Friends and Family

There are some things in life that are hard to measure. The value of a friend being one. As we grow up from being children we begin to learn that friends are more than playmates. Friends are people who we can count on and don’t require explanations when we mess up. Friends love us freely.
There are different kinds of friends too. Some friends are more like family members, friends just because we were put together by someone else. People we know more about than we probably should for not being related. These friends can be some of the best. You know when you visit, that no matter what, you are welcome. We visited some friends like this recently. Bringing my large family to visit (despite the fact that we totally take over their house when we are there) these friends made sure to make us feel welcomed and wanted. These are friends that need to be cherished. There are other friends that are friends because of circumstance. We all homeschool, or we all have kids the same age, or we go to the same church. These are friends we don’t actually know a lot about. People who can be a joy to be around just for the break from the everyday. We might not know much about their lives outside of what we actually share. But these friends serve a great purpose. These are the friends that keep you sane. These friends understand what its like to be with their kids all day every day, on purpose. They understand that you love your kids more than anything in the world but at the same time that you need a break or a place to vent. These are the friends that you won’t see unless you make the effort to go and be with them. All of them have the potential of becoming close friends but only if an effort is made.
It’s not actually easy to be a friend sometimes. For me it’s much easier to stay home and mind my own business. Sometimes I feel rather split about it. There are days when I’d be just fine never seeing another person in the world outside my own family. There are other days when if I don’t get away from my family I think I may go insane. Yet still other days, when being around anyone is completely draining and all I long for is my room devoid of all humanity.
There are special friends as well. Those that you can pour your heart out to.  Those whom you can count on no matter what.  People who know the good and the bad about you and still love you. These friends you mustn’t let go of, no matter what.
A friend, no matter the manner of obtaining, is one of life’s most valuable assets. Remember to count yourself lucky to even have just one. Love your friends, be there for them, strengthen them, pray with them, and just be with them. To you out there who are my friends, thank you. A thousand times, thank you.


Homeschooling, mules, goats, and other odd topics

Is there such a thing as a normal homeschooling day? We’re in our third week of school and still not two days have been alike. Today one of the children was sick. She was sick the day before too, but I didn’t really believe it. How was I to? She never actually gets sick and she has been awfully lazy lately. So, finally convinced, I let her sleep in this morning. She may have had a slight fever but fevers are something my kids never get much of, even if they’re truly sick. The other two school age kids slept in as well. I suppose I should have waken them but I figured they might need the sleep as much as her.
What did I do? I tried again to make some homemade bread. I haven’t given up. The bread was pretty good, but kind of heavy. I’m not sure why I keep having problems. I have fresh wheat that I grind, though it does seem pretty coarse. Today’s recipe was a buttermilk and honey recipe. It kneaded well, even rose well. It just seemed kind of dense. I wouldn’t mind learning how to make soft light bread at home. Not exactly white but certainly less dense.
After the bread making and the breakfast fixing there was no time for school before music lessons. The oldest, the sick one, stayed home and watched the youngest while the two boys and I went to the lessons. Their music instructor is an interesting man. Really difficult to describe, but very talented and very good with the kids. They’ve improved a lot under his guidance, though they really do need to practice more. This instructor, however, is going through a difficult time. His father may be dying. Those of you who pray please add him to your prayers this next week.
After music we headed back home, stopping quickly at the grocery store for some meat that was on sale. I was just driving down the road next to mine and I said to the kids to look out the window. There were four covered wagons being drawn by mules coming our way. Not exactly something I expected to see today, though not so strange as to cause any discomfort. (Apparently, Benson is having Mule Days this weekend.) Just yesterday I pulled off the side of the road to help an older lady corral a couple of stray cows. Living around here can be fun.
We are currently on “goat watch” due to a goat that may or may not have a kid in the next couple of weeks. The worst thing is I don’t know when she’s due because I didn’t breed her. I bought her in May when they sold her and her four month old son. Her previous owner told me with certainty that she was pregnant then. So the best I can figure is she could have her kid anytime between now and the end of October. She does suddenly look heavier.
The boys finally started their school after lunch today and one of them only just now finished. (They ran off to cub scouts in the middle of school). The sick one managed to go to her economics class tonight. We were all finally home tonight around 9:30. I read some more of Hiawatha to my 4 year old, she asks me to read from it every night. It’s eleven now, and I’m hoping to get to bed after I send this out.
That was yet another homeschooling day for you. What did the kids learn today? They learned about time management, about music, about cooking bread, about money, about Shakespeare, about the Bible, and about taking care of a four year old. They learned the entire day through. Homeschooling is more of a life style than a school style. Everything we do we include the children. They learn right beside us sometimes. The older boy learned how to pick up a bucket of rocks, just like the younger one did not long ago. Hopefully learning in the process that, despite being a teen, he still has to respect his parents.
Tomorrow? Who knows?
Thanks for reading, good night!

Movie night…

We just finished a foreign movie. I can’t say if it was from Japan or China but that genre, probably Japan. A beautiful love story that ends in tragedy, of course. A blind girl from the Flying Daggers is rescued from the government police by a policeman himself on a mission to bring down the Flying Daggers. They fall in love. Her previous lover, who is a secret agent of the Flying Daggers working with the government police, finds out. In the end they all die and she wasn’t blind after all. (Well, it isn’t completely clear if they all die) Aaahhh, love. All sorts of beautiful cinematography and lots of exaggerated martial arts; really a beautiful movie. It was almost like Romeo and Juliet. I’m surprised more of these movies aren’t seen around here. All subtitles, too. I love subtitles. With the noise in this house it makes watching a movie so much easier. (I’m wearing ear plugs right now.) Even my young man, C, started crying in the end.
Another favorite movie of ours is La Femme Nakita, French with subtitles. There is an English remake of it but the original is much better. We do like some foreign movies. The new series out with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is pretty good once you get over some certain things. American movies follow lots of rules that foreign movies don’t. The first in this series is much harder to watch than the rest. Of course, I wouldn’t let the children see it.
Yet another favorite, that the kids can’t see, is Kill Bill one and two. The exaggerated martial arts, the explosive blood scenes, the love, the tragedy all make this a movie that is at first hard to watch but in the end worth every second. I guess P and I are a bit odd sometimes. We also liked the Seventh Samarai, but it takes quite a long time to watch. (I think 7 hours.) P keeps threatening to put it on again. I keep protesting because I know I’ll be good for nothing while its playing. Getting that much time without extreme interruption is next to impossible. I do love watching movies.

Another School Day

Today was the day that mom started to lose her cool. Another homeschooling day. I’ve been tired and have way too much to do. The house is a mess and the kids aren’t listening. This does not make for a good homeschooling day. It’s still not a bad day. The kids did do their work, all of it. I’m proud of them for doing it. It’s the stuff that goes undone because of their not cooperating when their school work is done. So what have I done to make things hopefully move smoother tomorrow? Ah, the joys of being a mom. My eldest has so many things she wants to do, so many places she wants to go, but, oh my!, she needs me to get her there. The power, the joy! She has no reason to listen to me. She’s bigger than me and stronger than me. I can’t “make” her do anything. So, tomorrow, she’s not going anywhere without her work being done. That’s not really a surprise, the part that’s potentially difficult is that I’m not going to try to “make” her do anything. When it’s time to go, we just won’t go if she’s not done. She will have to choose to get up on her own. She will have to choose when she starts her school, and to make sure she has time to finish it all. We’ll see if this works or not. The biggest problem is that if she doesn’t do her work, I’ll have to follow through and not let her go anywhere. Parenting isn’t always fun or easy.
Years ago the kids and I were going to go to McDonald’s with some friends. They were taking their time and not cooperating. So I told them all to go back inside or get along and get in the car. They immediately quieted down and we were able to have an enjoyable lunch. My friend commented, “how did I get them all to behave so quickly?” “Easy,” I said. “All you have to do is follow through on your threats once in a while.” Honesty helps kids so much. If they believe you’ll do what you say you’ll do then they know what to expect. There have been so many times when I’ve cringed and prayed I didn’t have to follow through on one of my threats. I’ve learned that I better be careful not to threaten something I’m not willing or not able to do. I have left the grocery store right after entering because they weren’t behaving. I have pulled over and turned around to go back home a few times. I have pulled over and just stopped several times. (This one is fun to do.) Just pull over, pull out a good book and start reading. Eventually the kids start to wonder why they aren’t going anywhere and then, if they’re smart, start to behave again. One time I was able to read almost a whole chapter before they even realized we weren’t going anywhere. Now when I pull over the kids quiet down almost instantly.
What will tomorrow bring? Who knows. At least the kids will know that I love them. That’s the most important thing of all.

Life in a homeschooling family

What’s it like? That’s what I’ve always wanted to know. What do those moms do all day? How do they make their kids sit and listen? Do they yell, or lose their temper? In case you want to know what its like, here’s a day in our life.

Homeschooling allows you to spend time with your kids in ways that may not be easy to do otherwise. We just got home this weekend from spending a week at Disney. And no, we didn’t count Disney as school, even though they did learn quite a lot at Epcot. Sunday we were running all day and still had lots of cleaning up and putting away to do before the day was done. Today, Monday, we attempted to get back to school. Not as easy as I had hoped. We did get up this morning, eight o’clock, instead of 7:30. Not too bad since we were all still exhausted from traveling. School on a perfect day starts at 9. We did manage to be dressed by 9, but that was about it. Breakfast was still being eaten at 9:30 this morning. That’s OK. I knew today would be a bit off. We had to get the youngest and the oldest off to dance by 11, so we packed up our school stuff and headed out at 10. Actually leaving on time was a huge accomplishment! One of the boys wanted to watch his baby sister dance and the other started school. The e-reader died on the way, so reading was out. He started on his math. He really did give it a shot, but we were just so tired. (No one was in bed before midnight last night.) After dance, we made a good choice. We chose to enjoy friends that were visiting and friends from around here at the park. I knew today just wasn’t going to work well for school. Anything the kids tried to do was just going to be forgotten or cried over and learning isn’t supposed to be torture. Instead they played a game of kick ball and enjoyed the not too hot end of summer sun, while us moms rejoiced for a little time to chat. Homeschooling can be a tremendous amount of fun but it can be terribly stressful too. As a seasoned homeschooler, I realized a long time ago that moms need each other for support. Our husbands are wonderful people but, as moms are the primary instructors, it’s so refreshing to just be with other moms. People who have similar lives understand one another more readily. I don’t think its possible for a family to homeschool their children for any extended amount of time without outside support. So, today, on an idea set out yesterday evening, around ten homeschooling families met and enjoyed each other for a couple of hours today. Yes, it was definitely a good idea.
After the park we had to rush to music lessons for the youngest, (her first) and then back to dance for the oldest and then finally home at 8:30. All in all I and the kids have been away from home for ten hours today. When we got home it was time for me to cook a quick dinner before the boys got back from scouts. (And yes, dinner was at 9:30 tonight, not that uncommon in this household.) Now at 11 tonight I have had the first chance to sit at the computer and write. It was a great day, tomorrow we’ll do school at home, and that’ll be great too.

Good night folks!