A place to be real about a life of chaos, with eight beautiful children, homeschooling, special needs, adoption, sanity or the lack thereof.........a rubber hits the road sort of journey that I thankfully do NOT walk alone!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shop Class 101

Well, the first week of school promptly threw me into the old routines and late nights of marking. It's always a bit of a shock to be truthful but I'm well into week two and feeling better about my "total loss of control"! The laundry has gotten behind, the bathrooms are in a terrible need of overhaul and I haven't baked in a while! The kids are chomping at the bit to do the fun stuff and have already scheduled our first trip to the orchard. But...it is nicely coming together to be an awesome year!
I wasn't totally surprised when Stable Chick asked me on day two if she were to do two days of work on one day did that mean she could have the next day open to work on a project if I ok'd it? Well...I carefully hesitated. I didn't want to be too excited she was showing ambition and determination to start off on the right foot..." Tell me about your project" I replied. I listened as she ran me through the plans she had drawn up and the need for power tools and she'd already looked out the scrap wood in the wood pile and we have left over paint from the bedrooms and......Her enthusiasm was not to be contained so I agreed to the project and the next morning first thing I found her gathering the tools and the following is what resulted...

Notice she is wearing all required PPE (Personal Protection Equipment!!!) First she cut...this was a well designed project...you see there were two of them and they were designed to fit one inside the other for storage so these cuts had to be precise.

It's starting to come together....anyone have a guess what it is?

By mid day she was winding down and was quite pleased with how it had come together...

Jagger was interested in what was going on....

Viola!!! Two very happy puppies. Stable Chick had done some recent research on raising the level of feeding bowls especially in older dogs to prevent digestion issues that could potentially be quite dangerous. All who know her know she'd do anything for her MANY pets this will come as no surprise. She finished her project with time to spare and I think I'll chalk this up to shop project #1 for the year!

One of the many perks of schooling my gang at home include the ability to step outside the normal "box" of conformity and curriculum and allow them to achieve success tackling projects such as these. What a better way to learn and feel success and pride than to complete a project you planned from beginning to end....Way to go Stable Chick....You make me very proud!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Perspective ... It's not about me!

Well...the first day of school has come and gone. Every year I decide this year...this will be the year I am so organized and "ready" and keen and ... inevitably every year is more chaotic, harried, frazzling, and down right frantic...or so it seems. Today is day three and I have hit my stride already. The children are settling in to routines that whether they like it or not are a relief to even them.

This year I will teach SK, Grades 3,4,5,6,8,and 10. The oldest three have complete schedules that organize all of their curriculum, quizzes, tests and assignments down to the due date while I am riding a little by the seat of my pants for the younger 4. I've maintained my old stand by curriculum for the basics of language and math but this year have decided to teach science and world history en mass! Call me crazy but in a weak moment...one filled with insanity I'm sure...I decided a more creative less "text booky" way of approaching some of school would lesson my marking work load and create an excitement in the children that would have them asking to do more! I'll let you know how that all pans out!

By the end of day one with all children in bed or at least in their bed"room" I came in for a landing looking a little like I'd been dragged through a hedge backwards. I had finished my marking (why did it seem like so much on the first day?), put through a few loads of laundry, put my jammies on and made myself a cup of coffee. I was D-O-N-E, done! Good grief, why did this seem so difficult. I had planned and prepared for weeks, ordered and paid for lots of curriculum, had some new stuff that was very exciting, moved the school room around and arranged for the two oldest to do their work in their rooms which meant bedroom reorganizing. I have mistakenly thought this whole "homeschooling" thing was like falling off a bike yet every year I feel like I learn to ride the darn thing all over again!!

As I sat "recovering" from the day I found myself feeling quite proud of what I had accomplished. From the planning and organizing to curriculum choices, to getting all the first day of school pictures taken I had done pretty well. I even found myself going through each child and celebrating "how far they had all come". It went something like this......

Wow....lots of people call me crazy ... in fact I've been laughed at, judged, questioned, even told I wasn't doing anyone any favours by schooling at home yet "I" had overcome!!! I wasn't going to let other people tell me this wasn't in their best interest. The children were all learning to the best of their abilities in what I considered an exceptional way. Some were struggling with learning challenges but man oh man had we reached some huge milestones!! Hard work pays off and even when insurmountable behavioural "ick" reared it's ugly head, "I" handled things and got everyone back on track while keeping some sense of order. "I" have now identified through various assessments and learning tools what if anything causes each child learning angst and "I" had chosen curriculum accordingly. The children were all going to succeed and even if I was pooped at the end of a day I know how much ground we covered........ON and ON it went. Remember this is just me talking to myself. For those that know me well, know I don't tend to toot my own horn but this moment was just for me....you know an encouraging self pat on the back.

Without warning my self talk turned to shame. What was I thinking!!! This isn't about me. This is NOT about what "I" have accomplished. This is about the joy of parenting and the privilege of doing so NOT alone....not for the benefit of watching the successes as a result of "my" hard work, but because this....this parenting, teaching, wearing of many hats is a choice I made for many reasons not the least of which is to glorify God. Without Him where would I be? Without His gentle guidance in times of chaos and challenge who would have reached any success? I have been blessed with a wonderful husband who supports my teaching of the children in many ways. I know that was part of the "plan" all along...despite my own detours through life. My children ... all of them are precious blessings from God that I have been given to nurture and teach for a season... to lean on Him. I hope to live my life as an example for them and when I fail or fall short, to use that also to teach what I have learned in the process.

We have attained heights many thought we would never see academically, developmentally and physically but wait....."we" are not through.

This homeschooling journey is exactly that... a mere speck in time, only a tidbit of what is yet to come!! My job seems sometimes overwhelming but I dare say I may toil more than is necessary. What a privilege to give all that I can to raising my children with solid moral values that are so soundly based in our faith in God. They have been entrusted to me for a time and He alone can make all things new. After all...who did I think was responsible ultimately for all of the successes so far?

When I find myself focusing on all the "stuff" that needs to be completed, all the marking to be done, all the projects planned and completed, all the "requirements" to be met before we are finished...I will remind myself to refocus on that which is far more significant and become thankful for the road we've travelled and celebrate the new trip that begins in this moment! Take joy in the times of turmoil and know that the struggles will strengthen them for what God has planned for them tomorrow!