Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why men are not in charge very often

First off, let me say that I have wonderful husband and that he is a sweetheart when it comes to watching the kids if I have an errand to run. :o)

However, I always seem to come home to this:

Hubby: "Guess what your son did while you were gone." (Note how he is MY son at this point. Didja catch that?)

Me: "What now?"

Hubby: "Your son stripped naked and then walked into the living room and peed on the floor."

Me: "Which one?" (I ask, because can't assume things in this house.....)

Hubby: "The little one."

Now, I make several observations from this. First, he had time to strip naked. Then he came into the room Hubby was in, so Hubby was not in the room My Son was in.

Hubby gets miffed at my observations and insists it is not his fault that My Son did what he did.

I disagree, but let it go. After all, what's a little pee on the floor once in a while in exchange for a few hours of peace and quiet away from kids? :o)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Two different kids, two different styles

"How do you teach kids that are so different?"

I have talked about this before, but I will touch on it again because I keep getting asked. :D

Every teacher has to deal with different personalities, BTW. The difference is that she cannot change her teaching to accommodate different personalities and learning styles. She has to teach one way for 20+ kids. There are bound to be kids lost in the process.

However, I can change how I teach. And I do for each child.

PJ (he is 11) is my future engineer. He is methodical and precise in how he approaches his work. He is a visual learner and can learn just from reading about something. He often comes up with great ways of explaining things in his own words. If I give him 2 weeks of assingments at once, he works each day's worth, checking things off as he goes.

Camryn (she is 9) is the opposite. The only way I can be sure she really is my kid is because she looks just like me. She learns best by doing things or seeing them done, not reading about them. She often needs things explained to her in several ways before "getting it". If I give her 2 weeks of assignments at once, she freaks out. She ends up with a pile of papers scattered around her, wailing. (Did I mention she is a bit of a drama queen?)

So I do what I know is best for each child. I change how I approach things and how I present material. Most material is designed to be self-taught (for homeschoolers), and that works great for PJ, but Camryn sometimes needs more help. And that's okay.

Camryn often knows the answers, but she likes to bounce them off of me before committing them to paper. And that's okay.

PJ works best with the radio on and having noise around. And that's okay.

Camryn wants complete silence. And that's okay.

One of the main gripes I have with our educational system is how it makes kids that are different to feel like something is wrong with them. That they "should" be a certain way. There is nothing inherently wrong with any learning style - it is just that our educational system is geared to cater to one - the ones who learn well from just reading from a book, sitting in one spot, in complete silence.

So the ones who learn better when they can move around, chat with someone and work with their hands are out of luck. They are "disruptive" and get frowny faces or demerits or whatever.

Please don't get me wrong - kids need to learn how to behave. That is not what I am talking about. I am talking about taking kids who need to talk almost as much as they need to breathe and expecting them to be quiet for hours on end - it is torture. And trying to get a kinesthetic child (who learns by touch/with their hands) to learn by sight is just crazy. They are not wired that way! It is setting them up to fail.

Changes need to be made. I am glad we decided to change instead of waiting on the school system to change.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I love being a mom

Well, after stuffing ourselves with food yesterday, we left my Dad's house and settled in for a quiet night.

I was in my room when my three-year old climbed on the bed with me. We cuddled and snuggled for a while. Lots of kisses and hugs. Then he smiled at me and said, "Me happy."

My heart melted. I blinked back a tear.

"Me happy, too," I said.

Yep, those are the moments that make you realize what is so great about being a mom.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why we have certain kids.

I cannot figure out why God gave me my youngest daughter. I mean, I understand the mechanics of how I got her, don't get me wrong (hehehe), but not why God gave her to me. I have it narrowed down to 3 reasons:
  • I put my Mom and Dad through a lot more than I thought. This is God's payback.
  • God decided I needed to toughen up.
  • God thought I needed a lot more grey hair.

Seriously, I think #3 has a lot to do with it, because my grey hairs have increased dramatically in the past 9 years. Sometimes I feel them sprout as I am talking/arguing with her. :D Then again, my Dad has an awful lot, and I am an only child. Hmmmmmmmmmmm......

Back to the subject. My daughter. Dear, sweet, loving child that she is.

Here is the conversation we had last night coming back from church (we were the only ones in the car, because all of the others were sick and stayed home - they were lucky. Coughing up a lung was a lot more fun than this conversation, let me tell you.):

Background: She has decided she wants to go to "real school" and not be homeschooled. This changes daily and alternates between going to "real school" and joining the circus, so I really don't lend a whole lot of credibility to either choice. In between these two lifestyle choices are the days where she proclaims her undying love for homeschooling and wants me to homeschool her future children. (Yeah, I have a hard time keeping up with her.)

Her: "I want to go to real school."

Me: "Well, maybe when you are older, you can go to private school for high school." (Please note the reasonable tone of voice I am using at this point. Enjoy it. It doesn't last long.)

Her: "But, Moooooooooooooom!" (said in a whining, drawn-out syllable - you know the sound) "I want to go to real school and see all of my friends!" (wringing of hands is added for dramatic effect)

Me: "You just saw a room full of your friends not 2 minutes ago. You see them all the time. Besides, they all go to different schools. You can't go to school with them all."

Her: "But I could go from school to school and spend a few weeks at each school with each friend."

Me: (Remember that reasonable tone of voice mentioned earlier? It has been replaced by its cousin - Trying to Remain Calm voice.) "Camryn, they won't let you do that."

Her: "Why not?" (This is said with a genuine look of surprise.)

Me: "Because they just don't. You stay in the same school. And this is not going to be an issue because you are not going to be in school. You are homeschooled. Now, we can talk about this again at the end of the school year, okay?"

Her: "But, Moooooooooooooooooom!! (again, the whining syllable. My left eye begins twitching at this point) That is such a looooooooooooooong (again, whining. *twitch*) time from now! (She adds a pout at this point.)

Me: "It is not a long time. It is only until June."

Her: "JUNE?????"

Me: "Yes, June." *twitch*

Her: "But Mooooooooooooom!"

At this point, Trying to Remain Calm voice is replaced by Completely Exasperated voice. The conversation goes downhill quickly. It ended up with her being grounded until she is 85 and never being allowed to marry or own property.

So, you may wonder, how things are this morning?

Well, so far:

  • 73 new grey hairs. Yay, me.
  • Camryn greeted me with a huge hug and kiss this morning.
  • She wants to be homeschooled - loves it!
  • She is going to wait and join the circus when she is 18.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Miss Suzy Homemaker" I am not.....

Today, I realized that housekeeping is not my talent.

Yeah, I know that I should have realized this a while back, but I am a little slow these days.

As I was dusting furniture this morning, my oldest son walked in and asked, "Is someone coming over?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Because you are dusting. Like moving stuff around and dusting underneath, too." It didn't help that this was said with a bit of a wide-eyed surprised look, either.

To complete my humiliation, I finally admitted that, yes, someone was coming over and that is why I was dusting.

Another clue should have been our pre-dinner ritual. Someone (usually my hubby or my oldest son) would cover the smoke detector with a dish towel before I would start cooking. This ritual was suggested by my oldest son when the smoke detector would prompt "Dinner's ready!" being announced by the kids and bring kids running to the dinner table. (The kids were bewildered as to why this assumption would bother me.)

(There was another concern I had - what if the smoke alarm went off during the night?? The kids were so used to it that if it went off at 2 in the morning, they would just wonder why I was cooking at such an odd hour.)

Okay, back to my non-Suzy-Homemaker-ness.

My home, to put it nicely, has always looked "lived in." It is clean, but not looking like a model home. (Somehow having 4 kids does that. I dunno.)

Oh yeah. To complete my humiliation, when Hubby came home from work, he looked around (wide-eyed) and asked, "Is someone coming over?"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Holidays - Homeschooling Style

Only 2 weeks until Thanksgiving! Where has the time gone?

I love homeschooling during the holidays! We can take an extra day off (which we are) and we are taking 3 weeks off for Christmas! Hooray! We will also have a Thanksgiving party AND a Christmas party for "school". I am so excited!! We are using the time before Christmas to make presents and get things ready for everyone.

In my opinion, these are the things the kids will remember most - the fun memories we make together. These are the things that are important - spending time together.

They may never use the Geometry or Algebra they learn, but they will always look back on these memories fondly. Best of all, I am not having to hear about how they celebrated Christmas in school. I will be a part of the celebration.

And I love that. :o)

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Okay. I prefer "Creative Financial Incentives" to the term "bribery," but that's another issue.

The Fair is in town. A wonderful, joyous time of year that usually ends up costing me around $500. Why so much? No, boys and girls, it's not because of the astronomical cost of hot dogs and elephant ears, it's the chiropractor bills I need after going on those crazy rides.

"Just don't ride the rides!" you say? Ahhhhhhhh....but that is impossible! You see, I have one child that stubbornly stays below the line above which you may ride "unaccompanied by an adult." I have tried buying clogs for her. I have tried stuffing tissues in her shoes. I have encouraged the devious art of "standing on tiptoes unnoticed." I have tried distracting the Fair employee at the crucial Measuring Moment. ("Hey! Is that 8 teenagers trying to slip under the rope?? You go get them and I'll just make sure my daughter gets buckled in." Shameful? Yeah, I know, but 1) it didn't work and 2) I was motivated by the fear of pain. Cut me some slack.)

So I am Mommy. Forced to accompany against my will.

I also cannot talk for 3 days after the Fair because I scream so loudly on the rides. My husband says people in North Carolina step outside, scratching their heads, asking, "Where is that screaming coming from??"

Why do I scream so much? Well, when I was younger, I screamed because it was fun. Now that I am older and wiser, I scream because all of the headlines about Fair accidents run through my mind as the ride starts up. I really think I might croak.

Then, each year, there is the also the inevitable vomiting. Every year there is at least one ill person. Sometimes we don't even get out of the Fair before illness hits. (Those are the years that the Fair workers love us, I am sure.) Now, I keep telling my husband that eating 18 elephant ears is probably the cause of this and he should either stop eating them or just eat single-digit numbers of them, but he says it's a yearly tradition. (Not sure if he means the eating, the vomiting, or both.) How fun!

Then the whining. After a few hours, the kids are tired and hungry and they are frustrated by the long lines. (These are the same kids who want to go to Disneyworld. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha) So they want to eat (Um, no kids, Daddy is the only one getting sick this year, thanks.) or to buy cr*p for sale ("Kids, I'll give you 5 bucks to go to the Dollar Store - their stuff is much better quality.") or to play games ("Kids, I will let you throw money out the car window on the way home - it'll make more sense.")

Now on to the "Creative Financial Incentives" I mentioned.

This year, the kids asked me to go to the Fair. I made them an offer. If we did NOT go to the Fair, then they would each get X number of dollars to spend however they wanted.

Camryn is talking on her new cell phone.

PJ is playing his new video game.

Life is good.

And my chiropractor will miss me.