Saturday, May 31, 2008

What If???

I have been MIA, but I wanted to participate in this month's Thinking Homeschooler wiki

The question is "What would you be doing right now, if you didn't have kids?"

This is a strange question for me because I knew that one way or the other I would be a Mommy. Even when we were having trouble conceiving I just figured, "Well,I guess we should look into adoption." So the idea of no kids, well, it is tricky.

I do have some aspirations that have been put on hold (if not put away altogether) because of my choice to be a parent. I always wanted to get my PhD, and if I didn't have kids I would probably have gotten it by now. Ideally I would have designed an alternative charter school and could say that I was making a difference in the way Chicago "does" education. Truthfully I would probably be teaching college level education or literature classes. I would enjoy in-depth conversations about things other than how to get peanut butter out of carpet. My husband and I would still be up to date on non-PG rated movies. I would have money to pay someone (other than Fantastic Sam's) to cut my hair because I wouldn't spend it all on dance lessons. My morning would involve gourmet coffee and ME time. My evening would involve wine and ME time. My weekends would involve more ME time.

Hmmm... On occasion I have complained that I would love more ME time, but life without kids involved way too much ME time. (Also far to few sloppy peanut butter kissess)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So it's been a week...

I really want to keep up with blogging, but it seems to get pushed down the priority list every time. Anyway, lots has been happening so here's the update.

I decided that we should do standardized testing every year for peace of mind. So we spent last week doing the Iowa Basic Skills Test. I gave Curly Q. the first grade test, and she got nearly every question right. I was surprised to see how well she has overcome her test taking anxiety. Bear took the preschool test, and she did well on most of it, but her minor speech issues really showed up in the language section. She has a tendency to substitute the "f" sound for other sounds (like "th" or s-blends). This was really obvious on the test.
I have always heard how biased these tests are and after administering them I have to say I totally agree. The vocabulary used (not just in the vocabulary section) could mess some kids up. For example in the math section they used the word "beneath" instead of under on the preschool test. I am guessing this will confuse some preschoolers. The biggest problem I had was with the social studies section on the first grade test. One question showed three pictures and asked which shows something most people can't/don't do for themselves. The pictures were a person painting a room, a person working on their car engine, and a person gardening. Depending on your socioeconomic status all of those could be done by someone else or all of them could be done my yourself. There were many questions like that.

It seems that dance has taken a front seat in our lives for the past few weeks (and will continue for at least next few weeks). We love our dance studio. It is owned by 2 young women, and I love to support small independently owned businesses. Plus Curly Q. is in love with dance right now. So even when we are not at class she is practicing.
At the beginning of May Curly Q. had auditions for dance company. The studio has several such companies divided by age and ability that compete and have additional performances. Curly Q. was asked last year, but I thought she was too young. She was asked for this year, and I thought she was too young (plus the rehearsals went past her bed time). She was asked for next year, and although I still think she is too young, she is so excited that I couldn't say no again. So she auditioned and she must have done well because we found out yesterday that she will be in the petite dance company which is the higher of 2 available for her age. She is thrilled, and I am happy for her. Still I am sure I will be writing tons more about the scary stage Moms I met at the audition. Luckily I think most of the really scary ones ended up in the other company.
This past weekend Bear's class got to go to a dance competition. It was quite an experience. We were there from 7:45 until 2:00. It made for a long day especially for a 4 year old, but she handled it really well. I was actually very worried that Bear wouldn't do very well. She NEVER practices. I mean she is 4 so that is fine, but I didn't want her not know anything when she got up there. I have seen her at class, and she didn't seem to know the dance. When she got on that stage something clicked though, and she was amazing. Not only did she know all the movements, but she put the right energy and attitude into them. Anyway, the group ended up getting a gold metal, highest in their division (they were the only 4 year olds tapping), and out of all the acts they were in the top three. She is excited because she got three ribbons, but she is disappointed that the studio gets to keep the trophy.

Ok so consider yourself updated. We are finishing history this week. Bear has started Headsprout. Curly Q. is plugging away at her math and reading (although we may just skip the rest of the reading program). As for this week we have 2 days at Mom's, a trip to the recycling plant, and my brother's family is coming into town. Hopefully I will do better about blogging. I'll try to blog after our field trip tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

This morning I was awakened early. The excitement of the day was just too much for my girls. I got morning snuggles and then was instructed to "Go back to sleep!" After they left I opened the windows wider and turned off the air cleaner. It is lightly raining, and I lay here listening for a while. As I did I thought about my life (something I rarely take the time to do), and, as I suspected, I have it pretty good. Even with the craziness that has been chasing me down lately I can't think of a better life for me. One of the best things in my life is being a Mom. I always wanted to be a Mom, but until I actually became one I had no idea why. So in honor of Mother's Day I want to list my favorite things about being a Mom right now.

1. Middle of the night snuggles. Even though I try desperately to keep the kids in their own beds one wanders in at least once a week. I love sleeping with my arms around them. Their warm little bodies snuggled up to me. I feel like I could actually hold on to them and keep them safe from everything.

2. Husband's admiration. Husband and I have always admired each other, but it feels so good to know he thinks I am a good parent. I work harder at this "job" than I have at any other, and I love that the person in it with me not only appreciates the effort, but admires it too.

3. Curly Q.'s creativity. Curly Q. could have easily become a very smart, but non-creative kid. I don't brag that often, but she is highly gifted. It took a lot of encouragement for her to understand the creative process (i.e. that there is no "right" way to be creative). Now she writes stories, draws, makes up dances and plays. I LOVE seeing her think outside the box.

4. Bear's stubbornness. I know many people don't think a stubborn child is a good thing. I love that Bear has her own mind. Parenting her is more difficult in some ways because I have to help her see the reasons for my values and rules. Still I have no worries that she will be led by the crowd.

5. Witnessing the learning process. I am a teacher by trade, and I have always enjoyed teaching, but homeschooling is amazing. It is so different from when I was a teacher. I don't feel responsible when the girls learn something. As a teacher I was always proud that my students were all reading by the end of kindergarten. Now I enjoy watching my girls revel in their own accomplishments.

Ok so there are many more, but I have just been informed that my breakfast in bed will be ready in a minute. So I will close now.

Happy Mother's Day

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Book Tag

Book tag! Here are the rules...

  • *Pick up the nearest book.
  • *Turn to page 123.
  • *Post the 5th sentence.
Deadliest of the Species by Michael Oliveri This book was written by a friend of mine, and it is a very good horror novel. Ok commercial over :-)

"He could not tell if he argued just for the sake of a fight or if he actually took offense to her views"

If this sounds like fun... Tag you're it!!