February 2, 2015

Michelle's Homeschool Day with 3, 5, 12, 13 year olds

I so greatly enjoy the homeschool day in the life posts over at Simple Homeschool
It's so much fun to take a little peak inside another homeschool family's day and to see such variety.

So when Ms Jamie posted today inviting everyone to link up their homeschool day, even though I haven't been blogging recently. (I do miss it and still hold on to a slight glimmer of hope that I might can find my way back one day) I just wanted to join in on the fun!! (Maybe a little hiding on the internet is involved... You'll understand as you read more ;) ) 

So here goes!

First, I'm going to share my middle of the night (you know the moments of peace and quite where one can actually think and dream and plan) dreams of how I hope our days go.

7:00/7:30 ish mom wakes up feeling rested and motivated. Enjoys the peace and quiet and gets a few morning things accomplished. Like maybe even a shower.

8:00/8:30ish every one else wakes up in a joyful mood. Gather downstairs with smiles sharing responsibility to make breakfast for all. Sit together eating, chatting, laughing. When finished eating, cleaning up quickly after ourselves then finish getting teeth and hair brushed, descent (comfortable. pjs are acceptable for staying home days) clothing on. Ready and motivated to learn and explore.

I throw dinner in the crock pot and don't worry about it until time to eat.

9:00 ish start schooling / learning time. I really like the idea of un schooling of sorts, largely self motivated and self directed.  I feel drawn to the organized self guided independent work of  Montessori. I love the carefree whimsical delight directed Waldorf vibe. I have a wide variety of ages / skill levels so unit studies seem like a practical approach for group learning. I'd like to set up stations or centers of sorts in our school / play room based on units or themes. Provide various hands on fun, engaging, inspiring  materials and my children just...go...learn... Easily, happily, and I just mingle amongst them answering questions, asking questions to inspire curiosity... Researching answers along side them. Sometimes working on my own projects that are easily interruptible so I'm available to help out when needed. (I tend to be very task orientated when I start a project I really like to focus and complete it. I get easily frustrated when distracted and give up. In my dreams I handle interruptions much better and still complete tasks) 

12:00ish easy carefree lunch together where kids just eat, food, because they are hungry and food is good for you. Maybe a picnic outside. Clean up after ourselves.

12:30-45 ish -2:00 ish free time. Preferably outside. Running jumping get the wilds out time.

2:00-4:00 quiet rest nap time. None of my children nap anymore but I so still desire naps especially this time of day I'm just so tired. I'd settle for quiet independent play or learning time and me laying uninterrupted on the couch resting for at least 1 of these 2 hours.... 45 minutes?... 30? ... 20?

4:00-5:30 everyone helps major household chores / clean up time. I put finishing touches on dinner. Daddy comes home to a clean looking home. Washes up and we all sit down to dinner together. Kids share with daddy their day and impress him with mommy's wonderful educating children abilities. ;) and other highly inspiring family conversations.

Dinner finished and kitchen back to order by 7:00 maybe even a family card or board game squeezed in there.

7:00 free time / family time while kids one at a time start baths/ showers.

8:30 bedtime. Everyone to their rooms. Big kids are free to read, journal, draw .... any quiet activity in their rooms until 9:30/ 10 ish. Dad reads books to the littles. Hermit mom enjoys quiet time to herself.

9:00 ish littles asleep 

10 ish sleep time for everyone. Where no one gets up 50 times for the bathroom,  no crying, fighting, screaming, dancing, singing at various hours of the night.

So that's the dream. Doesn't it sound glorious? :) 

Here comes the reality. But this is just a generalization, our days are never any kind of predictable. Well there's lots of things I generally expect everyday but they come from different children, different  times, various degrees of severity, lengths of time.... Etc etc etc

6:30-7:00 ish mom wakes with daddy getting ready for work. Still feeling very tired. I often play on the internet (so that I don't fall back to sleep) until I just have to get out of bed (Once any of the kids are up) Could be 5 minutes or 30 ish minutes, occasionally I even get a full hour!?  Checking and responding to emails, Facebook and such. Sometimes searching for free printables I can print out and hand to kids so we can pretend we get some homeschooling done around here. (Well before our printer died) Wonderful hubby brings me an egg sandwich or such for breakfast. I'm extra grumpy when hungry AND sleep deprived.

6:30-8:30 ish kids start waking up. Sometimes some of them wake up mid meltdown... whining crying screaming. That sometimes wakes others in the same mood.

If any kids who stayed up half the night are not awake yet I make them get up usually around 8:30. Sometimes kids dont wake up mid meltdown, but meltdowns soon follow.

As they wake up everyone trickles downstairs for breakfast. Sometimes I make the littles, sometimes one of the big girls offers to make them cereal or a waffle. Theres yelling and screaming about we don't have the right cereal, or there's to much or to little milk in the bowl, or the toast is broken or too brown or we're out of waffles, or we only have chocolate chip and they only eat strawberry this week (or vice versa) They can't find their right spoon (we're all color coded. specific colored dishes for specific kids so it's easier to tell who broke theirs or left theirs out or tried to hide their dinner and to lessen the that ones mine!  no it's mine! stuffs) always something not right in the world. I'm trying to comfort sooth meltdowns, navigate negotiations, settle bickering fights.... Change morning diapers.... 

If it's a day we have to go somewhere (at least every Tuesday and Wedensday often at least one more day but not always) I'm trying to get littles dressed  ... Among meltdowns of no pants!! No socks!!! I can't find socks. I want my pink shirt!! I want my dinosaur shirt!! The tag is itchy!! 
Screams of I'm not going!!! You can't make me!! Where is the brush? Where are the hair bows? Where are the shoes? Trying to pack bags with spare clothes (we're potty learning) snacks, favorite can't live without toys books etc...

I usually have to send the big girls back upstairs to change clothes several times because they don't understand it's cold outside (or it's super hot outside ....real lack of understanding dressing for the weather around here) and you can't wear a tank top and shorts and sandles in 40 degree weather.... Or you can't wear the same shirt you've been wearing for 3 days straight... Yes I know it's pretty yes I know you think you're a fashionista but really honey please go get dressed appropriately I know you know how to do because we've had this same discussion 4 thousands 2 hundred and 11 times now...... Did you remember to brush your teeth? brush your hair? Well go do that please. You need an undershirt on... Were is your coat?...... Do you have everything you need packed? We are going XYZ. We will be there about XZY time frame. I think XYZ will be there. You need to take XYZ... Snacks, lunch, water bottles..... Etc etc etc (and yes if I know the night before we need to leave in the morning I explain everything then and tell them to pre pack and lay out their clothes it still has very little affect on our morning getting ready) 

And ALL that...lists and schedule and questions gets repeated a couple hundred times..... Each and every time we have to get ready to go somewhere...... (Deeeeeeep breath) then we go and have still forgotten 10 things. 

If it's a stay home day most often I skip the getting dressed battles and leave everyone in their pj's. Sometimes we still practice so that hopefully at some point at sometime in the prayerfully near future all that gets easier..... and on occasion I have the gumption to practice.... Yes to go through all that crazy even though this particular day we don't have to....

After breakfast they fall into trying to play / free time mode.... These days I often let them slip into that....until they start to bickering / fighting to much. Then I start yelling (I'm working on my yelling less I'm very proud to report progress!!.... But little disappointed I have much more progress to make.... Seems to be the case for all of us here in Chelles house) what are you suppose to be doing??? And going over those lists with them. 

Months ago (years now?) we all sat down and made a list and schedule of daily responsibilities.... Such as get dressed  (and listed all those steps) brush teeth, brush hair, clean ears, make breakfast, clean up after your breakfast, morning chores (detailed step by step lists) morning school work. We made these lists  all together, explained each step, they had full input ..... In theory all they need to do is wake up and start checking off their lists..... In reality it  just doesn't happen.... And every morning they completely forget everything... How to do everything... Where to find the things they need do the things they need to do.... Can't find their books, can't find their pencils, can't find the laundry baskets, laundry detergent, cleaning clothes or cleaning spray..... All amid fighting and bickering with each other.... 

I have 4 children (well 3 really my youngest is the easiest most helpful most independent child. she needs help on occasion but not nearly as often as the rest...)  that need me to hold their hand through each and every step of each and every thing... Each and every interaction with a fellow humans.... At least it feels like each and every step.... But truthfully we've made progress!! 

And I'm just one very very very tired momma.

We aim to eat / snack every two hours. So 10 ish 12 ish we try to stretch the afternoon until 3 ish then dinner 5:30 ish and snack before bed. Eating times always comes with it's challenges. My boy especially has a very ....struggling .... relationship with food and eating.... Others need help to not to gorge themselves sick.... And clean up after ourselves is always a big BIG struggle....

And so goes our days.....

On my best days I'm up and I'm guiding them walking them through constantly moving from one child to the next and step by stepping them through.... Calm ish and handling it. Rocking my TBRI inspired Theraputic parenting techniques****

 On most  days... I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off putting out the most urgent fire of the moment...
On not so proud days.... I'm hiding on the internet or in a craft project of mine and the chaos carries on around me and I just keep them from killing each other. To make my hermit crab retreat mode sound more "proper" I could say I'm giving them opportunity to practice all those skills I walk them through on all the other days hoping today is the day they have it figure out and use all the knowledge I've worked so hard to impart unto them and observing what skills they are making progress on and what skills they need more practice help with.... Yeah yeah that's what I'm doing! I'm totally not hunkering down in retreat trying to preserve  my last drop of sanity. ;) ;) 

So homeschooling.... Yeah..... That.... 

I have great grand plans for that.... They just keep not working as planned....

So currently we're mainly focusing on our relational skills, our coping skills, our how to talk respectfully to people skills, how to clean up after ourselves, how to dress ourselves, how to ask for things we need / want with our words and less with poor behaviors skills, how to put bodily waste in appropriate places.. all the time.... (Insert pee song link*****) how to understand / accept we cannot control the whole entire world by our little ol' selves, learning we are still children and not adults,  how to trust adults so that next we can work more on obeying authority skills,

We get lots of reading in. (Huge breakthrough progress!!! It used to be huge battle to get 3 of them to read or sit and listen to reading now they all like and ask to read!! Woo hoo happy dance!!) 

We get some living math in (when I'm in the frame of mind to recognize the potentional learning moments.  I ask them to figure our our total at the grocery store or how much change I should get back or I only have this much money and need dinner what can we buy? Oh you like those 100 dollars shoes great! if I gave you chores to do and pay you X how long would it take you to save your own money to buy those shoes?.... You're playing with 5 dinosaurs if 1 of those dinosaurs ate 2 of the others how many dinosaurs are left? How many Minnie Mice do you have? let's count them!.... And the like) we recently started reading Life of Fred. 

I'm currently planning and gathering materials to attempt interactive notebooks for at least science maybe math as well. 

I know we're doing a lot but I don't see a lot done and we all hate worksheets and workbooks so need another way for them to "produce" something to help me see they are understanding / learning something. They like drawing and painting so I have huge hopes for interactive notebooking. ;) (though this is only homeschool plan J or K or maybe even L? So we'll see I guess) 

We watch a lot of educational shows. Wild Kratts a BiG favorite. We have several Rock N Learn DVD's, the whole Magic School Bus Series, The Liberty Kids as well. We randomly watch documentaries on Netflix ...we just started How the States got Their Shapes*****

When any of my kiddos express a desire over a certain subject I try my best to round up educational things on that subject and throw them around the house (that is kinda very literal) so one girl was stuck on horses for a bit.... Horse movies, horse books, horse lapbooks, horse trail riding for her birthday etc... My son has been Dinos and whales for a couple years now... Tripping over lots of those. Recently we've gotten in some snakes stuff... My youngest is stuck on Minnie Mouse... She's 3 well, she has lots of toy Minnie's ;) and we count them or discuss which one is biggest? smallest? How do they look different?

But there's just not much of a consistent schedule. I tried tried tried but we just cannot stick to it. It's all just swirled around amists the crazy. I was spending to much time and energy trying to tame the chaos....we were getting even less done  Now I'm just trying to roll with it and trying to pull out as many learning opportunies as I can. moments here and there all through out the day..... And night....

Daddy gets home 5:30 ish and joins in the crazy. We attempt bath / showers 7 ish and we try to head to bed 8:30 ish. All with the same challenges as described above in our morning.... I can't find my..... I want my.... Pink pj's .... Green underwears.... It's too tight... It's too itchy.... She looked at me.... He has my.....

I'm scared, I gotta pee, I'm thirsty, I can't sleep with out my... I heard a noise... A tornado is coming... Someone's trying to break in my widow.... Is that pee?!?!??! In an apple juice jug...under your bed??? Wwwhhhhhhhhyyyy???? 

2:00 a.m. momma yelling.... It's time for sleep it's not karaoke time!!!!! 

And NOW.....  
We're moving!!!!! We bought a house, we've started repairs and will be moving in the next month ish..... So crazy homeschool is currently packing and measuring and hammering (nails walls NOT each other!!)  painting, calculating math on clearance bin tiles for a kitchen back splash... And how many square feet do we need? How many boxes of tiles is that? 20% off is... 

So yep.... We're still Having Fun At Chelle's House ;) 

Be sure to go check out some others homeschool days over at Simple Homeschool ;) 

****** (I'd really like to provide links to some things throughout this post but I haven't blogged in so long and I no longer have a laptop I can't figure out how to link words in this darn blogger app???) ****** 

March 31, 2014

Life. Learning To Let Go Of Expectations. Accepting What Is. Go With The Flow.


I know it's been awhile.

I miss you.

Life is

And I'm apparently slow to adjust..... My expectations of how  I think things 'should' be.... Which just so happens to be very different than what they are.

I'm learning. I'll catch on one of these days.

Probably just in time for it all to change again... I'm sure ;)

But hey that's part of the fun around here!

I hope to stop in a little more often.

I have an idea about instead of posting the novels with tons of pictures I used to do and just cannot find time for these days. How about just a nice little....

Hi, nice to see you. Here is a little fun we're still having around here. Enjoy! :)

I can do that..... I think.... we'll see ;) 

September 29, 2013

God banged on my door at 2 am, I answered.

Recently people have made a few comments about how I am a saint, or super special, or Wonderful!  It’s usually followed up by something along the lines of “I could never do that'’
It’s makes me quite uncomfortable.

I am a “saint” only in the sense I am a sinner saved by the grace and mercy of God.
I am “super special” only in the sense that God created me for a special purpose.
I am “wonderful” only in the sense that my Creator knitted me so and loves me dearly.

Seriously, I have no super powers or abilities beyond what my Creator has chosen to bless me with
 and Guess What...
 you have access to the exact same power source as me!!

So your “I could never do that” is a lie, an excuse, wait no, I guess it's in part truth because let me tell you ....
 I CAN’T DO IT!! Only God is getting it done.

I’m struggling y’all.
What ever you see going on in my life that makes you think I’ve got it all together, I’m a saint and special…. ppffsstts!!! I am only trying (and failing in many areas) to walk obediently on the path God has laid before me. Actually most days I’m not even walking, I’m stumbling, crawling, tumbling down the path. I feel so beat up on some days I wonder if God has been dragging me along or  worse left me here to be beat up on by the devil because He is so disappointed in me and my lack of ability. Now I know that is ridiculousness because God is faithful and He has promised to never leave or forsake me…. but still, like I said I’m struggling y’all. Whatever I may be accomplishing these days… it’s not me or my ability… it’s ONLY the grace of God carrying me through.

To my beautiful Jesus loving friends who tell me “I could never to that”. Seriously honey, if Jesus had a 10 year old girl banging on your front door at 2 in the morning begging for help, you’d turn her away?! I don’t believe it for one second. Jesus brings into your home a beautiful (even if a bit challenging) young lady and says “Protect this one. Love on her. Show her a different family life than she has experienced so far” You’d look up at Him and say “No thank you that’s too hard go find someone else” Nope you wouldn't. You may think it (as I have) but when it came down to it, those big brown tear filled eyes looking up at you, arms squeezing around you saying "please help me" you'd do just as I have. Squeeze back, your own eyes filled with tears, praying, begging God to help this child and when He answered back "I am, I sent her to you"  You'd do just as I did and  promise to do everything in your power to help her.
Now I do know many people who would turn these girls away. Who would avert their eyes, turn their heads, and say to themselves ‘Not my problem” but my Jesus friends?!? No, I do not believe you would do that.

See because I know you my Jesus friends, love Jesus. I know you understand how hopelessly lost we all were before He called our names. I know you have felt the love a Creator and the embrace of a Savior. You stood before a crowd of witness’s one day and declared your old life dead, was baptized and raised to new life in Christ. You are marked, sealed, and empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. You are the very hands, feet, and heart of Jesus on earth. I know you have read countless times the command to Go!, to love, to feed, to clothe, to share the gospel! You know God’s heart to care for the broken, the abused, the lost, the forgotten, the lonely because you were once cared for by the hand of God when broken, abused, lost, forgotten, and lonely. So I believe if God banged on your door at 2 am, you would answer.  Just like I did.

So dear friends quit trying to put me up on a pedestal of some kind of sainthood because I answered a door and I’m struggling to stay on the path. You could and would do the exact same as I did. Actually, many of you are doing it now. You have joined me on this path to care for these young ladies. You’re praying, you’re loving on them, you’re listening to my cries of 'How can I do this?!' and encouraging me. This is where God has lead us. This is what He has asked of us. This is what He will give us the power to sustain. All we have to do is open the door and say here I am God use me.


August 31, 2013

Beautiful…. Struggle in Faith

Follow up to this post …. Oh, how life has changed since typing those words less than six months ago!!

I won that contest and was so blessed to get to attend Summit 9. What I did not imagine while I was frantically typing up that post very last minute in a desperate hope, totally sure that nothing would come of it, was that ….totally beside the fact that I really REALLY did not expect to win, the best case scenario in my head at the time was that some Summit 9 head honcho might read it and offer me a discount and then I could use that as ‘proof’ to  convince my hubby ‘see God wants me to go’ and then we’d work together to try and figure out getting me there….but God…. providing more than we can ever ask or imagine…. I won the contest…AND…folks stepped up to supply my every need  to get there… I was loaned a car to drive up, my hotel was taken care of, folks took vacation days from work to watch my children… just WOW!!! (PTL!!) God really showed up and provided at that time…. but the other thing, I totally did not see coming…..  Beautiful
 I mean yes we were in foster parenting classes at the time. It was on our radar that a child(ren) might be coming in the future… but we were not even at the half way mark of the foster parent licensing process. They kept telling us we shouldn’t expect any children for at least a year plus…

But God…. had other plans….

After writing those words and even before I packed up and headed to Summit… Beautiful was in our home.  We had not expected that when we offered to let her come stay with us(for a couple of days!) that a week later Family and Children Services would be sitting in our dining room…telling us the (very ugly) history of this beautiful child…and asking us were we willing to keep her as a long term foster child after we completed our licensing process. It had been only a few weeks since  I had typed my heart to help desperate children out of their ugly circumstances… willing to be Jesus’s hands and feet…heart and love to children praying , waiting, hoping for a rescue from abuse…. and here was a child… we said yes we were willing to long term foster her….


But God….. still had different plans than I had asked or imagined at the time….

He placed on my heart a different scenario (other than the couple of days we had offered or the long term foster placement Family and Children Services had in mind) where this story could go…and I immediately balked at it….*that* really was not do-able …. for so many reason's... and still He persisted…and I began to see where He was going… but still thinking….not going to happen….she was in foster care…under government care / supervision… we’re in classes and all we can do is follow their rules…do the best we can with what we got and love on this child…. well… that really was not what was best for this child…. her home life was not what was best …and if I was going to be Jesus's hands, feet, and heart for this child…then I would have to be the one who on this earth (with God’s power and help) to fight for what’s best for her. Be her voice (until she is able to find her own), her shield, her advocate, her champion. Her safe place.


So with MUCH prayers...and much fear… I stepped out in faith expecting the doors to be slammed in my face…and boom!!..Granted full legal custody!!! WOW!!! Praise God!! Seriously….  a ‘solider’ full of fear and trembling and certain of defeat…weakly steps unto the battle field and VICTORY!  (I’m thinking of a Sunday School class song…”My God is so BIG! So STRONG! and so MIGHTY! There’s nothing my God cannot do!)

And this next part…really is ridiculous, man am I hard of learning or what?!?…but it is what it is…. even after all that… it’s a few months later and boy am I weary, and over-whelmed, still scared, still doubtful, and still asking God… Am I really the one You want to take this on?!?!?

I mean I know I have the heart to help… I LOVE this child… but most every second of everyday I’m just clueless how to help her… she’s got wounds…still gaping and pouring blood…. We’re in triage at the moment and I feel like my very poor first aid skills are just not adequate to give her life…. and they are not…. I do not doubt….. What I do doubt…. (and am so ashamed to admit .. but God already knows so might as well be honest.. my words do not shock or surprise Him) I find myself living in doubt and fear of Him showing up for her… Will He provide? Will He heal? Will He take broken, beaten, abused and make it new? HE already has!!! He has for me time and time and time again… but still here I am wondering if He’s made a mistake…entrusting this child to me…. What was He thinking?!?! This child needs more than I am equipped to give her!


Yet, still, here we are…one impossible mountain to climb after another falling down around us… someone said something along the lines of “God does not call the equipped…He equips the called”

I’m not sure were we are headed from here. But I did whole heartily mean those words at the time I typed them… and they each are still my hearts desire today…even after walking (only a short portion of) God’s path, finding it much harder than I had imagined and too often finding myself struggling to remain submitted.  But He is faithful! He who began a good work WILL BRING IT UNTO COMPLETION!

Our part in the 2nd girl's story still unfolding...but if God wants her here, here she will be welcomed! Pray! this girl needs a rescue/ intervention and I'm trying to walk submitted..but we're still surrounded by mountains at the moment)

Jesus we need you!

And THANK YOU!!! (really really really THANK YOU) all those who have been praying, and listening, and supporting and being Jesus’s hands, feet, ears, wallet, and heart to me, my family over the years and especially now. We appreciate you! We are grateful to God for you! and we love you! May God continue to bless you richly as you strive to be open and submitted to His guidance and call.
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