Friday, May 1, 2015

I'm going back to educated!!

I'm writing essays for college scholarships and thought I'd share them here. This one is in the middle of editing so excuse the horrible punctuation. 

What Makes A Successful College Student

I could give you the normal answers; attendance, study hard, etc. But the truth is some successful students don't do any of the things we are suppose to do. I know the world sees them as passing and succeeding of course but is it really success if it isn't done with blood, sweat, and tears? I think the truly successful students have all three in their degree and don't forget passion, determination, and goals. All these things I have learned by being a homeschool mom to learning challenged kids.

Success is measured by not what you can naturally or easily achieve. My oldest son , for example, has dyslexia. We pulled him from public school in first grade. He was a SUCCESSFUL kindergartener! Top of his class, reading everything in front of him. Then he was presented in first grade with the standard cookie cutter method of “sight reading”. Imagine looking at cat and you see tac, then look again and get cta and the third time you get atc. He regressed to the point of not reading in three months. He was labeled UNSUCCESSFUL and we were told it'd be fourth grade before there was really a program to fit a dyslexic's needs.

I had to study, research, practice and plan thirty different ways to read. He had to fight tooth and nail to read Dr. Suess. Together we learned. We would practice and study everyday. Keep it short and fun if it was not clicking. Come back frequently to try again after another subject. Stay positive and never say can't! Last year was the year he would have been in fourth grade. He is joyful in his studies. He reads at his grade level and he is above and beyond in most subjects. He is a successful student, not because he doesn't get a choice on attendance, or study times. He is successful because he learned to work his weakness into his strengths. He learned determination and goals set and achieved are something to be proud of. And these hard won lessons will stay with him for the rest of his life, it shows in everything he does.

My daughter on the other hand....she was successful from the start. Successful at getting out of things, and manipulating others to do it for her. She batted her eyes and pointed and everyone fell over themselves to do it for her. It's what happens when you're cute and sickly. She was handed things on a platter and it drove me mad! Why could no one see beyond the silence and cuteness and see an overwhelmingly intelligent and intuitive child?!

When we started homeschooling it was a battle of a different sort between her and I. The first day is one I'll never forget. It was simple really, I requested she write her numbers to twenty. Five minutes later she got down and went to play. I went to check her work after finishing with her brother and saw she had only written one through eight. I called her over and asked her if she knew what came after nine, she smiled and nodded and turned to go play again. I stopped her and explained she needed to finish her work first. She looked at me, looked at the paper, sighed and sat down. Five minutes go by and she is silently sitting there staring at me. I look at her paper and again one through eight is there in her big squiggly handwriting. When I ask her if she knows what comes after eight again (I know she truly knows this already) she nods and goes to get down again. I tell her, “Evie, you must finish your work first.” She looks up at me and says, “But this is all the farther they ever made me in school.”

Thirty minutes later she hands me a paper with one through fifty written in perfect block squiggles only a kindergartener has. Did she do it because I patiently explained she needed to finish her work? No, there was quite the battle of wills that day and I ended it by telling her there would be no art class without math finished first. All things shiny and messy having the appeal that they do she begrudgingly did her work. When I asked her why she did more than required she stated simply, “I want to get ahead before tomorrow's art class.”
She is a successful student not because it comes easy to her, but because she sees the opportunity to learn is multifaceted and she is passionate about learning itself. She is eager and even when things come to her intuitively she doesn't take it for granted because the next lesson is around the corner and might take extra work. She, like her brother, has a learning challenge but to her it's something to compete against. Telling her she can't is a sure fire method to see something happen because she has passion to be the best and prove others wrong. She no longer is considered a selective mute, now she'll talk your ear off usually about a subject that seems boring to some but the sparkle and enthusiasm will catch you too, and soon you're nodding and smiling with her.

So you see to me....being a successful student is being a student like the ones I've raised. I want to be determined and goal oriented. I want to be passionate about the subject, so passionate that I turn others on to it. I want to look back at the ones who challenged me and know that I exceeded all expectations. I want to be like my kids.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Crazies

      So you're now a mother of a precocious toddler and you start thinking like any other mom. Checking the internet for milestones, clicking the latest blog post shared by other mom's, making major decisions for your little one and yours life. But then other mom's start telling you how idiotic your choice is. Or you see people mocking your life choices. (Come on we've all either been on one end or the other of a vegetarian or vegan joke. In my case I get called a carnivore repeatedly by my veggie friends and I tell them every time, no, I eat my vegetables I'm an omnivore.)

      My question is why do a mother's personal choices affect other mothers in such a way they lose their ever loving minds?! Literally, a sane normal mother can take her five minute respite while her child sleeps, get on facebook, see one post anti/pro whatever, and that's all it takes for Daddy to come home to a raving lunatic. (At least that's what Honeybear says.)

     Every mom has done this too. "Well, I'll just explain from the other side and then they'll see we're really on the same path." .....Thirty minutes later and a hundred plus comments you're either doing one of three things; raving like a lunatic to your toddler as they bring you toy after toy, scouring the web to share links that prove you're right, or sitting there stewing thinking I'm not going to say anything and be the bigger person...oh fine one more comment. 
     Let's look at it from Karen's point of view. She started out with the typical first born, quick to reach milestones, puts on weight like a sumo, and running by ten months of age. (This is extremely bad considering Karen is five months pregnant and exhausted.) But then here comes that second bouncing bundle of joy. Clearly larger the the first at birth, clearly not reaching any milestones, losing weight and withering before Karen's eyes. She finally gets a pediatrician to listen, and down the rabbit hole they go.

     Fast forward five years. Karen has tried every diet, med, and lifestyle doctors have thrown her way. BB2 has had every test and screening possible. His sibling is the picture of "NORMAL"  and gets vaccinated at the correct intervals, while eating everything in sight.

     What does Karen get bombarded with? Your an "anti vaxxer" *appropriate gasp of horror* Karen patiently explains no just one child seems to be allergic to something in them. Next parent; You fully vaccinated your child.  *appropriate gasp of horror* Yes, him being fully immunized is important for the others health. *crazy eyes from other parent* One more parent: You feed one vegetarian *appropriate gasp of horror* No it's a new dr prescribed diet. Aren't you worried about the protein to help with growth. Well, it is doctor prescribed so....NO.  Superior parent at child's play group: You raise your own meat, omgosh you're scarring your children. *runs away screaming* Karen just shakes her head and grabs the goat milk that is the only thing BB2 can have without violently being ill looks from BB1 to BB2 and smiles, knowing only a mom doing her best to fill the individual needs of her children can be on all sides of the mama wars at the same time.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Just Enough Dysfunction

       We are all parents here, well mostly at least. I'd like to think I've prevented some from joining in the misery. ;)  And I have discussed this particular peeve of mine before but I loooooove the new way of telling all of us parents how we are doing. No longer are articles titled with the eye catching how to, need to know, mistakes you're making, fix it, blah blah blah blah. Now it's all coming in captions of  Things Good Parents Do and the like. (Because of course every parent out there is sure, just absolutely sure, we are the good parent on the block....I really need to develop a sarcastic font.) So here goes my version of the article. *Note: the names have been changed to protect the innocent...parents.

    1. Good parents never yell to make their children listen. Okay, obviously these parents have given birth to the only children on the planet without selective hearing. Side note- obviously I'm not one of these good parents. If a day goes by that I only break the sound barrier once trying to be heard over the racket of our children and zoo I'm sure someone is sick or trapped and start taking temperatures and head counts.

   2. Good parents pick their battles. Yep, we pick our battle the moment the eye rolling, sighing, whatever, dirty look giving 100 lbs of puberty angst ridden twin makes an appearance. Because let me tell you-MY child I gave birth to is perfect. The fairy changeling that takes its place occasionally in the form of a rude, ungrateful, and severely put upon twin, however, makes me grit my teeth and tell myself I can not kill this being or my sweet darling will not be returned.

  3. Good parents use word tricks such as the when/then parenting to get their way. Yes! Of course! This is exactly what I've been doing wrong all this time! My good friend *Ashley was shocked this one little trick could solve so many problems. "I mean what parent tells their child/ren when you do your chores, then you get a reward? To think I was throwing candy at them and not a toy was picked up afterwards. I'm embarrassed." (Really need to develop that sarcastic font.)

4.Good parents serve one meal, with a second option, and make food an adventure. Alright, this time I combined several into one. Because honestly this one baffles me. What do they think is going to happen here? A child will be so willful that they're going to starve themselves if mama doesn't feed them only chicken nuggets and mac and cheese? I promise you children are only as manipulative as a parent allows. For eleven years, four children, and several guests on different occasions I've never had to have a back up. I have had vegetarians, pescatarians, city folk, and in between to my home and aside from making sure there's enough veggies available I've never had to do anything else. Have a second option? Why so they can tell you they don't like that one either. What then? Make food an adventure? How bout eat what I made or wait till the next meal. I've had children over playing who were fascinated with a very basic lunch item (roman noodles with eggs and veggies mixed in.) She wasn't sure what a lima bean was and wanted seconds. This child had exclusively eaten chicken nuggets and ice cream for a year.   (Might I note I previously said I'm not one of these good parents.)

  5. Good parents tidy up once a day, have quiet time, and encourage hobbies other than tv.
Because apparently these so called good parents have time to spare before bedtime and a live in maid. It's the only explanation I can come up with. "IF I only cleaned up once a day, hoarders would be contacted in a week", said another friend of mine, Brandi. What's impressive is she's only got one child and a cat. If I quit cleaning for a day...well we might dwindle from a family of six to five until we relocated the child that was swallowed by the laundry pile.

     What have you learned from all this? Probably came to the same realization I did. I am NOT a good parent. That's alright though, my goal was to give the kids just enough dysfunction to make them interesting. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Horror Never Ends

That is it!! I want off this ride! Or at least a magic potion that makes my babies stay babies! This is absolutely ridiculous and terrifying!! (Excuse all the exclamation marks but I'm slightly freaked out...obviously.) In three days I won't have one but two...preteens! I know, right?! I'll let the horror subside a moment.

So Monday Madison turns ten. And let me tell you her age is just catching up with her attitude. There are some days I look at the the sassy britches giving me attitude and wonder where my sickly, quiet baby went. Don't get me wrong I'm ecstatic on one hand that she has finally found her voice. The girl barely spoke, even to us, till she was five or so. On the's hard not to shove a pop tart in her mouth just so she stops speaking for five seconds.

Boys way older than her give her attention that is totally unwarranted. (There was a clothlining incident when Martin's little buddy made a remark when she bent over. His buddy being thirteen and Martin being eleven didn't stop him from taking great exception to the fact that the posterior in question was his nine year old sister's. In truth the little delinquent is lucky it wasn't heard by her father and I, I'd marched his little hiney home and presented him to his parents then he'd be really sorry.)

Thankfully Madison finds physical contact repulsive. Whenever kissing comes on TV or the teenagers around her decide they need to broadcast their budding hormones the response is always the same. "Ewwwwwwww! They're eating each other's faces and getting germs! That is so disgusting!" What mother doesn't want to hear that from her child? It's like music to my ears.

The only downfall is the girl definitely appreciates beauty. She's been known to remark he sure is pretty, to bad he opens his mouth and that goes out the window. The first time she referred that way to a different boy that was showing off for her I about fell off the porch swing.

 On one hand I'm quite positive the girl will be as selective as I was on who can take her on a date. On the other I'm fairly certain she'll find the one and like us there will be nothing anyone can do to tell her differently. I can only hope she holds to this wisdom that she has now cause when full blown hormones come into play she might just become the typical teenager trying to give her parents a heart attack.

Maybe we can just wrap the house in electrified barbwire. Wish me luck folks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Metaphorically Speaking

My tears are salting the deli pretzel I am eating to hide my feelings. It would be better if it was raining, but I am sitting in the bathroom with the shower going to hide. I'm torn between being thrilled and being terrified. No one informed me this ride called motherhood was this emotionally exhausting. I want a refund.

     Today is a huge day in the life of the Waltons...we left Martin home alone. As we were shepherding the flock to the vehicle to run to the store, Martin mentioned casually that he didn't want to go really. A simple statement. Nothing but a general statement that he was disinterested in going to town period.

      Enter mama logic 101. Well as good a time as any to try this out. We'll only be gone for forty five minutes. Will he be scared? Oh well I'll ask him and see. What are the chances he actually wants to? Zero to slim. So no harm no foul. I'll look like benevolent mommy, and he won't have to admit he still needs me. Perfect plan, right? Since I've already stated he stayed home alone you know it wasn't.

      As he walked out of his room, and Honeybear walked out of our room,  I met them in the middle and smiling asked if he wanted to stay at home. Honeybear gave me a look of disbelief but looked at our firstborn too. At first Martin thought I was kidding but then he realized I was serious. There was a clear twinkle in his eyes when he confirmed that would be epic.

      We went over the rules that every child needs and told him to lock the door behind us. A block from the house I called my mom. Check on Martin in thirty minutes he's home alone. "Are you freaking out?" What? Why would I be freaking out? I just left my first born to be kidnapped, burned alived, or attacked by a minotaur. Who knows what happens when you leave a child home alone? Oh wait, my parents did it and I survived. Still the idea of highway men or a serial killer ran through my head. Maybe even a rampaging tyrannosaurs rex. (You never know when a time traveling worm hole will appear.)

     When we hit about five miles away I called answer. TURN THE CAR AROUND HE'S BEING MURDERED!!!! Five seconds later he calls back. Sorry fumbled the phone. DON'T EVER DO THAT AGAIN!!! Now are you okay? Yes, bye. We can come back? No, bye? So everything is okay? Yes mom. So good bye. Alright goodbye.

     After we rush through the store and forget the hamburger buns. (Really Honeybear, you act like you're on fire.) As we head out to the car mom calls... laughing. She called him and he was very proud he was home alone. Oh great, he's going to be packing his bags and moving out by the time we get home. On the way back, I start to breath its been less than thirty minutes. How much could go wrong?  That's when Honeybear tells me I need to let go of the phone before I crush it.

       We got home and the house was still standing. Martin was thrilled and I am still breathing so I guess no one died and it was the first of the boxes packed ,metaphorically speaking, before they all fly the nest. In the mean time I hope they don't make me pull out my feathers to much....

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. Cliche that that is- being the mother of four kids makes it almost always true. As I day dream of burrowing back into my cozy nest, covering my head with my extra pillow, I think about nap time fights. The sweet ease into dreamland... where you can be anything and everything without paying the cost of reality, is rarely there for anyone under the age of six. They'd rather stubbornly cling to their door posts, nails digging in and leaving gouges to measure their growth by.

Why drift off to Never Never Land with Peter Pan when you can cry and scream and face the injustices of mommy refusing to refill your sippy cup. Who wants to fly through the stars, scuba dive in the frothy depths where amazing creatures play, when you can sit on your bed gasping for breath to rattle your windows.


But no, every young child knows the most magical moments happen after mommy tries to lay them down. We must be finger painting the frosting on world record cookies from their reactions. Either that or we're swimming in melted ice cream with unicorns. That is the only explanation for their absolute refusal to do the magical restorative thing called a nap.

Why am I reminiscing of those days? Two of mine declared loudly that they were tired from staying up late chatting and went and took a nap. Now I'm the one throwing the tantrum, cause it's just not fair. They're probably mermaids right now. While I'm sitting here drinking my second pot of coffee just trying to stay awake long enough to make it to bedtime! I wanna nap too!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


    There's a few of my friends who keep putting up these memes. Jokingly I think a war has started. They always seem to be either stay at home mom problems or working mom problems. Now don't get me wrong I'm against the whole "mommy wars" thing (seriously can't we all just get along.)  But as I watch them post and comment back forth I see the parallels that they don't. I see the exact same problems unfolding in different locations. But I think they're seriously missing a perspective. You guessed it....homeschooling mom.

    For example one exchange went something like this.

"Yes, I'm a stay at home mom. Go ahead ask me what I do all day...I dare you."

Response of, "I do the laundry, cook dinner, nuture the children all while be preoccupied by this little thing called a full time job."

And the whole time I'm thinking...I do all of that and create magical lesson plans for four different grades and don't even get the summer months off.

      Another exchange went a little like this.

"Hardest part of my day was dropping my kids of at daycare...I forgot my coffee cup there."

Response this time, "I've seen the village and I don't want them raising my child."

   My thoughts were along the lines where's my coffee. Did you get your reading done yet? No I don't know where your book is probably where ever my coffee went to... they're eloping. Locating both book and coffee in guinea pig cage. o_O Don't ask, I don't have the answer.

          This one wasn't in meme form but rather entertaining.

"My boss keeps nagging me to finish this project. I still have to finish last weeks reports. And just got a call from daycare that little bit has a rash."

"You think you got it rough. Baby won't quit screaming. Hubby wants dinner. And my little one keeps telling me her tummy hurts only to find out she's getting the chicken pox."

     Mutual commiseration aside (see working or staying at home your lives run parallel.) I'm sitting here going we haven't finished our volcanos! Did the reading circle go around twice? Is that the time do I feed them a full lunch and hope they eat dinner. What's the dog eating? I still haven't got all the materials measured out for lab tomorrow. We have volleyball practice tonight? What do you mean you don't have any clean shorts? Did we get in that many hours for sure? I need to do objectives for next weeks lessons. And check yesterday and today's journal entries. Did I kiss Honeybear goodbye? Oh no part of his lunch is sitting here. Gotta run that to him after practice. Is there enough hours left after the kids go to bed to research the five different topics the kids asked about today? Did the trash bill get paid? What's today? Or since it's after midnight does it count as tomorrow?

      Does everyone see the parallels to our universes? If not I can't put it any other way, we're all moms. All balancing a million things, praying our brains keep our lists prioritized and organized and just trying to drink enough coffee to keep us going on nothing else but a half eaten chicken nugget and a questionable yogurt.