Saturday, August 27, 2016

What now?

Honestly, I have no idea.  A year ago, I was a homeschooling mom, a medical transcriptionist and a caregiver for my mom.  Now I am none of those things.  There are things I want to do but I can't do them if I'm not working; travel, redo the house ... etc., so I need to get a job.  I don't know what career path to take.  I have training in 2 fields, medical transcription and child and family studies.  Transcription is a dying industry, having been taken over by voice recognition and child and family studies means working with preschoolers, which I have found this week, is hard on me, now that I am in my 50s and set in my ways.  After the week that I have had, I'm thinking about an office job.  I love to put things in order and I like quiet, so a quiet office job ... I really don't know what direction I should go in.  I may have to go online and see if there are any career/personality assessments to tell me what job I would like.  Meanwhile, I've applied for a few jobs I think might be a good fit.  It's so hard to tell.  The most important things to me are home and family so I need something that lets me be home at least part of the time to take care of the things I need to do around here.  In our society, it's hard to feel that taking care of a house is important, but it is.  For a better quality of life, somebody needs to have a day here and there to get some things done around the house.

What to do, what to do ...


Friday, August 26, 2016

Okay, that didn't last long.

I tried teaching Head Start for 4 days.  I was to sign a contract today to work for them for a year, but I didn't feel like I could hang in there for a year and they didn't want me to try if I couldn't commit,only to leave mid-year and hurt the kids (because they get attached to their teachers).  It was very hard.  The kids were adorable and I enjoyed them  but Head Start in our state is overseen by several different agencies and the amount of paperwork and regulations and guidelines that they have to follow is mind-boggling.  I had a lot of pain from my arthritis and the noise in the classroom was overwhelmingly loud most of the time due to a loud A/C unit and of course the kids.  After a couple of hours, my whole body would feel like it was pulsating from stress.  I just felt that it was not for me.

So, I'm home again, looking for something to do again.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

This is the morning of day 3.

I  really, really don't want to go in there today.  It's so hard, mentally, physically, emotionally to go from being at home full time to going to work full time, working with 20 kids and several adults.  I feel completely overwhelmed; too much sensory input, too much physical strain, too much mental strain, too many people talking to me at once.  I can't understand what the kids say most of the time.  One of them cries loudly nonstop all day long.  Everything is LOUD.  I think I mentioned that in my last blog post.  I feel like I don't know if I will make it.  I don't know if I want to make it.  I'm trying to focus on how much I need a job, how much I want to be off next summer and trying to get through it.

Prayers again, please.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day.

Yesterday was my first day teaching head start in a classroom.  I did work for head start many years ago as a home-based teacher.  This was way, way, way more intense.  It was crazy intense and LOUD and by about noon, my head felt like it was ringing like a bell.  I am going to try to go back today although I really, really, really don't want to and try to get the classroom in some kind of order so that I can stand it.

Prayers please.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I always heard that you should not label children because they will feel intimidated by positive labels and live down to the negative labels, so I tried really hard not to label my 2 shy children.  My youngest son had a label applied to him by a preschool teacher, that he was shy.  I remember taking a book to her to show her that his shyness was just a part of the normal spectrum of humans and I did not feel that it was anything to worry about.  My daughter is even more shy and has a history of not making her own phone calls, not talking to strangers, or acquaintances (or even some family members!), just shrugging when asked most questions by most people, so that she has a reputation within church and family of being extremely shy.  When they were little, I'd just say "He feels like he needs to stay with mama for a while"  or "She seems to be feeling a little shy right now."  to other kids who asked them to play or adults who wanted to include them in some fun activity, being careful not to label them as permanently shy, just saying that they were having a shy moment.

Now that they are 18 and 20, I don't think most people think of my youngest as shy.  He will talk to people, answer questions and seems pretty normal.  ;-)  I don't worry about him at job interviews or anything like that in the future.  I think he'll be fine, despite not talking to anyone outside the family for the first 4 years of his life.  My daughter on the other hand, remains reserved, but is improving.   Back in March of this year, we started selling our art and crocheted creations at a little shop in our town.  The deal is you are supposed to work 2 days a month to get your full commissions.  I figured I could work with her the first couple of times and then she'd be fine to work on her own, but she's still not fine and it's been 5 months.  She doesn't like to greet customers and she is afraid the phone will ring and she'll have to answer it.   She did get a job at a local preschool, mainly because I had gotten the interview, then been offered the other job, but still wanted to talk to them about working there, just in case ... so I took her along to the interview and presented her as an alternative to me, answered questions for her when she shrugged and basically was the worst helicopter parent in the world, only I was involuntarily hovering.  I wanted her to do it on her own, but she wouldn't.  I also went with her 2 of the times that she had to meet with them and fill out paperwork, (against my will)  but then the third time, miraculously, she went on her own and she has gone on her own to work all 5 days this past week.  Some things are just harder for some people.   There is a range of normal and there are a lot of different personality types and they're all okay to be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Different learners, self esteem and questions about the wisdom of homeschooling.

There are the questions from mostly other kids but sometimes from adults, why does he do that? or why doesn't he do that yet?   Our youngest didn't read until the age of 10 and we got some questions about it from time to time.  I really appreciate his Sunday School teachers and 4-H teachers accommodating him and letting him be without making us or him feel bad and not turning us into the authorities for suspicion of not homeschooling him properly.  I tried to answer people's questions with respect to him without labeling him when it was a harmful label, but after a while, choosing to use labels when it was helpful.  He has dyslexia/dysgraphia and cannot remember how to spell things and has found it very, very difficult to learn to write.  He has learned to write now and he does get by with spelling, mostly by asking others how to spell things or looking things up.

So how did we deal with this without ruining his self esteem?  (Trust me, it's not ruined.)  We read Leo The Late Bloomer quite often.  It was in a rotation of books that we repeated from time to time.  I also tried to answer questions respectfully to him by saying "He's taking his time" or "He's working on other things right now"  and then after a while I decided to just embrace the labels and say "He's working on overcoming dysgraphia and writing doesn't come easily to him, but he's getting there."  We talked about being "right-brained" which some people say isn't a thing, but there are definitely people who are very smart, but who learn differently than the majority of the population does.  We refered to his reading/spelling/writing difficulties as a "glitch" which could be worked around and also talked about how this could just be within the normal range for human beings.  We talked about scientists and inventors who had trouble with traditional learning and schooling, most notably Albert Einstein who did not talk until he was 4 and did not read until he was 7.    We reminded ourselves and other people (the question askers) that the normal range for a child to walk is 9-18 months and the normal range for a child to learn to read is 6 - 10 years.  

Meanwhile I comforted myself reading everything I could on the subject and trying to relax.  I was not always successful with this and did panic a little bit.  I ordered some learning to read curriculum and tried different methods of working with him, none of which really worked.  Then one day, he just started reading really well.  My daughter said "He bloomed!"  :-)  He got a 34 out of 36 in READING on his ACT earlier this year, his highest score in any section.  Who would have ever thought it?

I have no doubt that if we had kept him in public school, he would have had more of a struggle with his self esteem and not come out of this so well.  I am very glad we stumbled into homeschooling, which we actually did for other reasons.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It went well.

My daughter's first day of working at the Montessori school went well.  She actually enjoyed it, which is rare, I think, for a first day of a job.  All of mine have been nerve-wracking.  :-P  Maybe that's just me, though.  I don't know.  I think if I had had the job she has I would like it too.  :-)  She works in after-school care so they take the children from the school to the playground, let them play for a while, then take them in and give them a snack and basically just play until time to go home.   At least that's what they did yesterday.  They may get more involved with some teaching later.   My daughter is enough of a kid that she enjoyed the playing.

I still haven't heard from my job and I am still anxious about it.  I think mine is going to be a bit more intense, not to mention much longer, 7 1/2 hours a day versus her 3 hours a day.  Maybe I'll hear tomorrow and maybe I won't.  I honestly don't know which one I'd prefer.   I want the money, but I don't want to be gone all the time from home.  I'm a homebody.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Art journaling, playing around with water color markers.

I draw with a Sharpie, then color with watercolor markers - these are Crayola kids markers that I got in a back-to-school sale -  and then I blend with a wet paint brush.  I colored these more messily than usual because I was just playing around with them.  I also used some of the color I was picking up on the brush to paint a background.  After it dried, I added white accents with a white acrylic marker.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This week in pictures.

Okay, I'm doing my own version of This Week In Pictures.  First is our peach tree, which is producing significant peaches for the very first time this year.  It's exciting!  My daughter went out the other night and picked some, kind of late and when we brought them into the light, they weren't as ripe as we had hoped.  We looked up on the internet how to ripen them and it said to put a banana in with them.  Somebody put the a banana in, but only in one bowl.  I guess the other bowl is the control?   Experimentation never stops.  Once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler.  :-P 
This scale is out on my kitchen countertop because my son wanted to estimate and do the math on how much Cornish pixies must weigh.  We watched Harry Potter 7 over the weekend.

Yesterday we went to the store to buy my daughter some work pants for her new job.   They had a great sale at J.C. Penney as usual and we came home with 2 pairs of khakis.  On the way home, we could see that we were getting ready to drive into some rain.  

Kitten picture of the day.  

A picture of the book I am reading, "My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry."  I like the quote but was too lazy to write it down last night.  "Granny doesn't like it when people say that things are made-up and reminds Mum she prefers the less derogatory term "reality-challenged."  In the past month, I've read 3 books by this author, Fredrick Backman.  Haven't finished this one yet, but the other 2 are fabulous, "A Man Called Ove"  and "Britt Marie Was Here."  
This frog often sits in between the 2 pool layers.  One day he jumped in the pool and climbed up my back while I was hysterically trying to get away from him with much screaming.  My son came out to rescue me and informed me that it was "just a frog" and I shouldn't get so silly about it.  I said "You don't understand.  He was ON ME. "  I know it's not a spider, but it was yucky all the same.  I am very much a girl.  

Anyway, that's our week.  Summer's ending and we will have to take my precious pool down soon so I am trying to make the most of it and everyone is sending their kids back to school.  Here's how I feel about that.  My son and his girlfriend have gone back home and we are trying to settle in here to our new normal.  My daughter starts her job Monday and I don't know if I even will have a job.  I'm still waiting to hear.   Meanwhile, I guess I'll clean something here at home.  ;-/ 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Fun week.

My son and his girlfriend have been here this week.  We have visited with lots of people, eaten a ton of food, celebrated my daughter's 20th birthday, filled out employment forms for her, went to a museum and had a ton of good times.  I didn't take any pictures of any of the week though.  The day we went to the museum and out to eat to celebrate my daughter's birthday, I forgot my phone.  So all the pictures I have to show are of the kitten show that goes on outside our patio doors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, unless they are tired and they are even cute when they are tired.  :-)   There are also a couple of pics of Cosmo. 


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Good news.

My daughter got a job!  She will be working in an afterschool program, 3 hours or so in the afternoon.  It has paid time off and paid training and she will have summers off so she should still have plenty of time to work on her novel, as well as some work experience and spending money.  It's exciting.  She also opened her first checking account this week and her dad is now starting to look for her a car.  :-)  Since we finished homeschooling her 2 years ago, she's been kind of a homebody, so this makes me feel good.  I think she will like it and the person she will be working most closely with is another homeschooling mom.

My son and his girlfriend are coming this week for a visit and we hope to get to visit a bunch before either my new job or my daughter's new job actually start.  We're not sure when either one of them will be because we will both be working with children and so we both need to have a background check done.  It's a good thing, but this time of the year I am told it takes a while.  I'm hoping not to have to start at all until my son's visit is over.  I want to spend as much time as possible visiting and enjoying them.

We just finished doing the crafts at VBS this past week and then yesterday we went to the book launch party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the library so I'll share some pictures of those things.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Homeschooling ... don't make it harder than it has to be.

First, go here and look at the tab on the right that says "My State" Home School Legal Defense Association

Look for the laws in your state.   Then click on "Support Groups" to find a group near you.  Those people will hold your hands while you walk through the beginning and hopefully, graduating phases of homeschooling.   Our homeschool groups have been wonderful.  We've been members of 3 over the years.  

To shop for curriculum, I recommend Rainbow Resource,   There are also free resources just about everywhere, most notably Easy Peasy Homeschool which tells you what to do, each day.  

So do the bare minimum that your state requires, join a support group, take a ton of field trips and most of all, HAVE FUN!

Homeschooling is the BEST.

4H adventures, winning prizes for art, setting pigeons free to fly home, holding a gecko and a baby pigeon.

Kayaking.  This was a field trip.

Mammoth cave.  Field trip. 

Doing algebra at the kitchen table.

Learning to run a small business through 4H. 

Louisville Water Plant - Field trip. 

Lincoln museum, field trip. 

So, for the only state I have experience with, Kentucky, there are 4 steps.
1.  Notify the local school district department of pupil personnel with a letter of intent to homeschool.
2.  Get a curriculum that covers the basics.
3. Do it with your students 170 days per year.
4.  Keep reasonable records of work.  (This is where some people go too crazy.  Most of the time, in Kentucky nobody is going to check these, overall, they seem to trust us to do what we need to do. This may change in the future.  I know we have people at HSLDA working to keep homeschooling legal in all 50 states. Don't work too hard on the  records part, just keep very basic records.)

Start again the following July/August with the letter of intent and repeat until your child turns 18.  

I'd add another step, HAVE FUN.   

Bacon Rules.

If we have bought raw bacon and you want some, you must cook enough for everyone because the smell of frying bacon will drive everyone crazy.

However, if we have bought precooked bacon and you want to put a couple of pieces in the microwave and make a BLT, that's okay.

We pretty much only buy the precooked bacon when it's the season for home grown tomatoes, which it is now.  Thank goodness.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July winding down.

We're gearing up for VBS at our church.  The kids and I are helping this year.  I've always worked and haven't helped much in the past, so this is different for me.  I'm doing arts and crafts.  At first I was very nervous, but I think I have a plan now.  My daughter is going to help me, so that helps.  Next week my son and his girlfriend will be here (Yay!) and then the following week, I may start a new job.  I haven't got the final word yet, but I had an interview and they really made it sound like they were going to hire me.  If I do get it, I'll be a head start teacher, despite my cynicism about preschool being effective.  Oh well.  I'll just keep that to myself.  I also may have a lead on another job which I am going to try and talk my daughter into taking.  It's also working with preschoolers but is part time, just afterschool hours and I think it might be a good first job for her.

 Anyway, here are some pictures from this week, Cosmo sleeping, some art I have done, a house from the Homerama new home tour event my daughter and I went to and a strange looking dragonfly that's been hanging out around our back door.  I think we have more dragonflies this year than usual, as I am seeing them all the time.  It may just be because when I am outside, I'm usually in the pool.  :-)   

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Life is going on.

My daughter made this apple dishcloth for the store where we sell our crafts.  She cleared 165 dollars last month.  I cleared 8.  Since I'm doing this for her to have some income, get some cashier experience and be comfortable in a working environment, it's a very good thing, no matter how little I personally make.   

I took these from the pool this past Sunday.  It was a beautiful day and the view from the pool is beautiful and my husband keeps the pool water so clear, it's wonderful.  I really appreciate it.  

We worked on our table in the store, trying to make it more vertical.  I think it looks pretty good.

Life is going on.  My son said that his first few weeks of adulthood did not go well and I agree.  He's had a hard time.  First my mom's illness, death and funeral and then our dog Lucy had to be put down this week.  She was falling and stumbling and finally was unable to walk, just lying by the road.  It was very hard on my son, but he lifted her into the car and carried her into the vet's office for me.  We're trying to look forward to better times.  I scheduled a board game party for us at the library, our oldest son and his girlfriend are going to visit in a few weeks, we're planning a trip to a museum while they are here and a homeschool group reunion and in November, a family vacation when we meet halfway to spend some time with my son, his girlfriend and her parents.  Today, I planted some bulbs a friend gave me, in lieu of flowers at my mom's funeral.  Planting flowers is a way to invest in the future.   The world doesn't stop.


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