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.

Worn Slap Out!

Well, our clan has just completed our annual vacation and so we are absolutely worn slap out. All of us….however, the energy exerted on these annual vacations is not equally divvied up and therefore, the whining shouldn’t be either. Since my bunch doesn’t care what I have to say, I am putting it out there to you and hoping for an Amen, Sister!

Let’s talk about preparing for the family vacation with kids. We all decide on where to go. All have opinions and suggestions.  That is where the ‘all’ ends. Period.

Then while kids are bouncing off the walls in excitement, annoyingly asking “how many more days?” and endlessly pouring over which toys to take; momma plans, budgets, cleans, packs, stresses and drinks. Fast-forward to arriving at your destination or sooner if you are part of my clan, the ‘others’ begin to ask if I remembered to pack……whatever. I reckon they should have thought of that before leaving. My job is to keep all vitals strong and basic hygiene needs met.

Now, let’s go ahead and talk about coming home. We will clearly divide the duties to ensure you get the appropriate picture.

Dad drives home. Dad helps unload car. Dad naps.

Kids play or otherwise vanish into thin air.

Mom begins unpacking. Mom sorts the laundry. Mom starts the laundry. Mom puts up the luggage. Mom inventories fridge and pantry. Mom runs to the grocery store. Mom cooks dinner. Mom goes through the million receipts, invoices and charge accounts. Mom begins drinking, even though she can’t afford to. Mom gets everything ready for the next day. Mom catches up on her work emails. Mom takes a quick shower and falls into bed. Mom listens to the ‘others’ talk about how tired they are. Mom tries to remember that vacations are necessary and it was fun.

Mommas need a vacation after the vacation. Can I get an Amen, Sister?!

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…………………

 

 

Thoughts of this Deranged Mom at Christmas!

My thoughts for the Christmas season:

  1. To celebrate my hubby’s payday, we bought the good trash bags and a box of wine. I wish I had the money to buy wrapping paper to wrap them.
  2. Good gingerbread houses are one of the things required by Facebook to remain in the good parenting network.
  3. Good gingerbread houses with two boys are a myth.
  4. Why do my boys think they know how to hang Christmas ornaments?
  5. Is it appropriate to ask for Christmas money to pay for wine and cigarettes?
  6. Why is good wine so expensive?
  7. Why is my 8 year old fascinated with cardboard boxes and duct tape?
  8. I’m totally wrapping these vitamins for Christmas presents!
  9. Why am I wrapping presents, when they will just tear them a part?
  10. Why did I even buy this?
  11. Should I re-wrap this gift with the appropriate size of wrapping paper? Or just slap a bow there?
  12. Should I have bought the batteries to this?
  13. Why didn’t I ever realize the amount of energy that went into making Christmas memories?
  14. I really should have bought more wine.

Spirits to Spirits

This morning, I awoke to  a dear friend of mine sending me a FB meme/video on “Mummy needs a drink.” I laughed and sent her my love for understanding my life (as she does with her own brood) and then set about my day.

Then….I needed a drink. Why?

  1. Because one of my boys couldn’t find the loaf of bread that I left for him on the counter. Not a hidden counter in the garage or a neighbor’s house, but our kitchen counter.
  2. Because my kids demanded a caffeine drink at the restaurant for their weekly lunch. Is today their birthday? No. Is today the day their dog died? No. Therefore, No. Water.
  3. Because my kids asked me what a period was.
  4. Because one of my kids used my tampon as a parachute for his toy soldier. Again.
  5. Because my youngest couldn’t find his shoes…..that were by the door….where he stood….. Which slowed us all down to sloths on Ambien…..
  6. Because they asked, “Why?”
  7. Because I had to get groceries….with them.
  8. Because I homeschool and they have trouble with their ABCs on Fridays.
  9. Because its Friday, and they are bored.
  10. Because my kids are not allowing me to be the mother that I had planned on being.

Every so often, I research ‘normal’ levels of alcoholism, just to keep me on my toes. However, I don’t live in Europe, where the levels are much more akin to REAL LIFE. I am born and bred a Puritan…..well, whatever. I have kids. I should have a handicap.

 

 

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