Time Warp

For most of my life I was smug about time changes. With inadequate sleep being a migraine trigger, I was always pretty careful to maintain my sleep schedule. Heck, that was my main reason for not wanting to be a parent when I was a teenager. Sleep is sacred.

Fast forward to my firstborn, who needs less sleep than anyone I’ve ever known. The universe sure got me good! Still, before the children could tell time, I had no problem with Daylight Savings Time starting or ending. Heck, as homeschoolers, we can sleep as late as we want, so who cares if we shift an hour one way or the other? Twice a year I am particularly grateful to be homeschooling because the thought of an alarm going off an hour earlier than our bodies expect would make me tear my hair out.

And yet . . . having children who CAN read clocks means that come hell or high water, that tween is NOT going to sleep when she’s tired! The clock says she has another hour until bedtime! Of course, when she stays up past her Sleep Window, that throws off her entire night of sleep so she’s up and down all night, sleeping in too late or waking up at the crack of dawn. Let’s hope the sleep deprivation mania helps us plow through schoolwork today instead of causing her focus to be so terrible that it takes her half an hour to write a single paragraph she’s already outlines, because that was yesterday.

Meanwhile, I’m over here like . . .

timechange

 

Back to Life, Back to Reality

I sing that song every time I think the words, FYI. Sorry for the extended hiatus–I was away for a week and despite beautiful intentions to jump right back into our normal routine after I got home last Tuesday, well. You know how the saying goes.

intentions

But hey, they did schoolwork while I was away, so that’s gotta count for something, right? We had a nice relaxing end to last week, got ourselves sorted out, and started this week back up with only minor whining. I’m going to call that a win.

Meanwhile, the weather is yucky and we had to turn the heat on before November, which is always a little disappointing, but my kids are revved up for Halloween and I’m hoping to carry our momentum forward. There have been years where we’ve done almost nothing for the entire month of December so I’m daring to be optimistic that taking a week off here and there since summer will help us keep going until closer to Christmas. Then again, I suspect we’ll also be taking Fridays off from schoolwork and doing a lot of “practical arts/science” (aka baking), arts/crafts (aka making gifts), and playing a lot of semi-educational board games between now and then. Pumpkin bread and Harry Potter Clue, anyone?

 

 

Rainbow Days

I realize I post a lot about the frustrations of homeschooling, because goodness knows everyone needs to vent and commiserate sometimes, but it’s important to celebrate the good days, too. Tempers were short yesterday, but today was like a rainbow after the storm. I accepted that part of the problem might have been a particular writing curriculum choice (which, of course, was exacerbated by the attitude) and decided to ditch it. Why let a $20 purchase dictate how painful our school days might be?

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And just like that, I clicked “submit order” on a different writing curriculum, decided to simply skip the problems in math that were causing stress (they’re well above grade level and intended to just introduce a concept in advance . . . so why are we butting heads over it??), and voila! We started schoolwork this morning with zero resistance, even though Tween had to sit through 12 minutes (gasp!) of history video today instead of yesterday’s horrifying 8 minutes. The prospect of a craft store trip after lunch *might* have inspired positive attitudes all around, but whatever. I am determined to appreciate and enjoy the good days just as much as I grumble about the bad. I hereby vow not to let my curriculum mistakes make any of us miserable. Granted, I thought I learned that lesson several years ago, but hey . . . nobody’s perfect.

So here’s to the rainbow days, whether they’re common in your house or less frequent than you’d like–may they always be cause for celebration! And on the suckier days, I promise to remember that a bad day is just that: a day. Or an hour, or a few minutes. It shouldn’t determine the mood for the days that follow. I think we all need a good vent now and then, because we homeschooling moms so often feel the weight of showing homeschooling in a positive light. So hey, if you need a safe place to complain, the comments are always open. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but letting go of the rough times can help everyone move on to a better day ahead.

So. Much. Fun.

overit

Let me preface this by saying we’ve actually had some good days lately . . . but today was another rough one (and it’s not even noon).

How can you tell if schoolwork is going to go smoothly? Let’s just say that a big ol’ red flag would be your child immediately complaining that the video she has to watch is 8 whole minutes long, followed by sighing, head-on-desk moaning about the injustice of it all. It’s pretty safe to say that the subjects that follow will not go any better. In fact, they might just be much, much worse. Like, this mama wanted to be the one doing the head-on-desk moaning at that point.

So maybe, just maybe, said child has lost some electronic privileges for a while and can channel her tween-sized rage into her artwork while I look into finding a curriculum that doesn’t require me to hold her hand through every step of every math problem because if her attitude gets any more snarky during math time, I’m going to set her “fun” math book on fire and cackle while it burns.

Parenting is Exhausting

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Last week was another Not So Good week around here and though we’ve made an intentional effort to make this a good one, Monday is still hitting us pretty hard as we deal with the after-effects of last week. It’s been very gray and gloomy outside, which doesn’t help! I hit the weekend so totally over dealing with a tween full of Big Feelings and enough snark to flatten a small city. This parenting stuff is no joke, people. It’s exhausting!

In the end, schoolwork went smoothly and some family craft time helped us reconnect. Some extra strong coffee didn’t hurt, either. So here’s to a good week and a good month for everyone–hello, October! I for one will be taking a deep breath and setting my focus on household harmony this week. The tween might be stubborn, but who do you think she got it from? If we can both cool our jets, maybe we can proceed without more battles. I can hope, right?

Pitfalls in Fashion

There ARE some downsides to homeschooling. One of them is seeing specific groups of people on specific days of the week and trying to recall WTH I wore last Friday because I don’t want my Friday People to think I only own one shirt. When you see people several times a week, it’s different! They might recognize a shirt as something you’ve worn before, but they’re less likely to remember exactly what you were wearing on a specific day. But once a week . . . it becomes more glaring. Now I have to try to keep track of my Nice Outfits in order to cycle them appropriately. Okay, who am I kidding–my Nice Shirts and Slightly Different Jeans. It’s a bit misleading to call them outfits.

outfits

My kids, on the other hand, have certain very favorite clothing items that they’d like to wear 15 times a week if it weren’t for their evil mother refusing to do laundry 700 times a week. Luckily for them, they wear dance attire for most of our weekly outings and can get away with re-wearing a shirt or pair of shorts that was only thrown on for an hour or two to leave the house. And yes . . . as long as we didn’t see anyone we know who we’d be seeing again the next day . . . they are welcome to wear the same outfit again. Look, I spent the last decade with Oldest Child changing her clothes 75 times a day because she sneezed on something or dripped water or decided she much prefers circles to squares on that day. If they want to live in pajamas until we leave the house and reuse an outfit no one saw them in, I am all for it. Doing less laundry helps save the planet, okay? It’s for the good of the Earth!

Shine On, Weirdos!

Despite our rough start last week, our “not back to school” park trip on Friday afternoon seemed to set things right. Never underestimate the power of a couple hours spent chatting with fellow homeschool moms who know your pain! The kids spent the time with friends new and old, welcoming all of their fellow weirdos into the fold. It was glorious to behold.

It seems a bit sappy now but it really was just what we needed. This week kicked off on a much better note than last week, with willing children and better attitudes all around. We’re slowly but surely settling into a new routine and our new (slightly insane) evening schedule, making adjustments to our lesson planning, and tweaking a few curriculum choices (yes, already). We’re still getting into the groove but if this week is an indication of how the next few months are going to go, I will rejoice! Or I will at least not despair quite as much last week. It helps to know so many of us are in the same boat, trudging along separately but together, letting our weirdo light shine brightly to attract the other weirdos into our little circle of friends.

I hope everyone else’s week is going more smoothly–there was a whole lot of commiseration between all of those who were ready to lose our minds last week! And since the playground is what set our path right, here is my favorite homeschooling meme ever, because watching a group of un-self-conscious weirdo homeschoolers come up with games on a playground is *always* an adventure.

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TGI-Freakin-F

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Right about now, you can go back and read my posts about how lovely September is, then feel free to come back and roll your eyes at me. Sure, I recall years when we haven’t had the best first day back after vacation (and obviously this week was no different). . . but holy moly. I cannot recall ever having such a crabtastic first week back! Everyone is overtired and whiny and acting like we’ve never done this before. It’s not even like I can blame suddenly having to get up early to catch a bus for their exhaustion–they’ve been sleeping until like 9 am every day! GET IT TOGETHER, CHILDREN!

I’m trying very hard to be patient and understanding as they adapt to their new and much busier dance schedule, but for realz . . . I am ready for a (solo) vacation to recover from this week of unprecedented snark and whining. I knew it was really not going to improve as the week went on when my 11 year old actually shrieked, “I AM NOT TIRED!” at us the other night. We’re back at toddler level around here, it seems.

So to everyone else having a rough week, whether it’s the first week back or not . . . solidarity, folks. May we all have a nice, relaxing weekend followed by a beautifully peaceful and cooperative week next week! Goodness knows we all need it.

And we’re back!

birthday

After a lovely and relaxing vacation week followed by a birthday, we are back in business! Of course, I always think it’s best to get right back on the horse after vacation. Next time I think that, punch me right in the face. Both children moaned about even being expected to do schoolwork today, one of the dogs had to be at the vet at 9 am, and my brain is anywhere but focused on getting anything productive done. Next year, maybe we’ll plan some “educational movie days” for the week following vacation/birthday and not be dumb enough to expect to throw ourselves back into our normal routine so quickly. I think I just assume that since dance classes and activities are starting back up today, it makes sense to get our school year routine going at the same time? Whatever I was thinking, I was wrong and it was dumb. Remind me next year, please.

So today hasn’t kicked off on the best foot, but hey, there’s always tomorrow, right? Let’s just accept that there will be no cute “back to school” photos of smiling children holding signs today and move on. I’ll be over here re-learning how to crochet while watching Netflix instead of unpacking and doing laundry, because if everyone else has a case of the Ultimate Mondays, I do, too.

Got any good cures for that post-vacation adjustment period? Tips and tricks for slipping easily back into routine? Motivation for everyone to get back to work??

Every. Time.

whatgrade

It happened (again)–that moment of panic when someone asks the kids what grade they’re in. Usually, we start drilling in September: “You are in 6th grade. Say it: ‘6th grade.’ Good, now you. Say it: ‘3rd grade.’ Yes, excellent.” Best to head it off before the inevitable confusion of cashiers and curious strangers kicks in as we wander around Target. My oldest is pretty good with it these days but her sister still looks at me like someone just asked if she wants to jump out of an airplane. I’m tempted to encourage them to try something different in response: “Grade level is an institutionalized construct designed to reduce children to a number instead of an individual with unique and varied learning abilities.” Take THAT, nosy neighborhood busybody!

How do your kids respond when asked what grade they’re in?