Sunday, October 26, 2014

Being a mom to a grown up is...

So, I've been a mom to a adult now for a little over 5 months. And what is my verdict on being the mom to a grown up?

My grown up kid - Senior Year photo shoot for the yearbook

It's fantastic!


It's horrible!

It's not like anything is really all that different, and yet, it's completely different. Austin is still a great kid - in fact, he's a really great kid and I've enjoyed watching the rest of the world getting to know it like we do. He is still working at the grocery store on the overnight shift and he is still enjoying it. OK, so he's really enjoying the paychecks, but isn't that how it works for all of us?! They are actually working him full time because they are short-handed. Which brings me to the first reason it's horrible.

I want to march into that grocery store and tell them to stop working my baby boy 40+ hours a week while he's trying to do his Senior Year lessons! The poor guy is exhausted and doesn't have time to do anything but work and school. And yet, I can't. Why not? Because he's an adult. And he needs to handle things with his employer by himself. I have given him suggestions and reminders on how to talk to his boss, but ultimately he has to do this himself.

He's been very responsible with his money, which makes me proud of my grown up child - and is another reason that it's fantastic! I've been teaching him the Dave Ramsey principles of finance using the book Financial Peace, and teaching him budgeting the way I have done it since we started the Total Money Makeover years and years ago. Austin already has an emergency fund, and he is paying for his own (very expensive!!) car insurance and all of his gas. He is also saving for college classes and he gives a portion of his income to his church and our church. Which brings me to the second reason it's horrible.

A few weeks ago, Austin wanted to go to see a friend's baptism. It was a very stormy night and the church where this baptism was taking place is a "mega church" and the traffic is crazy. I really did not want him to go, and I voiced my concerns. However, he pays for the insurance and gas on his truck - and he's an adult - so I felt that my ability to put my foot down was limited. In the end, he went. I watched my cell phone like a hawk (because he texts me when he reaches destinations and when he heads home, because he loves his mother!), and all was well. He made it there and back safely and had a great time!

So despite all the ups and downs emotionally (warning: it's not a great idea to say "Graduation" to me right now LOL), I think I actually have it pretty good! Austin has always been the sort of kid who is eager to please and wants to do well and follow the rules! He likes to have people happy with him and to do the best he can. Not all adult children are like that, I know! I'm not so sure I'm going to be this lucky again in 2.5 more years! ;)

Less than 5.5 years and 2.5 years until the next grown up children come along...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The burnout cycle?

The week or so after listening to the Burnout audio seminar went very well! I had a much better perspective and was much more enthusiastic about our endeavors.

And then we hit this week. And I was so tired. And we had some more struggles. And I felt frustrated and overwhelmed again.

Thursday was not a good day.

But Friday was better. I wonder if getting out of the true Burnout phase involves a lot of cycling back and forth on the edge of burnout and refocusing on how to keep from tumbling back into it? That's what it feels like, anyway!

So today I took off from planning or anything related to school because I had other things that needed my attention. Tomorrow I will get back to work - because this is Week 12 we are about to embark upon which means the end of Term 1! And that means Exam time!

It also means that it's time to get Term 2 scheduled out and I am looking forward to digging into that work. Term 1 needed to be a bit lighter because I spent the first 8 weeks in the peak of my Half Ironman training. But that is behind me so we can ramp it back up again. Of course, we are in the midst of our first ever "Nutcracker" season which is proving to be quite a challenge in itself! But we will do the best we can!

I have a few exciting changes for Term 2 that will align us better with the principles of Charlotte Mason's vision of classical education! I hope the kids will enjoy it and that it will bring a spark back into their learning!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The times, they are a changin'...

When last I posted, about 2 weeks ago, I was not in a very good place with our homeschooling. I was tired and frustrated and pretty burnt out. Last week, however, (and you know this if you've been keeping up with my Facebook page) I discovered a little gem from the lovely folks at Peace Hill Press: an audio lecture from Susan Wise Bauer entitled "Burning Out: Why it Happens and What to do About it" and it might be the best $4.99 I've spent in quite a long while! And I encourage every homeschool mom to buy it, even if you're a newbie, and even if you're a veteran who doesn't show the first sign of experiencing burnout (by the way, I don't like you LOL).

So I listened to the lecture and took to heart what she said and have tried to implement some of the recommendations. I also decided that I am not going to sign up for any major races between now and when Austin graduates in the spring. I will, of course, continue to exercise (swim/bike/run) because I love it so much - but I will not be "in training" for any event. Graduation is only 7 months away, and in that time we have 3 major ballet productions, 3 major drama events, weekly dance and drama classes, a week-long trip to Disney World, the ACT, the SAT, and a dance recital that happens to fall on the same weekend as the last major ballet production. Oh, and I have to get transcripts pulled together for both of the big kids (one for graduation and one who wants to apply for Dual Enrollment provided she can improve her SAT scores enough). Plus the regular homeschooling, plus Christmas and Thanksgiving and 13th birthday and 16th birthday. I mean, it's simply insane! And as much as I love racing and competing, that is the one thing that I can put on the back burner for a brief moment in time. I have been "in training" almost non-stop for the last 6 years. I want to exercise for the stress relief and enjoyment of it. I don't need anything else on my plate in this particular season of my life.

The second major thing I am doing is to re-focus on my purpose for homeschooling in the first place and reflecting on why we continue each year. God has us on this path for a reason, and even though I may not enjoy it sometimes, I am being obedient to His calling. And if I'm very honest with myself I know that the biggest reason I'm not enjoying it has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with my own perceptions of success and failure. With Riley starting high school last year, I think it was just amplified. I want to be successful and so often I equate that with high academic achievement. Susan Wise Bauer addresses this problem in her audio lecture and it really opened my eyes to reality. When I start comparing myself and my children to everyone else (and really just how I perceive everyone else since I'm not actually in their homes while they are having lessons), then I get overwhelmed and feel like a failure.  Add to that the fact that very soon colleges will be looking at our homeschool and judging whether or not they will allow my daughter the privilege of gracing their campus, and it can become quite scary. Georgia colleges are not at all friendly to homeschoolers. We have many extra hoops to jump through. And we have not homeschooled in a very traditional way with our classical/Charlotte Mason emphasis.

So I had to take a step back and breathe.

And I had to remember why I'm doing things the way I'm doing them. And I have to remember that my kids/teens are just kids/teens and each of them has to make their own future for themselves. My job is to lay out the feast of education in front of them! That's all I can do! What they do with it is up to them. It's their lives they are living and not my own. I got to make my decisions and my mistakes! This is their chance! And that's how I want it! I want them to grow and learn and be independent - not just for high school but for their entire lives. Having an unpleasantly stressed out mom as a teacher is probably not going to foster a love for learning. ;)

This week went much better - even though Austin worked 40 hours because they were short one guy who was on vacation and Riley missed a day of lessons due to taking the PSAT (just for practice since she's only in 10th grade). Reece started Pre-Algebra and seems to enjoy it, though she doesn't enjoy having to copy out problems into a notebook!

As I start planning Term 2 (already??), I am aiming to refocus these last 2 terms on the CM principles and plan to really enjoy wrapping up our modern history study! Only 25 more weeks of homeschooling my son. It doesn't even seem possible!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

So, where did I go??

Heading towards the Finish Line at Ironman 70.3 Augusta!

An official finisher!
So the last 6 weeks or so I've been in the peak of training for my first Half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run) - in addition to getting the girls to all of their dance classes and rehearsals, getting Riley to work, AND doing our lessons. It's been, quite honestly, one of the craziest and busiest times of my life! It was everything I could do to keep my head above water!

But I did it - and I had a wonderful time doing it! I am really proud of myself and pleased with my results! Now it's time to re-focus on the kids and school and this dance year for Riley as she is in several major ballets, the first being Nutcracker next month! I will continue my training because it is my outlet and I really enjoy it, plus it helps me to stay healthy, but the intensity will be reduced! :)

Hopefully I will be able to post about our school year on a more regular basis. Things have not gone so smoothly in the last month, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we have all adjusted to the new busy-ness and can put our noses to the grindstone and get things done!