Am I really “still me”?

Lost is a place, right?

Are you there, too?

Hi, everyone! Welcome to “Lost”! It’s the new and improved place we used to call “Here”.

We don’t call it ‘Here” anymore because we’ve moved away from “Here”. “Here” is a place from afar. A place removed from what is relevant and current.

Destination: Unknown

I’m at home in “Lost”. And that’s sad.

Sad, but true.

“Lost” is both familiar and painful.

“Lost” is not that far away from “The Past” and just around the corner from “Hindsight”. It is 20/20, no?

And “Lost” is just before you get to “Far, Far Away”.

“Lost” is both confusing and exciting at the same time.

It is unknown and to some, might seem tragic.

To me, however, it’s not tragic.

It’s home.

I’m ready.

Ready to get to know my way around “Lost”. It seems that I may be here a while and I might as well get my bearings in this place.

Most of the people that live here are pretty nice. My neighbors keep to themselves, but smile and wave, if waved to.

And I do wave.

Every damn day.

The sights in this town are pretty nice, too. Old homes with character surrounded by new growth and change.

“Lost” has pretty great schools, too. With teachers that seem to actually care. Teachers that take the time to know their students by name and learning style.

The students seem to reciprocate with a sense of simple splendor. With a joy of learning! They converse in small groups out on the patio, while teachers smile their knowing smiles.

“Lost” even has a big chain Super Store!

Hooray, for “Lost”!

One day, we’ll catch up to the big city, but as of now, we’re pretty proud of our Super Store, thank you very much.

“Lost” is an easy commute to the finest jobs around. And, as luck may have it, my job, too. I love my drive to work from”Lost”. It’s a quiet and serene time that I can hear myself think. No one needs to be tended to and everyone can hear me.

I’ve found a nice niche in my little part of “Lost”. Albeit small, it’s mine.

I will miss “The Past”, but I’m not there anymore.

Now is the time to revel in the here and now and appreciate this thing we call life.

Do you appreciate life? Or do you, like I, take just about every minute for granted?

Geez, guys!

Let’s start the new year with a pact, OK?

Let’s be happy and content.

Whether we live in “Lost”, “Far, Far Away”, “Here”, “Now” or “In the Moment”.

Let us appreciate and savor every hour we get.

Every minute.

Every hour.

Every second.

Why?

Because before long we’ll be living in “Gone, but Not Forgotten” and I for one, want to put the final move off for as long as possible.

So, I will live in “Lost”.

I will love in “Lost”.

 I will be in “Lost”.

And for once, I’ll finally just be “me”…

Everything stays the same…

Everything stays the same.

Time is passing.

Leaves are falling.

Costumed children have tricked their treat and turkeys are starting to get scared.

Yet, everything stays the same.

Chris has had two, two month check up’s since I last wrote. To be perfectly honest. I didn’t know what to say.

Everything stays the same.

His doctors are happy and we’re excited! His tumor isn’t growing.

Yes, Chuck is still hanging out in his brain. but he’s not growing.

Every single time we hear this it gets more and more hopeful.

An “all clear” at the two moth appointment means more time.

Chris, however, is struggling.

You know those steps of the grieving process? There are five and he’s knocking back and forth between steps two and four.

Anger and depression.

One day he’s happy and I see a glimpse of the man I used to know.

One day, he’s so angry that I can’t get a word in edgewise because he’s so damn mad at me he can’t see straight.

And then there are the days that hurt the most. The days that I watch that strong, amazing man crumple at the feet of cancer.

He doesn’t move.

He doesn’t talk.

He doesn’t…

I long for the “good” days.

The days that he laughs and sings in that horrible baritone that I love.

The days that the kids can joke with him and he laughs back.

But, more often than not, he has an anger or depressive day.

Now, I’m not saying he’s ALWAYS like this. I’m just saying that it’s hard to have a good day when you’re trapped in a three way cycle of happy, mad and depression.

He’s still Chris.

With his hat on, you might not know that he has brain cancer. He still looks the same. Handsome as ever!

The only things you might notice is his aphasia.

He talks with effort.

To someone who didn’t know, it’d be like talking to someone who’s distracted. Like talking to someone who isn’t really listening.

Except, it’s the exact opposite of distraction.

It’s extreme concentration.

Words are difficult and following an entire conversation takes as much concentration as he can muster.

Which is a lot!

You might not know he has cancer.

But, you do.

Other than the cycle of grief, everything is ok.

Everything stays the same.

The kids are starting back to public school and I couldn’t be happier!

Not that I didn’t enjoy homeschool, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’m good at a lot of things. Great at some. But, homeschooling wasn’t my forte and I’m ok admitting that.

So, today Doodle two started at the elementary school near our new house and Doodle one starts Monday in middle.

Ugh!

Where has the time gone?!

I’m sure they’ll love being around more kids their own age and I’ll enjoy being with Chris ALONE on my days off.

What’s that like?

I forgot.

We moved to a new town and although it’s only a county away, I’m tee totally lost!

I’ll find my way.

Right now, I know where the schools are and the gas station.

It’s weird to be in a new town.

A fresh start.

Will we meet new friends?

Will we enjoy and become comfortable here?

I hope so! I certainly do.

That’s that!

Chris’s two month appointment went so well. Although, his brain is still swollen, it has gone down exponentially in the last few months.

Although weak, he has the ability to get stronger.

His will to fight is still there.

And, although dealing with the tremendous burden of grief, he is doing well.

The kids are starting school and they are nervously excited! They don’t seem as scared as they were before and my heart is happy to finally see them enjoy education again.

We are ok. We are together and enjoying what it feels like to be a normal family. We are happy with the notion that we get more time. We are starting to remember what it felt like before cancer entered our lives.

But, it did.

Everything stays the same.

Hi, My name is Allison and I’m a Secular Homeschooler. Is there anybody out there?

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Hello, everyone. My name is Allison. I am a secular homeschooler and couldn’t feel more alone. In my search for curricula, to my search for homeschool groups, I feel as if us secular Mama’s are few and far between. I’ve read books. I’ve scoured the internet, but I still feel alone. My only foundation seems to be my family and my lovely, homeschool warrior, Joan at The Back Pack, who understands my struggle. She listens and laughs and actually feels like a friend. I found her website in a search on the internet and I feel like she’s the island in this ocean of uncertainty that I was searching for. So, parched and hungry for knowledge, I climbed onto her island and listened to her journey in secular homeschooling. Who knew it was so different? Who knew we were so few? It’s not that I don’t think there’s a place for Christ in our home. It’s just that I don’t feel there’s a place for religion in our homeschool.

That being said, I am waiting anxiously for my books to arrive. Joan has been more than patient on me and the IRS. (My tax return being paramount in this undertaking)

Can one find a homeschool group that isn’t judgemental? I judge not, lest I still feel judged. Can one find a few homeschool friends that don’t think that the fact that we don’t have a memory verse everyday is a complete blasphemy? We do have character verse or quotes every week. This week was a Japanese Proverb that stated, “Fall down seven times, Stand up eight.” I thought this was a great proverb for my children to learn. Especially, Doodle 2 with his experience with bullies.

So, my point of this blog post today isn’t to plug The Back Pack. (I still am no way affiliated with them, I just happen to love the way they conduct business and the way they’ve fought for homeschooler’s, whether secular or otherwise) My point is to ask the question of why. Why can’t, we as homeschool Mama’s and Dad’s, unite as one team? Why can we not go on the same field trips or visit the same parks together? I am not anti-religion, in any way shape or form. But, I’m feeling as if the local homeschool groups feel as if I am. If I don’t incorporate Christ in my everyday lessons, I am an outcast. If I do, I am one of them. Accepted in the natural flow of what is homeschool.

The biggest part of my choice to homeschool was the safety and well being of my Doodles. Isn’t that why we all decided to take this hard, treacherous, unknown path? Isn’t that why we all decided that public school wasn’t the right place?

I was brought up to love my neighbor. To do unto others as they have done to me. Why in this journey, am I finding resistance in the very place that I thought I’d feel comfort. I am not an outsider. I am not an Anti-Christian. In fact, this journey has brought me closer to God, in many ways and now I wonder why. I’m not wrong, but, as I stated before, who am I to judge? I’m not. But is anyone else, either?

Homeschool: The headache and the heart

141To homeschool or not? That was the question. Our decision was not made without careful thought and a lot of fighting. Fighting the schools, not fighting between C and me. Let me lay out the basics for you, my daughter is a new middle schooler and starting to “bloom”, shall we say? My son is in second grade and is a sweet and quiet child. Both were ripe for bullies to take over their whole school experience.

My school history was almost fairy tale like. My Mama taught at my K-8 school and we lived in a community where I could do everything from ride horses, to play at the park, to jump in the pool and if it was “Adult Swim”, we could just go jump in the lake. Which we frequently did. I had a few bullies, but none that really hurt more than just my pride or self esteem. C’s school was just about the same. He rode his bike to school and everyone congregated at his house afterschool to play in the neighborhood. He played baseball and his best friend’s Dad was the coach from T-Ball to fast pitch. Needless to say, when our children began having problems at school, it was hard for us to believe.

Doodle 1 is what I call my oldest, my sixth grade daughter and Doodle 2 is my second grade boy. Doodle 1 faired the best in her experience. Her biggest problem was that boys were yelling at her. That’s right. Yelling at her to get her attention. I guess that’s how boys flirt these days. My concern was for her safety, so one day I went all, To Catch a Predator, on their asses and took my 17 year old neighbor with me to pick her up from school. Complete with his Class of 2016 sweatshirt on. So, he’s either a senior in high school or a guy posing as a senior, right? With me in the truck, he walked all the way up to where the carpool kids were waiting. My daughter saw him and asked (in front of a staff member),”Where’s my Dad?” He told her that he was at the doctor and then they left. Yep. That staff member knew that C was supposed to pick her up and let her leave with a teenage boy with ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTIONS. I attempted to call the principal. I was told he was always busy. (4 times?) and when I finally got a call back from an assistant principal, he told me that something of this nature should be take up with the principal, as it is a serious safety issue. No shit! I tried going that route and it got me back to him. That was the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back for Doodle 1’s time at that middle school.

Doodle 2’s experience was a hell of a lot worse. We moved to this school at the start of his first grade year. A pretty easy transition time, I thought. He had bullies. Not one, but a few. One day C went to pick him up early and his class was out at recess, so C said he’d go get him out there. Upon walking up to the playground he sees at least two kids pushing Doodle 2 up against a fence and punching him. With the teacher right the hell there! Not 10 yards away. C yells to break everything up, asks the teacher what the hell is going on and she just says she’s sorry and she’ll pay better attention. Had it not been for the fact that we had somewhere to be very soon, I’m scared of what C may have said. Doodle 2 complained a little more about bullies, but it seemed to taper off by the end of the year. Then second grade happened. I say happened because it was a full blown catastrophe. All was well the first few weeks. No problems, as the worst of the kids that bullied him in first grade was in another class. Then one day he came home and said a boy had pushed on the play ground. I asked him what he did and he said that he told the teacher. Mind you, I got no note home. I told him if it happened again to push the kid back and then tell the teacher. He has to learn to take care of himself, right? Well, a few weeks later he comes home with a note stating that “during a game of tag” Doodle 2 was pushed down and got a scrape on his side. A “scrape” to them was a six inch abrasion that they hadn’t cleaned and put a band aid over. A little one, too. You know, just where he was bleeding the most. The teachers note says, “The boy who did it is in another class and the other teacher is taking care of it. Sorry, but no one saw what happened.” Two damn teachers and no one saw a thing. AGAIN. This time I went to the school to speak with the assistant principal. He acknowledged the issue and said that maybe they shouldn’t have Doodle’s class going out with that class and they’d switch them. No shit. My child has a scar from this “scrape”. Another week passes and I’m feeling better knowing that he’s not outside with the kid that pushed him. But now he passes the kid in the hallway and every time Doodle 2 sees him the boy says, “I’m going to kill you, bitch”. What? Not 2 weeks later, the boy comes to school with a knife and says to his teacher that he brought it to hurt Doodle. I DIDN’T GET A NOTE HOME. Doodle told me this and than proceeded to tell me that the boy was suspended for 10 days. 10 damn days for threatening to kill someone. I’m not sure what counts as a weapon in this county, but I’m sure as hell that a knife sure is. Shouldn’t that be expulsion? Shouldn’t the child be put in an alternate school? Nope. Just 10 days vacation and a wonderful excuse to hurt my child again. At that moment I pulled both of my kids out of school. I feel much better knowing that the assistant principal who took care of this issue is no longer at that post. He’s now back in the classroom. Because of this incident, I’ll never know, but I like to think it was. The county we moved to is rough. I knew that. But didn’t expect it was that rough. And you’ll never guess why the kid hated Doddle 2 so much….Doodle was faster than him. Literally, a faster runner and the kid couldn’t take it and instead of say, working on running faster, he decides to eliminate the competition. What the hell? Is this the world we live in now? We can’t even send our kids to school without the threat of violence?

So, to homeschool or not to homeschool? It really wasn’t a question, was it?