Friday, March 21, 2008

I'll do it my way.

I like that title. I can hear Frank singing in the background... "myyyyy waaaayyy" I can imagine that those who might read this will think, "what's the girl wanting to do?" Nope, it's about me. You see, I think part of the reason that I get so incredibly hung up on this blogging thing is that I have fear. Yes, tis true. And that fear is related to looking like an idiot or receiving some type of judgement. This is a very old fear, stemming from my childhood, but still. I think I keep wanting to make myself seem perfect or like I've got it all together. When in reality, I'm not and I don't.

So this is the post to just put it out there, that my life is messy. I don't make little perfectly shaped felt gnomes. (Kudos to those who do.) But I did make some gnome puppets out of paper towel rolls, newsprint, masking tape and yard-sale-found acrylic yarn. My daughter is not a strong reader yet, but she loves cartooning. The cartoons are about burps and farts, specifically my burps and farts, but they are her creations and I am quite pleased and proud of them. I have one child. I don't homeschool seven and make homemade meals every night and knit the entire family sweaters. I am a Mrs. Weasely kind of mother... a bit sloppy, my house is crooked (metaphorically speaking - my landlords have kept this house up very well), very compassionate, sometimes a worry-wart, and if I had a pair of magical knitting needles, everyone I know would get a funky Christmas sweater. And we do some really fun shit. Yes, and I swear, sometimes I swear a lot! I am single (well, engaged) and I work full-time. I am a swearing, fearful, fun-loving, let-it-all-out, sometimes organized, often cluttered, multi-tasking, compassionate, laugh-out-loud, queer mom!!!

I don't think anybody really cares about any of this. But in order for me to continue blogging and attempting to make some connections with other homeschooling families, I need to be real. I just might bitch a little bit on here. I am one of those folks who would like to achieve perfection, but in reality achieves "purty good". I recently made a little satchel for my crochet hooks. I love it. I made it with some very pretty blue yarn, but I didn't block it because I was so excited to use it. So, the edges curl. And I didn't want to fuss with a button hole, so I use a big diaper pin. But I love it and it is me.

So, I am going to continue posting because I really want to. I am hoping that I'll make some connections along the way. And sometimes, we are going to seem like "homeschooling fiends" as my friend, Abby puts it. And sometimes we are going to seem a little like the old crazy koot from Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, but he was cool, right?

For those of you who can do it all and still get a near-full-night's sleep, you have my applause! I just don't roll like that. So, in honor of me being real, I am including with this post, a cartoon submitted to me by the girl. It is titled Big Burp. In this cartoon, the girl is doing the burping and I am on the receiving end. Gotta love it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

We're Still Here!

It has been 7 months and until now, I had never written another entry to this blog. My friends had given up, but alas, we are still here and doing quite well. The girl and I have been very busy and I would love to catch you up on us, however, I think that instead I will just start from right now. Perhaps if the impulse hits, I will fill you in on the highlights of the past later on.

The girl wants to read so badly. I've been reading to her since she was just a month old, everything from poetry to picture books to novels, however we did not start any true reading instruction until this past fall. She has shown steady progress all year, it just isn't happening as fast as she would like. Over the past few days it has become an all consuming fire. She writes all the time, asking me to spell out each word for her, then she posts her little notes and signs all over the house. However, when she is forced to be alone, she does well on her own. Yesterday she wrote a note that said, "NO PEPL. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO". This note was written after I had given her instruction that I needed some quiet time for an hour and did not want to be disturbed. She posted the sign on the bedroom door as a sort of protest. After my quiet time was over, she took me to the sign and was very proud of it (along with the picture she had drawn of me sticking my tongue out). The most important thing about that note was that she written it on her own. I was proud of her as well... and it was quit apparent that we needed to have a talk about our feelings related to my taking some time out for myself. That, of course, is another story.

So, tomorrow we are going to continue what we've been doing ( the first grade curriculum by Donna Simmons) and add some games and other ideas from the very compelling book, "Words Their Way". I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. I get the feeling that one way or another she will take off with reading, very similarly to how she took to swimming last year. One day, she needed to hold on to me in the 4ft pool, a week later she was jumping into the 16ft diving well on her own. I don't think I'm ever really prepared for her not needing me. I am always happy and proud of her accomplishments, but it still pinches a little.

The above attached photo is a wish that the girl wrote out for "Miss North Wind" on a recent homeschooling adventure. She wished for one more snow storm before spring arrived. The note (and my girl) is just super-cute and I am a proud mama.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Mom and Her Girl

After a little contemplation, I've chosen to join the blogosphere. My name is Nikki and my 6-year-old daugher is "the girl". My late grandmother would often ask about her namesake by saying things like, "Where's the girl?" or "When are you bringing the girl over?" So, that is how I will affectionately refer to my daughter here. ***Here's a shout out to Grandma in the ethers!! We miss you!***

My ex-husband, Kerry and I have been planning on homeschooling the girl since birth. We have taken a very relaxed approach - pretty much just lived, played, read, taken walks, and collected bits of nature. That has been the gist of our take on early education and frankly, it has been quite successful. As we venture into her 7th year (the girl's birthday is in October), I feel like moving into a more structured direction. I've been looking at Waldorf information for years and it seems like a lovely fit. So, with materials, a curriculum, and other resources gathered as a guide for this newbie, I'm getting ready. But I have to admit that I'm nervous.

Kerry and I have similar life philosophies, our desire to homeschool the girl is strong, and we are in agreement about the type of education we want for her, but the reality is that we are divorced and operating separate households. She spends equal time each week at both houses. How many other families have even tried to homeschool like this? Has anyone else made it work before? Surely we aren't the first, but I often feel alone in my concerns. I work 12-hour shifts when the girl is with her dad, so on the days when she is with me, we have full days. I believe we have the resources to be successful, and I am holding onto faith that this will be the beautiful blessing I want it to be. I am very encouraged by the stories of other homeschooling families. I am hoping that as I make connections with others, both locally and via online communities, I will be increasingly inspired.

In all honesty, I can't wait to start. Do you remember that feeling you had when playing jump rope with your friends? You are standing beside the rope, watching as your friends twirl it , moving your body to match the rhythm. As you wait for the right moment, you know you can't dawdle, you just have to jump. There is a giddyness, a hesitant excitment. That is how I feel right now; I'm gathering momentum and getting into a rhythm. And jumping in with both feet seems to be the best approach for me.