August 30, 2012

First Day of School 2012 . . . Again!

 Yes, we did officially start school the end of May.  We did all the normal homeschool back-to-school stuff.  We actually did some homeschooling too!  But then my garden went crazy and I became a bottling maniac (80 quarts of green beans alone) and school went to the wayside for a month.

Because of that, I thought we needed some official "back-to-school" activities again to get us in the mood to jump back in.  Also, my kids are doing Harmony's Options Day program at a charter school this year, so we wanted to gear up for that as well.

As part of the ceremonies, Grandma came over and gave back-to-school haircuts (which are different from other haircuts, obviously).  No, I look nothing like my mother.  Don't rub it in.

 Gratuitous picture of Lady Harriet because she's beautiful and I adore her.

 We also picked some clothes from the kids' drawers that looked nice enough to qualify as "school clothes" and put them all in a special drawer.  Hopefully the kids will look less homeless than normal when they attend their charter school.
 We already had backpacks from a long ago attempt at emergency preparedness, so we only had to buy some binders, scribblers, pencil cases, etc.  Oh yes, and the most exciting item of all--the lunch box.  The excitement over the lunch boxes was incredible.

The kids attended their first Monday at the charter school this week.  It is a one day a week program where all the classes are extra-curricular in nature.  I had the opportunity last year to put them in a two-day a week program, but I turned it down because it was all core classes, especially history, and you all know how much I love to teach history.  I wasn't willing to give it up.  But pottery--more than happy to pass the buck on that one.

Miriam's Classes:
Lego Robotics
Advanced Piano
Beginning Spanish
Musical Theater

Cowen's Classes:
Beginning Piano
Lego Robotics
Nature Studies
Super Heroes (study real people like George Washington)

Emeline's Classes:
Seasonal Science
Nifty Numbers
Fun-tastic Fitness
Alphabet Adventures
Bitty Broadway
Crafty Classics

Emeline is in kindergarten this year, so she is in a tracked program, meaning the 5/6 year old kids stay together all day with the same teachers.  I think that is very smart.

This is the first year my children have attended any physical school and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.  Like any school program, I'm sure my children will like some classes more than others and some teachers better than others, and have all sorts of opinions by the end.  I just think it is a great opportunity for them to do some fun things that we otherwise couldn't afford to do.  Never mind the driving that would be involved!  I am cautiously optimistic that this will be a fantastic experience for all of us.

It also allows me to have my OB appointments on Monday so I only have to find a babysitter for two children, instead of 5.  Yes, I'm pregnant.  No, it wasn't planned.  Yes, I was a little bitter and angry about it.  I'm starting to feel a little better (hitting 12 weeks always helps) and my attitude is adjusting accordingly.  To say this pregnancy threw a wrench in my summer would be an understatement.  I turn into the wicked witch of the west when I'm pregnant and I so wanted to work on creating better habits for myself.  No yelling, smacking the children, sleeping in, etc.  I was doing SO WELL until morning sickness hit.  Then I was back in all the same ruts.

This summer played out kind of like this: mom sleeps in until 8:30, children get up around 7:00.  In that 90 minute span of time the children create destruction.  They get into food and smuggle under their beds, causing mom to have to clean carpets.  They break into locked closets and pull out myriad games and spread them all over causing their dad to have a nervous breakdown, books strewn about, clothes strewn about, etc., etc.  So about what you would expect from 5 young children left to their own devices for 90 minutes.

Then I would get up, see the chaos, cry, yell, punish, threaten, eventually feed them when food didn't sound too disgusting, and by 11:00 am we'd be ready for the day.  Every night I swore I would get up.  Every morning I slept in.  Add in the heat and let's just say things got downright unpleasant.

Being a mom is so hard.  I don't think we acknowledge that enough.  Recently I submitted a name to the bishopric for a new 2nd counselor and they said she was too busy.  Let's examine this further.  This sister is a new teacher getting ready for her second school year teaching a new grade.  So, she's putting together a new curriculum.  Way time-consuming, I know--I only taught one subject two years in a row when I taught professionally.  It is definitely work.  Her hubby is going to school and working full-time.  My hubs did that.  Yep, it was awful and he was always gone, and it really took its toll on our marriage.

But here's the kicker.  She has no children.  None.  Zip.  I was busy as a single woman and young working wife.  I did 5 years worth of school in 4 years at BYU while working the whole time.  I know single busy and young wife busy.  It doesn't compare.  It just does not compare to Mom busy.  I threw a little fit (remember the wicked witch of the west thing) and reminded the bishopric that when I was called as RS president I was the mother of 5 young children, one an infant, worked outside the home part-time, AND homeschooled.  They didn't seem to worry about MY being too busy.

My tantrum worked, I suppose.  They "revisited the name based on our conversation" and extended the call, which was accepted, but I still felt pretty angry about the whole thing.  Sometimes it feels like nobody understands the sheer magnitude of what we try to do every day.  When I first took the pregnancy test (at my husband's insistence, I was still in denial) I said to my sweet hubby, "I am so overwhelmed by this."  He said, with perfect sincerity, "Why?"  At the time I was ticked at his insensitivity, but now I just think he was honest.  I don't think he understands.  I don't think anyone really understands until they have been there.

Homeschooling adds that extra element on top of other mom things.  Finding a babysitter for 5 kids is harder than finding a babysitter for 1 or 2.  Grocery shopping with all of them.  Never, ever having a moment to yourself.

In light of all that, I really made such a huge effort this past Monday to be happy for my children.  To send them out the door with a smile and a lunch, and be there with a smile to pick them up.  I did it.  It was hard, but I was up at 6:30 am and we were out the door early enough to make an emergency stop at the eye doctor's to replace Miriam's lost eye-glass screw that Cowen had knocked out when they were rough-housing when I told them to kneel for prayer.  I was on the ball I tell you.

Tuesday I also got up early.  I was nauseated all day but we got our studies done--even Miriam's three new subjects, and I was cheerful and pleasant.

Wednesday I slept in.  Grr.  The day did not go well.  This morning I slept in.  Today was worse.

Who know what tomorrow will bring.

Because of the events in our life and how I've been feeling, I just want to shout out to my homeschooling sisters--you rock.  You really, really do.  And just because I choose to blog about the best things that happen at our homeschool, never think I've created some utopia at my house because I haven't.  I'm just hanging in there one day at a time.

Good luck to you this year.  Good luck to me.  Good luck to us.

PS We did eventually want another baby--I just thought I would give myself a little breathing room this time around.  Best laid plans.


  1. How frustrating! We are in the process of deciding when to try for our #6...I had a hard emotional recovery -- mild ppd -- after #5 (he's now almost 10 months-old) and put off homeschooling for 5 months, trying to get my head in gear. It was rough!! I can only imagine how you've been feeling, especially since your intentions were to wait a little longer before this pregnancy. You sound like one tough cookie, though! It's nice to read your honesty about your situation. It just reminds me that "life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." I hope things get better for you in the coming weeks (i.e. morning sickness!). ~Lynette P.S. Thank you, again, for posting that yogurt recipe. My family loves having Greek yogurt for so cheap! :)

  2. All your kids looked super cute ready for school!

  3. Hugs to you Andrea. I just don't know what other words to offer. Being a Mom is hard. Hang in there!

  4. I hope you don't mind that I'm still peeking in on your blog... I adored the honesty in this post. I try to post the positive things when I'm writing as well - it's good for my psyche to focus on the positive rather than dwell on the yucky stuff. However, I often wonder if other readers or my kids (when they're parents and looking back) will remember that our life is "real." It's nice to throw in a little dose of reality every now and again. I think you're adorable - thanks for sharing and best wishes with #6!

  5. Thank you so much for your honesty!!! Motherhood, in general, is hard. Throw in homeschooling and I'm sure people look at us like we have a third eye! But at least now I know I'm not alone! And I only have 3!! :S