Long Days, Little Rest

It’s been a while since I’ve written a straight up blog post, but I thought I’d give it a try. The start of 2012 has been a perfect storm of insanity. Our air conditioner died. In a typical Florida winter, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but this wasn’t typical, not by a long shot. It was finally replaced on Monday. I have never been more grateful.

P has changed jobs and company. The new company is a good fit for him and is an exciting opportunity. But people who know what those words mean know that there is a lot of work involved and he’s frequently far busier than he used to be. He also now works from home part of the time. This is not always ideal as he tends to prefer quiet to no quiet, but we’re persevering so far and we seem to be getting the hang of it.

My work schedule went loopy. I’m teaching classes I haven’t taught in quite a while and they’ve changed significantly and I ended up working crazy numbers of hours to not be behind my students. And, really, it’s not settled, I’m still working crazy hours and don’t have a lot of time when you add in teaching my own kids. I don’t see this schedule letting up until summer. Sigh. I can hope for a miracle, though.

My health has been a roller coaster. Allergies hit very hard this year, but I didn’t end up with my semi-annual case of bronchitis. This is good since my primary for the last seven years quit the practice and left a lot of patients with no primary care. I’m meeting one of his partners at the end of the month and we’ll see if that relationship will work or if I need a new primary all together. I also have to admit defeat (ha ha) and find a podiatrist. My feet are so painful in the mornings now that I look like a 90 year old woman hobbling across the floor. It’s not attractive and it’s not fun. Plus, now my knee is in on the act. It clicks and makes noises I know it shouldn’t. First step is the feet. If that doesn’t fix it, then off to the orthopedist I go to try to find out what the heck is going on in my knee.

And then, there’s homeschool. It’s a journey and a lot of times, it’s not fun. Ben is prone to tantrums and he is very vocal about what he doesn’t like and what he won’t do. There have been more curriculum changes — we’ve adopted WriteShop A, and that seems to be helping a little, but anything involving the physical act of writing is right out. He can read phenomenally well, and could easily read chapter books, but he’s realized that some of his friends can’t do that and so he refuses to do it as well. He keeps reminding me that he’s a first grader and I can’t ask him to do anything that isn’t first grade. We’ve had the talk that the grade thing is arbitrary and that we use first grade as convenient because it keeps him with kids his age. He seems to understand that, but he’s still very attached to the idea that he’s a first grader and that’s that.

I’ve started calling what we’re doing story-schooling because Ben seems to learn best through stories. We are using a host of curricular options that rely on telling him stories or him creating stories to get the information across. This seem to work better than anything else we’ve done, but still, there’s resistance if he feels like there’s any fine motor stuff involved (clearly, he doesn’t call it that, but anything using his hands, he’s not interested in). And there is irony in this because he will draw for hours, color to his heart’s content, cut out things he’s drawn and glue them to other projects, but if it’s not his idea, he’s not willing to do it. Sigh.

Katie has started preschool with a vengeance. We tried a more formal program, but she wasn’t quite ready for it, so we do a page of Core Knowledge, read AlphaTales, and she loves to watch Leap Frog’s Phonics Farm. I’m toying with Reading Eggs for her, but haven’t decided yet.

We’re adding and subtracting activities and options as we go. This homeschooling thing is really an adventure. I don’t know if I’m going to be more active in the coming months, but I thought a brief update was in order.

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