Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another New Adventure

As I've been preparing for homeschooling the kids I've gone back and forth between feeling more excited and more scared. I feel inadequate a lot, but take comfort in the fact that the text books are easy to use, that there's a wealth of information available online, and that my kids love learning.

Preparing for homeschooling has, so far, taken up a lot of time. Looking at different curriculum, online lesson plans for supplementing and fun activities, changing the bedrooms around and creating a school room, there's been a lot to do and I feel like there still is. Because I am really not good at being organized, I tend to want to over organize and that is time consuming. But all in all, I'm excited and I feel blessed to live in a state where we have some of the best laws protecting homeschooling. I feel blessed to have kids who love to learn and are very proactive about their learning. I feel blessed to know that with the proper text books and with my own knowledge and wisdom, and with Christ's help, I can teach my children what they need to know and how to be good citizens.

Now, in the midst of all this, I am embarking on another adventure. This past Sunday I was given a new calling at church. For those of you who aren't familiar with LDS slang and terminology, a calling is a job you perform at church for a period of time. How long is usually dependent upon which calling you have, as some are held for a few years and others can be much shorter or longer. Before we officially moved here I was asked to create the Sunday program, the paper that says who's speaking, what songs we'll sing, and the announcements, calendar info, etc. Shortly after that I was asked to also teach the women's class (Relief Society) every fourth Sunday. I've loved my calling to teach. (The program calling is fine, mundane and at times stressful because it involves a computer program that I'm not that great at, but it's fine).

On Sunday I was released from my calling as a Relief Society teacher and called to be the Young Women's President.

I've never had a calling like this. The responsibility feels overwhelming at times, but I am incredibly excited. I've always wanted to work with the young women of the church (the 12-18 year olds) and I feel very blessed to have received this calling.

Just like with homeschooling, I will continue to go back and forth feeling excited and scared; I will feel inadequate a lot, but take comfort in my two councilors who will help me, the scriptures, my Savior, and the hundreds of activity ideas online :)  This will be incredibly time consuming and will require sacrifice from everyone in my family. There might be less vacation time and fewer bedtime stories read at night (at least those read by me), but I know that as a family we will be blessed.

Girls' Camp is coming up as well as Youth Conference. I am excited. I know both of these things will put a strain on my family, and I hope that they will bear it well. I find it kind of strange that I'm excited about Girls' Camp. I was never a big fan of it when I was in Young Women's. The rivalry between the different congregations really bugged me and it lost a lot of its fun because of that. I hope here they don't have that same rivalry. If it does exist here, I'll have to find some way of nipping it in the bud.

I have some ideas so far of what I want to accomplish with the girls, overall goals, I guess. I am mostly worried about activity ideas, I guess, and how to get them excited about Personal Progress. If any of you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Big Reveal

 The pictures may not be a big enough clue for those of you who have no idea what we will begin this summer. Personally, I think the globe is a good clue.

If you can't tell, even by zooming on the picture, there are history, math, reading, and writing books on the bookshelf on top of the dresser.

Here's a picture of Lincoln playing with some marbles in the new room. Behind him is a poster of minerals and another of colors and shapes. Sorry if it's kind of fuzzy. I can't seem to get the focus on the camera to work lately.

Here's our reading book shelf. We've got our classics, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. Even Lincoln's bedtime stories are up there. It's our own little library. And then the whiteboard in front, of course.

And Lincoln, posing with the books and a few more posters.

So just in case you haven't caught on or aren't sure, we are homeschooling beginning this summer. At first, when the kids get out of school in May, we'll do it once a week so the kids can slowly get used to learning at home and get used to my teaching style. It will also help me get more comfortable with the curricula. In the fall we will begin homeschooling full-time.

In a recent post, I wrote about the school here. It's supposed to be fantastic, but isn't. I've gotten so frustrated with the school that I decided that I won't gamble with my kids' education and sit and hope they get good teachers next year. Granted, Jeremy's teacher isn't awful, but still I think they are watching too many movies. Too many movies and excuses and not enough reading and math. Too many classroom activities centered around Smartboards where all the kids learn is more about "technology." Lessons that easily could be taught in a more old school fashion where the kids learn more than how to drag their fingers against a wall are what is needed. It also astounds me what isn't even being discussed in the classrooms, like geography and history and civics.  The closest they come is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents' Day.

When Megan was 15 months old, her pediatrician said we'd have to homeschool her because the public schools wouldn't be able to keep up with her. The thought terrified me. I didn't want to homeschool. I didn't know what it would entail, but I figured it'd be more work than what I wanted to do. As she got older and I discovered my love for writing, I realized that unless I became much more organized and deaf, I would never be able to really spend time writing my books. Unless I was alone in the house, I couldn't focus on my writing with all the kids' noises and having to constantly stop for diaper changes, arguments over toys, making lunches and snacks. So as the kids have gotten older and more kids have joined the family, my time for writing diminished greatly and my looking forward to a day when all the kids were in school full-time increased exponentially.

I only had about 3 years to go before all the kids were in school (Faye being in preschool, so only half day, but still). I was so close to having all morning to write. It's gone now. Yes, I feel sorry for myself. No, I'm not looking for people to say, "If you want to write, you'll find the time," because frankly I don't believe that's true. Yes, I could find the time, between the hours of midnight and 2AM I could get some serious writing done. I've managed it before. However, each time I attempt this, I become a horrible person to be around because of lack of sleep and I get sick more often. So, late night writing isn't really an option for me. After the kids are in bed is my time to see Nathan. Writing when he's around is distracting, too, so telling him to go away after being home for an hour and a half or that I need to leave to find a quiet place where I can be alone and write won't really work for us. Right now, Lincoln and Emma require so much supervision that I can't leave them unsupervised for 5 minutes. Already, while writing only the previous paragraph, Lincoln has gotten into the bathroom and flooded the counter, ruining a roll of toilet paper and dirtying all my measuring cups. I do have planned that we will write, or draw stories in the case of kids too young to actually write, every day. I hope that will afford me time to write my stories as I model it for them.

Saying nothing of the financial aspect of this, homeschooling will be a big sacrifice. I've gotten off Facebook in an attempt to have fewer distractions during the homeschool day. I won't be checking e-mail, answering my phone, texting, or on Pinterest. Facebook became too big of a problem. It affected my moods in a negative way when I saw certain posts and stories.

The kids are sacrificing, too. They are all sharing a room now. We took down Megan and Emma's beds and stored them in the attic. Our neighbors bought a new bed for their teenage daughter and gave us her old bed, a trundle. So the girls share a trundle bed and we moved the boys' bunk bed into the girls' room. As you saw in the first picture, their dresser is still sitting in the homeschool room. There's just no room for a second dresser in the girls' room and Jeremy and Lincoln still have clothes and toys in the closet, too. That's why I added the curtains in the picture--out of sight, out of mind.

I will have to learn to be more organized with my time and errands. I won't be able to run into town every time I need something, not like I can now anyway. We try to limit our trips into town since it takes so long to get there.

I hope to keep the kids busy enough that they won't really have time to argue and fight like they normally do during the summer and winter breaks. We'll all be in this one room for most of the school day. There will be times that I work with one or two kids while one or two are left to work on their own in a different room, but at least for science and history the kids' will be learning from the same text book. Art will be all together, as will music, quiet reading, free writing. We'll also start our day together with scripture study. Scripture study will be fun because I have multiple books for it. Bible story books, a heros of The Book of Mormon book, and a few kid books that tell scripture stories that we'll use.

I'll do a post later that will go over the curriculum I've chosen. I'm still looking at an LDS option to enrich what I've already picked. A friend who is also beginning homeschooling this fall is using the LDS homeschool curriculum, and I'm going to take a look at it when she gets it. I think I'd like to use it in addition to what we will be using.

There you have it, our next big adventure!

Faye's First E.R. Trip

This girl is doing much better after a trip to the E.R.  Last week I dropped her, Link, and Emma off with a friend in the morning so I could work on the house a bit, organizing, cleaning, blah, blah, and when I went back to pick them up, Faye suddenly barfed everywhere. I felt awful. It wasn't chunky or anything because all she does is nurse and once in a while has rice cereal, but still, it was all over my friend's couch and floor.

After we left, Faye continued to throw up the whole way home. Then she fell asleep and woke only to barf. She did this maybe once every 10 minutes. She became totally out of it, not looking at me, no smiles or anything. After she emptied her stomach she started throwing up bile. I decided to take her to the E.R. because the pediatrician office didn't have any openings. It took them forever to get her seen. In fact, Nathan got off work and I went home to pump and take care of the other kids before Faye was taken back there, so we'd been in the waiting room for hours and hours.

She's all better now after getting some fluids in through an IV. I'm glad they gave her the IV, when Emma was dehydrated and couldn't keep anything down they refused to give her an IV and I felt like my whole day in the E.R. had been wasted.

So yay for a happy, healthy baby!