.  I want her to comprehend it and be able to put that knowledge to good use.  Knowledge itself is not power; Applied knowledge is power.  Learn how to use it…and she will.

My son.

My son is in 1st grade and has the attention span of a gnat.  I can get through his lessons in no time flat…and I worry because it’s like: I sent him to freaking school for 8 hours a freaking day.  The boy cannot sit still in his seat without his little butt cheeks scooting off and half sitting/half standing at the table.  How in the world did her survive 8 hours?  the 1st 2 days I gave him “busy” work because while I was doing lessons with my older girl, I felt he should be doing something.  How boring is that?  So on the 3rd day, I took him later.  Let him play with younger sister and watch TV and draw and read and go outside.  His lessons got done and he was super happy.  And tired.  The boy ran around outside and played and played and played.  He has slept well.

Our mornings.

Our mornings are nice.  My husband gets up for work and makes coffee.  He wakes me up, wakes up the kids.  And it’s a nice way to get up.  No rush, rush, rush to get clothes and sandwiches and lunches and breakfasts all done before the bus driver comes screeching to a stop in front of our house.  Nope.  We watch it pass by and I breathe a sigh of relief.  There’s no screaming.  It’s rather quiet, considering.  My daughters are not snipping at one another.  They in turn are not yelling at their younger brother to stop being a lump on a log…and I in turn am not yelling at all of them to get their collective butts in gear.  Sigh.  So far, so good.

All in All.

All in all, things remain good.  My oldest is going to public school online and she is loving it.  She’s been doing it for 2 weeks now.  She puts in between 6 and 8 hours a day on the computer and there’s no homework…for now.  She is totally busting butt on it and I am so proud of her.  She gets up, turns on the computer and goes to work.  She gets herself up before 8 a-m and is at “school” by 8; checking into her classes and starting her lessons.  She goes to a “live lesson” once a day and is contact with her instructors throughout the day.  She seems to be enjoying it and is being challenged which we both enjoy!

This was not an easy decision.  It was something we prayed over, fought over, cried over.  It is not for everyone, but is the right fit, right now, for our family.  It totally has to be something that God puts on your heart.  Yeah.  He’s our decision maker right now.  And it’s scary and comforting to know that He is leading us.  Be blessed, friend!

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Book Review: Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

Absolutely loved, loved, LOVED!!!!!!  (lots of exclamation points) this book.

Sparkly Green Earrings-Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle had me laughing and crying and thinking.  I loved her pull-up-a-chair-grab-a-cup-of-coffee-you’re-gonna-be-here-awhile attitude and writing style.

Mrs. Shankle writes about all the funny and slightly terrifying things that happen when  you become a M-O-M.  She writes about the ugly…and the funny.  And she writes about the heartbreak and ache we go through when a baby becomes a dream and a dream becomes a baby.  (Been there and cried while I was reading it.)

This book is great and a fun read.  And Gentle Reader, it is full of faith.  Full of love of the Lord and His goodness in our lives, through the good and the bad.

It’s not anything that is going to be life changing.

But oh, Gentle Reader, if you are a mother or a mother to be or are hoping to be a mom, here is a book that will tell you the trials and tribulations you could possibly go through.  It talks about (with much humor and humility) the never-ending poop explosion when you have a baby.  You know, the poop that seems to end up everywhere, stick to everything and still smells no matter how many times you have washed everything?  The kind that ends up in the baby’s hair AFTER it managed to creep up his/her back??  The sleepless nights, where you literally could kill for just 45 minutes of uninterrupted sleep.  The ickies your kid will bring home.  The puke you will get in your hair and catch in your hands.  Yeah, good times.  But it is oh, so worth it!  I promise!

And it will make you think about how many times you have failed as a mother and the triumphs you have also accomplished and how your life has drastically changed because of this little scrap of humanity that calls you “Mom”.  It’s nice to know that there are others, like me, who have been more worried about what the other mom’s do versus just letting my kid…be, well…a kid.  And how liberating it is to just say “Whatever,” and call it good.

I love that Mrs. Shankle has this great relationship with not only her husband but her best friend as well.  I love her honesty about motherhood, friendships and trying to compete in mom-dom.  I don’t know what her voice sounds like, but for me, Mrs. Shankle has this down-home sweet Texas drawl (she’s from Texas) that resonated within me.  She is a woman I would like to meet and have coffee with.

Sparkly Green Earrings is a great little book to sit down and enjoy.  I did just that.  I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Stuck Between God and Hard Place

So…God truly honored me by giving me the gift to skate again.  After being off the ice for more than 15 years…He gave it back to me.  And not only to skate, but to coach…which is beyond my wildest dreams.

figure skate abstract
figure skate abstract

I have loved every minute of teaching.  Okay, to be totally honest, I have probably loved like 80% of teaching.  The other 20% I could have done without, but that is the nature of the beast.  Those days when you have students who don’t want to listen, who want to argue with you, who think they know better than you.

There have been personalities that I have had to ignore.  People whom I would love to tell off, but that small still voice urges me not to.  Sigh, sometimes that small still voice speaks too much!

I have really struggled these last few months.  Trying to honor God while still trying to keep some semblance of calm.  There are so many things that I have told others that has been ignored…until it happens to them.  And then, all of a sudden, it’s an issue.  There are things that I have seen that I am not happy about, and yet still it happens and no one does a thing about it.  What do I know, right?  I am just the coach.

One of the biggest challenges is working with a group of folks who have no idea what it is like to be out on the ice.  To have skated.  And to have skated well.

When I was skating, I was skating close to 4 days a week or more if I could.  When I wasn’t at the rink, I was dreaming up ways I could get to the rink.  I loved it.  It was where I could express myself, where I was graceful and powerful…not an insignificant speck in the world.  I may not have been as good as some of the smaller girls…and we can go into a whole body image issue, but we will leave that for another time…but I had power and grace.  I was intense out there.  It was important to me.

I started out like many of my skaters…taking basic skills lessons.  I quickly advanced through that.  I know that was because I had gymnastics and ballet behind me.  I ended up telling my mom I wanted a private coach.  My mom agreed and I selected a private coach.  Her name was Corey and she was not the typical coach.  She was older, meaner, stricter.  In a lot of ways, she reminded me of my mom.  But she was also very sweet.  I got to know her when we would drive home from practice at least once a week.  Corey and I would have a lot of conversations.  When I moved, she even asked my mom if I could live with her so she could train me.  That’s how much potential she saw in me.  Of course, my mom said no.  But I always wonder…what if?

Then my second coach was Russian.  Complete with accent and all.  He was also strict.  But we had a problem.  He was also a Lothario and had fallen in love with my mother.  Very creepy.  Seriously.  He started stalking my mom.  So…along with that and some other issues, I quit skating.  I did not want to but at the time it seemed prudent.

So, after my digression (sorry about that gentle reader) I think I have had some experience with skating.  I think I know what I am talking about.  I have not had the typical skating experience.  But…according to the folks I am working with, I might as well be just some bone-head who has no clue.  It’s very frustrating.  And irritating.  And I want to quit.  Oh my Lord have I wanted to quit.  I am not allowed to speak with the skaters or their parents without going through the skating board first.  And yes, I have that in an email.  No one wants to communicate with anyone…because everyone has a personal vendetta against the other for some reason or another.  Seriously…this is what happens when small town minds get together.  People are rude.  Disrespectful.  And they talk behind your back and undo all the hard work you have put in building up rapport with a group of skaters just because they don’t like the  way things are going.  Yeah.  It’s been real hard to see the gift that I have been given.

And so I question…am I supposed to confront these people?  Or, am I supposed to the turn the other cheek?  Should I voice how I really feel about the way they run things or am I supposed to just smile and hold my breath until I turn blue?  I have to realize that this run is only temporary and I need to thank God for the opportunity to make a difference.

But there’s that still small voice.  Honor God.  He brought your dreams to life.  He heard your heartfelt prayer and He gave it to you.  Be thankful.  Be grateful.  Alas, dear reader; sometimes it is so hard to see the BIG GOD sized picture when I can only see the junk that is in front of me.

Needless to say…I will keep plugging along.  I don’t have much more to go.  Praise the Lord, for that!  And then I am done.  I don’t know if I will have my daughter’s and son in skating again.  I might just teach them on my own now that I have the resources to do so.

So I wait.  For God to give me direction.  For Wisdom.  For Knowledge.  For Revelation.  For a dream of where I need to be next.  Here I am, Lord.  It is I, Lord.  Thank You for loving me, as perfectly imperfect as I am.