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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Confessions of a totally out of control homeschool mom

Okay, so I've been reading y'all's blogs and feeling like the highest aspirations my children will attain to is going to be cleaning your children's houses some day. I mean, Kiwi's got Sonlight going, Aunt Fanny actually has a SCHEDULE, that brainy tree girl has already been on a field trip, and in Marie's house they are inventing the cure for cancer.

And us?

Well, in the past year I still have not even had one day in which I have covered math, reading, and our curriculum for all three kids. Not one. And I really am not exaggerating. I start each day with good intentions. But then it all falls apart.

Today, it started with breakfast, which went fine, but then I let the dog out, and asked Mimi to feed Thumper. When she went to feed Thumper, she quickly beat a hasty retreat because of two really persistent wasps. She told me there was a nest in our outdoor light switch, so of course I had to check it out. And she was right. Not only was there a nest there (with HUGE wasps, and a large number of them on top of that) but there were several smaller ones (the ones Mimi had actually seen) who had made their homes in some holes in the bunny's feed dish. Really. So then I was on a wasp eradication mission. And I finally did get them, but it took a while. Then I got inside and washed my hands, and looked up to see, yep, a wasp IN MY HOUSE! And of course for some reason the fly swatter is in TJ's room. And of course he couldn't find it. So I had to stand there and wait, Croc in hand, for it to land in a place where I could squash it. It did, and I did...or so I thought, but I couldn't find the wasp carcass anywhere. And then the phone rings.
So now, I'm hunting for a wasp and talking to a new homeschooling mom who wants to join our group. I find the wasp-he's not dead, just stunned and in my flowerpot, manage to get it outside, talk with this new mom for a while, and end the conversation just as another person is beeping in.
It's my mom. She's having a colonoscopy today, and they called to tell her they wanted her there now and not 2 hours from then when she thought she was supposed to get there. And it is of course not at the closest hospital to us. no. It's 40 minutes away. And my step-father is no where to be found. So, hey, what are you doing today? You mean besides school...which we've yet to get to? We are doing absolutely nothing. So, since you are doing nothing, could you drive your step father out here if I can reach him. Oh sure, we can always start school in January.
Actually, I would totally have driven him out there. I mean, she's my mom, and of course our schedule is totally flexible to accommodate family in need, but that's the point...there is always something, and usually it's something novel, and totally unplannable-is that even a word? In the end, he made it out there himself, so I wasn't needed anyway.
In the end, TJ and I did get his reading done, Mimi did reading too, and Mimi and Scott did about half a math lesson. Scott practiced a little piano. They also worked on their AWANA. And, we played a game called Chunks. Jennie swore by this game many, many years ago as the thing that got her child reading. And I of course ran out and bought it. And have not used it since. So today, we played it.
Chunks consists of plastic tiles printed with onsets or letters that typically begin words and others of a different color printed with rimes or frequently used endings of words. So some tiles have things like b or d or sp or th on them, while others have things like ook or ould or are or ear and you draw one tile of each color and see if they make words. As an added twist, even if the onset and rime you drew don't go together to make a word, you can exchange them with another pairing of onset/rime to turn that word into two new words (for example, if you already have the word small formed from sm and all, and then you draw b and art, you can make the words ball and smart instead of ending your turn without having made a word).
It was fun...


well, as you've maybe already imagined, you can make some...unusual words. Forbidden words. Words that make kids giggle and adults blush. Luckily, we never drew any of those words. The worst we had was f and art which do indeed spell the word fart . But the rime uck is indeed included since it's used in words like duck and truck, etc. Just hope you don't draw an f with it. A couple times I asked the kids if they could make, well, a better word, and they rose to the challenge with help from me. And that leads to the other challenge with this game. Your kids either need to be amazing spellers, or you must play with them. Because they may draw ch and are and think that they have the word chare when it is really spelled chair . It's a good game for that very reason...they learn the correct spelling of the words, and that phonics doesn't always cut it, but in the mean time, you, or a dictionary, will be an integral part of the game.

But the kids had fun, and we played a game that was collecting dust on the shelf, so I feel good, but we still have miles to go before our school day really feels like school is getting done. Lookout, my kids may show up on the doorstep to be enrolled at Winchester Academy or Hillside Hollow or the Smith Schoolhouse any day now :-).
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Steph said...

I can totally relate!

Melissa said...

Yes, that game would be a riot in my home too. (sigh) I'm praying for you today. Sometimes life and h/schooling is a tough mix - what do I mean "sometimes" - make that ALWAYS!!

chewhi said...

sounds familiar

Lisa said...

Somehow I'm not the least bit worried that your children will grow up and wear little paper hats to work. :)

Tree Climbing Mom said...

Today was one of those days at our house, too. But I read your blog and I see that your children learned:
common sense priorities - one must get the scary stinging creature out of the house before anything else can happen
hospitality - your kids saw you make time for the other mom
honor thy father and mother - even when it's not convenient
learning is fun - you CAN laugh while learning to read
and most of all:
your kids know Mommy enjoys spending time with them
I think it sounds like you had a very successful day even if it doesn't feel like it:)

Steph said...

Wow. Who's tree-climbing mom? She's a smartie! Think I'll go check out her blog!

5Gustos said...

I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit, where credit is certainly due! Think about how great a juggler you are. I always admire your ability to go with the flow. That's something I struggle with. I also struggle with "homeschool envy", and have probably subconsciously stepped back from the blogging world so I don't feel so bad if I think I haven't measured up to all the other great homeschool moms out there! You're doing a great job.