Friday, June 24, 2011

It's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate

Another school year is over.  I could list at least ten reasons in five seconds of why I hate homeschooling my children.  After two years, I still have not necessarily gotten "the hang of it" or embraced it like so many homeschooling moms. I'm constantly revamping my approach, because I have yet to find one that works well with my laziness.  I hate Math.  I hate threatening the older two with all that they hold dear just to get a journal entry.  I hate that my only escape during the day is urinating, while tiny bodies throw themselves against my bedroom door.  I hate that I may very well be screwing them out of colleges and jobs.

As much as I hate homeschooling, I do love quite a few things about it and I'm sincerely glad I invested in it these past two years.  We have a lot of fun times and I truly love the time spent with my kids. I love the laughter we share.  I love the freedom of flexibility.  I love not having to drive them to school every morning or loading toddlers in the car to pick them up in the afternoon.  I love not packing a school lunch.  I love that they like one another and that they genuinely miss one another when they are apart...well at least some of them do.

My love-hate relationship with homeschooling is leaving me with some big decisions to make about next year, larger than what phonics curriculum to use.  I am definitely homeschooling Ryleigh and Keely, mainly because they are pleasant to teach.  The two older children have been a struggle since day one.  The early foundation of attending public school has left them with a desire for it once again and alas, they have requested to go back to "real" school.  Jace in particular is leading the homeschooling revolt.  He says he is ready.  Nothing against me, or homeschooling, he just wants to be in a classroom setting and have that "experience". Immediately I love the idea, my mind says, "This is great, now I won't have to teach Algebra." The more I ponder it, I hate the thought, "You're thirteen.  How do you know what you're ready for?  I'll miss you."   I've entertained the request.  I've called around to the private schools.  Wow!  Tuition.  Ain't gonna happen.  I've  recorded the mileage and figured out the gas to the school at the Air Force Base and I might as well pay tuition with gas prices close to $4 a gallon. Not to mention the three hours of the day commuting and waiting would take.  If I even let the thought of the local public school in my mind, fear grips me.  It's not South Central, but it's not Mayberry either.  It has it's share of issues like any other public school, but as much as I love the idea of freeing up my day a bit, I hate the thought that they would have to deal with those issues.  I know that great kids have come from our district and some of the best people I know work for the local school.

It's just that as a mom, I can't help the pit that rises up into my throat when I think of the decisions they will have to make.  Sometimes I hate free will.  Couldn't God control us like puppets when it's in our best interest?   And if he's opposed to that couldn't he give parents special permission by overlooking manipulation as a sin and providing a holy magic mind control button?  How is life going to work for them when I, their loving mother, am no longer the main source for information?  I hate the thought that there will be others that could interfere with their moral compass.  That they might follow a crowd down the wide and inviting path.  Youth rarely recognize the power of  their passion, and very few have developed the ability to temper it.  I can imagine what insane and crude things they will see and hear as their peers try to establish themselves and be heard.  How will they handle the kid who thinks they've been wronged and with hatred welling up wants to fight?    Worse yet, I hate the thought of  the pretty girl or smooth talking guy who will win their hearts and cloud their judgment with talk of love.

I'm not sure which side of the line I should be on in this matter of stopping homeschooling, but right now I'm feeling more pulled to the "HECK NO!" side

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sent from my iPhone

I distinctly remember my mom 's inept ability at operating our VCR.  As a know-it-all teenager I felt completely superior technologically and if I kept any of that into my adulthood when trying to help my mother on her computer last year...well, God has completely humbled me.  My hi-tech nemesis? The cell phone.  I first recognized my technological insufficiency, when I was surrounded by teenagers and I pulled out my cranberry colored Samsung flip phone to send a text.  The mere sight of my phone raised some eyebrows and then when I began pushing the number "4" button three times to get to the letter "I," everyone smirked.  My children outright laughed.  At that moment, I knew once again I was becoming my mother in yet another aspect of my life.

In an attempt to modernize, I updated my communicative devices with an Apple iPhone.  How exciting it was to just hit a letter on my phone and it actually be the letter.  I think I've gotten quite savvy, at least by my standards, with my phone; reading with the kindle app, facebooking, taking notes, using the calculator, and of course texting.  And although I will not be classified as a techie anytime soon, I feel I've grown in the area of texting immensely. My biggest problem is my lack of being able to multi-task while using it.  For some reason my brain does not allow me to do anything else while typing on my phone.  If I input a contact, I have to stop walking and devote all of my attention to the recent name and number. If I need to reply to a text, I pause like a deer in headlights holding the phone about 12 inches from my face and "point" out letters with one finger.  Alas, multi-tasking may not be my strong suit.  My friend Cora, explained it best when she said, and I paraphrase, "Mothers can only multi-task mindless acts.  If it requires thought, it's the only thing she can do."

I have proven that this is not only fact in my life, but is also wise counsel.  First, I was texting while toasting waffles the other morning and completely shoved my fingers between the roof of the toaster oven and the burner--ouch!  And then the most convincing evidence came two days later...

Brian had been out of town all week and on the day of his arrival I was taking all six kids to a swimming party.  Getting out of the house is not an easy job, let alone add the need for sunscreen, bathing suits, towels and a picnic lunch.  The stress of the day was compounded when Brian texted me to tell me his ride fell through so he and his co-worker needed to be picked up in Los Angeles.  I told him I would figure it out and let him know via text who would be there, the time, etc.  I arranged for my 20-year-old nephew, also named Brian, to pick him up.  As I was restocking the diaper bag and shouting the needs of what still needed to be done, located, and loaded into the truck to the kids, I forgot the sage counsel of my friend and texted Brian. A quick note was all I sent him so he would know what was in store...not only for the ride home, but for later that evening if you get my drift.  I'm feeling a little smug at this point, things seem to be falling into place, lunch is packed, kids are dressed, and I've stoked the home fires.  Then as I'm walking into my kitchen, my nephew says, "you sent that text to me."  I thought I was going to puke.  He was completely nonchalant, I could have moved on with the day, but no-that's not how I roll.  "Really," I asked.  Like he could have made this stuff up.  "Yes."  My only retort at the time was, "well this is kinda awkward."  "Yes," he said.  Then to make matters worse, I launched into the "well-you-knew-we had-sex-anyway" speech.  Could I make this any worse?  Why yes, yes I can.  Then I feel the need to send him another text.  And by him, I mean my nephew.  Have I learned nothing?!?!  The next one read, "reason #73 why you shouldn't sext: you never know who might get it."  Seriously?  Why do I do say these things?  Most people probably do know who they are sexting, it's only idiot me who can't talk to others while selecting a recipient for their risque dialogue.

As I hung my head in shame, I immediately thought of our VCR and my sister and I trying to explain to my mom how to set the program to record Days of Our Lives.  Duh.  Technological dunce, right?  Irony is the humor of God.