Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Our First Homeschool-iversary.

It has almost been a full year since we started this journey.  This year went insanely fast... while also crazy slow.  How do I feel about homeschool as we enter year two?  Well, basically they same as I did when we entered year one.  Excitement, apprehension, joy, fear, less stressed, more stressed, but I will add a new one this year - EXHAUSTED.  This 24/7/365 parenting/teaching/chauffeuring/guiding/disciplining/cleaning-up-after thing is really hard! I mean, with a 3 year old in the house I suppose I'd be doing all that 24/7 anyway, but with an 8 year old around too, yikes.
Some days I think I should've just kept on fighting the school.  Maybe it would've been less exhausting. Perhaps I'd be slightly less stressed.  Possibly I'd even have a bit more peace & quiet in my house on the daily.  Except... no I wouldn't.  I'd be exhausted from fighting administration & teachers who didn't really want to "deal with" my child.  I'd be more stressed knowing my child would be walking into an environment that wouldn't alter things to reach him where he needed to be reached.  I'd have more peace & quiet for several hours a day - but that after school kid that I got every day was SO. MUCH. MORE. than the kid I get all day every day.  (Parents with kids in school, I think you understand that! These poor kids save all that energy & angst up all day & let it out on you the second they get home - am I right?) I guess what I'm saying is, that when I sit here some days, having a pity party for how difficult I've made things for myself, I need to remember how wonderful I've made them for my child, and ultimately our family.
We still follow more of an unschooling theory.  We do some math (Life of Fred is awesome!!), and we've been working on grammar (First Language Lessons, while a bit boring, are fairly easy & seem to sink in well. I do suppose "forcing" this subject is against unschooling principles, but I want KMan to sound as intelligent as he truly is.), with lots of reading & the occasional other misc "work" (Mad Libs are KMan's personal favorite).  We did a session of GameEd Minecraft School (he chose a science class), but KMan didn't get into it quite as much as I thought he would. I'm thinking of adding some art over the next few months because both boys enjoy it so.  Other than those things (which take up about 45 min of a day). We go to Bible study weekly, MOPs every other week (both of those have a class for homeschoolers!!), we do recess almost every day (this is FANTASTIC for the kiddos!), and a weekly American Ninja Warrior class.  The rest of our time we spend discovering outside, building Legos, playing board games, and fighting learning how to work out differences. We also do chores, which is of course the kiddo's favorite thing.  ha.
The days, they slip by so quickly! On the harder days, I try to remember how fast this journey has already gone & that it's not that long until my children will live in their own houses & do their own things.  I will long for these days again, because I feel quite certain that the hardest moments will be erased from my memory over time.  I will most certainly cherish the fact that I was able to spend every. single. day with my children & know them on a deeper level than most parents get the chance to do.  --That doesn't mean that some days [right now] I wish I didn't know them quite so well...
We are not promised tomorrow, so I do try not to stress over how things will go next year or the year after. Being a planner though, I do wonder what our life will look like as the years go by & if there will come a day that KMan wants to try public school again (though doubtful) and how I will feel about that idea.  The kid is just so very smart (I don't mean that as a mom brag, just a fact), and has so much potential for the future...  I do hope that I am doing right by him & that I am nurturing his intelligence in an appropriate way, not dwindling it by leaving it up to him to choose his studies.  I think all parents - working/stay at home, homeschool/private school/public school, single/married, old/young, etc, etc wonder if we are doing best by our kids.  I think we all also believe we "could never" do something another parent is doing.  I once said I "could never" homeschool my kids.  Well, here we are.  I think I'm doing an okay job most days.  I still have plenty of hair left to pull out, the kids are still alive, and the hubby hasn't run away.  I wish I could find a way to feel more joy in the ups & downs of the day, but I am working on that. Meanwhile, we're going to venture on to HOMESCHOOL YEAR 2 - grade 3. (That's right, just 9 more years to go... with the oldest anyway.)

Saturday, November 7, 2015


I'm a horrible friend these days. No, really, I am.

I take more than I give;
I talk more than I listen;
I seek support more than I offer support;
I cry more than I smile;
I forget more than I remember;
I beg forgiveness more than I lend it;
I request more hugs than I provide.
I expect acknowledgement more than I offer it.

I'm sure I could make that list longer.  I'm sure I've offended each of you in some way lately.  I'm sure I didn't even notice when I offended or neglected some of you recently.  I'm sorry.  So very sorry.
I could list a million reasons - likely legit ones - about why I have or haven't done the things a good friend should.  BUT, that's what the problem is.  No matter what I have going on in my life, I want to be the kind of friend that you deserve.  I want to be the kind of friend that smiles in the worst of times & offers a shoulder despite the need for one myself.  So this, my dear friends, is my public apology.  If you're reading this & wondering if I am referring to you, then the answer is yes.  You are so precious to me & every part of your life's story is important to me.  I love you.
Today I will start working harder.  I'll give more, listen better, offer greater support, smile when I see your lovely face, remember the things that matter to you, forgive your faults, hug you closer, & acknowledge every precious thing about you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

We're all in this together.

You guys, I did not ever intend to be a homeschool mom anymore than I intended to be an alphabet soup mom (currently: ADHD, ODD, SPD, & I'm pretty sure dysgraphia that I don't believe has any kind of acronym).  I did ((ALWAYS)) intend to be a mom though.  Part of being a mom (parent), in my opinion, is doing what is best for your kids any time you have a way to make the best happen. I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again:
I am NOT supermom.
I am NOT any more qualified than you.
I am NOT patient.
I am not even sure what I'm doing most days, quite honestly!  I'm just winging it here folks!  There are positives and negatives of being a homeschool mom - and of being an alphabet soup mom.  I don't think public/private/charter/magnet/boarding/or any other kind of schooling is wrong, it's just not right for my kiddo (at the moment at least), or my family.  My sister is one of the most intelligent people I know, she went to a small town public school.  The hubby is another one of the most intelligent people I know, and he went to a large public school.  I don't think I fared too poorly in the intelligence department myself, and I went to a small private school. We each do what works for us & our families.  It's really that simple.
There are as many types of homeschooling families & reasons behind their choices as there are ways to homeschool!  We are all doing the best we can with what we have!  Some days I'm the on-top-of-it-all homeschool mom, and we do a thorough set of studies (that I planned out in advance even!), followed by outdoor time, chores, non-electronic playtime, etc.  Some days I don't want to do any.thing., so I assign "independent study" & try to allow myself a breather without guilt.  (Oh, you better believe that there is ALWAYS guilt!) I think it all evens out though, because I truly believe that all of life's experiences are learning experiences.  And, plus also, I've got 365 days x 10 more years to fill KMan's brain with any knowledge he needs my help filling it with.  It's all good!
Last week we went camping.  There was no worry about pulling KMan out of school, our school room (that'd be the earth/life/experience here folks) travels with us. We're also going to have a Fair Day, just like I did growing up in DFW.  I realize it's not a thing around us, but we're making it one - road trip! Again, no worries over pulling him out of school, or putting him in an anxiety-inducing state of the weekend crowds.  We're also planning another camping trip soon because there's just such a small window of good camping weather here in Texas.  Who cares how long we go, we can learn on the road, and we can school all summer long *gasp*.
Of course, I can't schedule dr appts for when I don't have kids with me (ha, I can't even pee alone most days!).  I have the weight of teaching my kiddos "everything they need to know in life" placed squarely on my shoulders, and I sometimes feel left out of the things that are going on at the neighborhood school. - I was SO going to be the super mom my own mother was & be involved in all. the. things. at the school.  Guess I just stepped that game up a bit, huh?  I'm so totally involved in all. the. things. - janitor, teacher, counselor, principal, electives, administrator...
We have to sacrifice too.  We don't eat out often.  We rarely get to have a babysitter (I think our last night out was in May).  My clothes all come from the discount rack of the cheapest stores.  We eat a lot of generic grocery items.  I gave up my Y membership.  Etc, etc, etc.  We chose these sacrifices, sure, but once I took on homeschooling I lost the ability to change my mind & go get a job. (Honestly, now that I homeschool I have no idea how I'd find the time for a job!)

Please don't judge me for my choice to be a lead parent (trying that out instead of stay at home mom - because I sure don't stay home much!).  Don't judge me for my alphabet soup kiddo's behavaiors (and you better not even dream of judging him for them!). Don't judge me for my decision to homeschool.  I don't need side eyes.  I don't need snide remarks.  I don't need whispers behind my back.  I need support, adult conversation, friendship, and respect.  I'll do the same for you, whatever choices you make.
On the same note - don't think you couldn't do this.  Don't think it'd be too hard (I'm not saying it isn't hard - but traditional schooling has its challenges too!).  If you have ever had even the briefest notion of homeschooling, stop & think it through.  Though it has many challenges, it also has so many perks!  (Also, if you do homeschool & have had any thoughts about enrolling your kids in public school, give it a good hard look.  It doesn't make you a failure, it makes you amazing for doing what is best for your kids & your family.)
Our kids are only with us for a short time.  They deserve our love & true devotion, our wise direction in what is best for them, They have an opinion on things, and they should get to voice it, but we have the final say & we know what the world is really going to bring them.  Do what is best for you & your family & don't take anyone else's opinions as anything more than their opinions.  They are not living your life & do not know your child or family as deeply as you do.  No matter what, always know that if you are doubting ANY parenting decision(s) it's because you are an amazing parent.  Hang in there.  We've only got (approx) 936 weeks with them from birth until adulthood. ((If they're already in school, you're down to at least 676 weeks already!))

Thanks for letting me get that out. I've heard a lot of comments - positive & negative - about homeschooling & about being a lead parent lately.  Come on guys, we're ALL doing the best we can with what we have.  Even those truly awful, CPS-worthy parents are probably doing the best with what they can, they just need more of A LOT of things (love, guidance, support, grace, etc, etc, etc, etc).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School!

Ah, it's back to school time.  This time of year brings me joy for a reason unlike most parents'...  Most parents are happily sending their little ones off to spend the day at school.  No more worrying about childcare, or how to entertain kids all day, or day-long-gigantic kid messes to clean...  It's kind of like a hard-earned vacation for most parents.
For me though, it means I can go to the zoo, the park, the store, the library, the museum, etc, etc, etc, without forcing my way through a crowd of hundreds & stressing over losing sight of my own kids.  It also means back to routine (since we took the summer off, unlike I originally planned).  Knowing what will happen each day, knowing what expectations I have for my kids & they for me, knowing that we'll get to have fun & play once school work is done.
I've struggled at times with accepting my calling to homeschool.  Some days are hard & I just. don't. wanna.  Other days are wonderful love-filled, fun-having, glorious reminders of why I chose to make sacrifices so that my kids could be with me all day.  While I wish I had days of peace & quiet, and the ability to bring in some extra income so we could eat out more/vacation/buy all the things...  I also appreciate how quickly childhood passes & how special it is that I'm able to play such an active role in my kids' lives every day.
Kman's anxiety is pretty much nil most days, and he's so very happy homeschooling.  Sweetiepie Sparkles has had the chance to build a closer bond with his brother.  With a 5 year gap, their relationship wouldn't have been able to reach its full potential if they didn't spend all their days together.  (Do not get me wrong, they fight - A LOT - and make me crazy, but it's worth it!)
Next week we'll start back to actual, planned-out schooling (as homeschoolers know, education is a 24/7/365 thing in our families) & KMan is actually pretty ready for it.  Sweetiepie Sparkles will be doing some school stuff too this year & he is VERY excited about it.
We already miss our mainstream-schooled friends, some went back before this week (why do private schools start so early?!), and others started back yesterday.  We will miss the lazy days of summer.  (As we trade them in for lazy days of fall, haha!)  We will miss getting to spend time at the pool & splashpads.  We'll miss all the fun things that summer brings.  BUUUUUT, we will not miss the crowds, the heat (well, eventually it'll go away), and the chaos summer can bring.
So, here's to back to school, in whatever form school takes for your family.  Let's all have a fabulous year!

Monday, July 20, 2015


Ketchup, ketchup, ketchup...  (now I want some fries!!!)
Where to start? How about with KMan - he's 8 y'all. EIGHT.  I have no idea how that happened, but it did.  He loves Minecraft and, well, Minecraft.  haha! His favorite part of Minecraft seems to be coding, so I think that might be a segue into learning more about computer programming & such this year.  He's very into American Ninja Warrior stuff (and he's actually pretty good, being part monkey & all).  He goes to a gym once a week to work on his monkey skills & he just gets better & better every week!  I can't wait to see how good he is at that stuff in a few more years!  He still enjoys Legos & Bionicles, but not as much as he used to, even just a year ago.  He has really found a desire to be with daddy & be like daddy lately.  He gets so very happy when he gets to do special things with him.  One of their favorite things to do together is fossil hunting.  KMan actually has a good eye for finding cool rocks & fossils, so it stays pretty exciting for him.  On his birthday we took him to Six Flags, where he rode his first roller coaster (plus a few more).  We spent the day with just him (left little brother with his grandparents & Auntie), and he loved having all the attention.  It was a HOT, exhausting day, but we all really enjoyed it.  He has a birthday party this weekend & he's really looking forward to his last birthday celebration of the year.  Seriously though, he's 8!!
Sweetiepie Sparkles is 3.  Also pretty crazy to believe!  He has been showing his independent side & a bit of his rebellious attitude lately, but he's still a pretty sweet kid most of the time.  He loves action figures, Legos, Bionicles, playing the Wii, PlayDoh, coloring, playing in water, and cuddling with mom & dad.  He's still quite attached to mommy, but he's starting to latch on to daddy at times too.  He is pretty funny & while he's not as fearless as his brother, he's still pretty adventurous.
Both boys (and our neighbor friends) went to VBS this year.  I volunteered with the Smilemakers so that KMan would have me with him this year (last year was a nightmare), and he did pretty well.  He even asked to pray for his class one day, which is such a huge deal! Hopefully next year he'll be able to be in a class without me...  (thought I thoroughly enjoyed volunteering & will do so again!) I think we've had a pretty fun summer so far.  We've been to the beach, we've gone swimming & played at splash pads, played late into the night with neighborhood friends, and taken a couple of trips up to Dallas to see friends & family.  We are starting school back up on 8/31, so we still have lots of summer fun ahead of us!
As for hubby & I... well, I feel like I haven't had lots of time to just sit & relax, but I'm not complaining.  We stay so very busy & there is always a pile of laundry & a sink of dishes waiting for me.  Always.  Hubby is just super busy with work & he finally gets to take over the full territory on 8/1, so I imagine he'll be even busier!  We sat down this past weekend & wrote up a budget & we're now using the envelope system for our normal expenses.  It's going to be a big adjustment (especially grocery shopping!), but we want to chip away at our mortgage so we can be debt free. How great that feeling will be!  So many things to look forward to with no debt, my favorite being all the traveling we'll be able to do!  We made it through The Year Without (follow the link if you didn't know us then, we were CRAZY), so we can certainly do this!  As Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow".  I can't wait to live like no one else tomorrow! I also spent a lot of time planning our first month of school, and I'm excited to get started.  KMan will be doing 2nd grade work until we take our winter break, then (if all goes well) he will be promoted to 3rd grade.  Really, grade levels are kinda sill in homeschool, but if he should ever want to go back to (or if we ever have to put him back in) public school, he will be with the "correct" age group.
Everything else in our lives is good.  We're settled into the house (it's been a year now!), and loving our neighborhood.  We've mostly got a new normal down, with the homeschool thing, and all being in the same house 24/7/365.  Life is certainly hard at times, but for the most part, we're all good.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Truth About Homeschooling Is...

Most people I run into lately have the very same first question for me...  "how's the homeschool thing going?" I generally respond with a mumble of something about it being mostly good, but me being exhausted.  That's true most days, of course there are also bad days (and I'm *really* exhausted on those days!), and super great days (where we all end up exhausted! Okay, maybe not KMan, but, you know...). The other night though, I sat & really thought about the question, and what the deep-down truth is.

You want to hear it?

Homeschool is going fantastically! Sure, it's frustrating to juggle a 7 year old with zero ability to focus & a 2 year old who wants to trash the room & be as loud as possible, all while trying to read some silly poem about caterpillars, *BUT*!!, it's also amazing.  KMan is thriving.  His anxiety is almost non-existent most days and his stress level is so much lower!!  He's still learning plenty, but he's learning it in his way & it's things he wants to know, not just things he "has" to know.

I spend my days watching my children learn about the world around them.
I spend my days getting to really know who my children are.
I spend my days amazed that these children grew inside me not that long ago.

KMan & Sweetie Pie Sparkles are building a relationship with each other that they wouldn't have been able to build without homeschooling.
KMan & Sweetie Pie Sparkles are making memories with me (and for me, because one day they actually will be grown & leave me - or so I hear) that they wouldn't have had the opportunity to make if not for homeschooling.

I am learning new things & meeting new people.
I am looking forward to future trips to places I've always wanted to see - and now I'll get to experience them with my children!

I could list the hard things about homeschooling.  I could tell you all the reasons my life would be "easier" if I could ship my kiddos off to school for the day & just have some me time.  I could tell you the enormous sacrifices we're making to have KMan at home instead of school... that wouldn't do justice to the awesomeness of homeschooling though.  It's hard, and it's certainly not for every one (not for every parent, not for every child - we all need different things in life!), but it's certainly worth it!
I will encourage those of you who have said "I wish I could, but..." or "I want to but I'm scared because..." or whatever other line you've said to me, to really stop & consider taking the leap.  I was scared. SO scared.  I'm actually still scared some days, when I ponder if this is what KMan will do "forever" & if we'll also do it "forever" with Sweetie Pie Sparkles...  but fear shouldn't hold you back from trying out all the options you have in life.  Take the plunge!  If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.  If it does though... It does!

On that same note, those of you who say "I could NEVER!", that's fine too.  I mean, you actually could if you had to, trust me!, but it's fine if you don't.  Whether you don't want to, or your child is in the best place for them, or you don't have the financial or emotional support to do it, or whatever the reason is, don't feel like what you are doing for your child isn't best.  It is.  Whatever works for YOUR CHILD and YOUR FAMILY is what's best.  Just because the best thing for MY CHILD is to not be in a typical school setting doesn't mean that it's not the best place for plenty of other kids. Don't ever think I feel differently!  I think there are some serious problems in our schools today & I absolutely hate that teachers have so little control over what to teach now, and that classes are so large that it's hard to teach each child in the way that's best for them, but the school system works for a lot of kids.  It's just that the kids (or families) that is doesn't work for, it really doesn't work for. I really think it's no different than deciding to breastfeed or formula feed; to work outside the home or be a stay at home mom/dad; to only feed your family organic foods or to feed them the cheapest, yummiest food you can afford... it's all about personal preference & environmental factors that we sometimes can't control as mush as we'd like to.  We are all doing the best we can with what we have. I wish more people would be open to the idea of homeschooling, but I don't wish that because it's the best option for all, only because it's such a FREEING option.

So, there. That's how homeschool is going.

I may feel differently tomorrow (for real), but there's my answer today.  KMan is doing wonderfully & that means homeschool is a success!

On a related note, KMan has switched meds ((again!!)), but the latest combo seems to be pretty amazing so far! I'm beyond thrilled for him (and us), and I'm hopeful about so much now.  He is also doing play therapy which seems like it will be super beneficial in the long run, and I think his therapist is great, so I'm hoping he forms a really great bond with her. He's also making new friends, playing (too much) on his tablet, spending lots of time outdoors, learning even when he doesn't realize it, and just growing up so much! There's this amazing guy hiding behind the cover his ADHD/ODD has created & he's starting to come out, ever so slowly.  I can't wait to see what the months ahead bring out in him. I can't wait to watch him grow into the guy I knew he was supposed to be.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Just Checking In

It's kinda hard to believe that we're about to embark on week 6 of our homeschool journey!  The time is going so fast!  We're still pretty much following the same ideas as I started with & I'm pretty shocked at discovering that I lean more towards the unschooling method than a rigorous planned out homeschool day.  I am SUCH a planner & over-thinker, that it amazes me how laid back I am in this whole schooling adventure!  (By the way, some of you may have no idea what unschooling is, or assume it's more (or less, as it wrongly implies) than it really is.  There are several ways to define unschooling & there are some rather extreme versions of it that really lead into a child-led life, which isn't at all how I follow the idea.  Here is a quick read that's closer to my school of thought on unschooling - http://www.johnholtgws.com/frequently-asked-questions-abo/.  I'm really just letting Kman lead his education right now & trying not to worry about what he is or isn't learning that he "should" or "shouldn't" be at this point.  Plus, we play.  A lot.
Anyway, aside from the educational aspect (though our entire lives are somehow educational!), I've been watching changes in the relationship between Sweetiepie Sparkles & Kman.  It's kinda cool to see them actually interacting more & building their bond.  At this exact moment, they are out building a sand castle (or something like that) in the back yard - together! Kman is also taking more of a role in teaching SPS things & just really playing up the big brother title.  5 years between them makes it harder to find common interests, but I'm seeing them try & I truly believe it's because of the amount of time they are together now.  It's amazing.
As for me, I'm enjoying the time with both of them.  Mostly.  hehe  It's overwhelming some days & beautiful others.  Chasing them in two different directions is challenging, but the moments that bring us together are so much fun! I'm also learning new things that I wouldn't have explored if I didn't have a 7.5 year old to show the world to every day!
The hubby is adjusting as well, I think.  He is very busy with work (which is a blessing, considering the current impact the fall of oil is causing in our city), but I've noticed him putting a little more effort into teaching things to Kman, even if he doesn't realize he's doing it.
Going 24/7 with a VERY TWO toddler & an extra energetic/highly distracted ADHDer is hard work, but I still feel like we have made the best choice for our family for now.  Kman's anxiety is not nearly what it was, and his passion for learning is starting to grow.  My stress level is also lowering because there aren't timelines & deadlines to keep up with any more, and we don't have to rush to this & that, wake up at certain times, or follow rules of other people.  This isn't for everyone, but who doesn't long for all that FREEDOM?  :)
Side note...  Kman is very into being a survivalist (and still a prospector, of course) so if anyone has suggestions on how to encourage that or promote it as a learning experience, I'm all ears!

Friday, January 16, 2015

2 Weeks In & Homeschool Wins

Over the past 2 weeks I've discovered something I had lost in the hustle & bustle of living life based on overloaded, anxiety-inducing schedules & routines... My kid is pretty awesome. :)
Homeschooling is NOT for everyone.  I'm not going to ever sugar-coat anything here, so I certainly won't tell you our days are 24 hours of bliss & giggles as my kids sit quietly & listen to me teach them all they'll ever need to know.  Not. Even. Close.
We are sleeping a little later (though we're currently not sleeping much at night, but that's another story), we're lounging in our pajamas a little longer, and we're moving at whatever pace works for us each day.  Some days start out really rough.  Okay, okay, MOST days do - homeschooling didn't erase KMan's ADHD (big emphasis on the *H* there). There's chaos & loudness - oh, so much loudness! BUT we're in our pjs with Peppa Pig playing (loudly) in the background & no stress over getting ready for school, as I attempt to drink my coffee before it gets cold (which is happening more & more these days!).  By the time we're ready to start our school day, we're in a better place.  We start our day with our Bible lesson & then move right into math.  KMan LOVES Life of Fred, and even asks Sweetie Pie Sparkles to join him on the couch while we cuddle & read.  <---That, my friends, is one of the HUGE blessings of homeschool! Then we do some random fun things to secretly sneak knowledge into KMan's head, and then we either get outside for a while or we do some type of art/music "lesson". It's fun.  I mean, it's hard some moments because Sweetie Pie Sparkles is SUPER two-ish these days, but it's fun.  After our "break", we do handwriting & reading (which is usually me reading while the boys play PlayDoh) & then we are done with school.  Gosh, it's just so much work teaching this kid.  When Sweetie Pie Sparkles cooperates & takes a nap, KMan & I have been able to play Battleship (he's moved on from Monopoly!), goof off on the computer, chat (he LOVES to chat. and chat. and chat...), and just enjoy some time together. It's kinda awesome, even if I did have to give up my own afternoon naps.
I've planned a weekly field trip day & so far we've been to the Botanic Gardern/Arboretum & to the Museum of Natural Science.  Both were fun & neither were crowded.  <---Another blessing of homeschool, few crowds in an over-crowded city is wonderful!  KMan LOVED the museum, especially the exhibit on gems (he wants to be a prospector/miner!). He is going to science lab every week & he's super happy about that because it's so hands on.  He even did an experiment with dry ice, which we all know is fun stuff.  He's getting to play with friends at the park & getting lots of socialization - hours of it, instead of 15-30 minute stretches.
KMan's life is pretty great right now, and the best part is - he knows it!  When I first told him he wasn't going back to public school, it was not pretty.  He was VERY upset & said a lot of mean things.  I "ruined his year" (though not his life, lol). I was afraid he was going to take extra convincing about how awesome homeschooling is.  I thought it would take months of lots of strategically planned FUN for him to see the benefits of homeschooling.
Here we are, at the end of week 2, and he has declared that
he never wants to go to public school again.
Also, he has requested that I not enroll him in high school or college, and instead I should be his personal tour guide of all museums & such at that stage of life, so he'll just learn from me.  Something tells me he'll change his mind by college, but I'm happy to have this win for now!!
His anxiety has lessened.  His thirst for knowledge is increasing.  His bond with his brother his growing.  His respect for me is building.  His ability to be himself has been restored, and while it may be crazy to deal with at time, it's so great to see him happy to be HIM again.
It's a tough thing, to homeschool.  I'm trying not to pressure myself into teaching to the standard of public school.  To be okay with him not learning something his public school peers may learn is challenging, but I remind myself that there are things he gets to learn that they don't.  He's reading, and he's listening to me read, and from my perspective that's the most important thing at his age.  The rest will come in time.  Intelligence is not a race, and it comes most easily when it is desired.
I'm pretty tired by the end of the day, and my house is even more of a mess than it was a month ago.  Some days I really want to just run away the second I can hand off parenting duties to daddy (and by run away, I totally mean go to the grocery store. ALONE).  We're still finding our groove & figuring out how to handle all being together 24/7/365 (remember - daddy works from home - so we're really ALL here, ALL the time!).  I can honestly say though, I wouldn't trade the past two weeks of chaos homeschooling for him being in school.  We absolutely, without a doubt, made the right decision.  It was really hard to trust that the desire God placed upon me was really the right thing for our family, but I'm so thankful I trusted Him & that He is rewarding us because of it.  My only regret is that I let this decision consume (and stress) me for so long.  Otherwise, life is good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I'm Certainly NOT Super Mom!

Look, I appreciate the accolades I've gotten for all I do with Kman.  Everyone needs an "attaboy" from time to time & I truly am trying my hardest to do my best for him.  BUT, taking on the homeschool thing does NOT make me a super mom by any means!  I dare say that all of my wonderful friends who have praised me & in the same breath said "I could never!" actually could - and would - if they were in my shoes.  I say that because I only pick the most amazing people I meet to be my friends.  ...and because, seriously, how many moms WOULDN'T do everything they had to do to help their children achieve all they could?
I have spent some moment(s) of every day since making this decision grieving the time I will never get to myself.  It seems a little silly that we so desperately want to be parents, but then we ((stay at home moms in this instance)) can't wait until the kids are old enough to be in school all day so we can have freedom - and, mostly, PEACE & QUIET. That is how we think though, and when I'm out &  see other women, who I can just tell are moms with kiddos all off to school, I envy them a bit.  I have hardly had any moments to myself since Sweetie Pie Sparkles was born.  One weekend, and a few hours here & there over the past 2.5 years.  He even slept with me at the hospital when I had my appendectomy.  I obviously LOVE him, but I also LOVE alone time.  Whatever that is.  I forget.
Anyway, back on track...  I don't think I'm especially qualified to be a teacher.  BUT, I'm certainly qualified to teach my kids all they need to know in life.  I do not have much patience (and, sadly, I'm still a yeller), but I can always lock myself in the bathroom if I really, really need to get away from them.  I don't have the energy/stamina/desire to go, go, go all day long, but it's what I have to do.  Every single argument any one of you would have for why you "could never" homeschool, trust me - I've had all those arguments with myself!
BUT, the thing is, I got pretty sick of looking at stuff like this every day:

That's his daily behavior chart FULL of all the "wrongs" he did pretty much daily. The pink things are "oops slips" that got sent home because he had to sit in time out during specials (specials = art, music, PE, etc).  These came home on. the. regular.  I also got more than my share of emails, comments from others, and constant daily worries about what was happening at school while I wasn't there.
At some point it' was just too much. The stress, the worry, the numbness I gained from daily behavioral "issues", even though I'd had multiple meetings & everyone Kman came in contact with was supposed to be aware of his NEUROLOGICAL condition that prevents him from being able to so easily follow the rules, quit talking, etc, etc.  Almost everything he got "in trouble" for was something that anyone with any clue about ADHD would know required extra assistance for him to accomplish & certainly a little extra grace.  The school continued to fail to give that to my BABY, and so I did what I had to do to give him all he deserves to have.
I don't think a single parent reading this wouldn't do everything in their power to help their child as best they could.  I can't afford the ridiculous tuition for a school equipped to help Kman thrive, so I have to be that school instead.  It is what it is.  I will always do anything & everything I can to ensure my children's success in life. Even give up my hope of "freedom" & peace & quiet for 7 hours a day while the kids are at school.
Oh, and also, didn't I mention once that his teacher made him put his Bible away & told him it was illegal for him to bring it to school? Who does that? He was SO excited to have an adult Bible of his own & wanted to just read & read & read.  Who discourages a child from that? Whether you believe or not, he was wanting to read a pretty advanced book & you squashed it based on a legality that doesn't even exist???  **off soapbox**
My life is stressed-filled & oh-so-difficult on so many levels most of you will never understand.  That's okay (great for you even!).  Those of you who do understand all too well, I do get what you're struggling through - and I know you get what I'm struggling through too. I appreciate the attaboys & back pats & the prayers & the hugs &, well, every bit of encouragement any of you have to offer! Some days knowing that someone - anyone - saw that I did something right is the only spark of hope I have for calling the day a success.  So, if you want to call me Super Mom, I'm cool with that, but no matter how hard or how easy your own motherhood journey is, you should give yourself the same title.  We are all doing the best with what we have. Here's to you Super Mom!  -and may you never say "I could never..." because, well, karma. ;)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Our Homeschool Adventures Began!

Shortly before Christmas break I finally decided I'd had enough of indecisiveness about homeschooling Kman.  The amount of time I spent trying to decide what was best & stressing over if what I was doing was right or if what I could be doing was right...  it was all-consuming!  So, I decided to pull him.  I told his school the afternoon before their last day of the December, but I didn't tell him for several more days.  I was SCARED.  I know Kman, he's unpredictable.  I didn't want to deal with the drama.  Once I finally did tell him, he flipped out.  He was SO mad & told me I ruined his year.  (Which means I'm totally doing this parenting thing right, because we're SUPPOSED to ruin everything, right???)  He worked through a lot of anxiety about it & by last night was pretty excited to start something new.
This morning he woke up & right away asked if we could start school.  Of course, when I mentioned his excitement he told me that wasn't it at all, he just wanted to "get it over with".  I'm calling that bluff though.  He was excited.  Yay!
The day actually went better than I imagined, though I'm sure there will be rough days throughout our homeschooling journey.  We started with a short Bible study (score 1 for no more public school!), then did art.  Today we did glue drawings.  He didn't quit catch on to it like I thought he would, but he did his drawing anyway & tomorrow we will chalk paint them so he can better understand why he was supposed to do it the way I said.  Next came math, which was the moment of freak out for Kman.  See, he's REALLY good at math, but school had somehow made him grow to hate it.  He was very resistant to having to sit with me & study math.  ...then I brought out Life of Fred & he was relieved.  Just based on today's experience, I think LoF might be a perfect fit for us.  We've only made it through 2 chapters of Apples though, so I'll withhold my songs of praise for now.
We went for a walk!  We fed the ducks (he even got one to eat out of his hands!), we dug in mud (well, not so much ME), and we got to chat with friends.  -but, wait, aren't homeschooled kids totally deprived of social interaction?  bwahahahaha!
We came home, had lunch, Kman had about an hour to get his chore done (today was washing his sheets) & do whatever he felt like.  Then, handwriting.  I've been working on this for a few months now, so we took out the Handwriting for a Reason book & he did 2 lessons.  Meanwhile, Sweetie Pie Sparkles was playing PlayDoh.  Once he finished his handwriting, Kman joined him & I read from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea while Kman worked on a PlayDoh design to go with the story.  He chose to make Abraham Lincoln, since the boat was named after him.  After a few chapters, my voice was shot, so we called t good.  Then the 3 of us spent a good half hour being silly with PlayDoh.  Kman still had to read before we could finish the school day, so he read a couple chapters of one of his I Survived books & then we headed out for a couple of hours at the playground.  (Well, actually, the boys mostly played in the "forest", my kids are just much more into adventures than playgrounds these days.)
That was it.  We survived our first day of homeschool & it was actually kinda fun.  I was afraid I'd be so worn out (I am, but that's because neither of them wanted to sleep last night) & frustrated by the end of the day that I'd want to run away.  I'm sure I will have those days, but today wasn't really one.  Even as Sweetie Pie Sparkles has decided to give up naps, so it was allll day with both of them.  Guess what though?  I actually kinda like my kids.  ;)  Being able to spend this precious time with them is a blessing (remind me of that on rough days, please!), and growing a stronger bond between the 3 of us will no doubt be amazing.  I guess I'm kind of getting to make up for the time I didn't get to have with Kman when I had to work full time.  Now I'm getting to teach him even better things than how to talk and use a potty and all that.  This is way more fun!  I'm going to be a little more tired and I'm going to be a lot more talked out (BOTH of my boys like to talk - all. day. long), and some days I'm sure I'll feel ready to run away forever...  but when I look back I hope I remember these days with as much fondness & enlightenment as I have tonight.
For any doubts that I had about whether this was the right thing or not, today made me feel more sure that this IS the right thing for Kman & for our family in general.  So, here's to 2015 & all the drastic lifestyle changes it brings our family. ...and also to lessening our stress because let's face it, not waking up to an alarm clock & not dealing with homework drama is going to be a major de-stresser!