Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2010

Not-Back-To School

It has started. My facebook friends who are teachers are posting that their kids arrive exactly a week from today which starts a flurry of replies about when kids go back. Some in a month, others in three weeks. Some parents are happy, others are sad. I was always the sad one. I would go through summer detox every September. My girls would go into the school building and I would walk myself home unable to fill the very lonely six and a half hours. By October the worst of it would be over and I would only then be able to make productive use of this time.I was the parent that was incensed when the Board of Ed lengthened the school day for this upcoming school year. I was the parent who recoiled in horror every time I heard a parent on the playground wish the school day lasted until 5 so they could go back to work full time. I was the parent who looked into never sending my daughter to school but chose to anyway.I am now the parent who does not have to go through summer detox! …

Responsibility Pledge

I’m implementing another change to our family: the introduction of responsibilities. When the girls were in school, I used the time to do all my errands and housework. You don’t need me to list out what those responsibilities are, we all have them, and they are numerous. I don’t have much help with them. Not a complaint, just a fact. With a husband gone 15 hours out of the 24, I can’t expect any help during the week. There are however, two other able bodied persons that reside in this house with me. Yesterday we had a talk about responsibilities when it comes to cohabitation. Now that both girls are being homeschooled, I can no longer be expected to teach, maintain a clean home, cook healthy meals, run the household, and provide for social enrichment. Something has to give. Enter the responsibility pledge. I pledge to do the above for my children and then in turn pledge to give me as much help as they are capable of.Our first change is to increase independence. No longer …

Diggin Pandora

I thought this was just jewelry. Everyone I know has a Pandora bracelet with charms dangling representing all our life moments. I can tell you a story about every one of my charms, from the heart I bought myself the day my Grandmother died, to the sister charm my brother and his wife gave me for my birthday. I am not referring to this Pandora. I had no idea there was a world of internet radio out there playing all this time while I was completely ignorant to it. All you do is type in your favorite artist ( for me that is Coldplay) and then it customizes a playlist of songs that are similar in style. So now I can sit here, browse my blogs while listening to Chris Martin sing just to me. Oh I wonder what song will be next!How does this station know me so well? Kinda scary in fact. So far I have listened to Over the Rainbow by Israel Ka’Anoi and Snow Patrol’s Run. Last song was Somewhere Only We Know by Keane. These three songs will be purchased and put on my ipod. Oh! Now…

A Family Under Construction

My blog is really just my online journal. I have stacks of journals that I have kept over the years....some on paper, others on my computer. They capture who I was at different stages of my life. One of my favorite journals is the one I kept starting the day I quit teaching. It was a hard year for me, adjusting to being a full time mother, facing my fear of losing my identity by walking away from my career, coping with loneliness and feelings of isolation, and finally discovering joy as a caregiver and nurturer. Someday I will share this journal with my daughters when they are thinking of becoming mothers. It is an honest look at the joys, the frustrations, and the social expectations of “having it all”... and how hard that can sometimes be.This journal, my blog, is another favorite. This period of my life feels much like the one I just mentioned. It is a time of growth, discovery and fulfillment. The only difference is I chose to share this with strangers. Only the thing i…

10 Ways it is Working

Since beginning to homeschool almost 8 months ago, our family has grown in so many ways. We have made more changes in this short amount of time then at any other period in our family’s 13 years. Our changes are working. relaxing our routine - homeschooling requires flexibility. Just because we start our lessons at 9am every day with a checklist laid out in front of me, does not mean that every thing on that checklist will get done. Since we are not locked into a school-like structure, we can spend two hours on history if we choose or if it is a bad day, break out the art supplies and lift everyone’s spirits. This has also extended to relaxing my super strict adherence to a 8:00 bedtime. Now it is 8:30ish, with Lilah staying up until at least 9:00pm writing or reading or crafting in the learning room. It is working.rediscovering the joy in my children - how I despised sending my children elsewhere for eight hours where they would spend the best part of their day with other adult…

A fine balance

It is always a fine balance between wanting to help your child achieve their dreams and knowing when to back off and let go. Yesterday I did both. Grace has been attending a basketball camp every morning this week. She has worked with this coach in the past. He has previous experience in the NBA, has coached college level basketball and now works teaching children. I say teaching because this is not a camp where the focus is on competitive games. She is not on a team and rarely plays games at this camp. This is about skill building with a hefty dose of self-esteem building thrown in for extra measure. She has a goal of playing on a high school team. In order to achieve this, she must learn, develop, and mature. Yesterday she woke up to stiff muscles, sore joints and a weary spirit. She really did not want to go. I reminded her of her goal. I told her my brother, who played college basketball, used to complain the same way. When his body would give out, he would soak in my…

Ying/Yang

The storms that brought clouds like this:

Created beauty like this:

What's the big deal Mommy????

“What’s the big deal Mommy.....why are you taking my picture?” Call me a dork but I think your child’s first visit to a college library is a big deal. Lilah did in fact refer to me as a dork, but that is okay with me.Grace was off to basketball camp at a local high school. Unlike the previous workshops she has attended with this coach, this camp is not open to parents. Bleachers were not pulled out and the sign in sheet was located in the lobby of the gymnasium. She was escorted to the locker room to put her belongings and I was told when to pick her up. Ugh. My girls are growing up. Armed with the laptop, cursive writing workbook and Lilah’s insect fact book, we set off for the SHU library. To alleviate her fears of being allowed into a college “with no reason” I explained that allumni are always welcome back to their universities and we are welcome to use their resources. She picked her table and spread out her material. Exhausting what she brought, she asked me to look up…

Heartache Headed Our Way

I am going to get my heart broken. Not only will my heart break, two little hearts will be joining me. You see, today we found a little dog and took her in while we search for her owners. We love her already.As we were pulling into our driveway we noticed a tiny cream and tan shih-tzu sniffing around the telephone pole. We jumped out of the car and she came trotting over to say hello. There was no one accompanying her, no one walking in the neighborhood calling her name, no cars driving by searching for a lost dog. She seemed friendly enough, all ten pounds of her, so we brought her into our kenneled area while I called the number on her tag. The number is not in service. This dog is cared for. I don’t think someone dumped her, or is not worrying tonight about her whereabouts. She is well groomed. She is healthy. She is clean. She has not been on her own for long. Since the animal hospital that has a record of her rabies vaccination was closed, I called the police. I to…

You Can't Water a Garden with a Can of Paint

I have taken advantage of this rainy, dreary, day allowing my children rot their brains watching tv, while I concentrated on getting some things done. Mostly I have been thinking of what I have to do. Regarding their learning I have to: place my orders for their materialhave Grace take the Singapore Placement Test so I can purchase the appropriate level for her.complete the learning lounge by removing the rest of Lilah’s things and putting up some educational material like large graph paper, quotes to think about and organize the bookshelf by adding labels.finalize their schedule.The dreaded schedule. I have been making myself a little nuts over the schedule. To help keep things in balance I made a web for each girl with everything they are doing or want to do. There is no way to keep our sanity and do all they want to do. I never want to become a family that sacrifices our family for activities. This was the reason Grace quit skating. Her schedule for training was keeping her a…

Make It Work

Do you ever look at your children and wonder how this amazing, creative soul came from you? As I sat and watched Grace have her her first private flute lesson today, I marveled at how good she is. Yes, I am prejudiced because she is my child, but she is truly talented. The instructor would like to take her on as a student and suggested she join an ensemble of children age 10-12. She corrected some bad habits Grace has, like constantly shifting her feet while she plays, and holding her thumb in the wrong position. She recommended some repair work be done to her flute to increase the quality of the sound. We left with a book to purchase, her number to schedule another lesson, and a sense of pride in Grace’s accomplishments. Grace looked at me and told me this is her school. This is where she wants to learn. I truly believe this teacher can take Grace’s talent and mold her into a great flutist. I don’t know how we are going to fund this. I had visions of dollar signs dancing i…

Weekend Wrap Up

Our girls are growing up right before our very eyes. When the girls were little people would tell me to appreciate the moments and honestly, I did not feel the moments were flying by. Now is a different story. There are times I wish I could stop the clock and just have this moment last a little longer. This age is so much fun. Busy, but fun! Friday was Lilah’s visiting day at her baking camp. We were served homemade macaroni and cheese made with tri-color pasta, warm salad with goat cheese and for dessert, cheesecake, bread pudding and coconut pineapple cake. Yum! She loved it so much she is considering taking a weekly class this fall which will focus on cooking and taping their class as if they were performing a show on Food Network. We have to make this choice soon before the spots are filled.
A good friend had her first sleepover at our house. They swam, put on a fashion show, built a blanket fort, stayed up way late, swam some more, played board games, and made beautiful…

Flat Stanley

Last month we participated in a homeschool pen pal project. A family from Texas mailed us their Flat Stanley. I asked Lilah where we should take him and without hesitation she said to our garden! So off we went. Our garden is a plot in a larger community garden. We surrounded our plot with American Flags. It is beautiful. Our family is patriotic. My Grandfather is a WWII vet. My Uncle served in the Navy. My cousin, a Vietnam Vet. Next month my brother is set to lead a platoon of young Marines to war. My family knows that freedom is not free.

Check out other L.E.N.S Challenge Entries at Home Is Where You Start From

Back to School Shopping

Target is beginning to display back to school supplies. When Greg told me this, I could foresee two very unhappy girls. While the end of summer has been distressing, the opportunity to buy new, pointy crayons, to sharpen pencils for the very first time, to pick out the coolest notebook and folder ever and to stock up on rulers, pens and fat pink erasers is something we look forward to every year. Equipped with two supply lists, we used to hit Target, Staples and Walmart looking for what the teacher has requested. Why should this year be any different? I am working on a supply list which I will mail home to the girls as a surprise. It will include our supplies for writing (new rulers, pencils, pens), science (I will look ahead at the next three months worth of labs), art (no more RoseArt crayons.....we are going to get Prismacolor markers, charcoal pencils and real clay), folders for when we are out and about, and new lunchboxes for Audubon days and car trips. I am so excited to…

Blogs

I love blogs. They give me a little glimpse into the daily goings on of other homeschool families. Back when I was “just a mom” I used to drop my girls off at school and hang out on the corner with the other moms who had some time to kill before rushing off to part time jobs, housework, or errands. We would talk about teachers, homework assignments, extra curricular activites. It was how I stayed connected, not only to my friends but to the school community. Sometimes I would find out early what classes were being offered after school or through the town rec department. Other times we would chat about playground incidents, which teacher was retiring and who our child’s new best friend was. Now that I am a homeschooling mom, I have lost that connection to the larger school community. I rely on word of mouth from friends, yahoo groups and facebook pages to stay connected to new material, classes and learning opportunities.Enter the blog. I connect with others who share my teach…

Growing

I can’t fit into my favorite Paige jeans. Part of me does not care. The other part cares a whole lot. I have always been the person who puts on weight in the summer and loses it in the fall. Nothing much, a few pounds here, a few pounds there. Nothing a few weeks of calorie monitoring can’t fix. I think I need to put on the jeans to give myself a reality check. Summer. Burgers, pizza, ice cream. Pies, cobblers, s’mores. Guacamole. Oh, how I love guacamole. And chips and salsa and sour cream.....Jeans. Back to the jeans. So I have gained a little weight. I don’t own a scale so I can’t say how much for sure but I am guessing ten pounds. My other favorites, my Seven jeans, still fit, snugly, but I just wore them to the fireworks this weekend. The Paige jeans are not so forgiving. So why have I gained this weight? Is it a good excuse to say that I am happy? I think it is. For the first time in my life I am not overly self-conscious. I am finally starting to feel comfor…

Catching Up

The girls and I have been super busy this week. We have gone marsh mucking looking for critters that hang out in the reeds.....

Made pinkalicious play dough and gave it a squeeze......

In this hot weather we swim 'round the clock......

And stayed up late to watch fireworks down by the dock!






Thoughts on Education.....

I became a teacher fifteen years ago so that someday I would have the confidence to be able to teach my own children at home. Of course I did not know this at the time. I only knew I wanted out of corporate America, having had one bad experience after another at each company I was employed by. At the time I was a mentor with the I Have A Dream Foundation, mentoring a third grade girl who I utterly adored. I thought I would be a good teacher, and I was. Every ounce of my energy, my efforts and my intellect was poured into my classroom. How was I to know that my long held plan to be a working parent would dissolve the moment I thought of placing my six month old daughter in day care? I finished out the school year, nine years ago, and have never really thought of going back into a public school classroom. Not because I lost my love of teaching, but because I felt that I gave the best of myself to other people’s children and have very little of me left to give to my own. Time pa…

Friendship

Do you have a best friend? Growing up I had a few good friends. In elementary school I had friends in my class but my best memories are playing with my friends in the neighborhood. We would ride bikes through the park, plan elaborate water balloon fights, walk, talk, build forts, ice skate and sled in the winter and run through sprinklers in the summer. Some I have reconnected with on Facebook. Our lives have taken us in very different directions, and while I can no longer call us “friends” the pull of our shared memories is still very strong. I went to middle and high school in a different state, having moved for my father’s job. It was hard. Very hard. But kids adjust and I found a new group of friends. The friends I made in middle school became my friends in high school. Again, just a few close relationships. I will never be the person with 400 Facebook friends. I have never felt the need to cultivate that many friendships in my life. The bonds with these friends never…