Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda Week at Homeschool

I’ve fallen into the trap.  I’m a little over a month in and I’ve caught myself making it more and more traditional-school style.  Yikes!!

We started off fun and hands-on and have somehow slid into sitting-at-desk-reading-out-of-textbooks schooling. No, no, no, no, no! Adhd + sit-at-desk-textbook-reading = my son feeling tortured.

Then– 

We had a rough week. We didn’t get anything done– that sent me into overdrive trying to catch up.  Every day I added more to what we needed to cram in.
He and I started bickering.
I started getting crabby.

I coulda stopped the train in it’s tracks the first day I noticed it was going so very wrong and avoided the inevitable chain reaction. I shoulda nixed that day altogether and just read aloud together snuggled on the couch to reinforce the nature of our education and our emotional bond. I woulda, except we would have then fallen behind.

I coulda corrected my attitude to avoid hurt feelings,  a lower self-esteem, and an overall feeling of unhappiness in our school in both of us to stop the bickering in its tracks.  I shoulda made it a point to have special alone time to read my Bible and center my chi because I let the task become more urgent than my source of strength. I woulda, except I had to go to work every night and that would have taken even more time away from studying.

Parenting Fail.

I coulda wallowed in my guilt and self-pity, which would guarantee that the next week was just as rotten and the Enemy could get a good laugh knowing he was tearing down our school from the inside out.  I sure did use the opportunity to discuss Grace, accepting responsibility (both of us), and regain a mutual perspective of our overall mission. I woulda pretended it just never happened and gone on next week as if it had no consequences, but hey, that’s not my style. 😉

I would value any feedback from all my dear family in Christ out there about how to prevent such a downhill slide in the future!!

(Side note: I feel like I know most of you personally!)

Advertisements

Marriage: Conjunctions Can Change Your Life

I am celebrating my 3rd year of marriage. My favorite new saying is “Nothing will bring you to Jesus like trying to stay married.” As a married woman and an English major, I came to realize that conjunctions often get substituted. “Or” is often considered interchangeable with “And”.  It really shouldn’t be.  That little conjunction can change your whole life.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not trying to make a grandiose argument or anything. This is just a random observation I had one day. So if you think I'm completely off my rocker, you're probably right and therefore starting ruckus in comments is probably extraneous.

Wedding vows: For Better- OR-  for worse. For Richer- OR- for poorer. In sickness- AND- in health.

I was randomly noticing one day that all of a sudden the conjunctions in wedding vows change.

OR, means that one or the other things can or cannot happen. I think that this means there is a chance that we are entering a covenant that may be ONLY worse the entire time and that better will never come. Now, I don’t want to sound like Debbie-Downer so let’s remember that this could also mean that better could come the entire time.  My point isn’t to abase the institution. Really. I’m simply realizing that God did not leave out “the fine print.” In deeper reflection, I think it makes entering the covenant even more sacred. God meant marriage to be so lasting that even the conjunction is perfectly chosen to stress the no matter what.

The hardest part of that is accepting it and staying married anyway. (This doesn’t apply to abuse– duh.) I have found in my own relationship that the first 3 years have been difficult. I am not implying that my husband is a bad husband– he’s not. I have found that I give out 50% and then wait for his 50% and am disappointed when I think I haven’t received it. (I also have the ‘comparison’ problem, which is my struggle not of his doing.)

I read in a book recently about a spouse giving 100% and not expecting a return from the other spouse. Simply put, true love is giving our all despite what we get in return. True love is wanting the best for the other person even at your own cost- no matter how angry, unsatisfied, or lonely you feel at the hands of your spouse.

Only Jesus can really do it all the time.  My human nature just keeps killing my best laid plans to be that wife. And guess what – my spouse is human, too. He mucks it up. Just like me.

God gives us spouses as leaders, helpmates, and overall another imperfect human to help us practice the 100% love. He knew what he was doing when he planned it this way.

I toy with this thought all the time:  Marriage is the opportunity to fine-tune our character qualities.

It’s easy to demonstrate integrity, true love, and grace when everything is going great. That doesn’t really speak  much to one’s true character. It’s the reactions and choices one makes when all is shaken loose that shows our areas of weakness that need improvement. And hey, practice makes perfect, right?

Marriage gives us lots and lots of practice.

For some, not all, matrimony also gives us someone on our side to help us when it’s the outside world that’s beating us down. (It’s kind of like when you were a kid and had siblings or a best friend that you fought with all the time but if someone else fought with you they would whoop their ass. Same principle, only stronger bond.)

And the outside world will come. I have learned this– The Enemy wants our marriages to fail. He wants our Homes to be Broken. He wants our Children to suffer from divorce.

I’m going to share some of my ugly character flaws with you- much to my chagrin.
For me, even so much as entertaining the thought of divorce leads to wrong action in little ways. I listen to him just a little less. I make a few more snide comments just a little more often.  I get quick to anger a little more. Guess what all that does for me– provokes him to do the same.
Voila!- A vicious cycle. Voila!- Satan’s foot is in the door.
(Biblical example of this: David’s first accidental glance at Bathsheba. He entertains the thought of her. We all know the next step: Thoughts=Action.)

  • I throw myself face down on my bed, sobbing, telling God that I give him my marriage broken and to return to me fixed. I make sure to stay deeply in touch with God.
  • I try to change my actions with nothing but the hope that it will inspire him to change his.
  • I choose my hills to die on and let the rest go– no matter how hard it is. Then I take my resentment on some of those to God.
  • I continually seek out wise counsel and Christian literature to help me.
  • Every day I think of one wonderful quality in my husband that I love and speak it out loud to myself. On really bad days, I speak it and then write it down. Yes, sometimes it feels difficult to think of even one, but it’s really not that hard once you get started trying. Even “he didn’t do anything stupid TODAY” is a start. 😉 Ha-Ha.

All I know is that I knew what a conjunction was when I chose to say it.  All I know is that today is not the day I get divorced. All I know is that tomorrow is not the day I get divorced.  And so on.

For the record– my husband is a really good man. He tries really hard to be a good husband. I did not share this post with you as a complaint about him— it is about the reality of how difficult dedicated marriage is.

Homeschooling: Phew! A Few Weeks Down

So I’ve found that doing a college style block system works best. We do between 1-3 subjects Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the other 1-3 on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. (Yeah, I’m harsh making him do work on the weekend; ha!)

This seems to really help with him not getting burnt out on any one subject.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As a “reluctant reader,” I have found that the combination of audiobook & book works so great!! Especially when they are books about Babe Ruth– he finished it within 1.5 days. We take turns with just-for-fun reads and classic literature.

Life skills: Keyboarding (two hands, please!) . Laundry (so my future-daughter-in-law doesn’t hate me), and we did budgeting and check writing (but our exact address was visible so I didn’t post it)

The old-school “Schoolhouse Rock” — I  love it!!

We have already covered local/state/federal government, reading maps, Nouns, Math rounding, and Nutrition (myplate). He had a blast with the nutrition!!

We even threw in a weekend of having his best guy friend over for some “socialization.” We’ve been doing a lot of character study which has included proper interaction with friends and proper communication techniques when you are angry so I thought having someone over would be a really great chance for him to practice it. He did great!

onelovelyblog

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you The Homestead At Spring Creek!! I’m happy to be nominated but overjoyed that it was from a blog as amazing as yours!!!!  Rules of acceptance: Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post. Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire. … Continue reading

This Little Pig Went Wee, Wee, Wee All The Way HOME

My son comes home from public school every day and weeps. He stalls as long as possible getting ready so he won’t have to be there “as long”. We have been going through this since kindergarten and it’s only getting worse as the years go by. And, needless to say, kids are mean. So mean. Last night I held my son for over an hour while he sobbed.

My son has ADD. (Not adhd, that’s different) So naturally he has a really hard time at school anyway, and when he ends up with teachers that aren’t specialized, it is the worst possible scenario.

K-2 were so difficult. None of his teachers have been specialized and he’s a Type B personality so basically the public education system as a whole isn’t really a great fit for him. He learns best through hands-on learning;  he’s a mover. If he is allowed to do jumping jacks while reciting his multiplication tables, he knows more than I do. If he is forced to sit behind a desk all day and take a paper test, he can’t get past the 2s. I will never be convinced that all children learn the same way!, and yet we put all children in the same learning environment. But I’m starting to get off on a tangent.

He was in 3rd grade this year and had a specialized homeroom teacher. She is amazing and he has blossomed. Unfortunately, at this age they change classrooms/teachers for all subjects outside of the basics- p.e., art, music, technology, etc. None of those teachers are specialized. A child with ADD is very frustrating; the good Lord knows that I  know this. He gets yelled at all day by some of the teachers and he gets yelled at a lot by the other kids. He feels like “everyone hates me,” “I get yelled at all day everywhere I go,” and “I have no friends.”  And then, of course, when he gets in trouble at school (which is every damn day), we have to ground him at home. So the child truly cannot catch any respite. He hates going to school- dreads it even.

I only have one chance to raise this child the right way. I only have one chance, one childhood.

I think I’m going to homeschool him.
I can switch my hours from day to night so I can be with him to school him during the day and his dad would be with him at night. I’d make the exact same amount of money and still get to homeschool. We could even pick a Christian curriculum.

I’m doing a lot of research on this right now. I’d be open to any information any of you have. Where I live, there are homeschool groups, homeschool field trips, homeschool discounts, homeschool library resources, etc.
Please let me know if you have any information that could help!!! 

**********************************************************************************************************

Dear Father,

I need Your guidance and wisdom. I need You to give me the strength to defend what may be an unpopular choice with dignity and grace. I need You to fill me with the right knowledge to pass on to another generation. I need You to lead me to the right resources. I’m afraid and unsure of myself, Lord. Yet I believe that You will provide what is best for my son, Your little beloved.  If this is the wrong path God, please send me signs and I will obediently follow Your directions with a joyful heart…even if I disagree at the time. I ask that You give peace and comfort to my son; I ask that You heal his heart, as You are the only one that truly can. I love you God.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 7

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

The first few pictures are from my son’s list. He joined the project over his Spring Break. This is a picture of him doing this. I couldn’t let that moment pass: 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Okay, the first on his list were his mom (me!), his dad, and God. Everyone knows what I look like, I don’t know if I had permission from my DH (dear husband), and God is fickle about being seen in person. So let’s start with his next three.

 His church. Isn’t that music to a mother’s soul?!

He is very active with his youth group. It is an amazing group!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 What 9-year-old isn’t grateful for a Dairy Queen on his block?!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 His school playground. Note: He did not say “school,” he said school PLAYGROUND. 🙂 🙂

According to the very interesting Multiple Intelligences study, he is a “movement smart” child so I’m not really surprised by this.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Okay, let’s start mine for the week.

Modern Medicine. I know amongst some this is taboo, but I also think sometimes we overlook how readily available medicine is when we get sick. Imagine having something serious, like strep throat all the way to Lupus (a very real, very painful illness!). Can you even fathom never, ever having medicine for it? To have to live with it every moment of the day until you die? We call the doctor and they call the prescription into the pharmacy for us.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 This is two-fold. A) Being a homeowner instead of a renter. We can actually plant our own garden in the backyard. B) Homegrown, fresh organic produce to eat straight out of the ground and to can for awesomeness in the winter!

(Obviously this is from when we first started planting)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Still being at least cool enough to play soccer with out where people can see us. I love playing outside and having a child is the perfect excuse and someone to play with instead of having to kick it against the house! 🙂

And having a job that allows me the time to be at home with him over Spring Break.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 The funny ways God gives moms to earn respect from boys. If you look closely enough, you can see the perfect outline of the soccer ball. This is what I get for blocking a great kick in capris. I didn’t whine, cry, or even stop the game; earned a lot of kudos from the man-child.

Guilt: It’s What’s For Dinner

My grandmother is very old and very sick. She suffers from Alzheimer’s. She is admitted to the hospital for dehydration and an inability(/unwillingness?) to eat. Two weeks ago the hospital admitted her for a urinary tract infection and further testing for small strokes. (I was told then that it is very common amongst the elderly in nursing homes because, of course, I was enraged.) With this being her second admittance within a month’s time, the level of concern is much higher.

My father is on vacation in Hawaii. I know that if something happens before he can return, he will never forgive himself. Any logical person can explain it away as “how was one to know” and “he needed that time to refresh for what may come”; although accurate statements, when regarding one’s mother, logic doesn’t hold a candle to emotions and/or guilt. I mention this only because it started my wheels churning about guilt in general.
(I wanted you to see how my thoughts link together)

I started thinking about my own guilt in regards to my grandmother then. She was presenting the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s back when I was still in high school (15 years ago). They were subtle and undiagnosed so we really just thought she was “slowing down” due to age and the loss of her husband. My grandpa died just a few years before this. I love my grandma with a fierce passion from my soul, but I was a rotten teen and I didn’t understand what was really going on. The way I spoke to her is enough to want to punch myself in my own eye. I had no patience, graciousness, or empathy for her struggle to get and keep her thoughts together. My expectations were for the same grandmother I had grown up with and when she couldn’t  pan out anymore, I was rude, impatient, and sometimes just mean. (I want to reiterate though that even through all this, I loved her then with the same fierce passion from my soul, I was just a rotten young woman.)

This brings me to the main conversation point of this post: guilt.

I am hanging on to a guilt from 15 years ago. I know that if she could remember all those times that she would still forgive me because this is a woman who is the purest beacon of God’s love I have ever known. And God and I have been through it together and I know that He has forgiven me. So why then am I still crushed under the weight of the guilt??

Because I never verbally apologized when she was still “present” in life enough to understand. I never said what I should have said when I should have said it.

This woman deserves that and so much more from me.

I had not turned my life over to Christ yet during any of her coherent years, but I bombard myself  all the time with that anyone with even a normal amount of morals beneath their messiness who genuinely loved their grandmother would have said it (even if they didn’t mean it at the time). I am ashamed. I am ashamed to even blog about this for others to know.

I discuss this with you because it really illustrates how great a change that accepting Jesus makes in a person and how vitally important it is to know God’s love before being able to express unselfish, real love to someone else. I mean, I loved her more than any other yet I couldn’t eat crow just once for her to feel better? Nope. Because I didn’t know God’s love and therefore couldn’t give real love to anyone else.

But, even knowing all that, I am still suffocated by my guilt.

That thought led me to this one: should I apologize to her now?

I am going to the hospital to sit with her so my sister, who has been there overnight, can take a rest. This will give me alone time with her.

Should I apologize to her tonight? She has long since lost her ability to speak at all or recognize people so even if she can still understand words, she wouldn’t know who was speaking them or why.

My question to everyone is this then: in apologizing now, under these circumstances, is the apology valid? Or would it be just to make myself feel better? That would make it selfish.

I leave you with the question and a closing thought: Do NOT let this happen to you.  Apologize when you should. In the moment, even if you don’t want to/feel like you should or after the moment when you have another chance just to reconcile the relationship.

I still had opportunities after the initial fact and I didn’t take them because they were “so long ago” and “I already knew she’d forgiven me” and “she doesn’t remember anyway.” It. does. not. matter: You will run out of time.

A good dose of crow– make it for dinner.

 

(PS- This is not the “big” post; this is the life that is continuing while I’m still writing the really big one. Stay tuned!!)

365 Gratitude Project: Week 4

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

This week was a little harder for me.  It seems like when everything is going wrong, it’s twice as hard to find the little things attractive. But I pushed through because I know that the most important time to do this project is when things are hard.

  My job. I get to work surrounded by awesome goodness of books. This is a picture of just one-quarter of the library I work in. And, even if this wasn’t already awesome, I would be grateful for employment at all in these times. (Seriously, this is a very small section of the library)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  Holding Hands with my husband. He reached back and grabbed my hand through the whole store. Remember, people could see this! 🙂

I felt really special and really loved. Little acts of love mean sooo much to me.

A co-worker of my husband’s was just telling us a story the other day about how he doesn’t hold his wife’s hand anymore because they are “too old” for that and have been married “forever” so she knows that he loves her….. this made me so sad, and yet feel so special in my own marriage.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My future prayer-warrior.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Toe socks. It is impossible to be cranky when you are wearing these– just look down and you are bound to at least smirk. A smirk can lead to a full-blown smile if you aren’t careful.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Exercise. Everything about exercise is awesome. Our bodies are one of the most complex, detailed machines that God created. I love taking care of it. Plus, the endorphins are amazing!!

If you feel the same way, check out my best friend’s blog Redemption Fitness.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Easy Joy of Children. This child was sooo excited about his scooter ($25). He came into the house to get me so I could watch him do a “wheelie”. He was just glowing. I want to feel that way again about something, anything. My description of this moment doesn’t even encapsulate how excited and simplistically fulfilled he was.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Right Resources. Every child learns differently and it feels like I have gone through a hundred different types of resources trying to find something that speaks to my child on a real level.

I finally found it. I am so grateful for the availability of resources.