The long journey of homeschooling

The week between Christmas and New Year’s did not go well in our homeschool.  Many would say it was because we were actually doing school but the week before was worse because we took off and they were bored, bored, bored.  Our main problem is that we have an 11 year old in the house who thinks my rules are merely suggestions which he should take under advisement.  Of course, upon reflection, he always decides that my rules are not really good ideas and he can always think of reasons why they don’t apply.  He always wrong about why they don’t apply but he always thinks that they don’t apply in this particular situation.  Mainly because he doesn’t want them ever to apply.  Sigh.

Things are much, much better.  His attitude has changed and my attitude has changed since I have found out that so many struggle with boys at this age.  Knowing it is a stage helps me to not get so frustrated.  He still gets correction but I don’t feel like I’m banging my head against the wall so much trying to figure out how to communicate better with him.  The answer is that I can’t.   At the moment, he’s just not going to get it.  So until he does, he’ll just get lots of correction.

Things were so bad at one point that I looked up our local middle school to see where he needed to be in every subject to be enrolled. 🙂  That’s when I found out that we aren’t zoned to the middle school that I thought we were zoned to.  You know, when you aren’t looking at school particulars when you move into a house, you can really be clueless about such things.  But, I digress.

Anyway, one person posted a quote on a local homeschooling loop that has become my “words to live by.”  So for those of you who may be having a dip in the road, I post it here:

“Is that your plough leaning by the tree, and is it not too heavy?”

“It is heavy,” answered the Princess,” but I love to turn the hard earth
into soft furrows and know that I am making good soil wherein my seeds
may grow. When I feel the weight too much, I try to think of the
harvest”

from “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Also, on Monday night, I went to a meeting of moms in our church who homeschool — they aren’t numerous but they are all wonderful.  We started talking about another homeschool mom who has finished her homeschooling journey and another mom said that she used to ask her how she did it and how she wasn’t intimidated and the response was this:  “I always pray ‘Lord, let it be enough.’ ”  So that is now my prayer.

Oh, and btw, one of her 3 boys has a PhD in astrophysics, another is studying to be an M.D. and the third is studying for his MDiv.  I would say that the Lord answered her prayer abundantly.

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Steal second?

About a month ago, the kids sang at the beginning of our church service.  Not FM#1 of course because he’s a big boy now but all the rest were up front.  In our family, there is always the tension of getting there early so the kids can be in place and practice once or twice and not getting there so early that they are bored and start causing trouble.  😀

I thought we had timed it perfectly but I was so very wrong.  FM#3 got bored and decided to pick on a pastor’s kid.  Why pick on just any kid when you can maybe take out the child of a man of the cloth and draw even more attention to yourself?  This particular boy is the oldest boy of the RUF minister at a local university.  FM#3 decided he needed a bear hug.  The other child was not so sure he needed a bear hug but is too sweet to fight back.  The minister of music, who was tasked with running this whole endeavor which is probably the least favorite task in his job description, saw that a takedown was about to happen and had the audacity to tell FM#3 to stop and he may have even used the word “no”.  This elicited a stare of shooting darts from FM#3.  The minister of music was oblivious to the shooting darts of death coming from FM#3’s eyes but we, the parents, were not.  My Beloved, in an effort to put him in a better mood, started giving him a thumbs up and smiling at him.  FM#3 finally responded and gave us a smile and a thumbs up back.  All was right with the world.

And then he started giving us some other signals.  He pointed to the heavens and then looked up.  I’m not sure what he was trying to say.  Maybe that God was watching him?  Maybe that God was watching us?  It seemed a bit more understandable than what followed.  What followed did not make much sense.  Actually, it didn’t make any sense at all but FM#3 kept sending signals.  He went on and on and on . . .

The family sitting behind us had some family members visiting.  The visitors were in hysterics.  I heard them making comments and laughing.  And then I heard the people they were with say “It’s their son!” and turned around enough to see the wife pointing to us.

Me?  I was laughing so hard I was crying.  Others would have been mortified.  I’m WAY past that.  He’s the fourth child.  I got over being embarrassed decades ago. 🙂

When we passed the peace and greeted those around us, the visitors asked us what he was saying.  We told them we had no idea but it looked like he was telling us to steal second.  They told us that he was so cute and that he stole the show.  Yes, we know.  They told us that they hoped we weren’t too embarrassed because there is always a kid who acts up at every one of these things.  We told them that we were happy to serve the church and provide that child so that other families were spared. 😉

We’ll probably be providing this service for a few years to come.

I never knew

FM#2 and FM#3 had a science book down the other day and were studying it very seriously to see how a baby grows in his mommy’s tummy.  FM#3 later reported to my Beloved that first you’re made and you look yucky and then you grow some and you still look yucky and then you grow some more and still you look yucky and then finally you grow enough to look like a baby and you’re in your mommy’s tummy.

To me, he reported that he knew where babies came from.  I made the hmmm sound that us mothers make when we are not sure we want to hear the words that are about to come forth from our children’s mouths and he said, “You grow in your mommy’s tummy and then one day your mommy goes blech (made a throwing up sound) and you come out your mommy’s mouth.”  I said, “You don’t come out your mommy’s mouth.”  (Why, oh why, do I open my mouth?)  He responded, “Where else would you come out?” I told him that was a very good question that we would discuss later, as in years from now.  He looked at me and said “You come out the mouth” and walked off quite satisfied with his discovery of knowledge.

Now, I’m just waiting to see what other people say if he shares his wealth of knowledge with them. 🙂

Our biggest homeschool field trip yet

I say yet because I do aspire to be like EuroMom and take the kiddoes to Europe.  Of course, I don’t know if we’ll ever manage 5 weeks away but 3 would be nice.  Anyway, this trip was much less lofty in ambition — we went to Williamsburg and surrounds as well as other points of interest in Virginia and the D.C. area.  We took 2 weeks and should have taken just a tad more.

It was marvelous.

And I think the kids enjoyed it too. 😉

So in the coming weeks, I hope to blog about our trip and adventures.  I even plan to post pictures.  For now, I thought I would give you a bit of advice about trip planning.  Many of my friends had made the same trip or parts of the same trip in the last year and had blogged about it. They were all homeschoolers and all had given me advice in the past about things — advice that had been fruitful.  So I studied their blogs diligently.  And read nothing else about where we were going.  Nothing like a travel guide where someone was actually paid to give hints and ideas.  That was maybe a bad idea.  Not that I didn’t have great advice from my friends but I’m juts saying — maybe I could have planned even better.  So that’s my hint.  Read travel guides.  I used to do that.  But I never thought of it this time.  It wasn’t until we were near the end of our trip and I saw a book in a museum bookstore that said “Visiting D.C. with Kids” that I thought “travel guides for trip planning.  Hmmm, now that’s a novel idea!”   Do you think I really listen to my friends?  I will say that I didn’t have one bit of bad advice from any of them.  I’m just saying that maybe I could have learned more.

The Pressure, the pressure

So people think that FM#3 is funnier more often than I post and they are probably right but it’s all a blur.  Last night he didn’t say anything funny but he did something funny.  Does that count?  I met my Beloved at work to take his car and one kid to Scouts while he took the other three back home and had dinner.  As soon as I got out of the car, FM#3 hopped into the driver’s seat and started “driving”.  He also locked the doors (as if we couldn’t get in).  He wouldn’t’ get out of the driver’s seat and I just imagined that he was arguing his case with his father.  Forget the fact that he can’t touch the pedals, he still thinks he’s good to go. Today, I had the car on and was getting something out of the back when he made his move again.  I told him in no uncertain terms to not go near the driver’s seat.  He backed off but we might need to have some driving lessons soon just to make sure he’s safe. 🙂

And just to be clear, I don’t think he’s as funny as he used to be.  He’s sweeter.  Yesterday, he told me how much he enjoyed holding my hand.  “I just love it” he said, grasping my hand as we walked down the sidewalk in front of the house to go to the car.  But I think I’m still not off the hook.  I think you’ll take sweet stories too!

A couple of funny comments

Since I’m getting complaints about no blog posts and since FM#3 has finally come through with a couple of funny things, I will bow to the pressure. 🙂

FM#3 is into all things invisible.  He has been playing with an invisible paper airplane which I encouraged wholeheartedly and he is always talking about the disappearing this and the disappearing that.  Last week, he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to do and I raised my eyebrows at him and he said “You can’t see me, I’m invisible.”  Oh, yeah?

Then later last week, we bought Prince Caspian on DVD and watched it.  I know, I know, probably not the best idea for a child who is dealing with nightmares but I bowed to pressure.  Before we popped it in, FM#2 was assigning all the roles of who was playing whom and told FM#3 he could be Aslan.  Now, FM#3 used to roar a lot, so he’s always been the perfect one for this role but as he watched the movie, he complained with his assignment — “He doesn’t have red hair.  I need to be someone with red hair.”  Gee, do you think all those strangers who come up to him and comment on his hair are influencing what he sees as significant about himself?

The librarians need to be familiar with their own material

We borrowed a DVD from the library and it was scratched so I ran it back by today and ran in to tell them.  I was going to leave all the kids in the car but FM#3 wanted to come in.  As I turned to leave after checking to see if some of my holds had come in, FM#3 asked “Is that George Washington – spymaster?  The librarian said “That’s a bust of PRESIDENT George Washington.”  FM#3 said, “No, he’s George Washington, SPYMASTER.”  The librarian looked at me like I was teaching my children the strangest things.  I explained to her that we were listening to an audio book on the spy rings that George Washington ran during the Revolutionary War.  George Washington, Spymaster.

She found it fascinating and wanted to know more.  Then I told her it was from HER library.  She seemed a bit, umm, embarrassed.

And I realized that the 4 year old is picking up on more than I thought. 🙂