Friday, February 28, 2014

A good week.

A glimmer of hope.

A glimpse of improvement.

We didn't finish all I had planned. We didn't even do all five days - we took a day off when DaHubby's bonus check came in to go out to breakfast as a family and then splurge on the kids with a $70+ trip to Michael's crafts in Rockford for those infuriating rubber bands and rainbow looms. LOL And, today is technically a day off from OUR curriculum as they spend the morning at our homeswchool co-op's "Friday school."

But, ya know what? I didn't yell. ALL week! Well, I raised my voice yesterday in frustration at Flicka for he whining about what work I did ask her to do but that was more about her attitude than about school per se.

Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. LOL

For the first time in several years, I've started enjoying this momma thing again.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Over it.

I'm bored with our curriculum.

There I've said it. The curriculum that I so carefully researched and prayed about. The one I was sure was a *perfect* fit. I'm still done with it.

I have 8-9 more weeks of school and I'm over it.

I love American history and I'm still over it.

I find myself more and more critical of our "core" curriculum - the joint subjects that we do together as a family: Bible reading, social studies, science. It is an all-in-one type thing but even the language arts and math we've branched off from, changed, or added to.

And, I think the homeschool companies seriously have our number about this. LOL They know that this time of year - after the cabin fever of a frigid Midwestern winter - we are ready to break out and break free of whatever we've been doing for the last 2-3 months.

And, the curriculum sales will start in about a week.

"Buy in March and get 40% off!"

"Buy in April and get 30% off!"

"Buy in May and get 20% off"

"Buy in June and get 10% off"

And, after that, you are on your own! LOL

I've already got a brainstorm sheet going with my wish list of 2014-2015 materials. Heck, I've already ordered my lesson plan book/organizer/calendar thingy! But, pulling the trigger on purchasing next year's stack of learning is intimidating at best.

But, again, it's all about one's state of mind. That freedom to tweak and try other things and find what works is both a blessing and a curse of homeschooling. It can lead a home educator into fits of anxiety or energize them with new opportunities.

Ultimately, like with one's faith, it's a matter of keeping one's eyes on the bigger picture.

Yea, we did ancient history last year and American history this year while I have NO idea what the Vikings' public school friends are doing. Yea, Pojke's probably behind grade level on reading but he's doing multiplication tables! At eight! OK, Flicka's doing 3rd grade grammar but 4th grade math.

But, are they learning the basics that apply to all things: a strong faith, an ability to reason, and an ability to communicate? Bigger picture stuff that will apply to whatever is coming next.

So, we are chugging along...counting the days til we're done. Some days, we're skipping "fun" stuff to just be able to close the books for the day. Will I find a better math program for Pojke? Eventually. Will I try yet another cursive program hoping this one "clicks" for Flicka? You bet! add a strong Bible component next year? Absolutely! Am I going to make sure there is more arts and music for the 2014-2015 year. Hopefully.

Like most things in life, it's often more about the journey than the destination. While this year's materials seem to not *fit* us anymore, it's just goes to show how much we've all grown and learned this year.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Sunday revelation

Found this online. Very timing and speaks to an area with which I need help.

My Identity in Jesus Christ
John 1:12 - I am a child of God (Romans 8:16).
John 15:1,5 - I am a part of the true vine, a channel (branch) of His Life.
John 15:15 - I am Christ’s friend.
John 15:16 - I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit.
Acts 1:8 - I am a personal witness of Christ for Christ.
Romans 3:24 - I have been justified and redeemed.
Romans 5:1 - I have been justified (completely forgiven and made righteous) and am at peace with God.
Romans 6:1-6 - I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule in my life.
Romans 6:7 - I have been freed from sin’s power over me.
Romans 6:18 - I am a slave of righteousness.
Romans 6:22 - I am enslaved to God.
Romans 8:1 - I am forever free from condemnation.
Romans 8:14,15 - I am a son of God (God is literally my “Papa”) (Galatians 3:26; 4:6).
Romans 8:17 - I am an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ.
Romans 11:16 - I am holy.
Romans 15:7 - Christ has accepted me.
1 Corinthians 1:2 - I have been sanctified.
1 Corinthians 1:30 - I have been placed in Christ by God’s doing; Christ is now my wisdom from God, my righteousness, my sanctification, and my redemption.
1 Corinthians 2:12 - I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God.
1 Corinthians 2:16 - I have been given the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19 - I am a temple (home) of God; His Spirit (His life) dwells in me.
1 Corinthians 6:17 - I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:19,20 - I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 - I am a member of Christ’s body (Ephesians 5:30).
2 Corinthians 1:21 - I have been established in Christ and anointed by God.
2 Corinthians 2:14 - He always leads me in His triumph in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:14,15 - Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - I am a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:18,19 - I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:21 - I am the righteousness of God in Christ.
Galatians 2:4 - I have liberty in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life.
Galatians 3:26,28 - I am a child of God and one in Christ.
Galatians 4:6,7 - I am a child of God and an heir through God.
Ephesians 1:1 - I am a saint (1 Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).
Ephesians 1:3 - I am blessed with every spiritual blessing.
Ephesians 1:4 - I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him.
Ephesians 1:5 – I have been adopted as God’s Child.
Ephesians 1:7,8 - I have been redeemed and forgiven, and am a recipient of His lavish grace.
Ephesians 2:5 - I have been made alive together with Christ.
Ephesians 2:6 - I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven.
Ephesians 2:10 - I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do His work that He planned beforehand that I should do.
Ephesians 2:13 - I have been brought near to God.
Ephesians 2:18 - I have direct access to God through the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19 - I am a fellow citizen with the saints and a member of God’s household.
Ephesians 3:6 - I am a fellow heir, a fellow member of the body, and a fellow partaker of the promise in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 3:12 - I may approach God with boldness and confidence.
Ephesians 4:24 - I am righteous and holy.
Philippians 3:20 - I am a citizen of heaven.
Philippians 4:7 - His peace guards my heart and my mind.
Philippians 4:19 - God will supply all my needs.
Colossians 1:13 - I have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ.
Colossians 1:14 - I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Colossians 2:13,14).
Colossians 1:27 - Christ Himself is in me.
Colossians 2:7 - I have been firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up and established in Him.
Colossians 2:10 - I have been made complete in Christ.
Colossians 2:12,13 - I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ, and totally forgiven.
Colossians 3:1 - I have been raised with Christ.
Colossians 3:3 - I have died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:4 - Christ is now my life.
Colossians 3:12 - I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (1 Thessalonians 1:4).
1 Thessalonians 5:5 - I am a child of light and not of darkness.
2 Timothy 1:7 - I have been given a spirit of power, love, and discipline.
2 Timothy 1:9 - I have been saved and called (set apart) according to God’s purpose and grace (Titus 3:5).
Hebrews 2:11 - Because I am sanctified and am one with Christ, He is not ashamed to call me His.
Hebrews 3:1 - I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling.
Hebrews 3:14 - I am a partaker of Christ.
Hebrews 4:16 - I may come boldly before the throne of God to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Peter 2:5 - I am one of God’s living stones and am being built up as a spiritual house.
1 Peter 2:9,10 - I am a part of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession.
1 Peter 2:11 - I am an alien and stranger to this world that I temporarily live in.
1 Peter 5:8 - I am an enemy of the devil. He is my adversary.
2 Peter 1:4 - I have been given God’s precious and magnificent promises by which I am a partaker of the divine nature.
1 John 3:1 - God has bestowed a great love on me and called me His child.
1 John 4:15 - God is in me and I am in God.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Baby steps!

For the first time in I-don't-know-how-long, we finished an entire week of plans with only a spelling test and a chapter in a reading book incomplete! Woo hoo!

The end is in sight. I already know that - barring any unforeseen craziness - we should be done the first week of May! Eight, maybe nine, more weeks and we will have completed our second year of curriculum!

Learning will go on over the summer but I'm already gearing up and brainstorming lists for next year's curriculum.

Hard to believe.

A light at the end of the tunnel. *smile*

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Can't teach 'em 'til they're ready

You'd think that as a university trained, state certified secondary teacher that I would know this. I *thought* I knew all I needed to know about kids after graduating with my teaching degree. Parenting was not a big deal. It was simple. All kids must follow the same basic progression or why would everything be organized the way it is. Follow what they taught me and all would be well.

Then, I taught for a while.

And, then, I became pregnant for the first time.

I read the books. I read the research. I prepared. I studied. I asked around. This parenting thing really wasn't that big of a deal.

Then, Flicka arrived.

And, I went reeling. Nothing about this child was standard, by the book, expected, or on time. But, I only had to survive it once because the nice medical team that treated me for infertility assured me that I'd never be pregnant again.

Until, I started throwing up when Flicka was 15 months old.

Seven months later, while I was then reeling from Flicka's ongoing terrible twos, Pojke arrived.

So, a couple years later, we hemmed and hawed about homeschooling. However, we settled on a little country school that we *LOVED* for Flicka's kindergarten and first grade year.

Jump forward two raucous, crazy, insane years and we were starting homeschooling. How hard could it be? I taught 150+ middle schoolers daily for several years. I had a teaching degree. I had been a parent for 8 years. I had this.

And, then I didn't.

How could I not have learned (or, at least, remembered) that kids learn at their own pace, in their own order, and at their own motivation. I still *get* how new information should be "linked" or "hung on" older already-known information for better recall and retention but, while I've seen it in the classroom, I don't see it as often with my own kids.

Most of their acquisition of knowledge makes me feel like I have whiplash.

For example...

...a child that can't spout off their "2 times" facts but sat down and did their 6's, 7's, and 8's

...a kid who can't read their phonics workbook but can read a chapter book

...a child who can't tell you 6 + 9 but could tell you 6 X 9 who can't remember the reading from yesterday but can remember in detail an event in a biography we read a year ago.

...a kid that can't name the planet we were studying this afternoon but can rattle off the entire planetary solar system mnemonic for all 7 (or 8) of them.

...a child that can't print their name legibly but can do it in beautiful cursive. that misspells every 3rd or 4th word while "free writing" but is a month ahead in their spelling text with consistent 100% scores.

...a child that can't tie their own shoes but is learning about the Fibonacci sequence.

...a kid who can't remember to cover their mouth (or to chew with it closed) but wanted to look up "typhoid" and "cholera" after reading about immigration at Ellis Island.

All this can be frustration, infuriating, delightful, and wonderous. It can be the best part of homeschooling...and the worst. This is that leaps-and-bounds thing. And, that two-steps-forward-one-step-back conundrum. But, what it is at its most basic is - a leap of faith.

Having faith that we as a family called to this. Having faith that *I* am called to this as the teacher. Having faith that, with all this hard work, laughing, crying, and fun, it will all turn out just fine.

Monday, February 17, 2014

In My Head

A battle of the mind. It really is.

In the attempt of backing away from my behavior and seeing it from a objective instead of reactive point of view is not pretty. I used to be much better at this.

Some how I've wallowed down to the least common denominator equivalent of reacting. Not sure what precipitated this...the move, the financial stress, the awful and only year in our local public school, the transition to homeschooling. Could be any or all.

But, I had a typically busy couple of days last Wednesday through Saturday: schooling, hosting a homeschooler open gym I started,  Flicka's tumbling class, a momma-night-out photography class I got for Christmas up in Rockford (45 min north of me), teaching the first day of spring semester at our homeschool co-op (45 min SW of me), a Girl Scout cookie booth, Valentine's Day expectations, and Pojke's basketball class.

And, I didn't lose it. I didn't completely freak out. Ya know why?

I lowered expectations for myself.

And, the world didn't come to an end.

So, much of my current stress and suffering is simply in my head. Yes, I deal with anxiety. Yes, I have ADD. But, the majority of all this garbage could be better handled if I (one) took better care of myself and (two) would just lower expectations.

It sounds like a "well duh!" statement but when you are thinking you are managing fine, haven't overscheduled, on top of things but suddenly those things are getting harder and harder to deal with...what's changed?

One's attitude and response.

Lesson learned.

Now, let's see if I can continue to apply it.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A day off

Ocassionally, we take a day off of school in the middle of the week. Sometimes it's that the day has completely overwhelmed us or something suddenly urgent occurs. And, unfortunately, I tend to stress out about the whole thing. Apparently, somewhere in my  disorganized, control-seeking mind, an unplanned day is a waste of a day.

I've taken "days off" of school because I've let other priorities that precedence...groceries, errands, commitments to others. So, days off for the Vikings are hardly days off for me. They've still been packed to the gills with alternative stressors.

My body has been trying to tell me that it is breaking down from all this running at top speed , guns a-blazin' busy. And, I feel awful. 

Without going into much detail, there seems to be something "off" with nearly every system in my body one way or another. Nothing definitive but taken all together? Something is going on. 

I could blow it off as getting older. God knows my 30-something male doctor thinks many of my textbook symptoms of pre-menapause are no big deal. But, in the last 36 hours, there's been a bit of a defining moment where I suddenly panicked.

There really could be something major going on.

So, today, I took a day off. Other than making a small meal and taking the Vikings to two outside activities, I haven't done a darn thing. Other than make a doctor appointment for Monday.

And, ya know what? It was a 98% yell-free day.

I've been reassuring myself that everthing is fine -I just need to work harder, work better, work faster - that I've convinced myself I don't need rest, that nothing is wrong, and that I don't need to take care of myself. I'm fine.

But, I'm not. And, I am gonna take one small step to try to change that.

Monday, February 10, 2014

One day at a time is still too long

I'm gonna have to go hour but hour to ever feel like I'm making any progress.

My ineffectual coping, my weaknesses have become like an addiction that I have to be hyper-vigilant, hyper-conscious about minute to minute and hour to hour.

Our day went wonderfully today...

until it didn't.

Chores. Playing. To-do's. School.

But, then I get stressed. I'm tired of answering questions. I'm tired of their delays. I just need them to MOVE and do what I told them.

That was the beginning of the end. From then on, I'm walking a hair-trigger stress to get stuff done, be places on time, balancing, completing, crossing stuff off, etc.

And the noise! My noise sensitivity starts. I can't think. I can't talk. I can't finish anything with the noise, interruption, distraction. They're just being kids. It's only a question from my hubby but I'm irritated by it all.

School suffers. Relationships suffer. I don't get anything done. And, I feel like a failure.

I'm so far under and beneath the trees that the forest is just a dream I can't quite even picture yet.

And, in the meantime, I'm wasting their precious days at home.

This wasn't what I wanted. This isn't what it was supposed to look like.

But, I don't know how to stop.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I so want to enjoy blessing my kids. Surprising them with little things here and there. But, I never get to.

"Mom, can I have..."

"Mom, can we go..."

"Mom, why can't we..."

"Mom, but I don't wanna..."

"Mom, how come..."

"Mom, do you have..."

"Mom, do we have to..."

I never get the chance to bless them with the little things when they're whining about other littler things. And, it's frustrating. I'm tired of being the "no" mommy instead of the "yes" mommy.

Today was the first time in a *really* long time I was able to do some nice little things for them while out grocery shopping. And, it seemed to make a big difference today. Lots of hugs and "thank you, Momma's."

Why can't it be like this everyday?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In the midst of cabin fever

Today was a rough day.

There's been a lot of them lately. Days where I'm barely hanging on. Having trouble from going postal-level angry at the kids. And, it's been happening too often.

This is not how I wanted it to be.

When I pulled the Vikings out of public school, I optimistically imagined that it would be hard but covered in rainbows and butterflies, I guess. Naive for a state-certified, professionally trained teacher, eh?

The whole momma/teacher balance - which I presumed would be an easy nut to crack -  is WAY outta whack somehow. I spend so much time as an "enforcer" that I don't get much time as a momma anymore.

I figured that the plus of "only" 2-3 hours of school each day would outweigh any resistance, whining, and complaining. Got that one WAY wrong, by the way.

I imagined being done with schoolwork each day before noon and spending long, leisurely afternoons enjoying my kids. Again, got that one wrong.

Planning - which used to be a challenge for me - is now my refuge. I can do it alone. It's about breaking up large chunks of information into small parcels and distributed over school days, weeks, and months.

And, every minute of teaching - what used to be my favorite part of my day - is now just seconds away from mere torture.

I feel like I've "lost" my babies. Confrontation has replaced relationship. And, the teen years are coming on quickly.

This needs to be fixed.

And soon.