Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Blog

Thank you everyone who has faithfully followed this blog for over 2 years! after an important psychological breakthrough moment, I have consolidated all 4 of my blogs into one, called HouseFairy. Please join me over there for continuing discussions of ALL things Homeschooly, Birthy, Homemakingy, Fashiony, Rock n Rolly, and all things intelligent happy sad funny cool unique dreamy inspiring supportive contemplative and beyond!

your Housefairy,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Go on ahead and make up your own universe?

I posted a big/little tirade today on my homeschool board list about parents and schools that apparently are not only allowing "creative" spelling, but ENCOURAGING it. I do not understand what this could possibly be about but I want to know more. I think it sounds so stupid and ridiculous and smacks a bit to me of the "Afraid to upset junior" bull-archy. Or maybe I just misunderstood the whole thing.

I was waiting for a bunch of people to flame me and to give me big guilt inducing stories about their kid who has difficulties with reading/writing/spelling and I was ready to accept criticism one wrote anything so far! Grr now I feel even weirder. I wonder if they think I am so horrible or if no one wants to rock the boat so to speak and give me hell or agree with me. there is alot of EXTRA, ULTRA HYPER Sensitivity and even though this "community" doesn't seem to get together as a whole or even a fraction, ever, there is alot of super mega tippy-toeing and it ends up that no one writes much of anything "about homeschooling".

I would like to live in a culture/subculture of healthy disagreement and debate and respect, but I understand why this is often impossible.

Anyhow, this is what I said on my list, in reference to encouraging younger kids to make up spellings. Tell me what you think?

There is nothing wrong with telling your child "Wow, that's exactly how I think it should be spelled, too! But its actually N-E-I-G-H! Isn't that strange? English is a really quirky language, huh?" I think in an effort not to upset our kids, or to make them think everything they do is correct, even when it is not,we have gone so far as to be "afraid" to break to them the news that there is an English Language and it is not something Mommy or Daddy made up to make you sad or frustrated, but it is something that is just a TRUTH. There will be frustrations and disappointments along our lives, like if its raining and you really, really wished it was sunny. But the only actual trauma, in my opinion, would be to have to find out outside of the home, perhaps later in life, that yep, Neigh is spelled neigh and why couldn't Mom have just told me so? I have found that even the youngest children prefer truth, and usually without a lot of fancy apologies or worry surrounding it. Now this being said, there is a context of course. If some little kid made you a Valentine's card and you immediately corrected it, I think that would be unnecessary/rude/insensitive. But if a child asked me, "Did I spell everything right, Mama?" I would tell them "Well, since you asked, it looks like you accidentally left the N out of the word Valentine, but everything else was spelled perfectly!" and that's that. Its not mean. Some children might do well with having "Spelling" be some separate entity, and some will just pick it up with exposure to the written word. But to sit down and encourage made up spellings --(am I correct in this being what is happening?) is just completely bizarre to me and really worries me for the child who would think that everything--including our very dialect--could or should be altered to fit their personal comfort level. Maybe make up examples of how everyday living would cease to be if things were not in a common language, and how basic sets of rules (Stop light is red, big blue H sign means Hospital) help us all live. Also, if the child is just crying and freaking out and is convinced that they "Cannot Spell!" they might be a little young/not ready for it and might need a break from that stuff for a while. Better a little later, properly, than to mix a kid long would the creative spelling phase last and then how/when to end it? I think its doing a child a disservice and setting up bad habits for no reason other than to avoid temporary discomfort or frustration. Maybe I misunderstood. Maybe we are talking about just letting some stuff slide when the kid is really working deeply on writing a story or something. Then yes, dont interrupt or discourage the creative process. But when the whole adventure is finished, and enjoyed, it would not only be ok to then go on to have the "proofreading" portion then (like all authors! even JK Rowling! give reassuring examples, "Mommy uses spell check, would you like to try it?") but it can show your child that you really value what they have written.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My 200th post!

Here is one more old one, another pro-life-learning type of thingy. Enjoy!

Enjoy some oldies?

Here are some oldies but goodies back when, lets face it, I used to be a better writer. they say having a baby ruins your brain---or something---well in 2006 I must have got a hold of some good coffee because I had a lot to say and now I just sort of sit here and nurse and I can sort of read magazines and I can sort of remember to click the spell check button.......Zen Mama its ok, your brain will come back! (Right????)

One on how kids really learn and the massive diff. between Teach and Learn.

One on my thoughts on preschool and how I wish there was preschool for old kids, too.

My thoughts on gender stuff as it pertains to kids.

My thoughts on having a college degree and then "just being a mommy"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homechooled kids are normal-er than school kids.

Even though I just wrote on Kneelingwoman's blog that homeschool "support" groups are pretty unnecessary, I certainly am no stranger to them. I have spent alot of time around homeschooled children of all 'types'. From formal, school-at-home types who do long daily lessons around the dining room table, to life-learning/unschooling types whose children follow their own path and pursuits, from huge families where babies and toddlers seem to be popping up in every corner, teenagers and medium kids and mom is always pregnant to the only child whose parents' sole existence seems to be this child and his or her special lessons, special outings, etc---from extremely conservative 'protect the kids from the outside influences/TV is the devil' types to extremely liberal families who allow 100% freedom of exposure to Television/movies and really, everywhere in between....there are so many more similarities among the kids of families who are raising them outside of the School System than there are differences, it is just--glorious to behold, really! I have also spent a lot of time with schooled kids. I was one, i babysat them, i see them and i watch them. On the playgrounds, on the streets, in the stores and in my yard. They operate under the most intense stress and fake ness and i pity them all. The way they play tentativly in the summer with a kid of another gender or age reminds me seriously of some olden times thing where a little white child played in secret with a little black child--- or german with jew or any other artifical horrible adult made constraint that children feel and yet do not want to be a part of--this is school kids to me. they know the "deal" but they hate it.

As you all know, we jumped right in there and did public school this year, for a couple of months and yep, it was just how I thought it would be---different, but not. It was all day immersion in a huge vat of mainstream kids of your exact age from your neighborhood. It was the polar opposite of exposure to anything real. In our neighborhood, it was all white kids from middle middle class whose parents were all friends who were born and raised here. Woo-woo, such socialization!

School kids learn right from the start that kids who are younger than yourself are sucky, inferior, lower, lesser, and of lower value and an embarrassment to be seen with. When Greta would SNEAK and play with Casey on the playground, she would get in big trouble for playing outside of her grade (even got "benched"!) and got teased soundly for such strange behavior. She never got to play with Mickey on the playground because they did not have coinciding recess times.

then of course there is no playing with kids who are not your gender. Lest they be INSTANTLY proclaimed to be your BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND. This leads to an intensification of girls play with pink and boys play with blue-black-red and anything outside of these arbitrary constraints is instantly suspect and up for diagnosis as GAY (=bad).

I am not able to write the way I want to, I feel so passionately about these things but my new mama brain is soft and gentle and I guess my soap box days are still in the future....please be patient with me, I know I anot exactly getting published anytime soon with these ramblings....

But the kids at our homeschool group are just great. Thats all Im tryin to say. These BIG teenaged boys were being really silly and doing all kinds of horseplay stuff and the littler kids jumped right in and nobody batted an eyelash! Girls and boys eat lunch happily on the ground and draw furious-speed cartoons and lavish Harry Potter-esque stories as they laugh and share stories "I LOVE Root Beer, too! " and nobody tries to make it some sexual weird thing.

The big kids play with the little kids or at least are very kind and tolerant of them as they breeze by with their little hotwheels cars, etc. Some boy who looked about 16 was playing a Cello and Casey stared at him from about 2 feet away for a good 15 minutes and the boy didnt mind one bit and when he was done he offered Casey his bow! Casey blushed and declined, but his eyes were very sparkly the rest of the afternoon and he went up in his bed and made a little "cello" out of cardboard and strings.

I love homeschooled kids and think that they are NORMAL. I feel so so sorry for all the kindergartners, entering into the weird weird world of separatism.

Sunday eve

I am behind on my daily blogging--so we must be nice and busy....

Friday's Homeschool Co-Op was cool--Greta had Metric Math which she found to be lackluster, but the handout is something her and I can do at home if we would like. Mickey's Math Games class was enjoyable to him and he made a flip-chart number line which he likes.

Casey and Charlie's watercoloring class got cancelled since the instructor was sick, so they were kind of bummed but we brought our marble tower stuff to share and had a nice time playing with that. Casey in particular has gone from a coo-coo disobedient little hooligan (nice mom huh?) to a genuine joy to behold. He shares, he is super articulate, he is respectful and reasonable and thoughtful and --wow. He was so sweet and patient with the kids at the group, I am very pleased with his progress in all areas.

We ate lunch there, yummy food someone made, soups and salads and brownies and little bottled root beers (why is stuff so yummy and fun in tiny glass bottles?) and we got out in time to get Steve only about 20 minutes after he got out of work (He only works until 1pm every other Friday...then the next week he works until 6pm Friday and then 1/2 day Saturday-- I hate those weeks!)

Yesterday (Saturday) was "family fun" and we did have fun, hanging around and today Greta, Eska and I went to a baby shower of a close friend. Now Steve is out watching football with the Dad-to-be of said baby, and I am catchin up on blogs and emails and we even got grocery day done despite the MAJOR MAJOR snow. Even though it is January in Michigan, the plows just cannot keep up and all major roads are just white--even the expressways! Very treacherous.

Tomorrow is our homeschool-day and I guess we will do all the work for the classes and some boy scout stuff.
Hope you all are staying warm and safe!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A side note on the Contented Mama...

....okay so, so far I have been completely honest with y'all about what we do. And I am realizing that it isnt sinful or weird and that nobody is upset that we arent crackin the books 24-7 right now. But the guilt and strangeness is still there---you know what it is? It is a LACK of upset that I am feeling as a grown woman, the utter LACK of stress and anxiety and fear and doing things for the imagined watchdog that has me feeeling so free and happy that I wonder if this is really it and if I have actually reached Enlightenment, Zen, and--dare I say it, Happiness, do I shout it out to the world like some big annoying born-again or do I keep it to myself like a warm little secret?

Hey today I decided to take a good long look at everfything that caused me to yell at the kids yesterday and do something differently. Yesterday it was BE QUIET! THE BABY IS SLEEPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today I just held her through her naps. Yep! How spoiled! The dishes sat very quietly and the baby was happy and the Mama didnt yell and everyone's domino towers got looked at!

I am telling you, I am so happy. We just live and love and hang around doing cool stuff. And I really am appreciating the baby and the roses are getting smelled and it is just glorious. As I sit here in snowman pajama pants eating triscuits-in-hummous, with a tall glass of fake Sprite from Aldi, dominos and children EVERYWHERE, I am seriously so happy I feel like pink sunlight is shooting out of my fingers and toes. If I could describe what we do right now it would be that I am truly, truly, WITH CHILD(ren). I am with them. I am here for them. But not in some innaproprite way where I ask them if I can make a phone call---no--on the contrary, I have been more firm and unapologetic about what will and wont go on than ever before. So my no's mean no and my yeses are true and happy ones--no resentful martyrdom here, and everyone seems so happy happy happy in there firm and known roles and rythms and habits. Peace!

but this was a long hard fought battle against so many demons, am I in a position yet to try and tell others how-to yet? Not at all. SO I can just keep up the honest daily reports and see what happens.

(To the people who have asked me about television, I promise my opinions on that are coming soon)


I have no idea what we did yesterday. I know we played for hours and hours with those old time-y Animal Cards---do you guys remember those, my Mom used to order me some new ones each month and I never ever have the heart to throw them away. Do you know, with the Genus, species, Family, Order, Class and Phylum, and the ever so intriguing Gestation, Number of Young, Adult Weight, Length, Height and Approx lifespan?

ooh we had fun. First we (Me and Greta and somewhat Casey and Mickey) separated them into all these groupings...some scientific and some completely subjective such as Scary, Gross, Adorable, Rare, Mean, and Boring. LOL! them we invented a big dice rolling game with the animals and ummm there was lots of Math involved. So much our heads were spinning and we were sort of becoming victims of our own convoluted game plans. Making a game is really really hard! Making a FUN game is almost impossible! But we did have fun.

the boys worked on Dominos and we all played Wii Music for a while. It is fun and there are "lessons" with lots of real musical terms like Tone, Harmony, Pitch, Cadence, Rhythm, Melody, Tempo, Dissonance etc to keep the educational component really at the forefront. I hope as we get further into this game it gets...funner? It is cool but not like you are dying to play it or anything. I am kind of surprised. But time will tell.

We played with our rabbit and...cooked? I don't know. It was just a cozy day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 theme really

We had a three-kid dental appointment today that was VERY difficult. In order to have the car, Steve had to bring it home at lunch, then we drove him back and then came home and sat for 45 minutes. Then we went to the dentist, and it took 2 hours all considered. Exhausting. Cant even tell you. Then we had about an hour and a half until we had to go get Steve from work again so we decided to pass the time at Jungle Java again. Kind of a mistake. Too much work and I was feeling very postpartumish with insides falling out and cant stand up all the way and ripping tummy....bummer. That dentist trip, I cant even tell you. three kids in three different rooms, with me running back and forth between each one carrying the baby....had to carry Charlie (never cool he weighs 48 pounds) all the way in due to an extreme tantrum, had to throw him in the dentist , with Greta, had her barricade him in so I could run back through the snow and get the other three kids.....

anyhow by the time we got Steve I was too hurt to go to the Big Boy Scout Pack meeting OR take Greta to Girl Scouts. We had had no dinner by 7pm. I was ordered to bed by Steve while he and the kids cleaned and I rested with the baby. He is an angel. We all ate a late tv-tray meal and yes we watched American Idol try outs. Im not ashamed.....well kind of....but its SO FUNNY!

Exhausting day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, home-school

Today we did our schoolwork. Greta had plenty to do for her co-op class in the form of keeping records, looking up definitions to spelling and vocab words, and reading. Mickey and I did his online math together and read 4 chapters in the book he is doing. It is called The Whipping Boy and is an old time fairy tale type, full of princes and stuff. Seems cool! He also had some vocab words and spelling to do and I had them sit with me and look at the new poetry book and I read outloud to them for a long time. Casey did some first grade worksheets and needed minimal help, and Charlie got all into the vibe of it and filled in piles of shapes worksheets.

We do NO TV/Video Games on our school day, and they didnt even ask or fuss (well, no more than a couple of times in the afternoon)

Mickey's friend (he is ALL of our friend, for sure, but he is an 8 year old boy so I will classify him as Mickeys friend : )) came over around 4 pm and they played out in the snow with Casey for over an hour! It was so cool to see them on the swingset -- in the deep snow, no one has played on it for a few months--but there they were, swinging and jumping off--at least they had a foot of fluff to land in! We were sad to see him have to go home, but it was perfect timing for dinner.

More downsizing and cleaning this evening with me and Daddy, watched some dumb comedian and fell asleep : )

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday, homecare

This morning I made my grocery list in bed, with no coffee for my weary brain--but I did it still, another wonderfully healthy menu, to send Mickey and Daddy to the grocery store(s) with. I am getting so good at this!

They were gone a long time and when they were gone, I prepped the house to receive the new food. I cleaned the kitchen, appliances and floor. We even rolled up the rug so they wouldn't traipse in snow clumps. They did bring my beloved coffee and I was glad to have it. I get bad headaches without my caffeine. We spent the rest of the day hanging out, going through more stuff and "downsizing" (putting it in garbage bags or donation bags) and had a lovely dinner of middle eastern food.

These nice new habits and this schedule have had a remarkable effect on the children. their attitudes are so light and healthy now, instead of all this seething sarcasm and angry brattiness that I have seen for months. Everyone is pretty okay with helping and likes to check the chart and to see that yup, it says Casey and Charlie bathtime, and by golly, there they are in the bath! Hmmm....routine? LOVE it. Really, really love it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Today Daddy worked until 2pm. When he got home, we all helped ready the house for "the Guys" to come over and play board games. We got to hang out with them some and then I took the little boys on a snow walk in the dark. It was magical--the kind of night walk where you whisper, out of reverence--yeah even Charlie. It was a nice day.

After 33 years of living in Michigan and dreading the whole part of once you get back in the house with those darn wet snow clothes on, I finally got wise: We had an empty hamper waiting for us in the entryway. Take off everything you have and place in hamper. Walk down and put it all in the dryer. Drink Cocoa. Genius!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday: Homeschool Co-Op

I loved it! The kids loved it! Yay!

Today we started day one of our weekly homeschool classes/co-op. Greta is enrolled in a class called Science and Writing Through Great Books, and there is a lot of prep work. She did all of it and enjoyed the 2 hour course. she got to dissect a real starfish and did a lot of very junior high level stuff. They are reading Kipling's Just So Stories, The Island of The Blue Dolphins, The Secret Garden, and one other book. The teacher is a homeschool mom of 5, a medical student, and very cool person.

Mickey had a class called Tales of Wonder, which is a language arts course. They are reading poems, and a few other classics.

Casey and Charlie and Eska and I hung out in a little room and they played really nicely with the other little kids and with toys. Then we had lunch which we brought from home, but we can buy it there we just didnt know...and then I did my co-op duty which was cleaning after lunch and then we left....but Greta remained behind to take Art History and then the teacher brought her home since they live nearby.

Very fun! I met a cool mom who is expecting her fourth girl, and got to chat with my Trish : ) and with an old friend whom I have missed. it was as warm and friendly and cozy and welcoming as could be.

Next Friday Greta has a class called metric math, and Mickey has Math Games. Them Casey and Charlie have Watercolors class. Should be darling!

Greta has a HUGE report and presentation due in 2 weeks.

I think this is perfect. Once a week. Pictures soon!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday: field trip

Today we went to Jungle Java--this is an amazingly fun place that truly must have been invented by a mom. It is basically a playscape--a HUGE one, that is surrounded by a carpeted plush-armchaired-leather sofa atmosphere that serves coffee, healthy stuff like pita wraps and salads and little kid treats like cheese and apples and goldfish crackers.

The last time we went I met a bunch of other homeschooling moms from my area! It was so cool! They were talking about breastfeeding and swapping little Waldorfy cookbooks--I knew we would hit it off and we did. They wanted to know whose awesome kid made up "Lets Hide From the Government" game that had every child in the place all was my Greta and we were fast friends! I felt a little weird just plunking myself down in the middle of their lady hang out but they seemed to not mind me so it felt like I knew them forever.....well, they were there again today! I was kind of hoping that it was them, I saw some Birth Is Normal bumper sticker in the parking lot and had a ray of hope ;)

the kids run and play for HOURS--even mopey (lately) Mickey and sophisticated (lately) Greta are running and climbing and squealing and crashing back to my happy place in the big soft armchair with my Eska-Bean-A tucked into her happy nursey land, begging me for pop--free refills--one buck keeps us hydrated all afternoon!

It was a wonderful visit. I met FOUR women who had homebirths recently, so the movement is alive and well in my area, although I only had heard of two of the midwives, one lady had a U/C and the others were new names. Interesting. I am not in a head space to get back into all that but I was happy to see so many nursing Mamas and hear homebirth as such a common choice.

I love Thursdays as our outing days. Next Thursday we are going to go visit my mom! of the very unschooly days but full of laughter and activity

So, yesterday was my big laundry day. We are downsizing and I am enjoying taking out "everything that you are not ECSTATIC to see in your dresser drawer" : ) This was what I asked of my children and husband, so I got rid of (Salvation Army) a LOT of clothes and weird ugly blankets and such.

Greta and Mickey played around on the Guitar Hero for a while in the morning as me and the littlest three hung out in the basement. Casey asked to hear "rock and roll" so I put on Os Mutantes. Super weird brazilian 60s stuff. I love them listening to cool stuff. Eska jumped and jumped in her jumpy while the littlest boys set up some crazy thing that involved duplos as bowling and rolling them down the stairs.

Lunch was nachos and since I am being really hardcore about meals and not snacking and such anymore (more later on that, maybe on Hearth and Home blog?) they were all super hungry and not a complaint! It was nice to have a lunch without griping fussing picking and requests for goofy alternate meals. EVERYONE helped clear the table if they wanted to play Sorry Sliders with me...a little board game that involves rolling pawns to score, almost like curling.

At one oclock the bell rang (I am using a little wind up alarm clock in conjunction with a little egg timer lately for Lunch, Nap, Nap Is Over, Sharing, Clean up Time, Dinner, Bath, is working and they even think it is fun!) I took Charlie upstairs to his nap and Greta and Mickey settled in to finish their thank you cards for their Christmas presents. This small project has taken along time and I was done allowing them to procrastinate, so it was time to do that. they looked up the addresses/zip codes that always seem to elude me and we had a chat about the Post Office and how quaint and amazing it all is. Then as Eska needed a nursing and as the kids are STILL rather sick, we agreed to make a "big blanket puff" in the front room for resting for one hour and watching Wall-E, a new pixar film that is really really cute and wholesome and has a cool message that is very easy to "get" about taking care of Earth and such. Eska sleeps very well if she can nurse and then just be held asleep in my arms and so we did that.

At around 3:30 I announced "no more electronics" and nobody fussed. Greta said something sassy about How she guessed we were supposed to just sit there and look at each other and I cheerily said that that was one option! And then I went and washed up the dishes by hand. We are using the dishwasher only once a night, right before bed now. I have no idea if this saves or wastes water but this is what we are doing. Eska played in the big blanket puff and loved it, and soon the "bored" kids had made up a big game pretending they were running an animal daycare and Charlie and Eska were the naughty cats, etc.

We did our 4:30 clean up and noone fussed--Mickye needs some guidance and so I tell him "you fold all those quilts and put them on the couch" whereas Casey and Greta can just tidy up a place without a meltdown. Charlie was being very wild and so he had some highchair time with his cool magnet tangrams from his auntie for xmas gift. He ended needing an impromptu bath which served as a great playpen for about 1/2 hour for a dirty sticky tot. He is so sweet in the bath, unlike his older brothers at that age whose sole intent was to flood the universe, he plays very cool little games with cars and cups and balls and never splashes. For real!

I started making dinner right at 5, another one of my "resolutions" and Greta helped somewhat although I encouraged her to keep up the cat-daycare-game rather than burn all the tofu. I said it nicely though! she did perfectly cook the broccoli and seems to all of a sudden want to cook with me because I am gracious and cheerful and not put out and crabby, most likely.

Steve got home lateish (5:40 and he works 5 miles from home...the traffic!!!) and we had a nice meal of tofu, mashed potatoes and gravy, canned corn and broccoli. Strange combo but everyone gobbled because, again, we did not have 4 oclock pig out.

Greta, Mickey and Daddy clean the dinner mess while I gave Casey a bath and popped Eska in there, too, since she was a bit grody--she can go in that little baby bath ring thing now and she LOVES it. By the time I got her out and did the cream and powder and diaper and outfit and all, Casey had appeared in my doorway frozen wet naked (he never gives warning or asks to be done he just gets out! argg!) and so I got him all set with pajamas and teeth and took him up for a story. He was asleep by 7! Efficiency, I tell ya, we are doing so well lately....Charlie was in bed by 8 but did yell for a little while. "I dont wanna go bed" seemed to be the theme. I have no idea how Casey can sleep through that, but he does!

Greta and Mickey started their basement hang out at 8pm and Steve and I chatted and tidied and puttered about. I showed him all I had done in the basement and we went in our bedroom and talked about Life while I nursed the baby and then at 9:30 Greta and Mickey went off to their beds, with the admonition of complete lights out by 10.

Steve and I watched funny tv shows and cuddled for a while on the soggy old couch until our backs couldnt take it anymore then we hit the hay. A Lovely day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Hello and happy new year! It has been a while, huh?

Although I was all primed to start blogging EVERYDAY, showcasing that my kids were TOTALLY STILL "LEARNING", appeasing and assuaging all my nay-sayers and dissaprovers both real and mostly imagined, life got in the way. Life got in the way of me embarrassing myself, mentally abusing my kids, and losing my mind in a whirlwind of burn-out within weeks if not days.

I went out with my wise Mama-friend who put out there what I knew, knew, knew, (if only my intuition hadnt been so bruised, buried, hidden, inaccessible, feared, neglected) and that was to lightly and delicately suggest A BIG WINTER BREAK

When I arrived at Starbucks I was literally hunched over, as though in a frozen grief, so physical was my stress, so lost and upside down, bass-ackwards was our homelife--great, we've all dropped out of school and now what? NOW WHAT? when you've lost your way and all the paths have clover'ed and spiral around and all paths have failed you for 5 months, things can get pretty scary, and yet her suggestion to just chill for a while seemed radical to me. But I knew it was right.

Immediately, as in the next day, my kids had a doctors appointment that was really stressful, and when we arrived home, we could literally do nothing besides chill out....and you know what? It started a revolution in the home. The kids got sicker, I threw out my back, and we chilled out for A MONTH.

Now, this feels less like some naughty confession now that it has passed, but thats just what I am trying to say: Why must we hide truth, why must we hide What Works, only to allude to it later?

I was at a crossroads. We pulled all the kids out of school, and I found in a mad dash, a TON of cool educational websites. I was ready to pound their souls into the pavement to PROVE something to NOBODY, to make our home a literal Dentention Center--lists, charts, threats, bribes, by golly nobody could ever say this wasnt better than elementary school ever again

But it was ridiculous. It was the most awful , arbitrary, fake, stressful, yucky thing I have ever tried to do to my kids, ever. It was the same as elementary school, except the teacher was meeeeeeeean.

Education is not something you DO TO kids. Knowledge is not something you spray ONTO them. We chilled out at first because we had to, and then because peace and love was the only way we could heal all of what this family has been through in the past 6 months, year, beyond.

Now, we are slowly retrying a "schedule" that really works. For us all. My children have demonstrated to the entire world their capability to pick up whatever little trivia or skill-set that is asked of them. But as well all know, none of that is important, because none of it is meaningful, and none of it lasts. So we are starting over. New Mama (me), new respect for one another, new self respect, no more bribes, coercion, uglyness.

We have joined a homeschool co-op that starts this Friday. I am looking forward to telling you all about it. We go on outings on Thursdays that can count as field trips. Mondays we are saving for our cool websites and as the one day a week we are doing XYand Z that Mama has decided we need to work on. But the rest of the time is for family living, and I mean just that. I am excited to start over for 2009 and come out of the closet as neither an unschooler nor someone who tries to replicate the meaningless pressurized to-do lists of the school system. this is our homeschool, and for the first time in a long time, ANGER is not sitting at our table with us.

I am sorry to be so vague, and I know you might be clamoring for BUT WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY? I know, I know, I know--I search too for those types of 1-2-3 success recipes, but they are fools gold. All I know is that we are happy and kind and reading and writing and yes, on Mondays, they are doing the math website that I found and are above grade level, for what thats worth.

I DO want to post everyday--but I had to out myself first. It isnt going to look like what I know would have impressed certain folks. I am not posting pic after pic of my kid bent over some worksheet. and we do not have the car or money to travel the world looking at pyramids very often, either. But the children are thriving, safe, open, and our vibe is good and warm again. Casey 100% has ceased all weird behavior for now and we are no longer pursuing any type of therapy for him. I got a little flip-type video camera for xmas and as soon as we figure out how, this will become a video blog at times, too--very fun!

I hope my theme for 2009 of honesty and unapologetic-ness will be a place where you can come for laughs, insight, and a glimpse at a very normal family who happens to choose to live extraordinarily out of the box.

For those who would like:
this is our math

this is our library when we have no car (most days i am way too lazy and cold to drive daddy to work)

and what the kids play constantly is: Dominoes! But not line-up-the-numbers, no, building with them. Grand towers. Ramps, tunnels, marble-runs set ups.....they started in early November and have not had one day in which they have not worked on this passion! Also, they are planning on great and grand Rube Goldberg machines such as this one someday soon.

So, I will charge up the rechargable batteries and fire up the camera and the video camera and promise to post more often.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A room of her own

After sharing a bedroom by choice her whole life with Mickey, even when we lived in a 5 bedroom bungalow, Greta got her own bedroom last weekend! Mickey and Charlie and Casey have a boy's room now, and the baby sleeps with me and Steve. It is going well and Mickey was pretty cool about the whole thing. He liked staying up late and watching tv with her, but we told him they are going to do that in the basement now and even stocked the mini fridge with juice boxes and such. Now they dont even have to be quiet and everyone is getting a whole lot more sleep.

Its funny how long it has taken us to really settle into this new house. But I do love it. Pictures soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

we came, we saw, we said our good-byes...all on good terms!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, back to our regularly scheduled lives. Meaning, after 8 or 9 weeks of public school, we have made a mutual decision with the children to return to homeschooling. Which explains my huge absence from the blogging, emailing or socializing lately. This is BUSY. But wonderful.

You might be a little surprised to hear that I do not have any specific big horror stories to tell you, school ended up being, in general, about what we thought it would be-- but I am sure you can understand how much thought, discussion, and soul searching went into this. all of this. Much more soul-searching went into returning to homeschool than went into going to public school, if you can believe that. So I will attempt to tell our "story", but only this once. Then I am looking forward to this being as it always was meant to be, a Homeschooling Blog about our Homeschooling Days as a family of seven : ) I love saying that!

Well, ok. Where to start--it feels like the story started in June. We had a baby this June and moved to a new house. Things were horrendous. Terrible and terrifying. "carefully planned" c sections and postpartum helpers didnt make a lick of difference, really, once Daddy went back to work, (a week and 3 days after the surgery) I was once again, a paralyzed bleeding woman--this time with a severe sinus infection-- alone with five children in a house that was about 50% unpacked. Nightmares melded into flashbacks and heartbreak is the only way I can describe my world this summer. I was depressed as hell, and for good reason, good reasons indeed. I am sure hormones had a major effect but trust me, what I had "on my plate" was just unbelievable. Alone, astonished, and in major major major pain, unpacking the homeschool stuff was sending me chills of fear and yeah, everything lined up to send the kids to school...but truly, the only reason we actually did it was because they wanted to. They wanted to try it out. It was the last year they could all go to elementary together (Kindergarten, 3rd and 5th grades) the neighborhood was strongly involved in the school system, the new pals were all a-bustle with "who's your homeroom teacher?" and, in hindsight of course, the allure of being in some kind of group, anything to feel less abandoned, adrift, root-less, and completely without a support network or anything was at its all time high and so we went for it. The unknown sounded a tiny bit more promising than the known, which was sucking big time. I dont know a more eloquent way to put that so there you have it.

As I had warned Steve that they might be, from reading these kinds of stories on the homeschool webgroups we have belonged to for nearly a decade now, the grandparents were OVERJOYED. It is hard for that not to be insulting, but hey, we announced what we were doing wth our lives and it was heralded. A pretty good feeling. The neighbors seemed excited (although they were very impressed and curious and "cool" with us being homeschoolers as recently as the July block party and had loads of compliments on our children being "breaths of fresh air" in regards to their lack of bad attitudes, frankly.) everyone was all excited and so we got into it with the kids, too. WOO HOO! sort of.....a very tentative woo hoo.

A whirlwind (much too positive of a word) of dizzying work was to be done by me to and I dragged my wounded carcass all around that hot August, newborn, toddler, and 3 kids in tow, to get us "all signed up". The amount of foot work was seriously insane. Insane. Doctors appointments (no, they do not see your kids all on one day. No they do not give all the shots in one visit.) and shots, o my gosh who WERE we anymore, I am strongly opposed to vaccinations, but in we to fix Casey's teeth lest there be bullies who laugh at stain-y teeth, backpacks, shoes, hip clothes, lunch boxes, haircuts, alarm clocks.....then we find out there is a list of supplies we need to bring. then we buy all that. thn we find out it was the old list and they needed different supplies. Curriculum nights. Meet and greet. Faxing and obtaining records and certificates all times three all with mama still feeling quite cut in half and creaking and leaking all over town I mean, it was just out of control. I have never felt such an onslaught of such paperwork and rigamarole in my life.

This running around had a circular ironic effect of wearing me down so much that I became 100% convinced that climbing into a nice soft bed, Air conditioning, and Noggin/Nick Jr with my 2 nurslings was all I would be able to possibly muster for AT LEAST a year. I developed symptoms of fibromyalgia, including locking jaw, shooting bone pain, weak and immobilized wrists, electric skin pain, and yeah of course ,the good old c section incision adhering to my intestines and pulling my back tightly out of alignment....and establishing breastfeeding again blablabla. I was a M E S S. A fricking mess. I also tripped and fell and tore my rotator cuff and sprained my wrist when i was just 5 weeks postpartum, and with no health insurance, those injuries did nothing but stiffen up and add insult to so much injury. All for a little baby! Who knew?! lol. sort of.

My depression got so bad that I had secretly convinced myself that my kids were being "taken away" and that "I deserved it". There was no one to talk to on a true honest level because really, the kids couldnt stay here with me, and I didnt want to be talked out of or into anything, and so we all just hoped for the best. Although no one knew what that was, underneath all the hurt and all the exhaustion and all the wounds new and old, if you believe in Truth and Honesty, the best would be if Mama got all better and our family was returned intact. Maybe. Or maybe our homeschooling days were behind us now--several family members, both on my side and Steve's were very happy to repeatedly imply and say things to the effect of "Well, you did a great job and now thats over, phew, hooray, case closed". They meant well. But again, that allure of feeling normal, feeling like your grandkids are normal, that can be a strong pull. I understand. But I knew that there was a very real unspoken thing about not ever ever homeschooling again. I didnt have the energy to even deal with all that and so I didnt. You did a great job homeschooling but now thats over, case closed.

Except of course, the case is never closed when you are a parent. The case is never closed ever in life, as long as you live and breathe, and as long as hope and healing fact and truth and communication and intuition are available, no case is closed.

So they went. And I fretted. and I looked out the window, and my stomach burned. And my eyes burned. And I rested. and it was quiet, a little. And Charlie took a loooong nap everyday, and so did the baby. And I organized my little desk. And I balanced the checkbook online and in paper. And I was a great little school-mom. Always there to pick them up at 3:20, always there to walk them to school at 7:50, rain or shine, double jogging stroller full of complaining Charlie and squalling Eska. I hung up their little papers on the dining room wall. I filled out a calender and TWO planners with their incessant "events". I washed laundry more than ever, so the favorite jeans would be available and the gym clothes, etc...and I made the nightmarish perfect lunches often past midnight.

My own lunch duty went from a rowdy, jubilant, hot meal for five everyday to me reheating some little pasta thingie and giving Charlie some bites. Those lunches were really easy, hardly any clean up, but MAN was it lonely. Mister Rogers would talk to us in the background, in his sweet, sad way. After lunch, I would try not to fall asleep nursing anyone to nap, lest I miss the 3:20 pick up time or my online banking time. The cat seemed confused. Charlie seemed confused. I was lost as all hell, but just tried to ride out each day like a quiet surfer. I tried on the idea that i was now just like the other mommies on my block--something i had never ever known, and, heck, even my hair was dyed a sedate medium ash brown--but nope, on my block the mommies go to work and have 2 kids and blazers and pumps and leather purses and those fat little cars called crossovers--2 of them, both silver. So i never did get to be like the other mommies. Just as well. I would rather jam forks in my eyes, but it would have been cool to see another living soul all day besides the mysterious little old man next door who laughs to himself and shakes his head and smokes an actual pipe which fascinates Casey more than I like but I dont dare tell him Pipes Are Bad or else he would give the guy an earful and thats really rude.

All the excitement of our days of course was now concentrated into really bad time slots. If you are a parent of young children, you know how bad these can be: 6:30 am, 330 pm, and about 8 pm. yikes. The jamming the waffles into their sleeping faces. The crying (all three of them, almost every morning) the rushing. The stress. Then when we got home, the stressed out vibe was almost visible, so intense and so deep, the stories the deadlines the tragedies the triumphs but mostly, the confusion, guilt, and fear. Then the evenings--once a time of really awesome family fun, now come the tears again, the accusations, the confusion, the worry, the papers, the money is due! Its all due! Its all overdue! I was supposed to bring you the FORMS!.....tears tears tears. Most nights I was crying, too, and Steve was darn close--as the why did we do this again? For peace and tranquility or some such? dared not be discussed but boy, was it's presence becoming larger and larger in our home.

Now, as to the unfortunately very minor subject of the "education", (this is why school is such a failed experiment in general, how the education gets so lost in the flim flam of the extraneous stuff) the kids did swimmingly. A+, star, and happy face were on every thing they brought home. Hmm. Looks like the homeschooled kids are absolutely perfectly doing just right. Normal. Excellent even. Super! Mickey was bringing home some dear little spelling sheets, decided to use very beautiful handwriting all of a sudden, and they both got the hang of the new-new math within a week. All set on the brains, it appeared. Super!

They endured the MEAP testing and even enjoyed it. They said they were finished so far ahead of the other kids that thye felt a bit worried. Awesome! The teachers were darling, kind and involved. Yay. Seriously! But, umm, just as the vast majority of readers of this blog who are homeschoolers will begin to see, the little spelling lists and the little arithmetic tricks and the abysmal Science (Carnivores eat meat, kids! Did you know that?) and the semi-disturbing nationalist propaganda songs....couldn't that all be obtained in a MUCH easier, much more peaceful way, and in about 1/100th of the time, leaving vast glorious hours for these children to pursue their real thinking and growing time? To read about all the awesome things they are apt to read about, to build and write, to dream and plan, without Kenny or Freddy spitting in their hair, in any old clothes that felt comfortable, with healthy fresh food and water available--and toilets, too! Hmmmm.

Casey was the first one to blatantly object. He often came out of school crying and/or shaking. "Mama?" he would begin asking as he climbed into Eska's empty spot in the double stroller (she hated it and I would have to carry her most days and push the empty thing with the good wrist) "Mama, I don't want to be a school boy anymore." he said in front of "everyone" (strangers, neighbors, staff) Shit. What do I say? "Well, sweetie, lets just talk when we get home, ok?" and, like scummy bad parents, we wouldn't have the talk. Night night kid, your giant issues are not important to us! See you at 630 in the morning!

Steve and I blew him off for about 2 weeks. Might sound short but believe me, 14 days and nights of your own little son coming out of his How-was-yer-day-fine-can-i-have-a-popsicle shell and beginning to tell us all about how-was-his-day for real, and 2 weeks is long enough. All day Kindergarten was not right for Casey. 'nuff said. We heard more than enough and saw all the signs that this child was wilting, fast, and we pulled him out without any ado whatsoever from the school. We didnt even stop to "feel weird" about it and I think maybe because he was so little--5 isnt even "school age" in our state or maybe because the 2 big kids were still enrolled, really, the only conversation longer than 2 minutes was the one I had with my mom, and the consensus from everyone was that of You are the parents and You have to do what feels right. Yes!

Having Casey home changed everything. It was not lonely anymore, that's for sure, and Mama's rest time was completely Kaput. But yet I was ok. We fell into a little routine of him being the oldest kid in the house, and did cute ABC type things that he enjoyed from school, etc. We went to Kids Korner and the Science Center, walks and a few parks. But being tied to the house in a way, having Greta and Mickey in school, its not like we were "free" or anything. Especially since the sicknesses (which I forgot to mention earlier)continued. I had to go get Mickey three times to bring him home sick. That many children all together in those classrooms is very hard on the immune system, especially the respiratory system, and as the days grew colder, the mandatory multiple outside recesses really surprised and bothered me. Greta was pissed, to put it bluntly. She "could not believe they MAKE you stand out in the FREEZING cold like some IDIOT when you are SICK" (I love that kid, shes so hilarious and right-on) I just told her I was so sorry and bought her a new mega warm coat coat and sent her a hat and scarf and gloves and chapsticks and tissues and told her I was sorry again. Mickey found out that the only way you get to stay inside for recess was if you were in trouble and he talked to me pretty honestly about the temptation of that. What do I say? I dug out his warmest coat too and told him to hang in there until ---spring.

The children were coughing so hard at night I thought they would vomit, and they missed five days from fevers and malaise in October alone. On those days when all five kids were home, OF COURSE "Homeschool" was on my mind. It was on everybody's minds. "Could we do it? Could we do it? Could we do it?" was the only thing I thought as I doled out children's motrin, robitussin, echinacea drops...filled vaporizers, stepped on kleenexes, pushed fluids---"this is just like the old days! this is just like the old days! this is just like the old days!" the feeling was so palpable, but it took dear true Mickey to finally say it on one of the sick-days. MAMA I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL ANYMORE I WANNA BE HOMESCHOOLED I HATE SCHOOL HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS FOR YOU SAID WE WERE GONNA CHECK IT OUT FOR A WHILE AND IT HAS BEEN A WHILE AND I DONT WANNA GO ANYMORE I WILL NOT BE BAD I WILL DO EVERYTHING YOU TELL ME BUT I DONT WANNA GO TO SCHOOL ANYMORE

Shit. What was all this about I wont be bad? Was some of this a punitive thing to him? What does a die hard homeschooler say, do, what o what? (33 years of propaganda and pedagogy all booming in my head to the tune of dont let them be quitters/teach them to stick with something/life sucks get used to it kid/you cant always have fun young man/get used to gettin up early and get used to standing in line/give me one good reason why your voice should matter.......)

But somehow, in the swirling din of intuition lost and imagined grandmas pissed off and imagined neighbors offended, Steve and I offered up the meek and shaky "Until you can tell us what is wrong or what is happening or why you dont want to go, you need to still go, Honey." We felt very weird, and more phony and fake and distant from our children than ever in our entire lives as parents. There was less eye contact among all of us and I hoped in my mothers true secret heart that someday we would laugh about this all. I just didnt know how or when or if it was a Big Deal or not. Acid reducer is 4 dollars at WalMart, something I knew quite well now. Steve was on them too for the first time in his life. I wondered how many other families had pharmaceuticals at their dinner tables like so much salt and pepper, all in the name of the educations.

And still, time passed, and the papers kept coming home with the happy faces and the stars and the A+'s on them. And the anxiety grew and grew and the children...changed. Greta began to exhibit signs of becoming obsessively perfectionist, crying constantly (isnt that normal at this age? harhar) and becoming paralyzed with fear about everything. EVERYTHING. Lookism ruled her world, and even though the other fifth graders were about as fashion-forward as someone on week two of a camping trip, the pressure to look incredibly right began to take over our daughter's life, and her language and her attitude was really changing fast. Her and Mickey rarely played anymore, there just was no time, and even on weekends all they had energy for were tv shows, they begged us to not come to the grocery store and even the cider mill "I'm just really tired" and Steve and I were really scared.

A lot of racist and sexist slang was now being bandied about the dinner table. Homo, Rapper, Slut, Fart, Loser, Fat, Nerd were the things we got to hear about, and discuss, and Steve and I began to talk in earnest now. All night past the wee hours. All day on his work phone. Why are we doing this? Why is Joy feeling so much better now? Is it because the kids are away or because hey it was a postpartum hell to beat the band but the baby is five months old and sleeps like a log and basically Mama is Much Better Now because time heals? Hmmmmm

And meanwhile, the energy and effort was literally taking our family apart. The crying. The crying and crying and crying.

We got them on the 40 cents a day hot (cold and burnt) lunch program, we were "poor" enough (with 5 kids you had to make A LOT of money to not qualify) but there was only fried meat most days and so they often picked pb+j, and would come home telling me every single day how nasty and bad the lunch was, how they got only seven minutes to eat it, how they didnt get their oranges, how Kenney threw their milk away on purpose, how the lady gave us the wrong food, how the peanut butter and jelly had "clear stuff" on it (?!) sucked. It just all sucked. And I pushed the double stroller with the freezing babies in it, listening and listening and told them how sorry I was. I offered to make them home lunches again but apparantly you get teased for that and I think they felt bad about how much I complained about that, so they stuck with "hot" lunch. They were dinner-hungry when they got home and so I made dinner-esque foods at 3:45.

To say that the thrill was gone was certainly a true statement, and so the analysis had to begin in earnest. What was beneficial about the school experince-experiement? What were some good things that we and they had learned and done and accomplished? What were some benefits? How would this experience change our homeschool, what lessons have we all learned? What products would we like to use at home? What resources would be available to us if we did discontinue public schooling? Would be be interested in having the children go to just the "specials" as is their legal right in our state or would that be weird/unnecessary? What are the potential regrets? What would we continue doing i.e. getting up at the crackofnight, keeping a planner, following a specific schedule such as Art on Thursdays, and what of all that was merely crowd control that was irrelevant in the family setting?

Time passes, Steve and I discuss, a dear close friend of mine listens to me until her ear must be bleeding off, and still the crying, the attitudes, the stress.

And the report cards... Not the progress reports, but the real honest to goodness report cards: PERFECTION. Literally excelling in every area imaginable. Greta is a delight to have in class. Mickey is a delight to have in class. (even push ups, sit ups and jumping jacks got the coveted "4" mark) What do we make of this data? Is this the proof that homeschool works and works well, that our children are at or above all the other little tikes in town in all the suppossedly key areas, or is it proof that the poor dear things actually managed to fit in after all those years of Joy's crappy little makeshift school despite all those new siblings and new houses and heavens to betsy even all those dern video games (that taught both Greta and Mickey to read, but I digress)

I think it showed the adaptibility of happy well adjusted kids, and the general openness to data acquisition aka learning that was alive and well in them. It showed that they were willing and capable of following new and probably strange rules despite general dissatisfaction, and it showed that they were just fine.

The incredibly cool part now: Part One

When we decided as a family that yes we were really really REALLY sure that we did not want to go to public school anymore, really really really, we contacted their teachers. Greta's teacher responded immediatly, and was awesome. She wrote, "Greta has touched my heart. She is a wonderful person and a wonderful student. I will miss her deeply. With your permission, may the other children write her good bye cards?"

Thats all?? How kind and awesome! Wow. Of course, I wrote to her, she would love some cards. I asked her if Friday would be an ok day to come in and get all of her stuff and she said yes. No questions asked. Very professional, very super cool. As it should be, but you never know.

That Friday, Steve and Greta went to school. He was feeling a little shy but she was all gung ho--"Come on, Daddy! My desk is soooo messy dont freak out!" : )

When they got there, Greta's teacher, math teacher, and science teacher were all in the room, and although the word homeschool was not mentioned, they were super super nice and friendly and full of good luck and come back and visit and come to the Christmas Party and she got a big bag of cards from all the kids.

The math teacher came up to Steve and Greta and told them whata great student Greta was, often the only one to answer in class, never afraid to take risks or give a potentially wrong answer. She offered our family all the math books to keep and unlkimited help from her, anytime, now or down the line.


When I heard this, I just browk down in tears of joy and amazement. this was so beyond anything I had expected, so beyond what they had to do, you know what I mean? Greta had a great chuckle reading the cards from the kids, especially the ones from kids who were not her friends at all but whom were obligated to write "Something nice to Greta". They were really funny. Dear Greta well goodbye Greta---in loopy cursive, all sliding down the page. She loved it.

Mickey's teacher never wrote me back or called me. I am really bummed out and surprised. He is still waiting for his bag of cards. (Sheesh, even Casey got a bag of cards and he hit the other children, went to the principals office twice and only was there 4 weeks)

Super Cool part, part 2:

News travels like lightening in our neighborhood, and by the very first day out of school, one of the big-wig Moms on our block made a chance to talk to Greta for a moment. She wanted her son to come get Greta to show her his new lizard, and when Greta got in their house, she told Greta "I heard that you guys are going to be homeschooling again." (I appreciate that wording, so much, not dropped out or not gonna go to school anymore, you kmow?) and Greta said "Yeah...." and the Mom said "Public school is pretty crazy, huh? Well, youre a lucky girl." and that was it!


Super Cool part, part 3:

We were feeling less nervous and weird about this than ever, but there were still the family members to contend with. All of our friends knew now. the neighbors knew, the teachers and principal knew, and Earth still turned. But oh man, grandmas and the others, even though we have been homeschoolers from the very start, those 9 weeks seemed to give them such security or contentment, gulp.

Steve told his mom over the phone and she did not freak out whatsoever. She said you guys are the parents and you know what you are doing. Im sure public school was really alot for all of you and as long as Joy is feeling like she can handle it, I am super happy for you guys.


I am beginning to feel like my old self again, and my new self is geting stronger, too. This has been a time of tremendous changes, but all necessary and good, despite the chaos of it all, such is life. Next entry will be all about the A W E S O M E stuff we are doing and getting ready to do after the Holidays. Our homeschool was forever changed by this experience, and it was for the best. I am really glad they got to check it out and I am incredibly impressed with the teachers. It has been a wild ride, but alot of good came out of it. Weve got a real connection in this town, now, and tons of new things on the horizon.

Greta has returned 100% to her old happy self, enjoying lip gloss, rock n roll and making a cool outfit now and then, but mostly can be found cuddled up in some cozy pants among her infinite drawings of reptiles, her nose buried in a book. Mickey sleeps in like never before, he was really depleted by this lingering cough, but he has stuck with the beautiful new handwriting and doing all of his (home) schoolwork without fussing, which is a joy. Casey is Casey, and he is an out of sync little guy, but his mastery of language has gone from recognizing most capital letters to reading many common sightwords and drawing letters all the time for fun. He went from being able to kind of draw a scrawly happy face to drawing animals, scenes, people and I think we might have another artist in the family! We look forward to him entering therapy and hopefully that will help him get his right brain and left brain all lined up or whatever it is all about. He even takes a nap again, which has been very good for the family. Charlie is loud and funny and he amuses himself with things like dominoes and blocks much better than the other kids did at age three. He keeps us all laughing, even when he is being naughty. Eska is still a dream baby, revving up to crawl and making happy noises in her doorway jumper. Greta and Mickey both cried when they told us how much they missed her when they were at school.

Welcome back to Homeschool Is Love!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sensory Processing Disorder---much more than "my tags itch"!

A patron saint of our family turned me onto this website and this is the path we are going to pursue now for Casey.

I do not have any energy or time to commit to blogging or gosh even basic needs right now. But now we have hope for our son.

Please check it out, if you are interested. I was literally crying this morning like so many mornings, just wracking my brain with WHAT THE HELL IS W R O N G WITH HIM???? and this email popped into my inbox, suggesting this disorder and I googled it and....well now I have to go call the pediatrician and demand a referral for Occupational therapist. If they are stupid about it I will switch doctors asap.

Be thinking of my Casey and our whole family as we start the journey of discovery and adaptation after 5 years of calling this little boy "bad", and living in a circle and a society that has also called him AND our parenting "bad", we have a whole lot of healing to do.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Birthday, Charlie Linden!

Charlie had a wonderful third birthday. Literally all of our friends got together at the old house and helped to disassemble our wooden playscape, lent us a pick up truck, and came and re-built the monstrously heavy old thing in our new backyard. Charlie was extremely surprised and they have been playing on it since Saturday afternoon almost non-stop!

This is the pink cake with all the sprinkles and all the candles that he wanted. It was a great day. Thank you everyone!!!!!!