Happy Day

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This weekend felt like an instagram come-true. The weather was perfect for being outside. It was bug-free and the humidity was low. Watching fireworks on the 4th, I actually got chilly. Cool- on the 4th of July. I don’t think that has happened in a long time.

My kids played outside for most of the weekend. We hiked at Ivy Creek for a couple of hours on the 4th. I realized, sometime in the afternoon, that we had not even considered finding a parade somewhere. Nor were my kids wearing red, white, and blue.

I felt a little bummed; sort of guilty and missed-opportunity’ish. But then I remembered that my kids are not on facebook and will, therefore, not know what they’re missing. The bummed feeling passed.

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After realizing I felt tired and lamenting the deep injustice of this (in my second trimester! I should feel like a million bucks) I realized I was going to bed late every night. So I’ve been getting in bed earlier and setting myself up for better sleep. It is the darndest thing. I’m not so tired anymore.

The kids are fun these days. The baby is in a screech-when-he’s-frustrated phase, but we are working on it and I know it will pass. I’m enjoying time with them so much that it brings up the whole homeschooling decision all over again. After a fun week together, like last week, I told my husband I lean toward keeping Chicken home again this coming year.

(This is a scale that tips easily in either direction, so expect a different leaning at any point).

Happy Monday, all!

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Homeschooling for Kindergarten

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I have started and restarted this post a bazillion times in my head. I know I’m going to go on and on because I tend to overexplain things, but…oh well. Some people have been curious as to why we homeschool Chicken for kindergarten.

Here ya go, in no particular order:

1. It works for the kids’ sleep schedule. Their usual wake-up time and the baby’s naptime would be interrupted for the school schedule. Yes, we could tweak that by getting everyone to bed earlier, but when we made this decision my husband was commuting over an hour to work. He left the house as early as 5:00 a.m. and got home at 6:30. An earlier bedtime meant the kids wouldn’t see their dad most weekdays. Not ideal.

(His work schedule has changed now- glory!- but was a factor when we made our decision. The nap thing would still be an issue.)

2. My kids like playing together, and I think playing is important at this stage. So they do that for most of their day, and they do it pretty well. I don’t do much entertaining or helping them come up with games or whatever. They have their favorite toys and games and play “pretend” a lot.

3. The educational content that is necessary for kindergarteners is pretty minimal and can be taught in a pretty short amount of time. Social content (like learning to function well in a group) and enrichment (art, music, etc)- that’s a different story. But academics, when homeschooling? We can cover that pretty efficiently. (For us it’s just a few hours per week.) That leaves the rest of those hours wide open for whatever we want to do with them.

4. Homeschooling suits her personality. She’s pretty shy and more on the introverted side of things. That’s fine with me- it’s just how she’s wired right now. That meant that preschool, three mornings a week, was a lot for her last year. She went regularly but it came at a cost to her (and all of us, to some extent) in terms of nervous energy and a little anxiety. She felt “shy” with classmates through the end of the school year.

Homeschooling lets us keep pushing her to step out and gain confidence in this, but without the big jump that full day kindergarten would have been. It feels more like letting her wade into the pool, rather than the big old toss in there all at once.

Here are two things that do not concern me about homeschooling:

1. Being at home all day with my kids. We’re already used to being at home. I’m coming up on six years as a SAHM, so it’s not new territory. Old hat. I know how to do this.

2. Socialization. Bleh. Who cares? If you can find me one weirdo kid out there who proves that homeschoolers are unsocialized and generally unacceptable, I’m sure I can find a billion other 5 year olds that also do weird things, just in a classroom setting. Because they’re five. That’s what they do.

I just don’t think the “socialization” concern holds much weight because, when I look around, I think all kids are little weirdos in different ways and classrooms don’t make or break that.

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The bottom line is that it works for our family. I feel much more excited about homeschooling than sending her to school all day. The driving back and forth for pickups to kindergarten and preschool was enough to make me feel batty from the get-go. Homeschooling feels simpler to me, and I enjoy keeping it simple.

Also, we never could have known it, but September started a big upheaval in our family with Monkey’s seizures and the discovery of a brain tumor (I first wrote about that here). I’m really, really thankful that we were home this year for all of that. I know (know know know) that school causes Chicken some anxiety. I’m glad we didn’t have that on top of everything else. And having her home let me keep a good sense of how she was doing with everything that was going on with her brother. (Still does.)

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Disclaimer: I really don’t give two hoots what educational choice other people make. I don’t think homeschooling is right for everyone, nor do I think public school is. Or unschooling. Or a little private school yurt in the woods. This works for us. I like it. If the idea makes your skin crawl, you probably shouldn’t do it.

But for us- It makes sense. So we do it, for now. We don’t know what we’ll do next year.

(I say all that… but just don’t let your public school weirdo contaminate my untainted homeschool prodigy.)

Kidddddinggggg.

Packing is the Pits

We leave tomorrow for Montana! My brother gets married next weekend. He has lived there for maybe ten years now (Ethan- true?) and we tried to recruit him to come back to this coast but it has all been in vain. He likes it there too much. Fair enough. We get to travel to an awesome place for his wedding as a result.

Chicken is in the wedding and would have happily worn her flower girl dress 24/7, had I permitted such recklessness of clothing. It has sparkles and she looooves it.

The challenge of the evening is packing. I think packing is the pits. When the hubs and I discovered that our small suitcases meet the carry-on size requirements, we high-fived [didn’t actually happen] and set about packing the hell out of both of the suitcases. Try to make me check a bag! I dare you!

I subscribe to the 80/20 rule of clothing in my day to day life- I wear 20% of my clothes 80% of the time. Vacation is no exception. Every time I think “I’ll pack this little number that cuts in too much at the waist. Except this time I’ll wear it…because vacation! And it looks super cute if I just don’t breath very much all afternoon. And I definitely can’t sit down.”

And then I don’t wear it and it was a waste of space.

So I’ve wised up and am a pretty minimalist packer. But it still stresses me out. All the details!!

I am also all wired because I’m doing a little mini-triathlon tomorrow before we leave. I’ll do the full swim and bike, and only half of the running. Like last week, I am nervous and not sure how it will go. However, last weeks’ 6 miles went really well. I felt great! I ran with a friend for 4 miles and then just slow-and-steadied the last 2 on my own. I had energy to spare. Not much, but some. Which is encouraging. I had a moment of “maybe all of this training is working!”. Maybe.

So- packing and trying not to get all worked up about my mini-triathlon. My agenda items for the evening.