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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Step 2 - Homeschool

It will come as no surprise to those of my friends that follow my Facebook account that I have decided to become a homeschooling momma. Actually, it surprised several of my friends that I sent my kids to public school in the first place! I admit, I've always romanticized homeschooling.. Having all of my littles with me all of the time. Never having to worry about their safety or well-being away from me. (As any mother knows, near you or not you will always worry .. it's just easier to stomach when they're with you!) Being the one to teach them their "3 R's" (reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic), doing their experiments with them and heaping so much love and encouragement on them that they would be sure to grow up brilliant, caring, wonderful people.

So.. what changed my mind? Money. Back when it was just Joe, Mehkaelie and I there was very little money between the three of us. After an unexpected pregnancy and sudden, heartbreaking miscarriage, I quit the job I was working at and wanted nothing more than to stay home and snuggle my first born. I couldn't function without having her near me. (Ahem, co-dependent schmo-dependent.) After my emotional wounds began to heal I had decided to begin looking for work again.. but there was a problem. I couldn't stomach the thought of being away from my girl. I had only been working just over 3 months and I hated it. No, more than that, I loathed it. With ever fiber of my being. Yes, the check was nice. Yes, the socializing was great. But not being with my baby felt completely unnatural. Luckily, the job market sucked anyway. There was no one hiring at the time and Joe and I had began discussing my becoming a stay-at-home mom. Yahtzee! A year later we got pregnant again (this time on purpose) and after calculating the costs of a new baby plus the toddler we already had on top of daycare, gas and other miscellaneous expenses, we decided that it just made more sense if I stayed home for the time being. Money was tight, sometimes too tight.. like, "why are you wearing those pants that are clearly for someone 20 years younger and 100 pounds lighter than you?" tight. But we knew my going to work and essentially handing the checks over to daycare wasn't going to make things any easier. Thus began our budgeting. Neither of us knew how to budget to save our lives so this was a trial and error mess all over the place. I'm happy to report however, that we did eventually figure it out.

Once we were sure we didn't want anymore children we began discussing my going back to work after both kids were in school full time. The thoughts of having enough money to take yearly vacations and spoil my children rotten danced in my head and shoved aside the thoughts of homeschooling for the time being. We enrolled Mehkaelie in Kindergarten the year she turned 5 and while I missed her terribly (I cried quite a bit in the beginning, she loved going to school) she really seemed to thrive. She loved socializing with kids her age, she LOVED learning, and really, it felt nice to spend some time with my little man, just the two of us. A few years later it was time to enroll him in school as well. Kindergarten was only half a day still at this point so we knew I wouldn't be working just yet, so I tried to enjoy my days home alone while the kids were in school, waiting for the time when I could go pick Cole up and have someone to play with again. I don't know how some parents do it. I can't stand being home all day when no one else is here. It drives me mental. Cole didn't start out as well as Mehkaelie had. He was having anxiety issues from the get-go. He'd have much rather just stay with me. I spoke with his teacher numerous times, and once it became routine, he really did start to enjoy it as well.

Then first grade happened. The very beginning of first grade Cole fell while outside and banged his head on the concrete at school. He hit it so hard and at just the wrong angle that he fractured his skull. Aside from the obvious physical trauma, this left him with loads of emotional trauma and anxiety you wouldn't believe. I walked him to and from class for the first few months of school, I became really close with his teacher because of this, and she assured me over and over that she was looking out for him during school hours. He had a hard time focusing and the smallest things would set him off. I wanted to take him out of school right then but honestly, I didn't know if I was allowed to and while dealing with everything, I found it hard to concentrate long enough to find out. This was also the time we found out we were unexpectedly pregnant again. Hormone city.

By the time first grade ended it was a constant fight to get Cole up and around in the mornings and to get him to school. He missed the bus several times because he flat out refused to go to school. I would get myself so worked up over it I'd get sick. I didn't know what else to do. We had Haevyn at the beginning of 2012 and since I knew I wasn't going to be going back to work for at least another five years, I started talking to Joe about homeschool. This is when I started looking up info and trying to decide what to do. Cole survived first grade, though just barely as he'd tell it. Once second grade started up Joe and I talked with him very seriously about the options he had. Homeschool or public school. Once he found out he wouldn't get to see his friends every day or go to Art or Music class he opted for public school. Oops. About a month or so into the year he began having anxiety spells every time he'd fall or bump into something. They started getting so bad it was like first grade all over again. Mornings were absolute HELL again. I told him if he could make it to Christmas break we'd reassess the arrangement and possibly begin homeschooling for the new semester. He made it. And again, while at school when everything was going fine, he loved it. He loves his friends, he loves the Art and Music classes they have and he loves his teachers. But even all of that wasn't enough to make him want to stay any longer. He took another tumble just this week and decided on the spot that that was that. He has had enough. He wants to stay home where he feels safe and where he knows I'm right there with him if something happens.

So, these falls..what's that about? We don't know yet. We have a doctors appointment set up tomorrow and I'm going to take a boat load of questions with me. We'll figure it out, I'm sure. I think it's something to do with his epilepsy. We'll see.

Tomorrow is his last day of public school and on Monday we will start anew with homeschooling. I'm excited/nervous about the situation. Mehkaelie is a tad jealous since she's seen some of the lesson plans I've started to draw up. She thinks Cole's going to learn more than her and become smarter than her and she doesn't like that one little bit. She is also annoyed that his lessons will be more fun than hers. She does exceptionally well in public school, though and doesn't have any serious desire to be homeschooled. Cole is climb-the-walls-excited about it. I love seeing him so fired up for learning. I know it's because it's new and he gets to stay home with momma, but, I like to also believe it's because he's looking forward to learning at his own pace and desires.

We'll see how long this lasts. Our main objective right now is just to make sure Cole is taken care of not just academically and physically but emotionally as well. Poor kid is about as stable as a train wreck emotionally. I think this will definitely be a step in the right direction for him. I feel very confident about this move in his education and I'm positive he feels the same. I'm definitely going to need loads of encouragement myself and pointers are always welcome!

Whew. I haven't written this much in a while! It felt good, though. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bloody Annoyed

I've mentioned it before, it's not newsworthy, really. Just some rambling "back story" before I get to my actual point which is another two paragraphs down, roughly. I'm against corporal punishment. Although like I said, I've mentioned this before, I'm not sure I've qualified that while I'm against it personally, I don't instantly think people are going to hell for having spanked their kid/s. Nor do I instantly write them off as a child abuser or anything like that. Usually, I just sigh and resign myself to remembering that they are not my children and therefore not my responsibility. I don't know what's going on in their house and how the child's behavior may be so I shouldn't stick my nose there. That said, I do still feel strongly that physical punishment only adds problems rather than "fix" them.

Growing up, (I think I've mentioned this before, too) my dad was the spank-'em-and-be-done-with-it type of parent. We weren't even aware of what "grounding" was until we were old enough to have friends that got grounded. Dad would just whoop our butts and expect us to fly right from there on. No rinse and repeat needed, no personal effects removed from our possessions, etc. Just a good-old-fashioned-welt-raising-ass-busting-and-done. This has left very little for me to go on, punishment wise, as a parent myself. I knew I didn't want to spank, having gone through it myself, and honestly, I always kind of thought groundings were silly. What kid can't do without going to friends' houses or a video game for a few days?

When my kids were toddlers a simple "mom glare" or perhaps a time out from time to time was enough to do the trick. Now they're getting older and having them stand in the corner for 10 minutes is nothing short of laughable. So, we've delved into the world of groundings and taking things away. I have to say, it's not as silly as I'd originally thought. In fact, for Cole, who's still only 7, it actually works quite well. For my oldest, however, who's 10, it seems like a waste of time. Sure, it bothers her for the first few hours, maybe even the first day, but beyond that? Nothing. It's commonplace by then. A week or two goes by (or however long the punishment was for) and it's not really a big deal anymore at all. In fact, by the time she gets said objects back it's sort of like giving her a gift on her birthday. She's excited to have it and play with it again but it still doesn't affect her to the point that she has any strong feelings about having to give it up.

I've always been a talk-it-to-death type of person. Ask my husband, it drives him crazy. Even with my kids, though, I am very "let's go over it again". Some things I know better than to push like this but more often than not I feel like I can't move on and they can't move on if we all don't understand what happened. This probably isn't true for them; In fact, it doesn't seem to be the case for most people.. I just have a nagging obsession with NEEDING to understand what the hell happened. Especially when one of my children does wrong. I want to know why they did it, what got them to that point and why, instead of deciding against the wrong behavior didn't they choose the right behavior. Yes, I know, kids are kids. We learn by doing and that means by making mistakes. As they say at the kids' school, "If you can't make mistakes, you can't make anything." I fully believe that. Really, I do. But to me that means you make the mistake once, maybe twice, and that's it. No strike three. You should know better. The consequences aren't going to change just because you're on your third offence.

Anyway .. back to the point of this post. We're heading into the pre-teen then teen years and I'm terrified already. I thought it was going to be fun. (Stop laughing.) I still think it will be, but I don't want to be one of those parents that end up losing control of my kid and then looking back going what happened?! Where did I go wrong? How did it get to this point?

I really do have amazing kids. Even Mehkaelie. Even though she's pushing every button she can find and even trying to unlock the hidden ones, she's phenomenal. Just amazing. I just hope her recent behavior isn't a sign of things to come or she won't ever get to set foot outside the house until her 18th birthday.

As my dad would say now.. Ah, the joys of parenting.
That or .. She's just like you.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Another new year, plus a week..

It's already a week into 2013. Can you believe that?! Talk about time flying....

Well 2012 wasn't a total bust, but it wasn't a year I'm in a hurry to repeat either. The single amazing thing about it was my daughter, Haevyn, being born. The rest of it pretty much blew harder than a toothless hooker. Sorry, but that's just fact folks.

This year will be different. How do I know? Well, for one, I forbid anyone I'm close with to die this year. So, there. Nextly, I will maintain my weight loss as well as get my family on board to make them healthier thems. Theys? People. I'm also going to start doing something for ME. Whether it's just taking an hour a week to myself to read a book, soak in the tub, relax in the shower, make crafty funness, whatever. I'm not going to allow myself to be put on the back burner this year. "If momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy!" didn't get to be a popular saying for no reason! And I'd like a happy family, thank you very much.

I don't have a lot of time for blogging this very moment but I am going to try and keep up on this as much as possible as well. I sincerely love blogging and reading my friends' blogs. Now that I have a fancy new Kindle Fire to tote around with me, it may help to make that easier to do!

Have a happy year my friends! We all deserve it.