Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Septic Issues

So last night Alan dealt with septic repairs.  I'm praying that the rest of our week goes a bit more smoothly. And that  I am able to sell a decent chunk of unused homeschooling books tonight to help pay for all of these repairs and medical bills and other issues that have cropped up. Like government credit card issues. Sigh. I know we're being tested here but I'm praying for a few quiet uneventful weeks before our little one arrives because we could use a slight break.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Another One

Yet another head injury. It's been that kind of summer apparently. A different child this time thankfully but since we weren't home, we left behind enough blood on a college campus to make people wonder what the heck happened. I think I'll buy a second container of medical super glue to keep in my diaper bag at all times. It would make my life easier. And have a chat with the older child who removed the first aid kit from the van.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Meal Plan

I've been trying to put the meal plan together but I am feeling so unmotivated. Perhaps it is that I am not terribly hungry lately (except for sudden cravings for things I should not and often decide not to eat). Perhaps it's because I've been wanting chicken but the kids accidentally threw the entire jumbo package into the freezer so I have to hack it in half to use it. Who knows. But we have Gabe's birthday on Saturday (and mind but we will celebrate that one another day, my rule) so I know we'll be going out to lunch that day. And he's having some friends over for a "party" at lunch time on Friday. The older boys are back from camp so they can help toss dinner together if I need it but they do have biology camp this week which will keep them out of the house for a decent chunk of the day.  I have a feeling we will be winging it and going for clean out the fridge/fend for yourself nights this week.

M: eggs (B), quesadillas (D)
T: baked oatmeal (B), taco pasta (D)
W: cereal (B), chicken azteca (D)
T: yogurt (B), meatloaf (D)
F: not sure yet other than cupcakes and hot dogs for Gabe's party at lunch time
S: Gabe's birthday so his choice

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Coming Out of the Homeschooling Fog

I'm sitting here today staring at a pile of books I'm pricing for a book sale. I have an equally large stack of partially used school books residing in the basement as well.  You see, the past few years have been crisis years in our homeschool. Crisis years when despite your best intentions, sometimes all that gets done is math, science and history videos, and lots of hands on home ec training for your kids. These are the years that break many homeschoolers. Especially those who lack support from family or friends. These are the years when if you allowed people to truly peek into your world, they'd say you need to send your kids to school. My favorite that we heard earlier this year is "You need to send your son to live with us so he can go to a REAL school." Then the statement was repeated numerous times to the child in question. Needless to say, that will never happen and such statements are rude, uncalled for, and unappreciated.

So what do you do with years like we've had recently? You step back and give yourself grace. The grace to say it will be ok. The grace to acknowledge that no education will ever be without gaps. The grace to allow God to fill in those gaps for your children. The grace to forgive yourself and your children for what you did not accomplish. The grace to look around and admit that maybe what your family needed was to be surrounded by each other. To help one another. To learn to care for one another just a little bit more.

Yes, I'm sure the kids would have pushed further ahead academically if we'd just sent them to school. But I look back on our past few years and realize that we needed something so much more important than that. We needed to heal together. To help each other. And, well, the standardized test scores are the same as they were before so I guess we're ok if you are the kind of homeschooler who cares about that sort of thing.

So what have I learned? Don't share your struggles with those who don't need to know about your school. Don't continue to school when relatives come to visit. If you believe in alternative education ideals (like little boys need twice as much time running around outside than they do sitting at a desk and it is developmentally ok for kids to NOT read at 5), don't share them with the naysayers. The second a relative or friend shows they don't respect you as the authority in your child's life, the one to guide their education, stop sharing with them. Maybe when you are having as awesome year and everything is going wonderful, you can handle sharing and bragging. But when you are struggling and in need of a bit of grace and understanding, that is not the time to share with those people. Find someone supportive and leave the negative Nellies behind.

People tell me my kids are hard workers. That they get along well. That they are so very helpful. That the older ones have a knack for looking out for the younger folks around them and pulling them in. I'll be honest and say these are the important things for me when raising kids. Yes, when we started homeschooling we were star struck by the whole "get them to Harvard" mentality. I abandoned that long ago and no longer worry about such things like getting the kids into the right college. Because it doesn't matter how they do academically if they have no work ethic, no ties to their family, no faith. So give your kids grace. And give yourself some, too.  I think we all could use it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quiet Week? Nope.

I wished for a quiet week. I should have known better. Even when we are down to only 6 kids at home. Let's just say there are clothes waiting to go in the washer tonight that are covered in blood because head wounds bleed. A lot. Even ones that really turn out to be minor ones.  I'm so glad we have taught all the children to stay calm and rational when dealing with injuries. Of course, that is usually the first sign we get that someone has been injured. You hear the troop of overly calm siblings escorting the wounded one to your side. But other than a bit of hair loss, a bump, and possibly a scar, this one was rather minor. Not even worth pulling the medical super glue out for.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Good Bye Mr. Rooster

So what do you do when you kid is attacked by the rooster? You kill the rooster. End result is that Alan says it is very strange to see a bird running around with no head and the kids are disappointed that some animal ate the remains of the rooster before they were able to have him for dinner. Yes, my kids are odd but I kind of like it that way.

I'm hoping next week is just a tad more quiet.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Meal Plan

I am only cooking for 8 this week. This will be very odd. And my biggest helpers in the kitchen will be gone so I'll actually have to do most of the cooking this week. Again, very odd. Yes, I believe in teaching the children to cook from a very early age. We're talking necessary life skills here folks. Besides, you know those lean years when your grocery budget is smaller than thinkable? If you know how to truly cook before you hit those years, you will not have to live on ramen. So I figure I'm doing the kids a service as well by making sure they know how to use dried beans, bake bread, make jam, make broths and homemade soups, yogurt, and use the crockpots to make some serious dinner magic.

S: bagels and donuts (B), sandwiches (L), steak, peppers and onions, zucchini (D)
M: bacon cheddar muffins, fruit (B), lunch out while grocery shopping (L), pulled pork, coleslaw (D)
T: eggs and toast (B), sandwiches (L), taco salad (D)
W: oatmeal (B), leftovers (L), baked potato bar (D)
T: yogurt, fruit, granola (B), sandwiches (L), hot dogs (D)
F: pumpkin bread (B), leftovers (L), pasta salad, fruit salad, etc (D)
S: not sure yet

We should have the new oven both delivered and installed by the end of the day on Thursday. May I say I am slightly looking forward to it?