The Bliss of Spring Break

As a person who has been involved in worship production/leading in one form or another for the last XX years, it was incredibly refreshing to realize that I would have NO major church responsibilities this year and I could…




Wait, what??!?

Yes, it is true. I shelled out a bazillion dollars and tucked my two sweeties away in Spring Break Day Camp at the local YMCA and I:

  • Slept
  • Watched 17 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (I’m still digging through Season 9 – NO spoilers, please)
  • Slept
  • Watched a few movies
  • Slept
  • Unpacked and/or threw away about 6 boxes from storage
  • Slept
  • Read
  • Slept

I know that this seems like a strange post for a homeschooling blog, but there is something really important that I learned this week.

I need more breaks.

I don’t mean to say I didn’t know this before, but now I KNOW it. I realize that the lack of breaks worked into my schedule is what has driven this bus straight to Burnoutville, Population 2 (I’m counting Butterfly in there, too).

So there you go. Lesson learned.

Now I need to make it count for the rest of the school year.


Homeschooling PE. What could possibly go wrong?

I enrolled Butterfly in the local “Homeschooling P.E.” class at our YMCA. It is two days a week for an hour and it is $0. That’s right! Our membership covers the cost!

Now, an important part of this plan is the idea that this mommy/teacher/principal/housemaid would get a chance to actually work out. Like on machines. With headphones. And no little people whining, “Mooooooooom! Stop! You are running too fast!” So I packed my bag of workout gear and got ready to sweat.

Butterfly was not nearly as excited as me, sadly. Partly because she was the only African-American in the room. I didn’t realize that was going to affect her as much as it did, but it turns out that it bothered her a lot. She mentioned it a few times on the way home and once to Dad and Sister on the way home from After-school that day, so I knew it was a biggie.

That being said, I DID get to sweat for 30 minutes, and I made an appointment with a trainer for the next session to set me up on the machines (Seriously, if you have a good YMCA near you, this is kind of one of those things that it completely worth the bucks, IMHO).

So after a sorta-successful first session, I got really “ahead of myself” and decided that I would try to get to an exercise class 45 min before Butterfly’s class while she hung out in the child area. I checked her in, she started to color, I high-tailed it upstairs to the class, walked in, and…quietly backed out as I realized it was an Active Seniors Stretch class. God bless each one of them, they were stretching while seated in a folding chair. Not my vibe.

Sooooooo, plan B.

I grabbed Butterfly and we went to the “Teen Room” and we started working out on the circuit machines. They have a great system, kind of like a Curves, where a horn sound blows every 90 seconds and you move to the next machine (sorry, Curves. I just blew your secret to the dudes. Not that there are many dudes reading these posts, I think). I don’t know what kind of “Teens” are going to this room, but lemme tell ya something, those are no sissy machines. I am one strong gal (just ask my husband who helps him move the heavy stuff), and these machines were giving me a bit of a run for my money. But then, to my delight, at the end of the circuit were CARDIO machines. That’s right, I was going to get to sweat after all!!!

So Little Miss Butterfly and I floated over to the Elliptical Machines and started doing our thing. I told Miss B that we would do it for 15 minutes and then I would take her down to the Homeschooling P.E. class. We were good for about 4 minutes until I look over and my darling daughter is gasping and claiming that I am killing her. Which is clearly not true, because I was more than 3 feet away from her and we all know that it is impossible to give someone a good death stare to the side when you are bopping up and down on an elliptical. It’s fact, people.

And then we came upon a perfect example of why I am truly not a “good” teacher. I told her that it wasn’t killing her, but that she had to stay on it. She cried. I denied. For 11 minutes, tears streamed down her face and I insisted that she stay on the machine.

Folks. I am a coach.

Not that coaches don’t teach, but I realized that the same “you can do this, stop your negative self-talk and let me hear you say that you can do this” speech I was giving her was what I was repeating at least 5 days/week during this year at the table as we worked through the lessons.

So, I’m going to stop beating myself over the head about not being a good teacher and accept that I teach in a different way.

What happens when you type “failing at homeschooling” into Google…

So today was not a good day.

I just thought I would clarify in case it wasn’t clear from the title of this post.

I am *really* behind in my blogging, but I wanted to get this post out today, because I am struggling. I’m sure some of those draft posts would fill in the blanks about everything that has been going on, but today…today was the day I considered re-enrolling Butterfly in public school.


Is it because she fights learning every single day? Or because one of us has to ask the other for a re-do (every single day)? Or that we both stated to my husband that “this wasn’t what we thought it would be” (separately)?


And no.

I think I am struggling because I have realized that she doesn’t want any version of school at all. And that I can’t support that or make it happen.

I get that some people can un-school their kids and that they are confident that it will work out. But that’s not our situation.

We’re on a budget of time and money, and I feel the pressure of knowing that I have to get her to a certain point, or she’ll fall even further behind (this is where I should mention that this is the week that I discovered that she has never understood what people were talking about when they said “even” and “odd” numbers) and she doesn’t have the internal drive to catch up.

So, after the kids went to bed tonight, and hubby was firmly tucked away on the couch and I was left to my own devices, I came in my room and typed “feel like I am failing at homeschooling” into Google.

Good news/bad news – I am not alone.

One post gave me some things to ponder – I’ll let you know where I come out on it:

Swimming along (Day 5)

Today, we started the Physical Education element of our home education program.

Luckily, we have a membership to the YMCA and we enjoyed swimming laps together for about 30 minutes before Butterfly started her first time at an afterschool program.

It is possible that you might have said to yourself just now, “wait, what?”

Yes, Butterfly is in the afterschool program at her sister’s school for a couple of reasons. One of them is that as we were driving around this weekend, Butterfly said very quietly from the backseat, “I need to be around more kids. I like some of the homeschool, but there isn’t enough kids to be around.”

When she speaks quietly, that’s actually her version of an impassioned plea. So, my husband and I agreed that she could go to the afterschool program for 2-3 days/week, which would give her 8-12 hours to play with other kids and socialize with peers (especially kids from her ethnic background) and would give me a few hours to breathe, plan, and oh, yeah, actually get stuff done. Because I had a silly idea that me being home meant I would have all this time on my hands to do the things that I hadn’t finished or gotten to or that needed to be done.

Guess what?

Turns out I’m a full-time teacher, administrator, nurse and principal – there is no downtime when the student is around.

So the swimming was great exercise for both of us AND I was able to get a few hours of my own.

I promptly took a nap.

Cooler heads prevail (Day 4)

So, the temperature dropped (YAY!) and this meant that Butterfly and I slept in for a bit today.

Well, SHE slept in. This was the first time I had been up and “by myself” in the morning for a while, so I made coffee, checked my e-mail, planned meals for the week, did dishes, got all of our supplies together for the day and by the time she was awake – voilà! – I was a regulated, calm human person.

Did I mention I hate mornings? Oh, I hate mornings. Until I had kids, I would sleep until the last possible minute and my husband always left early to give me my space because I am not a nice person in the morning. I pretty much hate everyone. Now, I know hate is a strong word. But it is the correct word in this place. More than once, my loving, totally morning-person husband would wake me up and I would, halfway asleep (but still able to speak coherently), clearly state “I hate everyone. I hate the world.” Poor thing.

But now that I have children, I have had to learn to mostly ignore that part of me that wishes that all of creation would leave me alone until about 9:30am. Because the kids…well…they like to get up EARLY. And they want you to be part of every moment of their waking life. And “go back to bed” doesn’t really work. I’ve tried it. I can feel them wistfully staring at the doorway, just waiting for me to roll over so they can yell, “We know you are awake.”

They kind of remind me of our cats.

But I digress.

Butterfly doesn’t usually like mornings, either, but she doesn’t want to be alone once she is awake, so this was a treat of a morning, and the cooler weather helped us to have a nice day together.

We even got to use our linking blocks for some math!


Better Day! (Day 3)

Today, things were a little better. We were able to finish the bulk of our work and it seemed like Butterfly was more open to some of the ways that we were approaching things. I had allowed her to write her own “to-do” list (based on mine) in her Student Planner (link to the one I got her HERE), but I found that she hadn’t copied things correctly and it was actually causing her stress to not be sure what we were going to do. So I made a plan with her that next week I would be the one that would put things into her planner, with my very neat handwriting :).

One of the things that I was most excited about in our Curriculum was the Anatomy and Physiology studies. I know that seems pretty advanced for a 3rd grader these days, but Butterfly has asked a lot of “why” questions about anatomy and physiology and it seemed like the curriculum we got had a lot of life and earth science, but medical science can be really interesting, too.

So today, we drew the Anatomy of a Cell.

2013-09-06 11.04.15

It was a better day.


Wait, I have to do this every day? (Day 2)

You know that thing they talk about called “The Honeymoon Period?” Doesn’t that last for a little while? Like, more than…

A DAY???

Well, whatever it is supposed to be, it was on Day 2 that the novelty started to wear off for Butterfly and she realized that there was some work to be done.

And she didn’t want to do it.

And that sort of didn’t make me want to do it either.


We had to go to our separate rooms for a little while to adjust our attitudes. And cool off, because it was literally 86 degrees in our home (we have no real air conditioning in our apartment).

I had made a mistake and took her to a cooler location to do some work, but, as happens any time she is around other people, she took up her job of #1 Stare-at-people Person, and any hope of focusing was out of question.

So I learned.

And prayed for cooler weather.

And was thankful that I had planned in pencil, because I had to erase and adjust a lot that day.