Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Do you feel like you are not successful?

We might not admit it in public, but how many of us feel like we are not making a difference?  We spend hours planning out our children's education.  That doesn't count the time we spend teaching them through text and life experiences.  Or the $$$ spent to give them the best individualized education possible.  But at the end of the day we still feel like we are not successful.

I will admit that everyday I wonder if I am making any progress.  Yesterday for example, my freshman level high school student couldn't answer a question about the solar system.  This was a pretty easy, grade school level question.  He was the one I really thought would know the answer.  I sat hiding my disappointment and felt defeated.  I know that he has learning disabilities and was already having an off day, but I really felt like I had failed.

I started thinking about it when we were done with our group projects.  Really, unless he is going to be in astrophysics, will honestly need to know the question I asked him?  Does he really NEED to know the difference between a meteor, meteoroid and a meteorite in order to balance his checkbook and make himself a meal?  No he will not.

Then I looked back when I was very sick a couple weeks ago.  I had a migraine and dizziness so bad that I could not sit up in bed.  I literally had to crawl to the bathroom so that I didn't crash into the wall.  I looked back at the fact he helped his sisters get their dishes they couldn't reach.  He kept an eye on them and checked on me constantly.  They may not have had any home-cooked meals throughout the day, but with his help and some convenience foods, absolutely no one starved.  He stepped up and helped out on our Minecraft server  when I was unable to sit up and even look at the screen.  Even when the kids were rude to him, he held it inside and didn't show how upset he was.

I am always stressing about him now.  He's 15 years old, and I worry about how he will take care of himself in the future.  We have been working really hard at life skills such as cooking, laundry and simple cleaning skills.  I know he can wash dishes and run our laundry equipment.  He can microwave cook, and if it was a self-igniting stove, could make himself a pancake...I think.

We have a long way to go, but we are making our way there.  After looking back on that day, most of my guilt of him not remembering about the solar system disappeared.  He is learning how to take care of himself, and he is a great friend who would do anything for the people he loves.  Who cares about inner/outer planets???

When we start to doubt ourselves, really sit down and look at what you have accomplished.  What are your real goals for your children?  Do you want them to be happy, well-adjusted adults?  Move past all the book work and remember, life skills and good character qualities are just as important as combining sentences and conjugating verbs.

And remember if you hear laughter, then you are successful.   Strive for the smiles and the hugs, that's when you know you have truly reached your goals!!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Winter Bucket List

It's almost that time of the year.  I have to admit, winter is not my favorite season.  I'm with Olaf....I like it warm!!  But to my dismay, I have two children that LOVE the winter.  Caty and Lydia love the snow and all that goes with it.

So I have created a winter bucket list for us to work our way through this season.  

You can download it by simply clicking this link:  Winter Bucket List  

Enjoy and stay warm!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 25 - We're on a Staycation!!

So we had initial plans and were supposed to be at Disney World this week.  Our plans completely changed over the summer.  We are still planning Disney, just need to wait a bit longer now.  So we have our next vacation planned for there.  This week, we decided to stay home and get a few things done and try to relax a little.  So it was a Daddy is home Staycation.

We did have a few activities we worked on this week.

On Monday it was beautiful weather.  We went to our scout meeting and practiced tying knots.  Caty really wants to learn more, so I am doing research for her to do this in the next couple weeks.

Our meeting was at a park.  Brayden wanted to get out and play.  He had fun swinging.

Then we went to the zoo with daddy.

Being very silly....

We haven't done a recent picture on the elephant.  Look at the difference of 5 years.

We got to see the red panda.

They had a blast on the ice slide.

 Brayden rode an animal on the carousel.  This was HUGE!!!  He always sits on the bench, never on an animal. Even an animal that goes up and down.  It was pretty cool!

The lights were coming on as we were leaving.  Two of Lydia's favorite animals....a bat and a giraffe.

We went through our fall bucket list and realized that we have completed everything!!

We had drawing class this week.  The kids struggled this week.  It was drawing faces.

But then we went and played games and tried laser tag.

We were planning on going with Daddy to New Mexico and Arizona.  So we watched the episodes of Aerial America on these states.  While we were watching, we worked on the scarves for Keep Toledo Warm.  The kids had fun cutting the fringes in these no-sew scarves.

In all I think they finished 40 scarves.

The girls had double gymnastics to make up for them missing a lesson last week when I was sick.  You can see Caty in the back with a block on her head balancing on the beam.

 Caty is so proud to have mastered the splits.

On Friday we visited a hidden gem in our community.  A few weeks ago they had a special on a local discount site for a family membership.  We finally went.  The National Museum of the Great Lakes was packed full of information.  We were very impressed.

The kids had fun with all the hands-on exhibits.

Then it was off to archery.

On Saturday Lydia had riding.  She was so proud of learning and practicing her cantering.  She did wonderful!

We got our first snow of the season.  Caty was in Love!!!  She threw a snowball at the door.

We had family visiting, and it turned into an impromptu sleepover.  It was nice to spend time with Joe's sister and her family.  The kids played outside for a long time.  They built a snowman together.

We had a nice week.  We stayed plenty busy and had fun together.

Hope everyone had a wonderful week.  Getting ready to get back to lessons next week!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Are you feeling discouraged?

Last night while watching the girls at gymnastics, I overheard a conversation between two moms.  They were talking about a mom, who apparently has more kids than either of them would like to have.  But then those words came out of one of their mouths, "Yeah and she homeschools!"  

The other gasped, and I mean literally gasped.  "Oh I could never do that.  I just want to be a mom.  Let someone else be the authority."  Yes, no joke, those words literally came out of her mouth.  So I didn't really want to eavesdrop, but we were sitting right next to each other on a set of bleachers and it was hard to not hear them.  I continued to listen as they started discussing that they would lose their minds if they had to get their kids to listen 24/7.  They needed a break!  "How does she get any time off?"  "My kid would never listen to me teach her.  That's why I send her to school."

I snickered a little to myself and spoke up kindly and said, "Well you just find your groove in life and then you just kind of go with it."  They looked shocked and said, "You homeschool?"  I told them I homeschool all four of our kids and there are days where we all feel like screaming.  But we take a break and do something fun and educational to make it through.  But you always seem to find a groove.  Even in a classroom the teacher and even their kids want to just scream out in frustration.  So it's really no different than at home.

The funny thing is, I have been feeling very discouraged lately.  My husband travels weekly for work and so I am totally responsible for everything in the house.  Our kids each have their own individual needs and hurdles that we have to work through each day.  Some days it seems that as soon as one finishes a sensory issue, another one is waiting to start theirs.  

Needless to say, this leaves me feeling like I have nothing left in me emotionally and I am physically drained of energy.  By the time Joe gets home for the weekend, I can barely function.  But we all know that life still goes on, and I have to spend the weekend preparing myself and the house for the next week.  I feel short changed and I know my hubby feels short changed too.

So feeling depressed and discouraged is all I seem to be able to feel lately.  How many of you feel this way?  I hide behind lots of Instragram photos of all we accomplish, because I need that constant reminder that even though I am feeling inadequate we are accomplishing a lot. 

But I know that I need to change this feeling.  I know that this way of feeling is going to just keep wearing on me.  I do need a break, more than just a trip to the grocery store at 5:30 am in order to keep from taking the kids to the store with me.

When you are feeling discouraged, maybe it's time to take a week off.  I mean a week off from book work.  Plan a week of activities that keep the kids learning and remind you of why you homeschool. 

  • Take advantage of all those family museum memberships.  
  • Plan a daily adventure, pack a picnic and spend the week together.  
  • If you are short on funds, plan some movie and game times together.  
  • Do some crafts and art projects at home that you might not get to normally with all your book work. Make up a new board game together based on a subject that you have been studying.  
  • Cuddle up with blankets and have a read-a-thon.  
  • Go for a nature walk at the local park.   

If you are looking for a hobby, try a couple of small activities.  Watch videos on You Tube to learn how to knit or crochet.  Watch videos on photography.  Or look up information on something you would like to try.  You'll be setting a good example for your kids as you look for something that you like to do.  They will work on getting outside their shell also.

Think about a vacation you would like to take as a family or just as a couple, plan it out and maybe it's more possible that you thought it might have been.  Is there a way to do it on a budget?

When we take a look back and see all that we have accomplished for our children and our family, it can lift our spirit.  But make sure you can look back and see that you also tried some new things that "You" wanted to do, not just your husband and kids.  

After a week off and taking the look back at your family's accomplishments, hopefully this will help to lift your attitude and show you that you are doing the right thing.  You can see that your family is emotionally close and understand that through the tears and bickering that you are really all there for each other.

Take your break soon!