Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A bottle of white, a bottle of red, perhaps a bottle of rose' instead



My girls and now my younger son attend a very unique school. They go to school two days a week, home school two days a week and go to extra curricular activities like art, PE, drama and speech one day a week. It's called cooperative teaching but I just call it half-homeschool. There are some really great things about this--I do not plan lessons, I don't pick out the curriculums, I don't give the tests (usually), I can take a very active role in their education, I can spend more time on problem areas, I can spend more time with them and I can get breaks. And there are some really crappy sides to it, like  we are on schedule--most home schoolers can go off on bunny trails or take time off for family events, like the birth of a child. We can't. The assigned work/review has to be done. And then of course there are times when I just don't feel like teach and I have to anyway.

But by far the crappiest side is orientation week--this week. I get to find sitters for the kids (the bright side) and then get bombarded with papers and lectures about what we need and how we are going to help the kids.  Every teacher is different.  Please don't get me wrong--the teachers are great; they are just so thorough that it is overwhelming. I am that mom struggling to write down every word even though I know they will have grace periods/reminders for incorrect headings, not every kid will remember every supply, and the first week is designed to deal with all the new 'rules'.  But I don't want to get it wrong, at all. I do not want to make a single mistake, ever. So I start to panic the Sunday before orientation week. I can't sleep. I worry I am missing something--school supplies, uniform pieces, textbooks, my mind.... I start to worry about the review I did with the kids over the summer, well actually the lack of review.  I panic the first day of school the teacher will pass out work and my kids will look at it like it's Chinese. 

And my panic turns to stress and we all know what a stressed mommy makes a house. Our entire world is in sudden chaos right now. I have a ZIT. I do not get zits. But I have a zit. This is how stressed I am. After my first orientation meeting, I came home ordered a pizza and popped open a Shiner Bock ( and I am not a beer drinker). Then for breakfast--the kids had left over pizza. They have never had this but I am a wreck. And for right now I don't think I care. I need to know what needs to be in the school supply box--and I do not want to forget, anything.

And after I confirm I have everything, I begin to panic about the new year. What if my kids just don't get this? What if I am crappy teacher on this subject? What if I lose my cool like the time last year, I got so frustrated with Miley I broke a pencil in half while writing out steps to her missed math problem on the paper, or I get so annoyed with Sara's whining about her math drill that I have to go to my room, slam my door and scream in a pillow? What if I go nuts and just run out of the house naked and screaming? It could happen, really.

I feel I need a plan to make the year perfect. Every year, we get tips to make this the best year ever--add fun learning games, be sure to include exercise, be CONSISTENT. I usually write schedule after schedule or make rewards like the treasure box. I try and strive to be consistent but the fact is we are a family of 6. There are always hurdles and roadblocks, no matter what I do.  So this year, I panic and try to think of what to do. A morning bike ride as a break with Spanky in the stroller (I'll run), a schedule that imitates the school one, earned lunch outings, the treasure box (that one actually works), but this year I might add something different. I am thinking a weekly, maybe daily trip to the wine shop might make this the best school year ever :)







26 comments:

Auds at Barking Mad said...

Massive snaps mama! I could not homeschool my kids because I don't have the patience nor the brains! It would make me crazy inside of mere seconds.

And I'd ALWAYS have either a case of wine on hand, or my own personal vallium dispenser! Maybe even both.

Texan Mama@WhoPutMeInCharge said...

First off, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is my very most favorite Billy Joel song of all time.

Second, I think you'd be an awesome person to head up a parents group (PTA?) for the school. You could get together once a month to brainstorm ideas for motivation, homeschool work, etc. Or you could just get together and commisserate your frustration! But I know that it always feels better to know you're not the only one in the boat.

The thing I always try to do when I'm getting stressed is ask myself (seriously): "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Well, what is? If your kid doesn't have the materials, will they flunk? no. If you mess up as a teacher and have to ask for help from someone else? Your kids will learn that it's okay to ask for help. If you get behind on the curriculum? You always have the option to send them to full-time school. Yes it is a last resort but it's a real option. And, considering how attentive you are, I'm sure that wouldn't happen anyway.

Give yourself credit where credit is due... you and your kids are going to do GREAT!!!

Brittany said...

Ugh, stress is the worst, it totally gives me wrinkles! You are doing such an amazing job though!

Brian and Staci said...

I give it up to you girl!!! I could never do it! I'm CUH-RACKING up about you ORDERING pizza and then they ate it for breakfast!! That is so funny :) It's okay...doesn't happen every day...that quite possibly might be the only time in their lives it will happen :) I love your title...this was the song Brian would sing to Connor when they'd be in the car...before bed...any time...since he was 2. He knew this song before he knew Jesus Loves Me...is that wrong?

Brian and Staci said...

Most importantly, I meant to say, hang in there...we always seem to pull through :)

Candy said...

wow- the school sounds NEAT!! Where can I sign up for something like that?! Seriously- hang in there, and be encouraged that all over America there are moms JUST LIKE US who are completely freaking out about the school year for many different reasons. Let's get t-shirts printed with the word "LID" on the front. (aka: "Living In Denial"). GREAT JOB on your mommy quests so far!!

Amanda said...

I admire you home schooling your kids. I wish i had half the patience that you have got. Stick in there!

Mamasphere said...

That kind of school sounds awesome! I'm a bit aprehensive about putting my daughter into traditional school next year. I've been looking at options, but most of them are so expensive. I wonder if there's something like this near me!

Sidney said...

I'm SO with you on the wine....or beer.....it wouldn't matter which....

4funboys said...

I love that idea...

I'm a first grade teacher 3 days a week. This year, we'll be trying to homeschool on Mon and Tues for one of the boys... my mom will do the other 2 days- and I'm working on the details for the other day.

I wish I had your option... it sounds great.

do your kids like it?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm a Type A perfectionist. Christmas used to be my super stress time. One year I decided that I did not HAVE to do any of the things on my list.

Since that year I've still done everything, but am no longer stressed about it.

Give it a shot--it might work. I mean, really, what is the absolute worst thing that will happen if you don't do something perfectly?

mamachristina said...

are the trips to the wine shop for you or the kids? I love the idea of homeschooling that way. I agree it probably does require more effort as a parent to stay on a routine but I think you have healthier kids when we aren't lazy parents. You are doing a great job with your kids and am sure they love you for it.

http://anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

I imagine a wee nip now and again will cure almost anything. I love the idea of your school. I just don't know if I have the patience to try it.

anti-supermom said...

I could never homeschool my children, I even send my preschooler off to 'preschool' because I just don't think I could handle it. Kudos to you.

It will get better, the week is nearly over.

Burgh Baby said...

I've actually never heard of half-homeschooling before. It's a very cool concept. Although, I have to give you mad props for making it through all the work required to do it!

Formercitygirl said...

That school does sound neat. Kudos to you. Sounds like you are doing a great job.

EatPlayLove said...

if it makes you feel any better, I had a zit in the middle of my cheek last week. Yeah, nightmare, who gets cheek zits in their 30's??

Wow, I am impressed with your daytime juggling with school. Isn't it crazy how much we do for our children.

Carolina Mama said...

Awesomeness! Sounds like a great opportunity. I wasn't sure is this your first year of this. I may have missed it but I did enjoy the post.

Best!

Momo Fali said...

I am a great big stress-ball right now. My special needs son is starting kindergarten at a main-stream school on the same day that I start a new job. We're going out of town four weekends in a row and I'm starting to wonder if someone could possibly add more hours to the day. Ack!

Elizabeth said...

hahaha that's great.

as far as zits...i wish i only have one. i've battled acne for more than 1/2 my life with good spells only occasionally (like when i was preggers, being one)...with the move and the new climate i am breaking out again like a teen... BBBBLLLLLAAAAAAAWWWWWHHHHHH!

Elizabeth said...

ALSO...what an interesting thing with the 1/2 homeschooling...i totally can see that there are good sides and bad sides...but you're a good mom with choosing the best for your kids. :-)

mah-meeee said...

nominated you for an award... pop over and see!

Elaine A. said...

Sounds like you have a great plan there lady. No worries, it will be great (especially after a glass or two...)

p.s. we missed you at dinner the other night...

Lizz @ Yes, and So is My Heart said...

Oh, that was funny!

Purple Teacup said...

We were going to homeschool, but God provided for a little Christian school here. It is no "CD," but they do Saxon math so I'm ok with it. We can always do other things on the side. Hang in there- we would be there with you if we were in TX. The kids are getting a great education.

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