Homeschooling


Today is day one of the second semester of Nursing School for Mr Izz. While this is a good thing in a lot of ways, it’s of course going to be a bit difficult getting used to him being away so much again. Although, I’m sure that will only take a day or two to get used to 😉 After this semester is over, he only has 2 more to go through until he is finished with the course. Yay for that! It’ll sure be nice to have a steadier source of income!

My only hope is that he doesn’t stress nearly as much as he did last semester. But, knowing Mr Izz the way that I do, I’m fairly certain that my hope will be in vain. Stress is one of the things Mr Izz does best, I’m afraid. At least this time we won’t be moving during Finals Week, though! That’s definitely a good thing. But he really is good at finding other things to occupy his “need for stress”, so rest assured that despite the removal of one source, he’s bound to find another to replace it. Fun fun fun!

Next week begins school for the kids, so I have my own bit of stress to deal with. I’m not a great homeschooler…it’s never been something I loved doing. But onward I plod, attempting to make this year far more organised and structured than any other year has been. That shouldn’t be too easy, because as anyone who knows me knows, organisation is not one of my strong points, and I think that the word structure should be absolutely abolished from the English language entirely. Alas, since that is not about to happen any time soon, it’s a more structured and organised existence I am seeking…at least in terms of my homeschool! Last night, Mr Izz and I sat down to make up actual charts which will show what each child is to be doing each hour of the day…obviously his idea, not mine. Logically speaking, for someone like me this type of organisation is key. I’m sure that in some wonderful way, it will make my life so much easier, and homeschooling much more enjoyable for everyone involved if it’s all mapped out in this way. That doesn’t mean I have to like doing it, however, and I had to fight to keep all of my sarcastic remarks to myself as he helped me try to get the charts done. I’m pretty sure that a couple escaped despite my efforts, however…I got a look on more than one occasion. 😉

So that’s what’s going on this week. And why I’ve been rather absent here, and slacking in the new posts department. Pretending to have even some organisational skills is very tiring! But along with that, I’ve also been looking at books that I need and trying to find the best place to buy them for the cheapest price. Not an easy task. But it will be over soon enough, and then comes the fun part of actually using the books and teaching what is contained inside them. The one part I am looking forward to is English Literature…the older 2 are doing that in terms of English this year, and I can’t wait to get started. So, at least there is one thing to look forward to, right? Maybe I’ll force them to read all the works of Jane Austen. HA!

Off to get the kids moving, and try to figure out the rest of what I need to do in terms of school, and also get the house cleaned up and organised, see what I’m going to have for dinner (I need to make up a menu and go shopping, but the car has a problem and Mr Izz has the van…in other words, there is a wrench that is being forced into my attempts at getting things done). All of this before Mr Izz walks back in the door this afternoon. I can do it, I can do it, I can do it…….

you know, that did work for the Little Engine that Could. Unfortunately, I don’t see it working quite that well for me. SIGH!

We tend to do a lot of talking in our house…with this crew, how can you avoid it? But it’s not always just idle talk. We talk about important things quite often. In fact, we do a lot of “school” this way with the kids. We talk about scientific concepts, mathematical equations, and literary endeavours. More often that not, this is around the dinner table…the kids really love to talk about what they’ve learned over the course of the day, and I’ve found that doing this furthers their understanding and knowledge of any given subject. Sometimes, however, the subjects aren’t really “school day” related, but more along the lines of “what is your favorite….?”, the favorite being color, song, animal, etc. The animal category seems to be the most popular, and I’m very often asked to participate and state which animal is my favorite. I usually can’t answer, because there are far too many to choose from. But the next time the question is asked between the passing of the potatoes and the cutting up of the 3 year olds meat, I’m more than prepared to give an answer. Bats. I love bats. Let me expand upon this a bit, and give a bit of history on why as well.

Bats are just generally cool. They are nocturnally adept, more than most mammals…the fact that they are mammals that fly is also a very interesting aspect. They are ecologically beneficial for they rid us of many of the hordes of insects that love to sting and bite. Who can hate an animal that does that? And they are really fun to watch. Go out at dusk, and look up into the sky (something I do quite often). You’ll see them, attempting to “echo”-locate their dinner on the wing. We’ve also discovered that if you throw a baseball up into the air, a few of them will all of a sudden go after it…until of course they discover that it’s far too large to be a bug and disengage, flapping off to find something that is edible.

You may wonder why I find bats so fascinating and, more importantly, why on earth I like them so much. My love of bats stems from my hatred of them in my house. Let me explain this a bit.

One night, as my husband and I were preparing to go to bed, my then 14 year old son yelled down the stairs “Mom, there’s some bird like thing flying around in the hallway!”. I looked at my husband, knowing full well that it wasn’t a bird, and was about to go up the stairs to investigate, but before I could the darn thing flew down the back staircase (the one I was about to ascend, I might add) into the dining room. I, of course, screamed and ran into the living room, grabbed a blanket, and threw it upon my head in an attempt to keep the evil thing out of my hair, since everyone knows that bats live to fly into a woman’s hair. My husband was a bit more calm, thankfully. He did try to get it out of the house, but unfortunately it disappeared into the pantry area, and we couldn’t locate where it actually was. Since the back door was open, we assumed that it found it’s way out (well, my husband assumed this…I on the other hand was not convinced), and proceeded to go to bed. Despite the fact that I had visions of bats flying around my room all night, I finally was able to fall into a much needed sleep.

The next day proved uneventful, even by bedtime when there were no more reports of sightings. The night went by blissfully bat free, thankfully. One batty night was enough for me! The next morning, specifically breakfast time, was a different story.

The children were at the table, about to begin breakfast. I was still in the kitchen, cleaning up a bit when all of sudden I heard screams and general pandemonium coming from the dining room. I rushed in, thinking that someone must have taken too large a bite of oatmeal and was choking to death, when I saw it. A huge bat (it really did look huge) flying around my dining room light…mind you, this was breakfast time. In other words, it was daytime. Hardly the time that you find bats roaming your house in search of whatever it is a bat would be looking for in a house. But there it was, flapping it’s way, surprisingly gracefully, through the dining room as it avoided the lighting fixture and the walls. The kids were going nuts, and since my husband wasn’t home, we had to fend for ourselves. I tried to come up with a plan, but since my mind was reeling with thoughts of hair and blankets, I had a hard time figuring out what to do. Luckily, the thing flew into the office…I immediately slammed the door closed, and looked into the beveled glass door to see what it was doing. More of the same…slowly circling around the ceiling trying to find an escape route. PHEW! That was that…at least until the braver half was home and could do whatever it was he needed to do to get the thing out of my house and back where it belonged (preferably FAR away). Needless to say, the braver half did indeed come home and the winged object that caused far too much excitement was forcibly evicted from my house.

We did have a few more bats in that house during the course of that year. But that first one was the most exciting, and the one that inspired us to learn more about bats. They had always been mysterious and somewhat evil-ish to me…I think I’d seen far too many “Dracula” movies or something in my youth. We invaded our local library many times in search of more and more books about bats. We read bat stories, bat poems, and books about bats in general…did you know that the largest bat in the world has a wingspan of almost 6 feet? Quite a bit bigger than the little brown one in my dining room, that’s for sure!. We also learned that they are the only mammal that flies, and that an average brown bat can eat about 600 mosquitoes in a single hour. We felt sorry for poor Stellaluna who lost his mother, and found out that Tennyson actually wrote about bats in his poetry. In the end, we found out that there really wasn’t anything to fear, and quite a bit to admire about these little winged mammals. Bats were the subject of many dinnertime “school sessions” and I’m sure will be for many more to come. And most importantly, now when I’m asked what my favorite animal is, I’ll be able to say without hesitation: “I absolutely LOVE bats!”. As long as they are not in my house, at least.

I sat today, as I do most days, at my dining room table (which was “daylighting” as a rather large school desk) homeschooling my children and hoping to get through most of what needed to be done before lunch. Mind you, it’s Monday. No one wants to do school on a Monday, not even me. Yet here I was, plugging away as usual. Pretty boring, I know. My mind was on other things, which of course made it all the more harder.

“Mom…did I read that right?” asked my 7 year old for the third time.

“Oh…wait. I’m not sure, could you read it again?”

Big sigh from her, some rolling of the eyes, but she goes on to read the same passage again for the fourth time. By this time, of course, she’s reading it perfectly (who wouldn’t after 4 times?), and I have her go on to the next sentence. My thoughts drift off again, as they have been doing all morning….don’t think that the 7 year old was the only one plagued by a daydreaming instructor. Good thing they can’t give detentions.

I get out of the clouds long enough to notice that she’s having some trouble with a word. Alright, it’s time for Mom to buckle down. I ask what the sounds are, have her sound it out, and then have her read the word. Still no luck. She’s getting discouraged, and I’m getting antsy (blast Monday…it should be stricken from the calendar). Finally, I notice that the book is more in front of me than it is in front of her, so I take the book and turn it around so she can actually see it. She looks up at me and says “But how will YOU see it now?”. “Don’t worry,” I reply, “I can read upside down.”

Her eyes grow huge as she just stares at me for a minute or so. “You CAN?” she asks with amazement. I just smile and say “Of course I can.” Her eyes grow even larger, if that’s possible, and she says “Wow! You’re AWESOME!”

Of course I start to laugh, which gets her giggling, and then we finish the rest of her story. It’s funny how such a little thing can bring on such a huge amount of adoring amazement, and how much we take for granted. To my 7 year old, the whole concept of reading upside down is a feat only the most awesome can perform. I’m pretty sure, though, that I shouldn’t quit my day job and take that awe-inspiring act on the road. But far be it from me to tell my 7 year old daughter that….after all, in her eyes, that small action was enough to warrant her to tell me that I am AWESOME. That right there is pretty darn awesome.