Sunday, May 16, 2010

Returning to Home Schooling

With the school year coming quickly to a close, I've been thinking a lot about what the next year of home schooling is going to look like. I'm excited about getting back into what we enjoy most, and hoping that BW's year of third grade wasn't too damaging to him. He's learned that it's not OK to get excited and ask lots of questions about things - you get in trouble for that!

The kid has almost all A's (one B) and he's constantly getting in trouble for talking, which tells me he's bored. He does have a little bit of a persecution complex, and he talks so much and so fast that what most people hear is a general buzzing - I liken it to a gnat on coke who just drank several cups of coffee and wants to discuss his REALLY GREAT IDEA, DUDE. I try to keep that in mind when he tells me about his day, but sheez, when he's excited about what he's learning and asking tons of questions and being shut down, it pisses me off.

I do get that the teacher does not have time to answer off topic questions about the subject, but, it's sad. If a kid is interested in something and wants to learn more, it bites that he's being punished for asking questions. He's been sent to another teacher's classroom, to the "trouble desk" for it. I had to bite my tongue and not ask if he had to wear a conical hat with 'dunce' written on it as well. Here's to humiliating kids as a form of discipline! And BW tells me this stuff, I have yet to get a note from the teacher or any mention of this during the parent teacher conferences. WTF?

We're both looking forward to getting him the hell out of the system. He did say he didn't want to finish the school year, but when we talked about it more, he decided he'll stick with it until it's over. I had initially told him he had to, but recently gave him the option of leaving before the end if he wanted to.

Anyway, we have a math program we've liked in the past, so I think we'll go back to that. BW wants to learn Greek. We've talked about starting with Latin, which is going to be a hoot since my only exposure to a foreign language curriculum was two semesters of high school Spanish - my only take away from that year is the all important 'Donde esta el bana?'.

Other than math and Latin, I envision lots of trips to the library and local museums, lots of reading, and lots of exploring our city. And maybe some letterboxing. I think we'd have fun with that. I'm also going to have to start meeting some Phoenix home schoolers, which makes me feel a little nervous. Not because of them - I'm sure they're very nice - but mostly because I'm shy and meeting new people fills me with trepidation. It's going to feel like my first day of work all over again.

So we'll be spending our summer recovering from the school year. I've got us season tickets to one of the local water parks, we've got a vacation to plan for the end of August, and a load of library books to read. It's going to be a beautiful summer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Week Has Been Filled With Poop

I've been having one of those weeks.

The child needs braces - which turn out to be extremely expensive, in case you didn't know.

The dog went from constipated to not constipated. VERY not constipated, if you know what I mean, and VERY all over my carpet.

I was woken up later that same night by the smell of it happening again. Being awakened by a smell is never, ever a good thing. Unless it's the smell of coffee and bacon and it's somewhere north of nine in the morning. This midnight smell? This midnight smell was definitely not coffee and bacon. Not even close.

After cleaning up yet more liqui-poo, a late night dog walk, and finally, FIIIINALLY falling back to sleep, I was woken up again by the child at o'dark thirty.

That was just one 24 hour period. The rest of the week was fairly similar.

And, have I mentioned the nose bleeds are continuing? Daily? And that BW is at the point that he HATES school, so he's in a foul mood every day when I pick him up? And MM is out of town for work, and, I'm ready to admit it, he does the bulk of the food shopping and cleaning? So the house has been lonely AND dirty AND I've had to figure out my own meals? (Poor, poor me. I know.)

Things are starting to look up though. MM will be home in the morning. I got a new camera from my mom - I love hand-me-downs. I was able to score MM tickets to one of the Suns playoff games for Father's Day. I'm going to Vegas in a few weeks with M1, child free, for three whole nights. I've been going to the gym at least three days a week, and have an appointment to get my "exercise prescription" from one of our personal trainers tomorrow. And The Office is on tonight.

So, even though my week has been literally and metaphorically filled with poop, it's looking up.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I hope everyone has a lovely day with their families!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Gym and Girl Crazy Eight Year Olds

Out of the last six days, I made it to the gym FIVE TIMES. As in, almost, but, not quite, SIX. That has to be some sort of record or something. I even went in on my day off.

I'm so proud of myself, because, one, I very much do not enjoy exercise (see how I'm trying to retrain myself not to say 'I hate exercise'?) and, two, because I've started exercise plans before and have very rarely made it past day two. And day six is at least three times better than day two, no?


Now totally out of left field, I'll change topics on you - this has been more and more on my mind of late: the girl craziness. BW is nearly nine, and has been very aware of the opposite sex since sometime around his fourth birthday. He's always asked lots of questions about girls and sex and boys and bodies and penises and vaginas (which blogger has determined is spelled wrong...perhaps vagini?) and and and.....!

To date, we have discussed masturbation, erections, what a period is, why it happens, how it happens, no - the two little rocks I keep in the jar are not my periods - they are gallstones (although my uterus and gallbladder were removed just a few months apart, so I do understand the confusion), tampons, pads, douching, condoms, pregnancy, sex, sexual responsibility and a ton of other things I've quite probably blocked out in self-preservation.

After my initial shock, I've done my best to answer him truthfully and fully - meaning, I answer, and continue to answer as long as he continues to ask questions. When he's had enough, he lets me know. Usually by saying something that totally throws me off, like, 'Wow, mom. Do you think you could save all the blood in a vial?' which turns the topic of conversation to coagulation and, ew, why on earth would you want to save it in a vial??

I'm hyperventilating just a bit right now reliving some of our conversations. Because he's EIGHT. And he already has girls fawning all over him. And it freaks me out more than a little. I'm afraid my only hope is to coat him in alternating layers of latex and lambskin from head to toe and lock him in a box for the next twenty years.

On one hand, I want to answer his questions. I don't want to put him off - they aren't inappropriate, he's curious and I don't want to demonize anything. MM, spending his childhood as both a late bloomer and a total geek is no help at all when it comes to the age appropriateness of these question and answer sessions, so we just wing it. So far, BW feels totally comfortable asking me all sorts of awkward (for me) questions, and for that, I'm thankful. When he clams up, I'll panic.

What is making me think even more about this is a discussion going on amongst participants in the LIFE is Good unschooling conference group. There's all sorts of discussion about teen and tween sexual expression. It got me thinking - when does innocent curiosity become sexual experimentation? I'm afraid the time I have to prepare myself for BW's experimentation is not going to be nearly as long as I would need and like for it to be. And, what can I do to prepare BW for it? Because I harbor no illusions about a teen's (please, please, please let him at least be a teen) ability to find a time and a place for sex.

So, am I doing the right thing by being open, by answering all his questions, by repeating over and over again (in a non-judgmental way) the emotional and physical (and LEGAL) consequences and responsibilities of sex when the topic comes up?

Or should I start shopping for spray-on latex and a box?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Laundry Day, Bloody Noses and School, oh my

It's that time of week around here. Yesterday I spent much of the day at the zoo and then M1's house, which means I got absolutely nothing done. Working three days a week does have the somewhat exciting consequence of having to worry less about work clothes, but, there does come a time when there is just nothing clean left to wear, and work clothes need special attention, like line drying. Having no decent place to hang stuff up, they get ignored for as long as possible.

It's dry and windy as all get out here - I feel like I'm back in West Texas. The result? BW's started in with the bloody noses again, one last night and one this morning. Early this morning. Ugh. Time to bust out the humidifier. Or move to Florida. Somewhere humid, where the nasal passages stay nice and moist. Our method of dealing with bloody noses usually involves the shower and a wash cloth - BW's had issues with them since he was two, and trying to wrangle a two year old who is gushing blood is an ordeal - so straight to the bathtub he went. It often looked (and sounded) like I was slaughtering a goat in there, but was much easier to clean.

I think I mentioned school is over for me, for the summer. I found out I have one more class to get my AA, and then it will be time to move on to the University. I'm not looking forward to it, I've found comfort at the community college level. I can handle it, easily. I know what to expect. I am happy I'm so close to actually finishing SOMETHING, though. I've heard AA degrees normally don't take 20 years to accomplish, so there is that - it's finally nearing it's end.

I've been on a reading binge to celebrate, which has been wonderful. I finished the latest from Clive Cussler, Maeve Binchey, Lee Child and Patricia Cornwell all in the last week. I started Stephen King's Tower (The Dark Tower? I can't remember...) series yesterday. Even though his ending always piss me off, I keep coming back for more. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Also, I joined the gym at work. My carpool mate and I are planning on going three days a week, and, who knows, I may try to hit it every now and then on my days off. There's that goal of walking across the GG Bridge I'd like to accomplish this fall, so, time to get to walking - and not outside in the 42 bajillion degree summer heat here in Phoenix, either.

So, nothing else really exciting (ha!) to report. Have a happy week, readers near and far!