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Lent

I woke up at 3:30 this morning.

I had a beer last night and can never sleep after I have a drink.  Insomnia always sucks, but knowing I can prevent it and still indulging makes me mad at myself.

Today is the first day of lent.  I need a spiritual renewal as I feel like I’m burnt out on several fronts.

Having a kid with processing disorder is hard.  Having two kids with sensory issues is harder.  Having two kids who are highly gifted with sensory issues is harder than that. 

I’m starting whole 30 today for lent.  This means no processed foods, no alcohol, no carbs of any sort.  I know my body needs this.

Plugging along with schooling and processing disorders

We just finished week thirteen of homeschool and we are still loving it.  Far more than any of us ever thought we would.  I could go on and on and on about the benefits I’m seeing with all three of my kids.  I won’t right now.  We are getting ready to take our first week off of school to enjoy fall which finally arrived in our part of the country.  I’m hoping that I can also use that week to really prepare all my November activities and schedules. 

Berry-boy has some new challenges that we are navigating.  Well I guess they aren’t new, they are just newly named.  We’ve known he has had challenges for a while and I assumed he had ADHD.  He might.  Or all his processing disorders might be causing ADHD symptoms.  We are in another phase of transition as we learn to deal with visual processing disorder and auditory processing disorder as well as oral sensory processing disorder.

I want to start blogging more about our homeschool journey, especially to help me keep track of what we are doing, what we are planning and why.  So that is maybe where I’m going with this blog.  I guess we’ll see.

12 weeks

I’m getting ready to start week twelve of my homeschool venture.

I have to admit I love it.

Like really really really love it.

But of course I still have those moments where I doubt I’m doing the right thing.  Are my kids getting socialized enough?  Sure we do lots of stuff with other kids, but the normal American kid gets sent to institutional school and that is the common experience that unites us.  Are my kids suffering because they are missing out on that? 

I tend toward the lazy.  Being a homeschool mom is tough because I have to insure that I’m not lazy.  That my kids are engaged and learning.  I’m not a mom who really agrees with “unschooling”   If I’m going to do this, it must be on the calendar and scheduled.

Am I messing up though?  Buzzy is not advancing in math as fast as I thought she would, and that is my weakest area.  Her reading is out of this world though.  Berry-boy isn’t reading as well as Buzzy was at this age, and I’m not convinced he really gets the concepts of numbers yet.  Am I failing him?  Stealthy doesn’t know the ABC song beyond H and can only say a few sentences.  I must be failing him too.

But the reality is we are happy.  Buzzy was so far advanced that she won’t suffer if it takes me a few months to get my sea legs.  Berry-boy has his own set of things going on and he is already starting to read and he probably does know his numbers but is unwilling or unable to give me that right now, and Stealthy is healthy and happy and talks a ton more than the other two did.  I shouldn’t worry.

We are good.

Five weeks in

I started homeschooling Buzzy during the summer because I wanted to make sure I *could* do it before I pulled her out of public school. Now of course I could do it, but sometimes it is hard to break from convention, especially for an ESFJ. Anywhoo, we are in the middle of our fifth week of homeschooling and I’m shocked how easy it is going so far.

She is easy to teach. She loves learning.

She already knew how to read when I started so I can just hand her a book and let her go to town.

She is apparently fairly brilliant at math too. I’m not bragging, it just is what it is.

And she loves it.

The biggest problem has been finding a homeschool social network. The state we live in is conservative, both politically and religiously. Many of the families who choose to homeschool are HUGE fans of Glenn Beck and the ever terrifying king of revisionist history David Barton. While I don’t want to keep my child completely sheltered from any group of people, I do want to insure that her main peer influences aren’t people from this school of thought. I would rather her be friends with only radically secular people than people who present false theology and dominionism as part of the gospel of Christ. I find their teachings hateful and incredibly dangerous.

So joining many of the large homeschool groups here in our state is out of the question.

And then I looked around at the people I loved. My friends. Most of my friends go to public school. They happily send their kids off in the morning to get an education. And that works for their family and I’m glad it does (and sometimes a little jealous) But I had a few friends who homeschool, who were normal people. And I started to connect. To arrange playdates and a history co-op. I found another friend who wants to do nature walks, hiking, and science experiments together.

My network isn’t as small as I had once feared.

And I might try and take the time at some point to rant about David Barton.

Never going to eat again!

Berry-boy screams that he is never ever going to eat again.  Five seconds later he is at the fridge demanding food.

Awesomesauce.  

Its gonna be a long day.

It is done

I am a homeschool mom.  

I need to go shopping as I own no denim jumpers.  

I’m probably going to need to figure out how to make my own gin.  Isn’t homesteading and baking your own bread and stuff part of this gig.  Well….I’ve baked my own bread for years.  But I’m sure the Romney and/or Obama end of the world is coming.  I’ll need gin.  And tonic water.  You know….for the quinine.  

Buzzy will learn at my knee.  She’ll be unsocialized and weird.  

Tomorrow we are going to make bricks old skool style.  With like straw and mud and stuff.  Then we are gonna build a fairy house with them.  And we are gonna OWN this homeschool stuff.  Im’ma homeschool LIKE A BOSS.

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG  I’m not a professional!  I don’t have a degree!  I haven’t been properly educated as to how to educate children.  Most of the homeschoolers here are fundamentalist Christian douches.

She’ll survive….no…she’ll thrive.  Anything would be better for a child who can easily devour any book out there than being forced to sit in a group reading “Pat sat on the mat” 

I just can’t do that to her.  I can’t put her in that classroom again.

So I’m a homeschool mom.  I must go shopping.  I only own hip, awesome clothes.  I need some jumpers.

The land of “Should I?”

Buzzy is wildly smart.  Berry-boy is smart, but has ADHD.  Stealthy is still a baby so I know nothing except he seems to be developmentally normal.

But the big two.  I’ve got two kids that people in doucheland of education would label “exceptional” in order to be politically correct.  The reality is that Buzzy is beyond smart, she would fall under the label of highly gifted.  And last year she was coming home from school, from KINDERGARTEN, bored out of her skull.  She was reading on a sixth grade level at the beginning of the year.  She was doing math well beyond her age.  Of course she was bored.  Her teacher was fantastic, and tried, but honestly what can you do?  You have twenty two kids who are all over the board and have to get them to similar places.  The smart kids have to be dumbed down.

So now…I’m back looking at homeschooling.  Really, I can’t imagine what would work better for her.  But I’m so scared.  My personality type is ESFJ, which means going against the social norms is hard for me.  Plus Buzzy is the most extroverted person I’ve ever met in my life.  How on earth would I be able to provide all those social interactions she so desperately needs?  The social needs of our little Buzzy butterfly almost propelled us to keep her in public schools.  Sure we know all the numbers.  We know that highly gifted kids don’t do well in public school.  We even stumbled on stuff that said they were higher risk for suicide, dropping out, drug use, and a myriad of other problems if they remained in public school.

And then there is dad.  Navy life has us moving every few years.  The easiest way for Buzzy to make friends is in public school.  The decision seemed to be leaning toward public school if we looked at her social needs.

And our sweet Berry-boy with his constant need for motion and inability to hold still for more than a few seconds…Public schools, actually most institutional schools, are designed to crush him.  They don’t mean to, but you can’t educate a class full of neurotypical kids if you have one that demands to be moving constantly, that can’t control his movement impulses, and gets incredibly frustrated when asked to and hits out of frustration.  Homeschooling seemed like the best, probably only, option that would work for him.  Especially if we don’t want to medicate him for several years.

But public school is easy for MEEEEEEE!!!  Kinda.  Once I started thinking about it, no, it really isn’t.  We value our time together and enjoy each other.  And I can’t figure out when we’ll see each other if our kids are in school all day every day.  Eight hours a day gone.  We could either choose enrichment activities or family time.  I don’t see how we could really do both.

Public school means if they don’t get a good education I can blame someone else?

But back to the social thing.  So yesterday we were in our community pool and Buzzy was trying to play with some little girls her age.  The thing about Buzzy is, she is sheltered.  We don’t watch a ton of television, and she watches none of the “tween” shows out there.  She has never seen any iCarley, or Hannah Montana, or whatever those shows are.  Her very favorite show is Max and Ruby.  The books she reads are classics, or Magic Tree House, and other books that aren’t based on pop culture.  She is not six trying to be twelve.  She is six, and acts like a six year old should.  But compared to some kids she is “young”  So she was trying to play with these girls, and they were snotty and exclusive and putting on the airs of modern tween girls without understanding how to do it.  They were mean.  They hurt her feelings because she was wanting to play like a little kid does, and they were wanting to pretend they were tweens.  It struck me as horribly sad for the other girls, and for Buzzy.  If she is in public school she’ll encounter a lot of these girls who are growing up to fast.  And that isn’t what I want for her.  I want my kids to have a magical, and age appropriate childhood, and I think that means we’ll have to postpone some social interactions until they are a bit older.

I believe that my children need to be exposed to all sorts of people.  I highly value diversity, not only in skin color or culture, but in values and lifestyle choices.  But she is six.  And right now I want to lay a foundation of morals and values that line up with our family, not with what the greater culture says.  And right now…I don’t see how I can keep my kids in a culture that doesn’t line up with our families values.

I think I need to stop fighting it and admit that I’m a homeschooling mother.