Saturday, January 9, 2010

Myriads of Topics

So, I've been cleaning. And this is my beautiful, slightly more organized garage.

Despite this, the mice are back. Eeew. Paul and I saw one last night while we were watching a movie, so we set some more traps. Bummer. It's been months since we've had any. I thought they were all gone. For good. But no.

I got two of the bastards in traps this morning. Then Humphrey (our six month old puppy) set off the other trap, so I had to move them under the sink where he couldn't sniff out the peanut butter. I'll put them back before I go to bed tonight.

This picture represents the accumulation of stuff that litters the bottom of my van at any given time. Paul cleaned out the van earlier this month and this was the result. (He's always giving me shit for how dirty my van is.)

But THIS, dear reader, is the stuff from HIS car. (heeheehee)

No more shit from Paul. Or if he does hand it to me, I can give it right back. (*insert cheesy smile*)

I'm already thinking garden. If I'm going to be planting sugar snap peas and spinach and broccoli in March, I best start thinking of ordering the seeds and preparing the ground next month. !!! It still feels like the dead of winter over here. It doesn't seem feasible to start working the ground in a few short weeks.

I'm still knitting scarves for (fill in the blank's) sake! I'm working on a yummy cream and mocha striped one right now, and learning about right side and wrong side of project.

We had a Manga/Knitting Homeschool Group here yesterday. Yes, the two don't seem to go together, but my daughter was wanting some manga buddies and I wanted some crafting/sewing/knitting time -- so we combined it. It worked fairly well actually. The kids drew some manga for about 45 minutes, then I tried teaching some Japanese language with the flashcards I'd picked up, but one of the kids already knew what I had prepared! All of it! Turns out he's been taking Japanese lessons through Human. His mom said it was better than Rosetta Stone and much cheaper ($25). I'll have to check it out for Aubrey.

Then the kids took turns playing You Tube videos of their favorite Japanese musicians and listened to some Japanese music. And we finished off the "club," as Aubrey calls it, with an episode of CardCaptor Sakura in Japanese with English subtitles.

The moms present knitted instead.


We'll be doing it next Friday, as well.

This is my very first scarf, knitted for myself, in August/September of 2009. It's super long and wide, the way I like scarves.

This one I finished for a friend at Christmas.

And this will be my next sewing project. Robert picked out this rockin' fabric for me to make him a cloak from.

Despite the kids really loving their new classes at HomeSource this term, Paul and I have talked it through and we've decided to put the kids back in school and end this lovely home/unschooling experiment. Sigh.

(kids in gymnastics class)

Strangely enough, (and I'm really so relieved) I am able to accept this change without feeling like a failure. And I don't feel like I am dumping them back into the hands of unfeeling, underpaid district employees. (Well, maybe a teeny bit.)

I started this homeschooling path because Robert wasn't getting his needs met in public school and the private school I attempted to put him in turned him down -- and everywhere else (lottery alternative schools) had waiting lists. So I stayed home with him and it was brilliant. His behavior changed, we got closer in our relationship, he became more relaxed. In fact, I had so much fun that I talked Aubrey and Paul into having Aubrey come home with us, too. And that was fun, too, for about six months. And then she got really bored.

We tried curriculum with her, but I didn't like doing it. And with Robert being unschooled, it didn't really work to do curriculum with her at the same time. Also, their ages and interests were just enough off that whatever Robert wanted to do, Aubrey didn't and whatever Aubrey wanted to do, Robert didn't. So someone was always being neglected during large chunks of the day. And that wasn't working.

Our cohesiveness started failing, the kids started hating each other and I've started falling back into, "What are we going to do today?" with my eyes wide like I'm trapped in front of an oncoming semi.

I've also needed considerable more "alone" time this past six months than I did all of last year. I've got personal challenges that I'm struggling with and a book that I'm trying to finish. So, it just feels like time to move the kids back into school outside of home. I'm both sad and excited.

Sad because an unschooling/homeschooling lifestyle still has beautiful, nurturing connotations that I want for our family. And there are so many "pros" for our family. Namely that the kids' interests are addressed more than they would at a more traditional school (even an alternative one.) For instance, between the two of them, the kids are taking Chess, Swimming, Ballet, Gymnastics and Drawing Anime. There is no way that they will get that in school, no matter which one I put them in. And if we go with a private school (which is a fairly probable possibility), we won't have the money after paying the school's tuition, for them to take more than maybe one of these "extra-curricular" activities.

And that's another thing. I hate that art and movement and dance and chess are extra. They should be the norm! They should be in every child's week (if they want them.) And I'm sad that Paul and I are effectively taking those opportunities away from our children. :(

The other really big plus for homeschooling Robert is his "extra" needs. If we opt for a private school, we may have to advocate harder for those needs, than we would if we did public school with an IEP for him. So we are not sold on which place would be best for him. We're still researching.

As it stands now, all of the lottery schools in our city have waiting lists and the lottery for next year is not until March. Not too far away, but IF they get chosen, then school wouldn't start for another nine months. But frankly I'm not holding my breath for that. I've had Aubrey in the Village School's lottery at least three times and on the waiting list once. She's never got in. I had Robert in the lottery for Ridgeline Montessori (as a sibling because Aubrey was already in Ridgeline at the time -- which meant he got priority over any slots available) and he still didn't get in. He was on the sibling waiting list. (As opposed to the regular waiting list.) Sigh.

There is a private school (Eugene Waldorf School) that has openings for both the kids right now. Barring Robert's application gets approved. So we wouldn't have much wait and could get them in this month probably.

Other options are: wait until the lottery and see if the kids get into any of the other alternative schools (tuition free) -- which is uber-nice because Paul's worried about his job stability just now. And then put them into Waldorf in March or April if the lottery schools don't work.

I have a tendency to want to hurry through to the next step when a decision is finally made.

So ... Paul and I have decided it's best for everyone involved (collectively anyway) that the kids go back to school. So, now I want to just make that happen and be on to the next part of the journey. But hurrying may be detrimental for Robert especially. When something new is offered to him, or when he's told "This is what's happening now," he digs his heels in and yells for all he's worth. :) Cheeky Monkey.

If I try to push him into a school setting when he's not ready, the first grade nightmare will happen all over again. And I don't want any more trauma for my baby.

We've got some diagnosis' in our back pocket if we want them (Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, and Oppositional Defiance Disorder) -- we laugh at that last one -- but more importantly we have some avenues to walk down to help him get re-integrated into a classroom. If we try to force him in next month before we start OT (Occupational Therapy) or continue HBot (if we decide to do that) or get him any counseling (which I'm skeptical of at his age), we risk it taking even longer for him to get into school without fighting at home or with the teachers and kids.

(Robert in the hyperbaric chamber -- HBOT.)

(I go in with him. The sessions last about an hour.)

(We do a lot of reading in there.)

I don't know. Robert's such an interesting little kid and he's so full of life. He really wants to make friends and maybe putting him into school would be excellent for him and he'll love it.

I feel like I need to help him with this transition though. How do I do that? Make home more like school? Talk about the things that would happen at school? Pump up the friends aspect? Take him to open houses and let him play on school playgrounds when school isn't in session?

Aubrey has SpiralScouts in a couple of hours (we're working on the Drumming Badge) and I want to soak in the tub with a book for a bit before that happens, so I'll close here. I hope this didn't fel too much like a rant. Just wanting to connect to whoever's listening ...

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