Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Unwritten Line Item.

So this week we are coming back into line with how our days SHOULD be.  We have a plan.  My schedule is a beautiful thing and it would work PERFECTLY if there weren't so many unwritten line items on it.


My mom used to tell a story about my dad.  They were planning on going somewhere.  She had gotten up on time, gotten the kids ready, fed us, gotten herself ready, gotten everybody in the car knowing that they were running late.  After a few minutes, she went inside to check on him and found my father sorting their record collection, still in his socks.  He had found an unwritten line item.

These unwritten line items ARE any schedule.  The things that you do that add time and complexity to the list of items that you are trying to check off. 

As we have been working through the list, each of my kids has found an unwritten line item to completely alter her schedule for the rest of the day.  (no names are being used, because, well, public shaming is controversial...the important thing is that THEY'LL know who they are)

Exhibit A.

This child was to be the first up and into the shower for several reasons.  When she was out of the shower, she was to sing out "NEXT KID, I'm out of the shower" as she walked past on her way to her room.  Then she was to get dressed, make her bed and come out all golden haired and dewy eyed...and do my bidding.

Instead, she found an unwritten line item.

She got up first...CHECK.  She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror...OKAY.  She got into and out of the shower...CHECK.  She walked out of the bathroom...stood in the doorway...rang a REALLY loud bell...and said, "NEXT KID, GET INTO THE SHOWER RIGHT NOW!"   Apparently, she said it 3,456 times before I became involved in the situation.

Exhibit B

This child was the planned person to empty the dishwasher.  It was on her list.  As I headed to the shower, I reminded her.  She was headed TO the dishwasher when I left the room.  What happened next is hard to know for sure.  All I am certain of is that by the time I came out to check after my shower, there was an altercation going on and the dishwasher was standing open. 

A sister had foisted an unwritten line item onto her list.

The hazy details are as follows.  She was going to unload the dishwasher when a SISTER played HER song on the piano.  She felt compelled to police the music coming from the other room and correct this good-for-nothing sister about her wretched behavior...the dishwasher would HAVE to wait.

Exhibit C

This child was to be doing two pages of well understood math that she had previously stated was so easy she shouldn't have to waste time with it.  When she was finished with the incredibly easy math, she was to go on to the rest of her well understood and planned school day. I spoke to this child.  I made sure that she had all her supplies and no questions.  I then sent her to her working room...and commenced teaching her other sisters for the couple of hours until lunch.

But she found this unwritten line item.  Truth be told, she found a FEW.

Firstly, this math was VERY boring and she HAD brought her iPod into the room, so listening to her music was needed to help her even accomplish BREATHING while she was dragging through these two pages. Then this song came on that she really liked, so she wanted to learn the words while she was doing her math so she switched to you-tube to find a lyrics video so that she could accomplish that goal.  And then she focused, I tell you.

By the time I got involved almost 2 hours later, she was singing SO loudly that I had to shush her so that I could carry on with what I was teaching.  As I opened the door, I realized that it wasn't just the song that was the unwritten line item...or even the words...but an completely choreographed number in full costume...while her math lay open, UNMARRED BY PENCIL, on her desk.

IN FULL COSTUME, dear readers.  I'm just going to let that one sink in.

I've decided that more than half of dealing with kids in any capacity, be it parenting, teaching, sports or whatever, is their ability to consider options far outside of our own ADULT imagination.  I get in MORE trouble assuming that they are going to behave in a way that I've laid out...or even in a way that they have always acted in the past.

I often find myself completely GOBSMACKED by their audacity, and if I'm honest, irritated...which tends to add a few unwritten line items of my own.

I guess that's why starting slowly on any schedule you expect to follow with any regularity with kids is so important.  It gives you the opportunity to find those unwritten line items. 

Well, and to come to grips with the fact that no matter how intelligent you are and how well thought out your master are up against small people with their OWN counter-agendas...who are wiley-er, smarter and let's face it, FAR more well-rested than you are. 

See ya around.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Slow Slide Back into Good Citizenry

Day 7 of the new year...Day 2 of the second semester...Day 1 of the ACTUAL new schedule.  That's how MY life works out.

Obviously, you can't start a new semester on the 2nd day of the year.  There is far too much fun being had on the LAST day of the prior year to be worth much productivity on the first day of the year...and the second day is merely the START of the clean up from the holiday at the END of the year.  Are you following me, dear reader?

So like all the rest of my society, we let the first 5 days of the year go by in a whirl of cleaning and visiting and, if I'm honest, laying about.  It's vacation.  This year we had the added excitement of some sickness, I'd say flu, but it seems everyone has had it worse than we have, so we'll just say, "The Crud" and leave it there.  So the first 5 days also had the fun of a few people really needing the extra sleep that a full schedule simply does not allow.

Every new year of my homeschool the last two (2012 - The-WE-ARE-getting-a-divorce-and-right-soon-Year and 2013-JUST-GOT-divorced-and-moved-and-have-to-settled-Year) where my emotions wouldn't allow it...I have used January to hunker down, get a new schedule and re-connect my household. 

See, starting with my birthday in the beginning of November, we have a 2 month slide into vacation-mode (think Island-Mode without the waves) that lasts through the first week of January.  I know that most of our friends have a similar slide but I think mine is worse.  See, having a birthday at the beginning of the least productive time of the year, adds an extra three weeks of less productivity, because, "But it's your BIRTHDAY" happens a lot...and I generally let it.  Just keepin it real.

So today we start our new schedule.  This is the MOST HATED DAY OF THE YEAR.  See, generally my kids are up and reading or journaling or sometimes even playing piano, even on vacation, by 7:30.  But on's up at 7:15.  This is a heinous thing to them...and I cause it, ergo, I am evil.  The fact that it gives me joy makes it exponentially worse.

We had "the talk" yesterday.  You know the one, "Everyone needs to be up and doing what SHE is supposed to do in the morning."  There was a motion to scrap the whole idea, which was then seconded and they hoped carried by their third member (that easy-going curly one)...thank heavens I hold veto power...or they'd stay the unwashed masses until it was time to go to church.

We spent yesterday restarting the wheels that came to a complete halt a little over 2 weeks ago at the beginning of the Christmas break...finding all the school books that got squirreled away...organizing the library list...getting math back on track...overviewing grammar and writing...overviewing our new unit in history (Industrial Revolution ... I'm excited)...and sorting out the plan for the new sciences that we got over Christmas.  Today, everybody KNOWS THE PLAN. 

It will STILL take a few days to implement it...but they KNOW it.  And it is POSTED on the wall.  (Oh yeah, I AM that mom).  So tally ho!!  I hope you all have a GREAT day, I know I will.

See ya later 2013...
See ya around...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm a little late.

We've been sick and lazy the last few days...and I'm not even feeling apologetic.

The sunset in Florida in September...that's the kind of lazy I feel...

But I woke up this morning...and the sunrise was beautiful, and I realized...We have this whole year in front of us with no mistakes in it yet. 

So, while I haven't much to say, I leave you with this...

May your 2014 be filled with a million joys and experiences to grow you in ways you can not even imagine today.  May you have friends who love you and offer you peace and grace and a kick in the butt, where needed.  May you and your family be healthy and strong so that you can face up to the challenges that will meet you this year.

There are dreams to be met and lived, my friends...Let's GO!

See ya around...