Around Here Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer.

After spending over a decade in law enforcement, victim services and social work, we circled the wagons and brought our kids home from public school. Now, we are on year five. After the first years, we learned to lay to rest all of those good intentions of facilitating unrealistic goals of growth, having tri-lingual kids, and raising prodigal children. We now focus on strong vitals and an education that stands just above 3rd world countries.

Frankly, our boys live like college freshman – stay up late, sleep late and cram like it’s their job. Yes, we have the same 24 hour day as the rest of you, but the mental exhaustion of homeschooling puts that productivity at around 4 hours a day. By the time I do my own jobs, home school and some typical chores, I am mentally done. So, I add wine to the equation and gain a few more hours of productivity.

What do I do with this 2nd wind, you might ask? Mostly, I curl up with a book and ignore all types of responsibilities for a couple more hours. What are my boys doing during this sacred time? They are enjoying endless amounts of technology – YouTube, Xbox, Ipads, TV, etc. Why? Because it keeps them quiet. Because it keeps their vitals strong. Because it protects my sanity.

My boys often ask if we are normal and I say, “Yes!” with resounding confidence. I explain to them that they belong to an internationally, renowned private home school program, I somehow manage to work enough to contribute to my part of the household bills and 80% of our food budget goes to home-cooked food! Did I mention the strong vitals?? We are good, I say!

What’s ‘normal’ anyway. Around Here Normal is Just a Setting on the Dryer.

Thoughts from a Deranged Homeschooling Mom!

Some say that February is the hardest teaching month of the year. As a homeschooling mom,  I tend to agree. All the built-in breaks of the holidays are over, with no end in sight. As a homeschooling mom, we hope to recoop lost time from the holidays and this battles with the kids being overwhelmed with the interminable task of school. All together, this should sum up my thoughts for this month:

Original Plan:

  1. double digit multiplication
  2. geography of the Middle East & Central Europe
  3. diagramming Object Complement Nouns and Adjectives
  4. Creative Writing
  5. WWII leaders
  6. Newton’s Law
  7. Latin & Spanish Memory Work
  8. Read, Spelling, practice guitar, Cub Scout knots and typing

Revised Plan:

  1. What do you mean help? It’s addition!
  2. What country do we live in?
  3. Seriously, please for the love of baby Jesus, tell me that you know what a noun is!
  4. Stop asking me so many questions. Its just writing. Aim for subject-verb agreement!
  5. Just remember Hitler.
  6. What don’t you understand?? Your little brother goes until I stop him!!
  7. Our language is English.
  8. No, I don’t care if you read an Xbox magazine. Guitar is not necessary right now. How should I know how to tie those knots? I will just type it for you.

There is always next month…………………

 

 

I Am As Nervous As A Long Tail Cat In A Room Full Of Rocking Chairs.

So a few months ago my Facebook news feed was overrun with pictures and celebrations of little angels receiving numerous school awards. This week, it’s overrun with first day of school pictures. Facebook has led us to a point that we broadcast every praise bestowed upon us or our little petite ya-yas. We are a homeschooling family and  I just want my homeschooled kids to get their due. Since by May, I am ready to eat my young and could care less about celebrating, I’ve decided to start the year off with a clean slate and award Expectations. This is apropos since we started our school three weeks ago. The very first Monday was a teacher workday…..the first Thursday was a field trip……Friday was a half day….. Yet, another reason to do this now. So bear with me as I celebrate the ‘potential’ of my kiddos. We will stick to public school awards….Presidential, Achievement, Attendance and Overall. Ready?

As far as Presidential Expectation, I have decided that my 5th grader be awarded the Clinton Award. Regardless of evidence, he is always innocent and will only concede an ounce of guilt. My 3rd grader deserves what I shall deem the Watergate Award. He won’t know what happened to his work…won’t remember any conversations that took place during this school year, nor will he admit his own name.

As far as Achievement Expectation, I would like to celebrate my oldest with everything I have got! He is conscientious….persistent and ready to fill out whatever box I throw at him. He will absolutely achieve whatever goals that he sets for himself. Now…about the goals that I set for him:

  1. Putting laundry actually inside the hamper.
  2. Putting his dirty dishes actually in the sink.
  3. Finishing his homework on time.

In light of these goals, I give him…..a 5 out of 10.

For these same goals, plus basic everyday work, I hereby award my youngest with the infamous “Get Out Of Bed” each morning award!

English Expectations: they shall speak the language. They shall understand the language when its suits them. On certain days, they may even correctly define a noun and verb. I hereby award both boys this distinction.

Attendance Expectation. Let us just go ahead and call this award what it is….the Pulse Expectation. In public school, if they show up, they get a mark. In homeschool, we have much more room to move. I don’t mind counting field trips but I refuse to count a day that every participant is comatose. So for our school, both boys shall win the Pulse Expectation. And to add my expectation…thats 3 out of 5 days of school work that they ACTUALLY complete to the best of their ability.

Overall……let’s stop with the rear.

Speaking of rear, allow me to offer their rewards for the entire school year. My 3rd grader shall receive, with all the dignity and pride that comes along with, the Rear of the Year Expectation. If you need a description of this achievement, please look in Wikipedia for a Person that could give two shits about school.
Now my 5th grader has his own distinction. He shall be proud to receive the Mother Theresa Award, because he cares. He cares about his school; he cares about my sanity; and he cares about what others think.

Soooooo…..I’m excited that my boys will meet my wildest expectations for this school year. Wildest being…..they will participate, learn something and not hate me for the rest of their lives!

What are your expectations this year for your young ones?

That Dog Won’t Hunt

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It’s that time of year when us homeschooling moms sit down with our computers, laptops, paper, pencils, laminators, sticky notes, highlighters, etc and plan a new year. We do research, we poll our friends, we beg guidance from strangers, and we contemplate our sanity for pursuing yet another year. We design lesson plans, calendars and other fun graphics to keep us on task during the year. We think of fun ideas to keep our children engaged. We consider including electives, such as other languages, botany, volunteer work, musical instruments. We plan 5, 000 play dates.  We find determination to deliver curriculum, schedules and discipline without quarter. All while, classical music will be playing in the background. Perhaps, we designate a classroom space and plan to set our alarms. Perhaps, we feel confident that our children will master and surpass their weakest subjects. Perhaps….the house will also be cleaned and a healthy, nutritious meal will be provided three times a day. While we are at it, we will just go ahead and send hubby with a nice, packed, nutritious lunch too.

We finalize our plans. We tell our friends our plans. We tell our children about the New Order. We tell ourselves that this year…will be different.

Why in the HELL do we do this to ourselves?? Can we just not do it and say we did? Why must we set ourselves up for this public failure?

It’s akin to going on a diet. That dog won’t hunt!!!! It might start heading to the woods and hell, it might even bark – but it ain’t gonna hunt.

I truly think we would all be better off by just opening the different subject books that are required by law and doing one lesson after another. Expectations make everything worse. Period.

Nothing gets my goat more than when I have spent hours and hours coming up with a creative game or lesson for my boys and we have an all out meltdown within two minutes tops. Then I have to take time out of my schedule to scream at them for not appreciating MY efforts, shame them for not respecting the LAW and provide them directions to the nearest elementary school. All this is followed by the music of screaming and slamming doors and then I’m the only one left listening to classical music (which I don’t even like.).

For real. Just join a program or a co-op and pay them to deliver everything outside of your realities. They will encourage you to do more…but hey…they won’t know any better. You can Facebook your supposed successes all year long. Join the droves of people who are not who they POST to be!

But alas…..I’ll do it all again this year and hope for different results. Wait….where have I heard that before?? lol

?Einstein

 

 

Are Your Eyes Brown?

As I enter my second semester of my fourth year homeschooling, I finally need to just rant. If I had a nickel for every time I hear that “there is no way that I have the patience to homeschool my kid(s),” or “my kids wouldn’t survive in homeschool,” I wouldn’t need to keep buying lottery tickets. What do these people think happens at my house? Surely to the great God in Heaven, people are not accusing me of Sainthood?!

Do they think that maybe we wake up to the sounds of music, hold hands while we praise our Lord, patiently and happily cook breakfast while our children are milking cows and churning butter? Or perhaps they think that we convene on our living room floor in our Sunday best, make our own plato to build a science project later, break an egg yolk to mix with our chalk for art or dutifully copy the Bible in Latin?? (All the while, wearing smiles and aprons?) Do people think that we are awaiting Daddy to come home with smiles and stories about our awesome, fight-free day??

If for any conceivable reason that you might be in the above camp, let me take a few moments to point out some truths of our homeschool…….which I may rename, the House of Pain. Let’s start with what we planned to happen:

  1. We planned to enjoy classical music, while pursuing learning at a higher level.
  2. We planned to orchestrate real life nature adventures to learn about botany first-hand.
  3. We planned to ‘face our food,’ grow a garden and dry our own herbs.
  4. We planned to spend whole days devoted to foreign languages.
  5. We planned to make our own detergents, plato and star charts.
  6. We planned to skip grades and enter genius-level promotions, especially in Math and English.

However, in reality,

  1. I throw something at least twice a week. Almost never at anyone.
  2. I threaten public school on a REGULAR basis. The first time is usually by mid-afternoon on our very first day….
  3. I literally jump up and down screaming at my kids and asking them WHY I should even bother?!
  4. I scream GET OUT!
  5. I cry.
  6. My children cry.
  7. We cry together.
  8. We decide to fashion award charts that will be abandoned within 48 hours.
  9. We decide to get on a schedule that we have never in four years adhered to.
  10. I question my sanity.
  11. I wage my sanity against Common Core.
  12. I celebrate if we meet the minimal state standards and have strong vital signs by Friday night at midnight.
  13. I pour a glass of wine.
  14. I agree to do just one more day.

Many of us were not groomed to homeschool…nor did we ask for the responsibility. We made the best choice for our family and just blog to survive!