Failure and Opportunity...A Strange Mix

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Homeschooling hasn't been ideal lately. I've got an idea, and most times a plan, and it's not what the kids are looking for. Which is strange, because the plan is generally based on what the kids are telling me. Someone's not listening. 

I think I threw the towel in last week. I decided that I was done. I was angry because after all these years, I still couldn't figure it out. I was sad because no one wanted to work with me to make this work. I was overwhelmed because I'm responsible for a bunch of things that are happening, but none of them well. 

I went online to a well known virtual learning centre. The stars aligned and I was looking at a 'Registration Is Open!' announcement. I signed both The Boy and The Girl up for a summer semester half credit. While filling out the online forms, I found that I couldn't just throw the kids to the wolves, so to speak, without their input. I explained my reasoning and much to my surprise, they agreed. 

I pressed on. I looked forward to the Fall 2014 semester. A quick discussion with The Girl found four courses she was willing - and with a positive attitude - to apply for. They're grade 11 courses. This fits into her five-year high school education plan very nicely. She has the perquisite required for the science class, or will in a few weeks when her current science course is done. She chose a computer skills class and a class from the Phys Ed list. She also picked a university prep English. 

Suddenly things didn't seem so bleak. We were having productive discussion. I spent the day yesterday going over the provincial requirements for the English class The Girl signed up for. She's 2/3 of the way through the list of required learning outcomes. To me, that means she won't be overwhelmed by the content. I reviewed the learning outcomes for the required prerequisite class that she doesn't officially have provincial paperwork for. She has easily achieved them, at home, with our own resources. I'm writing a credit report. I made a short list of assignments. The Girl says she is happy to do them. Having those will flesh out a small portfolio of work that - with my written credit report - will hopefully prove that she is eligible for the class she has chosen. We'll see. 

So my decision to give up, to fail, has surprised me. I am feeling some forward momentum, a different direction. Let's hope this is the change we all need. 

Mrs. A. 
(Pics from our trip to The Girl Child's first driving lesson)


Monday's Musing

Monday, April 21, 2014

This morning's coffee is Spicy Mayan Chocolate. Not so spicy, but very chocolate-y. Mr. A and I both like it. 

I've given myself until 8am to pitter-patter a little blog post out on my iPad. Please forgive if this ends abruptly. 

Settling in continues at our new home. I think we've made a good choice. 

Down the road Iives The Girl Child's very good friend. The Girl went with the friend's parents and fetched her from university on the weekend. Much catching up has happened and both The Girl and The Boy Child enjoyed dinner over there last night. 

The friend's mom is a high school English teacher and a previous guidance counsellor. She came over this weekend and gave me three giant boxes of her teaching materials. This lady is a very pleasant woman, but she had some fairly pointed questions about The Girl Child's academic progress and future plans. She had some 'words of advice' that were disguised as recounted conversations she'd had with The Girl. I know I'm feeling a bit sensitive lately over our homeschooling. It's mostly personalities and relationships stress, not academics. But my exchange with this lady left me feeling worse than I already do. 

I'm sure she meant well. But when Mrs. Friend is a high school English teacher and I am asked if I'd like to have 'some of Mrs. Friend's teaching materials' and Mrs. Friend's teaching materials turns out to be three dated boxes of elementary school classroom photocopies and unit studies and group activity guides, I'm a little put out. But like I said, I'm sure it's me being over sensitive about things right now and reading more into it. Still, what I'm to do with 25 copies of a dinosaur colouring page, I'm not sure. 

She did seem a little surprised when I mentioned that if I couldn't use any of the materials, I'd pass them along to other homeschoolers in my network. She seems to think I would just keep them. I guess I'm feeling upset about what her actions say about her view of my homeschooling. Especially when she said her other option for 'getting rid' of these things was to take it to the burn pile. So did she give me 3 boxes of garbage? If it's garbage, why is that suitable teaching material for my high-school aged children? Perhaps she just figured since I have more room in my new home, I'd like extra teaching materials?

Those three boxes do kind of blend in to the rest of the stuff I have to find homes for....

I'm off to start the day and do more unpacking, sorting and settling in. I'm sure I'll have lots of time to mull this over...

Mrs. A. 


Byte Size Blog # 8

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Today's byte size blogging is brought to you, again, sans bullets. Such is life. 

Dogs are annoying. 

Dealing with people while trying to retrain dogs to the leash is not so much annoying as discouraging. 

Winter just will. Not. Let. Go. Everything is frozen in the mornings and if you look into the corners, there's still snow. 

The ice cube in my pool that is supposed to be water has little hope of being so by April 25. That's the magic day that the fancy paperwork tells me I have to open my pool by if I'd like legal recourse should it be damaged or otherwise impaired. And this is the joy of buying a pool in the winter. 

I like all the sun and windows and light in my house. The basement is lighter without the lights on than our townhouse was with the lights on. 

I know nothing about a lot of regular things. Like water softeners. And reverse osmosis water filtration. And chimneys. 

I am excited by things I never expected: roofing quotes and aquarobic septic systems (my own little self contained treatment plant!) and compost. 

The Easter egg hunt this year is going to be epic. 

Unpacking all your worldly goods allows you to discover all the stuff you need to find homes for. Even when you tried your hardest to declutter and keep only the important things. I need about 8 junk drawers. 

On today's to-do list: make a bento box lunch for The Girl to take to work; take The Boy to his music lesson; meet the lady who potentially wants to buy the mate's bed frame I have for sale; buy quail eggs; walk the dogs 13 more times; unpack the rest of the master bedroom; organize the pantry situation; move some furniture around before Mr. A returns from his morning meeting. 

This concludes the eighth edition of Byte Size Blogging. Hope for a productive day and dogs who learn to listen for me, please. 

Mrs. A. 


It Got Worse, Then It Got Better!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Unpacking begins! 

Yesterday's scheduled tasks included unpacking clothes, setting up closets and building the kitchen. I won't say there weren't any hitches, but most got accomplished. 

The afternoon was devoted to the kitchen. I pointed out to the kids the importance of thinking about what the space was going to used for before deciding what dishes and equipment went where. A foreign concept as the kitchen they are used to was the size of a postage stamp. 

Unpacking ensued. 

It got worse before it got better. 

All was great for the first hour. Then we all started to get a little tired and picky. At the second hour mark I decided to move the deep freeze from the staging area in the garage, through the back door entry way/mud room, into the house, downstairs and into the 'wine cellar'. (Really, it's just a cold room, but my sister said I could call it a wine cellar.) Because it's always fun moving heavy furniture through awkward spaces when everyone is tired and picky. 

The freezer was dropped once on The Girl's foot, then it punched her in the chin a little further on in the process. Her mood was not improved. 

I sent the kids off to do something, really just any other thing, somewhere else where they wouldn't be near other humans while I tried to make some sense of the leftover mess in the kitchen. Because not only were we tired and picky, we were hungry now, too. 

Mr. A chose this most inopportune time to call me on his drive home from the office. I tried to focus on the positive and tell him about all the progress we had made today. Really, I felt like telling him how impossible everything was because so much needed to be done and no one wanted to help and as soon as you started something you needed to stop and deal with the dogs and what's the point unpacking anyway because we're going to redo the floors and won't that be a mess?! 

Then he asked about the kids' school work. 

I thought my head might explode, but it didn't. The afternoon went on. 

I had nearly finished picking up when Mr. A arrived home. We opened a bottle of wine. We made our first family dinner together in our new kitchen. No one tripped on anyone else or got in anyone's way. 

Dinner got cleaned up with everyone helping. Again, no tripping on someone else or taking shifts or waiting for someone to move out of the way. So awesome. 

And Mr. A understands that schoolwork will not be happening for at least a week.

Mrs. A.



Monday Morning #1

Monday, April 14, 2014

Over coffee this morning, I am thinking abut how grateful I am for moving mess. That's the mess of my new-to-me kitchen cupboard. Things were happening so fast over our moving day that I just couldn't keep up. And besides, nothing has a home yet, so how can it get put away?

Coffee happened this weekend, though. So did a great post-moving pizza lunch. 

Today the kids and I will build the kitchen and unpack clothes. I will also attempt to call some roofing people to arrange some quotes. 

And I will walk the dogs 4000 times. We have moved from a small backyard that is completely fenced to a neighbourhood that is not. I can't say that teaching two high-strung huskies a new routine in a new house is fun. Reacclimatizing them to the leash is also not fun. So far I am walking them around the yard and in little bits on the piece of road alongside our house. Many times a day. 

There are a lot of windows for them to look out in our new home. And much nature for them to want to pin down and sniff. Squirrels on the deck are particularly adrenaline inducing. There is a lot of staring and pointing, ears up on full alert. It is interspersed with some of this: 

The lying down only happens as long as I don't stand up or move around. As soon as I do, the dogs are on their feet. The poor things are so excited and exhausted that I'm planning many coffee breaks today so they will rest. 

So, happy Monday. Here's to new adventures. 

Mrs. A.


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