Category Archives: Homeschooling

Twists and turns on the path of life

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Yeah... what that says!This is the road sign of my life at the moment. Because things have gotten a little upside down recently. It’s okay; just not the way I want it to be.

Two months ago I had to get a full-time job. I don’t want a full-time job; I mean, I had one – wife, mom… I was busy in this job, and I loved it. But, Kiki was tired of school-at-home so we decided to put her in a private Christian school… so she could “experience” “real” school. My full-time job was to pay tuition and gas to get her the 30 minutes each way to school and back. I was grieving, in a way, as this meant I wouldn’t get to participate in her school the way I’d want to – no room-momming, no volunteering, no field trips… because I would be unavailable. Stuck at work.

I’ve never been a “career minded” gal. It’s not that I mind working – I mind doing stuff that I don’t give a crap about. But this was so Kiki could do school, so I put my mind to the task. Then just before school started, the lovely government decided my husband no longer deserved the unemployment he’d been getting – even though he was supposed to have 9 months left. We did two weeks of school before we realized my paycheck had to go to paying bills and there was no possible way we could keep Kiki in the school. I cried for two days – for the loss of the school, the loss of her chance to experience that, for the loss of my freedom, for the fact I would have to work full-time even though the entire reason for doing so was now lost.

One week after we pulled her out of school, we got the letter that the government had been mistaken, and we got several weeks back-pay and his weekly unemployment started back up.

What the crap???

Kiki took it all better than I did. Even in those two weeks, she realized everything I had told her was true – high school is not really something to get excited about. It was not all she had thought it would be. She is also an amazing young lady – she believes beyond a doubt that God has other plans for her – if He made it impossible for her to be at that school then obviously she needs to be somewhere else. Her faith is an inspiration to me, to be honest. I wish I had as much as she.

Of course, I am still stuck in the job. After all, I made a commitment and I don’t feel like I should just up and quit. Besides, before we were just barely scraping by, so this job is a blessing, in a way. My last paycheck (yeah, the entire thing) bought shocks and struts for my car. Most of this last paycheck bought my daughter contacts and a visit to the doctor for a much-belated check up. My next paycheck will buy new tires for my car, since the old ones are pretty much bald. All things we couldn’t have done without my job.

So I try to be thankful. Even thought it’s a stupid and really annoying job. I have remembered what it’s like to live for weekends. I miss my family, as the hours I work make me miss dinner, and my husband is off school-bus-driving before I wake up in the morning, and he goes to bed right after I get home. It’s also weird because although I like most of the people I work with, I have realized I am old enough to be most of their mothers. (No exaggeration – I am actually older than some of their moms. I don’t feel that old.)

My husband hates the fact that I have to work, mostly because he knows how much I love being a stay-at-home-mom. And he wants that for me. He also wants very much to work, but no one will hire him. I know why – his job is to grow our business, and God isn’t going to let him have a job to get in the way of that. I’m convinced of this.

That knowledge doesn’t make him feel better. He feels like a giant loser who no one wants to hire and who can’t provide for his family.

I am praying that this is just a season. Hopefully, a short season. And in the meantime, I try to remember to be thankful for the good things that I have.

And for the occasional mocha.

I think my brain is going to blow up

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Do you ever have a problem that turns into a series of problems? That you see no resolution to? I am having one of those, and my head is becoming tired and dizzy by spinning in circles around the not-to-be-seen solution to my situation.
You see, it’s one of those issues where I need to fix ‘A’ but to do that I need to do ‘B’ but in order to do that I need to do ‘C’ which brings me back to how in the world then can I do ‘A’?!?!

See, Kiki hates online school, but has no desire to go the large public high school. And I hated my large public high school and have no intention of subjecting her to that. Not to mention the whole worldly indoctrination that goes on in our public schools these days. The only  reason we did online this year was so she could have the “proper accreditation” so she could go to a “real school”. (We did a homeschool co-op for 1st – 8th grades). So.

We found  a private, Christian school that we intend on sending her to for – hopefully – the rest of her high school years. They gave us a scholarship of 50% off which is the highest they go, so with that we think we can cover it. Then, we got an unexpected check in the mail that exactly covers the registration fees, so that was cool!

Here’s the problem…  the school is in a tiny town in Outer Slobovia. If we move closer to school, we will be a ridiculously far distance from church (and we don’t just go to church on Sunday – we have small groups and youth group and various other things we like to go to).  Also, in order for us to move out at all, it’s been determined that I need a full time job. Which, A. I hate the thought of. and B. Where? When? How? Do I get a job during school hours, or after school, and how then do I get her to school, and participate in things, and do I work close to home (which will be Where??) or do I work close to her school (right! Middle of nowhere, remember)… It’s like everything has to come together and I don’t know where to start! Okay, we started with the school… but now what?

I know God knows. He can see the big picture where I can’t. But I wish He’d let me in on it, because the stress is sending me over the edge.

Not to mention the stress I am feeling from Kiki’s upcoming birthday… but that’s a post for another day.

Avengers, Shawarma, life. It’s Sunday.

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Just so no one thinks I’ve died, I am going to post a quick note on here before I crawl back to bed. (Don’t judge my laziness; I have the flu.) I am all alone, which is absolutely lovely in my opinion. It doesn’t happen nearly often enough for me, a gal who desperately needs her “alone” time but lives with an unemployed husband, schooled-at-home teenager (I can’t really call her “homeschooled” now as she’s doing online public school… but she is here, at home, 24-7…) as well as two retired parents.

So you can understand my insanity.

Anyway, our current obsession (ok, it’s my daughter’s obsession but we’ve bought in) is the “Avengers”.  I like to call it the Virile Hunk of Masculine Fury movie (anyone remember where that line came from? I don’t, but I like it!)  I have a raging mad crush on… just about all those hot guys…. oooooh.  Well, if you’ve seen it, you know about the shawarma. And of course, we had to go have some. Since we don’t live in a highly metropolitan area, (understatement!) I wasn’t even sure we’d be able to find it here, so I set Kiki on the task of finding a place that served it. And she did. And it’s awesome. It’s kind of  like a gyro sort of deal, that’s the best way I can describe it. I adore most middle eastern/mediterranean style food (mine came with hummus and warm pita bread; Alan and Kiki went with a side of fries… weirdies.) The folks working there found it pretty funny that we came in because of the Avengers movie… and we haven’t been the first! We told them it’s great advertising for them, because we hadn’t been aware of their little restaurant before but now will definately be back!

We also got a sampler of their baklava – ohmyfreakingosh these folks know how to make it! I could’ve died happy, right then.

I am really glad this flu doesn’t have me hurking, tho…. because it really started to hit right during the meal, and I’d have been totally bummed to have thrown up the shawarma then never have been able to enjoy middle eastern dining again (you know how your brain does that when you get sick right after a particular food, even if it’s totally unrelated to that food, and not, I dunno, food poisoning or such).

But it’s all fine. Even tho my head is throbbing and my body aches and I really really ought to be in bed sleeping it off, I’d actually be quite happy to be downing some shawarma right this minute. Or hummus. Or baklava…… oooh, I really hope Alan and Kiki don’t go out to eat after church and leave me here all sick and hungry….

How do you find yourself, once you become really, truly lost?

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This mire which is my so-called life has become murkier and deeper as of late. It feels as mucky as the early spring mud which sucked my boots right off my feet when I’d head out to the barn to feed the horses. (Not much is grosser than stepping ankle deep into slimy mud clad only in stockinged feet…) I feel trapped with no obvious way out. Don’t know which direction to head. How to even start.

Maybe some of this has to do with the fact that we have now been living with my parents for over a year and a half. It was supposed to be for about 6 months, maybe less. Worse, I see no immediate end to the situation. No way out. I need a full-time job, and how do you do that and homeschool your kid? Also, how do you get a decent full-time job when you haven’t really worked since your child was born, almost 15 years ago? Not to mention all the taxi-service I do for her…

Then there is my weight. Other than feeling bad about it, I am doing nothing at all. It is my addiction, to dull the pain. It hurts in the long run, but don’t all addictions work that way?

Then there is my child’s education. This past year at our co-op has worn me out. I don’t want to do it any longer. I don’t feel qualified to homeschool her completely on my own (we all know how that went over in Virginia) and I want her to at least somewhat enjoy her high school years, unlike me.

Oh, and my sister.  Ugh with the vegan-ism and the adorable outfits and the “ooh guess what we are getting a trip to Cancun this year” and oh-dear-lord what I wouldn’t give to have my little sister back so we could gripe about it together! No one else truly understands how much I can love my older sister yet hate her at that same time.

My husband is no help at all. He’s not doing anything bad, just so wrapped up in his own issues that I can’t get him to spend a moment at least trying to give me some help on mine.

I finally get why moms run away from home. Honestly, it’s all I can do some days not to just toss some stuff in a bag, hop in my car, and start driving. To – anywhere. If I had more than two nickels to rub together I’d probably go. Chances are pretty good that I’d eventually return… but maybe with my head on a little bit straighter.

I’m about ready to throw in the homeschooling towel

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I am so not kidding.  Kiki and I have been traveling this road since 1st grade, and for the most part it’s been a good experience. 3rd grade was hard; there was more than one day that books sailed thru the air (that was Kiki – I didn’t throw books!!) I did think of throwing her out the window a time or twenty… then I found ‘bribery’ and school days took a big turn for the better!  Yep – I remembered her PreK and Kindergarten teachers had “prize boxes” for good behavior, and I thought “Hey!  Why can’t I make that work for me?!”  hehehe 

Well, now she’s in 8th grade.  Every day is a fight, and I am running out of steam.  She is totally non-self-starting, even though all the other moms and teachers tell me it’s time to make her do it mostly on her own… yeah.  Right.  She’d be getting straight F’s in that case.  I think I’ve written here that we don’t do a “normal” homeschool… we do a co-op where there are teachers who provide the curriculum and lesson plans, who teach it on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we do school at home M-W-F.  That’s part of the problem, really.  When we started this group, it was more loosely organized, and we had most of the flexibility of regular homeschooling, plus the benefits of our kids spending some time in a school with other teachers and other kids.  Over the years, however, the school has morphed many times (we are on our 5th principal in the 8 years time we’ve been there) and now it’s really become “private-school-that-we-have-to-do-3-days-a-week-at-home.”  There is no real flexibility in what we as parents want to do or not do with the curriculum, we have to have pre-planned abscences and are only allowed a certain amount, on and on… you know, regular school stuff, but not really regular homeschool stuff. 

Kiki is also quite unhappy in school this year.  Sure, most of it is bad attitude because her best friends didn’t come back to the school this year and she doesn’t want to be there without them – even tho there are other kids she can hang with, and it’s only 2 days a week –  but on the other hand, she has one girl in particular who picks on her almost every day for how she’s dressed or how her hair is done or whatever pops into her head, I guess.  That isn’t cool.

The outcome is that each and every day we do school here at home, it’s a big fight.  She hates it, she doesn’t get it, she doesn’t want to go to school there…   And on classroom days, she cries and doesn’t want to go…. uhg.  I am so, so done with it all!

The problem is, I don’t really know where to go from here.  Public school?  Not in this lifetime.  Private school?  No way I can afford it. Regular homeschooling?  Yeah, we tried that in Virginia.  We basically didn’t do school for a year, so that won’t work.

 What I really need is a vacation.  All alone.  Somewhere warm and ocean-y.  With alchoholic beverages. For a long, long time.

 

If flute lessons don’t kill me, parenting a teen probably will

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Constant drama.  Lord, how tired of it I am! I am way too old to put up with this silliness, honestly.  A whole lot of it is just  ridiculous, you know?  The stuff that, at 50, you know doesn’t really matter.  However, the latest trauma happened just yesterday, and it’s a little harder to deal with – a school friend asked to hang out with her,  then later told Kiki that her mom said “no”  because the mom (a teacher at the school) doesn’t like her daughter to hang out with mine because mine is too “crazy” and she doesn’t like how her daughter behaves around mine.  Wow.  Wow.  How do you react to that?  Seriously?!  I mean, yeah, Kiki is crazy – in a fun, laughable way.  Yes, she’s goofy and somewhat annoying I suppose, if you’re not into fun.  She’s a great, sweet, reasonably well-behaved kid.  This just blows me away.  Or, not really, when I consider the source.  This mom – this teacher – is someone who seems about as un-fun as they come.  We have been in the same, tiny little school for the whole 8 years, and she still barely acknowledges me when I walk by.  She’s never been Kiki’s teacher (she teaches high school math) but still… my kid has never been in any kind of trouble at the school – or anywhere (besides home!).  I can’t believe she wouldn’t allow her kid to hang with mine.  Could the story have not been taken quite straight? I know kids have a way of misunderstanding – or not really listening – when we talk with them.  This friend of Kiki’s has gotten into a little trouble (very minor) hanging out with other kids at the school after hours… could that have been the intent?  Kiki swears her friend said this, word for word.  She’s upset, of course.  So what do I do?  Do I talk to the mom?  (Please say no.  I am kind of afraid of her!) Do we just let it go?

I really miss the toddler days, when I could fix any problem she had with a band-aid, a needle and thread, or a kiss.  sigh

Ah, dang…. did I blow it again?

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Yeah.  So, I did this fabulous thing.  I’ve really been wanting Kiki to learn to play an instrument.  One of the downsides to homeschooling is that you don’t have the stuff that public schools offer, like band, and choir, and drama… anything you want your kid to learn or be involved in you have to – A) find it & B) pay for it.  We did piano lessons for about 6 months, but her teacher was a college student and moved back to Colorado when school was out, so that was the end of that.  Besides, we were using a ‘borrowed’ piano and had to give it back when we moved.

Recently Kiki decided she’d like to try the flute.  Which I thought was a great idea because “YAY” we could get a free flute!  See, Alan’s brother played the flute in high school, and his mom still has his old flute, which is supposedly a good one – a “step up” from a student flute, all sterling silver, etc.  It came in the mail today, and we were soooo excited!  I have already contacted a teacher, asked my mom if she’d pay half the lesson costs, etc.  Awesome, right?  Well, maybe not so much. 

Here’s the problem. This flute is like, what, 35 years old?  So, it’s going to need some refurbishing, 0r whatever it is they do to flutes.  I have no clue – in fact, when I called the music shop (recommended by the teacher) to ask about getting it ‘up to snuff’ I couldn’t even answer his questions because I don’t know jack-diddly-squat about flutes.  Or music.  Or doing smart stuff.  Apparently. 

 I did a little research on the internet (after the fact, of course!) and found out that it can cost between $200.00 and $600.00 to get a flute all… I dunno,“whatever-ed”.  Not such a “free” flute.  Of course, the flute itself is supposedly worth more that that… but, I am poor which was the whole “yay” part of that free-flute-deal.

Sigh.  I am taking it in to let the repair guys see it tomorrow.  I’ll let you know if flute lessons are really going to happen or if I’m gonna have to get a second job first!