Keeping occupied through it

I think I need to cut back on the coffee. This morning my kid tells me I drink a quart each morning. No way, I maybe drink a pint. He says, no; a pint is 16 oz. So I look for myself and by golly I do drink a quart of coffee in the morning. I drink another quart later in the day, but it’s decaf so that doesn’t count (and yes, I know there is trace amounts of caffeine in decaf). It’s been getting harder and harder to get up each day and I look forward to the hot cup of joyful warmth that gets me going. I even thought about teaching the kids how to prepare the Keurig and have the cup ready for me so I don’t have to make it and wait the 2 minutes, right before my son told me how much I drank. Yup, it’s time to cut back.

It’s been hard to write. There are about 12 unfinished, half-written drafts sitting in my WordPress blog draft box. I start to write, but then I can’t bring myself to finish it. It’s a time of difficulty and change and some things remain private while others are up for writing about. A family member of mine is very, very sick. I am getting my larynx checked for cancer next month, after getting my thyroid checked this month. When the larynx gets cancer and spreads it heads right for the thyroid and the lymph nodes, and the lymph nodes carry it through the blood. But lets be honest, I probably don’t have it. It’s just nerve wrecking having to wait after months of tests and waiting. We are waiting on the larynx results before deciding what to do about the thyroid nodules. I feel silly. Compared to what some go through, I am able to get up, walk around, and do things. Who am I to complain? I have a good life, a wonderful family here and in Florida and in Jersey. I have friends who I love dearly, and who will always be my friends no matter how much time apart we spend. I love the Lord and His love for me is unwavering and unconditional. The Lord is my everything. So that’s why I’ve had a hard time writing. I hate complaining about my health when it’s not so bad. My psychiatrist says I have a tough few months ahead of me and he said not to take anything lightly… take care of my health and use my anxiety meds a little more liberally. He’s a good man.

It's that time of year again.

It’s that time of year again.

The boys are finishing up our homeschool materials for the “year” and we are preparing for the next set of materials. I hate the term “grade” because it was created for schools. Schools need grades. I have a very specific plan for my children’s homeschool going all the way to high school and I don’t know that I would call them grades. We simply move from one topic or skill to the next in a specific order. One skill builds off another. It’s methodical. I get excited when we are about to end one year’s worth of books and begin another. I enjoy planning and setting up our new planbook. This year we are taking a break from the Ultimate Planner (Scholastic) and the Well Planned Day and instead are using The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, by Debra Bell. I don’t need a separate journal to record all of the “extras” that were unplanned because this planner includes space for that very thing. Even though I record all of our plans in the planner, I rarely need to look at it. We are using Sonlight Language Arts for the little ones which comes with lesson plans and a grid for each week. Big Bird is using an independent Language Arts and Writing program and he’ll work through it at a decent pace. Our unit study this year is My Father’s World, Exploring Countries and Cultures which has its own very well written planbook. So those will be the books I use on a daily basis to work through the day. I keep an overall plan in the book but at times we may move a little faster or slower. The planbook is simply a guide so I have our goals written down.

My Father's World; ECC

My Father’s World; ECC

Master Planner

Master Planner

Having expressed this, we are actually not glued to a planbook or a text all the time. As I trust the human spirit and my children’s instincts to explore and learn, I see that sometimes my school plans get in their way. They learn so much with just a little guidance and a lot of reading from me. From there, they go off and explore what they learn in every possible way; writing stories, building models, and drawing pictures. Sometimes they do the same things over and over again, deepening their understanding of a subject even more. I look at my job as an inspirer, a guide, sometimes an educator. I never try to fill their minds with information. My goal is inspiration. So as I plan this year, what are my goals? What’s my philosophy? First, second and even third year homeschool moms, you/they may not have a philosophy because it took me years to develop mine. It changed so much as I weaved in and out through different programs. At this point, my philosophy guides our plans and what books and manuals I use. Our goals this year are to work on becoming more concerned with others than ourselves, to learn about the world and the people of the world. As we learn about those people, we’ll learn about the places, countries, cities, and the land forms and bodies of water, then we’ll learn about animals and habitats from all over the world. In addition to that, each of my boys has a very specific subject that naturally interests him. My oldest enjoys flight, astronomy, and most recently is very interested in that wars of our country and our world. My middle child enjoys automobiles and extreme weather, like tornadoes. My youngest loves learning about what doctors and veterinarians do and he pretends to be one or the other. He takes care of his guinea pig (super cute little animal!!) and he likes learning about how the body works (physiology). In addition to the master plan all of these interests will be fed with healthy doses of time, materials, and guidance from mom and dad. My youngers will go from words to sentences, and my older will go from sentences and paragraphs to entire papers. We will move along to the next step in a time table that suits them. And grades don’t play a part in any of it.

Well, I finally did it. I finally finished a post instead of sending it to drafts and walking away feeling like I wasted time. Heavy circumstances are weighing over me and when they consume me I can’t really write about much else. One issue in particular is extremely private so I can’t be completely open, but my family is hoping and praying for one of our own, who is dealing with an issue so heavy and big that all we can do is think positive and call on the Lord.

I woke up today thinking about the day my Grandmom died, almost two years ago. March 22, 2011. I felt sadness and tried to think of anything else. I can’t believe it’s been two years. And I began to see that if I could get through that, I can make it through anything. She was one of my people, one of the very few who loved me through my darkest hours. We were connected so deeply that I will never “get over” her passing. I realized today that no matter what comes my way, nothing will ever hurt as much as the deaths of those I loved, mostly my Grandmom. I can handle anything life throws at me after living through the nightmare of losing her. So I write about homeschooling. And coffee. Those things make me happy, as important as the one is, and as simple as the other is, they are some of the things I love doing the most. Homeschooling keeps me from staying in bed some days. I know that me kids need me in to help them learn and grow and to live a life of faith and I need them too. Thank you for reading, have a great week friends.

Love,

Jackie

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