A quick update

A quick update for those that follow here:
The last month or so has been busy times for this homeschooling mama. We have entered a literacy fair which takes place tomorrow. My zany six year old has made a fantastic poster to display on the book Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson. I will post a picture of the poster later. We have also recently gotten into geocaching. What fun! Letting my son embark on a treasure hunt, teaching him how to use lat/longs, directions, deduction and to spot a well camouflaged cache. There are also tons of riddles to solve and it often takes the whole team to accomplish this.
We took our first family trip to Gettysburg. The first day was cool and very foggy, which only served to add to the mystique of the area. We took off beaten paths through the woods, lined up for General Reynolds, “fired” Union cannons and ultimately fell to enemy fire. After all that work, we enjoyed a steak dinner in the oldest house in Gettysburg (Dobbin House Tavern) and then retired to our hotel room. My six year old was very excited by a shower that was large enough all three of us could have slept in there with room to spare. We met up with my uncle who I had not seen in four years or so and let J take a dip in the pool.
The next day, we started at the museum, film and cyclorama. My son was engaged and I watched as his tiny little mind was taking it all in. After the film and a short break, we completed a 3 hour audio tour which took us 6 hours due to frequent stopping and soldiering that we felt compelled to do. It was such a pleasure to take my son to the spot where his namesake earned the Medal of Honor through a remarkable act of bravery. I could see his pride when I explained to him what had taken place on that patch of dirt and that I had named him after such an honorable soldier.
My sister has finally had her baby, though there has been some family drama post birthing. I am just pleased to not be involved in the drama. I was geocaching when it all took place and (fortunately) unable to answer the phone.
I have been thankfully recovering from a little downtime. Fiona was my faithful friend, her sweet voice helping to ease very old scars. The world so often lets me down and I want to believe that my past is an anomaly. But every day I sit in this place, I watch these people interact, I read the news, I read comments on blogs and videos and I know the awful truth. My past is the past of so many women and that reality is often too much to bear.
For today, I choose not to give in. There is no past that can take away my today.

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You should WANT your kids

I don’t understand why people bother to have children if they don’t want to spend time with them. Listening to one of the mothers at my son’s gymnastics class, you’d think her daughter was some huge inconvenience. You’d think she just appeared, unasked for, like a puppy on the doorstep. No lady. In fact, you and your husband created your child. You chose to carry her and give her life. Now, treating her like you can’t stand to be around her; talking to the other mothers in gymnastics, telling them how much you can’t stand to have her at the house for the summer—that is something I can’t understand.

This all came about because another mother and I were discussing our homeschooling plans for the upcoming school year. The other mother is homeschooling her daughter for the first time- kindergarten. My son is now in first grade, and we’ve now spent over a year homeschooling. She is from another country. So, she was getting advice and tips. Hearing this, the mother of the other poor little girl began her put downs. “I just don’t understand how you can deal with your kids all day every day without a break.” “I couldn’t be home that much.” “I have to get out of the house, I have to get her out of the house.” “I love my daughter but I just couldn’t deal with her full time. I can’t wait for her to go back to school.”

I looked at her sweet little toe-headed five year old and thought of how it must make her feel to have her mother tell strangers that she doesn’t want to deal with or be around her all the time. That can’t do much for a child’s confidence. Children experience enough judgment and criticism from the world around them. At least their parents should want to spend time with them, feel compelled to do better for their kids. If you don’t want more for your kids—and not just want more but be willing to provide it—who will?

This is not an incitement on parents who public school. People send their kids to public, private and charter schools for many reasons. They also homeschool for many reasons. Sometimes those choices boil down to a “this is the best we can do for now” situation and many times it boils down to “this is what I think is best.” All of those are perfectly acceptable. What I am baffled at, are the parents who say things like “I couldn’t deal with her full time.” If you can’t stand to be around your kid, its because YOU did something wrong. Children are a reflection of their parent’s parenting skills. All children deserve to feel loved and wanted, no matter their parent’s choice of schools.

Inspired

Sometimes you are just inspired. When life has found me sitting, day in and day out, in a mold infested room with fuzzy blobs of people like substance whose brains have long since rotted from neglect, inspiration has been hard pressed to find me. The sheer blood boiling ignorance of having to tell someone to turn the page to find the answers they seek; of having someone so unaware of the basic facts of life that are going on around them– its maddening.

One man’s misfortune is my luck. One of the few people whose light burns brighter than the rest has found himself under the misfortune of being thrust back into our administrative hovel. He is a dreamer, and with his love will soon be off on a world adventure. My bones are green with envy. To be able to throw off the world, dispossess themselves of all the ties that bind, and just go. My heart longs to go on such grand adventures.

Alas, I am bound here by chains stronger. But I am working on our release. Paying off our debts is goal number one. Anyone who has a Master’s Degree worth of student debt knows what I mean. We aren’t over our heads, but we have enough to make freedom out of reach. So, a short time of focused goal tending and then, off to see the world.

I have already freed my son of societal expectations by not forcing him into the government run institution that erodes their self and builds up an artificial, commercial consumer who has more wants than dreams. My goal: to teach him to find passion for something. Anything. As long as it is his passion.

For today, I am playing hooky from work. Taking my son to a concert he picked. And delaying the mind numbing ignorance that makes me angry and anxious.

Until then: out to collect my daily prize!!

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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.