Monday, September 27, 2010

Too busy

We seem to be accomplishing nothing as we have too much to do. Charley is home working on the barn and then there are tomatoes to pick up soon so there will be sauce to do as well. The kids have Latin this afternoon and the evening is full of shopping for clothes for Matthew (he doesn't have any pants which fit him) and some biking equipment for various people. I would like to squeeze in some school work but this is very slow going. Sigh. I don't really use this blog but thought I should for a little bit. Har har............

We got a package from Charley's mom today which the kids had way to much fun with. They of course all wanted something and ultimately got something out of the package. Evan got a baby mobile which will be pretty awesome. We wore out the last one.

Anna was home over the weekend and we had a grand time. I never appreciate my family enough until one returns and I witness how awesome they all are together. Sigh. She went back to IU homesick. Rats. It is sort of nice to missed though. I certainly miss her.

Will attempt to take one day at a time this week and see what we can get done and try to be satisfied with that.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Haven't blogged in awhile

I figure I better write something to make the Cecilia's bday post go away. It has been attracting visitors who seem perhaps odd. Since February we have added another little guy to our family. Evan Jakob Sebastian was born July 16 and is currently charming us and growing. Everyone else in the family has been enjoying him. Besides his arrival, I have played in the ND band, biked several hundred miles in the winter (love that actually), took a trip with the kids, enjoyed Anna being home, and a bunch of other stuff. Exciting times with me!

We are now preparing for Anna to return to school and I am attempting to get my ducks in a row here for school. It will be the year of English as the emphasis - spelling, vocab, grammar, writing. Hopefully we can get bunches done. Erik is hoping to take a class at a local college as well.

There..........I have a new post. Ingrid's bday is coming up next week! 2 years old!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Cecilia's Bday

Cecilia had a very nice day yesterday. I was happy for her as many a birthday has come and gone where she has been sick with something or other and didn't even care it was her birthday. This year, we went to lunch and went shopping for one of the things she asked for, a new folder for her Writing Road to Reading homework to go in. She wanted to go to Texas Roadhouse but they do not serve lunch during the week. THAT was a disappointment but Logan's is right down the road and they serve yummy rolls too which was what she was mainly concerned about anyway. Peanuts there too. She ordered a hamburger and fries from the kiddie menu and surprisingly ate everything. She even had one of those little desert buckets.

My parents came over in the afternoon and she enjoyed that of course. They got her a scrap book to put all the pictures in that they have given her in cards over the years and Cecilia got right to work putting them in. We are going to pick out some pictures from the computer to get printed so she can add to it. I took her little notebook she received and wrote people's address in it for her to be able to send cards to. I think I will pick her up some stamps too so she can take care of the whole process without waiting for her lame mother to remember to get the stuff for her.

She had a nice evening too visiting with some friends and having some more cake and ice cream with them. I think she had a good day and today she is having a few more friends over in the afternoon. It is going to be busy around here today. The boys are going to a birthday celebration this afternoon and evening too so Cecilia will have the whole place to herself.....almost.

I better go get ready myself as we need an early start this morning.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

For the Record

Yes. I did go with Matthew to an information night for a local High School. I heard and considered everything they said and as I think I said before what they offer is exactly what I am already doing. It is expensive. It is more money then I can justify putting forth to do exactly what I am already doing. The extra things would be fun for Matthew, including making some new friends, but there is also an expense to that which would be fragmenting our family. If you the reader can not understand that, the phone is open for inquiries or you can trust me on this.

Going to that night helped me to evaluate what needs to change or be improved upon here in our school. We DO have a school here and we are not just pretending. I co-op with my dear friend LaRena, who has the same challenges; small children, only so much of her to go around and then there is the motivation to keep after the schooling without being distracted by the laundry. So we work together. She teaches Latin to both the younger and older groups, spelling and science to the younger kids. She does a thorough and great job with them and I am grateful for that as I would never get to the Latin without her help or Science with the younger set for that matter. I teach Literary Analysis, Chemistry, writing and history to both the older and younger kids. I read the literature which the kids are reading so that we can discuss it together and they write papers accordingly. I would like to step up the pace for the younger group as the time is now so they are ready for their upper level work. All the kids are quite busy keeping up with their work and they work very hard in accomplishing their task. For those struggling with getting to their homework, we work with them to help them along and strive to do better.

We meet for co-op two days a week and the other three are for homework and the classes they have with me at home. Those classes are Math, Grammar, Swedish, and piano. The kids are BUSY! This is what we do every week. The challenge is keeping up but keep up we do to the best of our ability and considering how well Anna is doing at Indiana University in very challenging course work, I don't think I am doing too badly for my kids. Her grades first semester were great. She must not have done to shabbily by my assistance in her high school work.

Financial Aid............this school offers it but I seriously doubt they would offer any to us. Our house is paid off, we have investments, and we have only one other student in school paying any tuition. Ummmm......doubt that would bode well with the school no matter how many kids we have. We will NOT go into debt to pay for something we already do here. I doubt they take into consideration the work it requires me to keep after them all.

Discovery: My Saturdays are needed to plan and take care of errands etc to keep me away from errand land during the week. The more I can be home and chase after the house responsibilities and the planning the better. I also can use that time to try to keep up with the reading for my classes. I don't think I am doing too badly in that department considering everything else.

So.............with the mention of looking into a High School for Matthew. Sure. The school is a great school and in a dream world they might attend but the cons far outweigh the pros and it is Charley and my decision as to whether we go that route anyway. No one should get too excited about how 'ah, they have finally seen the light.' I don't continue to homeschool out of pride but more out of how it works and frankly I enjoy working with the kids especially on their history and literature. I'm working on the other kinks and together, meaning Charley and I, we will figure this out.

There.............that's the update................forging ahead now and............if you don't understand what I am talking about I don't think there is any amount of my blogging which will help it make sense. A few books which might help for you the reader to better understand would be "The Well Trained Mind" and "Wisdom and Eloquence". I cannot remember the authors off hand but I believe the first book's author is Bauer and this book is available at most libraries. Read it! It will help you understand what this mom is doing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What we're doing right

Matthew and I visited a local school which I have always had a curiosity about since I had the principal's kids in my own class back in 1987. The good and bad news is that I am already doing most of what they are doing there in my own homeschooling situation. Most of their ideas are also ideas I use. Of course some of what I do at home is possible because I join forces with another mom to get some of these things done. The bad news is that I do not have enough time to give to each child in the line of feed back. I am working on that. The things I fail in are extra things like drama, art, and music theory. But............I personally kind of feel like I am not doing to shabby of a job despite the pressures on my time and the competing for my attention as I am only one person............I think that is obvious and I might have mentioned that before.

So................I'm not sure where that visit will lead but I'm thinking it still will not lead to Matthew attending as there are definitely financial restraints and most of dear Matthew's problem is actually completing his homework to a deadline. Sigh. Deadlines are his biggest struggle and I suppose they are mine too as it is hard to enforce them with kids who are talented at avoiding such things. If I could somehow straighten that portion of my homeschooling life out for more accountability then............I happier with how things are going here.

Anna did well and is doing well despite my neglect so there is some encouragement there. Deadlines were not exactly her thing either. Hmmmm.........but......she is succeeding in college and is adjusting fairly well so that should encourage me not freak me out. Sorry........Matthew is a boy and I am a little more freaked out about properly preparing him for whatever he decides to pursue. Since accountability is his greatest weakness, going to a school would probably have some effect on him or............he could decide to figure out his schedule and do better. We can't afford this place anyway. He would most likely love it but I would miss being able to be a part of this portion of his life. In other words the mom is leaning towards doubting it will work but for kicks and giggles he could apply.

Theologically speaking I would definitely have to pick more than a few people's brains on the wisdom of sending him there as I had a few red flags but am not sure what is unreasonable to expect from a 14 year old to be able to handle. I personally think 14 is too young to handle those types of discussions but I could be wrong could depend on the kid.

There is nothing for us to lose in applying so we may go ahead and do that. We shall see. It was interesting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Seasons of Life

I personally love the whole understanding of vocation. I'm a mom and a wife......pretty obvious. I'm not just a mom and a wife. I am a teacher in a one room school house. I am almost primarily that. On the side I am a chef and a house cleaner/laundress. I'm a home manager. In my spare time I pay the bills, guidance counselor, gardener, food preserver, and a chauffeur. Oh yes, grocery shopper I am as well. I don't wear any special clothing which tells the world what I do (OK..........maternity clothes sometimes but they don't tell the whole tale).

If I were to give a presentation on homeschooling today probably my biggest emphasis would be that this task of homeschool is frankly a little nutty. I am sure the above list is not even complete. Homeschooling this age range is not for the faint of heart. And............there is one key player that will help keep the wife out of the looney bin. THE DAD. The dad here has been more helpful as of late and I guess it was thinking about a few brief comments to the children in support of the mom that sort of lit a light bulb in my head. Mom's doing this insanity called homeschooling, which has the potential huge benefit to said children, need support from THE DAD. They don't just need support, they need the kind of support which encourages the wife in do something alone and different than cooking after a day of riding herd on all the kiddos. I guess it would otherwise be known as stepping up to the parental plate. I have been amused by comments made even by the resident dad, that the dad might express surprise that the baby might cry or fuss or the the general noise gets on their nerves. HA! Really???? We moms of course roll our eyes a little at those comments. If it bothers the dad for a short time, is it possible the moms could use some quiet refreshment from time to time which may even include getting away for lunch with a friend, going to events that hold interest to them such as my new endeavor of playing in the band with no guilty statements attached???? Should the mom feel guilty about having interests of their own??? Should I feel bad about asking the dad to be around and help a little more? Frankly if there is not more dad help, this homeschooling for the long run with lots of ages is pretty much asking more than is humanly possible without falling into habits of irritability, depression, fatigue, crankiness at others, losing time to enjoy the kids during the evening and not fall into the roll of homework chaser. Or...........looking at the enjoying the kids aspect...............I would like to enjoy my kids and not just be their task master. That is probably why I do try to take individual kids to do various things alone as that is when I enjoy the most.

I commend those dads who are involved. The dads pretty much have to be. If they can't teach then they sure better know that their wives need help. I don't know if I can properly explain how 15 years of year and year out homeschooling, facing the challenges, trying to be conscientious and give the kids the quality of education that they should have is............intense. That word says it all. Intense. The moms who seem the sanest to me are the ones who the dad is involved. Involvement does not have to be teaching, but assuming that the mom is just OK is not OK. We put up a great front I think.

This may seem like whining to some. I don't think it really is . I think it's reflecting on the high expectations laid before a mom to homeschool their kids and expect them to just be strong for everyone and take care of everyone without remembering the mom is human, needs to rest too and be refreshed (some more than others as every one's tolerance differs), and for the rest of the world to perhaps think about that some as well. We can't read each others minds. I am not really speaking to pat myself on the back, but I personally feel combining homeschooling, having more than the 2.1 children, taking the kids through all the rest of normal parenting i.e. potty training, physical care - wiping noses, feeding, and then there is...............paying attention to the dad person/husband.............there is a whole different set of responsibility and role of vocation - LOL!

So there dads. If you are reading this and you homeschool, don't forget to help your wife, the mom of all those God given blessings. Help your wife enjoy them by taking off some of the heat. It is a season of life for the dads too. It is not just a season of life for the moms as I have heard some say resolutely about their roles as moms with a bunch of little kids, it is the dad's season of life too. Sacrifices of not having as much time to do what the dad wants to do might have to be made to help the situation as a whole. Perhaps this might tick some people off but I feel pretty strongly that this is VERY true. The dad here has been helping more in the parental role as of late which is what made me realize the importance of this whole subject to begin with. I APPRECIATE IT AND NEED IT!!!!

Season of life.............

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love my Literature program

I have been having loads of fun (on the perky side of life) reading all different sorts of literature with the young people in our coop. It has sort of been a joint adventure in some ways but frankly I wish someone had done this with me in High School so I would have been better prepared to handle my college writing. James Stobaugh wrote "Skills for Literary Analysis" for Junior and Senior High School students. It is well written. He systematically goes through literary terms and helps the student use those terms in evaluating literature. They are not really simplistic questions and their papers are getting better and better. I wish I had more time to spend with them on it.

It would be great for a Lutheran perhaps to write a similar program but the differences in perspective have been helpful in discussions too and has prepared them for writing about topics that are not necessarily coming from a familiar source i.e. their pastors. I love how they pick up on the differences in outlook immediately and we sort of decide together which questions to can and which to tackle. It will be very interesting to me how they do in the long haul. They are supposed to be working on a research paper so will have to get them going on that soon and watch their reading load in all areas to see if they can even pull it off.

I believe next year is British Literature. It might be fun to do some of them together as a youth group or congregation and do that in addition to our craft day. Older people could chose to do the papers or.............not. My brain needs this myself. It's been fun. We shall see how much reading I can get done between now and then and whether some adults in the congregation would like tackle particular books if they are more familiar with them and can lead healthy discussions on them. Stay tuned.

Knew that would happen

Any frustration I might express about longing for some sort of refreshment was not so surprisingly met with "Well, what do you expect with all those kids?" See~ I should not look forward to refreshment or long for it since I've "chosen" to have all these kids. Very interesting. Those who 'choose' to have one or two have earned their right to refreshment since they don't have so many kids. They must have been smart. I'm not at all saying what others should or shouldn't do but it sure is interesting to me that I should not have feelings in this regard because of of my number of children. Hmmmm.........that sort of feeling to me goes right along with people's feelings of what I owe them in the line of communication. It is the same as other people deciding for me what I should and should not be doing. I suppose I should NOT feel any amount of burn out or fatigue, I should just be constantly delighted and happy. Hmmm.............hope that works for other people and I doubt I am making much sense to some. It is not just a 'poor me'. It's reality that I can feel overwhelmed and tired and why am I not allowed to long for some time to just visit with a bunch of people I only hear from via the internet or to just sit and listen to some great talks that interest me. Really Karin, you should just be happier and more content. I will work on that folks. Sorry if I have shocked or offended any of you. Sigh. I WILL look forward to band next week and I do hope to have some weekends with no obligations coming up so I can address the chaos and perhaps find time to just read a book or visit with a friend quietly with no expectations from me. Some women are just much more perky than I am and better at just being home with all their little kiddos. I sometimes just enjoy quiet and a laugh or two to lighten the atmosphere.