Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sad stories and a happy ending

When I was 14 I bought some ill-fitting dress to wear to the new years dance for church.  I remember that it didn't stay buttoned very well.  So I spent most of the time hiding out and wearing my new wool coat that my dad gave me for Christmas.

When I turned 16 a friend in the ward, whose boyfriend joined the church earlier that year, invited me to go on a date with her cousin.  My mom dropped me off at her house and we waited for the cousin to show up.  Calls were made and he was running late.  So we went to dinner and the idea was that he would catch up.  He didn't make it by the end of dinner, so we went to the dance at the ward building.  More calls were made throughout.  But he never caught up with us.  That was the story.  Did I mention this was to be my "first date"? 

I never did go on any dates until I let a friend set me up with a friend for Valentines Day, during Senior year.  We both wanted to have a date to prom.  So we dated for a few months.  I wish I'd just waited until college to date.  Even in college I only went on a few dates before meeting P.  The dates were always really awkward.  It was always obvious that no further relationship would grow. 

So when I met P and people joked that we would date, I'd had 5 years to figure out that I wasn't the sort of girl that tal-dark-handsome men were into.  I was frankly mad at the idea.  But it turned out that I was really lucky nobody had realized what a gem I was until P did. 

We tell our kids that they can date in college.  With our luck, and gorgeous kids, we'll have some trouble with that.  But I hope to spare them the hope that they'll find "success" in dating when they should just enjoy being kids.   And success in dating means what?  Having them get into physical relationships that are inappropriate?  Having them caught up in drama and heartbreak?  Having them form their personality to fit some person who is themselves a child?  Having them follow that person to college rather than pursue their own growth and independence?

The missionaries were over recently and gave a lesson on what ages various things happen for youth in the church, from baptism to mission.  They included dating at 16.  I told them that 16 is the age when a lot of boys would be wishing they could go on dates with M.  But she'll tell them "Too bad."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rain or Shine

We participate in a homeschool co-op that has abominable luck at choosing the end of the year celebration.  For the last 4 years we've planned the date, then planned around crazy storms.  Last year we were confined to a carport space for our festivities while nature raged on.  The year before that the celebration was canceled for flooding.  The year before that it was relocated at the last minute to someone's home because of the weather. 

It's time to learn!  No more trying to have it in the beginning of May.  The forecast is always wrong and we seem to always have it on the 1 day in 2 weeks with serious rain.

But I do love those families.  I love their preparation.  I love their generosity.  I love their willingness to stick it out.

Tonight everyone was there about 5:25 and then the storm rolled in.  We joked how we'd all be fine as long as the rain didn't come in sideways.  We were under a very sturdy pavilion.  But the rain did come in sideways.  The children huddled under a table and ate their chili.  It was very dramatic and sort of terrifying.  I'm so impressed by these moms though.  People stayed calm and helped each other.  B and P cowered in fear in my lap so mostly people were helping me.  Lightning and thunder were a constant for 30 minutes and the whole park flooded.  Eventually we had the play, while it was still lightening and thundering.  It quieted enough for us to go on a mass potty trip.  Then we watched Julia put on the Kindy's puppet show.  I love Julia.  She's such a great story teller.  I'm so grateful for her efforts. 

There are not plans for the group to continue next year.  It may, but I'm having a baby at the end of the summer, and not planning to participate for several months.  And 2 of the families this year have been pretty flaky, and nobody wants to confront that.  So in frustration these lovely families are pulling out.  It's hard opening yourself to the possibility that new families won't show up or contribute.  Meanwhile the same 4 families always show up, always contribute and carry the load.  I'll miss our regular association.  I've learned so much over the last 3.5 years with them.  Homeschooling will be more lonely without them.

Monday, May 18, 2015

at home

I really like homeschooling.  It's nice having smart kids.  That makes it really a lot easier.  It's frustrating being around them so much.  But I love how close they are.  I love how they learn from each other, and that there are teachable moments every second.

I was reading something about how intense people feel the need to be with their homeschooled kids.  We don't plan to homeschool for HS so a lot of the need for tutors, for advanced level classes is not an issue.  And virtual education makes access to advanced level courses amazing.

I do want the kids to be able to function in a class setting.  Seeing them in Primary, I feel like they pick some of that up at church.  Our kids almost always have their materials.  They don't always remember to raise their hand.  And they tend to blurt out all the answers.  But I'm so proud of them for knowing the answers.

One of the great things about homeschool is the opportunity to brainwash our kids.  They aren't busy all day learning what is important to someone else.  They spend most of their day doing what they want and occasionally doing what is important to me.  Usually that is cleaning up, and apologizing if they were not kind to each other.  They are very self motivated learners.  They love tests.  The very act of sticking with a hard task is a ongoing lesson more important than any specific information they can learn.

I'm grateful for "Odd Squad".  The kids spend about 2 hours a day on the computer watching episodes of "Wild Krats", "Aurthor" and "Odd Squad" or playing games depending on whose turn it is.  There is only one machine that works right now so they have to take turns.  That's a life lesson.  If they fight, computer time is done.  That's for my sanity.

G and M are old enough now that they can go on a bike ride around the neighborhood any time we have 15 minutes to spare before whatever outings we go on.

As soon as seminary is over each day M is out the front door climbing a rope or tree.  G spends a lot of time just reading or building legos.  P is really into the activity book I could never get M interested in.  B follows folks around or does his own building activity if M will leave him alone.

Sometimes I have to review basic ideas like "change your clothes every day".  But in many ways they are learning to manage themselves. 

G is responsible for his homework from school.  If he doesn't get it done, simple consequences like loss of computer time get him re-motivated.  Similarly, his speech book and homework, he's eager to get it done because of consequences.

Today I needed small change for something.  I asked G if I could borrow some money from him.  He wanted 50% interest.  I told him I'd give him 10% interest.  We talked about how much that would be for each day it took me to pay him back.  I did pay him back today.  But he's already learned about interest.  Awesome!

M was making a half batch of brownies for FHE.  We spent some time calculating 1/2 of the ingredients: 1/4 c. water, 2/3 c. oil, and 2 eggs := 1 oz water, 1/3 c. oil and 1 egg.

P was bumping into G at dinner time and yelling at him to move.  So after some ignored instructions, I carried her to her room.  Later we sat down and reviewed what she had done and why it was a problem.

They're always learning.  Sometimes they're learning that if they bug me enough, I'll send them to their rooms.  Sometimes they learn other things.