Friday, April 18, 2014

Hey There, I'm Back

Hey, so it's a little past the April 3rd goal I had to have this revamped and back up.
I've changed some things up.  First, the design a little more appealing, I think.  I'm loving the new banner and note the tabs at the top.  I'll be sharing posts not only on homeschooling, but also on homesteading (home & hearth, gardening...a little more self-sufficiency like) and also on family (health, what we do that works (and doesn't) and that kind of stuff).
So, welcome back!!  Glad to see you and I'm excited about going forward.  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Under Construction

I'm going to be changing some things up around here.

Expanding and what not...

I was thinking about starting a whole new blog, but...nah.  I'll just work with this one and modify it.  This post really got me thinking about what Educational Anarchy means.  So, still homeschooling, for sure.  Adding some other things that we do around here...we'll see what happens.  So, for now, I'm taking the rest of March off to revamp and I'll see you all back here around April 3rd.

You can join us over on Facebook, though, here is the link Educational Anarchy on Facebook.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do - Right?

...or, maybe it's not.

I guess it would depend on the situation, though.

I've been part of this now social group, that started as a faith group, but because of political bs at the church we all met at we all moved to different churches (or, in my case, not), though continued to meet as a group, group.  You're following me, right?  Cool!

Okay, so, I'm just not feeling it.  I am a firm believer that all truth is congruent.  Shit just falls into place when it's suppose to be.  It's not always good, it's not always bad or difficult, but it fits or flows, I like flow better...it all flows together and there are no hiccups or bumps because it just gels together and makes sense.
I'm not feeling it with this group anymore.

And, I'm sad about that.  And, I'm trying to look at it from the perspective of that cheesy friends for different reasons says about a moment or a lifetime, you know what one I'm talking about, right?  Not the one about letting it go and if it comes back it's meant to be, but, rather people are in our lives for the time they are for a reason.

And, maybe my time with them is up.  I don't know.  I've been on the fence about this for over a year.  Shit, it's been a year.  That's a really long time to be on the fence about something.  Now that I see that typed out I can see that I haven't given that up.  The prospect of not being a part of that group, I haven't become still and quit and accepted that that may be a possibility and that that is okay.

So, I return to what I KNOW to be true, and that is that acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.  I am returning to my sound and rational base that is truth for me and I realize that it's time to break up.  And there will be feelings to be had and I will have them and it will all be okay.

It's neither good, nor bad, it just is.

It all flows.






Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Co-op

We returned to our Tuesday Homeschool co-op after being gone for...
 ...
 (hold please, doing math)

like over three months!

That is a long time.  Between sickies and hobbled knee and a full transmission rebuild, it's been a long time.

It felt SO GOOD to be back.  I know that Chris enjoyed it as well.

I love that group.  It's so important to find a group of people who support you in your homeschooling journey.  I'm so grateful.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Progressing as a Mama, what I've learned this past year and Lume's stuffed french toast

Catchy title, right?

We are celebrating over here at Educational Anarchy!  Today marks that 1 year birthday of my youngest son, William (aka Wiggles).


You may be saying to yourself right now
"Well, that is all fine and good.  Congrats on that.  But, what does that have to do with homeschooling?"

Well - a whole lot actually!

When I decided to pull my oldest son, Cody, mid way through 6th grade there were two reoccurring statements that kept coming up:
1) Don't tell me what my kid can't do
2) Question authority/everything
And one reoccurring fact.  That education is power!


The Progression of a Mama

When I first became a mom over 14 years ago two things really sang to me.  I wanted to nurse my baby and I wanted to use cloth diapers.  But, reality whirled in.  I mean, it is what it is and in hindsight I can look at this, all of this, quite objectively.  My reality was that I was a single working mom who had to put her baby in day care for 12 hours a day.  My reality was that the day care would not allow cloth diapers.  My reality was that the day care would not allow pumped breast milk.  What I wanted more than those two things was to know that my baby would be safe while I was at work, and this day care offered spy cam like access to the rooms my baby would be in via the interwebs.  So, for the first 6 weeks I nursed Cody and then sent him on his way to day care.  But you see, it just didn't feel right to me, something deep within me stirred.   And I knew that it wouldn't always be this way, that I would make sure that this would not be his normal.
I want to just back up a little here and note Cody's birth.  I didn't know what in the hell I was doing.  Like NO FUCKING CLUE!  I went to the birthing class, I toured the hospital, but holy shit!  Thank god for my mom.  I went into labor at home and labored for a good chunk of the time there.  My mom kept checking in with me while she was at work (only 5 minutes away) and by the time she got home from her shift we kind of decided it was time to go to the hospital.  I was put into a laboring room where I was told that if I didn't dilate in an hour I'd be sent home.  I told the nurse I was going to dilate, and I did (don't tell me what I can't do) and was rushed into the delivery room.  The only knowledge I had about what it would be like to actually have a baby came from my aunt, who said that I'd know when the baby was coming because it would feel like I needed to poop.  Sound instruction, I tell you!  Anywho, I'm in delivery and the one OB from my group whom I did not get along with is the doctor on call for delivery.  FANTASTIC!  She yelled at me for screaming.  I was in pain.  I was given an epidural (too late, I would later find out) and kicked the doctor while laboring through a contraction, because I was told that I was too loud.  Yes, I kicked the doctor.  She left the room (question authority).  I eventually birth Cody, who is taken away from me while I am moved to a recovery room that I share with a women who has had a c-section and who is obviously in pain.  I am instructed to get out of bed and walk, some time later, and cannot.  Why?  Because the epidural they gave me too late in the delivery hasn't worn off yet.  Cody is not given back to me until I am able to successfully walk to the bathroom and back to my bed unassisted.  
I know...
and I had to stay in the hospital for 48 hours.  
I know...
the only loose logical reasoning that I have is that it was 1999.  Also, I have to own up on my part, I was not educated enough nor confident enough in my self to question child care rules, the doctor or the hospital.  No should have, could have, or would have...it was what it was.  This, though, lends itself to my progression.
Let's fast forward 5 years, enter Christian.  At this point I had decided that I was going to try to have a natural childbirth, that I'd nurse, that he'd wear cloth diapers and we would make his baby food.  The nursing, cloth diapering and making baby food came about for two reasons, one was from the health component and the other, the one that really weighed the decision, was from a financial component.  I had changed OB's by this point and was seeing a doctor that I really liked.  Dave was home full time while I was working, so child care would not be in the cards, and hadn't been for quite some time at this point.
I went into labor with Christian while at work, went to my doctors office to get checked out and was sent to the hospital.  Dave was at class that night and I messaged him that I'd let him know how I was progressing, not to come up as nothing was happening yet.  They monitored Christian's heart rate and wouldn't you know, it would drop every time I had a contraction.  They were concerned and recommended that I'd have Pitocin to help speed up the delivery.  I agreed as long as I wouldn't HAVE TO have an epidural.  Guess what, contractions while on Pitocin HURT.  I begged for an epidural.  I messaged Dave who came up to the hospital as I was getting the epidural.  I promptly fell asleep.  They kept monitoring Christian's heart rate and it kept dropping with the contractions, even more this time.  I would later learn that this is what happens as a result of being given Pitocin (education is power). In hushed voices talk about possibly getting a c-section was going on, I had to deliver the baby now.  So, the doctor woke me up (yes, woke me up) and said that I needed to deliver the baby now.  And groggily I said Ok and three pushes later Christian was born.  

I felt nothing. 

My baby had a bruise on his head because he came down the birth canal so fast.  

I didn't feel the birth, I had no feeling towards my child.  

That's a hard one to type.  But, it's true.  I just didn't care.  And I plummeted into a postpartum depression so dark it's sad to recount to this day.  One that effected my ability to bond with my child so much, that I still have a hard time with him to this day.  It sucked.  I was prescribed medication that ended up effecting my ability to produce milk and could only nurse Christian for three weeks.  This was a huge strain on our family financially because formula needed to be purchased.  I was working full time and had so little contact with Christian that I didn't even feel like his mother.

...and so I struggled for years

I honestly believe I had postpartum depression with Cody as well, I just numbed myself with food so that I did not have to deal with reality.  
But, with Christian, it was different.  Vacant is the best way that I can describe it.  I felt every emotion and I hated it, I hated myself.  

So, with two boys I tried to grow.  I navigated what it meant to be a good mother or a bad mother and what it meant to be Stephanie.  Like, who the hell was she?  And there were lots of ups and downs and chaos and strain and change...lots of change...lots of worry.  
We progressed as a family too.  We made a choice to stop drinking cow milk.  We moved on to healthier food options as money became available and we adopted a more holistic approach to our well-being.
You see, those basics where always tumbling around in the back of my head.  

And always questioning, is there a better way?

We got to a really good place as a family, I mean, just really good all around.  We sought additional help to navigate and strengthen our marriage, to better navigate being parents, and on a personal note, how to be better okay with me.

And then...
we really wanted to have another child.  Unfortunately, I was pre-menopausal at this point and drugs would be the only option to increase my hormone levels.  This was something I struggled with, because if I was meant to have another child, shouldn't I be able to?  If intervention was necessary, maybe I wasn't meant to have another child.
We chose intervention
We chose not to tell anyone that I was pregnant until after the results of the amnio test came back, some 22 weeks later,...because, what if?  And to that end, really, what if?  I have no clue and I had no clue.
During this time of silence I dove into every book that I could find about birthing.  I watched The Business of Being Born and it's sequel, I did research on The Farm, I attended LLL meetings, I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Beyond the Sling (education is power).  I returned to the OB who delivered Christian.  I was marked at AMA.  I was told that I'd have to deliver in a hospital because of this, I agreed to this with the concession that I would be allowed to delivery naturally and that I was bringing a birth plan.  We agreed.  Tests were coming back great and there was no concern with me, the baby or the pregnancy.  And I went on my marry way until around 4 weeks prior to when the baby was due and suddenly there is talk about inducing because he was going on vacation...and then when he returned there was concern about other things, and I was sent for stress test monitoring...I'm healthy, everything is coming back great and then I'm feeling like I'm being strong armed because we are following baby's time not doctors time.  So, I go in with all my research and my husband, and we state that we are waiting for labor to start naturally, and here is why...(question authority).
One year ago, last night, I starting laboring at home.  I told my husband that if nothing progresses by 5am to go into work as this baby ain't coming.  I woke up at 4am with my contractions 4 minutes apart and called my OB and headed into the hospital with my husband and two older sons.  I was calm, I was sure and I knew that everything was going to be okay.  Dave set the boys up in the family waiting room.  I was set up in my room with the L&D nurse that I was meant to have.  I gave her a copy of my birth plan, she looked it over and said, "You know what you are doing, call me if you need anything.  I'll be in every so often to check on you...this is all you.  Can I get you anything right now?"
I walked down the hall, pausing when a contraction came, and checked in with Cody and Chris.  I was okay, everything was fine, this would be over shortly and we'd get to go home.  Just relax, it's all fine.
William was born after 9am on February 28, 2013.  He was not wiped off or bathed, his umbilical cord was allowed to stop pulsing before it was cut, skin to skin contact was immediate and he breast crawled to his first nursing.
The waves.  I have no other way to describe it other than the waves.  The waves of the contractions, that each phase is necessary and needed to signal hormones and natural chemical releases during the birthing process.  The waves of labor progression, from stage to stage and the mental and emotional change that occurs with it.  And, the waves - just joy.

Lume's Stuffed French Toast

So, the plan, at least in my mind, was have this baby, get discharged and I want Lume's stuffed french toast. Apparently, there is like this hospital policy crap.  So, I questioned it.  If I am healthy and the baby is healthy, why can't we leave?  I don't want to be here, I'm not sick.  They finally conceded to allow us to leave 12 hours after birth (so, 9 ish pm), but Will needed to get the Hep B shot (I said no to everything else).  Okay, whatever.  Now, looking back, had I known what I know now that wouldn't have happened.  Will did end up having a reaction to the Hep B shot which has resulted in cradle cap.  When looking back though, if that was the only concession I made, I feel pretty good about that.  
I did not get my stuffed french toast, Lume's closes at 3pm.


What I've learned this past year   

That my body was built this way for a reason and that I am capable of amazing things, if I believe that.

And I didn't really believe that until maybe two weeks prior to William being born.  I had stopped by a friends house to pick up some baby stuff that she wanted me to have.  I expressed my hesitation with actually having a baby naturally.  She looked me right in the eyes and said:

You can do this!  You are the one in change, kick the doctor again if you have to.  

And I believed her.  I needed to hear her say that to me on that day.  I was ready to hear that.  

This has been so weird.  I did not raise my other two boys.  I am raising Will.  I'm a damn good mom.  I can say that with all confidence now.  I questioned that before.  But, damn it - I got this!  It's a process and I'm not some sort of perfect cape wearing super mom, far from it actually.  But this year has been a year of growth and transformation that I am so blessed to have been able to experience, even with the sleep deprivation.  

I learned that it's not normal for a newborn to nurse for 40 minutes every hour, and through research of my own, was able to point out the tongue tie to his hospital assigned ped 12 hours after our discharge from the hospital.

I learned to do the research and find my own doctor and not go with the one assigned to us by the hospital.

I learned that co-sleeping was a decision that needed to be made by both myself and my husband.  

I learned that pure oatmeal soap works wonders on cradle cap.

I learned that coconut oil is the cure all.  

I learned that people are going to question me, and my decision, and that is okay.  I am doing what is best for my family and my children.  I'm sorry if you feel less than because of that.  

I learned that it's all temporary...all of it.  And, this too shall pass.

Today I am the mama to a one year old.  He has self weaned himself, eats homemade baby food, sleeps in his own crib through the night and is on the verge of walking.  He has to wear bottoms one size bigger than his shirt size because of the added fluff on his butt from his diapers.   

I am the mama to a toddler

I am the mama to a toddler, a soon to be tween and a teenager

I am a imperfect mama, and I question authority, do my own research and don't like being told what to do.

I am an educational anarchist who believes that knowledge is power and that I am capable of anything!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Photos

It's been a tough few months.  We've been cooped up in the house for far too long; between injuries, various ones being under the weather, van trouble and the weather, it's just gotten to the point where little things like doing Science will cause him to break down.  And, I don't blame him.  BUT!  The sun is shinning, the snow cliffs are receding.  Though our field is still an ice shelf and will likely be one for far too many more weeks, it's getting better.  I can now move around, the van is working and the weather is not as horrid.  We will all be happy to get back to our normal once again.   


Math at the dining room table

Curriculum 

Journal writing in the front room

It's been too cold for Slayer to play outside as well

Playing in the snow storm with Dave

Reading in the front room

Science in the dining room

Math in the dining room 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Patience - I don't have it

Patience




You know, I really don't know where the notion that as a homeschooling parent that by the very definition, that you have more patience than the average person.

Because, I don't.

I'm also a competitive ass (ask my kids how much fun it is to play Connect Four with me)...but I digress.

I also really don't know why that is the first thing folks think of when I mention that we homeschool, patience that is, not my competitive assedness.

"Oh, I couldn't do that.  I don't have the patience."

Well, here's a little secret...or maybe it's not a secret at all...neither do I.

Cody would come home from school and just be a pessimistic jerk.  I mean, really.
"School is boring."
"Everything sucks."
Wet blanket, negative Nancy and all of that.  What person in their right mind would have the patience to put up with all of that on a daily basis?  Seriously?  It's tiring and grating.
Once we decided to pull Cody and homeschool him it took months, MONTHS, for him to acclimate to the new routine.  To not having to be someone other than who he truly was.  I got to know the real Cody, my son.  Not the people pleasing, putting on a show to impress other people FAKE person that he had turned into. It's hard to keep up a lie.  It's hard to put up with a kid who is trying to keep up a lie.  And, that was my biggest concern with him going back into public school for high school.  Would my child resort back to that people pleasing, putting on a show, fake person?  And for the most part, no, he hasn't.  He's had to navigate a new school with new people in a new town and get used to all of that.  For the most part though, I have Cody, the real one.  That's who comes home every day after school.

Patience

You see, through clinched teeth last night, at 8pm, well past when we should have been done with school work for the day, there I was with Chris doing Social Studies in the front room, saying "no" one too many times.  Thoughts like
"That's it!  I'm not doing this anymore."
floated in and out of my mind as we went over our lesson.  Because I was done - just done with the day.

Patience
I don't have a surplus just because I've chosen to homeschool my children.  What I do have, that not a lot of parents have the luxury of experiencing, is the real person that my child is.
That's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sanity, Organization & Letting Go

Parenting a teenager is hard

Shit, parenting is hard

You have to put on pause you, as an individual, and give, and give and give, and give some more.  But not pausing all of you, as an individual or giving all of yourself, or you'll loose your shit.

This balance - it's hard.

I've always struggled with balance because I'm such a this or that kind of person.  That happy, fuzzy, gray area is some place I pass through as I go from this, to that.  Finding balance is something that I still struggle with to this day.

Do you know what drives me batty?

My kids asking me questions while I'm trying to be.  Like, this just happened as I typing.  My 9 year old is making lunch, he wanted to know if he could watch Loony Tunes while he eats.  But, it doesn't end there.

"Can I play video games?"
"Can I watch TV?"
"Do we have to go anywhere tonight?"
"Can I go play with my friends?"
"Can I go outside?"

My knee jerk answer to all of these questions and more, while I am trying to be, is "no".

Why?

Well, that's a damn good question.  I don't wholly know the answer, but I do know that in the moment I want everything to stop.
But, this is not a good place to be.  It fosters irritable children and ever increasing anger in me, in addition to frustration all around.  I didn't like the path that I was on so I decided to take a little detour.  This is what I did:

REBT - Dave has been talking about this for months and I've just nodded my head, half listening to him, because seriously - I don't need another thing on my plate.  But, when shit isn't working, you need to change it.  So, I went to a workshop and started implimenting the "I prefer" line with the boys.

SPS - I found this link over at Mt. Hope Chronicles via a round about search through Simple Homeschool.  I downloaded and printed SPS for myself, at first.  After the REBT workshop I printed two additional copies, one for each boy.

This is what we do -
In the morning I work with Cody first (he's the first up and to leave).  After he eats breakfast he fills out a page in his SPS and I use REBT for the section "if I could live today over again", reiterating that as humans we fail, that does not make us failures though.  So, looking back on the previous day I'll ask his questions like did you think negatively about yourself or another person, did you have expectations of yourself or another person that did not pan out, were you irritable or angry or in an all around shitty mood, etc...  And then after he fills out the whole page, I say
"So, after you finish Project 1 (2 & 3), as well as your To Do List, you can then enjoy whatever.  But keep in mind that we have whatever appointment(s) so you may not get to do everything that you want, and that is okay.  Remember that you would prefer to not be (whatever he wrote in the if I could live today over again"), but realize that it's okay if you feel this way, you are only human."
...and then he goes upstairs and finishes getting ready for school.
I repeat this same thing with Chris when he is finished with his breakfast, too.

Then I let it go.

They know what they need to complete in order to enjoy the things they want to enjoy.  If they don't complete their Projects or To Do's, then they don't get to enjoy what they have listed.

Now, keep in mind, we are talking about Schoolwork and Homework and Chores, for Projects and To Do's...stuff they should be doing already.  There is something about this writing it down thing that works, though.  By having them write it out in the morning before they even start their day, they know what is expected of them because we have gone over it together.
And, there have been days where they didn't get to enjoy anything that they listed.  And, that is okay.  Because it's not the end of the world and disappointment is tolerable, though I understand they would prefer not to be disappointed or feel those feelings, it's okay and everything will be fine.  

What does this allow me?

Time to do this; time to read a book; time to sit in quite with tea; time to not feel like I'm a tightly wound clock.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gratitude

I started this out, long hand, and it just got too big.  Too much and too detailed, at least for now.  So....a list!
  • Thank you to my now husband, who was my then boyfriend, who suggested that "homeschooling would be cool", and me thinking 'totally, for you, not for me', as I watched him patiently go over the days of the week with my 2 year old.  The seed was planted.
  • Thank you to Will, for speaking up and proving that homeschooled kids were not socially inept and weird.  Thank you for continuing to be an amazing example.
  • Thank you to Dawn, for homeschooling Will and for letting me voice all my concerns and questions my first year of homeshooling.  Basically, I held her hostage in a storage shed and interrogated her.  She is my mentor and I look to her for sound advice and suggestions.
  • Thank you to Tracey, for blogging about her homeschooling journey at Just Another Homeschool Blog and Just Another Mommy Blog.  Thank you answering my very rambling email about homeschooling and for inviting me to check out the co-op you belonged to.  Thank you for being an amazing friend.    
  • Thank you to Cody, for humoring me in my proposal that homeschooling may work and jumping in with both feet after Christmas break of 6th grade to give it a whirl. 
  • Thank you to Chris, for being envious of all the cool stuff that me and your older brother were doing at home and wanting to stay home as well, starting in 2nd grade.    
  • Thank you to Will, (mine, not Dawn's), for the future and what that may bring.  


Thank you to all of you who kept telling me that as my son's mother that I already am their teacher, that I can do this, that there is help out there and that everything is going to be okay.
So, if you are considering homeschooling I want you to know that you already are your child's teacher, that you can do this, that there is help out there and that everything is going to be okay.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Insanity

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results.  I know this, like REALLY KNOW THIS.  It's a core belief of mine, one which has been hard learned in recovery.

Sometimes I need help.

When I get to the point where I'm throwing up my hands in exasperated irritation, that's such a time.

One of the many areas that I struggle in as a homeschooler is with curriculum...specifically to use it, or not and how much of it, if any and which one as opposed to the other, if I am.  Ideally I'd like our everyday experiences and such to be enough to count as "learning".  It's definitely street smart learning, to be sure. But, it's not enough.  It never is. *sigh*

Then there's the money factor - textbooks and workbooks and teaching aids and teacher's copies and so on, and on, and on, are expensive - FUCKING EXPENSIVE!  No joke!  Even the used stuff.

Today, I am so grateful for

  • school districts that post their scope & sequence with time frames and sourcing materials on-line
  • being able to secure used (like beat the hell up, battered and bruised) textbooks, workbooks and teacher's copies to review the 3rd grade and complete the 4th grade topics prior to starting the 5th grade in the fall.
  • the ability to surrender my need to control and be perfect and try to make what I have work, even when it's not working (square peg in round hole...or doing the same thing over and over and over....) and to ask for help.
  • ...receiving help!
I feel much more sure of myself as a mother and my son's teacher.  It's a good place to be.  It's progress, and I'll take it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Day In Our Homeschool

Yesterday my friend Tracey at Just Another Mommy Blog posted about her day as a homeschool mom and I thought that it was genius!  You can read it by clicking here.  I've had the pleasure of knowing Tracey my entire homeschooling run.  She was very influential in my decision to homeschool my oldest son, who happens to be the same age as her oldest.  I won't go into a lot of sappy stuff here about her, you should just take a few moments to read her blog.  I will say this, it was so nice to know that when I was considering pulling my oldest from public school to homeschool him that I was not the only homeschooling mom in the suburbs of Chicago.  It calmed me.
I, also, enjoy the blog Simple Homeschool and know full well that due to my secular practices as a homeschooler I will likely not be invited to share what a typical homeschooling day for us is like, and that is okay.  So, I'm going to piggy back on Tracey's post and share with you what our homeschooling day was like yesterday, on Thursday, February 6th.  I note this specifically only because NOT EVERY DAY IS THE SAME - EVER...like never.  It's taken me a while to get okay with that, because I thrive on routine and schedules.
Hold on to your seats - here we go!  This is the day in the life of a homeschooling family with a hobbled and housebound mom due to a knee injury, a 9 year old who is wound like the energizer bunny (due in large part to his hobbled and housebound mom and his swim season ending 2 weeks ago) and an 11 month old who is vocal and mobile, in addition to a 14 year old and husband.
5:36am - Will (my 11 month old) is crying.  I wake up to nurse him.
5:48am - Back into my own bed and my pillow and blanket feel ridiculously perfect and I try to relish that for the remaining 12 minutes that I get to sleep.
6:00am - My alarm goes off.  Time to get up and get going.
6:05am - I'm downstairs in the kitchen and starting breakfast for Cody, who is my 14 year old and is a freshman attending public high school.  He was homeschooled from 6th-8th grade.  Let me pause here a moment to explain "why" I am making my 14 year old son breakfast.  He believes that a Nutrigrain bar is a sufficient breakfast.  I, on the other hand, do not agree with this thought process.  More so now, since he has been diagnosed with ADD and is taking medication to help him cope (we use many coping mechanisms including proper diet, exercise, structure and schedules, as well as sleep to assist him with handling life).
6:35am - I start my coffee and let the dog outside.  I also start to open all the shades and blinds in the house. Dave wakes up to get ready for work.
6:50am - I review with Cody what we will be doing this evening so that he is "in the know".  Goodbye's to Dave as he leaves for work for the day.*I get distracted by the sunrise as I go to let the dog inside*
7:03am - Cody leaves for the bus and I start to make my breakfast. I sit down and eat my breakfast and check my email on my phone, quickly.
7:25am - I have a half hour to myself where I do some daily readings and journaling
8:10am - Wake up Chris (my 9 year old) and Will.  I make in my bed and empty the vaporizer (*phew, phew*), in the process realize that there is a large sediment build up and that I'll need to soak the vaporizing mechanism in vinegar to break it down.  Chris makes in his bed and gets dressed.  He brings down the hamper from upstairs for me while I carry Will down.
8:30am - Chris eats his breakfast (I make this as well) and we discuss his math progress for the week so far and talk about his falling asleep at night (we started including exercise into his daily routine, multiple times a day, as a way to help him fall asleep more easily at night) while I am feeding Will.  Between spoonfuls of food I start the laundry and put the vaporizer in vinegar to soak.
8:58am - Chris starts his morning routine which consists of brushing his teeth, combing his hair and cleaning up the bathroom of whatever mess he made in the process. I am still feeding Will at this point.
9:15am - Chris starts reading a chapter book independently for 45 minutes.  I finish feeding Will, which today, I think wrestling a wet cat may be seen as an easier feat, and do the breakfast dishes.  *I get distracted looking for a notebook to write all of this in*

9:25am - Sit down to start to write all of this out *I get distracted taking photos*
9:45am - Bring Chris his first of two 18oz. water bottles for the day (helps with eliminating toxins, helps facilitate bowel movements and helps sleep come more easily as night).  I get Will cleaned up and changed.
10:00am - I set up an obstacle course for Will.
 He doesn't want his toys, he wants the dogs bone.
Chris will run off some energy by doing some exercise for 20 minutes (skipping laps around the 1st floor of the house, cherry pickers around the first floor of the house and punching from chest height using cans of fruit for weights as he walks laps around the first floor of the house), we will do 2 more 20 minute exercise breaks during the day.  At this point he finish his 1st 18 oz. of water.
10:25am - We start Grammar and Language Arts.  We do grammar together out loud and then he works in his workbook.

10:58am -Will goes down for a nap and I become a functional member of society by getting dressed and ready for the day.  I do my first set of physical therapy exercises for the day.
11:17am - Math time.  I check his language arts work on prepositions and note work to improve capitalization on proper nouns in his free write response using prepositions properly.  While Chris does math (which is done on-line using a system called Aleks) I free write (aka brain drain) for 15 minutes and check emails trying really hard NOT to get sucked into facebook.  I make a mental note to re-check emails regarding driver's ed (HELP), homeschool water-park tickets, homeschool co-op instructions for valentines and volunteer possibilities after lunch and during my self-designated computer time. When free write is done I fold laundry and think about lunch possibilities, hoping that the left over BLT fixings from last night are still in the fridge (mmmm....bacon).
11:57am - Chris finishes math and is requesting another 18 oz. of water and to do more exercised before lunch - SURE!
12:10pm - Chris makes his own lunch.  I find bacon, so I'm pretty happy.  We talk about how to make scrambled eggs and discuss the possibility of Chris making his own for breakfast tomorrow.  We also talk about our plans for this evening and the time frame of how things will break down so that we can get out of the house on time and not rushed in doing so, and how to properly cut a carrot to get the most out of it.  When I finish my bacony goodness,  I start the sink for lunch the lunch dishes (which Chris will do as part of his daily chores) and I put on The Flobots to listen to while we both finish off some chores around the house before going into our afternoon routine.
Laminated chore lists.  Cross off completed chore with a dry erase marker.  Lists can be reused.

1:00pm - Chris finish his afternoon chores and is enjoying his 1/2 hour of video game time.
1:30pm - We work on listening skills and copy work.  I read aloud an article from The Old Farmer's Almanac (this one happens to be on comets) and when I am done reading Chris works on copying a paragraph.  In this way he gets writing practice in on a topic he enjoys and he can also work on proper capitalization and punctuation.
2:00pm - Free reading time.  Chris chooses a Pokemon book to read at this time.  I organize a pile of homeschooling stuff that I've been putting off for two days.
2:30pm - I send Chris and our dog, Slayer, outside to play int he snow for a while.  I have to bribe Chris with hot coco, but I get him outside.

3:09pm - Cody is home from school.  He goes over his checklist of what he needs to do (empty backpack, go over planner with me, discuss homework and how we are going to break it down in a time efficient manner and long term and short term projects that are due).  He eats something and then will start his homework.
3:20pm - Will finally wakes up from his nap.  He smells like a zoo.  It's time for his lunch at this point.
3:50pm - Chris and Slayer are in from their snow play outside.  Chris takes off his frozen layers and takes care to place everything flat so that it can dry.  He then sips on the hot coco I orignally bribed him with.  Cody gets to benefit from this as well, as he can have Slayer's take.  (By the way, I make hot coco by heating up chocolate soy milk and then adding two different types of hot coco packet mixes.  In this case I used dark chocolate and carmel chocolate.)
4:15pm - I start dinner.  This is not typical, but we have a function to attend tonight that requires an early dinner for us all.
4:45pm - We eat a feast that consists of Hebrew National Hot Dogs and homemade mac-n-cheese made with colby jack cheese and mild cheddar.  I have some homemade coleslaw as well.
5:00pm - Dave is home and informs me that the event we are attending starts at 7pm, not 6pm.  This actually works to our benefit as now the boys can take their showers before we have to leave and Cody can clean the shower too (one of his chores) while I do the dinner dishes (not one of my chores, but in an effort to save time I will do them so that the boys can get their showers in before we have to leave.)  I do my second set of physical therapy exercises for the day.
5:20pm - Dave is done eating and ready to go.  Chris is also done with his shower, dressed and ready to go.
5:40pm - Cody is done taking a shower and cleaning the shower, is dressed and ready to go.  I nurse Will and then wrestle him into a snow suit to get him ready to leave.
5:55pm - We are all in the car and ready to leave - ON TIME :-)
6:35pm - We arrive at Dave's work and set the boys up in his office.  Cody and Chris will be keeping an eye on and playing with Will while we are down the hall at an informational session about REBT.
7:00-8:40pm - REBT Session.  REBT stands for Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.  The very basic gist is we are going to understand why we have certain emotions and act the way we do.  In by understanding it in ourselves, as individuals, we can assist our sons/daughters set and accomplish their goals in life by making better and healthy choices.  In addition to healthfully coping with the adversities of life.  *Side Note - IT WAS AWESOME!!*
9:00pm - We are all packed up and layered up and leaving Dave's work to head home.
9:30pm - We arrive home and the boys get changed for bed (score! on those early showers) and Chris does his final exercise session of the day (mostly stretches and planks).  Slayer has gotten into the kitchen garbage, she has ever so daintily picked out the empty hot dog wrappers and they are now on the floor.  She is self punishing herself in her cage. I feed Will his last solid meal of the day and get him ready for bed.  Cody has already gone to bed.
9:47pm - Will and I head upstairs where I nurse him to sleep and put him in his crib for the night.  I say a silent prayer that he does not wake up during the night, I'm tired and need sleep.
10:00pm - Chris goes to bed.  I get changed for bed.  Cody, Chris, Will and I are all done for the day.  Dave is still up, and will be up for some time getting his own time to self in before he finally goes to bed.

So, there you have it.  That's what our day was like on Thursday, February 6th.  Today looks way different and Monday will as well.  What I've come to realize is that not every day is the same, and that is okay.  We just roll with it.
This is my homeschool closet.  Everything and anything that we need for learning and doing is found in here.  

It also doubles as my canning closet :-)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

...and, we are back!

So, it's been like 11 months since I've posted last.  Yep, that's a pretty long time.  To kind of catch up, here is what we've been up to:
-sold our house
-moved
-had a baby
-moved again
-Cody is attending high school (like a really brick and mortar one)
-been busy canning...lots and lots of canning (side note, starting to hate tomatoes)
-loving where we live now

Okay, I think we are caught up!

We started our homeschooling year off on Tuesday, September 3rd.  Our official school year runs Labor Day to Memorial Day, or at least I keep telling myself that.  I'm sure that one of these years we will actually end school on Memorial Day instead of weeks prior...it's a goal.  Unfortunately, since I am still unpacking some things, I was not able to celebrate the start of our school year with our schultute cones.  (Maybe when we come back from Christmas break.)
I'm trying to see the sweet spot here because I have such a strained relationship with Chris, my 9 year old.  That's a whole different blog post altogether.  And it's all me, I know that.  I mean he's 9...you know?  So, my focus this year is Chris and all Chris, or as much of Chris as Will will allow me.  Which, up to this point, is a lot.  I can tell you right now that writing will be the thing that may break me with Chris.  But, we are working on it....slowly and without a lot of yelling on my part.

So, here is what we've been up to so far this month:
We rode our bikes to the library a few times...it served three purposes, 1) exercise, 2) helped this guy fall asleep & 3)we got books
We met new homeschooling friends.  We joined a new to us co-op near our new home.  It's a very large co-op, which is nice.  Chris has about 40 kids around his age to interact with. 
This one started High School
I had to create a little sanity in our morning routine
We worked on file folder projects
Chris joined the swim team again this year
We biked the Morton Arboretum

We met up with some homeschooling friends to go apple picking
We homeschooled on the go
We hiked Plum Creek
And explored and talked
Chris learned new things
and played with his new friends at a homeschool activity day
We started the new Scouting year with a new Pack and Den...meeting new people and making new friends.
And returned to old friends, who are like family.  Who encourage me all the time in my homeschooling journey and keep me grounded and sane.
I am reminded continually that learning happens no matter where or what is going on.  It happens in the structured day that I create, it happens in the spontaneity of a hike or apple picking.  I don't have buckets of patience, I don't have a magic wand...some days I don't even have it all together.  This homeschooling journey has been filled with bumps and restarts and throwing ideas that I thought were golden to the side.  From having to return to work an overnight shift two months into our homeschooling adventure 3 years ago, to state wide field trips that lasted weeks, to moving, to having a baby, to being able to stay home and not work at all, to...this - it's pretty cool and it's always changing and we are always learning, always.  I just have to remember that we are not alone in this journey, nor do we have to be.    

Friday, November 16, 2012

This Past Week

We went to the Adler Planetarium, here are some photos of what we've been up to:
Martinmas Lanterns

Planetarium visit














US History Memory Game