Question to my readers

I am working on some unique ideas to help parents in our local area find things to do with their children on weekends, holidays and other school vacations. If there was a website available to you for this kind of thing, what would be most useful to you? Do you prefer lots of pictures? A good description of what is available? Discounts to that place (if it costs money)? Perhaps worksheets or other activities that you and your child can take part in at that location?

Would you subscribe to this kind of website? Would you pay for access to this kind of service? Would you purchase materials (such as ebooks, worksheets) from this kind of a site? Would you like this site to link you up with amazon or other sellers of activities that can be used at the sites (for example, if the activity was to fly a foam airplane, would you want the site to tell you “These can be purchased online or at Target” or would you rather that it said something to the effect of “Purchase online now”)

Share your comments below.

To blog or not to blog….

Dear WordPress,
I still love you, I don’t want you to think I don’t. The problem is this: I found bubblews.com and it pays me for my posts. Yep, that’s what I said. PAY. Like money, for doing, well just this. It’s kinda awesome actually. Well, to be clear, it doesn’t actually pay for the posts, but for the number of views, likes and comments you get.

As a homeschooling mother, I have been looking for a way to supplement my income. Nothing major or huge. No thanks, I don’t want to join your pyramid scheme or sell Avon, as great as those things may be for you. I don’t have time to start another major endeavor. And I am not willing to purchase product that I will then have to move. That just isn’t me.

I’ve done online surveys. For a while, some of them are good. Eventually though, I just get bored with talking about toilet paper and makeup. So I have been looking for it. You know the “it.” The it all of us parents out there with too many bills and not enough time look for. An easy-er way to make money. You know, a way that we can cash in a few extra dollars a month without cashing in our sanity.

Well WordPress, this may be it. After all, I am spending the time writing anyway….

Ain’t nobody got time for that….

Just a random point of interest… shouldn’t homeschooling actually involve being at home?
My son is only six, but it has already begun. The day to day scheduling of “Mom, I want to do/go….” For anyone who thinks that homeschooled children are weird and lack thorough socialization, you clearly don’t know what you are talking about. While, yes, there are some weird homeschooled kids out there, most homeschooled children are perfectly normal kids. And anyway, little Timmy eats paste at his “perfectly social” roomof25ofhispeers public school. Some kids are just weird. The trench coat mafia certainly did not begin in a homeschool co-op, though I am certain there are some homicidal maniac teenaged homeschool kids out there too.
But I digress.
My son had me sitting in an auditorium for hours on end today while he auditioned for a play. He got a part—a whirlybird in Hansel and Gretel—that I admittedly have no idea what it is or what it does. But, I guess I will find out at rehearsals on Wednesday and Thursday and the two shows on Friday. And he will be able to tell me all about how he loves it on the way to his gymnastics class, also on Thursday morning.
Lessons? Like bookwork? Oh yeah, we do have to find time to accomplish that. We do have Tuesday and we did try to get through some of it this weekend. However, we didn’t get as much done as I would have liked due to my son’s desire to participate in a study at George Washington University about how children hear and speak; A study that earned him $100; A study that also tested his vocabulary and gave it an age equivalency. I found another reason to homeschool—apparently my son would be a curve killer. His vocabulary ranked in the 19+ age range. Did I mention he was 6? Yeah, that is absolutely going into his portfolio.
Of course, one cannot be in Washington DC and resist the temptation to visit at least a few of the museums. So, we went to gawk at the Van Gogh’s and Picasso’s at the National Gallery of Art. And, we dipped in at the Museum of the American Indian. Who could resist lunch at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and an IMAX movie? And of course, while we were right there we had to check out the children’s area.
Yeah, homeschooling is a tough life.
The part that blows my mind? Traditionally schooled children often do the same kind of activities as my son. How do their parents cope? I don’t think I could handle it. I lack the patience. And the energy. You homeschooling Moms know what I’m talking about? ;o)

The bane of technology

The invention of the cell phone is not necessarily a good thing.

One of my pet peeves in life is incessant calling. Not as in someone calls you once for three or four days in a row, though I have to admit this is not my favorite thing either. No, I mean calls the house phone, no one answers and they call the cell phone, no one answers. So what do they do? Wait about 3 minutes and start the whole cycle over again. This can go on for HOURS.

This is bad enough for that pesky friend who just really wants to tell you what dress her mortal enemy was wearing with which shoes (or whatever it is shallow girls with no bookshelves talk about), but it is even worse when it is your family.

Let me give a little background here for those that don’t know; My son is six and homeschooled. I also work a full time job that keeps me away from home from about 1330 to 2230 Monday through Friday (that’s 1:30pm-10:30pm for you civies out there ;o)) Therefore, my son’s school work typically takes place from about 1000-1300 every day. My family all knows this. I have emphasized this point to them (particularly to my Mother) on many occasions. The neighborhood knows this and even the neighborhood kids know not to come by until after 1500 (3pm). Despite this, I received no fewer than six calls between 10 am and 1130 from my Mother. No voicemails. No texts. Just the constant ringing of the phone.

All I want to ask is WHY??!!!! Someone had better be dead, missing appendages or worse. I want to pick up the phone and yell. I don’t, because the fallout would be far worse than the initial distraction of the phone call at hand and the point is, WE ARE BUSY!! It is hard enough to get my energy filled little peanut to sit still to get his work done for the short bursts that we do sit down work. When the phone rings off the hook, he knows what’s up. He knew it was Grandma and he wanted to stop and talk. The entire focus that we had worked hard to achieve was lost. His mind was no longer on the plight of the ancient Mesopotamians and imagining what life would be like for a child in the cities we were reading about. His mind was on talks of cookies and bear spotting.

Thanks Mom. Do you really think I was incapable of seeing the caller ID and calling you back when we had finished our school work? I know it’s you, and when we are ready, willing, and able we will return your phone call. The constant ringing of the phone does little more than cause me to turn off the ringer all together… maybe for days.

It’s this kind of blatant disrespect for another person’s time and priorities that make me loathe phones, social media and other forms of communication that allow others to have almost constant contact and information on our life’s goings on. But by the same token, what would I ever do without my BuzzFeed “Top ten” lists??

The Mama wars….

“I’m not a parent, but let me tell you something about raising kids…” Haven’t we all heard this one before? Raise your hand if you are sick of know-it-all non-parents adding their two cents in to your parenting disaster.

Yes, I do realize it probably isn’t best for my son to eat sand. But thirty minutes ago he was diving head first off the couch into the floor, so I feel like we’re making progress. Maybe by tomorrow I can encourage him not to stick Legos up his nose, but for today, I am just happy if we make it to supper with all of our limbs still attached and no one bleeding from the head.

Where I work, we have a handful of girls who are pregnant. The first time moms are nervous, apprehensive and getting lots of unsolicited advice. I get to be a fly on the wall for most of it. I am well known at work for not being the most talkative person in the room. I usually sit quietly, staring at my computer screen and working hard to distract myself from the conversations around me. Every once in a while, one gets going that I just can’t ignore. Lately, this has been the “oh, you’re pregnant? Let me tell you what you should/shouldn’t do” talk.

Let me make one thing clear. I work in an extremely male dominated facility. There are only 12 girls out of over 80 workers. Not counting myself, two are mothers and two are pregnant. So you wouldn’t think the two preggos here would have to deal with a whole lot of “you should be…” or “I don’t think you should be…” advice. But they do. Every. Single. Day.

As if it wasn’t annoying enough hearing it from the well-meaning, but seriously misguided dudes who have had wives that have been pregnant, it is ten times more annoying hearing it from the bachelors and bachelorettes who have neither carried children, have children of their own or seen children anywhere but on Rugrats reruns.

Two years ago, I made the difficult decision to homeschool my son. As a veteran mother, I had no trouble shooting down the less than educated concerns of my 18 year old co-workers who proceeded to enlighten me on the necessity of social education and the lack of my ability to possibly know enough to walk a kindergartener through his A, B, Cs. I simply thanked them all for reminding me why I had chosen to homeschool.

For these new mothers, I clench my teeth in aggravation on their behalf. But, I don’t speak of for them. Why? To do so would handicap them. They will be dealing with this for 18 years at least. They need to learn to fight the good fight now. Learning to trust your instincts and stand up for your kids is something that has to come from within. It is not something that can be impressed upon you from an external force. My telling them to stand up for themselves would honestly make me just one more person, giving their two cents.

And who needs that, really?

Snobs, Soccer and other S words…

2014FIFAWorldCupHey look! Two days in a row. I’m on a roll with this keep-the-blog-updated thing. In case you haven’t been watching, Brazil lost to Germany in a big way. The score was 7-1. I haven’t been watching, but everyone I work with has. They come in to my office, put their pretentious noses in the air and remind me that they are cultured and sophisticated because they are watching the world’s biggest soccer match.

Of course, I know the truth. These are the same idiots who asked me last week if London was a city or a country. I don’t even think most of them are watching it. They unlock their iPhones, open their EPSN apps, run through the highlights and then promptly declare, “you mean you haven’t been watching the game?” I’m on to you. I can smell you from a mile away. Your desktop has pictures of Paris, Madrid, Machu Piccchu. But you can’t tell England from Great Brittan from the United Kingdom. Snoot on, but what will you talk about in a month when your precious soccer match is over?

For actual soccer fans, you know, the ones who followed it BEFORE the World Cup made headlines, I’m good with your enthusiasm. Truth is, I don’t mind the World-Cup-Only soccer fan’s enthusiasm. It’s their snootiness I take issue with. Go team USA!! Oh, we’re out? Well, then, whatever.

Because you should read more… I should write more

It’s time.

I have done quite a bit of soul searching over the last few months, and I have come to the conclusion that it is time that I get back to writing– Something more and more meaningful than 121 characters of a tweet or facebook post. You can’t get better at writing unless you practice.
So, I intend to do just that. Not only will I make a whole hearted effort to keep my blog actually up to date, but I also intend to start a book. Yes, a book. I know, some of you are asking, “if she can’t keep up with a simple blog, how will she ever get to writing an entire book?” Well, the answer is simple. I have no idea.

I just intend to do it. Those of you who have known me for years know that when I get set in my mind to do something, do it I shall. But, there is no hard and fast rule for how long I expect it to take. Nor is there anything that says somewhere down the road I might not change my mind. But for now, I will write.
I have done a bit of soul searching in many arenas the last few months. My job, namely, has given me much to be introspective about. I love what I do and the interesting people I get to meet and work with. The politics, backstabbing and maliciousness, these are not things I enjoy. I have lived much of my life in a sort of optimism; Optimism that life had certain rules and that they would be followed. That injustices would be righted, eventually. Life taught me a very hard lesson about optimism before but clearly I did not learn it well enough. So man’s world has reached out again to remind me that power rules the world, not law or justice. A lesson that has sunk in deeper this time around, despite the stakes being decidedly lower and the injustice more to my pride than my person. I am at a crossroads, where optimism and pessimism meet naiveté and disillusionment. I am standing at the center, and have not yet decided which road is my path.

Second, my son. My child is six and a shining star in an otherwise darkened sky. His homeschooling is going swimmingly. We have been at odds, the volcanoes versus the raging sea; One spewing hot ash and smoke, the other beating the rocks in an attempt to smash them to sand. In the end, the magma is cooled by the sea and the sea is tamed by the rising earth. Together, we have created a landscape neither of us recognize as being completely our own. I have found patience, and a surrendering of will. He has found focus, and a love for bookwork. We spend fewer hours in our household classroom but we accomplish much more than we did before. He gets to pick the topics and the order of the day, and I arrange the lessons and the key points. And we discover together. Bach, Van Gogh, dinosaurs, an (odd) love of flashcards (his—not mine). He is reading now, full books with complicated words. Signs in stores, on streets and on videogames.

My child is unique. Sensitive and bold. And he is learning, not in my way- but in HIS way. Today, he delighted the folks on our Meals on Wheels route telling them that he loved the “haunting” music of Johann Sebastian Bach but his favorite was still “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg (a song he learned last year while studying Norway prior to our Disney trip). And, he tickled and somewhat confounded his mama by turning down cupcakes, ice cream and candy from those folks but happily accepting freshly picked snap peas from the garden.

Oh the tricks life will throw your way. Some days, I feel like someone is studying me. Throwing odd tasks my way just to study how I will react. Perhaps as a story for a novel. The real question- am I the villain, or the heroine?