Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Home School

Tina has often spoken of wanting me to home school Anderson. In fact, she has done so since he was born. When it was time for kindergarten last year, she kept saying I would do the home schooling, which was fine by me. I even started getting some of the curriculum I would need. Then the next think I heard, she had signed him up for kindergarten at the local elementary. That was fine but it surprised me.

When Anderson started kindergarten he loved school. His is an early start school, beginning at 7:45 AM. It is also the first year of all day kindergarten. He begins at 7:45 and is dismissed at 2 PM. I’ve been in his classroom many times. I volunteer weekly. His classroom looks a lot more like a second grade than a kindergarten. They have no time for art projects so when I go to volunteer, that’s one of the things I do…I pull out two or three kids at a time and do the designated art project with them.

Now let me tell you where the problem gets going. His mom and dad are both night owls. They stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning. They sleep in until 11 or 12. Now when the alarm goes off at 7 to get Anderson up for school, they can’t get up. And because they’ve not been good about a regular bedtime for him, he began to have a lot of trouble getting up at 7. He started to make excuses for going to school. And his parents jumped on those excuses and often did not take him. After the holidays it got so bad that I would drive him one or two days a week and then one other day a parent would take him. The rest of the time, he stayed home.

So she talked about pulling him out and home schooling him. I said that was a good idea but I encouraged them to leave him in school for the remainder of the school year (less than three months). Then I found out that instead of having me home school him, she had enrolled him in an online learning academy that is part of a charter school. They sent him a computer and monitor and all of the text books, manipulatives, and supplies needed. He began this week. But they don’t know how to do the lessons. Although it is an online academy with a teacher, they have to be his “learning coaches”. They were lost in the books and the lesson sequencing. So he did no lessons until today, Wednesday, when I went over and sat with him and did the lessons with him. I was there from 10:30 until 3:30. Tonight I spent about an hour and a half going over all of the lessons scheduled for tomorrow to make sure I know what we’re doing so it goes smoothly and quickly.

So I guess I have a new unpaid job…all day…I get to work with Anderson for school stuff! If I had it my way, they would move everything to my house so he could do it here with me here. That way I could do my own stuff while he works because there are times when he is working on his own for ten to fifteen minutes. That’s long enough for me to wash dishes or write a blog post or…?  We’ll see how this goes and how long it will be before they throw in the towel and take him back to school!

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I was just reading a blog and was reminded not of my first concert because I have already written about that but of my own kids’ first concerts because she, Holley, mentioned Gwen Stefani and No Doubt.

As a mom, I was determined not to be as strict with my kids as my parents were with me.  They always assumed we would be up to no good as soon as we were out of their sight.  They never gave us the benefit of the doubt, even though we had not shown that we deserved the lack of trust.  I was not going to be like that.  I was going to trust my kids until they proved not to be trustworthy.  And of course, that did happen, but those are other posts which will probably not ever be written because they’ve earned back the trust so why go back to the time when it was broken?

Number One child, Tony, went to his first concert for his 14th birthday (I am pretty sure it was 14).  He had wanted to see a group called Silver Chair.  I checked with the parents of two of his friends to see if they would let their boys go but we were going to keep the destination secret from all the boys.  I bought the tickets, along with an extra one for me, for Tony’s birthday. When the day approached, my ex-husband was not able to have the girls over so I couldn’t go with the boys to the concert.  I ended up calling an old friend from college who was single and had offered to help out with the kids.  So Mario took the boys to Silver Chair.  I instructed him that he was not to let the boys out of his sight because their parents were counting on me to have provided a responsible adult.  He promised and I assumed he had followed my instructions.  The boys had a blast and then came home to our house for a sleep over.  It was fun to hear all about the concert from them.  It had been the first concert for all three of them.  They were the talk of their classmates for weeks! (It was not until about ten years later that Tony told me that as soon as they got into the concert venue, Mario told them to have a good time and he would be sitting in the back of the auditorium!)

Then Tina came next.  I got to take her to her first concert at an outdoor theater.  She wanted to see Boy II Men so the two of went.  It was a good concert.  I knew all the music because she played it at home all the time.  I think she was around 13 for her first concert.  It was interesting to see the mostly pre-teen girls, all with their moms!  It wasn’t a bad concert.  I actually enjoyed it but what I enjoyed more was watching Tina enjoy it!  And it was outdoors so there wasn’t that sweaty, right next to someone feeling.

Then Susie.  She was pretty young.  She was about 10 and wanted desperately to go see Gwen Stefani.  It was the tour for the album with Gwen in a wedding dress on the cover.  I wasn’t sure.  But Tina wanted to go.  So did Tony.  So, because Tony was almost 18 and was driving, and very responsible, I let her go.  She had me take her to the Goodwill a week or so before the show and she found what was probably a first communion dress that fit her.  It made her look like a bride and it was cheap so I let her get it.  The night of the concert she dressed up like Gwen Stefani and fixed her hair and makeup (she didn’t normally wear makeup at that age but it was a costume).  Off they went.  All went well and they appeared home on time.  Excited. Exhausted. Satisfied. Then the next day Tina told me how she had lost Susie at the concert.  Susie is tiny.  At 10 she was very tiny.  Somehow she got lost in the Mosh Pit!  So as soon as Tina realized she wasn’t next to her, she started pushing people and yelling out that her little 10 year old sister was lost somewhere.  She says it was like the parting of the Red Sea.  Everyone moved out of her way and helped her find her.  She says they were separated for less than 5 minutes but Tina was scared to death something would happen to her little sister.  Susie was scared too, but she tried to say she wasn’t.

I guess all is well that ends well but I sure am glad I didn’t know about Mario leaving the boys alone or he wouldn’t be a friend anymore and I’m glad I wasn’t there when Susie and Tina got separated or I might have had a heart attack!

In general though, kids will live up to our expectations of them. So expect good things from them and you’ll get them.

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My grandson is having a friend over to their house for a sleepover on Saturday.  The boys are both 5.  It will be the first time a friend has stayed over without a parent there and it will be the first time the little boy will be away from home for the night.  It should be interesting.  I am sort of, not more than sort of, glad that I won’t be the one watching them that night.  I watched the little boy this afternoon while I was babysitting Anderson and Spencer.  He’s either a lot less immature than Anderson (and even than 2 year old Spencer) or he is borderline ADD.  I think it is the latter.  The good thing is that the boy’s family live here in the same mobile home park, just around the corner from my daughter’s house so if there is a problem, it is easy to get him home.

This all reminded me of the year my daughter, Tina, had her 6th birthday party.  She was in kindergarten.  She invited 6 girls over for dinner, cake, a movie, a sleepover, then breakfast before going to afternoon kindergarten the next day.  I knew all the parents except one set.  I spoke to them all on the phone and offered to have them come get their little girl just before lights out so they wouldn’t miss anything if they felt their daughter could not be away from home.  The all understood that and no one took me up on the offer.  All the parents said that if there was any problem, I should call them and they would come get their daughter.

The party was a blast but when it came to going to bed, one of the little girls began looking sad and sort of freaked out.  I asked what was wrong and stayed close to her for extra comfort and support.  She finally said she wanted to go home and see her mommy.  She had never been away from her parents for the night like that.  She was a little younger than the other girls, having just turned 5 (the others were all just about to turn 6).  I called her parents.  It wasn’t that late, maybe just before 10.  I explained what was going on and the mom said her daughter had to spend the night away from her sooner or later so she wasn’t coming to get her and if she cried, let her because she had to grow up.  Well, I understand the concept but I also think that was more than a little unfair to the rest of the girls who had to sleep and get up and go to school the next day, not to mention me!  I had to supervise them all and keep them happy and then get my son out the door for school by 8.  Well, as luck would have it, the little girl cried all night long.  Did I say ALL night LONG?  Yup.  All night.  I sat next to her and rubbed her back and cuddled with her when needed the whole night through.  I managed to keep her from keeping the others awake all night but she whimpered and sniffled all night long.  When I got her quiet and tried to leave to my own bed, she grabbed my arm and began to cry again.  So I was stuck.  The next morning, about 8, the mom called to check on the little girl.  When I told her how she had cried all night, she said she would come over and pick her up so she could sleep.  And she did.  She stopped by about 9 that morning and picked up her little girl and took her home and kept her home from school so she could sleep.  The rest of the girls, went on to have a fun Denny’s breakfast then to school, even though they had not slept well because of the other child’s crying.

Sometimes parents really amaze me.  Yes, there are different styles of parenting and no one way is correct or incorrect, however, in my opinion disturbing others for one’s own convenience really isn’t very considerate to others.

We’ll see how Saturday goes!

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I think all parents, no matter how long it has been since they’ve had a toddler, can remember the times when they used to spell words around their kids.  For as long as it works, it’s a lifesaving trick that parents rely on.  It doesn’t last long enough.  As soon as the kids learn their letters and sounds, they figure out what we parents are spelling.

We’ve been spelling around Anderson an awful lot.  He loves going to the playground to ride on the swings but it’s not always convenient so we will sometimes say something like, “If he naps, he can go to the p-l-a-y-g-r-o-u-n-d for a little while.” Or “if you have to give him a p-o-p, to get him to do it, that’s okay.”   He loves the swings and can spend hours, literally, at the playground so we have to be careful not to say that word around him or we’ll have to take him or bribe him with a lollipop.

Last night, I dropped my daughter off after shopping.  It was after 9.  As soon as we drove up, Anderson came running out the door and down the stairs with his dad right behind him.  We thought he was going to run to his mom to see what she had in all the bags but instead he ran to his Little Tikes truck and jumped in.  He loves that truck.  Tina couldn’t get him to get out of it and go inside.  I called out to her from the car that if she needed one, I had a “P-O-P” in my purse.  She answered that she had one inside that she would give him if she had to to get him to go inside.  As soon as he heard the P-O-P and the “conditional” , he jumped out of the truck and ran inside and waited patiently in the kitchen for his lollipop.

So now we can’t use “p-o-p” anymore.  He knows what it spells.  I guess we’ll resort to a Spanish word or something but I’m sure he’ll figure that out soon, too!

He’s just a little too b-r-i-g-h-t for us.  And he’s only two!  I think we have our work cut out for us!

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While reading blogs yesterday, I came across this friend’s post which mentioned he had left his pumpkin out in the rain after Halloween and eventually had to pick it up with a shovel and toss it in the trash. It reminded me of my daughter, Susie. Let me preface the story with the fact that Susie comes by her stubbornness honestly. Her father is stubborn and I am even more so.

Two years ago, when Susie was 16, we carved our pumpkins on Halloween afternoon and put them out on the front porch. We always wait til Halloween to carve our pumpkins because, being in California with the warm weather, the pumpkins rot right away if they’re left outside after they’ve been carved. The routine is to buy them a week or so before Halloween, put them outside in the front til Halloween then bring them in and carve them in the afternoon. It also buys time between “after school” and “getting your costume on”. Then they go out and after trick-or-treating is over, we bring them in and I bake them or boil them. In 2006, we had two pumpkins because it was only Susie and I living at the house. In previous years, we had as many as five pumpkins when all three of the kids were home and their father still lived with us but that’s been a long while. That year we had a Mama pumpkin and a Susie pumpkin. She wanted to carve them both so I let her. We put them out in the front, complete with a little candle, to await trick-or-treaters.  Before she put them out, I told her it was her job to bring them in when she got home from her trick-or-treating with her friends.  She agreed.

Fast forward through the evening of Halloween in which I was deluged with over 500 trick-or-treaters! It was a big surprise because it was the first year we lived at that house and we didn’t know that the two churches in the neighborhood each had a Halloween party and people used our street for parking and they trick-or-treated on their way to the church! We got van-loads of kids!

Oops, I said fast forward and instead I paused! Sorry! Let me push “play”.

So when Susie got home, I reminded her she had to bring in the pumpkins. She said she’d do it after she changed out of her ladybug costume. Two hours later I reminded her again. She said she’d do it before she went to sleep. The next morning I reminded her again. She said she’d do it before she left for school. She didn’t do it. Every day I reminded her at least three or four times and every day she’d put me off, saying she’d do it at some point later in the day. I don’t like to yell. I don’t like to threaten. I don’t like to nag her. I also don’t like to do what she is supposed to do just because she is being lazy about it. What will she learn if I do that? So the more stubborn she became about bringing in the pumpkins, the more stubborn I became about not bringing them in for her. I eventually started asking her if she wasn’t embarrassed to have the rotting pumpkins out there. She said she wasn’t and that they looked kind of neat as they transformed from jack-o-lanterns to a moldy pile of mush.

The pumpkins stayed out there for what seemed like forever! They got gross. They got more gross. They started oozing gook from the bottom. Not even flies would go near them.

Then she asked if she could go out with a new boy that I hadn’t met. BINGO! I had her! They could never go out with anyone that I had not met in person at the house. So she had to bring him over to meet me and he had to come in the house and sit down and make small talk for at least ten minutes. This meant she had to clean up the pumpkins before he could come over!!! She agreed.

She went out to assess the situation and asked me how she should clean it all up because they were so gooey that she couldn’t pick them up without her hands going through them and making a mess all over. I suggested she use a box that was out by the trash can as a kind of dust pan. So she had to cut the box apart and bring the trash can to the front porch. She also had to go find a dish towel to tie around her nose and mouth while she did it. It was THAT gross. After she scooped it all up and tossed it in the can and returned the big trash can on rollers to the back yard, she had to get the hose and hose down the mess. Then she had to scrub it with disinfectant (it smelled bad so we had to get the smell out) and hose it down again. The whole process took her well over an hour. She did it all herself. Finally.

I was delighted. It had been very frustrating for me to deal with this through weeks. (I think it was the weekend before Thanksgiving when she finally cleaned it all up.) But at least now I thought she might have learned a lesson about why she shouldn’t put things off for so long.

The following year, the pumpkins came in on Halloween night, after trick-or-treaters were all done.

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  1. Ninety-seven years is a long time but sometimes it’s not enough.
  2. Family is family is family is family, no matter how often you see each other or not.
  3. Just when you think you have things all planned out, life pulls the rug out from under you.
  4. Make sure you are standing in a cushy spot when life pulls out that rug.
  5. Never trust that the airline will get you to your connecting flight on time.
  6. When you leave your 17 year old with your 23 year old, they will both survive.
  7. Sometimes 17 year olds are more dependable than 23 year olds.
  8. Your kids need you, no matter how old they are.
  9. When your parent gets to a certain point, you have to parent them.
  10. Let people know ahead of time what you might want at your funeral, just in case.
  11. Let people know what you don’t want at your funeral, just in case.
  12. When someone tells you what they want at their funeral, follow through, no matter how silly or how ridiculous you think it is.
  13. Tell people you love them, before it’s too late.

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