Thursday, September 30, 2010

School, ugh.

I had been a little nervous all school year because Kaylin has been completely in charge of her own homework. I have literally not looked at one paper or asked her about studying or ANYTHING. I told her I'd keep off her back, but when the first progress report came, if it wasn't good, things would change. Kaylin insisted she was getting everything done and promised to come to me if she didn't understand something. Progress reports were sent home yesterday. Four As and one B. Yes!

As I have stated approximately 12,000,000 times, I hate parental involvement in homework. I hate homework period, but stuff that requires parental involvement particularly burns me. I in no way feel it is the teacher and the public school system's lone job to educate my children. I take them to all kinds of educational places and am constantly teaching them everything from nature and animals to how to load and put away dishes from the dishwasher or the potential evils of credit cards. We apply math and reading to everyday life. Gene shows them how to build and fix things. Gene and I are involved with our children and care deeply about all aspects of their education.

However, don't force me to spend 30 minutes helping my son color a picture. My evening time is extremely limited and valuable. I have approximately 2 1/2 hours to make, serve and clean up from dinner, take showers, do laundry, deal with the pets, deal with correspondence from school and help with homework. I also have a very physical job that keeps me on my feet all day long and I mostly want to sit down and relax. I believe required parental involvement results in a whiny, crying kid who expects the parent to do everything for them. No. My kid needs to learn to read better. He needs to read and answer ALL of his own questions. He needs TIME to practice spelling and reading (I will certainly help with spelling.) When he spends 40 minutes on a gigantic word search that I end up half doing because it takes so long and is so frustrating, he has NO time for spelling and reading. Logan's teacher is probably the most regimented and organized teacher we've ever had. We get a homework list at the beginning of the week with all assignments listed. It is too much homework for a 2nd grader. And all of it requires at least some effort on my part. There is literally not enough time in the day. This is going to be a long year!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Giant Word Search

Yeah! I've lost 11 pounds and my feet have been MUCH better! I have a lot more weight to lose, but so far it's coming off pretty easily. I haven't had any fast food or candy this month. I haven't even gone through the McDonald's drive-thru for a sweet tea! I've been doing my best to satisfy my sweet tooth with fruit, and peanut butter has been my special treat if I'm really craving dessert. I am failing miserably at giving up Diet Pepsi. I haven't been cutting back at all. I recycle all of my plastic bottles, but I know it would be much better if I'd just switch completely to tap water that would make no waste. I'm probably also harming some major organ by drinking so much soda, but man, I love it.

We're finally falling into the school routine. I need to work harder at making Logan read and practice spelling, but it's so hard to spend valuable evening time working on even more homework. Logan's teacher loves time consuming pointless homework that makes me want to scream from the rooftops that she's an idiot and he doesn't have to do it. Instead I pretend like the ginormous word search that takes over an hour is the most important thing he could be doing in life. You know, just in case word searches help him with his future career. I have no idea what Kaylin is doing in school. She supposedly does all of her homework right after school. I have never seen any of it and don't plan to until after she proves she can't do it on her own.

Kaylin's going to play trumpet in band. I was really surprised. I thought she'd play flute or clarinet. We got my old trumpet out of the attic and the valves are completely frozen. I'm too tired tonight, but tomorrow I'll try to get it in good enough working condition to use for a couple weeks until I can either get my other trumpet from my parents' house or else rent her a better one. Maybe I'll start playing again. Or not.

I think I write this every month, but I can't believe how fast this month has gone! I've been a blog slacker once again. We have tons of stuff going on, but I either can't or won't write about it :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


I'm mentally exhausted from a week of stupidity. I never thought I'd have to ground my children for something this ridiculous, but alas, Kaylin called Logan "Pants." I think Logan was playing Wii and Kaylin wanted a turn. "C'mon, Pants, gimme a turn." And then later "Nice one, Pants!" And then "Hey Pants, you're up." Meanwhile, I was doing the puzzles in the paper and ignoring the kids. I should have continued ignoring them, but asked "Why are you calling him Pants?" "Because pants are the most boring thing I could think of, just like Logan." I then made Bad Parenting Mistake #7 and laughed. Logan also thought it was funny and wasn't at all offended by being called "Pants" or by my laughter. However, my laughter encouraged Kaylin. Now instead of calling him Pants once every 10 minutes, the game turned into "Hey Pants, it's your turn, Pants, c'mon Pants, Pants, Pants, Pants." In seconds, Kaylin escalated Pants from funny to annoying to infuriating. Then Logan whipped a Wii controller at her and it smacked her hard in the chest. Kaylin was bawling in pain, Logan was sent to his room and both kids were grounded from playing with the neighbor kids for their entire Saturday. I had to stop doing my puzzles to lecture Kaylin on how while violence is never ok, Logan wouldn't have hit her if she hadn't driven him to it. And then talk to Logan about never resorting to physical violence over words. I did get to reward myself with a day off free of the neighbor kids, though!

Wednesday we went to the Pumpkin Festival. Before kids, I was always overtaken by nostalgia and would excitedly drag Gene year after year for pumpkin porkchops and pumpkin ice cream. We'd stroll through the merchant's tent and pick up free junk. We'd do a quick walk around the grounds and check out the window displays and giant pumpkins. We'd avoid all the really crowded ride and game areas and be done with the whole experience in about one hour. I'd laugh at myself for loving the mediocre food and "needing" to grab up the free sewing kit and pens. Gene would roll his eyes and go to Farm and Fleet so at least the drive to Morton wasn't a total waste.

The first few years of taking kids was fun. Especially when both were old enough to go on two or three kiddie rides together, but young enough to be happy with two or three rides. Now that they're both in school, going to the festival is more of a pain than it's worth. It's now ALL about the rides. Now we're submerged in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, waiting in the forever-lines, trying to figure out how to use up all of the tickets so we can leave at a decent hour to get the kids to bed for school the next day. No more window displays or checking out the fire trucks and ambulances. No more looking at the giant pumpkins. Just rides and lines and crowds. And worrying about how on earth we're going to finish homework when we get home so late at night and have to leave so early the next morning for school. The Pumpkin Festival is awful! And compared to the county or state fair where you buy an unlimited ride armband for $20 (and the money goes to charity) and there are WAY more rides and virtually no lines, the Pumpkin Festival is a rip-off! Oh, and I had talked for DAYS about the importance of getting all homework done at Latchkey so we wouldn't need to worry about it later. I asked Logan if he got everything done? His reply? "I thought you said DON'T get my homework done." Yes, my brilliant snowflake, that makes complete sense!

Last night was Kaylin's back to school night at her school. We spent 8 minutes in each of her 8 periods, running around from one side of the school to the other. (English and math are each double periods, so only 6 changes.) Most of the teachers were normal, one was frightening and two were insanely enthusiastic to the point I could hardly handle the 8 minutes. The social studies teacher was my personal favorite. She made a point of allowing the kids to make and learn from their own mistakes and not hover and helicopter. The math teacher was one of the enthusiastic ones, but I think she'll be great for Kaylin. She has all kinds of games and learning tools I think Kaylin will embrace. Overall, it was a good experience and made me much happier with my choice to send her to this school.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pretending to be moving across the country

This week has been overwhelming with back to school nights and getting kids up early and remembering homework and forgetting to practice spelling words. Friday mornings used to be relaxing and wonderful. The kids got to sleep in and poke around until 8:45am. Now Kaylin's school starts at 7:30. Ugh. As I pulled in to drop off Kaylin, my car started beeping that it was running out of gas. (Seriously, I can't BELIEVE how much this car beeps. I call it Beepy.) I went from last second spelling practice to Logan freaking out that we were going to run out of gas. I immediately headed to the gas station and filled up, but it was too late. Logan was focused on the gas and not the spelling words we should have been practicing the past four days. Ugh again. Another spelling F.

Back to school is incredibly stressful for me. I hate the homework. I hate the morning nagging to hurry. I hate the bedtime fights. Then everything else in my life piles up and I go crazy. The clutter in my house is probably the biggest thing bugging me at home. I decided to go through EVERYTHING and get rid of stuff like I'm getting ready to move. But not just move, move across the country. Every single item has to be judged as if I was moving to California. Would I keep this if I was moving to California? If not, it goes to Goodwill, is recycled or goes in the trash. The end.

This morning I did the kitchen cabinets. I filled a large laundry basket and a garbage bag of stuff for Goodwill. I can't believe how much excess stuff I had in the kitchen! I'm going to make my way around the house and do all the rooms, all the clothes, all the toys. The garage is going to be a huge job. I'm wondering if we'll need a dumpster!? It's beyond amazing how much crap can be accumulated in 10 years of living in one place!