Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

It's Good Friday, and we have not done one single Holy week or Resurrection study. Back in March, I'd dutifully Pinned and planned a few fun and meaningful activities, and chosen appropriate verses of  Scripture for reading and copy work. I then failed to purchase supplies and print things out in a timely manner. So here we are, and the most Easter-y thing we've done this week is watch an Angry Birds video wherein the pigs dress up in ears and whiskers for their egg-stealing foray.

We took a de facto Spring Break this week, even though I'd planned to work through until our trip next month.  Fence repairs took precedence over our study of Thomas Jefferson, and we squeaked by with a bare bones 3R's study this week.  Our daily math fact drills are showing their effectiveness, and Chico's Xtra Math scores are consistently climbing, hallelujah! Right now I'm debating the merits of one more meager study day vs. bagging the week and just starting over on Monday.

In lieu of an egg hunt, I have a treasure hunt all planned out for C.  The clues are all written up, and I'm giddy with the thought that he'll be able to read them on his own.  C's not a huge candy fiend, but I've ordered a toy and video that he's been after, and I'm sure he'd be glad to accept a pack of Twizzlers and a couple Ring Pops. Here's hoping that Amazon and FedEx will cooperate, since the bulk of his basket stash is still in their hands.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday Morning Ponderings

Exactly when does enough turn into Enough?  Are other people more adept at drawing their lines in the sand, or do they struggle as much as I do?  Am I understanding and grace-extending, or simply wishy washy and unable to meet a problem where it lives?  I don't want to run from confrontation, but neither do I wish to be someone who lacks softness and compassion. 

Is working with family, either as employee or employer, ever a good idea?  Today, I'm thinking no.  What should be a clear cut business based decision becomes ever so much murkier when there are familial concerns involved.

There have been times in my life when I've been forced into change, and not all of them have ended badly.  A couple have ended with bigger blessings than I ever could have imagined.  It's not impossible to believe that it could happen again.  Are the things I'm trying so hard to hold on to the ones blocking my view of Better for my family?  The familiar feels so much safer, but is it really the best?

The Best, after all, is what I want for my family.  Not the best as the world sees it, but as we see it.  Financial stability (although perhaps not excess, for the immediate future), physical and mental health (where stress is occasional rather than constant), and satisfaction of work well done (vs. headless-chicken style running and a continual feeling of falling short).

I've always prided (ugh pride, ugly trait, that is) myself on the number of plates I can keep spinning at one time.  It could be time to put a few down, and handle those remaining a bit more gently than I have for the last eleven years.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This is Our Home School

He is curious, and a reader.  Math doesn't come easy, and I haven't found the key the goes to that particular lock yet.  Art is his favorite, and the images flow out of his fingertips in a way that only a true artist can achieve. He loves words, but they have to be in the right context, and they can make his head bobble with nervousness if they are the wrong ones.  So I pick my way slowly through Big Nate, Little House, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, looking for landmines and trying to keep him engaged. 

I wake up every morning wishing that we could jump right into our studies, but no, I have to go to work first, because blood draws and Endo visits don't come cheap and insurance keeps a few more worry lines off of my forehead.  So we chat for a bit about the drawing he did the night before, and the ones he plans to work on that day.  Then I go my way and he goes his, with promises to sit shoulder to shoulder and learn together after my obligatory six hours are done.
Sometimes we sit in chairs like company, and often we sprawl on the floor like you never can in public school, 'cause this is our school and we can recite scripture and learn about the Constitution any old way we want to.  We roll marbles back and forth while we recite addition tables.  I wish I could draw it all out for him. I have a feeling that if I could on figure out how, then 4+5 would equal 9 now and forevermore.  But images don't flow out of my hands like they do from his, and so we try this new thing and hope it will be The One.

He wrinkles his brow and counts marble by marble and gets the right answer.  Sometimes he tires of counting and guesses, and I hold my breath and hope he guesses right because the only thing worse than a hard to pronounce word is a wrong number.  When the numbers are wrong I use my softest voice and the most delicate words I know... so afraid to discourage this little man who works so hard at every little thing.

And when those numbers are wrong,  then it's all my fault for not having found the right key, and for the hours I spend at work, and for sometimes being as clueless as anyone about how he sees the world.  But I know I'll never quit, not as long as I have breath to teach with, because no one in the world cares about his success as much as I do.  And he won't quit, 'cause he's no quitter no matter how hard things are.  He might fuss, or growl, or even cry, but he doesn't quit.  And so I don't either.

Then Math is over, swallowed like a nasty pill, and chased with pats on the back and promises to shoot hoops or draw together later.  We move on to the things he likes, like reading and art and writing in our journals.  All of these things come easier to him and it occurs to me that these are my triumphs too, for the hours we've logged, both in chairs and on the floor.  We've earned them by singing ABC and trying to make it through "carpet time," by tracing letters on the easel that we finally got rid of when he had to crouch over to write on it.  For hours of explaining that A is for Apple, yes, but also for Ape, and sometimes sounds more like a U, like when it's used in Apartment, this is the reward.  Now I get to listen to him read to me from a book that is on 'grade level' (homeschoolers will insert a huge eye roll here), and there is a journal filled with his writing that is the most precious thing in our home.

Not all school days are breakthrough days.  Some of them are breakdown days, to be honest. Even on the hard days though, there is no denying that this is where he is thriving.  This is the environment where he learns, and where the only labels he wears are printed in large red letters and say "WONDERFUL", "IMAGINATIVE", "TALENTED", and "CHERISHED". 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sometimes It Feels Like

If you sang the rest of that line, you can stay.  If you are too young to know what I'm talking about, kindly take your little whippersnapper self and move on down the road.

...Aaand now I'm singing the song from the Wiz.  This is how my mind works, people. 

So, Q is now a reader of this blog. Hi, Q! (waves) Eeep, and Eeewww, and Uh-uh-no-boys-allowed, indeed.  Not sure if that's a good thing, or if it will make me blow this place up once and for all.  We don't at all have that best-friend, I can tell you anything sort of marriage.  It's more of an I love you but I don't need to be all up in your id sort of arrangement.  I'm fighting the urge to go back and edit entries.  I don't mind that anyone with google can find this place, but it's kinda-sorta creepy to know my husband is reading.  Too bad I don't have one of those MIB memory erasers.  I suppose I could use him reading here to my benefit, and place some ads for stuff I want him to buy me.  Ooh, and I could also write passive-aggressive entries anytime we disagree about something.  Must brainstorm about how to best leverage this for my own benefit.

We've now had a four day weekend from school, and I'm struggling to find some motivation to get back to work today.  It might end up being a light week academics wise. 

I checked out an Encyclopedia Brown book to read with C a few weeks ago, but we just barely eeked through it.  I loved those books when I was a kid, but the first one kind of fell flat this time around. I need to find more fun books to read with him.  He enjoyed the Yuck! books, but we finished the series.  Any suggestions?

C had blood drawn yesterday.  It had been a few months since his last draw, and he really struggled.  He cried and screamed and crossed his arms tight and refused to straighten them for a while.  Finally he pulled the Tegaderm sheets off by himself, and somehow or another we got him to give the techs an arm to draw from.  The room was too loud, and there were too many people talking at once, and I just wanted to run out, so I can only imagine how hard it was for him.  I think the ideal would just be near-silence from everybody but him, but I can't figure out how to make that happen.  Mama says it's not nice to tell people to please for the love of baby goats just shut yer yap already.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Locking the Door

I'm having the public vs. private debate again.  I have a private family blog where I don't have to keep up with pseudonyms and obscuring / combining certain details of the things I write, and I have to admit it's a lot easier to just let the words flow without the constant need to think five steps ahead of myself.    

I used to maintain this public space because I loved the sense of community that came from blog linking and comments.  These days I rarely link to my blog, and comments are a long distant memory.  I never had a ton of them, mostly because blog promotion was not and is not my thing.

The trickle of traffic I did have has dried up, and I think it might be nice to just lock this space down and continue from here on without the need for anonymity.

On the other hand, I have a few friendships that I never would have made without blogging, and even though I rarely see (or even talk to) those folks, it gives me pause to think that I might be shutting the door and future opportunities to build our village.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I believe

I believe...

That my son is perfect, just as he is.

That Autism is a difference in neurology, not a tragedy.

That harming a child is never acceptable, and that caregiver fatigue is never an excuse for abuse or murder.

That my primary role is not to teach my son to change, or "pass", but to facilitate his successful navigation of a world that is not built for him.

That C's life is meaningful, and valuable, and my life's work will be to affirm that to him, and to get others to see that as well.

That although my life must be dedicated primarily to Chico, that in no way obligates him to me.  When the time comes that he wants independence, no matter how little or how much, it will be my duty to give it to him.

That my summer experiment of 'servitude living' has made the happiest and most satisfied I've ever been.

That no hobby, project, or DIY that I skipped doing could be worth more than the time I'm investing in Chico.

That these days, no matter how long they sometimes feel individually, will pass altogether too quickly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Like the clean, white digs?  Me too.  I think this space needed a change, but I'm not sure yet quite what that means.  I guess a blank canvas is a good place to start. 

We're starting a new school year, of sorts.  We school year 'round, but we move up to the next level of curriculum in September.  This summer brought a lot of changes to the way I'm approaching school with C, and I hope that they will prove to be positive.

I've spent so much of the last few years spreading myself way too thin.  I wanted to nurture and educate my son, bring in a full time income, keep a spotless home, cook 99% of our meals from scratch using whole foods, make time for my husband, provide exciting adventures for C, make sure he had adequate opportunities for physical fitness, keep my own workout routine together and lose fifty pounds, make connections with our church family, read a minimum of a book a week, blog, and find time to sew, craft, and maintain our family journal.

I was simply trying to accomplish too much, and I was exhausted and feeling like a failure all the time.  So last spring, I made the hard (at the time) decision that I needed to reassess my priorities and let some things go.  I worked at the assessment part all through the summer, and I'm working on prioritizing and weeding out now.

Without doubt, I know that my priorities are my relationship with God, my marriage, and my child.  Tonight I'm working out on paper how I'm going to transfer those priorities to the 24 hours I have in a day.