Monthly Archives: October 2006

Homeschool again?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh K.   I may need some serious input here people.  I’m totally second-guessing myself and not really sure what to do.  I’ll start with saying that I KNOW I have some flaws in my parenting.  There are things that I don’t follow through on, there are punishments that I don’t give, there is quality time missed with each and every one of my kids.  Yes, it’s part of having a large family but I KNOW I could do better.  One of the biggest “issues” with me is homework.  I have BIG issues with sending my kids away for 8+hours a day and then having them bring home worksheets that I have to EXPLAIN to them.  I’m sorry, ummm, what did you do at school today?  Oh, an art project, playground twice, 4 bathroom breaks and watched cartoons?  Ok then, sure mommy will sit here and teach you about adjectives, long division and the solar system.  No problem.  Ok, ok, it’s not THAT bad.   Still, my point is, homework should be minimal.  Reading, I’m ok with that, I even PREFER assigned books, and a book report would be logical, but the worksheets…..um, no. 

So, here in lies the beginning of a problem.  The kids know my feelings and know they can get away with it.  They also know that I will help if they need it but I’m more likely to say….just skip the one you don’t understand and ask the teacher.  The girls are both pretty self-motivated learners.  They are old enough to call a friend and seek help without getting out-right answers.  Nicholas, however, has all kinds of issues.  Let’s start with….he’s a boy.  Then let’s move on to his personality.  He is a total clown, loves to be the center of attention and HATES doing one thing for more than 10 min.  Even video games, while he might could play all day, he switches out the game constantly.  He also NEEDS a challenge.  He claims to hate the timer but boy if I set it, he works hard to beat it.  The problem comes in my follow through.  The timer goes off and I can’t check his work because I’m changing a diaper.  Then I forget for two hours that I needed to do it.  Then it’s bedtime and I find he only did 5 of his 20 problems.  Then he’s struggling with the concept.  So we get up early the next morning to work on it.  But he brings out the OTHER sheet he was supposed to do and we start that one and then it’s time to get ready to leave.  So he gets to school.  There are 28 kids in his class.  He’s usually running late (because I get him there late).  He has morning work that doesn’t get done because of this.  Then there are other assignments.  Then he has to do his homework during recess…and he decides to day-dream that away.  Which lead to the phone call I go today….”Mrs Paul – Nicholas has only turned in 2 out of 14 assignments this week.  I don’t know what to do with him.  At this rate there is no way he will pass 4th grade.  Do you have any suggestions?”      hmmm, let’s see….you’re the teacher, WITH the degree, WITH the resources to help him, I’m the parent, that JUST found out he was struggling a week ago, and YOU’RE calling ME for help?     Don’t get me wrong.  I love his teacher.  She taught another one of my kids.  I consider her a wonderful lady.  I also happen to know that she’s pretty relaxed and that Nicholas needs a lot of structure.  I really should have had foresight to some of this and moved him out of her class in the beginning.

This is where we stand.  I don’t think he has much of a chance in his current situation.  I think even with daily communication and a hard-core schedule for assignments that he would just shut-down more.  I took him yesterday for a placement test at the private school that I work at.  The initial look-over showed that he isn’t on 4th grade level for them (which doesn’t surprise me since they are a small school with small classes and smart students).  The 3rd grade class is full.  We COULD hire a tutor and leave him in public but I don’t know how’d I’d fit that into my weeks.  So that leaves homeschooling.  Ralph WANTS to do it.  He SAYS that he will do most of the teaching in the mornings while I work.  I say….I don’t think so.  I’ve BTDT!  A preschooler and a toddler do not leave much time for teaching.  An easily distracted boy with a lenient, loving father lends to not much learning. 

So, opinions…..?   What do you think?  Any options I’m overlooking?  Need more info?  This has taken me 2 hours to write what with screaming, fighting kids and the normal household interruptions.  So it may not be readable.  LOL.

 

 

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Thanks Amy D for the chocolate

That lady KNOWS how to brighten someones day….mmmmmm Hawaiian Mac nuts covered in chocolate and shaped like dolphins.  But, shhhhhhh the kids don’t know it’s here……giggle…..it’s ALLLLLLL MINE!!!    (throws her head back and gives and evil laugh)

SAD NEWS:

Neither of the girls passed the first audition (see previous blog).  There must have been some AWESOME singers there.  The cut off was 14 points (10 being perfect, 40 being the worst) and Brittney scored 23 and Sarah 26.  I think it also had a LOT to do with nerves and the particular judges they got.  Several of their friends, ones that the director had pretty much said they’d get in, scored similar or worse than my girls and on top of that a couple of girls that I’ve personally heard (umm, don’t compare) scored in the teens.  Crazy!   Brittney was sad but not really a big deal, Sarah cried herself to sleep.  Sarah’s “boyfriend” (her really good friend that happens to be a boy and who called and asked MY permission if they could be in a relationship so I said yes cause he’s totally adorable, has a great family and ummm…he ASKED) will likely make the cut.  I think that is why Sarah wanted to go so badly.  They are totally cute together and I love that their relationship consists of saying “this is my boyfriend”, talking on the phone a few times a week (mostly about nintendogs), hanging out together at school dances (NO we didn’t dance together mommy, that would be weird) and planning their future (Jake said that he’d be happy to drive me to school after he gets his license since I won’t have mine yet – that’s ok, right mommy?).  Yes they are 12 years old and in 8th grade.  LOL!  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she never “dates” anyone else.  They are comfortable with each other.  Don’t worry though…I’ll encourage them to check out other people before they graduate, hahahahahaha!  Here they are: Jake, Sarah and her best friend Raina:

chorus7

So far, she is also the one that I would guess to follow in the large family foot-steps while Brittney may never have children.  I hear that is common for the oldest in a large family though.  I had wanted the girls to be at Alli’s birth (they were 12 and 10) but Brittney out-right refused saying she didn’t need to know anything more than she’d seen on Discovery Health…NOT for her!  Personally, I think she is going to be GREAT at whatever she chooses to do and will work her way to the top of some ladder and discover that she’s lonely and go back and have a family.  That’s my interpretation of their futures anyway.  What do I really know? 

Changing subjects drastically now….

How long can you totally ignore that someone hurt you deeply?  It’s obviously a different answer for everyone but I’m thinking it’s a drastically different answer for men than women.  It drives me INSANE that Ralph doesn’t take things “to heart”.  I’ve said some pretty nasty things out of anger and he has never, not one single time, not even when I’ve asked, brought them up again.  He totally lets them go, forgives and FORGETS!   HOW does he do that?  I can’t seem to be the same.  I have DATES…like month, day, year, very close to the hour that I can remember when he hurt me.  Things that cut me deeply.  And because he doesn’t bring up old things I try to be good and follow the lead.  So now I have all these things buried inside of me.  Wounds that have been left open.  Even when I’m not angry with him I know that they are there.  The latest argument that we had….the one that sent me on the journey of discovering his gaming addiction… will be added to that list.  I can still hear him yelling at me and the words are so hurtful.  He wouldn’t argue with me then because he was playing that game and he seems to have totally forgotten the conversation.  I’ve tried to bring it up a couple of times but still no follow through.  At this point I’m sure it is the sea of forgetfullness….   Anyway.  I’m doing ok.  My WoW widows group has several new members every day….pushing 2000 for membership.  About a 1/3 of them come there and try to defend the game/player.  Last week there was some “supposed PhD” saying that there was no such thing as an addiction that didn’t involve a chemical.  yeah – THAT made me want to seek proffesional help.  This week someone is saying that “we” should be more in control of our spouses….lay down the law….tell it like it is….leave if he doesn’t follow through with your rules.  AGAIN… yeah – that’ll work!  If I thought packing up the kids and walking out would work I would have done it already.  But let’s be honest here….that’s not really an option for me.  I have to consider and carefully weigh every move I make.  Yes, it MUST be hard on the kids that dad sits in front of a computer at all times when they are home but at least he’s here.  And he does come out of the dungeon for family meals once a week or so and he changes diapers, fixes breakfast and drives the girls to school (in the big van cause he has the babies).  He does a lot more than some men would ever consider doing.  I guess it’s not much different than a dad who sits in front of the TV and demands meals there…..  So, it’s really more about me.  (selfish?  maybe…)  Does what I want from him really matter at this point?  Persuing more could likely give me MUCH MUCH less than I currently have.  Those are my thoughts today.  I’ll probably feel different in a couple of hours….

 

20+ years? really?

When did I get old?  I don’t remember it happening.  I mean, yeah I had all those birthdays and I know that # went up but I’ve been a wee bit busy for about 14 years now, what with 2 marriages and 6 kids.  I had NO idea it had been so long…

Today my daughters are at a district wide All-State Chorus audition.  Brittney auditioned last year and didn’t make the first cut.  However, this year both girls have worked hard and both sounded amazing to this momma’s ears.  Brittney asked to perform for me and be critiqued, Sarah on the other hand (their such opposites) chose to practice behind closed doors but I got a good listen while she was in the shower, giggle….shhh, don’t tell.  I was blown away when I realized that she wasn’t singing along WITH a practice voice, that was all her.  She sang in all 3 keys that were on the CD and I honestly couldn’t have told her which was best – her range is incredible for a 12 year old.  While arranging their rides I was telling another mom what to expect and I was suddenly taken back to those years.  Oh the memories.  So, my lovely readers will have to endure a bit of memory. 

I’ve loved singing/performing for as long as I can remember.  Some how though I was missing a vital part most of my life….self-confidence.  I would shake so badly that I couldn’t hold notes and usually would subside in tears near the end of any performance.  Much of that changed in 8th grade when I moved to Hall county and met Mr. Van McCollum.  He was the chorus/chorale director for both Johnson and South Hall and he believed in a HUGE amount of discipline.  I totally didn’t understand that I had to do PAPER WORK (music theory) for most of my chorus classes and it used to drive me insane.  Then, that first year he nominated me (and only one other soprano that I recall) for honors chorus.  I went on to audition for All-State and didn’t make the first cut.  Thus began the challenge.  My 9th grade year (1985) continued my musical love and it’s probably when I set the goal of becoming a Choral director/teacher.  [Yeah, that didn’t ever happen but it was my major for the two years that I went to college and I sometimes want to still pursue that.]  That year I worked extra hard PLUS I had the advantage of being the “oldest” group for audition.  The chorus was seperated by 7-9 and 10-12 grades back then.  If I remember correctly, they set a score and it was a lower score for 9th than for 8th and 7th….basically putting more of the older kids in the group.  I think it had something to do with last chance and all that.  I semi-remember the audition process.  Just the smell of mint and warm tea with honey/lemon.  Sitting for what seemed like hours in a quiet hallway.  Knowing no-one and yet knowing that I had something in common for everyone.  I always had this urge to start up Amazing Grace just to hear the beautiful harmonies.  I never did though – everyone was “saving my voice” for the BIG audition.  Once it was my turn I handed over my accompaniment tape (yeah, before CD’s people) and sang a couple minute solo in Italian.  Then on to two or three lines of sight-reading (always scored high here and still can do quiet well…..all that “paperwork” taught me something) and then my weak point, tonal memory;  one of the 3 judges plays a 5-7 note melody and I have to sing it back using the numer scale.  I felt good after the audition and a few weeks later got the news that I MADE IT!   Now, this is a HUGE deal.  All-State Chorus is a weekend long event in Savannah, GA.  It required money…something we didn’t have.  A hotel stay and meals for 3 days.  PLUS there was no way either of my parents could make the trip and that meant they would have to entrust me to the care of a single-male director and about 10 other teenagers.  (I do recall that we travelled with the North Hall group and their director, Lynn Lathem, was our female chaperone).  Somehow my parents worked it out.  I hate that my memory is not good….I scarecly remember details from my childhood and have to really reach for these few that I’m sharing.  The points that I remember…..the cute blonde guy from Buford High School that I “claimed” as my weekend challenge.  (yes, go ahead and laugh…I was in high school – my life surrounded around boys)  I had his full attention by Friday lunch time and our weekend ended with him kissing me on the cheek in a dark corner of the audotorium.  Back then it was long distance to call Gwinnett county so our relationship ended then and there and I don’t even remember his name.  I remember the music being super hard and the total thrill I got from singing 2nd soprano.  It was the smallest group within the chorus and kind of shunned by the 1st sopranos (who sing the highest).  What they don’t know is that those high notes are most always the melody and “my” part is what gave the beautiful under-tones to all of those accapella songs.  The chorus had to be close to 300 kids.  We practiced on Thurs. night.  Slept, had breakfast and practice until lunch, 2 hour break, practice for 5 or 6 hours in the afternoon and break for supper and sight-seeing.  I remember this one restaurant on the river.  They had the most delicious sounding menu and I shared some huge ice-cream thing with several from our group….including the two hottest guys in our chorale….sharing ice-cream and fighting over the cherries.  Then there was the challenge of tying the cherry stem in a knot only using your tongue….funny, I remember being the first girl to do that though several of the boys were much faster.  LOL…..why am I blushing?   I’m sure we talked for hours into the night but none of my close friends were with me….I don’t remember any other 9th grade girls going that year – at least none of my friends.  Saturday brought much more practice time and it all led up to an evening concert that was a HUGE deal.  Parents, college directors, church groups from all over the state.  We stayed that night too and then drove home on Sunday. 

……sigh…..I hope my daughters are allowed such a wonderful experience.  Today’s competition seems to be so much more though.  It is perfectly normal (and almost required) for individuals to have private voice and/or piano lessons.  How I wish I could afford such luxuries.  So, give the girls an extra little thought today as they have this fun experience.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated on their outcome. 

 

update:

 I’ve thought about writing several times.  It strikes me that most of you are probably so sick of my whining that you’ve stopped reading anyway so I’ll try to go back to the day in the life of lots of kids for the moment.  Let’s see…..last week was pretty typical, work, school, normal stuff right up until Friday.  It was supposed to be a teacher work day but I found out as I was leaving work on Thurs that MY school doesn’t take advantage of those so it would just be a day off.  I would have LOVED to have gotten away for the weekend…even had the opportunity to drive to MI with Jessica but my oldest daughter would have killed me, lol.  We spent Friday cleaning house and getting things settled for a visit from my ex-in-laws.  I had plans to “go out” but had to wait until the company had arrived in order to take the girls to the hotel in order for them to spend every possible moment with Nana and Grampa.  I was getting frustrated because I knew the later I went out the later I’d get home but they FINALLY arrived and I was free to do my thing.  I don’t remember what time I got home but I’m thinking it was in the 2:30 to 4 range…my days have blurred together since then.  Saturday morning I was puttering around doing stuff and waiting on my mother to call and say she was finished hemming the dress for Brittney’s pagent.  The girls arrived back and I was lounging in pj’s with wet hair when Nana springs it on me that I’M taking Brittney for hair and getting her ready.  Well, since it’s 5 min until the appointment I talked Nana into at least dropping her off, quickly dried my hair, threw clothes on the boys, showed Nicholas how to call me (refreshed him on how to call 911), left Alli sleeping soundly and went up to the end of the road to watch the hair doing.  I called Nicholas every few minutes…to the point of annoyance, but it was his first time “alone” and I wanted to be sure he understood the rules.  (please no flaming….I was literally 3 minutes away)  After the hair was done (quite beautifully but very expensively….maybe I should go to cosmopology school?) we headed home to prepare.  I got myself and the kids completely ready, packed things for Brittney and headed to my mothers.  We got Brittney dressed, talked my daddy into watching all 3 boys and headed to the school for the fun.  The pagent was so much fun for her.  Of course I’m a bit partial to my own but there were a lot beautiful girls.  Thankfully Brittney had a truly GOOD/FUN time and was able to not have a second thought at not placing. Group shot with a few contestants: p9

and a shot of Brittney totally being herself:

p2

Let’s see, Saturday night I went to my friend Amanda’s house and helped her get kids to bed because her husband was at the GA/TENN game and I stayed until he got home in case one/both the babies cried in the night (she has 2 girls 17 months apart and the youngest is only 5 weeks).  Sunday the girls came home in the morning so that Nana and Grampa could head back to north TN and we headed to church.  After church I dropped them at home and accepted a very lovely lunch and afternoon as thanks for my “friendly service” the night before, lol.  Alli was with me and the girls had the BEST time playing in the fall-like weather.  We even bathed them together and put Alli down there so that I could watch an uninterrupted movie.  ….sigh…THAT’s the life, lol.  But I was really missing my kiddos by this time and was happy to wake up to them all on Monday.  They were out of school mon-tues for fall break and we attempted to keep them from boredom.  Ralph took the little ones to the “tree-house McDs” for lunch while the girls and I cleaned MORE.  Both girls invited friends over for an evening movie and we ended up with 11 guests plus my family of 8.  Here’s a peek at my dining room:

fun

Didn’t get everyone in that shot but you get the general idea….and YES those are MALE teens in my house.   UGH!  I can not begin to tell you how weird it is to be in another room and hear a MAN’s voice say something to one of your daughters.  I sat in Alli’s room where I could peek in every few minutes and they pretty much goofed off the whole time.  A couple of the families are VERY strict with movies (more so than me which is a bit scarey) so we ended up with 30 min or so of Lion King 1 and 1/2 and then about 30 min of a UNI0-cylce blooper thingy.  Then they just put the screen down and laughed a lot.  Everyone was cleared out by 11 and I sent myself to bed!!!  Tues was a pretty boring day but that always leads to stress for mom.  Alli is in the grunting stage or whining….basically just not using words.  It’s KILLING me and by the time Ralph walked in at 9 I was DONE.  I tucked the little ones in and headed out for some fresh air.  I do love the cool nights with the windows down and B-98.5 blaring through the cheap speakers!  *grin*  I had totally forgotten my love for love-songs and was able to think back on some wonderful highschool memories.

Yesterday I headed back to work, church last night and then work again today.  Back to the same ol life…..  Honestly, I shouldn’t complain nearly as much as I do.  As long as I keep myself fairly busy, keep up with my adult friends (by talking to them face to face) and don’t think too much about how I WISH things were….well – it’s not unbearable for the moment. 

Another copied post from the WoW widow group…only because it says every thing that I feel……

I torment myself with this constantly. Why DO I allow this to go
on….? Why DO I want to be with someone who doesn’t care? Is it
because I really believe this is an addiction that can be fixed? Is it
because at one point I DID love this man, and can’t let go of that? Is
it because I’m afraid that I can’t make it on my own? Is it because it
makes me furious that I have to restart my life, move out, take my
toddlers, find a job and apartment to support myself, because of HIS
problem? Am I just not strong enough? Am I really so stupid to be
soooo grateful for the occasional happy times? Do I really secretly
buy all of the super duper lame excuses for why this has happened? Am
I really not good enough to deserve happiness? Am I really just not
trusting enough to “step out of the boat” and have faith that I’ll be
okay? Have I really just gotten into such a sad point that I really
think it IS my fault? Am I just scared that I’m making a terrible
mistake, that this whole thing is somehow in my imagination and
there’s something wrong with me for not being “happy”?

Anyone else have these questions plaguing them?!?!?!?

 

My heart breaks for this poster and then all over again for myself.  And yet at the same time,  just knowing that I’m not alone, that someone else is living my hell…well – it helps.