Friday, October 31, 2014

Homeschooling the youngest, thoughts.

I've gotten my whining out for a bit and I am ready to talk about homeschooling today.  My son, who is 16, has been homeschooled since the first grade.  He really only faintly remembers going to school.  We started out with unit studies.  I was teaching a first grader, a third grader and a sixth grader.  We'd do our unit study together (first KONOS, then Christian Cottage in the following years) and then my oldest son would go to his room, theoretically to work on his math, reading, etc. and the younger 2 kids and I would work on their math together, then my girl would go actually work on whatever she was assigned and the youngest and I would work on his spelling and writing.  The spelling and writing part, for him, has never gone well.  He's dysgraphic and probably dyslexic as well.  I read everything I could on right brained learners, late bloomers, dyslexia, dysgraphia and have tried several approaches.  He's learned to read without really learning to spell very well and writing anything by hand is still a horrible chore for him, but sometimes he does it, when he wants to.  He reads constantly.  He wants to learn things constantly.  As our school has evolved, we now do the minimum on basic subjects and then let him teach himself whatever else he wants.  He unschools himself on subjects that I don't understand, like physics and quantum mechanics.  Yesterday he was very interested in how hot something can get and did a lot of research, on his own, watching videos on V Sauce  and showing them to his sister (who has graduated but will never stop wanting to learn).  He does things like this all the time, getting the atlas and spending a whole day reading it, thinking of a question in the morning and then spending a week or more educating himself about it.   We recently cleaned out mom's house (as I have been whining about) and now he's got a whole set of encyclopedias from the 1970s in his room.  I can't help it, I think that looking things up in a book is more satisfying in some way than looking things up on Google, although he does plenty of that too.  We tease him that he is like the robot in Short Circuit, requiring "input?"

I am so glad, especially for his sake, that we have homeschooled.  I think the fact that writing is so difficult for him would have crushed his spirit in the public schools.

And also, by the way, Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As I said a while back ...

I have a difficult time not titling every single blog post for this year "hanging in there" because that is what I am doing.  It's been a tough year.  Let me refresh you if you haven't been reading long.  At the beginning of 2014, my mom was in a local assisted living and had only been there a few weeks.  She was not, not, not, not happy.  During January, we made the decision to move her to a licensed family home with a lady who took care of 3 Alzheimers patients with the hopes that the smaller, family style environment, would allow her to feel more at home and allow her to bond with the other ladies.  This did not go well.  She was not happy but we tried to give it some time, in the hopes that she would settle in.

Meanwhile, I lost my job and had to scramble to get another one and my husband got a different job, which was actually a promotion, but required him to be gone all of the time, I started having some health problems and had to quit volunteering with the babies in the NICU.  :-(     (Also, I forgot to mention that in the middle of the awful, snowy winter, the pipes in mom's house burst and we had to go over there and shovel ice out of the floor.  Fun times.)  After I settled into my new job a little bit (there as a LOT of training and adjusting), I was able to look at Mom's situation and realized that we needed to move her again.  This was something we had wanted to avoid because she lost so much ground, memory/functioning-wise with each move.  I started looking for another placement, calling basically every family home in the state, then moving on to assisted living facilities with memory care units.  While this was ongoing, one day we got a call from adult protective services indicating that our mom may have been hurt in the family care home.  :-(   This was horrible.  I can't even think about someone hurting my poor sweet mom.  So over the weekend, in May, we moved her to another facility; this time, a good one, though more expensive than we would have liked.  We were fortunate that they were able to take her on such short notice, from Thursday to Monday.  Right about this time, some of my family members invited me to a party, then uninvited me, told me not to come and lied to me about the reasons why and another member of the community started spreading nasty rumors about me and my brother, which were unfounded, but pretty heartbreaking.

My health problems were ongoing, but I had to keep cancelling my own appointments because of some crisis with mom.  The second weekend in May, my son had a car accident in Mississippi, in my mom's car that he had borrowed when his broke down (another story) and we found out that with mom's 3 moves in 6 months, her car insurance had expired.  So he had an uninsured accident,  He had to go to court in July, in Mississippi (9 hours away) and we had to pay about 300 dollars in court costs and fines and later found out that the amount we owed for that accident, to pay for the other person's car, was almost 7000 dollars.   In June, I was finally able to get to the doctor.  In July, my own car broke down.  In August, my son moved back to Mississippi to go back to school and I had to get intravenous iron transfusions to deal with my marked anemia that had made me almost completely unable to walk.   We started homeschooling this fall with my daughter pretty much overseeing her brother's work, thank goodness.  In September, we started cleaning out my mom's house to sell it and in October we listed it with a realtor, a process that I have blogged about.  It's been heartbreaking for me to sell the home I grew up in.  Also, in October, our dog died.

So guess what we are doing right now?  Hanging in there.  It's all we can do.  We're trying to adjust to the new normal and trying to feel hopeful. My anemia has been treated and I am feeling better. Mom's doing better at this new place, but if we don't sell the house, we will have to move her out of there, so that is worrisome.  I'm driving an hour each way to visit her in the junky car I have to drive and trying to be thankful that I even have that.  We've been doing art journaling, knitting, crocheting, watching TV, reading, playing games, spending time with friends and trying not to feel down or depressed, but I tell you what, I am looking forward to the end of 2014.  It's not been a fun year.

What does any of this have to do with homeschooling?  As usual, homeschooling makes dealing with all of these crises easier, not harder because we are able to be flexible and our 16 year old is available to help with things like packing up a house and shoveling ice out of someone's kitchen.  If anything, my kids have learned to pitch in when there is a crisis, keep on keeping on and well, you know.


 
I thank God for those people in my life who help me with everything, laugh and cry with me and help me, every few months, to pick up a bunch of things and move them, those people who invite me to things and really want me to come, people who defend me and stand with me, kill the spiders and bury the dogs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Grief.

Who would have thought that I would go through a period of mourning about the sale of mom's house?  Apparently I am not the only one.

Grief   "The loss of a home is one of many significant life changes that can cause lasting heartache, says Nancy Stutz-Martin, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a grief recovery specialist. "We do form relationships with inanimate objects, including houses. Your home is a place of comfort, security and self-identification. You form emotional attachments to a house, because you have so many memories within its rooms"

I know my youngest son is dealing with it too.  Several things he said yesterday while we were there at the house and he was working like a trooper, let me know that he is feeling the pain too.  My daughter keeps it all in, but I am sure that she's trying to deal with it too.

Gosh, it's hard.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Success, I guess.

We made about 300 dollars at the yard sale.  That's the most I've ever made at a yard sale and it wasn't for me, but the location of my friend's house is so very, very good, that I may have one there another time, if she doesn't mind.  It was very busy even though we didn't advertise.  We had a pretty good time sitting out there and talking to each other.  So we worked for the yard sale, getting things ready, etc. for pretty much 5 days and then today we went over and cleaned up mom's house a little bit, then went to the grocery.  On the way back from the grocery, the realtor was there, showing the house ... so it's a good thing that we cleaned up a bit.

Selling the house is not something I want to do, but it's necessary.  We really need the money to help keep mom where she is.  I had a big episode of self pity this morning, but I've kept busy and I did some art journaling in between the other things I was doing and now I feel okay.    Here's the art jounal page I have been working on today.  It's not done yet, but I really like it so far.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Yard sale today.

We've just been moving stuff around all week.  Today we are going to sell it, hopefully.  It looks like the weather is going to be very nice but I have gotten up at 6:00 a.m. to try and get some of my work out of the way and there isn't any work.  I may have to just take my computer to my friend's house and work there.  :-(  I have paid time off now, but it accrues very slowly and I used it all up taking off for the state fair or something.  One of those times I had to take off, I had to use it and I haven't quite accumulated enough for another day, so I have to work.  I am not very happy about it, truth be told, but I guess I'll just deal with it.   We went to see the Realtor yesterday and he's going to put the sign up so now I have to get in there and get the rest of the stuff out of the mom's house.   Fun, fun times.  I tell you.  Thankfully my kids are very good about helping and my friends are wonderful, they are good at moving things and packing things and have had yard sales before.  I guess I have lived a sheltered life, because I have not moved much, only once since I got married and haven't really done many yard sales.  I actually haven't done one of those since I found out my youngest was going to be a boy and sold some of my daughter's baby clothes.  He's 16 so it's been a while.  We've put school on hold this week, for the most part, as we deal with stuff, stuff, stuff and more stuff ...

Praying the house will sell quickly, the yard sale will go well and this will all be done and I can concentrate more on visiting with my mom, instead of arranging her affairs.  :




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frustrating day.

I got up at 5:30 to get my work done before a field trip for the kids this morning.  Then when I got to the field trip, realized that it was a hike and I definitely did not feel like hiking.  One of the other moms agreed to bring my kids home and so I left them with her and came back to the house.  We had a plan for the homeschool group to meet me at mom's house today and start packing up some things for the yard sale this weekend at 2, but it's 3 now and they are still not back.  So, I've been sleepily waiting, for 2 hours (they were supposed to be finished with the hike at 12:30) for them to come back.  I've occupied myself with messaging another mom through Facebook, who was texting her daughter and keeping me updated on their progress.   We might get one load/trip done today and we might not.  They have to be someplace else at 5:30, so I guess we'll see.

I've been keeping myself occupied by doing a little cooking and a little bit of housework and contacting my brother and the realtor about getting the house sold.  :-(


***** Update:  Our wonderful friends and kids made it back and did an awesome job of moving the stuff.   Still a ton to do, but quite a bit got done.  It feels good, but we are pretty tired now.  :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday with the Homeschool Group.

We had 4H yesterday and since we are doing a financial unit, the assignment was for 3 teams of kids with moms to go to different grocery stores and write down prices for basic necessities and then see which grocery store was the least expensive.  The items were things like rice, milk, spaghetti, canned vegetables, fresh produce, potatoes, etc.  In our town, the stores were Kroger, Walmart and Save-A-Lot.  Kroger had the best prices on 4 items, Walmart on 3 and Save-A-Lot had the best prices on 21 of the items.  They had ground beef for 2.99 and canned goods for 45 cents.  It looks like we might all be shopping there next week.  I wonder if the Kroger gas incentives offset those savings?  Someone needs to do some math.  :-P   Also, Kroger has those coupons they send sometimes for 15 dollars off a 150 dollar purchase and sometimes they have double gas points on the weekends ... I'm sure they make it this confusing on purpose.  :-(    I do know that Walmart is cheaper on Chex cereal and the whole foods near where my husband works has the gluten free bread for almost a dollar less and the salvage store is really inexpensive but doesn't always have things we can use ... but I don't really have time and it wouldn't save money anyway if I drove all over the countryside looking for bargains.  Yes, there is probably an app for that, but I don't have it on my non-smart phone.  I do have a pretty good head for remembering numbers so I know about what I have been paying for most groceries and can at least recognize a lower price when I see it.  That may just have to be enough.  Just doing the best I can here.

After 4H, we went to dinner at our friend's house and then we had our moms Monday night bible study.  We didn't get home until pretty late, listened to our book and then went to bed.

It's going to be a busy week because we are really going to be working on my mom's house this week.  I am not looking forward to that.  :-(




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Been busy.

In my spare time, I've been art journaling and working on the scrap-ghan. It's getting big.  



Friday, October 17, 2014

Then ...

One of my children was assigned some cleaning today.  When I came back home, that person said "Well, I was cleaning, but then I learned to juggle."  LoL.


Finally.

We finally got the bill for our son's wreck last spring.  :-(.  It's a big one.  That's going to have an impact on a lot of things.  Car shopping.  Christmas.  Not fun.

Today though, business as usual.  Homeschooling.  Working.  Going to see Mom.  Maybe this weekend we will get her house cleaned out finally.  It sure has been a crazy year.

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