A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

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

 

 

Bread or Death by Milton M. Kleinberg – A Book Review — 2018-02-26

Bread or Death by Milton M. Kleinberg – A Book Review

The journey that Milton Kleinberg takes us is one of survival and danger. At a young age, he and his family were forced to relocate, simply because of their Jewish faith, during World War II. Born in Poland, he grew up knowing a life of hunger, fear, and fighting to survive from day to day.
As they journeyed through the Siberian landscape, their father left the train one day to look for food, and never returned. Milton’s mother did the best she could, caring for three little boys, doing her best to keep food in their mouths through the meager rationing they were able to get. Since his father had all the ration cards with him, there were times they were turned away, but there were times the guards gave them their rations anyway. Through his mother’s tenacity, and the hard fought lesson of survival, Milton grew up to enjoy a different life. While one brother died as an infant, and the other was lost after becoming sick in one of the schools they were in, Milton refused to give up. He continued to fight, forging alliances with other boys on the playground, and pushing the limits on being able to steal enough food to keep hunger at bay. While the school fed them, for growing children, it was never enough to completely make the hunger go away. His mother did her best through bribes and gifts to the school officials and guards to make his life better, the war made it hard for all. Having only a few articles of clothing, shoes that were worn out, and one pair of socks, they made do. When the war ended, he was reunited with his mother, and surprisingly of all, with his father. His father had remarried, and had two little girls with his second wife. When his mother found out, she was livid, and went through the proceedings with the Rabbi to get a divorce from her unfaithful husband. On a chance encounter on a bench, she met Milton’s stepfather, who never treated him as if he was anything other than his son. After their relocation to America, the family settled down to rebuild and reforge the bonds that had been tried and strengthened through the war.

I really enjoyed reading this book. In fact I read it in one sitting. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it sat on my shelf for about two years before I got around to reading it, simply because I did not know what to expect when I opened the cover. I was hesitant to read it, for many reasons. Stories involving children are hard for me – they force me as a mother to look at my own sons and wonder what I would have done to protect my children. They make me examine myself and wonder if I would have the fortitude to stand up to what these families went through, and what these mothers endured for their children. I finally decided to set the book for a book club that I was doing, and sat down to start reading. There were tears, there was laughter, and some anger in a few parts. But I didn’t stop. I read through to the end, and then I read the authors notes.
When it comes to a book, sometimes you have to start with the authors note. It can give you an idea of what you will expect inside. Let me tell you – I was in for a surprise. I thought when I read through it, I was going to see some finger pointing, maybe some blame cast, and perhaps a “should have could have” segment. There was none of that. What I found was hope. A hope for a better future, hope for the remembrance of the past, and a hope for the newfound country that the author found himself living in. He loves America. Why? Because, in his own words “I have seen the rest of the world. And the more I have seen and experienced the rest of the world and its history, the more I have come to venerate America and the great nation it has become. (page 196) ..The idea here in America is that you don’t have to live or die how you were born. You can move, you can advance, you can change your attitude, and, by doing so, you can change your circumstances.” (page 204).

I sat back and thought about all that he had been through, all that he had seen, suffered, and lost. That he can sit here, and not point fingers at the ones that were responsible (not that he has forgotten – or ever will forget), but his willingness to not let the past hold him back. He pushed forward. He survived. He wrote this book so that others will know what happened, and learn from the past.
Read this book! You will not regret it!

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?

 

Another New Adventure — 2018-02-17

Another New Adventure

I am so excited for another new journey! I have been blogging over at booklikes.com for the past several months, but I wanted to reach a broader audience. I like to write, and I enjoy sharing all sorts of things with those around me!

As I start out into the new adventure, I look forward to building an audience – and growing together! Blogging is a great way to make and create new links, friends, and circles.

While you are here, you are going to see a little of everything! Like I said, I enjoy sharing – and one of the best things to share are books. Books are miniature vacations from the comfort of your couch. Whether you are looking for terror, laughter, escape…. the list goes on. Recipes, randomness from life, and more… it will all be shown here! Stick around and join me for this journey!

I warn you now – I have kids. My kids enjoy causing me mini heart attacks, but I enjoy watching their characters emerging as they grow. I have one that is a little saucy (okay, very saucy), and he has so mastered the art of sarcasm, I often wonder what in the world will pop out of his mouth next. My oldest is a bit more cautious, but he still has his own personality, and he often leaves me in laughter. Being a mother has been a very exciting time, trying at moments – but they melt my heart.

I enjoy crafting, outdoor activities, and a myriad of other things. Our lives are full, and we live it to the fullest. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and so much more – we keep on our toes! I look forward to sharing it with you here! Welcome to you all!