What a Monday

Hey y’all.  How was your weekend?

My weekend flew by while I was dealing with an ache in my body only women endure from puberty to menopause, and then I was dealing with my truck.  I’ve had ‘the beast’ for three years, but it’s time that I get rid of her due to cost of maintenance.  She’s an old girl, a 1996, but she’s worth her weight.  She’s perfect for farming.

Monday.

This week my daughter faces taking her final exams to mark the end of the first semester.  I’ve had her studying, reading and rereading, over and over, the study guide answer sheet her teachers supplied each student with to prepare for the tests.  Today she took her math test.  I can’t say that she did excellent, but she did take her time and tried to work out each problem.  Tomorrow, we test for English/Language Arts, Wednesday we test in Science, and Thursday we test in Social Studies.  Wednesday, after school, I have an online teleconference, to go over gathered informational research from throughout the first semester to decide the plan for next semester with a couple of higher-up members of the academic staff.  I don’t know how it’ll go as they’ve not gone well before, but things have changed.

I’m not rooting for recognition or fame, but I do want to share that it’s been a daily struggle to get my daughter this far.  I’ve mentioned before that my daughter was ‘next-to-failing’ in brick and mortar schooling; because I’ve been able to personally work with her, one-on-one, giving her my full-blown attention, she has gained so much more understanding and confidence in herself and her ability to grasp class instruction, but it’s not been easy.  Most mother/daughter relationships go one of two ways.  I’ve had to be what most parents have considered to be really strict, or too strict, but she’s a better person for it.  She’s a better person than some of the kids I’ve known.  I hate to say that, but I’ve known some kids… a story for another time.

So, I’m finishing up first semester with my daughter this week in addition to selling my truck.  I’m also baking cupcakes for my daughter’s gymnastics class, for her birthday since classes are out the week of Christmas, so we’re sharing this week.  After that, I’m cleaning for Christmas, wrapping a few gifts, baking an apple pie, and enjoying a nice long vacation from middle school academics and extracurricular activities.

I’m going to put more focus instead on writing, and submitting more work to here and there.  This place and that.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my first and foremost target.  I’ve been studying, and by studying I mean I’ve been reading from my personal Chicken Soup for the Soul collection like I’m taking a class in college–Chicken Soup for the Soul 501–it’s a Master’s class.  Just kidding, but I am serious about how much I’m reading.  I started with Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul, then I read Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom and I just finished reading that yesterday afternoon.  Yesterday evening I started Chicken Soup for the Soul: Random Acts of Kindness.  Just wait until the new year!

In closing, thank y’all so much for reading and following my blog.  I love knowing I’m talking to someone.  Wink, wink!

To everyone reading, have a very Merry Christmas, a very Happy Hanukkah, or if you don’t celebrate either of those, comment yours so I can wish you one in return.

Happy Holidays!! 🙂

Monday of Mondays

The beginning of a new work week is always a long, drawn out drag.  Laundry, school, and anything else that finds it’s way into my schedule.  I’m not complaining, just stating a fact is all.  It’s the same story every Monday.  I’m just writing about it for a change.

I begin the day feeling well-rested and motivated to take on any chore.  By the time school is over, and all homework is completed, I feel as if I’ve been run over, mentally, by a freight train.  One of the many negatives to being a writer, but it’s an occupation I love to hate.

I’m revisiting a lot of rough drafts I previously thought were polished stories.  Either that, or I’ve really grown in the last 6 months.  Between revising a short piece I titled ‘Chicken Slick’ about a recipe that’s been passed down through several generations, and another short piece titled ‘Christmas Crash Site’ I’m rewriting to submit to Chicken Soup for the Soul, I’d say my week is pretty well planned.

I really hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining about my job, because really I’m not.  Writing is my release.  I don’t like complaining to people about my woes because we all have them, whether we like, love, or hate our jobs.  As a homeschooling mother, I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.  Every job, every position has it’s ups and downs.  I prefer to stress myself out making sure my daughter’s grades are where I think they should be and working one-on-one with her, to stressing over the dreaded phone call I used to get from her brick and mortar school, everyday, because she was misbehaving so badly her teachers couldn’t handle her.  What a nightmare that used to be!

In Science class today, while her teacher is trying to teach about Newton’s ‘second law’, only a few were making an effort to participate.  So, her teacher nicely told everyone to virtually raise their hands to let her know they were present and actively participating.  The turnout wasn’t so nice.  Ten times, the teacher repeated herself, “Raise your hands if you are with me and can hear me.”  Ten times.  Out of 44 students, only 21 virtually raised their hands.  Not good.  So, she kicked them out.  I know it sounds harsh, and maybe even rude, but that’s why I like her Science teacher.  She’s no nonsense for the most part… as long as her students are following directions.  I’ve thought about becoming a teacher, but no.  I’ll stick to writing.

This evening I’m revising and rewriting ‘Chicken Slick’ because I know I can make it sound so much better than it’s current draft.  I seriously need to stop being afraid of my abilities.  It’s like I’m afraid of succeeding, or scared of my own potential, but it is only Monday.

Again, until tomorrow… and thanks for reading.

Moving Forward

I’ve spent the last few weeks cleaning and organizing my home office because, well, I needed to.  I needed to get myself completely on track which is why I wrote an itinerary.  Instead of working on a 4-burner stove, I’ve got 6-8 burners going, or it seems like that at times.  Keeping lists has improved my organization skills and switching to a 4-color Bic pen made a difference.  When I organize, I really organize!  Call me OCD.  I promise, it won’t hurt my feelings.  Plus, you wouldn’t believe the difference it makes to merely ‘dress the part’ for your business because it’s made a big difference for me.  When I’m writing, or creating the month’s magazine, or even sitting through online Class Connect with my daughter as her Learning Coach, I may be doing all of these things at home, but I like ‘looking the part’; dressing for the office.  It’s a self-motivator; to take myself serious.

We went back to school this week.  It’s a blessing because I’m able to watch my daughter educationally grow in online school, but it also means summer is officially over.  This year is her last year in middle school, so it’ll be a little bittersweet, but like every year before, I’ll have fond memories to reminisce on and write about in my memoir series.

Speaking of going back to school, I’ve started using social media to converse with other parents and Learning Coaches affiliated with Georgia Cyber Academy through a closed Facebook group.  Maybe, as the year progresses on, I can introduce my magazine.  Maybe they’ll sponsor our magazine!  I don’t know how exactly it works, but I won’t know unless I inquire; and research.

I noticed, I’m growing as a writer.  I’m busting through that final brick wall of self-doubt, allowing myself to write with a creativity that scares me.  I was writing a nonfiction piece for the August issue of McKraft’s Literary Magazine, about school cafeteria food.  I wound up titling it Smells Like School-Made Spaghetti.  The way I described some of the foods I wrote about, not only did I laugh at my own descriptive writing uncontrollably, but I also hesitated because I worried my descriptive writing would offend a reader, or readers.  My hubby is a big help in that area because he does all my proofreading.  We make the perfect team because of this.  He proofs my writing and I proof his.

As for my magazine; we’re still creating it, and it’s building per monthly issue.  I’m no longer printing them out because cost became entirely too much for our extremely limited budget, but I think I prefer going digital where this is concerned.  The cost comparison is definitely persuadable.  The August issue of McKraft’s Literary Magazine I created as I said before with ‘Back to School” in mind.  From my nonfiction piece about school food in the 90’s, my daughter’s essay about her love for GCA, to the cover art done entirely by me. I also included a very simple recipe for manipulatable no-bake cheesecake that makes for a nice slice of tasty, sweet after-school snack.  Yum!

Since creating a working itinerary, my manuscript is beginning to come along again.  Slowly build.  I just finished writing a story piece about my experience on September 11, 2001 for our upcoming issue of McKraft’s.  When I originally wrote the story, I was writing to submit it to Chicken Soup for the Soul- Spirit of America.  No success.  I thought about it again while brainstorming a theme for September, so I grabbed it up and rewrote it.  It’s going in our September issue of McKraft’s, but I’m also including it in my manuscript.  I’m pretty proud of my rewrite.

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“All in a Week”

I’ve certainly had an interesting week!

Monday, my husband had a doctor’s appointment as well as an errand or two to run before and after.  I spent all morning in Class Connect with our daughter.

Tuesday, my husband had other business to take care of in town, and he had to leave early.  Again, I spent the morning in Class Connect with our daughter, and completing household chores between classes.

Wednesday was our daughter’s doctor’s appointment, so after Class Connect sessions were over and lunch and homework were done, we left, and ran some errands after.

It was Thursday that was the ‘doozy’.  I found myself facing a new milestone, and living it two different ways at once.  Well, three different ways.  I recall my own experience (when I was her age), I’m reliving it through my daughter, and I’m relating instinctively.  It’s awesome, but I also feel as if I’ve aged several years overnight, more so because I discovered it the night before.  We were both tired that day and she didn’t feel up to going to gymnastics that evening.

Come Friday morning, my dad’s brother stopped in for a visit since he was in the area.  It’s been 14 years since I last saw my uncle, and times have certainly changed the both of us.  However, it was interesting, some of the conversations we had during his brief visit.  I learned a lot, about our family, about him, and about myself.  In addition to my uncle visiting, my husband had another business errand to run early that morning, so while he was taking care of that, I was reclaiming my daughter’s attention during breakfast to get her ready for school.  She’d never met him before now, so naturally she would be socially interested.

Now here I am.

It’s Saturday, the sun is shining, and tomorrow’s weather is calling for rain which pretty much guarantees I won’t be able to work outside.  I feel the need to re-energize, and being outside, in the fresh country air, beautifying the yard, cultivating the ground, it’s therapeutic to me.

That reminds me, I can’t wait to get started on my vegetable garden!

“Wii-Bowling Helps in Mental Health”

What a week.  It couldn’t have been any worse, but then again, the things I’ve dealt with in life, it could have been worse, so I shouldn’t complain.  Still, the minor irritations and annoyances ate at me.  No matter what I did, each little thing annoyed me more and more, I finally had to shut myself down.  I sat down, I plugged into some hard metal music (because they say music soothes the savage beast) through my Bluetooth headset, and I just sat there.  I didn’t say anything, I didn’t do anything–I just sat there.

I sat and thought about why I was mad.  What was irritating me, and annoying me so bad to make my skin crawl?  Most importantly, why was I allowing myself to feel that way?  I can’t answer either question, other than to say that things in our otherwise ordinary life got the best of my actions and feelings.  In other words, I needed to change the way I was thinking about things and seeing things, but first I needed to exert my bad attitude into something, so I ‘Wii-Bowled’.

When I get irritated with things, or life, and I feel like the what the lyrics say in “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit, I found Wii-Bowling helps release my anger and frustration safely.  I’m not physically throwing anything that could break, unless I choose not to wear the included wristband for safety reasons–such as throwing the remote across the room as I’m theoretically throwing a bowling ball down a systematically made up bowling lane.  Get my drift?  This way, no harm, no foul.

Well, not entirely ‘no foul’ because while I spent most of Friday afternoon ‘bowling’ my attitude to the point of exhaustion, I also threw my entire right arm out–all the way to my shoulder blade.  I did such a good job tiring out my bad mood, I caused some physical pain on myself, and all I did was spend hours throwing a pretend ‘computer generated ball at some pins made from the same frequency in a violent manner in a virtual gaming world.  It was the perfect release for my state of mind.

It’s been a couple days since I bowled, but I need to give my arm muscles time to heal because I practically killed them according to how they feel.  It was so worth it though!

“A Sweet Greeting”

To be in middle school again.  Since I’ve been homeschooling my daughter, handling her  and her education has been a lot less stressful, but no less interesting.

She’s always had problems with other students picking on her or teasing her in school, but I don’t think they were doing so because they liked her.  Maybe they were, I don’t know, but since the beginning of this school year, she’s had a ‘follower’.  She’s not on social media because her dad and I don’t approve.  While social media has it’s many uses and benefits, it’s also very easily manipulative, and used for the wrong reasons.  When I say ‘follower’, I mean he’s tried chatting with her, he’s used the class blackboard tools to type and share that he has a crush on her pretty much announcing it to the class, he asked her to be his girlfriend within the first month of school, but he’s never met her in person.

When he first started, I didn’t think anything of it, but then he asked her out.  That’s when I put a stop to it, or thought I’d put a stop to it because I answered his chat telling him I was her mother and to leave her alone.  He did.  Then he didn’t.

He got a little pushy sending her private message after private message, forcing me to email her teacher about him, and then he backed off a little.  He’s not acting out so much anymore, but that’s the thing, he’s only acting out.  He’s acting like a typical 7th grade boy.

They have all their classes together, but their classes are in a virtual classroom, so it’s all online.  It wasn’t until third class connect today that he sent her a private chat wishing her a Happy Valentines Day.  To make himself look better, he used her real name instead of his nickname for her.  I thought it was actually sweet of him considering he’s been a real pain-in-the-butt this year.

I wonder….

Just kidding!

 

“Homeschooling, Blogging, and Writing my Book”

I woke up this morning feeling ready to conquer the world, and by world I mean my planned projects which I’ve been happily writing into my daily agenda.  I took the weekend to rest and relax, and to do some thinking (especially after I was rejected for a writing position I applied to earlier last week.  I received the rejection email Friday.)    I soon came to realize I lost track of what I’m aiming for.  I lost focus on my purpose and therefore forgot what my prize is.  So, last night, I decided, my focus is on three things–my daughter’s education, my blog, and my manuscript.

Well, by the time first class connect dismissed, I was ready for a break because my daughter seemed to have woke up with an attitude.  She wanted to be mouthy, she had something to say for everything I said, or something one of her classmates would say in chat, or she wanted to do things her way–meaning wait to do her homework after school instead of during the last 15-20 minutes she had left in class to work in the ‘quiet work room’.  I told her she was doing it then because the assignment she wanted to do, an essay for English, she could do on her own.  Her homework she was going to want my help with.  She didn’t like it, and she exaggerated a sigh the way she always does when she isn’t happy with something I said or tell her to do.  As I said, she was already in a mood, so her mouth eventually wore on me.  By the time class connect was over, I needed a break from her, so I went down to transfer loads of laundry.  That didn’t the way I wanted either.

My schedule is not going as smooth as I wanted it to go today, but I’m accomplishing it all just the same, so far.  I still have two short stories I want to reread and make edits where necessary.  One is almost finished, the other is only the rough draft.  I can do it, but I have to keep focused.  School, my blog, and my book.  That is what I’m putting all my concentration into from now on.

I’m a mother, a teacher, and a writer-to-become-author.

I just hate when things in life happen in daily life that put a hindrance in one’s well-planned scheduling.  A defiant attitude from a daughter whose just entered her teen years, a load of laundry wrapping itself into a tight ball rather than drying in the dryer correctly, or the fact that it’s Monday and Mondays seem to be the ‘long’ day at the office every week.  I can see why now, but it doesn’t mean I like it.  I accept it because it’s what I do best, but I’m still going to be real about it.  I just have to remember what I’m focusing on.  Homeschooling my daughter and helping her gain an education, writing my blog to share thoughts, experiences, and lessons, and working on my manuscript, or writing my book–whatever you want to call it.  Those are the things that are important to me right now.

 

“Two Days”

I’m sorry I didn’t post for the last two days.  I took a couple ‘personal’ days to deal with ‘personal’ things.  I’m feeling better than the last two days, but I’m on the tail end of it now, and that makes the difference.  Until next month.

The last couple of days, while mother-nature was being harsh on my internal organ, class connect was a breeze.  I’m working with my daughter, one-on-one, at all times, and the difference in her efforts are night and day.  She’s staying on task, and while it doesn’t take much to distract her, it doesn’t take much to pull her attention back either.  Even her attitude is changing towards her school work as her grades improve.  She used to sigh heavily with the start of each class, she would rush through her homework, and who cares about failing grades because she didn’t think she could do any better.  She was giving up.  She felt like I did when I couldn’t grasp grade school math.

Sadly, I figured out why she was giving up.  I found myself mentally putting myself in her position; a spot I’m pretty familiar with.

I didn’t think I would enjoy this position as much as I do.  I didn’t think I could possibly enjoy going back to middle school though I’m not actually in middle school.  Everything they’re teaching is just refreshing my memory, but that’s what’s making it easier to help my daughter.  She needs a lot of reminding.  Unfortunately, where she needs a lot of reminders, she hates being reminded, yet she’s always reminding us of whatever or about whatever is on her mind at the time.

When I was growing up I wanted to be a journalist.  I wanted to work for the newspaper.  Then I forgot about writing for a long time.  I rediscovered my love for writing, went back to school, and decided I want to be a published author.  While I’m writing and working towards publishing my first book, I still never even considered dabbling in Education.  It didn’t cross my mind.  However, I have always been the parent to complain behind closed-doors about how things are done in schools today compared to what school was like in my day–the 90’s.  About two-thirds of the way through completing my undergraduate program for my BA in Arts for Writing and English, I started thinking and then saying I could do a better job with my daughter than the in-school staff could.

As it turns out, I can, I am, and I’m glad.

Okay.  I am because here I am, home-schooling my daughter with some help from certified teachers doing their job–teaching–online.  My job is to do the rest, and I believe that’s how I should be doing it, because my daughter does struggle, but as her mother, I can see where her struggle is and help it.  In-school, teachers can’t see that struggle because they must focus on 30-some students at one time.  Not a fair ratio.

I can because I have the patience with my daughter that I have yet to see a teacher display when instructing her during her in-school years.  I don’t consider my daughter to be ‘special needs’, but I do think she does fall into that spectrum medically, and that’s okay, but not all people can, or know how to handle certain higher levels of defiance in a child.

I’m glad because I can see the difference in her now and I’m relieved.  When she was in-school, the school called me everyday, sometimes two and three times a day.  I can’t count the number of times she served detention, both in-school and after-school.  The school doesn’t call me anymore because she’s no longer getting into trouble.  I’m also glad I’m doing this because to be truthful, she wasn’t safe in school.  Not with students in the schools threatening to cause harm to others, school bus crashes, and children abductors stalking neighborhoods.  It’s scary.

On a better note, the last couple days gave me time to stop and think about why I do what I’m doing.

“Back To the Basics In School…Literally”

Everyday is a new reality.  Yesterday, I had so much trouble getting my daughter to take notes, or take pictures of the slides her teachers were using to teach class, and getting her to write down the questions as she took her tests was like pulling teeth; I was at the end of my nerve rope.  Today, she has been just the opposite.  She took notes, she was paying full attention to instruction, and she fully participated.  Why the change?

Yesterday, after struggling through her first two class connects, I took to sitting right next to her for third class connect.  Doing that alone made a huge difference, but I’m not yet convinced.  Today, I sat right next to her during all three class connects, and she reached the same results.  She participated, she took notes, she took class seriously, and she passed two tests without struggling.  It was awesome!

I remember, back when I was in middle and high school, we had a few students who needed that ‘extra help’, and the school had a few teachers for that ‘extra help’.  I consider them Special Education Helpers because that’s what their specialty is; working with the slower students who have a hard time.  Schools don’t seem to have them anymore.

Who knew that I would find myself taking middle and high school over again?  If someone had told me back then that this is what I would be doing now, I wouldn’t have believed them.  I didn’t think this was the path I would take in life, but I’m glad I am because I’m learning a lot–about myself, about my daughter, and about the school.  I’m getting a second chance in general education because the first time, I had a lot going on mentally.  There’s a good chance this experience will also influence my relationship with my daughter.  I’m beginning to know and understand where and why she’s struggling, and I’m the one helping her.

What bugs me though is that the entire time she was affiliated with ‘brick and mortar’ schools, she was nothing but problem for each and every member of the staff.  She was disruptive.  She was misbehaving.  She was hitting another student.  She was doing this.  She was doing that.  She was being disrespectful to the teacher.  She kicked another student.  She said a cuss word.  I think I’ve heard them all, but I think the reality is that the schools are being properly staffed anymore, kids are bullies, and there are so few of us that stand up for what is right anymore.  When I was in school, I was the kid who was judged for being quiet.  For dressing in hand-me-down clothing and Goodwill apparel.  I didn’t make fun of anyone, but I didn’t stand up for anyone I saw being teased for fear that I would then be teased openly.

I love Georgia Cyber Academy’s K12 online general education schooling program for that reason.  They gave me the ability to pull my daughter from the distractions of the students surrounding her, so I could put her into a quiet atmosphere where she knows she safe from all those who tormented her.  Any position in life is going to have its good days and bad days, it’s when the good days outnumber the bad days that the position is worth it.

“Another Test of Patience”

Today has definitely been a doozy, a trying test on my patience.  My daughter’s attitude today, in school, proved that she’s not interested in what a general education has to offer.  I haven’t been able to get her to take school seriously, and I’m struggling to figure out what else I can do, to shine some light on the subject.

I’ve tried relating to her, but do you know where that gets me?  I get the ‘you’re so lame’ attitude.  I’ve tried telling her about my experiences, but she only rolls her eyes at me.  Why do kids have a hard time believing we were ever their age?  I say “When I was your age…” and she’s all *annoyed sigh/full eye-roll combo*.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  You get it to?  I’ve even tried using her role-models and favorite actors and actresses for examples, but on one hand she doesn’t want to or can’t see passed who they play as characters, and on the other hand, it’s like she believes they were handed that life.  Like their life is automatic or something.

Well, after sitting through two different classes with her where I was in the room, but not necessarily right next to her, she didn’t do so well on a couple of tests.  I told her to write down the questions and the answers on paper, but as usual she didn’t because she hates doing it.  It takes too much time, or more often “I forgot” is always her go to excuse.  I sat next to her during her third class connect.  The funny thing is she took notes and she wrote down the questions to her test and the answers, and she passed on the first try.  (Hmm.  Imagine that, mom was right.)

It’s amazing how much mothers sacrifice for their children, but that’s part of parenthood.  It’s also knowing when to be your child’s friend and when to be their parent.  For the most part, I’m Special Education provider/mother, and her friend, ONLY when she’s acting like a normal, fun-loving teenager I want her to be.  I love watching her dance around her room to music by Dove Cameron, China Anne McClain, Sofia Carson, and Sabrina Carpenter.  I love when I check in on her and she’s making something out of scrap fabric, or when she’s making jewelry like ‘Dizzy’ does in “Descendants 2”.  I also love when she’s really trying in school–writing notes and taking screenshots using her tablet, writing down her test questions as told, and of course, when she’s getting decent to good grades.  I’m not choosy.  I’ll accept ‘C’s’ because ‘C’s’ are showing an effort.

The funny thing about motherhood is that we wouldn’t trade it for the world!