Category: Trials and Successes


That thing where you ask a question and the person, who’s supposed to be knowledgable about such things, asks you a question back. One that’s already answered in the question you posited? You know? Right, well.

I went to Radio Shack because I needed more motors and more battery packs and more alligator clip wire leads than I had originally purchased for the Robots Lab I’m doing with the kids tomorrow.

**Note** My original plan included my three kids, but I’m now doing the lab with 7 kids that include my nieces and nephews.

So I go in the store and I’m the only customer (this is not surprising to me for some reason) so I get all the one on one attention I can handle.

Sales person: Can I help you?

Me: Sure. I need 3V motors, battery packs and alligator clip wire leads.

SP: Oh, sure. Here. What was that again?

Me: 3V motors.

SP: How many volts?

Me: Uh. 3.

Okay, so maybe he thought I was asking for three Vee Motors, but I’m not really willing to give him the benefit of the doubt cause I’m mean like that and have expectations.

Also? They only had one.

As he was telling me they didn’t sell alligator clip wire leads, and I was pointing them out on the shelf, I commented that, at this rate, I was going to have to clean out the Greater Louisville Metro Area of 3V motors and battery packs because I needed 14 motors and 19 battery packs. He laughed. I asked, “Where are the other Radio Shacks nearby?” He said, “Oh, you weren’t kidding.”

Heh. Yeah. NO.

Piece of Cake

Done and done. We have officially finished our first year here at Lamp Post Academy. I’ve posted about the things I’ve learned and about some of the ups and downs we’ve had this year. I think, all in all, it was a great success!

Except for one thing. In North Carolina, I am required to test my kids with a standardized test at the end of every calendar year (for us that would be in August). I am not required by law to report the results, just keep them on hand in case I get audited. I have been dreading this. Mostly because I didn’t teach to the test. I hit the reset button on a lot of things for my kids this year, and while they are ahead in a few areas, they are a little behind in others. No worries, we are closing the gap rapidly, but I didn’t want to do any damage to my kids’ self-esteem if the tests were too hard.

Well, we finished those tests today, and they passed with flying colors. I know they did because I went back over the tests and checked. Heh.

So now, onward with the next school year. That one will start on July 18 after our trip to San Antonio to attend the annual Jackson Family Reunion. YAY!

We’re coming on fast to the end of our first school year as Lamp Post Academy. It has been an exceedingly interesting and rewarding year. We’ve learned a lot, but I think I may have learned more than anyone.

What I learned (in no particular order):

  • I am strong. I can be brought low with depression but I will still do what I have to for my kids. My kids are my saving grace.
  • I am changeable. There are things I have always enjoyed changing, but none of them are related to my schedule or my plans for the future, however mundane. With homeschooling, changeability equals strength. If something isn’t working for one of my kids, I CAN CHANGE IT. I don’t have to try and cram their pretty, smooth edges into a tiny square hole. No sanding necessary. That “something” doesn’t even have to be curricula based, but it can simply be the order in which we do things or the length of time spent doing one particular thing.
  • I can be patient. Patience is not a virtue that inhabits my person. I do not exude patience. I am not the person you would expect to be this patient paragon of a parent. Mainly because I’m not. I have learned through parenting that I CAN be patient, but I’ve learned through teaching that patience reaps high rewards and is, of itself, one of the best tools I have at my disposal. Sure, it’s a tool that I had to dig out of the back of the garage underneath the unused bicycles and the empty snake terrarium, but I did find it. And, I’m putting it to good use, honing it to a fine edge.
  • Pynni was very broken. Her self-esteem and confidence were destroyed after Kindergarten. I helped rebuild that, but mostly she had to do the work herself. I encouraged, and practiced my patience while she learned to trust me and trust herself.
  • It took a fabulous teacher over half a school year to put Chi back on track after 2nd grade, but even with that he flapped and squeaked and beat on things. He slammed himself around until you’d think he’d be covered in bruises. He will never be neuro-typical, thank God, but he is himself. He is not ruled by his Asperger’s anymore. He makes better decisions about how he acts, and they are actually becoming his own decisions and not a reaction he can’t control. Sure, he has his moments. Sure, he melts down occasionally, but he is so present and a part of what’s going on around him, I will not ever doubt my decision to teach him myself. Best. Decision. Ever.

Homeschooling has brought many things forward that I may not ever have known I was missing. My favorites are (in no particular order):

  • We learn in which ever way we want. We do math practice on iPad apps, or on the white board, or on paper, or on computer programs, or on little chalk boards, or writing in sand. WHATEVER. We read and read and read and it’s not a chore. We learn about spelling and tornadoes and bees and molecules and ancient Egypt ALL AT THE SAME TIME. The kids have started asking questions about the things around them and we look those things up. We watch documentaries and youtube videos and search the library and even wikipedia.
  • We don’t get bored. Done doing one type of thing? Let’s do something else, then.
  • The kids are growing closer. Yes, that’s right. They are bonding tighter and loving being together. They get along great. It is so awesome to see Chi, who’s five and half years older, and Pieces really get to know one another. I love seeing them spend so much time together. Pieces is learning from Chi and Chi is loving that.
  • I LOVE having my kids home. I thought I’d struggle with getting tired of them and irritated. I thought I’d crave alone time and quiet. While I still value quiet (no cable helps with that A LOT), I can not get enough of being with my kids. We talk more than we ever did and we interact in ways we never have. I look forward to the day with them. It has surprised me that I don’t look forward to bedtime every evening. Most days bedtime is suddenly upon us and I wonder how that happened.

So yeah. School at home has been fun. Yes, it’s challenging. Yes, I wonder how we are going to keep it up, but then Pynni asks if we can learn about butterflies and Chi wants to know more about computers and off we go.

Speaking of. I’m gonna go microwave some soap!

Cheeeeese!

Teaching Pynni has been hard. She balks, fights, pouts, whines, sulks, mumbles, cries. In essence, she acts completely unlike her usual, giggly, smiling, easy-going, happy self. It has been baffling and frustrating and stressful to say the very least. I’ve wondered if I’ve done the right thing for her. Kindergarten may have been its own special kind of hell and may have damaged her self-esteem, but at least she was happy (except for that pesky crying during homework, OH, and when she begged to stay home because school made her cry).

Right, so I would get to a point during school days that I would begin rethinking this homeschooling thing for her, but then I would begin the litany of reasons that I started homeschooling. That very list of reasons that pushed me into the deep end of childhood education in the first place. Then, I would see that I just had to figure out what is up with her attitude about school.

Reading was difficult, and can still be so. I’d decided that her issue was either physiological or sensory in nature relating to her vision and have set the wheels in motion to get her tested or assessed or whatever is needed.

Then in a flash of brilliance I realized something. I, the teacher, was struggling teaching her the math curriculum we’ve been plodding through. I chose Saxon Math, and it is wonderful. For Chi. Mister Cut-and-Dried, Mister Point-a-to-Point-b, Mister Get-in, Get-done and Get-out. Why did I think Pynni was doing fine with this boring, dry curriculum when I was dreading teaching her math every day? And why did I think that she would be looking forward to much of anything when that core subject, that makes up half of her school time, was so stinking boring?

Pynni is NOTHING like her brother. Pynni needs colors and pictures and glitter! Pynni needs arts and crafts and projects! Pynni needs stories and crayons and PAINTS!

So I returned to the Homeschool store and asked those wonderfully informative, approachable people if there were some workbooks I could use to supplement Saxon Math 1. It was very pricey and I’m not willing to dump it until after the school year. HA! RIGHT!

“Of course, there are workbooks!” they said. “BUT, you should look at this,” handing me The Life of Fred. “And maybe you should look at this,” handing me Mathematical Reasoning. Mathematical Reasoning is a full curriculum in and of itself, but it is presented in bold, colorful, and fun workbook pages. “This,” I thought to myself, “screams Pynni.” But it’s a $40 book and I’ve already spent so much on the Saxon Math course.

Fred

So I check out The Life of Fred. It, too, is a complete curriculum, but it’s sub $20 for one year of study. It is, now see if you can wrap your brain around this, literary math. It takes a literary approach to teaching math. It tells the story of Fred, a five year old college calculus professor. He encounters math in everyday life.

The author, Dr. Stanley F. Schmidt, writes, “When I taught at the high school and college levels, the most frequent question that other math teachers and I got was, “Why are we studying this stuff?” In this series, every piece of mathematics first happens in Fred’s everyday life, he needs it, and then we do it. Everything is motivated–everything from introducing the number zero in this book (as the number of elephants that Fred owns) to hyperbolic trigonometric functions were we find three uses for them on page 250 of Life of Fred: Calculus when Fred and the 8’2″ lion enter an all-you-can-eat buffet.”

The first lesson, in this book they are called chapters, introduces you to Fred, his home (his office at his place of employment), and his best friend (a “happy meal” toy named Kingie). He wakes up at 5am and wants to go for a run but it’s too dark, and in February it won’t get light until 7am. TWO WHOLE HOURS! He proceeds to have a conversation about this fact with his friend and through this teaches the first lesson in addition (5+2=7). The chapter ends in a “Now it’s your turn” sort of way and asks 4 questions that require Pynni to think about that equation in a few different ways and then to notice that both 5+2 and 2+5 are equal to 7.

Pynni and Fred: Fast Friends

It was brilliant. It is funny, concise, and entertaining. Pynni laughed all the way through and answered all the questions. The following day we did the Mathematical reasoning pages that most resembled this lesson. She did all her work in marker and used a separate marker for each different worksheet. She completed 8 of them. She spent over half an hour doing math, two days in a row, and complained not one single time. She was smiling when it was done and completed the rest of her school day in record time with minimal whining about reading (although still periodically complaining about her eyes).

I feel like I’ve won something HUGE with this change-up. I can’t stop smiling about it. I’m excited for school on Monday with Pynni!

Anybody want to buy Saxon Math 1 plus manipulatives? I know where you can get one for cheap.

Chi in motion.

Ten years ago, I birthed a baby boy. He was a difficult baby, if exceptionally cute. He seemed very unhappy with his lot. He cried a lot. When he wasn’t crying he was staring out at the world through giant blue eyes that grabbed your attention and held it. At about three weeks old, he started crying every evening for hours on end. Most people told me this was colic or gas, but I didn’t buy that then and I don’t buy it now. I discovered, by sheer force of intuition, that his crying was less severe and lasted for a shorter period of time if I turned out almost all the lights, and made my apartment as silent as possible after the dinner-time feeding. I also learned that keeping his day dim and quiet helped with the nighttime crying jags.

As he got older and he developed far beyond his age, for the most part, (commando crawling by 4.5 months, pulling up by 5 months, cruising by 6 and walking by 9), he got happier. The more he was able to move the more smiles wreathed his face. When he started cruising, he would circle the room over and over and over again. Once he started walking, he always walked on his toes and would run as fast as he could. This began the day after he took his first steps out into the room. When he became more proficient at both walking and running, he would slam into things on purpose and spin and spin and spin without getting dizzy.

As he began his tactile and oral explorations, I noticed that he never touched anything with his hands first. He always touched things with his feet, played with things with his feet. I have record of this phenomenon as early as 10 weeks old.

As he got older, instead of falling less, he fell more. He would fall right out of chair at the dinner table even when sitting directly on his behind. His movement grew more, not less, awkward with time and maturation.

Whenever we would go out, he would fall into screaming fits for no reason that I could see. He wasn’t worried about not getting something he wanted, he just seemed extremely distressed. If the schedule was off by the barest fraction of a minute, he would fall apart. If something was a surprise, if plans changed last minute, if a playground wasn’t exactly as he’d expected, he would melt into a limp little ball of Chi. (This still happens today, by the way.) He isn’t a spoiled brat. He knows that no means no and I don’t do negotiations. Still, these things happen.

**note: If you see one of those parents with the screaming kid who seems much to old to be throwing a temper tantrum, consider for a moment that they may have an autistic child, or simply a child with SPD or ADhD that cannot process the sheer sensory overload that occurs at places like grocery stores and the mall**

Once he started public school things seemed to progress in a backward sort of direction almost immediately. He became uncontrollable and completely over-stimulated at all times. I had not had him assessed before public school, because I had, somehow, always figured out how to best deal with him without professional help, but school introduced a whole lot of outside influences that I had no way to control.

Fast-forward to this year. (You can read about our struggles through public school elsewhere on this blog just look under Educational Experiences in the Categories section. I’ve pretty well documented things since he was in the second grade (when things when from awful to untenable).) We started homeschooling and we’ve had our bumps along the way, but one thing stands out as a bright shiny beacon of AWESOME. Chi is better.

Chi is flourishing. He’s not cured, if there is such a thing, if I would even seek it out if there were, but he loves homeschool. He looks forward to it. He pays attention, in his way, and does the work and cooperates. We’ve been slowly working toward him doing more and more of the work himself without me having to walk him through everything, and he hasn’t balked at being asked to write more and more of the answers himself.

He is calmer. He can still meltdown unexpectedly, but it is very far between right now. We keep a schedule still and we stick to it. He knows what to expect and can even deal with things he’s not that excited about without much issue. The only time in the last few months that we’ve had major issues has been when I’ve taken him to the grocery store (or Target or mall). I’ve learned that avoiding those places unless absolutely necessary when Chi is with me is really the best course of action. It makes everyone’s lives a little bit easier.

I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to know that I made a good decision so far as Chi is concerned. I’m so glad that the investment we’ve put  into homeschool  is paying off in such big dividends. It’s priceless, really.

A really good thing about homeschooling is flexibility. Before we started school, I sat down with my computer and my iCal and worked out our school year (over and over, actually). I took into account holidays and birthdays and summer breaks that include my niece and nephew staying with us during their summer break. I took into account not having too many weeks of school in a row without a week break (we don’t want to burn out, after all, and we can literally go all year round).

Now, I don’t do schedule changes well. I like things that are planned to be exactly as they are planned. Surprises and I aren’t on good terms. (Sound like anybody else?) So, when I made this schedule, I knew at some point that there would need to be changes occasionally, like a day when I’m sick or the kids are sick and we can make up those days on the weekend if necessary, and we’ve done that pretty successfully. And somehow, I’m not freaked out by it.

Next Saturday is Chi’s tenth birthday, and I had set up the break for the following week. Well, this morning Pynni is sick, and this weekend I destroyed the living room to put my area rug together and before the furniture was brought back in, I cleaned out the two closets in the living area. NOW, a lot of that mess is all over our school table and needs organizing which I need to do before we can have school today, so I proposed an option to the kids of Lamp Post Academy:

Yes. Yes, that's grey hair.

Let’s move next week’s break to this week. That way we don’t have to make up Pynni’s missed school day on Chi’s birthday weekend.

I left it up to them to agree upon, and they chose to take the break a week earlier (surprise!). I’m fine with this, it gives me an opportunity to finish my organization project and get caught up on some house work and school prep that I’ve been needing to do. (History and Science are more labor intensive than I was prepared for.)

I’m still a little weirded out that the schedule got changed at the last minute and I’m not suffering from panic attacks and fits of anger and irritation. Hey, maybe I’m growing as a person.

Chi at the Farm

Makin' Butter.

It’s an update really. We’re almost finished with this week of school. Tomorrow is Thursday, and we’re going on a field trip to Vollmer Farm. The preschool Pieces attends goes every year, so I have been to the Farm every fall since 2005 (plus, we participated in their CSA. It was excellent! I highly recommend this!). This year I’m taking the students at Lamp Post Academy and the assistant principal (Hubs). We will tag along on the tours Pieces’ class is going on. The weather has been glorious, and looks to cooperate.

That means that Friday is our last day of school this week. So far? Changing the schedule around has helped tremendously, so has adding fun and games.

The corn pit. It's corn kernels. A pit of them. And the kids think it's Mecca.

I’ve also started creating my own questions for Chi’s reading comprehension.

Pieces has sort of a thing for Pumpkins. He talks about them endlessly and can sense them within a quarter mile. It's like Spidy Sense, only without all that pesky responsibility.

We used a published workbook for the last book he read, Stuart Little, and I was unimpressed. What I learned from that experience is what types of questions Chi is capable of answering and how difficult I can make them. I’ve also found this website, Book Adventure, where I can assign Chi books to read (I registered as a school AND a teacher) and then I can assign him quizzes to take and book reports to write. I’m excited to see it in action.

So there you are. There was just a hint of Pynni obtuseness on Monday, but as the week has progressed, she has settled into the rhythm and seems to be more at ease in our little classroom.

And so have I.

That Corn Pit? Wears them out. They ALWAYS sleep on the way home.

Chi and Pynni

I never would have believed in a million years that Pynni would be harder to teach than Chi.

There are any number of challenges I face when dealing with Chi in any situation, and they all seem to be amplified when set against a backdrop of education. Until homeschooling started, education was a struggle of epic proportions with Chi. It required meetings and extra work and special considerations in class and lots of pep-talks and tons of extra time and effort spent on homework. There have been various therapists and therapies and extended leaves from school due to upheaval in the teacher situation.

My whole experience of parenthood with Chi has been difficult at best.

Cutie Pynni Pie

Pynni has been the complete opposite. She was a very happy baby and almost always had a smile on her face. That has been the case with her through all her phases. She finds the humor and the joy in everything. She has a curiosity about the world around her that Chi never exhibited. She has been keen to learn and was ecstatic at being in school.

Through everything that we went through last year, her love of school remained untarnished, but her love of learning was damaged. Now, I struggle to get her to participate. She lays her head upon the table and mumbles into the crook of her arm when I ask her questions. She huffs and rolls her eyes and shrugs her shoulders. I don’t feel as if she doesn’t know the answer. When she’s struggling with a concept, she will strive to retain her ignorance. She actually refuses to get a new concept. I can see her choosing to ignore the click in her brain as something starts making sense.

Food is FUN!

Reading has been a particularly hard subject. I’ve chosen to teach Pynni to read through the use of phonics as opposed to the memorization of sight-words that was used in public school. Part of her struggles with reading stem from the difference in learning styles. She wants to look at the picture and guess at the words that she doesn’t have memorized as opposed to sounding out the words she doesn’t know using the letter sounds she does. I took her back and started at the beginning. We were able to speed through the first 30 lessons or so because they were all relating to letter sounds, at which she is proficient. The following two weeks we worked on simple three letter words and combining them into simple three or four or five word sentences.

The third week of school she hit a wall and refused to even try to overcome the difficulty she was having with words ending in ‘en’ (Ben, den, hen, pen, etc). Part of it is this crazy North Carolinian accent she is sporting. Words like hen sound almost like ‘he-yun’ but the biggest part is that she isn’t used to seeing a word and then sounding out the individual letter sounds before saying them all together in a word. She wants to be told what the word is every time she sees it until she knows it by sight. So after she cried, well, weeped is probably more apt, all through one reading lesson, I realized that I was going to have to spend a little more time on these simple words and sounds before moving forward any further.

Look, Ma, no nostrils!

So I did some research and found a workbook that teaches phonics that can be used in conjunction with my reading curriculum. She balked at first, but has realized, I think, that when she takes a deep breath, she can do the worksheet easy-peasy. Once she started doing the worksheets easily the reading part of school got just a smidge easier.

I went to visit my parents at the end of our first 5 weeks of school (after which we were taking a week break) and had our first homeschool away from home experience. It went really well, except for the fact that there isn’t any one particular room I can shut Pieces (and whichever sibling isn’t working) into where they can stay occupied, out of trouble, and quiet, so there were a lot of interruptions. Regardless we got the work done and began our first break.

Pynni's Waxed Teeth

My mom observed the schooling. She has been extremely supportive and is very interested in what we are doing. She took the opportunity to listen and watch how school went with Chi and Pynni. She says that I am obviously frustrated with Pynni when she starts in with the mulishness. I told her that’s because I AM frustrated and I slow my speech down and speak more clearly because I’m trying not to yell at her and wring her ornery little neck. *ahem* She says Pynni gets more and more recalcitrant as I stress my enunciation more and more. And apparently I use too much bass in my voice. I point out that I have never talked to my kids like they were frightened little animals who might shy away at the slightest provocation. I have always talked to them like people who deserve respect and that raising the octave of my voice seems false and patronizing.

Well. It can be good to get outside opinions on things because seeing what needs changing can be difficult to discern from inside the problem. The first thing I’m going to do is divide up their learning. I will start with Chi and typing because he can get that finished before we take Pieces to preschool. After the preschool drop-off, Pynni will do math followed by Chi doing math.

Lamp Post Academy

Then I will alternate the subjects and the students in that manner until we get to the things they do together: history and science. Hopefully that will negate any attention span issues with Pynni.

The second thing I’m going to do is incorporate educational games into our curriculum. There are great, fun games out there that reinforce reading and spelling and math and logic. That, I think, will help make my kids more excited about learning.

Finally, I will try to curb my frustration differently. I’m hoping that switching from student to student will help alleviate my frustration as well as their attention spans, and in the end, we will all win.

Lamp Post Academy

We just wrapped up our second week of homeschool at Lamp Post Academy and I’ve learned a few things.

    1. Mornings are the best time for school because the kids are more alert and their attention spans seem longer.
    2. Chi has some sort of mental block with doing math problems when they are presented to him in 10 rows of 10.
    3. Pynni is much more advanced in mathematics than Saxon starts out in the First Grade year. Today was day 8 of school and Pynni completed Lesson 26 today. I think she is still beyond a lot of what we’re doing, but Saxon gradually introduces new concepts and spends a lot of time reviewing previous concepts, so when the book started in with addition, I stopped jumping ahead.
    4. Pynni is too far advanced in reading to be taught side by side with Pieces, so I have Pieces stay upstairs, which he hates when Pynni is downstairs with me. I have been able to move Pynni forward by 30 lessons because she knows all her letters and their sounds.
    5. I cannot effectively teach Chi and Pynni math, writing, grammar, and reading simultaneously. For example: I was trying to teach them math at the same time by giving Chi his warm-up worksheet and then doing the lesson of the day with Pynni. Then, while Pynni works on her daily worksheet, I do the daily lesson with Chi. Problem: Chi can’t pay attention when there is too much going on in the room and his noise canceling headphones do not help. With writing and grammar and reading, Chi is too advanced and answering questions based on a narrated passage is something Pynni is just learning to do while Chi can answer those questions with detail and extrapolation in complete sentences.
    6. Pynni was taught to memorize sight words in Kindergarten and is struggling with phonics, but she is actually able to read some Dr. Seuss books only 8 days into school that she couldn’t have read before.
    7. I have come up against the “I-don’t-knows” from Pynni that her subs last year must have encountered. She seems to think it’s cute to get the answers wrong a couple of times before getting the right answer. The REALLY irritating thing is that she KNOWS the right answer. I know this because I hear her mutter the correct answer under her breath before she deliberately, and with a coy little smile, answers incorrectly. INFURIATING.
    8. I’ve instituted a positive reinforcement strategy and award them stickers for completing a subject with no-fuss. They turn their sheets of stickers, which they can potentially fill in a week, for prizes. I’ve had to increase the cost of the prizes, otherwise we’ll go broke.
    9. Right now, due to having to teach each child individually to meet Chi’s needs, I teach Pynni math, grammar, writing and reading before bringing the boys downstairs for joint penmanship. Then Pynni and Pieces go upstairs while I do the same with Chi. I may have to alternate kids every other subject because Pynni gets done with the sitting after math. I’ve tried jumping-jacks after each subject to get her more alert, but it is short lived. I’ve tried giving her gum to stimulate her, but she just smacks it and blows bubbles while planning how to incorrectly answer questions. I just don’t know how Chi will tolerate that.
    10. School time with Pynni can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2 hours depending on her cooperation and attitude. This fluid time does not suit Chi at all. I’m planning to start with Chi next week and then transition to Pynni. I let you know how it goes.

      Silly to the MAX

    11. I’m having to take deep breaths and practice “raw spaghetti, cooked spaghetti” to be okay with Chi hopping all over the room during school. He IS learning and paying attention. He IS. (“Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…” etc. It’s my constant mantra)
    12. Using white boards, and chalkboards makes Chi much happier than having to put pencil to paper.
    13. Pynni has some sort of visual sensitivity. I’ve noticed some signs of this before, but it hasn’t seemed to effect her in broad terms. These past two weeks she has complained of her eyes hurting and she rubs them during school almost constantly. She rarely looks directly at anything that is in writing. She told me it hurts to look at things so I like it sideways. I’m going to talk to her pediatrician about it and she may not be severe enough to need an OT, but I’m going to need to do some reading on it and see if there is anything I can do to help her. Chi’s OT said that visual and auditory sensitivities are the hardest to address with visual being even harder than auditory so there may not be anything except help her learn to cope.
    14. I really can do the school part of the day at any time if I need to.

Well, it’s been fun and frustrating, eye-opening and challenging. We will add the two new language arts next week and after our break in mid-September we will be adding Biology and History. Should be entertaining at the very least.

Mine was prettier.

I spent between four and five hours one day setting up this app I had purchased for the purpose of organizing my homeschool. It’s an app for teachers and has a grade book and class roster and attendance sheet, etc. IT DOES EVERYTHING! for the low, low price of $30!

Except be useful.

It used iCal to set up the schedule, which I did when prompted and when I wrangled and worked and struggled and cursed and STILL couldn’t get the lesson planner part of this app to work right, I just entered my lesson plan into each “event” in iCal. I got everything completed through the end of 2011.

Then the app wanted me to “sync the calendar” which I was hesitant to do, but what the heck, I’d bought this app to help streamline my school year.

Yeah, well. The app sync’d the iCal stuff incorrectly and DELETED EVERYTHING from iCal in the process. All that work was gone, and since Time Machine had encountered an error first thing that morning? No backup. Yeah.

I cried. A lot.

So I started again. Things went faster this time because I didn’t have to look through every single book and read lessons to decide what to do when. I was able to plug the info into the calendar again. I only did the first four weeks of school, which takes us up to our first break.

Then I tried to eliminate the messed up schedule out of the app and…

My Hero!

Yeah, it DELETED EVERYTHING in iCal. Again. So yeah. I’m done with that app whether it was user error or not. I am not a computer noob. I am fairly proficient tech-wise and I know enough to troubleshoot system issues if not always fix them so I really don’t think it’s that I’m too dense to figure this app out. But, you never know.

I was crying, and well, to be honest, throwing a bit of a temper tantrum about it when my husband came home from work. My brother told him that he needed to write a program for me to do the things I need. Hubs looked at me and said, “Just use Google docs and calendar. That way it’s saved off site and won’t be accidentally deleted.”

Genius.

So, that’s what I did. It’s not perfect and doesn’t do a few things that I really wish it did, but what it hasn’t done is fail to sync correctly with iCal and DELETE EVERYTHING.