Thursday, September 18, 2014

grandbabies and dental work and homeschooling, oh my

I have a baby sleeping in one bedroom (Hayden) and a grandbaby in the other (Macie) and a stack of schoolwork to score. I was gone all yesterday - six and a half hours in the dental chair and three root canals and crowns - and I lived to tell the story. Actually, I don't want to tell the story. The fact that I lived, and I am eating pain free today is enough. I'll spare you the picture of my face ... I could probably play the part of the Mayor from Whoville if I didn't have an ounce of pride. But I do. So much so, that I don't plan on going anywhere until my face recovers. Even if it takes three weeks.

So moving on to the fun stuff quickly - because I really do need to go score that schoolwork... Miss Macie is growing .

That little chunk-a-monk is five months old and weighs almost as much as Hayden. And she TALKS. Like nonstop, always shrieking and babbling and telling the world how excited she is to be in it. I get to keep her overnight for the first time, as Jo and Mo are moving to a different place. Josiah brought her into the house and immediately Hayden ran over (yes, he runs now) and started yelling May Mays !!! She is pretty popular around here :)

Other news :

We've settled in nicely to a new school routine. I am so thankful to have kids who are self-motivated to get their work done each day. This did not happen overnight. It took years of establishing that a) school work has to get done every day, and b) they have to stay on track without me constantly supervising them, if homeschooling is going to work. And I do mean yeeeeaaars. People ask me all the time how we are able to get our kids to do schoolwork ... how do they stay on task and get along and how do I not lose my mind daily?

I don't have quick fixes or simple solutions, rather the same principle that we apply to every area : lots of prayer and lots of structure and lots of love.

Sometimes things get totally crazy, and Sam calls a family meeting before bed, where rules are established and things brought back to center. We air our griefs, we come up with new strategies for handling the chaos that is sometimes The Rice Ranch, and we make a plan. We are not always 100% successful at mastering that plan, but at least we have one.

Also : we pray daily for our kids to have a love for learning and a willingness to cooperate. If they have a heart for those two things, we can overcome any challenge. I have kids who are not as good at staying focused as others, but if I see in them a love for learning, I can redirect them as many times as needed, until they get their work done. I have kids who struggle at math or don't enjoy reading like the others do, but if they have a willingness to cooperate, then we can find a way to plow through the challenges they face.

And what I have found is that my kids need a LOT of firmness (NO, you may not check your email real quick before getting on your math) and a LOT of love (I see that you are struggling at your writing assignment today, let's sit down together and help you catch up) to keep everything running smoothly. Praise and tenderness and understanding can go a long way with a child who is easily distracted. I can't tell you how many times I have seen one of my children turn around, as far as attitudes go, when I praise them in front of their siblings for doing well on an assignment, or studying quietly and nicely. Sometimes the children who seem the least "focused" are really the ones who just need a little extra love and attention to help them grow and mature. This doesn't always happen instantly, but over time I've seen my difficult children (yes, we do really have some of those) thrive under lots of encouragement and praise.

Okay, well Macie and Hayden both decided that Lily going down for her nap (don't you sleep in your apron ??) would be a great time to wake up from theirs. So my mini essay on homeschooling and what's new with my grand baby will end spontaneously right now... if you have any questions on homeschooling you'd like to see answered in a blogpost, leave them in the comment section.

Happy Thursday !!


Kiara Buechler said...

This is a very encouraging post, thank you!

crystalkupper said...

Okay, so here's mine. I was homeschooled until high school and loved it. And now that my oldest is almost 7, I'm considering it for the future, but here's the rub: we are a military family and move a lot, obviously. And when I put Jack in school he seems to assimilate into the local culture so much more quickly, making friends, etc.

Now that we're in England especially, I'm worried about homeschooling because virtually no one does it here (England is a nanny state). There are no co-ops, no support structures, no clubs, nothing. So he would have very few friends and he is just about the most social child you will ever meet. What do you think?

Amy said...

That dentist appointment sounds like the story of my life- I went Monday & wouldn't you know, 2 of my childhood fillings are coming loose. Lovely. Glad you're on the mend & having a good start to the school year! And those babies & grand babies are precious!

CJ said...

I think you should do a curriculum post!

Anonymous said...

Sooo much fun! Babies and grandbabies all in one. You are so blessed!

theCrownthatSparkles said...

Thank you for this post! Really needed to hear this!

Melissa said...

Homeschooling twin tenth graders who developmentally are NOT in tenth grade. Really hard because all of the curriculum's seems very grade specific, so if your kid is grade level in one area but not grade level in other areas, what do you do?

Joy said...

Oh I wish I'd read this when you first posted it!! One of my daughters is really self-motivated, the other is the kind that makes people say they can't homeschool. (And the third does virtual school because she is a sophomore in high school, and I'm sorry, but I just can't teach Chemistry and Pre-Calculus.). I had such a hard week with the challenging one, culminating with a major temper tantrum on Friday, and me totally losing my temper too, in a big, ugly way. And now I feel bad. But I can see how she is motivated by praise and encouragement, so I know I need to keep on with those things. I'm praying and a little nervous about this week.

In response to Crystal above, we are a military family, too, and I totally get where she is coming from. That has been a big challenge for us. But I still think it's worth it if you can get the kids into outside activities (with non-homeschoolers, ie sports or in our case dance, etc) and church.

Stef said...

Patti, this post came to me on a week where I'm feeling like a failure of a Mom. I feel like my kids would be better off taught by someone else and I see how inconsistent I am and worry I'm messing them up forever :(
This was such a reminder for me to BE consistent and to lean wholly on Jesus for the minute by minute help I need every single day.

Thank you!

cara said...

I am finally in new territory this homeschooling year. My oldest has just begun high school, and my youngest is one. SO, suddenly we have a huge age gap in school. I know you have been on this road for a while now, and I am SOOO thankful for any ideas from moms that have been here. When my oldest kids were younger, I could have them work in the same curriculum/classes, etc. But the age gap is spreading, so this has been the most challenging for me now. I think we have now found a routine that will work so that I can be available for both groups of kids. Anyways, I love all of your wisdom on this subject. Well, any subject for that matter, ha. But thank you for sharing!!! xoxoxo