Monday, January 14, 2013

Divide and Conquer

My sons were born on opposite sides of the day. Not literally, since they both came into the world after midday, but they have operated on opposite time zones ever since. 

Danny was a nighttime baby from the beginning. He didn't want to go to bed before 11pm or midnight at all, and we tried everything. Sometimes it would take hours of walking, bouncing or rocking before he could calm his never-ending energy and sleep. And then when he slept, he slept! He was the only baby on the block that slept all night and woke up when the other babies were going down for the their first nap, usually around 10am. I LOVED that part of his schedule, BUT we were totally out-of-sync for playdates! Because he slept so well at night, we gave up his naps by the age of two- exactly the same time his brother came into the world to bookend my day.

Benjamin was up with the dawn right away. For the first 3 years of his life, his day (and mine) started at 4:30am. I am not kidding. I saw more sunrises in that time than I ever need to see. It would have been doable- because he was such a sweet little thing - except that darling son #1 was still going to bed at 11 or 12 at night. Hubby and I didn't get eight hours of sleep for years. When Ben started sleeping late - until 7:30am - it was a party at my house!

So, to make a long story short (too late, I know!), I have started to realize I need to reorganize my homeschool day. Ben will get up before anyone else and start to play with his games. I will follow, guzzling coffee and catching up on my emails and business stuff. Then we wait for Danny. And wait. And wait. He wakes up late and he wakes up slow, regardless of poking and prodding by brother, parents or dogs. (I think he's giving us previews of his teen years..) So yesterday, when analyzing where I could make our school day work better (if you don't know what I mean, see yesterday's, I realized that since Ben needs more one-on-one anyway and Danny is loving the independent folder work in the afternoon, I'll just split them up!

If today is any indication, I'm really onto something. Before Danny woke up, Ben and I did reading, handwriting and math and he really needed the individual time with me. Once we shook Danny out of bed and he had breakfast and woke up, we all came together for geography, spelling and science. It was a zoo, which is normal and how our whole day used to be. After we split up again, Ben did cello practice and Danny settled down to his folder work with me nearby for questions and one-on-one help while Ben played. I really think this is going to work.

Yes, it took longer than usual, but they really did much better and the only time I felt a migraine coming on was when they were in class together and if that  continues, I'll just split the whole day up. Problem solved! For now....:)

A cool place to check out: Hip Homeschool Moms :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week 17: A bump in the road...

Tomorrow starts Week 17 in our homeschool and it isn't going as smoothly as I remember. 

Last week was our first week back after Christmas vacation. We took a nice, long break after Christmas to visit my husband's family for five days and then unwind and unpack after we returned. I had a whole month's worth of lessons ready for Monday morning and the day went fairly well...given that neither of the boys wanted to do work! We got alot finished since there was no pressure for the next day, because we were scheduled to go to the Homeschool Days classes at the Maryland Science Center all day Tuesday. 

The MSC was so much more fun this time! The first time we went in September, it was literally our second week of homeschool. I was much more tense and uptight, just trying to find my way around this thing called "homeschool". This time, I really just enjoyed being there and the classes were really enjoyable and I learned alot (and the boys did, too :)! 

Our return day on Wednesday didn't go as smoothly. Danny couldn't wake up, so we got a late start and I had to finish studies early to make sure I picked up my granddaughter from kindergarten as early as possible (since I had been at the end of the pickup line on Monday and they had given her to someone else to take home...ugh...but that's another story). So I left them with their independent work to do at 3pm and, different than before the holidays, it didn't get done.

Thursday was a loss. My granddaughter was with me all day because she had a fever, but that wasn't really the distraction I expected. Danny started to feel bad (which was also the reason I suspect he couldn't wake up Wednesday) and was too sick to go to PE at the YMCA. They completed their Unit #2 Test in Science (both with 97%, I must say), but that was really all we got done besides Ben going to PE. And I didn't feel that great anyway, so I gave up.

Needless to say, I'm a  little discouraged. I had a whole weeks' worth of nice lessons planned and only about half of it got done. This weekend, Danny and I have had the darn headcold and we both feel blech, so I'm not sure tomorrow is going to be much good either. At this point, I'm thinking of canning the actually lesson plan and just doing miscellaneous little things like Math Bingo or things out of our Mad Science kit or watch our new Schoolhouse Rock Earth video (did you know they even MADE a new one? Got it free with my Disney Reward Dollars - very cool :) just to keep them learning. I get so frustrated because we can never stay caught up with our Bible reading, regular reading, Religious Ed classes or writing assignments. I do feel like the universe is just telling me to "give up" and relax and do something different this week. I kind of have to - I don't feel up to doing anything else. 

And Ben's birthday is Wednesday. My baby is turning 9 and this is my very last year of having a child in single digits. Momentous for me, because when my "other" baby (my youngest daughter, Kelly), turned 9, I just knew that one day I would have more children, so even though it was sad, I could handle it. This will be harder. This is IT. And the grandchildren are following fast and furious behind him already (I already have three grandchildren, ages 5, 4 and 2 months) I need to figure out how to transition in to Nanamom,  not just Mommy. This is hard.

So, Lord, give me strength this week to be the best teachers my children need me to be. Maybe it's not what looks good on paper, but lead me to give them what THEY need this week. I guess I'll be a little more unschooled that usual. And hope that helps :)