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school

let the search begin

I know a few of you are aware of our transportation saga, well really my transportation saga, as it only effects me, during the day, when I have four children in my home. Now that we have decided to homeschool, I am effectively house bound. I can, legally, in the state of Florida, fit four children in my Gallant. However, the research on what happens to a child in the front seat during an accident has me extremely wary as to where we go and how we go, no highway for sure. We live in the burbs, with three exits to the highway within a mile of our neighborhood, we take the highway virtually everywhere. So save Publix and a few friends that live out here, we don’t go out. Those friends are probably getting sick of us, and we’ve started to go to Publix so often they know us by name!

We’ve been saving for a van for years, little bit by little bit. But when the homeschool discussions started ramping up again last year we began to save in earnest, cutting everything possible and squeezing blood out of stone for food. With an amazing amount of grace, an unexpected and mostly returned security deposit, and raises for both of us we’ve managed to hit our money goal 4 months sooner than expected. And there was much rejoicing, yay! (Please tell me someone caught the Monty Python reference…)

We have just contacted MATS, an organization that helps find vehicles for individuals with certain jobs (missionaries, mission staff, teachers, church workers, etc.) to help us find a vehicle. I am so grateful to have someone else looking 1) because even though funds are finally available, time is not and 2)they do all the mechanical checks for you to make sure its reliable. I am feeling super better about this process already. Now if they can just fill our impossible wish list, within budget, miracles can happen right?

I’m almost free! Yippie!

Oh and side note. When the four car seats are spread out in the van, I will only have to buckle in one kid, count it one, and she can already do half herself. So excited.

our first offical homeschool day

Today was the day. Our family’s first official day of homeschooling. We have been doing ‘school’ all summer. It’s been mostly math (for all) and reading (for Jena). The kids were convinced homeschool started the day regular school got out. Since I was not previously under that impression, what I mentioned above, was all I had, so we went with it. But today, whoa, today we actually tried to do everything in one day. That was a bit different. I learned a few things, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot more. Here’s the first 5.

1) I was thinking we would start around 9. Today was a tad later, maybe 9:30, ok 10…ish. So shoot me, it was the first day. Isn’t late kinda the point of this whole thing anyway? Lesson learned: Teacher needs to get up earlier. 

2) When I was originally planning my schooling routine I had planned to do the bulk of the academic work for the big two during the little ones’ naptime. Today, even though we started late, I just kept going and ended up with late lunch and cranky kids. Lesson learned: stick to the original plan.

3) Doing Bible, writing, reading, science and math in one day is a lot. I’m super relieved they kicked my butt into starting early. Lesson learned: margin is awesome.

4) It was pretty fun and I actually enjoyed most of it, even with Grant’s breakdown over having to do a gratitude journal. Lesson learned: we made the right choice.

5)I’d forgotten how good it felt to be appropriately challenged (not so much its super stressful and not so little its demotivating). Lesson learned: find that place for the kids too!

I just want to end by saying thank you for all the support you have given since I posted that we had made this life choice. Help has come from everywhere and I am very grateful to have such a supportive community to do this with. Our computer died within minutes (yes literally) of my last post, but a new one has been provided in the last week, many thanks to my in-laws for the laptop and to my amazing multitalented husband who made it workable again. So you’ll be hearing more from me!

cause I don’t have enough to do

So I have announcement, one that I fear may confirm everyone’s suspicions that I am, indeed, crazy. We’ve decided, or rather I’ve decided and used my magical powers of persuasion to show Neil that he should decide too (which he did, I make a convincing case when I believe in something) to home school. Why? Well because I get bored easily and I need a challenge, ha ha ha. No really, I’m beginning to wonder if that isn’t the real reason, though I have an entire page of other more legitimate reasons (part of that convincing case). It really boils down to family lifestyle. Right now we have the availability to not have our family life consist primarily of running from one place to the next and not having our kids see each other near as much as they want to (yes they actually WANT to play together, most of the time). So seize the day! right? Right?

Anyway. For those that are already homeschooling I would REALLY appreciate some pointers.

I know I need to send off a letter of intent, but after that…well there seem to be a lot of options after that. What did you chose and why? What are the differences?

And curriculum pointers please, specifically reading. I am a bit nervous about that one. I learned young enough that I don’t remember a thing about the process, so I’m starting from scratch! But some sort of Bible that would cover all their ages somewhat would be fantastic as well. Anything else you’ve absolutely loved or feel has helped you out in your process, I’m all ears! Advise away, I’m asking for it! Now how often does someone actually ask for advice, seize the day people!

and the beat goes on…

So I was driving to school to pick up Jena and hit something (deductive reasoning tells me it was a trash can. I don’t really know, as I obviously didn’t SEE it). No big deal, right? Another scratch or dent, whatever. Nope.

It took my mirror off. Right next to the window we just got replaced last Tuesday. My poor car is feeling the love. It’s like she knows she’s slated for replacement next year and is attracting incidents out of spite. Ironically, it is not making me want to keep her!

Icing on the pity party cake, as I was walking out of school, a few paces behind the big kids, as usual, I ran into an entire herd of mom’s sternly trying to coral my children. Other than saying  ‘stay there young man!’ and ‘where do you think you are going?’ I’m not entirely sure what they were doing, but I did not stick around and find out. There is no judgment like another mother’s judgement. On any other day I’d like to think it would not have bothered me (which may or may not be true). However, having just in the last 15 mins damaged my car for the second time in less than 2 weeks, knowing I now have more headache and money being spent ahead of me, I was in no mood. With a sorry and a question not really meant to be answered (after some other child outed me as their mother I might add) I followed the children who immediately bolted for the car as soon as they saw me again. In my defense, I intentionally park on the side of the parking lot that requires no crossing of moving cars, control the things you can, judge me if you will.

In other news, we are still plugging away on recovering from the robbery. I do appreciate all those that have asked how we are doing. Here’s the update.

I was making what was supposed to be my last call on Tuesday and discovered we had another fraudulent charge to our account. Looks like they grew a brain and went online and paid someone’s phone bill. And just to make my life a little more difficult, they used Neil’s name (yep it was in the check book too!) so I had to jump through more hoops to get it cleared. So after an entire day on the phone (yippie!) we ended in a better place and a few of the more important customer service reps I talked to were actually helpful. Now I just have to do now is switch the 20 (not an exaggeration) autodrafts and direct deposits to our new account numbers before our grace period runs up. Which will actually consist of 20 recover password and/or username processes on 20 different websites where I may or may not already have an existing account, but where I am certain to not remember either way!

I don’t wan to do it, I don’t want to change all our bills. I don’t want to drop off the car to get fixed. I don’t want to drive with a broken window. I don’t want to spend more money or more time on the phone with insurance companies. I want to put my head on the table and cry myself into the nap I’m not getting today. But since that isn’t an option, I’m going to attempt some perspective.

I am grateful I didn’t hit a person or animal with my car (at least I don’t think I did, as stated, didn’t see what it was). I am grateful Caroline likes most everything I cook even when my kids will not touch it, and she’s currently cleaning up a number of leftovers in the fridge. I am grateful it is a beautiful day and my windows are open and the breeze is blowing around the curtains. I am grateful I got some fun time with my little man while Caroline took an unexpectedly early nap this morning (why I’m not getting a nap, waaahhh, ok I’m done). I am grateful I actually did clean the kitchen this morning, one less thing to stress me out. I am grateful completing this blog will make my list for the day half done, even if watching dr. who was on it. I am grateful sriracha sauce makes everything taste better, even botched up new recipes. I am grateful well fed and rested children sing happily instead of whine and cry. I am grateful my husband loves me even when I do stupid things like knock the mirror off our car. I am grateful it’s only money, we could have real problems.

Thanks for listening, I feel better now.

the inner workings of the scary mind

I’ve been head blogging again! This usually happens when I’ve got too much going on to take the time to share or I’ve got tons to share and have no idea if any of it’s allowable on the internet. Most of these have been the later. Lots has been going on in our family in the job realms, which is an area I try to stay away from if I can. So generally those things get processed on my own, with out my little group therapy, did you all forget that’s really what you are?

Here is where I intended to break my own rule. In fact I wrote the whole post and everything, and deleted it. Let’s just suffice it to say I’m in transition, lots of them, Neil is in transition, huge ones and we just had a kid start school this week. I feel like my life is in a whirlwind. I like the breeze, but it would be nice to know if my house is still standing down there someday soon.

I’m also having a hard time with the move, yes again. You probably didn’t even know I was doing good with it for a while. Unless you just amazingly inferred it due to the lack of whining and complaining about the suburbs in recent posts. There are a number of nice things about them. I still love my 7 minute commute to work, and I still feel we did the right thing moving here when we did. It brought the space we needed for the time we were in. Doesn’t stop me from missing our old home/neighborhood/way of life.

This recent ‘homesickness’ has made me discover I don’t do well without challenges in my life. I feel like everything is too easy right now, the job I’m not going into, our lifestyle, our home, and yet I’m totally stressing out about it all. Our home is gorgeous, spacious, what I’m supposed to want, but it bores me. I want something to improve, to fix, something I can leave my mark on. Of course my first part time paycheck arrives on Friday, hello challenge!

And if you’re reading between the lines, this next line shouldn’t surprise you as much as it surprised me. We are actually considering buying again. I’m still in shock to be honest, but it’s true. We’ll see how far we go with it all, but right now we’re looking at moving another 10-15 minutes out of the suburbs toward the city. We’ll be more straddled between our two worlds, close enough to the burbs to still hang out with friends and commute to work easily. Far enough out of the them to get a dirt cheap condo/town-home and be close to family and my entire sense of identity again. I never wanted to pay two mortgages, but it looks like two mortgages, one insanely high one insanely low could work out much better for us than one mortgage and one rent, both more than I want to pay.I have been praying like crazy since we first talked about it, ’cause if Neil really jumps on this, that whirlwind I mentioned above…not stopping for a year.

This entire posts feels like a walking contradiction (yes it has legs and walks around). I don’t have challenges, but life is in crazy transition. I love my commute, we’re thinking of moving further away. Side note: did I mention it finally dawned on me today that it’s my S.A.D.’s season? I don’t know how many years I’m going to have to go through this before I realize it sooner. I was sitting in the park with the kids today feeling the wonderful breeze from the hurricane and it hit me. This is what my life has been missing the past few months, this is why everything has seemed almost unbearable at times.

Oh fall come soon and fix all the madness.

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