Friday, December 21, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I got an oil change this morning. The vehicle I drive has a sensor that tells you when it is time for an oil change... oil life 15%, oil life 5%, oil life -27...that's how low it got. The plan was to bring the car to the local Honda dealership and get all of the recommended maintenance done, but since a free half day to sit at the car place is not really an option at this time of year, and the flashing -27 was stressing me out, I took a short-cut. I pulled into the local quick lube place and was out of there in 7 minutes. I am a big fan of short-cuts. Sometimes that's the only way that things can get done. Lest you think I am a complete loser driving around in a timebomb, the oil life was 5% yesterday morning, the usual daily in town driving brought it down to 0 and then the negative numbers started racking up really fast -3, -4, -10, -11, which brought me to -27 by the time I pulled into the lube place. On my way there I first had to drop off the overdue car payment (not too overdue, don't worry) (and it's not for the vehicle with the -27 oil life so don't worry about that either), and then I hit the library where I paid for my overdue fines with can goods for the needy (a December tradition around here). Are you starting to see a trend here? Jake is currently in the driveway cutting his fingernails, an activity that was way overdue. Jonathan and Madi need to finish up their online PE class this week so we stop getting the automated emails and phone calls about them needing to finish the semester (the actual teacher things they are amazing and is totally fine with their timetable, but the automated overdue notices stress me out like the flashing -27). It is a well known theme among homeschooling moms (and probably all moms) that you can't do everything all the time. Either the house is clean and the kids aren't getting taught, or the meals are super healthy and from scratch and the laundry is overflowing, or you try to some extent to keep up with all of these things and car maintenance, bills, and fingernails are neglected. There are only so many hours in a day, no one can do it all. Every minute of a mom's life is met with decisions, do I vacuum or read the history lesson with my child? Do I cook a healthy dinner or run errands? Do I pay bills or play a game with my son? Some of these decisions and responsibilites have easy short-cuts, like today's oil change. Some are more important. I recommend short-cuts when they apply so there's more time for the really important things of which there is no short-cut.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
According to a recent survey, the average married couple in America has only 30 minutes a week of communication outside of exchanges that take place at the dinner table, and between parent and child is only 14 minutes. I just copied and pasted this from a facebook post from Catholic Heritage Curriculum, I have no idea how true it is, but it seems like a good place to start a blog post. Lately, in our family, we've been talking about how much we talk. It is very common for me to say something like "ok everyone get to work," or "go do your math" or whatever and then two minutes later be like, "Oh Madi did you hear about blah blah blah?" or "Jonathan what time do you need to get to the theatre today?" inevitably these conversation starters will morph into long discussions. I'll eventually end the discussion with, "How come you aren't doing your work?" only to start in a few minutes later with something else. Jonathan is currently on the Civil War both in History and in his English virtual school class (American Literature), almost daily our History discussions will bring up current topics so that we'll go from how split the nation was during that time (brother against brother and all that...cue the song from EPCOT's American Adventure) to how split the country is today, to how people are not necessarily being heartless when they don't understand that a baby really is a baby from the moment of conception, and how we can teach people this, to the fact that I had an ultrasound when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Jonathan and I got to see his heartbeat before you could hear it. This was something I apparently had never told him before and it came out because we were discussing the Civil War. A few posts back I talked about stories and how listening to stories helps students' writing skills. We have now spent a good amount of time discussing this very thing in our family. I am now even more convinced that Jonathan and Madi are both great writers because we talk and listen so much. No, they don't listen so much to things like "clean your room" and "put your laundry away", but truly listening to things like that probably doesn't do much for writing skills anyway. They listen intently however to any family story about the past, or any book read aloud to anyone else in the house, or any book on CD. It has even occured to me today that the Catholic Mass is a great place to hone one's listening skills, especially when you are an active participant like an altar server, choir member, or the guy running the powerpoint. Back to that original quote about how infrequently families interact, I'd venture to say with every school subject that my kids do each day we take at least 14 minutes per subject out of actual book learning to actually discuss something usually completely unrelated to the subject. This adds up and when you combine it with the conversations we have between home and theatre and home and church and theatre and church etc etc, it really adds up. This is good since our dinner interactions very often involve Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer, at least cumulatively we're trying to stay ahead of the average family.