Doing What is Best for My Kids, Part 852…

I feel like I write posts like this often because we have had so much change.  Part of it is my fault and part of it is out of my hands between illness, job changes, etc.

Like I’ve written many times, because of my anxiety, we are keeping the boys in school.  I talked with the school a few days ago, and they are happy that our boys will be back.  I was even able to request Levi’s teacher!  He will have the same teacher that Ethan had last year.  She’s fantastic.  Our boys are still excited about staying in school and they even got to see a lot of their friends here at camp Thursday :-).  Levi thought they were on a field trip with school people.  Haha.  Rocksprings kids get a special deal of only paying $50 (regular price $800!), and they all come the same week.  It’s such a great thing that Camp Eagle does for the community.

We bought school supplies yesterday for the boys and they were so excited to organize and sort them!  Their backpacks are full and they are ready!  They are also excited to take lunches to school again (they didn’t take them much this past year but they want to take them now).

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to the quiet that will happen once they are at school.  I’ve been super irritable with my anxiety and their noisiness.  I just can’t handle it.  And they have been fighting a LOT so it’ll be good for them to be separate during the day.

Anyway…

I bought a new math curriculum for Karis called Math Lessons for a Living Education.  I got it on a used curriculum Facebook group for only $20 and it was new.  She has been using Math U See and she hasn’t made any progress, she doesn’t understand the way he teaches (I don’t either!), and she was in tears about it… so I thought I would try this.


I received it a few days ago and while I really like it, I’m concerned that it’s not enough.  I talked with Robert and a few friends about it and I have come to some conclusions… 1) She struggles with math a lot and it is okay to do something a little more gentle if she likes it (and she really does), 2) She will learn what she needs to learn and she will be okay, 3) This is Charlotte Mason method math which is what we’re doing for everything else, and 4) I will add in some videos and practice from Khan Academy.  Karis used Khan for some grammar in the spring and she really liked it.

One of the things that I kept getting hung up on was what do I do after level 6 (of Math Lessons for a Living Education).  It ends there… the publisher does make a junior high and high school one, it’s just a little different?  Robert reminded me to take it one year at a time.  I don’t have to know what she’s even going to do when she finishes this book.  We’ll see how she does with it and go from there!  But I am committing to finishing this book.  I won’t buy anything else until she does.

I pulled it out Thursday and made a shopping list based on what I needed for manipulatives and Karis loved it and was excited!  The list included things like rice, contact paper, large index cards, measuring cups, poster board, etc.  I already had some of these things but had to buy a few.  She wants to color the rice so we will do that (she has good memories of when we did that when she was a little younger).

I also bought a short Intro to Energy unit from The Good and the Beautiful and Karis is excited about that as well!  I need to gather the supplies for the experiments but we have most of them here!  I will have Karis complete the extensions for older children (it’s supposed to be for grades 7-12 but I know she can handle it).

I have also decided to go ahead and do level 3 of G&B Language Arts because it teaches diagramming and Karis doesn’t know how to do that.  We will move through it quickly (skipping things that she already knows), and I won’t expect her to read the readers… she’ll read what she wants.  G&B LA levels are not grade level so it’s totally fine.  She’ll be doing this level with me as it’s not independent until level 4.  I just love The Good and the Beautiful.  We are using the language arts, a creative writing notebook (I got the pdf for free), handwriting (cursive), some science (in addition to Nature studies and some Apologia), and next year we will probably use the history.  We’ll see.

I’m so thankful that I’m finally feeling content with doing what is best for each child, that I’m not doing what other people say just based on how it works for their family, and that I’m doing less expensive curriculum.  It’ll save us lots of money in the future.  And I think in the meantime Karis will feel more confident and successful.

I am really confident about this year.

Grati-Tuesday and Getting Back Into Routine!

It has been a long time since I’ve written a Grati-Tuesday post so I thought I would do that today.

I have been struggling for so long that I have forgotten to be grateful.  In fact, at one time I wrote “Gratefuls” to my sponsor every day and I haven’t been doing it much at all lately.  I need to get back into the habit of gratitude.

My wonderful hubby.

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My beautiful kiddos.

 

Our view and rainbow (second one recently).

Girl time with Karis eating homemade pizza and watching Gilmore Girls.  This will happen more often now that it’ll just be the two of us during the day.  She’s excited!

Having summer staff (and one full time staff) over for a big breakfast a few days ago :-).

Date night in of steak dinner with Robert thanks to my mom buying the steaks.

We played games and watched a movie :-).

My Happy Planner and seasonal stickers, my household notebook, pumpkin spice candle in a fun mason jar, and coffee with pumpkin spice creamer in it (NO, it’s not too early… see header picture! haha).

The kids played store for HOURS this morning.  I love that they spent so much time without electronics by choice!

Then they played with friends.  I love that they have great friends that are like family here.  I also love that Robert and I have great friends that are like family here.  We are so blessed to be here.  This is the only picture I took.

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Tonight Karis has her two good friends coming over and the boys are going to our neighbors’ house.  We will be making dessert and watching a movie.

 

My anxiety breathing issue has been so much better since Sunday.  I don’t want to get my hopes up, though, because it could come back.

On a similar note, I don’t feel 100% because I still have a cough.  I called Teladoc and the doc told me that I have a viral cough and they just last a long time.  There’s not much that can be done for it… She gave me 3 days’ worth of cough medicine (they can only treat for a few days and if it lasts longer they tell you to see your doctor), and she told me to drink honey and lemon in warm water and use a humidifier (which I don’t have, but I might get one Friday if I decide not to go to my doctor).

Anyway…

Robert and I spent all afternoon/evening Sunday cleaning the kids’ rooms, cleaning the house, doing laundry, and prepping food for the week.  We took the boys separate beds and put them back into a bunk bed (their request) and deep cleaned their room.  It took hours.  It was so bad.  The goal is to make them clean after they play now.

Before:

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After:

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I made Italian coffee cake, peanut butter pies, peanut butter chocolate protein steel cut oats (recipe to come!), cut veggies for snacks and meals, boiled eggs, made chicken salad, and cut summer sausage and cheese.  Robert helped with a few things.

Fall is coming soon which means ROUTINE!  In 2 weeks (from tomorrow!) the boys will be going back to school and Karis will start homeschool.  Friday we are buying school supplies.  The boys are super excited!  Levi will be taking his lunch and Ethan wants to eat lunch there most days (they get free lunch… everyone at that school does).

I meant to do some school planning today but it just didn’t happen.  I have time, and I don’t have much to do :-).  I pretty much just need to update the schedule/checklist that I made for Karis.

Karis will be staying home alone (with neighbor’s on call for emergencies) on some Mondays or Wednesdays that I go to town for AA and/or counseling.  I plan to go once a week either of those days.  Robert will be off 2 out of 3 Mondays pretty soon so it’ll most likely happen on a Monday.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m going to give her a chance :-).  The beauty of living here at camp is that there are people everywhere to help out!  And this is a safe place.

Things are looking up :-).

Contentment and Teaching the Kids to Work Through Hard Things

I have a history of discontent.  If something doesn’t seem to be working well or is hard, I change things.  I see the difficulty as a sign that something isn’t right.

Because of this, we have moved so much and I kept chasing something new.  We have moved 12 times in the 13 years that we have been married (a lot of that was at the same camp).  We moved apartments early in our marriage.  We moved twice when we lived in the Dallas area.

This worked its way into homeschooling.  I have homeschooled off and on for a long time.  When I started struggling mentally, I would put them back into school.  This last time I really had no choice since I had to go to town all the time for AA when I got out of rehab.  But it still counts.

I have spent a FORTUNE (and a lot of that in credit) on new curriculum.  When things got hard for the kids or they seemed to struggle, I would buy the “shiny new thing” thinking that it would be better and they wouldn’t struggle as much.  For Karis, this was math.  For Ethan, this was reading and phonics.

We are using Math U See for the kids and while I LOVE it, Karis has still been struggling greatly.  She’s going into 6th grade and she’s on the 4th grade level and still struggling.  She can barely do basic division (2 digit by 1 digit with a  remainder).  So I was talking to Robert about Life of Fred math and telling him that maybe it would be a good fit for her because she loves reading (it’s story based).  Without him even saying anything, I said, “Wait… I just need to stick with something, don’t I?”  He agreed immediately and reminded me that hard doesn’t necessarily equal bad.  And she may just never be good at math and that’s okay.  And it’s okay that she’s on a level lower than her grade and it’s okay to take it slow.  He also reminded me that it’ll be so good for the kids if I stick with something for a full year.  And honestly, I need to stick with Math U See from now on because there is a DVD with a teacher teaching everything (and I’m terrible at math!).  He teaches it in a way that makes more sense than any teacher ever taught me.  There are also manipulatives and all of the kids make use of them every single day.

I REALLY want The Good and the Beautiful history, handwriting, nature journals, and another science unit.  But.  We have all that we need for those subjects right now.  While I love the set up of those, I need to be content with what we have.

I already have Story of the World Volume one… the book, audio book, activity book, historical fiction novels to go with it (9!), the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, and the Usborne Book of World History.  I have an amazing set up for history this year.  It would make NO sense to change.

Now. The reason why I love G&B is because the history covers all periods of history in one year (adding to it each year), it has fun activities, it has an amazing book of stories, worksheets, and a game for review.  But I can always get it next year!  No big deal!  I’m not even sure if I’ll want to change after we finish what we have… I may want to stick with Story of the World!

Also, I was looking at buying handwriting from G&B.  I ALMOST did.  Then my doctor and I were talking about my impulsive spending and reminded me that if I am buying something new even though I already have something for that subject (and causing final trouble), that’s a sign of being impulsive.  And she’s right!  It stopped me in my tracks!  I have Handwriting Without Tears, and the kids even like it!

Now.  Next year I will probably buy G&B because I love that it teaches handwriting through copywork.  It would cut out a step of our writing.  But I can wait till next year!  No big deal!

I was also looking at buying the G&B nature journals.  But I already have some from Simply Charlotte Mason!  They love them because they can watercolor right on the page (the pages are thick).

And… Science!  I have SO much to teach science.  I have one unit of G&B science already (which will last us about a semester), and I also have Apologia Astronomy.  AND LOTS of science books and encyclopedias to make my own units if I want.  I really have enough to make science work for a couple of years honestly.  Now.  When Karis is in 7th or 8th grade, I will be buying the junior high science books because she’s going to need them to prepare for high school (and honestly she LOVES science so she’ll be happy).  But I have a year or two before I need to do that (I can’t believe she’s already in 6th grade).

All this to say… I think I will finally have a FULL year in which I don’t buy anything new!  I have everything I need for at LEAST a full year (maybe more) and I am happy about that.  It’s weird, to be honest.

And… we are not going anywhere.  While camp ministry is HARD because especially lately Robert has been working a ton, we are content to stay right where we are.  We love the way Camp Eagle is run, we love the people (camp family!), we love our home, we love that we live on 1400 acres and there are hiking trails and a clear river to play in.  Moving to Camp Eagle has been the best thing that has happened to us!

Deciding to stick with something long-term actually takes away a lot of anxiety.  I have a major spending issue, then I feel bad and feel anxious after I have spent.  It’s so easy to buy online and I just throw money away that way.  We were going to have me spend only cash but it hasn’t worked out well (lots of reasons), but at least this next check I will only have cash to spend (and less than usual because we’re going to New Mexico in a few weeks and we need money for that).  I think we’ll actually be able to save up this year.  And do more fun things with the kids.

I’m feeling content, hopeful, and peaceful.  I know I will still have times of anxiety and depression (hopefully not, but I’m planning on it happening eventually), but I know I can work through them and just do what we need during those moments.  That doesn’t mean we need to move, it doesn’t mean I need to stop homeschooling, and it doesn’t mean I need to buy something new and shiny.  It just means we need to spend time in prayer and God’s word, I need to work through it, and I need to teach my kids to do both of those.