Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why this teacher would be bad at homeschooling.

Caroyln, this blog post is for you. 

I don't know how you do it day in and day out, all day, every subject, every day. 

Because I have a confession to make:  I hate homework.

When we first started this whole process of becoming Calvin's parents, we asked him about some things he hoped would change when he moved in with us.  One of the things he said was that he wanted someone to push him in his schoolwork, because he knew he was smarter than his grades were showing, but he realized he was incredibly unmotivated.  He had never been pushed. Patrick and I, being the nerds we are, basically high-fived one another and said, "Done."  This we could do. 

We love school.  We love learning.  We love reading.  I told you we are nerds.  We make no excuses about that. 

And so we started homework time every night.  After dinner at the kitchen table or at Starbucks on occasion if Mom is needing a little motivation to get through Algebra 1 Part 2. 

I will confess to you that this is a tedious process.  Calvin had been behind on turning in work, since he wasn't really motivated to get homework done or study for tests, living where he was before, and therefore his grades were all over the place.  But as we started catching up and his grades started to rise, he became more and more motivated and confident in his ability to "do school."  Which is great!  But also incredibly time consuming!  He has had to go back and relearn things he blew through before and didn't really grasp.  Which means that Patrick and I are working through it with him and learning right along side as we call things out and supervise practice quizzes.  We've become Master Googlers at looking up what we don't know.

Right now we are studying:
-History of Rome: Think Augustus, Nero, Paul and Peter and the spread of Christianity, Pax Romana, and the fall of the empire (Ancient World History)
-Amino Acid Sequencing and DNA (Biology)
-Bass Mass Composition and healthy lifestyle choices (Health 10)
-Multiplying and Dividing Monomials (Algebra 1 Part 2)
-Research Paper Writing on Career Exploration (English 11)
-Website Building and Photograph Editing (Photography)

All good things to know!  But I will confess to you that some nights it is just too much.  Some nights it's tedious.  Some nights we prioritize and pick two.  Some nights it's like pulling teeth.  I'm trying to "practice what I preach" to all my 9th grade parents but I'm seeing it from the other side now.  This homework thing is hard.  On all of us. 

But here is the light:  Our work is paying off.  Grades are coming up!  And we are finally getting caught up so there is less and less "extra" to have to do each night.  Our boy is becoming a student.

And thank goodness. Because the OCD student in me is starting to get a little stressed out.  I have found myself biting my nails to keep from taking the pencil from his hand and doing it for him!  It was all I could do not to seize the keyboard and fix all the grammatical errors in his research paper!  He did let me color in the lines on his bar graph the other night and it was enough to get my fix.  I pulled up his grades yesterday and saw the A he made on the biology lab we redid the other night and almost cheered out loud, "We got an A!" 

I promise I'm letting him do his own work.  I promise I'm trying my very, very hardest not to be a helicopter parent when it comes to school work.  I'm trying to make myself available if he needs help and be a motivater, but not put too much pressure on him. 

This is difficult, people!  It is a hard balance to find. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Friday! And Some Random Things.

It's the end of this short, but somehow long week!  We had a much-needed and restful snow day on Monday.. The weather is doing some crazy things.  A snowday on Monday and then sleeping with the windows open on Thursday night? 

But oh how I love Friday.  Today is a good one.

I took a half day today at school.  I have a doctor's appointment (just a physical, no biggie...) at 1:00 and I decided to go ahead and take the half day and meet my best friend for lunch!  Yay for being out and about in the real world.  This never happens at 1:00 on a school day for me!  I feel like such a rebel

We moved Calvin's room upstairs this week because apparently we sound like elephants walking around upstais while he is trying to go to sleep at night.  Our boy has not been sleeping really well.  Transition can be hard.  But, praise the Lord, last night was Night One in his new room and he said he slept better than he has in weeks!  Pray for him that this keeps up.  And in the meantime, enjoy this picture of the new orange bedroom in our house!  This picture was taken before we finished moving all of his things upstairs.  It looks a little more settled and homely in there now. 

Have you tried this stuff?  I have been bringing it for my lunch everyday in my efforts to decrease my caffeine intake.  I have limited myself to one cup of coffee a day, which is HARD.  I love my coffee.  And I've been trying not to drink sodas.  The carbonation in this satisfies my need for soda, but allows me to get more water in.  It's the new love of my life.  So far, I've tried lime, grapefruit, and lemon.  I think lemon is my favorite.

I broke down and used the last of my birthday money to buy myself a Kitchenaid mixer.  Is it bad that I just love how it looks sitting on the counter?  Yes, I just admitted that.  I made cookies last night and used it for mashed potatoes last week.  I want to try using it to make some bread.  Any good recipes out there?  I would love to have them!

My student teacher is doing an amazing job at school.  I almost don't know what to do with myself while she is teaching and grading.  She has really connected with the kids and given me some great creative ideas for future years as well!  She has been a very welcome blessing to me at this transitional time in our life.  It has really helped to share the workload and have someone so capable running things in my classroom. 

I saw these necklaces on this blog today and I love them!  So cute.  And what a sweet idea for a gift!

Ok, those are all of my random thoughts for today!  Hope that you have a fun-filled and relaxing weekend!   Bring it on!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Day Our Way

Well, in the true spirit of love and Valentines, I went to the dentist today.
To get a cavity filled.
I was really feeling the love when he jammed a couple extra cardboard pieces into my cheek and proceeded to drill with abandon.

Calvin came with me.
He fell asleep in the waiting room.

And then laughed at me profusely all the way home for the way my face drooped.
It was quite a moment.

Then I made pasta and we watched Cake Boss and Sons of Guns.
We ate on TV trays.
Patrick worked late.

We took advantage of a sweet Buy One Get One Free hot chocolate deal and math homework at Starbucks.
Skim milk and light whip.
(This maybe explains the need for said dentist trip? Let's not think about that.)

Finally, we ended the day hanging out with good friends in their basement watching our favorite TV show.

I realize this is not most people's idea of a great Valentines Day.
we were all in good moods all day long.
Which means my son was being his very most pleasant self all day.
I did not get frustrated even once.
This, my friends, constitutes our best day thus far.
And that is worth celebrating!

I will also say that even the cavity filling did not hurt!
(Thank you Novacane.)

Dinner was delicious.
I even enjoyed Sons of Guns!

So, Happy Valentines Day from the Herndons,
who actually do not even celebrate Valentines Day.
But we do celebrate the best days.
And today was one of those.