A Homeschooling High

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This is a picture of what three of my kids decided to do a few days ago.  Jessica on the left is 22, the of course Greta Van Susteren, Laura who is 14, and Jeff,20, the one with the beard.

Jeff woke up Wednesday morning and informed Jessica that he just got the two of them tickets to go to Donald Trumps townhall meeting.  Indiana is amazingly important in this primary, when usually we are ignored, so it is kind of exciting around here.  Jessica was in, but they are in college, which makes it a school day.  They decide their political decision making process is more important for the day, and I must agree.

Laura is interested in many things, politics included.  She is in 8th grade this year, and we read the book Are You Liberal? Conservative? or Confused? By Richard Maybury.  It was a great read a gave both of us a wonderful understanding of political philosophies.  Laura even sits with everyone else when the televised debates are on television.

So of course Laura wanted to go.  They downloaded another ticket and off they went.  (Homeschool moms have to be ready to change directions at a moments notice if a better academic pursuit comes up).

So they went downtown and fought the crowds, American Ninja Warriors was setting up for the next day (also cool), and ended up being invited to sit up on the stage.  Not only were they put on stage, but they were in the first row right behind Greta!  So at 7:00 on Fox News On the Record with Greta, there my kids were, right behind her.

When 7:00 rolled around I had already ordered the pizza and we sat and laughed our way through, amazed at the opportunity my kids had.  I did post it on facebook, but nobody took me up on the offer of their autographs.

Homeschooling is amazing on so many fronts.  I am always thankful for the opportunities my kids have been able to take advantage of by not being on a school schedule.  But I must say that this one was by far the best!

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Another Day Lost

I lost today.

Let me define “lost day”: A day in which I am not living in such a way as to make decisions, live life the way I want to, accomplish anything, and/or unable to be a wife, mom, or friend like I would like to be.

Today I have struggled with a very bad migraine.  It’s really been most of the week, but starting last night it got to a level 7 to 8 on the pain scale, with a 10 meaning childbirth without epidurals.  When it gets like this, medications don’t touch it and you just have to wait it out in any way possible.  It is the point where you have no care about how you come across to others.  So if you have to stay in pajamas all day because clothes hurt, or you don’t brush your hair because it makes the pain worse as it pulls on your scalp, or if you don’t really communicate to anyone around you because it just takes too much energy, you do it and really, really don’t care how others perceive you.

12540816_10204065876647388_4781534934774637520_n This is what I have looked like today.  The hat is a brilliant invention called an “Ice Kap”.  It cost $60, which is crazy, but the inventor really ought to be a millionaire.  As a migrainer, life is expensive on many fronts.  The problem is that you are so desperate for relief, you will try almost anything.  But this really works.  There are gel ice packs throughout the entire hat- you head completely wrapped in it, and it lasts for 45 minutes.  Plus the style is kinda cool, although I would have preferred pink, but that would have hurt my eyes.  Speaking of eyes, I just ordered a $120 pair of Theraspecs sunglasses.  They have been working well for migrainers and they fit over your eyeglasses and wrap the shade to the sides of your eyes to keep the sun out there, too.  It’s a good thing we just got our tax refund…

So this is a look at my day.  3:00am. I get up and get a bite to eat so I can take muscle relaxers and Xanax to try to calm down the head.  My body feels like cement and my head weights 300 pounds.  At 5:00am I get up and make a cup of caffeinated coffee and use the icekap.  I root myself in the plushest recliner (the headache recliner, the other recliner is better for gastro issues), put my head in the position of least pain, and stay there for hours.  At 11 I go get more muscle relaxers and back to bed.  I drift off to sleep after a while.  At 3pm I get up and move back to the recliner.  I get my icekap back out of the freezer and eat some “lunch”.  It’s now 6:30 pm and I feel good enough now to at least blog.  Now I can salvage the day with at least accomplishing something.

I have been playing with the idea of getting a drill and drilling through the left side of my head.  I really think it would release some of the pressure.  I tried the idea of a head transplant but my neuro said no.  I wonder what he’ll think about the drill…

My kids know without my saying anything that they are on their own, again, for dinner.  This is a sadly normal occurrence.  They are getting their own laundry run through, and they are taking bits of time either loading or unloading the dishwasher in between their runs to work, college, etc.

Since this is my serious day and I am giving you a glimpse into my life, I will mention that the house is a mess.  And always is, just ask my friends.  While people don’t really know what goes on in our house, they don’t really understand the state of mess we deal with here.  Along with migraines, I have struggled with CVS (Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome, trust me, you don’t want me to go into the specifics of that), PTSD, and more.  Thus I am almost constantly in a state of not being able to accomplish physical tasks due to the variety of issues I deal with.

It makes me sad.  I was an over-achiever in high school and college.  When a good friend of mine, my high school English teacher, told my daughter about me being a perfectionist, my daughter’s jaw had to be picked up off of the floor.  I still am on the inside.  I see the cobwebs about I would love to get, the linoleum I ache to give a good scrubbing, the meals I want to make…

So, kudos to Patrick and the kids for being so understanding through all of this.  They really are amazing and deserve huge treasures in heaven.  I am so thankful for them.

So the sum up: I will have a better day, and I will greatly enjoy it when it comes.  In the meantime, there is a really pretty tree outside my window.  Thank you God for giving me something to enjoy on a day like this.

To Blog or Not To Blog

I really don’t know why I blog. So I decided to give you some insight to how my thought processes work as I muddle through this.

First, it seems that people blog because they have something to say. I really don’t, I more make it up as I go along.

We would assume that we blog because we want people to read what we say. I would suggest that anyone who chooses to read my blog is either courageous or crazy. I really didn’t start it to have people read it.

Blogging is the “in” thing which is another reason I usually wouldn’t do it. I am not usually into what is current. Which is another reason why you shouldn’t be reading this.

Sorry for the digression. I will try to stop talking about you and get back to me.

So we are back to why do I blog?

Well, I like to write.  I really, really like to write. I love to play with words and ideas. I like to write about what is on my mind, what is on my heart. It changes frequently, as do the topics of my blogs.

So ride the waves with me, if you must, and we shall explore the depths of language together. Maybe I will learn something. I know it will de-stress me. Hopefully you will laugh and cry with me. And if you chose to ride in my blog, I hope you enjoy the trip. And don’t forget to grab some Dramamine.

 

Dying Goose, Smelly Dog, and Homeschooling

What does a dying goose, a smelly dog and homeschooling have in common?

I would like to start with a little philosophizing about homeschooling.  When your children are at home, they are learning more experiencially than through a textbook.  Life happens in the home, and it’s just really nice that the kids are there to learn how to flow with the chaos.

So back to our topic.  We live near a pond with a lot of geese around.  This morning I am sure there was a goose dying.  It was honking and crying and it just wasn’t stopping.  So I go into my daughter who has amazing birding skills, and she was hearing it, too.  Out the door she went to try to find it, while Indy, our dog, came in the back door reeking of something that I don’t want to know what it is.  Thankfully Laura was here, so she got the dog in the bath.

There was a pow wow between Jeff, Sarah, and Laura as to how best to de-smell the dog.  Their best strategy was peroxide and scented bath soap.  So while they were working on Indy’s spa treatment, Jessica comes back in to announce she could find no dying goose, and that all the other geese seem perfectly happy.  Logically, if a goose was dying, his friends and family would all be around mourning, right?

Out of the tub came Indy, and he is still smelly.  So the kids continue to pow wow and work on googling their options.

So let me bring this all together in a nicely summed up thought: if I wasn’t homeschooling, I would have had to deal with the dying goose and the smelly dog all by myself.  So I am happily sitting in the recliner, a soft throw over my lap, and thinking up all the ways that these experiences helped my children to grow in character.

God is a Bit Spacey

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There is a universe out there that we can partially see.  The stars twinkle, the comets stream by, the planets orbit, the sun shines, and all of it is a work of God.

Psalm 8:3 – 5, 9

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.  Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.

Selah. (Stop and think about it.)

Humans have always been fascinated by space.  Some people devote their entire careers studying it.  NASA spends billions of dollars just to get out into it.  In all of these years, we have learned a lot, but nothing near the amount of information that is really out there.  There is so much more that we just don’t know, and God made it ALL!  Wow.

I think that as we take time to look at space, either through our own eyes at night or through a telescope, we see the workmanship of God.  How beautiful and majestic it is.  It gives continual verse to poets and songwriters, and lots of stories of adventure and aliens.

God, who made the universe and the earth, loves you.  Not only that, but He wants to have a relationship with you, He wants to take care of you, and he wants you to be His friend.  God is big and loving and wonderful.

The next time you have a bit of time, take a selah while looking at space, and see where God is in it.  There are a lot of deep thoughts for you and I guarantee it will bring you closer to Him.  Have fun…our spacey God is wonderful!

 

Promise Lost

God is Good

By Lisa M Meister

I’m not the mom

I thought I’d be

As close I held

My first baby

Looking at the

Future bright

Thinking I could

Do it right

I’d keep her fed

Safe and warm

Always gentle

Would be the norm

   imgres

Soon there were two

Then three and four

My wondrous kids

I did adore

But something niggled

In my brain

Some kind of danger

I couldn’t name

Did I need

To keep it out

Or look to see

What threat was about

I had to search

Against my will

To check it out

See if was real

Terror climbed

Upon my back

It was either me

Or my kids attacked

I did not know

How to fight

So I cried

Both day and night

My kids looked on

Solemnly at me

Wondering where went

Their promised mommy

The house got dirty

The laundry towered

I…

View original post 96 more words

Promise Lost

By Lisa M Meister

 

I’m not the mom

I thought I’d be

As close I held

My first baby

Looking at the

Future bright

Thinking I could

Do it right

I’d keep her fed

Safe and warm

Always gentle

Would be the norm

   imgres

Soon there were two

Then three and four

My wondrous kids

I did adore

But something niggled

In my brain

Some kind of danger

I couldn’t name

Did I need

To keep it out

Or look to see

What threat was about

I had to search

Against my will

To check it out

See if was real

Terror climbed

Upon my back

It was either me

Or my kids attacked

I did not know

How to fight

So I cried

Both day and night

My kids looked on

Solemnly at me

Wondering where went

Their promised mommy

The house got dirty

The laundry towered

I couldn’t cook

My mood it glowered

I thought it might

Ease in time

Leave the past

Regain my mind

Their mommy often

Sick in bed

They took care

Of me instead

I wasn’t always

Patient kind

I hurt their feelings

Oh time rewind

I stand here now

Looking back

Over the years

I do regret

House still dirty

Dishes piled

Laundry toppling

Cooking a trial

But keeping them safe

Won out in the end

They weren’t abused

Not now not then

I see the years

Has made them tough

So maybe I did

Just enough

Homeschooling From the Trenches

My original title was “A Little Homeschool Brag”, but I started to feel a little guilty because as Christians we aren’t supposed to do that.  So if it comes off as bragful, please know that it sort of is my intent in the best possible way.

I have been homeschooling for a total of 18 years now, with 2 years tacked on teaching at a public school in Detroit (which with a very complicated calculus equation comes out to 6.8 years of public school teaching).  I feel I have now “arrived” and am able to philosophize about it and people have to listen because they are impressed with how long I have been at this.

Teaching your children at home is very complicated.  You are dealing with a variety of grade levels and abilities, some learning disorders (ours was dyslexia), babies or toddlers, student drivers (worse than having a toddler about), teenagers (!), and attitudes.  Another problem is that your children know how to get you distracted…

  • Can we watch a documentary (always confusing because how can you say no to that?)
  • Can we watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (Classic literature at it’s best plus one of my favorite movies, I’m sure the rewatching of it improves my children’s ability to do something)
  • We have nothing for lunch (as has been true many times; no matter how many times I have fed my children, they still expect to be fed again and again…)
  • Can we go on a nature walk (again, when put that way it’s hard to say no, even if I don’t know how to identify trees or plants, although we are good with birds)
  • Would you like us to clean the living room (home economics, always a win-win), and this offer usually comes during math

Homeschooling can also drive you up the wall.  Getting four kids to be actually focused on what they are doing all at the same time is called proof of the existence of God.  It has happened a few times for me over the years, but sadly does not last long.  Inevitably someone comes to the door, the dogs need to go out, the parakeet is dive bombing their pencil leads or landing on the top of the book they are  reading (true story),  and on and on.

There is also the phenomena that I have entitled “Combative Learning”.  I really need to cover this one is depth at another time, but sometimes learning actually comes across to outsiders as if the mom and student are fighting over who the teacher and who the student is, why they have to learn it even if they feel it is not relevant to their lives, don’t write on my textbook (I don’t have a chalkboard, so where else am I going to write?), or even, “I refuse to read Bleak House”  (Dickens) (a good read I cannot more highly recommend) or The Jungle (Lewis)

So with all this in mind, you will understand with the amazement I have just thinking about it: Only twice have I called my husband over the years while he was at work to calmly announce that the next morning I was marching all the kids to the public school and enrolling them.  My husband has a phd, so you will understand his brilliance in his response, “Ok.”

I would also like to tag on here that I have graduated 3 of my 4 children already from highschool, and they all graduated as valedictorians.  The pride of that is really overwhelming to me.  Who would have thought?

So I wrap this up feeling brilliant and happy that you know how brilliant I am, too.  So if you are thinking about homeschooling I will leave you with my timeless advice: Good Luck!

 

 

 

Let’s Selah!

King David was a selah-er, so I think we should be, too.  Scattered throughout his beautiful Psalms are breaks where you see the word.  It’s pretty easy to skip over, and let’s face it: we are not a selah-society.

Selah means: stop and think about it.

When my daughter was younger, she had a friend a couple years older than she who would play with her unless someone older was about, and then she would ditch my daughter.  It certainly hurt her feelings.  She wrote a letter to the girl telling her how much she was hurt, and at the end of the letter wrote, “Selah!” Maybe not the complete idea King David had, but it worked for her.

Examples are:

  • God is good. Selah
  • How great are your works. oh Lord. Selah
  • You have set me free. Selah
  • You should play with me all the time, not just when no one else is around. Selah!

Well, the last one wasn’t quite from the Bible, but you can see what she meant.

conga-line-group-people-dressed-late-s-early-s-fashion-dancing-maracas-party-whistle-bottle-campaign-vector-55862293Being a selah-er can be fun.  I can imagine a conga line dancing around the church.  Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, BA! Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-BA! Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-BA! Ba-ba-ba-ba-BA! Selah!

Our society doesn’t have much time for selah-ing anymore.  So the above practice might be a good exercise.  We need to think through, at a deep level, who God is and what He does.

Here is my example: God made the stars- Selah!  Really selah this.  All the stars, and He calls them ALL by name! I bet He cried when Pluto got demoted to a non-planet.  Is Heaven out there in the universe somewhere, or in some completely different reality?  Did God like the solar system my daughter just painted?  (I do rabbit trail, but maybe that is an important part of selah-ing.)

Spend a little time today doing a selah.  They can really be amazing and give you so much of a deeper relationship with the God you are selah-ing with.

Selah!