Monday, May 26, 2014

The end of our school year!

I'm back!! We made it through the complete craziness that was the month of May! As much as I would love to give each thing we did its own blog post, I just don't think that's going to be possible! So here is a basic run-down:

  • Reece had her first group standardized testing and loved it! She came out to me each afternoon with a smile on her face and told me that she thought it was fun, except for the boring parts! She doesn't ever want to do ITBS again without doing it in a group!
  • We went to our very first Six Flags Homeschool Day. It was awesome, and we'll be sure to go back next year if we can!
  • Austin turned 18 years old - still not sure how that happened! He was given a used truck for his birthday from my parents. My dad cleaned it up and they got a paint job on it so it looks practically new. He was completely shocked and is totally thrilled!
  • The girls and I made it through the dance recital! It was my first one (Adult Tap), the first time for Reece to dance in both recitals, and Riley's last one at the studio she has danced at for the last 8 years. Which brings me to the next bit of news:
  • Riley auditioned for and was accepted into a pre-professional ballet company! She begins training with them in a couple of weeks!

  • Riley applied for and has had 2 interviews for her first part-time summer job! We should find out soon if she gets it. I think the biggest thing she has against her is that she's only 15 years old and there are lots of work restrictions in Georgia for kids who are that age. 

  •  Austin applied for and has gotten a part-time job at a local grocery store! He is waiting on his drug test results to come back and then he will go to orientation. He is SO proud of himself, and I am SO proud of him!

With all of that craziness going on, we still managed to get our lessons DONE! It had been so hard all year long to work nonstop without taking a break, but to be completely done with lessons by the end of May was worth all of the hard work!

Traditional "Last Day of School" ice cream at Bruster's! :)
So now I have a Senior, a Sophomore, and a 7th grader. Yeah, soak that in for a moment. I simply cannot believe it! My plan for this coming week is to wrap up all of the paperwork for this school year, so that I can work on my shopping list for the 2014-2015 school year. I have a busy summer ahead of me between driving Riley to all of her dance rehearsals (and perhaps a part-time job) and training for a half Ironman race at the end of September, so I'd like to go ahead and get as much done as I can right now.

Our summer Sun and Fun plans include continuing with math and Latin (for the girls) and reading, of course. But I am giving the kids the full week off this coming week! :) They have earned it!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Deep Thinker

I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks but I just never had the time. So I'm going to try to crank it out really quick while I have a few moments. These moments are courtesy of my wonderful planning before the school year started where I front-loaded our school work so we would finish some things before the last couple of weeks of school (which is now - only 10 days to go!!).

This post is about Reece. I have had a rough couple of weeks as a homeschooling mama, I won't try to even hide that. Man, this whole year has been rough and emotionally draining. And I had a particularly bad day not too long ago. I dropped off kids and now I can't even remember where. I think maybe I was taking Riley somewhere and that left me and Reece in the car alone.

So that's where the following conversation took place.

And I'm not sure how it got started. But at some point we got talking about me being upset and crying and yelling. I told her how I was sorry that I did that, and I am trying better. I pray to God every day that He will help me to be more patience.

She said, "I know when you are crying and you yell at us, that it's not that you are mad. It's that you are scared about the future, and you are worried. So I don't get upset with you. But I don't like for you to be afraid and worried. It makes me sad."

Boy did that hit me like a ton of bricks.

I said, "You know, you're pretty perceptive for a kid with autism." (Insert discussion on what perceptive means LOL) Then I added, "You're pretty perceptive for ANY 12 year old kid!"

So while I'm glad to know that at least Reece understands what's going on - good gracious, this is not how I want the kids to remember their childhood! I don't want them to gather around one day at Christmas or a family reunion and talk about the way mom used to cry and freak out about school or the messy house. And this is not how I want to LIVE. It's not fun to constantly be worried (read COMPLETELY FREAKED OUT) about whether or not I'm doing all of this good enough.

Everyone is growing up so fast. Austin has one more year of high school - Riley has 3 more years - Reece has only 6 more years of school. That means I have only 6 more years of homeschooling after having spent the last 12 years doing it! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But at the same time, it seems to me like the stakes are so much higher now. Georgia colleges are not at all homeschool friendly, and it's getting worse by the year. I am determined to remain an 'unaccredited homeschooler' because that is sticking with the letter of the law. But the colleges are putting more and more hoops out that we have to jump through. So I get afraid.

Fear is SO bad. I make such mistakes when I operate from a position of fear. I know this - and I'm getting better at recognizing it while it's happening (instead of when I look back, so that's progress, right?).

And I'm going to take this back to God again - because, well, that's where everything goes back to! Why do I live in such fear even though I'm a child of God, and I know that He loves me and He loves my children and has plans for their futures? Lack of trust. I can talk the talk, but I don't do so well when it comes time to walk the walk.

So my goal for next school year, above and beyond anything remotely academic, is to do our education thing. Read books, talk about them, write about them, do the math (even when they don't like it and don't get it and look at me like I'm crazy for loving it), learn the Latin. That's it. (Well, Riley will dissect more things - but she will be doing that as part of an outside class again because she enjoys that and this homeschooling mother does not LOL).

I want the Black Pearl Academy to be a NO FEAR zone.

So back to my Deep Thinking Girl, the subject of this post: she is positively amazing! I think you could agree with me on that. I knew she thought deeply about stuff - it's mostly evident when she cries and/or gets upset about things that happen to her and to other people. She has a deep sense of fairness and justice. I used to think that was a purely autism thing, rooted in the difficulties in assessing situations as more than black and white. But now, I think it has more to due to the way she thinks and processes so deeply. I don't know how to explain that, considering that she has an autism diagnosis. She's not supposed to be able to take another's perspective - but sometimes I think she takes the other perspective too much.

Regardless, I'm so glad that she felt comfortable to share with me what she is feeling. I hope to be able to tell her one day that she helped me to become someone who didn't spend her life operating out of a sense of fear. :D