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”…

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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.

Charlotte Mason, Delight Directed, Unschooling, Oh MY!

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So, here we are. What seems like Week 100 of Homeschool, but it’s actually Week 6. I’m becoming frazzled and I feel like no matter how much I try or how many damn printer cartridges I go through, it’s not enough to be engaging. To the kids or me. To be honest, I’m bored. I haven’t found my niche, yet. And that’s why I’m writing this today.

Charlotte Mason, Delight Directed, Unschooling, Deschooling, Delightfully Mason, Undirected…..Ahhhhh! It’s all running together. I knew from the beginning that my kids or I didn’t fit into a certain type of curriculum or method, but the more I get into it, the more I wonder where the hell we fit. I’m lucky in the sense that they both learn in essentially the same ways, but buying “manipulatives” just isn’t in the budget. So, I’m relying on good ole Mama to act a fool some days just to get their attention. I sing, I dance, I run around the living room and after about 30 minutes, I’m tired and they lose focus.

So, back to the drawing board for this Mama.

I’ll start with Charlotte Mason. She is apparently the goddess of all things homeschool. The pioneer! I, on the other hand, think that although some of her methods sound promising, taking my kids outside for 3 hours a day so they can learn in nature, just sounds asinine. It’s 29 degrees outside! She must’ve lived in the most temperate climate in the world. I realize she lived in a time where children played outside more. Hell, I did, too. But, Ms. Mason, I’m not teaching nature studies while my children and I freeze. Our next step will be studying anatomy when our fingers start to fall off from frost bite. I do like her “living book’ philosophy. It seems like a grand idea and we do have a great library in our tiny little town, But, teaching math from literature? Um, no. Teaching literature, grammar and composition from literature. Um, ok. Sounds good to me. Actually sounds pretty cool. Now, how to plan the lessons. Do I read every book first and try to pull lessons from them or do I read with the children and let them find the lesson? I can tell you one thing, my Doodles won’t follow that very well. The concept sounds great, but especially Doodle 1, won’t give 2 craps about where a comma goes in a “living book’. However, a “living worksheet” will grab her attention just fine. Ms. Mason’s love for children is something I can get on board with. She believed children were people and treated them as such. This I love. This is what I can take from this method. What the Doodles say actually matters and their input is important. I also, think that her dictation and narration method could help Doodle 1’s written expression difficulty. I’m digging that.

With that, we turn to Delight Directed. A method that seems to use your children’s natural interests to facilitate the learning experience. This also sounds pretty great in philosophy. Letting the Doodles follow what Delights them would be so great. But, there are no lesson books on Minecraft, Terreria and now in Doodle 1’s case, boys. I can see how they would be more interested in things that delight them, but even with the small bit of structure and direction I would give them, we’d spend all day on a tangent of thoughts and we’d never learn about any one thing. It would be a jumble of information that their little minds wouldn’t process in one day. Much less, a year.

So, on to unschooling. To me this sounds great! I could let them tell me what lessons they’d like to do and I’d write them with them and we’d then go frolic in a wheat field in our homemade hemp clothes. No. I in no way mean to deny that this is a very functional method for other people and I don’t mean to put it down. It just wouldn’t work for us. We’d spend 3 weeks on a study of Lego’s followed by a 6 week study of the in’s and out of an IPad. I wish this would work for us. I wish I knew someone that this worked for. I read something about one family that was studying astronomy when their child was eight and then when the child “wanted to”, they started learning to read at ten. What?! Maybe that sounds extreme, but I swear I read it right. Unschooling seems like Noschooling to me. But, I admit, it sounds like a hell of a lot less work for me!

With all that said, where in the hell do we fit in? A combo of these methods is the obvious answer, but I haven’t found the happy medium, yet. I do get a lot of books from the library to support our lessons. So, there’s a bit of Charlotte Mason. I do try to make lessons that the Doodles will be interested in. So, there’s a bit of Delight Directed. And I do get off on tangents and tell them about the fun that is a nerve synapse. Like the impulse is jumping from lily pad to lily pad. So, there’s a bit of unschooling.

My books are coming in next week from the most amazing secular used book distributor, The Back Pack. Here in ole North Carolina (I’m in no way affiliated with them, but they have been so helpful that I couldn’t help, but add them into this piece) I will have books, but no curriculum, so that is where my confusion comes in. If you have any ideas, feel free to comment. I feel like I’m in one of those bad dreams where you want to run, but your feet are stuck to the ground. And you’re being chased by the State, I mean monster, and you’re screaming and nothing’s coming out! Oh, I’m screaming to the Homeschool Gods, alright. But I’m pretty sure not a one can hear me.

Do Homeschooler’s get Snow Days?

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Here I sit, downloading new worksheets for sight word fluency while watching the snow/sleet/annoyance fall outside the window and listening to Doodle 2’s live commentary of Terraria. (Some sort of IPad game that is like Minecraft, but thankfully not Minecraft) The question of the day is, do homeschooler’s get snow days? We do have a few things that we could’ve done today. Did we do them? Nope. Do I really give a damn? Nope. They woke up late, they’ve played outside for a total of 25 minutes, got cold and came inside ill as hornets and now they’re actually getting along and helping each other with their games. Ahhh…. So why in the hell am I scouring Pinterest for worksheets? The honest answer is that I don’t know what else to do. Since I’m a newbie with little to no resources, I think every waking minute that I’m not teaching, I’m looking for something to teach. The obsession continues. Maybe one day I’ll be able to look back at these days of constant resource gathering with jolly laughter. I’m the squirrel preparing for winter of homeschooling printable freebies. A pdf. document hoarder. Soon they’ll do a show about me. Crazy Homeschool Mama Loses Control When Her Laptop Crashes…Coming up next on TLC.

So, the answer to today’s question has two answers. Yes and no. Yes, my homeschooled children get snow days. No, this homeschool Mama isn’t getting one.

Homeschool Mama Fail

047Have you ever had one of those days where everything you do and everything you say just goes in one ear and out the other with your kids? Well, as a new homeschool Mama, this isn’t a good thing. Yes, I know it happens to everyone, but damn, I felt like they didn’t grasp a thing today and they were so disinterested that I practically had to beg them to finish their “craftivity”. You like that? I’m picking up some of this teacher lingo! Anywho, in the words of my mother, who was and is, in fact, an amazing teacher, you tell them what you’re going to tell them, then you tell them, then you tell them what you’ve told them, then you implement some sort of assessment to determine if they’ve got it. Sounds easy, right? Easier said than done today. It was if I could’ve told them that our next field trip wasn’t to the library, it was to the moon and they’d of just shrugged their little shoulders like,”OK, Mama…”. I guess I’ve spent so much time planning and preparing (with little to no resources) that I want them to love every minute of homeschool. That’s why I took the Doodles out of public school to begin with. They were miserable there. And today, I was the miserable one. Hoping tomorrow brings rays of sunshine shooting out of their hineybutts and a new found desire for knowledge. Who am I kidding? I’m seriously just hoping that they show up at the dining room table with at least one eye open. Here’s to a better day and a homeschool hug for all of you out there they might have had a similar day. I think we all need one and this Mama may need some adult grape juice tonight.