Sunday, January 24, 2010

Was it YOU?

Unrelated pics of Suzi holding Ivey

Sunday morning. We are lounging around being lazy, procrastinating getting ready for church and Grandma's house. I am sneaking candy sitting behind the laptop so Suzi won't beg me for handfuls of it. Jordan is lying on the couch holding Ivey up on his belly and Suzi climbs up to sit on his shoulder.

Ivey poops her diaper, audibly. There is no mistaking that wet, squirty sound. Jordan asks me sadly, "Did you hear that?"

"Yep," Suzi answers him. "Was it you?"

Jordan laughs in his hoarse voice (because he is the last of us to get the bad cold).

"Can I sit in that chair?" Suzi asks.

"That's not a chair," Jordan explains. "It's my legs covered with a blanket."

"It's a 'tend chair!" Suzi says, and plunks down on her dad's legs.

Then she has to pee and scurries off to the bathroom. I follow her and Jordan changes Ivey's diaper. And we are all up and running in different directions.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Homeschooling: legal stuff

Suzi will be three in May--getting closer and closer to school-age! It's time for me to get cracking on a plan to homeschool her. Right now I am reading The Homeschooling Handbook, loaned to me by a friend. It goes through all the different options for homeschooling, reasons for doing it, what to tell skeptical family members, and a lot more. Right now I'm leaning more toward a child-led approach, and this book doesn't focus on that; however, it is good for just figuring out the logistics and legalities of homeschooling, which is something I need.

Last night I read about what we will be responsible for legally. I looked online and found that there are three options for South Carolina homeschoolers. You can read about them here. The first option, which involves independent accountability to the school district, is unappealing to me because it would require my children to participate in statewide testing. I believe these tests prompt many educators to "teach to the test," which is one of the things I am trying to avoid by homeschooling. I don't want to stifle my children's natural love of learning with paranoid preparation for a standardized test. If homeschooled children do not meet grade-level requirements on these tests, they may be placed in public school, given "special handicapped services," or have instructional support at the discretion of the school district and the expense of the parents. I'm sure it doesn't happen often, but I don't want the possibility of it to impact my children's learning negatively.

We will probably be going with option 3, which involves joining a homeschool association. The one I found for our area costs $40 a year per family. They support statewide testing but do not require it. Academic transcripts are provided and a graduation ceremony is held for seniors each May. We would still be required to keep records and samples of the children's work and activities, but obviously I enjoy keeping records of things (see this blog). I can't imagine anyone not keeping a portfolio of their kids' work.

I am probably getting concerned about this prematurely, anyway. Suzi wouldn't be starting kindergarten until 2012, and all it takes is a signed document to forgo that. Until fall of 2013, we can homeschool her without answering to anyone. I'd imagine by that time Suzi and I will be accustomed to homeschooling and taking care of any legal stuff will be a small addition to our routine.

What I'm still concerned about: I'm not sure what to do about grades. Specifically, I don't know how it will affect my children's chances at college acceptance and scholarships if we decide not to do grading in the traditional sense. I haven't seen any info on how homeschooled children are evaluated for these things, and I imagine I will, but I have really just started reading. Anyone have any insight on this?

I am excited to do this. As Suzi gets older, I am enjoying spending time with her more and more and I honestly can't imagine handing her over to someone else to teach all day. As I collect information and my intentions evolve, I am going to keep posting on this. I'm sorry if it bores you, but it'll help me keep track of things!

If you homeschool, what are you responsible for legally where you live? Has the legal aspect been as trying as you thought? Does your school district follow the letter of the law and check up on things to the full extent they are allowed, or is it reserved more for situations in which they have reason to be concerned?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Winter

We are in South Carolina.

This is what we get. This is about all we get.

When I was working at Jennie G's, the frost on my windshield always made me late for work. Sometimes sweet Jordan would scrape my windshield along with his when he left for work, but by the time I left (an hour later) it was frequently frosty again. One time when I was running really late I quickly scraped a small window for myself and thought I'd be okay to drive. When I pulled out of our subdivision and turned right, oh crap! The sun hit the crystals and blinded me. I am lucky no one was coming (and that a cop didn't see me). I pulled over and waited for more of it to melt. Nowadays I thoroughly enjoy waving goodbye to Jordan and going back into our warm little house with my hot cup of coffee, rather than going out in the frosty cold every day.

But anyway, no snow here, with the exception of maybe one day a year, if we hope and pray and wear our pajamas inside out. I remember days when I was little and the weatherman promised snow, and I'd jump out of bed at 6:00 to peek out the window and see... plain old gray grass. Heartbreaking. I actually used to think it was the weatherman's fault, like he was holding out on us. Of course, the mountains right above us get snow, and snow is predicted several times a year for us but it usually evaporates before it gets here. At least we aren't shoveling our driveways every day, but come on. We Southerners like to go sledding and build snowmen sometimes, too!

This post is part of the "Your Winter" themed You Capture Challenge over at I Should be Folding Laundry. You should participate!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Starting 2010 a little late: Goals

I feel like we're just now starting the new year. After kicking off January with a round of colds for everyone, we are left with a jumbled mess of a house--the result of chores neglected. My mom came over to help one day and we had things halfway caught up, but there is still much to be done. In my memory this little cold will be a distant blip, but while it was going on it felt bad. I let myself get discouraged and lost motivation to do much of anything, even when I had a little time. I didn't even drink coffee for over a week, which is weird for me, but it was the last thing I wanted. Now that I feel like life is rolling again, I am thankful for this messy little house and a fresh start. Things to do. Progress to make. I am reluctant to set a deadline by saying "January to-do list," but here's my list of things I'd like to work on in the near future:

1) Assemble a set of items to treat future basic illnesses at home. Throughout this cold, I kept flip-flopping over whether or not to take the girls to the doctor. If I took them, would they catch a more serious illness in the "sick" waiting room? Get antibiotics prescribed unnecessarily? Would we be lectured about vaccines? Would it be scary and uncomfortable for the girls? For so many reasons I didn't want to take them, but I also didn't want to gloss over something serious that genuinely needed medical attention. The other night I kind of freaked out when, on top of the girls' lingering cold symptoms, Suzi refused to pee and began crying that it hurt. With a two-year-old, that's a problem! So I called Carey, who helped me put things in perspective, gave me advice and loaned me books. It turns out I was already doing a few things right, but I'd like to learn so much more about herbs and natural health. I have a lot more reading and some shopping to do, but hopefully next time my girls get sick I will not be caught unprepared. (Both girls are just fine now, by the way--no doctor's visit required! I am so thankful.)

2) Learn more about the Montessori method. A post about educational philosophies on one of my favorite blogs reminded me I'd been meaning to research this. I already posted my thoughts on education in this post and not a lot has changed since then. The Montessori method is particularly intriguing to me because as a child I had what some would call attentional issues, but perhaps if I'd been educated differently (determining the direction of my own work) I would have been a kid who was marching to the beat of her own drum but learning like crazy. Since Jordan works for a university with a big library, I think I'm going to get him to pick up some books for me on his way home.

3) Do some rearranging to make this small house feel bigger. We got some cool Christmas gifts. Suzi got a sweet, simple wooden table with chairs and a white board/chalkboard easel. We got a beautiful rug which is mostly covered right now. I want to clean up, clean out, and rearrange so we can walk through this place!

4) Make some stuff, especially new stuff. I have many ideas for things to try, but little motivation. It's hard to keep going on a project when I am so constantly interrupted. It's a temporary season of my life--yes. But a frustrating one.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

December: the pictures I meant to share, but didn't

I really meant to blog about these sooner. Oh well, here they are now...

Me, Jordan and Ivey at a local Christmas parade December 1st. Jordan didn't just stuff Ivey into his jacket; she is in the Storchenwiege wrap.

But it kind of looked like he just stuffed her in his jacket.

Suzi was so excited to see Santa ride by!

Suzi and Grandpa.

Our tree through a pair of those holiday lights glasses. I wanted to see if the "noel" image would show up in a photo, and it did. You may have to enlarge the pic to see.

Jordan enjoying the view.

Suzi napping December 19th with one of her favorite Christmas toys. It's an ornament I got in a kid's meal years ago. She found it in my parents' ornament box while they were decorating their tree and loves it. "DA GWINCH!!!" She took the thing everywhere we went for about a month. It's still out because I didn't have the heart to take it away from her when the season ended.

Christmas Eve, after Suzi had opened all her toys, she decided to put the Mr. Potato Head parts on herself.

There are more pictures from Christmas that I'd like to share, but they're on my mom's camera. Maybe later.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Raising little geeklings since 2007

Jordan works on a computer he is assembling for someone while wearing Ivey in the Ergo

We are now on the downhill portion of the cold, or at least the girls are. For some reason we all started at different times, and Jordan was the last to get it. Today before he went back to work I told him he should try the trick my mom told me about, in which you rub Vicks on the bottoms of your feet and then put socks on to stop your coughing and clear your sinuses. He said it'd be interesting to just put it on one foot and see if it cleared only the corresponding nostril.

This cold has really zapped our productivity for the past week. Here's what's been going on, in a list since I haven't posted in so long:

1) Ivey has stopped sleeping through the night. She used to go from about 10 or 11 to five in the morning, and she slept next to our bed in the cosleeper, which we prefer because we sleep better. Now we can barely put her down (see above photo). She sleeps in our bed and wakes up 3-4 times to nurse. On the bright side, as long as she is doing this it will most likely keep my period (and fertility) at bay. It seems like a habit is forming and I doubt it'll just change right back once her lingering cold symptoms are gone.

2) I just went to the optometrist and got glasses, and they seemed like a good idea at the time but now I am worried. I think they are too big and make me look like a dork, and not in a good way. I could do a separate post on this; it's that complicated of an issue. I would put a picture on here and ask what you thought but I'm afraid to. Jordan says I just need to own them. Well I do own them and that is the problem. I can't get another pair covered by insurance for two years. At least I prefer contacts and was planning to get some anyway.

3) Suzi is watching Annie. I love watching it with her, because it was one of my favorites as a child. My brothers (who were about 20 at the time) say I used to make them watch it with me. The thing is, my parents taped it off TV for me and I once hit the record button messing around with the VCR and taped over some of it. I was heartbroken. When we bought the DVD recently there were parts of it I didn't know existed, and it didn't roll and have snow like the one I used to watch. It was kind of exciting.

4) We took the decorations off our tree but the tree itself is still standing there, unlit. I really want to get it moved but I am hoping Jordan will do it. We took the ornaments off while Suzi was at my parents' house and she came home and said "Mama, they took the dec'rations off the treeeeee!" It was like she thought someone had stolen them. I had to explain it to her, poor thing.

5) Yesterday, Ivey officially rolled from back to front. I'm sure she would've done it sooner, but she hasn't had much floor time because we've been afraid Suzi might trip over her. Yesterday afternoon during Suzi's nap (after getting frustrated and crying a little) she did it. The challenge was getting her lower arm out of the way; she had been rolling from front to side for a long time! Next she wants to learn to sit up. She gets so angry sometimes in her bouncy seat because she doesn't want to lean back. I will be happy when she learns to sit up, because it'll make it more fun for her to play with her toys in the floor.

I'm hoping we will be cold-free and have things back to normal around here soon. I am not used to this at all! I can't even imagine how it must feel to be the mother of a child with a serious, life-threatening illness. I know I am spoiled, getting this upset over a simple cold...