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Archive for November, 2008

mike concentratingIn college I had a professor who greeted us everyday by saying, “Put your seat belts and thinking caps on ’cause we’re going on a wild rid in the learning bus!”  That’s always stuck with me.  I want my children to love to learn.  I want them to be inspired to dig deeper, push themselves farther, explore more.  I want them to wake up and jump on the learning bus and take an adventure.

It seems like they are, more often than not, rolling out of bed and trudging to school. They spend the day entombed in mediocrity.  They are shuffled along at the same pace as everyone else.  They are preparing and preparing for the STAR test.  They are preparing and preparing for the SCOE.  They are preparing and preparing to be standard.  I don’t want them to be standard.  I want them to extraordinary.

After lots of careful introspection and prayer we’ve decided to pull the kids out of public school.  This is where you gasp.  Go ahead, I’ll let you.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve made the foray into the homeschool arena.  I’ve been down this road before.  I hope to think that this time I’m a little more prepared for the journey.  I know that this trip isn’t down the paved path that we were on.  Rather it’s down a bumpy dirt road that curves around the nice shiny freeway that most people are cruising along, it’s full of pot holes and sharp curves. It’s going to be a wild ride. But I know I’m going to be okay, cause the kids and I are going to be strapped in and on the learning bus.

When we broke the news there was lots of crying and I’m sad to say a little screaming too.  By day 2 excitement started to roll in.  As all of the books and curriculum start to come in the mail, the excitement level continues to increase.

I would just like to document this excitement.  I’d like to document that McKayla has said she doesn’t mind be homeschooled.  The one request is that we can find some boys to interact with.  I’m documenting this for next month when she decides she hates me and I’m a life ruiner again.  For now, I’m going to enjoy this excitement.

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jacob sneaking some cake

I have five kids.  Two of those five being toddlers who have learned how to get on to the table and counters.  Chaos reigns over here.  If I’m not careful my house looks like a group of preschoolers ransacked it.  Toys are dragged around and strewn all over.  Dishes pile up in the sink and on the counters.  Laundry piles up taller than I am. And walking on our hardwood floors is like walking through the Sahara desert barefoot. It’s not pretty.

The nice part about having five kids is that I have free laborers.  When I’ve had enough of their mess we can get on top of it pretty quickly. I put everyone that is still napping age down for a nap because they are the least helpful.  Then I assign zones to each kid.  Someone gets the dishes, someone gets everything on the floor, someone else gets everything on the tables and counters, etc.  Once it’s neat, I start assigning cleaning jobs.  Someone gets the upstairs bathroom, someone gets all the mirrors, someone gets to sweep, someone gets to get mommy a drink.

I’ve found that by doing this my kids are learning new skills. They are working as a team. They are learning the art of cleaning.  One day they could probably even get a job as a maid. My aspirations are sometimes low.  At the very least, they can keep a relatively neat house.  Though they don’t do the job that I would do, they do a decent enough job.  Plus, I’ve learned that with five kids, the world’s expectations of me are pretty low.  Everyone is surprised that my house is relatively neat.  If someone does comment on my streaked mirrors, I just inform them that they were cleaned by a five-year-old and then they are even more impressed that I’ve gotten my five-year-old to do a decent job cleaning mirrors.

In order to avoid mutiny (which has happened here) I usually bribe with lunch out, which is a rarity around here.  Sometimes we’ll go get McDonalds and the kids will play on the playground while I read.  Sometimes I’ll pack a lunch and we’ll take it to the park, the kids will play, I’ll read.  Do you see a trend?  This lunch out is  two fold, the kids get to eat out and my house stays clean longer.  I guess it could even be three fold.  They get to burn lots of energy and I get to relax while they do it.

So that’s what works for me.  Slave labor to clean the house and then staying out of it to keep it clean.

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voting it’s stressful

Dave’s just as much a procrastinator as I am.  It’s surprising that we ever get anything done.

We got our ballots in the mail awhile ago.  They sat on our desk.  They taunted us.  We went on with our merry little lives.  On the eve of Dave going to China he signed his ballot and left it for me to mail.  But I hadn’t voted yet.  I didn’t know who I wanted for the 3rd district irrigation canal board or which of the 80 people I wanted for the Trustee board for our local community college.

I’d like to say that I was busy.  Okay, I will say I was busy.  I have five kids. I was alone. I’ve signed up to be Marshall’s cub scout den leader.  I agreed to be McKayla’s girl scout leader.  I made the teachers popcorn balls.  There’s soccer and working in the classroom.  Have I martyred myself enough?

I promised I’d do it by last Saturday, but it came and went and our ballots just sat on our desk.  Last night on the eve of the election.  I filled out my ballot.  I signed it and noticed  that in the upper corner if you don’t mail it in you have to sign it.  I called Dave and asked him what I should do?  It’s times like this when I should have power of attorney.

This morning when it was time to take our ballots in I had a mini heart attack.  What if they check?  What if they think I’m trying to steal his vote?  I made a friend go with me to polls.  If they arrested me I at least wanted someone there to take care of the kids until my parents could come bail me out.  I freaked out a little bit.  I brought ID.  My license doesn’t have my current address. Should I bring the deed to my house?  Should I bring my marriage license so they know that I have a valid reason to turn in Dave’s ballot?  Should I bring his receipt for his Chinese Visa so they know he’s in China?

Turns out, they didn’t check id.  They didn’t even look at my envelopes. I slid them into the box no problem.

Will all the stress, you would have thought I’ve never voted.  But after it was said and done I feel better.  I’ve voted.

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