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  • The Arrow

    Brave Writer’s The Arrow

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  • Life of Fred Collage

    Life of Fred – Homeschool Happens Everywhere

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    Cheesy Mushroom Chili from The Mushroom Lady

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    President in a Bag – George Washington

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    Science Class – Weather Experiments

    Great hands-on Science experiments – a homemade barometer and a thermometer and the pushing air trick. We have been learning about weather in Science class for the last month, and this week we did some experiments.  We learned that air … Continue reading

A very different 1st day of 8th grade than any of us imagined a year ago!

Photo Aug 30, 11 28 27 AM

Pictures of him taken after he got home from his 1st day of 8th grade.

For the past 2 school years, B has played sports for a local private school. Isn’t that awesome they allow homeschoolers to join their sports teams?! Last Winter he met a boy on the basketball team who was a homeschooler and going to this private school part-time. We didn’t know that was an option! By Spring, B told us he would like to try going to a traditional school for freshman year of high school. He wanted to see what it was about and if he would like it. We felt we’d be throwing him to the wolves if we just dropped him off at the public high school without any experience or preparation. So, we enrolled him, part-time, in the private school where he’s been playing sports. Yesterday was his first day.

He had been so confident and excited to start this new adventure all Summer. Me, not so much. I love our homeschool life! The flexibility, going anywhere we want on any given day, rabbit-holing for days, weeks or months about a subject or topic that B’s interested in, staying in PJs all day if we want, meeting so many different SMEs in and out of the area and learning so much from them, no one to report to if he’s sick, and learning together.

The goal of parenthood is to raise confident, secure kids who can and want to go out into the world and I love that he wants to go and try new things. But it still hurts a mom’s heart to realize this is the beginning of the end. Pretty soon he’ll no longer need me to drive him anywhere and then he’ll be off in college and we won’t talk everyday. I won’t know where he is and what he’s doing any given moment of the day at some time in the future! So this is a great transition to that time.

I have been so upset for the past week, though! I am grieving as if we just dropped him off at college and not at a school a few miles away for less than 4 hours a day! It just reminds me, again, that he is our only one. There are no more babies at home and there will not be anymore babies at home, no matter how hard we try. I’m going through that grieving process all over again.

Last week we attended Back-to-School Night. Very different from when I was a kid. Back-to-School Night used to happen a few weeks into the school year and only for parents. Parents follow their child’s schedule, meet teachers and listen to what their kids are going to learn. This one was for the entire family and took place before school started. We were to bring his school supplies and locker decorations and everything could be all set up and ready for him on the first day of school.

My anxiety and weepiness of the past week disappeared at Back-to-School Night! I got all caught up in the love and fellowship, happy B could meet his teachers and see where the classrooms were in relation to his locker ahead of time. However, the reality of starting at a traditional school slammed into Mr. Excited & Confident that night and we had a little incident at the lockers. He looked like a caged animal, panicked and then lashed out at me. Poor thing! And he was like that when he was home until I left him at the school yesterday. He was freaking out about not knowing what the rules are, getting sent to the principle’s office, not being able to keep up with lessons, etc. He basically went up his tree.

We just had to reassure him and remind him that:

  • There is Grace in abundance for him at the school! They know this is all new to him and will help him along.
  • He is a good kid with a good head on his shoulders. He’s not a vandal, he’s not mean, he doesn’t talk back, he knows what is right and what is wrong and, if he has any doubt, the Holy Spirit will activate his intuition and let him know.
  • Although he’s not the best speller (he scored a 4th grade level in Spelling on the school’s entrance exam) the school was not concerned and knows they can turn that around before the year is out. Plus, he scored an 11th grade level in Reading Comprehension and college level in Math! Being bored might be more of a concern than not keeping up.😉
  • This isn’t a life sentence. He’s going to see if he likes a traditional school or, more to the point, does he like more aspects of it than he doesn’t (because there are always pros and cons to each situation). We can re-evaluate at the end of the first quarter, during Christmas break, etc., and the same goes for high school.

Yesterday before walking into the school, I prayed over him in the car. I went in the school with him to get him to his locker, do some decorating that didn’t get done on Back-to-School Night, show him where the classrooms were (he was stressed and nothing was sticking in his head), and to let him know he’s not in this alone. I was doing really well keeping my own shit together so as not to make him lose his until the Admissions Director and then the Principal came out of their offices when they saw us walk by, hug me and ask with sympathetic faces, “How ya doing, Mom?” NEVER ask someone holding their shit together with spider webs if they are OK!!! My son saw my eyes leaking and he didn’t need that on him, too! I do have to say they have been so wonderful and patient with us and I feel confident that B is in a safe place.

He had some trouble multi-tasking in a class, and he got his back up because two female teachers who talked about the rules of the school and in their classrooms used only scenarios with boys in them while describing what not to do (insert eye-roll). And he’s sad about all the things he won’t get to do because he’s chosen to be in school 5 days a week.

I have to admit, we were quite taken aback on Back-to-School Night when the Science teacher started talking about Evolution vs. Creationism, as well as a question on yesterday’s Science homework asking if you thought climate change was a fact. But we’re reminding ourselves that not everyone sees eye-to-eye on all issues and hearing another person’s perspective on any subject is educational. You can learn about a topic as well as learn about the person speaking.

He takes 3 classes (Civics, English & Science) 4 days a week and on the 5th day, he adds a 4th class, Health. You know, girls go off with a female teacher and boys go off with a male teacher (one of B’s coaches), and they talk about manly bits and other subjects. We have very open dialogues regarding our bodies, respect for each other, sex, drugs, etc., but it’s always just B with one or both of his parents. We felt it beneficial for B to discuss these and other topics with boys his age in the room and an adult leading. It’s good for a kid to know others do and feel the same things or are confused about the same things. The hubs and I also are hoping that subjects we have neglected to, or didn’t know to, bring up will be addressed by the Coach teaching the class and B can come home and continue the dialogue with us.

I know this is long, but I have to share one more things about B’s first day of school. I tried so hard to keep it together until I walked out of that school and I assumed I would sit and bawl in my car for an hour, so I passed on the Admission’s Director’s offer to come by her office for coffee and bagels. However, as soon as I walked out the door, my eyes dried up, I felt no emotion (god or bad) at all, and I got a headache. I didn’t want to go home, so I went to the local Chik-fil-A and sat in the parking lot looking at everyone’s back to school pix on Facebook until they started serving lunch at 10:30am. I ate my sandwich and drank my coke there and took the side salad for today’s lunch (which I’m eating right now). I drove to the liquor store and bought a pint of Tito’s because I knew I’d need it (and, DAMMIT, I deserved it!) with dinner.

As I drove home, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t cried yet and why I had this headache. I was traveling on a road with a 55 MPH speed limit and had all the windows open. I cried out to God, “WHY can’t I cry?! I need to cry, I need to release all this before I pick him up so he doesn’t feel guilty or responsible for my normal, parenting grief! Please, God!” And you know what? The dam immediately broke and the sobs came. I reached up a hand to clear my eyes and all of a sudden there were tissues swirling around me, like I was in the eye of a tissue tornado. Even though I was going 60 MPH, none of them flew out the window. There were at least a dozen of them. I grabbed 2 out of the air and after dabbing my eyes, I looked around and there weren’t anymore tissues to be seen. I wondered where the tissues came from and then realized we usually keep a box of tissues in the back seat and the wind through the open windows must have flung them around.

When I got home, I searched the car for all the other tissues that were flying about and only found one more, which is a good thing because I needed to blow my nose! There was no box of tissues in the car, anywhere. The hubs had tasked B with cleaning the car out the week before. No tissues nor trash anywhere. I realized my headache was gone and that God had sent me the tissues. I am so humbled and blessed to be called His own and so thankful to Him for reaching out to me in my time of need.

Sometimes you just need an affirmation from the horse’s mouth that you’re doing OK by your child.

We know a family with two children: one in middle school and one in elementary school. The elementary-aged child is babied. When he’s winning and when he gets what he wants, his happy, smiling face looks like an angel. When he’s not the best at something/not winner, he storms off or fakes an injury complete with fake tears. When he doesn’t get what he wants, he whines, yells and cries. He’s old enough to know better.

The mom does not discipline his behavior. Sometimes she tries to explain to him, rationally, why he can’t do/have exactly what he wants at that moment, hoping I guess, that he’ll see her side of it and agree. Nope. He just gets louder, turns on the tears and she gives in.

Her middleschooler has always been mature in front of me. That is, until earlier this month. I saw her interrupt her mother’s conversation to start whining about something she wanted. Something that she was old enough to do for herself, but wanted her mom to do for her instead. Her mom reminded her she was in the middle of a conversation, there were many options in the house from which she could choose, go get yourself what you want. The middleschooler stomped her foot, raised her voice and told her mom she didn’t like any of those options and wanted her mom to go get another option for her. The mother excused herself to the person she was talking to and walked off with her daughter, her head down.

At first, I was shocked to see the older child act that way, but then it dawned on me: why should she be mature, patient and not get what she wants all the time? She had watched her brother whine, raise his voice and/or evoke tears for years and get everything he wanted, so she was finally employing the tactics herself. Right or wrong, she’s a smart cookie!

It’s not how we raise our child, but she’s free to raise hers however she wants.

It’s tough raising a man in America. Instant gratification, technology, entitlement, lack of work ethic/conscience/moral compass are just a few of the things we have to deal with, work around or develop in our son. B does not receive everything he wants. Sometimes it’s because we can’t give them to him, but mostly it’s because we choose not to. And he’s expressed his unhappiness about it several times. It would be so much easier to give in, to spoil him with things and do everything for him. However, what kind of man would we be releasing on the world one day? Would he even be a man or just a large, entitled child? We gladly fight the battles as the come because our eyes are on the end result. He will be an amazing man, employee, employer, spouse, whatever he wants to be. He already is an amazing teenager, even though we still butt heads over things.

That being said, we do doubt ourselves as parents at times. Deep down we know we’re doing the right thing, but we still worry. Sometimes, we just get tired of fighting the battles and are tempted to give in.

Yesterday we witnessed the boy I spoke about at the beginning of this post throw a fit in the middle of the street. I said to B, “I know your dad & I raise you harder than others. We’re more strict and we hold you to a higher standard than some other parents. Would you rather we raised you like that boy is being raised?”

He replied, “No way! I mean, sure, it’d be nice to have whatever I want, whenever I want. But, Mom, if you raised me like that, I’d never get anywhere in life.”

Sometimes you just need an affirmation from the horse’s mouth that you’re doing right by your child.

Do unto library books as you’d have done for you.


I’ve found a disturbing trend in library books over the last couple of years: more and more crusty stuff inside. Boogers, spilled drinks & food, unidentified raised, crusty gunk. 😖 And I’m not talking about the children’s book. Finding bodily fluids & ripped pages in children’s books are a given. Although parents should at least tape pages back together, for goodness sake.

I’m talking about adult books. Came across this stain in Playing for Pizza by John Grisham, one of my favorite authors. Yes, it’s dry, but it’s also raised! Can you see that?! Someone spilled a liquid thick enough to dry in 3-D and didn’t even bother to wipe off the excess. In fact, this goop bled through 8 pages before it and 4 pages after it.
When engrossed in a good book, I’ve been know to walk around, go to the bathroom and, yes, even eat while reading. And I’ve spilled my share of food and drink on library books, as well.

However, I mop them up immediately. I even get a fresh, wet towel to remove any residue. After removing as much goop as I can without removing the page itself, I prop the book up, open, and use other things to isolate the now wet page so it dries and does not affect any other pages.

And I bet most people would do the same thing if they had borrowed that book from a friend. But they don’t when they borrow it from the library. They don’t show the same respect and courtesy to a stranger who lives in the same vicinity as them and shares the same passions of reading and that particular author or genre.

They’re probably the same people who return scratched and inoperable DVDs and video game to the library without saying a word to the librarian. We don’t invest money in video games often so B loves to check out the games, all the other kids own, from the library. Imagine his disappointment when half of them don’t even work.

I’m not accusing anyone of damaging a DVD nor game disk. However, I am expecting you to have some courtesy, and instead of dropping that case with a broken disk in to the return slot inside the library, walk an additional 5-15 feet to a librarian and let them know it’s broken. They are so grateful to us when we do that! They don’t want broken items circulating and disappointing those they serve. They want to remove broken items and replace them with working ones.

You know, I used to pick off and clean up goop left on books by other borrowers, but not anymore. All 3 of us have food allergies and I don’t know what’s in that food. What if the person whose nose dripped on the page was sick when it happened? Uh-uh, we all need to clean up our own messes. Just think how disgusted you’d be if you turned the page and saw THIS.

“Do unto others as you’d have done to you.” Please.

It’s just bacon, y’all.

File Apr 28, 11 08 33 AM

 

Y’all, I have a Culinary Arts degree from (what was at the time I graduated) the second-best culinary institute in America. And yet, this morning, I burned turkey bacon in the microwave. I hadn’t made it in a while and cooked it for 1 minute a slice when it should have been 30 seconds a slice.

This doesn’t make me a rotten person, a bad mom or incompetent. I made an error in judgement and learned a lesson. I made a mistake that didn’t harm anyone and didn’t set off the smoke alarm.

I didn’t beat myself up, I merely dumped the paper towels and bacon in a plastic bag and threw it out the back door so the smell did not permeate the house (when the hubs comes home he’ll put it in the outside trash can). And B & I had a good laugh about it. I use to be THAT person who literally cried over spilled milk. But I decided to stop that shit in 2015. It’s been hard, but worth it: to not get upset with myself nor my child when accidents happen. I’m happier. He’s happier. Our home is calmer. Eliminating these particular emotional roller coasters from my life have been good for me and those around me.

It’s OK if you burn bacon, too. You’re human and accidents happen. Take a deep breath, throw it out the back door and start again.

Now excuse me, I need to make B some more bacon.

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