Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Homeschool Successes

For anyone reading this who homeschools, you know that sometimes you need every little success you can get. Between struggling with spring fever (It's definately easier to "do school" when it's too cold to go outside!) and the temper tantrums of 8 year olds, it's been a rough few weeks. So, I gotta celebrate those little victories when I get them.

First of all, Earth Day '08. We picked up trash near our house, along one of our usual walking/riding paths. We only covered about a half a mile, but managed to fill 5 bags! How sad is that? Anyway, I felt it was a success because the girls really got into it and we all felt good about helping the environment. And as a side note, the next time we went to Target, we bought 6 of their canvas totes for shopping with. Yeah...going green! :)
Our next success was our "tree bud field trip". We rode our bikes to a neighborhood park with paper, colored pencils and the camera. The goal was for them to draw pictures of different buds (I'd take pictures) and then we'll go back when they have leaves, do the same thing, and then see how they've changed and try to identify the trees. It was a success in my book because a) we were outside as a family on a beautiful spring day, b) it was fun, c) the ability to teach this way is, to me, what homeschooling is all about!

Next is a little one. Alana, who has always love to read and write stories, has been "on strike" you might say. Last week we were at my mom and dad's for a few days. On our first fishing trip of the year, Alana got bored (imagine that!). But, when I told her to read her book...she actually did it! And then, even read more in the truck on the drive home! Yeah!

And finally, Erin and math. She's good. She's a natural. Thank God. Anyway, yesterday, Alana was doing her math, and Erin says to me, "Mommy, I know what 6-7 is." Usually, kids don't understand numbers and think that whichever order you put them in (6-7 or 7-6) the answer is the same....1. But Erin says, "-1". Very good, I tell her. So she says, "Here, I'll show you." She runs to get paper and whips up a number line, with positive numbers and negative numbers, all in order. She then explains that 6-7=-2 and 4-7=-3. Wow! I asked her where she learned this, thinking that her Daddy had gone off on a tangent. With her most serious face and tone, she answers, "Cyber Chase". (a cartoon that teaches math, on PBS) Ok, so it may not be my fabulous teaching that deserves the kudos...but at least I now know that I'm not ruining my kids by letting them watch some PBS!

Field Trip to the ER

Obviously, I can't seem to find the extra time anywhere in my day to blog, so I'm sorta borrowing it from my "me time". Most days, at 3pm, I sit down with cup of java and my current read, and enjoy being done with work and school. Today, I'm here.....

So yesterday, at approximately 5:25, the girls are in the front yard "golfing" and I'm getting dinner on the plates, when I hear one of Erin's screams. My baby girl is a vocal one, sporting a variety of high-pitched, glass-shattering squeals. This was not one of her normal ones, nor did it sound like one of her usual "I'm hurt" screams. So with a bit of irritation, I made my way to the door, to call them in for dinner.

Before I can make it to the stairs, Alana opens the door and says, in her best "I'm in trouble again" voice, "Mom, Erin's hurt". We we walk out onto the front stoop together and see Erin walking towards us, screaming. Both of us realize at the same moment how horrible it is. Alana gasps, "Oh my God!" And I, miracuously, do not launch into hysterics as I want to, but "man-up" and be the mom. The blood is dripping down her face and arm from her eye, which, at first glance, appears to have taken the blow. The blow from what, you ask. That would be a golf club, thank you very much.

Ok, I get Erin sitting with Alana. I run into the house for a washcloth, ice pack and phone. I call Barry at work to tell him, "Please come home now! We have to get Erin to the ER!" with screaming kids and a freaked out dog in the background for a perfect theatrical effect. After he confirms that I don't need to be calling an ambulance, he says he's on his way.

I'm doing the "mom" thing now....throwing the girls' dinners in baggies, grabbing water bottles, books and their pink backpack which holds their markers and paper for on-the-go artistry. Erin, my darling, is now calmed a bit, but worried about the blood on her favorite pants. :)

Of course, the clinic in town is now closed, so off we go to Urgent Care in Eau Claire. On, the way, Erin is very scared about the stitches.....and trust me, one look at the gaping hole and you know it needs stitches. So, to distract her and give me something to do besides freak out, I call big brother Tony. He got stitches...he'll tell you it's no problem. And he did. Now she says she's gonna throw up. I know! Let's call Grampa! He's had LOTS of stitches! By the time we hung up with Gramps, we had arrived at Urgent Care. As I'm checking in, two nurses come over to look at the wound.

"What did she bump into?" Bump into? "A golf club," I said. "How did she bump into a golf club?" Seriously. Do I really have to explain my distrust of the medical community? Then this brilliant woman says, "Oh, you'll have to take her downtown (the ER). The last time we had a wound like that from a golf club (this happens often?) there was a skull fracture." Woman. Must you say this to a distraught mother and her children? I start crying again. And as we're walking out the door, Alana's says, "What's a skull fracture?" and Erin says, "Am I gonna die?"

Thankfully, the ER was a much better experience. The nurses were nice and our doctor was fantastic. He said he had a 6 year old, too, and it was obvious with the way he handled Erin. For her part, I couldn't have been prouder! She was calm and brave. She's one tough cookie!

She suffered through a cat scan (can you say, "There goes our summer vacation"?) and 4 stitches (I thought it would take many more), even calm (and bored) enough inbetween to color. And, thank the Lord again, she hasn't been in much pain at all, even today. Tough. As nails.

So, I ask myself last night in bed, what is God trying to teach me? To love my kids more? Not possible, but maybe I could give them more attention and be more patient. That I'm lucky for the health we all have? That I'm blessed to live in a country with accessible, quality health care, and insurance to pay for it? That I married well? (Some men, I know, would've said, "Take care of it yourself." I know he never would.) That you never know what's gonna happen when, and you need to live each day for God, as He wills? To all of these, most definately!

So, girls, what's on the agenda for tonight? :)