Monday, September 29, 2008


I'm sick with that beginning-of-the-school-year cold. And I'm not even at school. What's the deal with that?!?!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More About Homeschooling

Every year when I start teaching a new class, I have to evaluate the personality of the class and the students in the class. I have to think about the year before and what worked and what didn't. I have to try different management techniques. Sometimes I'll start the year doing one thing but discover that that year's class may not respond to stickers or gummy bears or whatever. (M-n-M's rarely fail, though.) Time-outs may work for one student but don't affect another at all. It's all trial and error in a classroom setting.

And this year is no different. I have had to change some things that I had planned. I've had to add some things and take away some things. I've had to adjust my ideal to fit the reality of homeschooling Josh and Adam. We discussed this in detail before we made the decision last spring and they agreed that it's what they wanted to do and that they would do their part. I agreed, too, knowing that it was going to be hard. After all, I know my children. I know that Josh is stubborn and doesn't like to write. Getting him to write the most simple journal entry or paragraph is like pulling teeth. I know that. And I know that Adam is a perfectionist and can be silly beyond words. If he thinks he "can't" do something there will be tears on his part and mine before it gets done. And if it's not fun, he sees no point in it. I knew all that before I decided to homeschool them. I did, after all, have them both in my kindergarten class.

So, just like every other year, I have had to make some changes to the master plan. I have implemented a log where they have to sign in any time they complain or argue or call each other names. The worst part for them is that it sits on the counter and their dad sees it when he comes home. (Everyone needs a little help sometimes.) This has definitely made my life easier even though it was hard the first few days...lots of signing in and even more crying.

Another thing I discovered is that they would take all day to do their work if I let them. But unlike them, I have other things to do besides school. So we have started a "homework" file. Anything that they don't get finished in the time I give them goes in that folder and they have to do it on their own time.

Lastly, I have had to remember that they are only kids. Yes, they are getting to be almost as tall as me and can carry on a conversation with any adult, but they are kids. I had this idea that we would do school in the morning. Sit down and work and get finished before lunch. I failed to realize that they would need and want breaks. And I have discovered that breaks are good. For all of us. So we get up and go for a walk. Or watch an episode of Spongebob. Or go outside for PE. Anything to get away from math problems or spelling words.

So, really, this year hasn't been much different from any other year. Except that I only have two students. And there are no staff meetings. And I teach in my pajamas.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Call Me

I have a friend (Kathy) who is my "weird phone call" friend. I love it when I hear her ringtone on my phone because it's usually something interesting. She has called to tell me what the guy in front of her in the grocery store check-out line has in his cart (a 12 pack of beer and a pregnancy test). She has called me to ask me why in the world teenage boys wear their pants so baggy that you can see their boxer shorts. She has called to ask me how big her hallway bulletin board is. She has called to tell me about how she almost had to take out the cashier at Micheal's who didn't want to give her the clearance prices on what she was buying. Twice. She has called to ask my opinion on any number of given purchases and to talk her out of some purchases that she didn't really need but that were a really good deal. Most recently I got about a dozen calls about rats. And I loved every one. But my favorite all time call came when she was out of town and called to tell me that she was on a morning walk and saw something that made her think of me. She sweetly told me all about the beautiful weather and scenery and I was wondering what had made her think of me. A flower? A butterfly? A cloud shaped like a heart? Then she told me. It was a used pregnancy test lying by the side of the road. (I was pregnant with Julianna.) I laughed so hard. And let me tell you, it's not good for a pregnant woman to laugh that hard.

I hesitate to write this next part because I know that she will totally take this as a challenge and try to stay on top of the weird phone call list, but I received a pretty weird call from my sister yesterday.

Me: Hello
Her: How do you spell hearse? You know like the car they carry dead people in.
Me: H-E-A-R-S-E
Her: Yep. That's it. (Apparently she was on the computer spell check or something.)
Me: Why do you want to know how to spell hearse? (She works at a bank.)
Her: We just wanted to know how it was spelled and no one here knew.
Me: Ummm, okay.
Her: I knew you'd know how to spell it.
Me: Yeah, you should read more vampire books and you'd know, too. (She has been teasing me about reading "Twilight.")

So, 1. I'm glad that I know how to spell hearse. 2. I love weird phone calls. And, 3. I can't wait for the phone to ring.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I got a glimpse last week of shopping for a girl. I went looking for some long sleeve shirts for Julianna and all I could find were tiny little shirts with silly sayings on them. "Social Butterfly," "Daddy is wrapped around my finger," "Mommy's Little Angel," "Future Heartbreaker," "Party Girl," "Little Republican," "Sucker Club," "Your crib or mine?" Okay, I made that last one up but the rest are true. I don't want a message on my 3 month old daughter's chest. I just want a cute little pink shirt. It can even have flowers or butterflies. Just not "Diva." (One that was kind of cute though said, "What happens at Grandma's house stays at Grandma's house.")

We made our annual visit to Silverwood Theme Park on Sunday. We thought we should go when it was going to be warm since the boys love the water rides. It was a perfect day for it, too. Adam and Arrty went on the Aftershock and loved it. Josh isn't a big fan of rollercoasters so he and I hit Thunder Canyon a few more times. The best part for me was hearing the boys laugh and laugh on the rides. We got very wet and had a great time.

Julianna stayed with my mom while we went to Silverwood and it was the longest I had ever been away from her. It was hard. I missed her a lot. But when I went to pick her up she snuggled up to me and seemed to give me the biggest hug. I know she's too young to actually give hugs, but it sure felt like it. It was super sweet.

I am totally hooked on the "Twilight" books. Thanks, Katrina! :) I went to the Hayden library to check out "Eclipse," the third in the series and am ninth on the list. NINTH?!?! So I went to the Athol library (yes, there is one) and am next on the list. Woo hoo! I can't wait to read it. And to see the movie in November!

Aidan, my nephew, asked me yesterday if I would trade Julianna for his baby. (My sister is expecting a baby girl in January.) I thought he just didn't want to wait any longer for his baby sister. But when I told my sister about it, she told me that he knows that he will only have to go to school half days once the baby comes since she will be home instead of all day like he does now. And I thought it was because Jules is so cute! :)

Homeschooling is still hard. But it's getting easier since I have decided to relax. We don't have to do every single lesson every single day and that makes it much easier on everyone. And the boys are ahead in some subjects, especially math, so we are able to get through those lessons faster. So for now we are going to take it easy and catch up if we need to when we're snowed in this winter. (Yesterday they went in for IRI testing (reading) and are both reading well above grade level.)

I won Phil's book give away! The only thing better than books is free books! :) Thanks, Phil.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Okay, I have about 4 1/2 minutes to write my first post about homeschooling. So here it is. Homeschooling is hard. The curriculum is great. The program is great. Our teacher is great. But teaching the boys at home is hard. There are lots of distractions for them and me. There are lots of other things we could be doing. It's hard to have a set schedule with a 3 month old baby. But we're trying. And doing okay I think. The boys are learning and sometimes having fun. And they are also learning that everything isn't fun. Writing spelling words. Not so fun. Writing sentences. Not fun. Reading when the sun is shining and the yard (or Spongebob) is calling. Not fun. But they also like a lot of it. Science and art and anything hands on they love. Taking a break and going for a walk whenever we want. Fun. Reading to their baby sister. Fun. Helping me make cookies. Fun.

All in all it's been okay and getting better. They've cried and I've cried, but the tears are getting fewer. We've had days when we only did two lessons, but today we got through everything plus a few extras. And I am home. With my kids. And it is hard, but good.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


With all of the sighing I did yesterday about missing the first day of school, I forgot to mention that it was also the day that Julianna turned 3 months old. I know! 3 months already. She is growing so fast. Too fast. She has found her hands and therefore always has a toy nearby. She still sleeps 7 to 8 hours at night and wakes up smiling. She laughed out loud for the first time on Monday when Josh was making silly noises to her. She no longer screams during bath time and actually seems to enjoy it. She likes to "talk" to us when we're talking to her. She likes to be carried around in the baby wrap and usually falls asleep against my chest which is wonderfully sweet. She is so cute that strangers stop me in the store to admire her. (I know that all mommies think their babies are cute, but Jules truly is super cute. I would love to post pictures, but decided at the beginning of blogging to not post pictures of the kids.) And she amazes me everyday.

So my little girl is 3 months old and is somehow, though it seems impossible, getting sweeter by the day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Today is the first day of school. And although the boys and I have been homeschooling for the last week and a half, today still feels like it should be the first. It has been bittersweet, this day. I woke up this morning with my baby daughter beside me and looked at the clock. It was time that I should be getting up and getting ready to go, but instead I was able to linger just a little longer snuggled next to my baby because I had no where to go. At 8:00 I felt like I should be meeting with my co-teachers for the first prayer meeting of the year. But instead, I was praying by myself for the day, theirs and ours. I could be, on this day, meeting a new class of fresh faced kindergartners and turning my own children over to their teachers. But I am here. Guiding the boys in their learning, rocking my baby, and wondering just how the day is going at the school. How long did Mr. D. go over time in chapel? Did all the students get to where they were supposed to be? How did Katrina's first day go in her way-cuter-than-mine-ever-was classroom? How did Mom do with her new class of pre-schoolers? How was Aidan's day with his new teacher that could have been me? Did somebody have chocolate for Kathy?

Sigh. I miss it. I didn't think I would. And I love where I am. But it's going to take some getting used to, this staying home thing. It will get easier, I know. I just hope it happens quickly.