Friday, April 30, 2010

We've been so busy lately, and I still haven't gotten in the habit of writing things down on a calendar or planner, so I often feel like this...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Homeschooling and preparation for life (and more)

There are different categories of what we need to learn. Those things we really need to learn for life and those things that we need to learn as sort of a "check off the list" to get on with life. Generally speaking I think different people put varying things in the two categories. Sometimes there's a lot of overlap, sometimes not. I was thinking about this today as I dropped Jonathan and a friend off to play 9 holes of golf. While he is playing golf, his Algebra and Science curriculums will be left undone. In his real world adult life (which seems to be getting closer and closer everyday), he will most likely spend a lot more time playing golf than doing Algebra. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "why do I need to use this, will I ever use it?" kinds of people. I think all learning is important, Algebra is good for brain development etc...etc.. and by golly that book will eventually get done! I'm just saying, I've been doing a lot of stressing lately over our not being home and not getting "stuff" done. The thing is though, we are getting tremendous amounts of "stuff" done, just not the check off the list things. While he is playing golf, he will need to interact with various people on the course and in the club house. He needed to remember to bring money, a hat, and a water bottle. He is to call me to come get them when they are ready. If they choose to eat something there, they each have their own money, and lunch will be at their discretion. If Jonathan wants to save money (likely), he may wait and eat at home. These are real life things. He is more than capable of handling this sort of thing. This is the way I've been educating him all along. Yesterday Madi and I had an appointment an hour away and weren't necessarily going to be back when the two year old we babysit for was going to get dropped off. The mom was aware of this and Jonathan was prepared to be the babysitter until we got back, he was already home with Jake. Yesterday afternoon I dropped Jonathan off at the gym after babysitting and his volunteering at Homeschool PE and before his tech work at Theatre and our having friends over for dinner. Keeping yourself healthy, helping friends, yard work, keeping commitments, praying for the sick, visiting with friends and relatives from out of town. THIS is real life! We're doing it! My kids are basically living the same life as I am (albeit with a slightly different perspective), and I think I'm a relatively productive member of society, so then doesn't it follow that they are prepared to be productive members as well? In a lot of ways they are already contributing (often more than I am). This is why I place much more value in commitments that involve other people than those that don't. In bookclub, we show up and we've read the book! In Theatre, the kids are there, lines are memorized, sets are put up and taken down, Jonathan "works" there! Jonathan is a helper at PE and AWANA these are jobs too. He has jobs at church and home as well. When my kids have committed to write an article for a magaize for kids by gets done (and a deadline is looming large right now!) So the curriculum books might sit for another day, in the meantime "LIFE" is being lived.

This would seem like a good place to end this post, but there's more. When I was pregnant with Jake someone asked me what Jonathan had been "studying" lately (he had just turned 7). I made a comment about Jonathan and Madi getting ready to be present at the birth of the new baby. "That's not in the second grade curriculum," was the person's sincere reply. I think far too many people are too bogged down by the check off the list things and are letting life just pass them by.

Jonathan will be Confirmed in the Catholic Church on Saturday evening. For some interesting articles about Confirmation you can go here or here. One way to understand Confirmation is that it is "the occasion when young people baptized as infants put their "personal signature" on their parents' decision". This is a very important step and Jonathan's now taking for his own, one of the most important things we have given him.

Are you spending too much time trying to check things off your list? Are the things that are occupying your focus going to really matter next week? next year? in eternity? While I was composing this blog post about getting stuff done/ not getting stuff done...what's important/ what's not...I was hit over the head twice this morning with the truth of this whole continuum. "Check off the list things" are on the bottom, the life that we are living is in the middle, Eternal Life has to be at the top.

This person says it better than I ever could.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quick Takes

1. I'm still feeling way behind on everything! Today turned out to be an unexpected day at home and instead of catching up on schoolwork, I decided we should tear apart the loft and rearrange it. I'm in the mode of having less stuff and I generally want things done the minute I think of them. Now I'm sneezing from all of the dust, but it is a much needed job (almost) done! In the process, Jonathan and Madi filed a plethora of schoolwork so that should count for something!

2. Jake has been working on Alice in Wonderland all day. In the real play he is a card and a lobster, but he's working on "his" play (the one he will direct). He is casting himself as Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum (maybe both), the white rabbit, the caterpillar and I think a few more people. He's read through the entire script at least twice (so again...that should count for SOMETHING!)

3. In addition to always working on his own plays, Jake has grand plans for soccer in our backyard. He had a few friends over to play the other day, and now he's really charged up to form his own soccer league. He's got some friends' names in a hat and he's practicing picking names out to see who will be on what team. He wrote all the names and cut out the slips of paper himself (again...something!)

4. Mike is out of town again this week. I really hate that! When he comes home on Thursday evening he'll be on the same flight as his mother. She is coming down for Jonathan's Confirmation which is Saturday night! He's really growing up now!!

5. Am I the only one who can't stand the stop sign that is in the Target parking lot when you're coming from Chick fil a? I don't understand it, it is after the street and I'm never sure where I'm supposed to stop. This has been bothering me for years and yet I've never mentioned it, nor have I ever heard anyone else talk about it.

6. Last night was our last CCD class. Once again my own daughter was the only one to give me a gift. She made me a beaded hairclip when I thought she was cleaning her room. Many of you will remember my whiney post about no presents at Christmas. Seriously, I didn't teach the class for recognition or for presents, but I always give teachers cards and gifts at Christmas and the end of the year and I thought that was a pretty common procedure.

7. Yesterday was the first day that I didn't go to the gym in over two weeks. A couple of days I went twice. Jonathan is really into it, often getting up at 5:30 to go with Mike, a lot of days he goes twice and once went three times in one day! I am definitely hungrier since starting to workout regularly. I'm not really thinking I'll lose weight quickly (or at all). My flab is pretty light and I'm planning on turning some of it into muscle which is heavier. I am looking forward to my pants being more comfortable.

Go to conversiondiary for more quick takes and some other really good posts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sock Hop

Not sure where I am going with this...

...the kids are all asleep and Mike is on a business trip, so I currently have the time (that I don't seem to have enough of lately) to update. The problem is my thoughts are all jumbled and I have no idea where I'm going with this. I was considering a daybook style post, but since I haven't copied and pasted any prompts, I guess I'm just going to "stream of consciousness" the whole thing...

One of the biggest things on my mind these days is trying to figure out how to slow down, do less, lower my expectations, etc... I've been brainstorming about this, but really have no idea where to start. I just know it needs to happen one way or another. I got into a car accident on Friday. It wasn't a terrible one (although it completely stressed me out!). I've never been the driver in a car accident before (I have hit a few cars {mostly our own} backing out of the driveway, but never going forward and on a real road). The accident was my fault. Not just because I was the driver in the back doing the hitting, but because as usual my mind was a million places at once. So far this "need to slow down" thing has only added to my stress (you know beating myself up, trying to figure out how to slow down). I guess that it is a step in the right direction because you have to want to change before you can actually change, correct?

High school planning is still another biggie in my brain. The fact that Spring Break seems to be never-ending around here (more or less going on week four!) is not helping in that department at all! The thing is, we had no intentions of such a long Spring Break, but life just has a way of getting in the way like that. Birthday parties, car accidents, book clubs, babysitting, visits from friends and relatives, and so much more just keep coming. In the meantime Madi's math book has been MIA for weeks. It's not that we've done no work during this time, it's just that everyday seems to have its own agenda, and the days look nothing like what most would consider school. I know there's still plenty of learning going on, I'm just craving some calmness, and it is nowhere in sight!

Jonathan and Madi got their CAT test results back already. Overall the results were good. We definitely know the area(s) we need to work on, but considering this was their first official test ever, it went really well. Let's just say excessive reading and no real Language Arts curriculum to speak of has resulted in above average vocabulary, reading comprehension, and sentence structure, but has done nothing for their ability to spell and punctuate! In addition to this, Jonathan's knowledge of mathematic concepts is off the charts (not literally, but above average), but he definitely needs to pay careful attention during math computation because he is prone to silly mistakes. I used the term "off the charts" because my mother-in-law once used that term in when telling someone how well her homeschooled grandchildren tested (until two weeks ago they'd never been tested, but since she doesn't have internet access, it can be our little secret!)

The thing is I have high expectations of myself and of my kids (they will most certainly agree with that statement). The fact that this test showed exactly what I'd known all along shows that I really do know my kids well. I don't need someone else to tell me what they know or what they need to know, my goals and desires for them and their future far surpass some random standard. All of this is secondary to the fact that they are excelling in the most important things in life. The things that standardized tests can't categorize.

On a different (but in my mind sort of the same) note. I was immature to a girl in my CCD (Sunday School) class today. I was late getting there because I was not speeding and being very careful to not rear-end anyone on the way (plan on me being late to a lot of places in the future). When I arrived, this one girl's response was an audible groan and "Darn, you're here." I went right into a lecture in a tone usually reserved only for my own kids..."that hurts my feelings, I don't need to come here to teach you, I don't get paid for this I volunteer, blah blah blah". I envisioned in my own mind the conversation I might have later about this one where another adult would say, oh that's just kids being kids. Let me say that I know I what I said was uncalled for, but I'm not used to that 'us versus them' attitude that many kids have about teachers. (This is not to say that my kids don't have an attitude with me sometimes, but that's the child-parent attitude not the student-teacher one.) I just have no patience for the fact that many adults think it is OK for kids to act this way. This to me falls into the same category as "I'm bored". So many people just think, "Oh that's just kids being kids", but I don't tollerate that. My kids know it. Another disclaimer is I'm 99% percent confident two of my kids would never do either of these things (make someone who is volunteering their time to help them feel bad or say that they are bored when they are in your presence)... now the third kid, I'm only about 25% sure of...he's a work in progress!

This post seems to be about a lot of stressors, but the good news is after many years, our family is finally actively involved in the best stress reliever there is...working out! We are hooked! Jonathan went to the gym three times in one day last week (another reason less "bookwork schoolwork" is getting done, but he's well on his way toward a high school PE credit!). I'm sweating more now that I'm working out. It's either that, hot flashes, or the typical Florida climate is returning--maybe all of the above!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Early morning

I am going to attempt to not whine about the lack of comments lately. I mean there never were a lot of comments to begin with, but really...

We joined a local gym and three days in, we are hooked. Mike and Jonathan got up at 5am this morning to go work out. This was supposed to mean I could stay in bed. It didn't. Here I am!

We had a two week spring break, but it is over today! We need to hit the books hard! We also have extra bookclub meetings, extra babysitting, etc etc in the next few weeks, so a lot of this will be done on the run! (but it WILL be done!!)

I found a deer tick on myself when we returned home from camping the other night! UGH!

Jonathan and Madi's youth group is having a 50's dance fundraiser this Saturday. They've not sold many tickets. Sadly it wasn't very well advertised. We are doing our part to sell tickets though, and if you are local, prepare for me to bug you to go! It's $10 a ticket, food and a rootbeer float are included. It is for all ages and dressing "50's" is optional! Please come!

Mike and Jonathan are back so I'm going to go have a spinach smoothie with them. (don't worry we haven't gone completely off the deep end, we bought way too many boxes of Reece's Puffs cereal yesterday-- it was buy one get one!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A few quick takes

...or this could be called "just trying to keep my head above water".

1. I've had intentions of getting on here for days and it just never seems to work out. We got a new/used computer given to us, and the second computer in the loft means that I have even less time to get on the computer than before because the kids are back on the Webkins bandwagon and during any downtime, at least two of them are on Webkins on both computers! We are going camping in a few hours and I know at least one member of my family is wondering why I'm on here and not preparing stuff, but I saw and empty computer and I grabbed it!

2. I am loving American Idol this season! I know almost everyone I know has stopped watching it, but I think this top 9 is collectively the best top nine I've seen (this is our 4th season watching). I am loving everyone of them and would LOVE to go see them on tour! Casey is definitely my favorite! He is to Bob Seger what Arnel Pineda is to Steve Perry!

3. The UCONN women won!! They have won 78 straight games equalling 2 perfect seasons! Apparently the first half last night was anything but perfect, but it all worked out in the end.

4. I only got to see the end of last night's game because last night was also my last Faith Study. I love these women (I mean the Faith Study women, but I do like the UCONN women as well!) and I'm going to miss getting together with them every Tuesday night. As if I didn't already have the best friends I have even more! (and here's a little nod to the two of you that are in both groups of friends:)!

5. Because of the game being on at the same time as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars, I just got to hear who went home last night on Dancing With the Stars (we couldn't record it). I think it was the right choice (Buzz Aldrin). Yesterday at the orthodontist Jonathan and Madi and I read an article about Mike Collins. Do you know who he is? He was the pilot of the Apollo 11 mission. My kids often talk about feeling bad for him because while he was still in the ship, Buzz and Neil Armstrong were walking on the moon. They didn't understand if they'd drawn straws or whay and why did he have to stay on board? it turns out he was the driver that's why! Madi still thinks they could've picked on more person (out of the thousands of applicants) to go with them too and keep him company orbitting the earth while the other two were collecting moon dust etc. Back to Dancing...I am ready for Kate to go home too, but I feel bad for her (I think). Actually I'm not sure if I feel bad for her or not, but it's like she's someone I "used to know".

6. So you see we do have very varied interests, sports, singing and dancing competitions...

7. We joined a gym yesterday! We've not been members of a gym for far too long! It turns out you have to be 12 to use the equipment, so Madi just made it!! AND...Jonathan will be getting high school credit for this!

8. Jonathan and Madi took their first standardized tests yesterday. I posted it on facebook and got very few comments. It seemed to me that it was something that might warrent a comment. Other days I say "it's raining" and dozens of people comment. You just never can tell with facebook!

9. Easter was great! I was a sponsor for someone entering the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. It was an amazing thing to be a part of!

10. Madi's birthday was great, and the "Madi post" will come eventually! I am reading a book that I love this woman's blog is here. I really like her! Here's a funny thing though. This woman has 5 boys and is due any day with her 6th baby. In one part of the book she talks about letting her three oldest kids have friends over on the same day for 2 hours. This is presented as a pretty big deal. I only have 3 kids, but having 8 kids in my house at one time, is not a novelty in the least. Even having 30! This is just another example of how our life is different from the norm, and therefore hard to describe to people. Last week I met a friend from high school at the beach. She was with her husband and son. I was with my three kids and two more. She was asking about Madi's birthday, and I gave the standard reply, "I never counted how many people we invited." My mother, who had also met us at the beach, said that at one point my father counted and came up with 60 kids. The truth is we still didn't invite everybody!!

I have much more to say, but I don't think I can milk this computer thing any longer. We'll be out in nature for a few days, left with only Mike's blackberry for internet contact, so this post will have to be it for a few more days!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!! Alleluia!!


Can you believe Madi's birthday has come and gone without a blog post? The wordy post will have to wait for another time, but here she is for your viewing pleasure!