Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Doesn't Happen Very Often Anymore

Things around here have been FULL.

Everything is going surprisingly well, but we are definitely walking the edge of "how busy is too busy?".

Homeschooling, of course, takes a pretty big chunk of my day... and at different times either requires my computer or my actual presence... so... there goes blogging.

I really miss it, and would like to find a way to get the time back in the morning when I usually have the right frame of mind for writing.

Unfortunately, for me, that is also when Kid has theoright frame of mind for math... and she does that on my computer. So that takes precedence. (But I may be really hoping Santa brings her a really cheap computer of her own... if Santa could get over everything having to be a Mac... since Santa cannot afford another Mac...)


The schooling is going EXTREMELY well. I'm super organized and we definitely have a strong "school" day this year, without it being extremely regimented. Which means, I have a schedule with all the days lessons and assignments and we work through them and check them off... the order and the time we do them is flexible. Which is good because 2 days a week Baby has preschool and that requires picking up and dropping off, one day she has dance, one day she has library storytime, one day Kid has Brownies, and one day she has horseback riding, and another day she's gone all day at her electives program. Plus, we seem to have a field trip or special class 2-3 times a month (and this month an extraordinary amount of doctor's visits). Our school day takes about 4 solid hours, sometimes we can get that all done before our afternoon activities (my preference), but other times it has to be worked around we might have a subject or two to finish before dinner. And I'm trying not to be too rigid about the lesson plans... Kid has had a couple of freak-outs during handwriting and journaling, and we've been able to use those as good therapeutic exercises. We're trying to work through the frustration she can have (the OCD perfection drive), take a time-out, speak up about it before it's too late, and walk away.... not lose control scribble so hard all over your work that you rip through the pages and ruin your finished work from last week. So we're working on recognizing the feeling and acting on that, putting the assignment away and coming back to it (today or another day) when she feels she can finish it. Not feeling badly about herself if something is triggering her, just accepting it in a non-judgemental way, setting the work aside and coming back to it later. We've had 3 weeks of handwriting assignments that went perfectly, then this week one letter just pushed her over the edge... I just erased the handwriting lesson plans I had scheduled and we kept working a little (very little) bit at a time on the one hard letter and until 3 days later she'd finished it. I'm trying to teach her that it is OK to say "I can't handle this right now" as long as we don't give up, and keep trying until we can finish it. This is hard work for her (and me), but it is the work we need to do. Some things are harder for her, but they are not impossible. It's been extremely rewarding for her, it has helped remove the guilt and shameful feelings she'd have when she'd ruin a project or feel that something was just too hard for her. She's learning that she has some harder days and that she can still succeed if she works around them... not necessarily through them.

Having said how well things are going, it is no surprise that I am contemplating changing them! We've decided to try and get both kids into a charter school next Fall. I think that will be best for Baby at this point, and it is K-8 so if she gets in Kid will have an in for the next opening at her grade level. (There are not a lot of openings since there is only one class per grade... and it's a lottery) If we get in next Fall I think we'll try it. If it works for both... great. If not, we'll know (and more importantly Kid will know) exactly what we're choosing with the homeschooling, and we'll feel like we have exhausted our free options. If Baby gets in and there are not any spots for Kid, we'll keep homeschooling Kid until one opens up for her (extremely likely in the next couple of years). If neither kid gets in?... shoot... Kid will homeschool next year and I'm not sure what I'll do with Baby. Then we'll just keep applying until we get in.

I think homeschooling is an excellent option, better in many regards, but the bottom line is that Kid really likes school, being around kids, and having an easier time socialzing (her shyness and anxiety can make it very hard for her to make friends when she doesn't see them everyday)... and there is value in that experience. If we can find a school that can work for her academically and provide her with a positive social experience, we're all for it. If not, we'll move forward with homeschooling (which has many positive attributes that school can't provide). At this time we feel we need to exhaust our options before we commit to this as a permanent solution. A small school that Baby & Kid both attend, would be awesome.

Of course, then I'd have to get a job...

But that is part of it too, for us. We aren't living off a ton of income, things are doable, but they take careful planning. The curriculum and extra curriculars we're doing cost us several thousand dollars a year... and the kids are just 4 & 8. I feel they are imperative to round out the homeschooling experience, and would likely only get more expensive as they got older. Mr F is already in his mid-forties and we're not expecting him to make that much more money in the future.... such is the lot of his industry. So, living off one income wasn't ever our long term plan. And it's not a plan I just want to blindly sign up for... it really needs to be a necessity, in order for us to try and swing it.


I'm still working out like a fiend. I keep forgetting at the right week & day to take the progress picture... I'll try to do it next week. I'm starting to get back to food journalling this week... I would like to speed up the weight loss at this point. While I am in much better shape, I'm not dropping pounds the way I'd hoped, through the exercise alone. Time to step it up.


I'm totally back into a stocked pantry & freezer and the meals are mostly planned. I may get back to posting that soon. Feeling really good and in control on that front.


Migraines are back full force. Two this week.


Getting Meek's Cutoff in the mail today from Netflix... SO EXCITED. I mean... SO FREAKING EXCITED.


Organizing the kids activities so that we have no evening activities (except Brownies every two weeks), has made my life so much better. I have time to prepare and sit down to eat a good dinner every night again, and I also have time to workout at night again. It also just makes our family life less stressful, allows Mr F to spend more time with the kids, and overall just feels better. Bedtime is less stressful and rushed, dinner time is less stressful and rushed, and I have time for myself. This is what went wrong last year, and while it makes my days a bit more hectic, it's manageable and being done at 5 is worth it.


Gigs said...

Sounds like you have everything under control! I wish it was at my house...So glad for you that things are falling into place. You've done great by Kid, and your whole family, with the choices you've made/are making. Yay on the working out and meal planning. I'm so jealous. I feel like I'm just getting through each week day by day, I'm not planning ahead for anything really at this point. Just trying to wake up each day with my sanity intact. Boo to the migraines. Did your dr. ever come up with anything for you on that? Causes or solutions? And word on the nighttime activities. At my kids' ages, evening activities really cut into homework time and mess up the nightly routine like no one's business (we also have scouts once a week). That's the night everyone has cereal for dinner! Sometimes that's just the best we can do...Hope all stays well and on track for you. And tell Santa that Kid doesn't necessarily need a Mac. Kev uses an old PC for word processing and internet access, and it's just fine, although I secretly do think it is pretty inferior!

Mrs Furious said...

1st off thanks for commenting! As my posts slow down so do responses, and then I question why I put the time in. So, thank you for taking the time.
And thanks for the compliments.
Rather than meal planning, I've gotten pretty good at getting things prepped in the freezer for making fast meals ready to go. Maybe I'll post about it if anyone is interested. Last week I actually made 12 meals worth of meats and froze them in the same time it would have taken (well one day a little bit more) to prepare what we were eating that day. Now I've got 2 days of pork carnitas, 2 days of meatballs, and 3 meals worth of cooked seasoned ground beef still in the freezer... all of which can be made into a full meal in the time it takes to make rice or pasta. This strategy is key for me, especially when I really want to cave and order a pizza... but I'm trying not to do that anymore since Ruby's horseback riding is extremely expensive.
No, I haven't gotten anything new from the Dr. My therapist has the name of a gyn that is particularly good at looking at the whole picture and I'm going to call her. Also I'd like to get allergy tested to see if there is any correlation... since they are definitely worse once the weather is cooler and the windows are shut.
PCs are inferior, even I can't shake that... but she just needs to use a CD rom and would like a little simple access to the internet. I still have an OLD iMac in the basement, we just don't know if it can be updated enough to work for her. Plus, she knows Santa didn't bring that ;)

Marie said...

Love that you can have all the activities done by dinner! Its crazy with getting the kids home just to run right out the door again..and we only do 3 activities (2 kids do karate, 1 does dance, all do soccer). The plan was 1 year-long activity each and 1 seasonal activity...BUT we are adding in swimming when soccers over...AND we just signed up for there goes that! :)

I can't add much in the Mac debate...we just bought our first mac about 3 months ago after our 3rd dell in 3 years...(grrrr) and LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!!!! But even being window users, we "got" the kids their own desktop computer for xmas about 2 yrs old one my mom gave us with one of those HUGE monitor screens.. I didn't want to invest in something good in case they totally wrecked it (cause I would freak out). Now, 2yrs later, we are looking at getting a newer one for them just because the software is getting too old to run current cd's. It was perfect for them though. They have a bunch of games on cd and it runs them..and we have a wireless thing that plugs into the USB port if we want to do something on the internet with them (its in their room and I am not cool with the unsupervised internet). Think of it as a trial run.. if she takes really good care of it, then you wont be hesitant to buy a good computer for her in a couple years when she will need all the other applications (rather than just cd/internet)

Congrats on the meals! Its been crazy since back to school..we've found planning 2 crockpot meals a week (for our really busy days), and prepping a third (such as meatballs all cooked and ready for some quick pasta) and KNOWING what we are eating on the other days really makes a difference. Otherwise I get home from work, get the kids, am running around with homework/activity...and suddenly we are STARVING or need to eat NOW because we have to leave!

Love that kid is taking horseback riding lessons! I showed my middle daughter (6yr old) the pics a while back of her in her riding gear and she thought she must be an American Girl

And as for spelling/tests turning into lessons on dealing with emotions...LOVE that. Kid (and any kid for that matter) can memorize words for the rest of their life, or practice writing a perfect letter. But learning how to deal with stress, overwhelming emotion, ect.. is SO much more important. How wonderful that you have the opportunity to do that!

Gigs said...

Happy to hear from you, and happy to comment! :)

Deb said...

This is a great update. I've been too busy to read anything lately, and I'm so glad this was so close to the top of the blog!

I think I'm going to take a page from you and kill most of our evening activities. For that matter, I'm tired of giving up my Saturday mornings to that stuff, too. More family time is in order.

Keeping you guys in my thoughts.

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