I trust you Lord

Oh, how I long to be graceful. Filled with His grace. Peaceful, settled, resting gently in truth.

Somedays I'm right there. Somedays, I am close and other days my restless mind, my childish heart, my stubborn pride and distractions keep me chasing my tail like a new puppy.

Your ways are perfect Father. You are God, and I am not. Your plan is all I will need. The truth in your Word will strengthen me. Your constant love reassures me. The cross in my hand reminds me. You died to give me life, everlasting life. Your plans for me are only for my good.

I trust you. I trust you Father. I trust you with all I am, all I ever hope to be, with every need, every want, every dream. I trust you.

I will gladly pay you on Tuesday for some Phineas and Ferb today

Winter and cold have set in here in the Midwest. We love the fireplace, the comfort food, the baking, the warm sweaters.

We do miss our bike rides, walking the dog a couple times a day, bird watching from the backyard, the hammock, swimming and the warm sun on our faces. Being indoors makes it so easy to rely on the babysitter box.  The shiny stream of colors, sounds, and sarcastic humor running 24 hour day with over a hundred choices. The television.

I find each year at this time I reach a point where I am done with tv. I court the idea of turning off the cable once again to make my point for a few months. I'm not turning it off because I like it too. I like goofy shows like Lock-Up, Hoarders, Storage Wars, HGTV, and Law and Order is always on.

So, to limit the television coma that will melt the brains of the children in my care I returned this month to a tried and true system used many times over the years in our family when needed.

You pay for TV time. All chore money is paid as the chores are accomplished, extra efforts are paid for as well. In school money or play money. TV and video game time are purchased from this stash and money leftover at the end of the week is turned in for cash.

You have to decide what is a reasonable amount of TV time and how much you are willing to dole out in real dough if they save their money. For us 1 half hour of tv costs $1. Chores earn nickels, dimes, quarters but there are lots of chances.

Family movies don't count.

A little aside - this is a fabulous way to improve skills with counting money, making change, and telling time. They quickly become Scrooge McDuck.  This is actually fun for us, and breaks the tendency to veg out, or for me to go on parent auto-pilot while creativity seeps out of my kids ears and runs down their necks from too much Phineas and Ferb.

Since we are once again taking the entire month of December off it helps keep skills sharp. I reward them for extra reading, doing schoolwork in the off month, too.

The way I see it, they want TV and game time. You want them to help. win-win.

Last notes:
Make it fun. Don't be a dictator about it, offer surprise bonuses when done quickly or with cheerful hearts. Don't make lots of rules they WILL remember them and outsmart you.

Blessings,
Robin

ADD = genius + sobbing

I know a lot my stories begin this way, but it's TRUE!

So I am minding my own business, I stopped into a small shop to purchase a Christmas gift. In the course of making my purchase, I mentioned I needed the item for my young son who creates stop animation movies. After fielding a couple questions about how does he have the time for such projects, I explained we homeschool.

 - and there it is -

The fork. 

It is almost impossible to leave the house, meet strangers and not talk about homeschooling. Well, it's impossible for me. Within a few minutes we meet the fork in the road and I wonder where this is going.

A) information, support, and interest                      or                B) antagonism, doubt and probing


C) rarely happens and in this scenario its a Y not a W but for the record, utter disdain is not                                    unheard of in the way of responses

This gal was all about A. She asked questions, and questions, upon questions. I was there talking with her for 45 minutes. We exchanged emails, numbers.

Her son, 8 yrs old, following the traumatic divorce and departure of his father has developed "ticks"and he has been diagnosed with ADD. The pain and concern on this mothers face was so obvious. Her little guy has low self esteem, thinks he is stupid, fat, ugly, a bad kid. Her supportive words ring hollow in the few hours she has with him after a long day of school. 

In school he is continually reprimanded for fiddling, moving, not sitting still, getting up and down. He is often segregated away from the class, to the other side of the room so he can concentrate better. He is teased for having a teachers aid help him and for his ticks. He thinks he is stupid.

Thankfully, I carry my soapbox in my purse! I whipped it out, climbed on it and started to make repairs. In situations like these, both the child and the mother feel hopeless, frustrated and like failures. LIES!!!

Several issues set me off - and this is one of them.  Her boy, is a genius. Truly a GENIUS!

School rewards quiet children who sit still and don't require much discipline. School values children who can memorize and regurgitate. How impressed they are when a child can rattle off Presidents in order, states and capitals, or multiplication facts. These are gifts - of course. But it's also a gift to understand how things work, why things work, or to have the kind of brain that thinks about those questions. 

It's more impressive to have a child stand up straight and tall and recite something, but if it comes quite naturally it's not really a skill they worked to hone. What if each child's gifts were treasured and explored? What if every child was encouraged to unleash their brains? Look out China.

No, instead we have a system that tethers children to desks where they are only allowed to learn in baby food bites, no faster than the fastest, no slower than the slowest and only what is in the lesson plan. 

I told this young mother her boy is a genius. His brain works in ways his teachers couldn't possibly understand. That if she will make it her mission to learn how his brain is wired he will achieve greatness! I told her about Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein and other terrible "students." I told her ADD is a fabulous thing! Sitting still is totally overrated! and this incredibly complex skill of keeping your butt cheeks on a flat surface can be mastered down the road when you are not a busy 8 yr. old boy.

I wrote down must read books by Mel Levine - A Mind at a Time, Myth of Laziness. I told her about Positive Discipline, and Frank Lawless books on ADD/ADHD. I promised to pray for her and her son, and if she needs anything to call me.

In the car I fought back tears. I remember when Corey's pudgy Kindergarten guidance counselor tried pulling this alphabet soup game on me. NOT happening! 

Everyone one of my kids would be slapped with labels faster than you can say Kentucky Fried Chicken is finger lickin' good, if they were in school. Me, I'd be the mom the teachers dread, the principal knows on a first name basis and the kids love when I volunteered in class.

We opted out of a system which couldn't begin to foster the genius that IS in my children, gifts from God, purposes greater than they could dream, talents to be constantly discovered and developed. God created them. They are perfect. 

Those kids with the extra letters, that's because their brains are so amazing - the grown ups can't figure them out. Genius in ADD, genius. Decode how your child learns and then stand back - because God is about to show what he can do.

Blessings,
Robin

PS. I am equally passionate about politics, my faith, and why Titanic is the worst movie ever made.

this concludes this portion of the program

Tinkerbell's little body could only hold one emotion at a time. My heart is bursting with so many I am doing well to see the emotions coming at me head on.

My oldest baby boy moved into his own place this month. 

I miss him so terribly. Everyday. Every night I resist the urge to call and be sure he is home safely. I don't know what he has eaten or if he is safe. I don't know what clothes he is wearing in the event he goes missing. I feel lost. This boy has been homeschooled since the third grade. He is my buddy, we are alike in so many ways. I miss his him, did I mention I miss him? He has been with me every step of my adult life. No one seems to notice how hard this is on me. 

I'm so proud of him. Living at home, while he worked and went to school was an option but it wasn't right for him. I joke that he came out of the womb wanting to work. He lives to be busy, to work, to be independent and successful. He is always determined to do things his way, on his terms, no regrets, no excuses - well some excuses ;) (wonder where he gets that headstrong bullhead mom?)

These last couple years have been our most difficult. As I tried to reign him in and guide him, he resisted and wanted to show me once again, he can do it himself. So determined was he when he was 4 and 5 to pour his own milk that after a couple of unfortunate spills I purchased a small pitcher he could manage so he could do it himself. Everything about his life was crafted in the same way. Him showing me what he wanted to do and me finding ways to let him find success in it.

My challenge was to give him the tools, the resources, the confidence and opportunity to do everything on his own. Then, I had to get out of the way. He made mistakes but so what? I tried to teach him that mistakes are just experiences and we learn from them, not to get too wound up in them or drag them around with you.

He was homeschooled from the 3rd grade and graduated from our home school. I am so proud that I raised a son with determination and drive. But secretly I am wondering what it would be like if I had raised a slacker, one who wanted to be home and have momma do everything? Okay, that would be attractive for about 5 minutes.

Our mission in our home school is to guide the children, through faith, love, opportunity and discipline to discover the person our Father in heaven created them to be. Period. Every door has been available to him, to all our children. 

He is doing what I always prayed he would. He is doing exactly what I have spent 20 years raising him to do. Yet, here I sit again crying in my coffee because he isn't here. 

I dropped him off at Kindergarten and cried in the parking lot for nearly an hour. The entire day the tears would just overwhelm me. I was missing him smile. I was missing him learn. I was missing it the show.  I fought it until we decided to homeschool. Then, I didn't miss a thing. My three musketeers are a dynamic duo. My party of five, is a party of four. I don't even need a minivan anymore.

Hate me for saying this, won't be the first time. I loved every part. I loved when they were little. I loved rocking them at 3 am. I loved nursing, and diapers, and toddler tantrums. I loved every minute. Homeschooling is my greatest joy and it hasn't been hard.  It is a labor of love. I am working to find a new rhythm but I adore it. I had a front row seat for the greatest show on earth. I sit in the arena now, it's quiet. The circus has moved to the next town and I just want it to start over. 

Yes, the other two shows are still playing. I love every moment of theirs too. But every mother knows you love each child with all the love you have. One doesn't replace another. When their shows wrap I suspect it will be even worse. 

I guess this concludes the crying for the morning.

My oldest son recently moved out into his own place. His 20th birthday is next week.  I feel equal parts of pride, joy, and utter heartbreak.

I was 19 and married nearly two years when I had my son. If you know me at all it will not surprise you that by the time he was born I had read every book on the subject of parenting, babies, pregnancy, breast feeding, SIDS, you name it.

I had my own ideas about child rearing and looking back I praise God for the grace of confidence in my discernment. I worked my way through every issue and didn't waiver in my beliefs about what was best. My mother calls me bullhead. She is entirely correct. One week after he was born my mom was prepared to hitchhike back to Indiana. (Did I mention I was married to a marine in those days, during Desert Storm and living in Virginia Beach?)

In all honesty I was glad when everyone left, and Corey and I were home alone.  It was perfect.  We co-slept, nursed on demand, attachment parented, and bonded as closely as I could ever have wanted.

When we hit bumps a few years later, Kindergarten teachers began using letters to describe my baby boy - ADD, ADHD, I went to work and educated myself on the issue. I pooled resources, visited child psychologists who specialized in this new diagnosis. The consensus was he was a very busy little BOY who needed firmer boundaries, more responsibility, and chances to be successful. - done.

Loading the dishwasher at 4 yrs. old, my mom thought me a tyrant.

project progress

I do believe I have discovered the reason my novel is not feeling right! I incorrectly identified the main character, first off. I thought it was one person but it's not. I also discovered her voice. I know this sounds weird and for writer's it's probably like duh! But this is huge for me.  I couldn't hear her voice, it was weird, but now I can and I wish I had the time to do nothing but write - alas, waaaaay too many things to do.