Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I found a half home-school, half private school school and thought "Ah, here is the perfect fit." Especially because the brochure said I could put him in second grade math (that part is his gift, and remains today), and first grade reading. Only when we enrolled him first grade was full. So into second grade math he went. Halfway thru the year he wanted to go to school time because HEY consistent friends are FUN. I don't blame him. I feel the same way. Into full-time second grade he went. Only he was still missing first. He did okay in second thanks mostly to his AH-mazing teacher who we still stay in touch with.
The next year, we sent him to third grade and our younger one to to kindergarten. Kindergarten was an AMAZING year for the younger one and I realized HOW much my older one had missed. Teamwork, group activities, consistency, a teacher who had years of experience behind her and an even more extensive never-ending supply of creative ideas (we lucked out on that one, I realize that doesn't always happen in a school setting). Our older one, on the other hand, got the short hand of the stick this year. He's had speech difficulties since the beginning. Between making it to weekly speech appts, staying up on the overload of work at home from school, and things being taught SO fast in a two day environment, things started to come crashing down. On top of having two wonderful, but relatively inexperienced teachers in that they probably hadn't come across a kid quite as wonderful as him and pretty much had nothing to offer besides pat answers that didn't work on how to support him at home. When the school recommended we send him to a specific tutoring place that cost the same amount as the school for the year, that was the last straw. A friend of mine encouraged me to deal with his speech difficulties COMPLETELY before puberty when things start to set. He had been going to private speech therapy for years, but hardly on a consistent basis with her and my ever-changing schedules. This got me started with testing thru the public school for regular once a week speech testing, which, along with the difficulties at his current school and my complete and utter burn-out and non-desire to ever homeschool my children again drove us to enroll him in public school. With LOTS of meetings with the vice principal, registrar, and on-line information, mind you, before I felt like I could send him off to public school without worrying on my part.
What were my hang-ups on public school you ask? Fear. Mostly fear. Fear that the peer pressure would cause him to be different than something he was. Fear that the teachers would teach him something I absolutely did not want him to learn. Fear that he would prescribe to a different belief system than what we hold. Fear the education wasn't good enough for my child. I got over those fears by talking with LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of people who I admire and respect, in my church and in my life, about their views on schooling in general. So many of the ones I respect the most had sent their children to public school and spoke highly of it, also speaking of the importance of the community at home. How we as parents still have the ultimate responsibility to shape their lives, and how we are at home will do that. I have learned through my oldest going to public school that he now has two AMAZING women in his life who give their all to him 40 hours a week, happily. Not stressed out like I was. Not running dry of ideas and money, like I was. Fully loaded, ready to go. On top of that, I have gained two AMAZING women in my life who are helping me to become a successful parent by accepting and loving my child for who HE IS, not who I think he should be, or who somebody else thinks he should be. I have learned in the public school system you can make or break the experience as a parent of your child. You can either use the opportunities that come along to teach your child about life, or you can use the opportunities to bash the largest educational system in our country that is put there to give EVERYone a chance. He is receiving free speech services and his speech has improved dramatically. He is in the upper level math just like we wanted in the beginning. He is getting remediational first grade material through his teacher grading and sending his homework home with the corrections marked that I have him redo (again, I realize we are extremely lucky in that aspect and not all teachers send graded with marked corrections homework home, or even homework home at all). He has had an AMAZING year. To top it off he got to go to a winery with my husband and I, our younger, his two teachers and another teacher in his grade. How special is that?! Another fear I neglected to mention because I totally got over it, was not being a part of his education enough. That was easily solved by showing up on open house night and signing up for every volunteer opportunity I could possibly give myself to between working and homeschooling my little one. It has allowed me weekly opportunities in the classroom where I see how much he is flourishing and also get to know his teacher. On top of it all, his teachers both live in our apartment complex and his regular substitute teacher lives above us. This has all been a huge encouragement to know we are exactly in the right place at exactly the right time.
All this to say, my view is this. There is a reason you are where you are at. Don't bash where other people at. There is a reason they are there as well. Don't hold them up as gods either. They may not be in the creative, patient, wonderful loving place you think they are. Don't bash them for being non-involved or giving their kids to the system. They may be in a much more loving, creative, patient wonderful place than you think they are. Do keep an open mind to all possibilities every year as your family, life, and views evolve, and so does your childrens. Do think ahead a few years to how your decision today will affect them down the road. Do realize the system we live in and how affective you want your children to be as citizens of that system.
If you're homeschooling and are thinking of other options, think about the opportunities regular friendships create. My oldest gained a best friend from his half school and half homeschool experience. Do think of the learning opportunities gained from learning from other adults. My child is learning there is other ways to deal with anger than his mother's sometimes frustrated, stressed out responses. Do think of the consistency he MAY be missing because sometimes it's just nice to sleep in when you're homeschooling, or skip that subject because he KNOWS it already (but is it ingrained?). Do think of the accountability he will be held to for his grades, for his teamwork, for his initiative.
If you're in private school and are thinking about other options, do think about the low cost of home-schooling or public school versus private school. Do think about the benefits of home-schooling and being able to give your children those higher education opportunities without the pressures to be perfect with all your t's crossed and i's dotted literally that they require in private schools. Do think about the benefits of being able to teach your kid at his own pace. Do think about the time you will have with your child, versus the hours and hours of homework he will likely spend doing in private school. On the other side, do think of the free benefits of public school. Do think of the amazing teachers they have there. Do realize you can go in and talk to the principal of one schools, two schools, or many schools until you find one you like. If you are willing to make the drive for private school, how different is it to make the drive for public school? Do talk to the principal or vice principal and make sure they know your child personally as they will be personally responsible for choosing the teacher that best fits your child. Do realize that you can volunteer and be as much a part of your child's education as when he is in private school, only with less pressure of this project or this project, and less time spent on homework to fill in the blanks of what they missed in private school by not having the resources that public schools do.
If you are in public school and considering other options, do consider the quality one-on-one time homeschooling provides. Do consider the opportunity to get to know exactly WHO your child is before sending him off and believing what everybody else says he is. Do consider the opportunity to tailor his education directly to him, and not at one other person in his class. Do consider the lack of group following and self-initiative YOU will give him in homeschooling. With private school, do consider the amount of control you have over his schooling. You are footing the bill as much as you are in public school, but in a much more direct after tax way. You can go in and put your foot down and say this is what I want to happen. Unfortunately you have less control over the hiring of the teachers, experienced or inexperienced, and you may not have as many options as you might in a public school. All the same, do consider his friends will be more selected, because these parents are willing to work their arses off to have their kids in private school. Granted, some of them are loaded and can afford it AND their Lexus without a seconds thought, but a good majority of them break their backs to send their kids to private school because they believe it is the right thing for their child. Those children and those parents are GOOD people to be around.
Do you see how I can see both light and dark in each situation? It's because it's there. Don't fool yourselves into believing you have seen the light and only the light because you are choosing one of the options. Experience each one before you form an opinion about it. Don't really on stats. Stats don't tell you about YOUR child and YOUR experience. The most trusted advisors are those who speak from personal experience, hence why I love Momversation.com, whose video "Homeschool vs. Public School" inspired this post. Do tell others what you have experienced in your life, and why are you personally grateful you have made certain decisions. Do share with them the fears that are lurking in your closet as to why or why not you haven't made other decisions. Who knows? Their thoughts may change your views.
8am: Phonograms, Spelling Tunes, Spelling
9:10am: Grammar, Composition
12:10pm: Math Facts, Math Quiz
1:10pm: Math Lesson, Math Worksheet
2:10pm: Reading, Science
Strangely, even as simple as it is, I am freshly renewed. I have a schedule to follow, breaks to look forward to, and an extra long lunch time. Also, everything being done by 3pm. Perfect.
Today we got a late start due to the freeze and consequently Justinbustin's school starting two hours later, but we have been squeezing in phonograms, spelling, grammar, and composition in the empty spaces and it's been working as smooth as a baby's bum.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
It would be like one's brother giving a loan, knowing there is no ability to pay it back anytime soon. Dumb, but it's accepted. Then, the parents give him the money he loaned free of charge. Yet somehow one still owes the brother every cent, plus fees for being late and higher interest just because they may've skipped a bill elsewhere. Oh, and by the way, they now also have a bill tacked on to that to pay the parents back for helping the brother out.
Seems like one giant f*ck up to me.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Truth be told this is my first attempt at this one. Sort of a sleek look with only the ends curled. I did pretty well, only one burned thumb and one petrified looking section of curled hair that I decided to try hairspraying while I was curling it. However, when I got to the end I attempted to tease the crown and ended up poufing it more than I wanted. I liked the sleek look before I teased it, so next time I'll stick with that and see what happens to it a few hours down the road.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Monday, January 05, 2009
Sunday, January 04, 2009
This is my normal for going out, only this time I fluffed up my bangs and made sure to use all my styling products. You can see Brando at the door, impatiently waiting for us to catch the sunset at the Oasis.
Friday, January 02, 2009
Thursday, January 01, 2009
This is my second year to do New Year's Resolutions. Last year's resolutions proved to keep me so focused and remembering my goals that they became a subconscious effort and when the end of the year came faster than ever I was shocked to see I accomplished so many of them!! I'm looking forward to making an effort at my additional resolutions this year until they become a subconscious effort as well!!
On girl time
Keep up the girl time I started two years ago. Specifically visit my cousin in California again, take that girls' road trip I didn't get to last year, visit Napa with my sisters and cousins, enjoy my Monday nights with Li and girls, spend my birthday weekend away possibly in Mexico, and take every opportunity I can to go out with and spend time with and enjoy the girls. As last year the same rewards hold true, the personal satisfaction of continuing to discover who I am apart from mommy and wife.
and adding to this one this year...
On time with my man
Make more effort to plan special time alone with my man to rediscover and relearn to enjoy who we are as individuals and who we are in our relationship. Specifically, continue to take dates once a week as often as possible and plan our "practice" vacation to Hawaii!!!! And actually take it!! This has proved to be much more difficult than I first imagined, what with juggling six schedules and all, but by golly I intend to work through it all and do it!! Brando and I have not taken a vacation in our eight years of marriage EVER, not even our honeymoon, unless you count two nights in podunk Texas as a honeymoon. I don't. We NEED a vacation and I am bent on doing it since I thought of the idea. I call it our practice vacation because, heck, we need the practice before we can do it as a family!! Most couples get their vacationing together kinks out of the way before they start popping out the kids. Well now our kids are older and we have that opportunity I want to take advantage of it in every way I can! Specifically, be okay with the time frame being less than perfect and the kids maybe not getting to have as much fun as if they were hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa in California if the timing doesn't work, or with Brando's Mom having to come out here and take them to school and bring them home while she's here. Also, being okay if the pricing is a little more than I would like to pay for, and understanding there's a price to pay for practice and eventually we will have it down to where we will be able to get the best timing at the best price. The reward, being able to be a friend, have fun and enjoy who I am with when the kids are not around, now and when they are grown up. More tangibly, the reward of taking another more stress free trip next year because we will have had our practice run!!
Adding another one...
On enjoying the beauty of nature
Put a renewed effort into going out and enjoying our town. I'm not sure if it was the kids' school schedule, our jobs, or the pressure of the economy, but we've slacked off on our enjoyment of the local entertainment, nature, and beauty in the past few months and I'd like to get back into it as much or more so than we did before, as we have been having such a wonderful time doing over this Christmas break and had such a wonderful time doing this summer. Specifically, check out every new fun place we hear of in Austin, and every free new event that sounds interesting, including some of our favorites including Ballet Under the Stars, Shakespeare in the Park, South Asia New Year, Musicals in the Park, Barton Springs Pool, Mt. Bonnell, kayaking Town Lake, Laguna Gloria, Mayfield Park, watching the bats on South Congress, Whole Foods headquarters, and hopefully many new places this year!! The reward, knowing that I have enjoyed the beauty of my town to it's fullest and knowing that if I ever move away from here I will not be sad that I did not enjoy the time while I was here. Also, the satisfaction of having so many wonderful unique memories that can not be created any other time or place.
On taking care of my body
Put more effort into my hair. This time it's my hair! Specifically, fluff up my bangs so they're not so freaking flat, get three haircuts this year instead of two, and put more effort into styling my hair even when I go out for simple things, but even more so for girls' nights out, dates with Brando, etc. By the way, this next part might be too much information for some of you! Specifically also to keep my eyebrows consistently groomed by shaping them at least once a month, plucking them at least once a week, and going into have them professionally shaped at least twice a year!! Oh man the way I look when I neglect them or forget to reshape them for even a week or two!! The reward, the personal satisfaction of having pictures where I put my effort in to look my best and can look back at and not nit pick at myself for not doing this or that with my hair and face!
On my thought life
Get into the mind-frame that college is not an option. It's a must. Specifically, figure out what my end is and use college as a means to that end. Figure out if I want to work towards being a teacher so I can be on the same schedule as the kids and continue doing something I enjoy after they're grown. Or if I want to work on being an engineer and end up spending 60+ hours in the field if I want to do something I really enjoy. Or if I want to force myself to get over my faint heart and do something in the medical field. Figure out where I want to be in 10 years and start making a plan to get there. The reward, having a solid goal to work towards and not some vague aspirations that I give up on easily because it's not solid enough to grasp any way. Also, knowing and being able to appreciate all the work that I will have put into it when I reach that goal.
Get creative with financing for school and my time frame. Specifically, check into loans for school and what the specifics for paying them back are. Calculate what my income will be when I graduate and figure out how long it will take to pay them back. Then calculate the amount we will end up losing in twenty years if I don't end up getting a degree to where I can earn a decent income and having to settle for a job where I work my ass off and make less than $24k a year. As far as time frame, specifically, ask around and see what courses would be best to take online to get out of the way when there are times that I can be flexible with my hours in my home, but not out of the home i.e. in the summer. The reward, being able to accomplish my goals without being a burden on my family, and instead actually being able to help our future.
On my home front
Keep my home maintained and decluttered and invite more people into my home. Specifically, set aside a time every month to declutter each room and throw out items that are no longer needed. Also, maintain our daily habits and routines by cleaning up after ourselves and teaching the boys that in our family we clean up after ourselves. Teach them that we work before we play, so that once we're done working hard we can play even more than we would've been able to before. Invite each of the couples we know over, and make a point of having a new couple over once a month for dinner and a movie or margaritas and chips and a game night. The reward, giving myself permission to buy one new kitchen, decorating or entertaining for my home each month as I succeed.
On my family front
Continue to take pictures that are actually a happy moment this year. Also, to take more fun and goofy pictures rather than smiley ones where you say 1-2-3 cheese all the time! Aw, it makes my heart smile thinking how many happy pictures we took last year. Specifically, making sure that I continue to capitalize on those happy moments before or after the fact and remind them how happy they will be to have those pictures later. Also, specifically, find and pay attention to interesting and fun set ups and faces in magazines, other pictures, etc. that will make our own pictures more interesting and fun. I am so camera happy that people get irritated with me for it sometimes! Thanks to people like KT for encouraging me by telling me how good I am at snagging other people to take pictures for group photos. Most of the time I feel like I embarrass everyone I'm with when I do that. Good thing I don't care either way! The reward, having those memories captured on film to enjoy that time over and over again, and having more than just smiling faces, more of the personality of each individual!