A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

My Thanksgiving Blues — 2018-11-16

My Thanksgiving Blues

Thanksgiving is next week, and I am sitting here trying to figure out what in the world I am going to make. This year has been so crazy busy! My husband is constantly getting onto me for not sleeping more, but there is just so much to get done. I am one of those people that hate to be behind in anything. This year, I feel like everything took a crazy lurch to one side, and I have not been able to get it right again. I don’t know if I need a vacation, a full night of sleep, or another me to get something accomplished.

Our homeschool journey has been much like my Thanksgiving menu. Slow going and frustrating. My kids have become perfect at putting everything off, and somehow not accomplishing anything. They get little bits done, but I feel like I am failing in that too. BLAH!

It’s Not ALL Crazy

There are good things happening! We got some snow today, so we had a little relaxed time just watching it fall and blanket the ground. My computer is set to where I can look out my back window into the backyard. Watching the snow come down, made me realize how thankful I am for so many things. We take so much for granted, that we rarely stop to think of what we can truly be thankful for. I might not have that menu done, but we have food in the house. My kids might not get all their papers finished, but they are learning. We have heat, running water, and a roof over our heads. Blankets to keep warm with, and clothes to wear. The ability to do laundry, go to the store and having a car to run errands with. That list right there tells me how much I have to be thankful for. But I also have a fabulous husband and kiddos who make me laugh each day.

Looking over what we have, and what could be, makes me realize my “crazy” days are not really so bad after all. Working means that I have a paycheck coming in to help support my family. So what if the student loans are still there. They are going to be there for a bit.

Doing Something Different

This year, I want to challenge everyone to do something different. When you are putting your Thanksgiving meal together, think about those that are less fortunate. Instead of packing away those leftovers, pack up some to go containers and pass them out. Make a smaller dinner and take to a homeless shelter. Find a way to give something back to those who are truly in need. There are needs all over.

 

 

Back To School Is Here! — 2018-09-16

Back To School Is Here!

The day has finally arrived, the dreaded back to school. I got the boy’s curriculum in the mail this past week. We have been doing shorter days as all of their schoolwork had not yet arrived. But now, it is here, and we are ready to kick off another school year. Summer was fun while it lasted, but to be honest, I am very ready to get back to a decent schedule. We have been fighting the dreaded monster known as boredom for a few weeks now.

I don’t know about yall, but I hate it when my kids spend to much time on electronics. Everything we do now has something electronic involved. My kids have decided that they love to play Minecraft, and a few other games as well. However, it is starting to detract from other things that need to be done. My house is needing to be cleaned, they have chores that are falling by the wayside, and there are little things that I could use a helping hand with.

Mom Frustration

I do not mind for them to have a little time to play their games, but I am tired of not having their help when I need it. How do we combat this? I want them to be successful and have considered putting them into coding classes online, but then I add more time that they are online. ARGH! It is very frustrating to figure out! For the past week, they have been begging to have an older computer that we have so they can play their games together.

We are currently working on building a schedule that will tie in their game time. I am wanting to limit the time that they have to 1.5 hours maximum for a day. However, I feel as though that is still a bit much, but if they get their school work done, I suppose that they could play and still learn at the same time.

School Work and Downfalls 

Part of the schoolwork we are doing this year is online. We are using Khan Academy for math. I really dislike math, so for me to try to teach it is not going well. There are things that I excel in. History, English, and Writing – we are good to go. But science and math I struggle a bit more. Science, I feel as though I am learning right alongside them, it has been so long since I have these classes! I still love learning, and it has been fun to rediscover old knowledge and share new things with them.

But here is my downfall – I work from home. I love working from home. Sometimes being able to take the time that we need fo school and working can be a bit difficult. But it is time to get our school year started and see how we fair this year. I am very excited to get started, and to see what these boys are going to accomplish!

Special Projects

So each year, I have the boys work a special history project. Before we hit the back to school mode, we select a topic and they work on learning more about it. One is going to do Ancient Egypt and the other wants to focus on the Civil War. Both of those are super broad subjects, so we are going to try and focus the scope a little bit and then see what we can learn this year. As a history teacher, I love both of these subjects, so I am very excited to help my kids learn more about these fascinating subjects. I am already putting documentaries on our saved list, and finding books that we can dive into together to learn more about these fun subjects.

For those of you homeschooling, share what projects you work on!

Juggling the home-school headache — 2018-08-30

Juggling the home-school headache

Home-school headaches, for real! Well, I finally did it. I FINALLY ordered the books that we are going to need to get this school year started. I really hesitated when it came to buying a curriculum this year. I struggled with what I wanted to get, what would be best for the boys, and what would be best overall.

I did some searching, did a lot of digging, and after making several phone calls decided to go with Rod and Staff this year. I was able to customize the subjects! Some I needed to go up a little bit, while others I needed to take it back a notch. The gentleman that helped me over the phone was more than patient with me all over the place in thoughts and with questions.

When it comes to education, I am an outside the box educator. I want my kids (and the college students I teach) to start forming their own opinions. I want them to really LEARN and understand what it is we are going over. I don’t just want them to learn what they have to and then forget it after the test is over. I have been working on different ideas for them, and really trying to help them gain the deeper understanding. Of course, we have the subjects we hate, but we also have the fun ones. Finding the right mixture and the right balance to everything is what is getting us through the days.

The school year will start back soon enough. College classes have already begun, and I have a great group of students this year. The boys and I will start the school year sometime in mid-September. I am in no rush to push them through, and we are going to take it slow and easy this year. I mean, we want our kids to want to learn, not dread it. After all, learning is something that we do all our lives, we should embrace it!

If you home-school as well, what are you using this year?

The End of the Semester Is In SIGHT! — 2018-05-08

The End of the Semester Is In SIGHT!

Finals week is finally upon us! I have been buried in grading, writing finals, and prepping students. There are days I struggle, and wonder if I am really doing my job as a teacher. I do my best to encompass all types of learning into my classroom, in order to give my students the best chance to learn everything that they need to pass my course.

Of course, there is one resource students often overlook – the teacher themselves! We are there to do more than prepare lessons, give harsh grades, and fail students. I hate to fail students, I hurt when I see students struggling. But no one wants to ask the teacher for help.

I teach online college courses, and I know that some students struggle more when it comes to online courses. They require dedication and commitment. There is a level of independence there, but at the same time, learning to turn things in on a deadline can really pull some students down. I urge my students to tackle their assignments early in the week, not waiting until the last minute to complete all the assignments.

I am sitting here, looking over the courses that I have taught this semester, and I begin to wonder what I can do to help my students more. I want to give them the best opportunities, but how do you teach students – yet, not hand them everything. I want them to learn, to grow, and to form their own opinions. Keeping a bias out of a classroom can be extremely hard, but it can be done. I do not tell students which side of the fence I am on with issues, I let them debate and learn, and we go back and forth with learning and discussion.

As a teacher, I am thankful for finals. I look forward to see what my students have learned, and what they have gained out of the course. I want to see that their level of interest have changed, and how their knowledge can be put to work. I am sitting here at my desk, thinking back over the semester – and I know that I did everything that I could to help students succeed. Even though I continually question myself, I know that by doing so, I keep my information fresh, engaging, and give my students what they need to complete the course successfully.

I am thankful that now I can turn my attention fully back to my kids, and get them through the remainder of the school year. We are so close to being finished. Who ever said that home school was easy – WHATEVER. There are days that we struggle to get through what we need to – simply because the sun is shining and we would rather be outdoors than inside. There so many things that we can do outdoors, but there are some things that we have to complete inside. I would do school outside everyday if I knew that my children would truly pay attention and not let their minds wander to the park and the fun that they could be having there.

I have started the adventure of looking for the material that we are going to use next year. I need to change things up for my boys and get something a little more hands on than what we are using right now. Boys need to keep their hands, and feet, busy. We take frequent breaks through the day, just to get the wiggles out. I cannot say much – sitting still all day is not fun for me either! : )

What are you summer plans!??

 

Life Flying By… — 2018-04-22

Life Flying By…

April has been flying by, and there are days I wonder if I am even noting the passing days. This last week was one that really pushed me to the brink of binge-eating all the chocolate in the house!

It started on Monday. Monday’s are rough anyway, but ya know, sometimes you have to shake things up and make them REALLY bad. Anyway, I woke up to no internet – and several deadlines staring me in the face. I spent the next two hours frantically trying to figure out what in the world was going on, then calling the provider to see if they could figure it out. I ended up with a technician at my house – on a rush job. Tuesday – same story – no internet, technician scheduled…. got internet, only to lose it again while I was in the middle of meeting. Then I spent the next almost two hours on the phone to get internet working again, to have the base where we are living completely lose power. GO FIGURE. At this point, I had to laugh. It was either that or break down into tears. So laughter won out – and I was trying to keep a positive outlook. The provider we have decided to send out ANOTHER technician, and see if they could get things figured out. Well – I guess we have somewhat figured out what is causing the issue, but we are going to see how long this solution lasts.

I am not a downer – I try to see the positive on everything, but I felt as though this week pushed me to the point of breaking. Deadlines, kids, homeschooling, and life in general has ways to kick you, and make you question everything. I love my kids – so there are no worries there.

As a parent, I worry constantly about finding the “niches” that my kids need to get ahead. I know where our weak points are, and where they struggle. There are days that I struggle to discover how I can really help move them forward. I do not want to put them back into public school. We just have to discover the perfect curriculum that will work for them. I have considered writing my own, and putting my own information together. Of course, I am going to have to buy the math and science, those are NOT my strong points at all. I am okay with buying those. I just want the rest of what we are doing to be something that they are going to mostly enjoy. Why must that be so hard!?

There are going to be some long and trying days ahead. I am going to be working on laying out a better plan, and I look forward to sharing those with you as we move forward. For any homeschooling families out there – what are you looking for? What do you love using, and what would you change?

Days come and go.. and there are going to be some fantastic ones ahead, and there will be some not so great ones ahead. I will take each day as it comes and look forward to bigger things ahead!

What is one thing that you would like to accomplish this year?

Gasping For Air.. — 2018-03-29

Gasping For Air..

Oh. My. Goodness. I am not even going to lie! It might only be Wednesday night, but this week has been BUSY! As a home school mom, this time of year always makes me panic just a little bit. March is almost over, which means we only have a few more months of school…. and there are days I wonder if we will ever finish everything I set out for us to accomplish. Then I have to sit back and remind myself – we home school. We CAN do this!

Since I am completely honest, I am just going to lay it out. I absolutely KNOW that we will finish. There are days that I love home schooling, there are days I like it, and there are days that loathe it – with every single fiber in my being. Those are the days that we fight, struggle, and agonize over every single thing that has to be done. But – then we have days like today, where they zip through whatever I put in front of them. I don’t get it. They know the information, they have all the information at their fingertips, but there at times they do not want to utilize the lessons in front of them. While they grow and mature, I know that we are going to see days like this, but I still hope that as they mature a bit more the love of learning grows with them.

Learning is something that we do our entire lives. I love it. Learning and gaining more knowledge is never ending – a fountain of wealth. We can never hope to know it all, but yet we keep attempting to garner whatever we can. With that being said, adults learn more through books. I bet you didn’t see that coming – me throwing books in here! Ya’ll should know by now the love I have for written words. Which brings me to the title of this blog – gasping for air.

I have a mountain of books sitting here – which is great for ya’ll, cause there are some fantastic ones coming your way. I sit here at times and wonder what in the world I have gotten myself into. Reading is an escape for me. A way to wander into worlds unknown to me, grand adventures, and soul ripping mysteries. There are times that it is hard for me to pull away from them to get anything else done. I do not mean that I neglect my kids – but the housework will often slide for “just one more chapter.” Haha! It is one of the things that I have on my to do list to tackle for the weekend – clean through my entire house, deep clean and declutter, and gain some peace of mind back. Clutter to me is equivalent to stress. Messes stress me out more than I put into words.

Until the next one – “Today A Reader, Tomorrow A Leader” Margaret Fuller

 

 

Late Night Rambles.. — 2018-02-24

Late Night Rambles..

What a week it has been! I have been reading like mad, when I am not working. I have finished eight of the Amelia Peabody (written by Elizabeth Peters) books, and a few other books that are fixing to be released soon. Total this year, I have finished 27 books.  My goal is 100 books, but who knows, I might be able to leap over that number!

Sleep has lately been eluding me. It leaves more time for reading, but lack of sleep makes it frustrating for functioning – especially with children! My son has lately been taking more after my night owl habits, and that is in itself can be exasperating. This child decided to test my knowledge of the Civil War last night, and asking all sorts of questions that I had to really give some thought before answering. I am thankful that they are showing an interest in history, but I really wish they would not wait until midnight to think of all the questions that “really really” need answers before they can go to sleep. My other son is wrapped up in Ancient Egypt this year. I have always loved Egyptian history, and being able to share the knowledge, the books, and art. I am hoping to reign them in a little more with the study of a few more ancient civilizations in the fall.

I have been grappling with the idea of what to do with these kiddos in the fall. I home-school, but we have been finding that the books are boring. Do not get me wrong, they have a lot of great information, and they are learning – but boys need more hands on busy work. I am looking into writing my own curriculum, and building my own studies for them to follow. They are smart kids (what parents always say) but building on the strengths and interests that they have will hopefully propel us forward at a better pace.  As we move ahead, I will notate how we do on here. It shall be an interesting time and hopefully something that we will enjoy so much more than what we are using now.

Since sleep is not sure to come any time soon, I think that I shall start a new book, and hopefully have a couple of reviews up here for you all soon! There are some great books that are due to be released this year! I look forward to sharing some of them with you!

What reading adventures are you undertaking?