Tag Archive: girl-child


Pynni Pi. Seven.

Pynni is at my mom’s house with the “little” kids.

######Kip, Chi, Mae, and Abshie make up the “big” kids (grandkids). Pynni is two years younger than the youngest “big kids” and two years older than the oldest “little kids”. She is smack in the middle. So when the “big” kids go to Grammie’s Camp, Pynni gets to go, and when the “little” kids go to Grammie’s Camp, Pynni gets to go.######

Wednesday, April 18 is her birthday. She turns seven. I do not think I can overstate the importance of her birth in my life.

Chi was hard. Period. If you, as a parent, have ever dealt with a child with SPD or Asperger’s or PDD-NOS, then you know my pain. I had no clue what I was dealing with when Chi was born and things weren’t simple. They weren’t easy. I was not just dealing with the huge change a child brings into your life, but the huge challenges a child with these sorts of issues bring. On top of all of that, I suffered, pretty mightily, from post-partem depression. (It was difficult and complicated and I won’t go into it all here, but I was a mess.)

I knew that I didn’t want Chi to be an only child, but I wasn’t sure I could deal with another kid. Still, I was very determined to have another child.

Enter Pynni.

She was this light in my life that saved me. She was so easy going and quiet and beautiful. She was everything I needed and made helping Chi something I could handle without falling apart after he went to bed. She was exactly the balance I needed. EXACTLY. She is light and joy and smiles and happiness and beauty; all without trying.

Today, 18 April, she turns seven. She is so much her own person. The ONE thing I truly want for her is to be her own person. Yes, I want her to be happy. Yes, I want her to be successful (whatever that embodies). Mostly, I want her to be her. I want her to march to the beat of her own drummer. I want her to be a leader, not a follower. I want her to own WHO she is. I want her to be unafraid to just BE. I want her to be strong. I want the fact that she is a woman to DEFINE her and, yet, for that fact to set her free. I want her to have the strength to reach for her dreams, whatever those things may be: mother, world leader, healer, teacher, artist, lover, WHATEVER!

So I got a text from my mom because Pynni is not going to be HERE for her birthday. She is going to be with my parents. My mother says that Pynni is planning her own party and is VERY definite about what she wants. She is having a SpongeBob SquarePants piñata with Hello Kitty plates and napkins and a Tinkerbell cake with mint ice cream and a trip to see The Lorax.

So it begins. Somehow I need to nurture that uniqueness, that special light that is Pynni. Somehow, I need to encourage her light to shine in the face of whatever she faces. Unafraid. Unchanged. Undaunted. Uniquely, Eowyn.

Wynni Pynni Pi;

I love you and cherish EVERYTHING about you. I love watching you grow and become this amazing person. I look forward to the coming years; to seeing who and what you become. How YOU define happiness and success. Those are two things that can only be defined by you for you and I cannot wait to learn their definitions as seen through your eyes.

I love you, Pynni. Happy Birthday.

~Mom

So, I don’t know how many of you have sensory issues, but it turns out that I do. These are things that I’ve always just “dealt” with because I thought that was just how life is. I’ve said it before, but I’ll reiterate: I cope. It’s what I do.

So for ease of organization. A list. A litany, if you will, if my visual ills.

  1. I’ve always had issues with my eyes. I have stupid good eyesight. I can see very far away from myself without having issues reading things close to my face. Off and on throughout my life, I’ve had to wear glasses for reading, but that never seems to stick.
  2. I’m terribly nightblind. I have a really hard time seeing at night. My theory on this is that I naturally focus further away from myself than the beams of my headlights reach. It makes me feel like I can’t see because my natural focus distance is all shrouded in darkness. I don’t know if that makes me not truly nightblind, but there you are.
  3. I can’t stand pointy things. Pencils, straws, construction cones, fingers…many many things. An example of this is eating dinner out with friends and/or family and everyone having a straw in their cups. It just about kills me, all those straws taunting me with their poking, as if they are just waiting to gouge into my eyes. Intellectually, I know that won’t happen, but it doesn’t make those poking straws go away or hurt my eyes any less. Another example is teaching school. My kids incessantly fiddle and fidget with their pencils. THEY POINT THEM AT MY EYES ALMOST CONSTANTLY. What the hell is wrong with them? Don’t they know that HURTS me? *ahem* Anyway, so I’m constantly redirecting and/or stealing the pencils to keep them from poking deep into my retinas and digging into my brains. It is a physical, painful reaction to these things for me and it makes my sick to my stomach when it happens. Funny? Maybe. My reality? Definitely.
  4. Light hurts my eyes bad enough you’d think I was a vampire. It’s bad enough that lights on anywhere in the house at night will wake me from a dead sleep. Hurting me. srsly. But I can’t watch TV in the dark. It gives me a headache. There has to be light on in the room with me or in an adjacent room where the light spills in through the doorway or something.
  5. I don’t like 3-D anything. You remember those posters from the 90’s that were all the rage? Where you stare at them with relaxed eyes and see the hidden image? Yeah, I HATE those. They hurt me in a visceral way. And 3-D movies? FUHGEDABOUDIT! no way. They make my eyes feel all wonky and misshapen and give me a headache and motion sickness (which is really a whole other sensory issue. Hello, vestibular system!).
  6. My eyes are the wrong shape for my eye sockets. This is fact. I can feel it, and you can’t tell me otherwise. They are big and bulbous and they feel gooey and gross. If I press the heels of my hands into my eyes, everything gets better. When I was pregnant with Pieces, I went to the eye doctor because my eyes were such the wrong shape and hurting me all the time that my brother, who was living with us at the time, said, “Well, go get your eyes checked.” Which sounds so simple, I can’t believe I didn’t think to do that for myself. Of course, I could see fine, but I could barely look at things anymore because my eyes WERE THE WRONG DAMN SHAPE AND SIZE! So I went, and the Optometrist says, (please note: these are not direct quotes, but a general synopsis of a five year old conversation.) “Well, you are the slightest bit farsighted, but other than that, and the barest hint of an astigmatism, you are fine. Except, what you describe to me says you notice the astigmatism and that just shouldn’t be. Most people can’t tell anything is off when it’s this slight. It’s not even necessary for you to have vision correction for this, but because you are WHINING SO LOUDLY seriously miserable, I will give you a script for lenses, but you won’t have to legally wear them to drive. In fact, you shouldn’t have to wear them all that much.” HA! HA, I say! Those glasses have been like a freaking revelation for me. When I wear them, I feel like I’m wearing sunglasses, because the sun doesn’t make me turn away and hiss. My eyes are suddenly my eyes again and they don’t feel wrong. They don’t feel wrong shaped or too big or gooey or anything. I WEAR THESE GLASSES ALL THE TIME.

It was supposed to be a pic of Pynni and I but we had a photo session stow away.

I believe these things could be applied to Pynni. When she complains about her eyes, I feel like she is describing myself. I’ve even tried looking at things out of the corner of my eye to see if it makes the POKING better (I can’t see that it does anything but strain the muscles of my eyes). And I took her to a Pediatric Opthamologist. Yesterday. All of her eye muscles work exactly right. She has fantastic eye sight. She has extremely good distance vision. She has a very slight astigmatism. Now, at the time, I just nodded and smiled. I was trying to be okay with the outcome of this appointment. She’s FINE! She has NO EYE PROBLEMS!

But she does. She has eye problems. She rubs her eyes constantly and complains about pain and looks askance at so many things. I don’t know why I didn’t say, “but I have that very same astigmatism and glasses cleared so much of those symptoms up for me.” Maybe because he’d just finished telling me not to take her to an optometrist (with a bit of a sneer to be honest) because that would be an enormous waste of money. He recommended getting her tested for a learning disability (which is valid) and taking her to an occupational therapist for assessment for a sensory integration disorder (this at my prompting. He admitted to not know much about sensory issues).

The further I get from this appointment, the more clearly I see that I have to get her glasses. I at the very worst it won’t help anything I will have wasted money trying, but my every instinct tells me this will help. Occupational therapy for visual sensitivities is difficult at best and Chi’s OT told me that auditory and visual sensory issues were the hardest to treat because there isn’t much you can do but plug your ears and cover your eyes to make them better. The most you can do is address other issues (and wear noise canceling headphones) and reduce the amount of sensory sensitivities in that way making the ones you can’t directly address easier to bear. Right.

So I’m going to (another bullet point list, aren’t you EXCITED?!?):

  • Take Pynni to that Optometrist and bully him into glasses
  • I think that will help Pynni tremendously and address her issues, but
  • I will be scheduling a meeting with a child psychologist (psychiatrist? I can’t ever remember which is which) and have her assessed for a learning disorder.
  • If that doesn’t yield any results, and if the glasses aren’t the answer I suspect they will be, then I will get her assessed by an OT, one that is a visual specialist, preferably.

Anyway, I feel very positive now that I’ve decided to make my own diagnoses based on facts given to me by a very competent, if moderately condescending (not to me), eye doctor.

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 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.

Well, we are in the home stretch. School for my elementary kids ends on June 10. (Pieces’ last day of school was last Thursday) We’ve successfully navigated this year and it was a hard row to hoe, but every obstacle brings a learning experience and I can only hope that I’ve learned…something. Patience? One can hope.

Chi finished the EOG’s and was none the worse for wear. AND HE PASSED!  He got 3 out of a possible 4 on the reading and combined math tests with 2 requiring a retest and 1 meaning “sorry there is no hope for you”. So, yay! He has, since, struggled with the changes in his daily schedule because, well, it’s the end of the year and there’s retesting for those who got a 2 which puts all the kids who passed in different classrooms where they have to be quiet. (and in case you forgot? Chi is almost NEVER quite, during sleep included.) Still. It’s close to the end and I can’t help but breathe a giant sigh of relief.

Both of my kids have moved on to the next level. I will be teaching it to them. I’ve discovered that it’s possible to be so excited about something you can’t sit still and paralyzed with a sick fear of making the wrong decision all at the same time.

Happy Birthday!

April is a busy month. Two of my three kids were born in April almost exactly two weeks apart. Pieces turned FOUR on the fifth and today is Pynni Pie’s SIXTH! My babies aren’t babies anymore and I’m not quite sure what to do with that.

These two are awesome. They are awesome individually and they are awesome together. They are like peas and carrots or peanut butter and jelly. They just go together.

Pynni came into my life during some of the most trying times with her older brother, Chi. I wanted another baby and we’d planned and prepared for her, but I was scared to death that my second child was going to be as hard as my first, and I’m not talking about labor.

"Chi and Pie"

She was a baby that slept almost all of the time until she was about 5 weeks old, and by that time she was close to
sleeping through the night and not needing to eat every couple of hours. When she was awake, she was smiling, then laughing, then laughing and smiling and clapping. She did almost nothing early. She was content to just be. She had this calming effect on me. I had struggled mightily with post-partem depression with Chi and was still dealing with depression throughout my pregnancy. After she was born, it was like this light had been born inside of her that banished all the darkness. She even helped calm Chi. He was enamored of her.

MY BABY!

Then Pieces came along when Pynni wasn’t much more than a baby herself. I worried that she would be jealous and that I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with her one on one as I otherwise would have. Turns out that Pieces is the perfect little brother for her and she was DELIGHTED to have a baby. In fact, it was all I could do to keep her out of his face. She wanted to hold him and kiss on him and poke at him non-stop. Good thing he’s WAAAAAY easy going. (Chi, I think, would like it if we could have a new brother or sister every couple of years. He was crushed when I told him that couldn’t be so.)

So, today we celebrate the birth of Wynni. We will make cake and open gifts and let her pick the meals (oh, god, I am NOT looking forward to that!). We will sing and blow out candles and play with new toys and probably watch a new movie. (it’s spring break so we have ALL DAY!)

Oh yes. The system has failed. What are the statistics for illiteracy in middle school students? I don’t know but I found this when I googled “illiteracy statistics us”. What it says is that 42 million Americans cannot read at all and another 50 million read no better than a 4th or 5th grader and those numbers grow by 2.25 million every year as kids leave the school systems to become part of adult society. Those numbers are scary and I actually have a passion for teaching literacy, but that isn’t the point of this post.

My point is this:

My daughter is not one of those people nor will she be. We work with her on reading and writing and math after school every day. EVERY DAY. I was told in February that she was not going to pass Kindergarten when I knew for a fact she was at or beyond grade level in every subject. Still, I took the IRT’s advice and the PrinciPAL’s suggestions and began doing even more work with her. Then, her teacher came back to the school from her maternity leave (all is well with her baby, yay!) and was appalled at how her class had been handled in her absence.

She set about reassessing all of the kids and found that, at least in Pynni’s case, she had been miss-assessed (is that a term?) and was actually above grade level in reading and writing and at grade level in math. She told me that Pynni would most certainly move on to first grade, and might not have to go to summer school. (I’m still reeling from this. Summer school for rising first graders? Really? That just seems like overkill.) “MIGHT not?” I asked. Ms. S said that the administration felt that she would need the extra tutoring that summer school would provide even though Ms. S was not recommending it.

On Thursday, I found out that Pynni is being recommended for a P.E.P. (personalized education plan) which would be GREAT except that it is reserved for academically troubled students. Ms. S stated that she was against such a thing and that in the end it isn’t bad, but the administration is determined that Pynni is this horribly slow student whose parents are checked out and is in need of all kinds of interventions to keep her from falling behind.

I cannot express in words that don’t make me sound awful and uneducated how angry all of this makes me. I appreciate that they are trying to catch the “at risk” students before they are sent forward through the system without all the necessary tools, but Pynni isn’t one of them.

Conversely, Chi isn’t necessarily “at risk” but he needs all the help he can get. He needs academic and sensory interventions. He most likely needs an aide specifically for him in the classroom and that will increasingly be the case the further through school he gets as he accumulates subjects and teachers. But can I get many of these things without jumping through hoop after hoop after hoop? No.

Then the school tries to “help” Chi prepare for this test they’ve been hanging over his head since the beginning of the year by putting him in this before school “camp” twice a week. It turns out that it was a camp not geared toward kids with Chi’s particular needs or even with needs similar to his. It wasn’t a camp taught by a teacher with any experience either with Chi or with any other Aspies or simply Autistic kids. Said teacher was not briefed on how to handle Chi. Thanks in part to this camp, Chi almost completely regressed into the state he began the year in.

This is not the kind of “help” Chi needs. (Mrs. Eff agreed and we are pulling him out of that camp.)

Chi is smart. Ridiculously so. He astounds me with what he understands and what he knows. The kicker? He doesn’t like to write. Period. He will avoid it at all costs making it hard to judge how much he understands about what he’s reading or measure his writing ability when it comes to grammar or expository writing. He doesn’t like to answer questions. He doesn’t like to be the focus of attention. He would prefer it if you didn’t look at him directly (I mean he does YOU that favor, after all).

It takes a special person to see beyond his issues into the wonderful kid underneath. It takes a special person to recognize the wonder that is Chi’s intellect within all that refusal to write and cooperate and compromise.With this we have been blessed beyond belief, though. Chi’s teacher is truly a miracle in his life. She truly cares about him. She gets him. She is able to see issues and work to help him overcome them without diminishing him. She appreciates that his brain functions differently than most people. She sees that he has understanding beyond what he is physically able to show her.  (I know I gush about her, but even with all of that, you really have no idea just how great she is and how much I appreciate her)

The problem is that we can’t pocket her and cart her around from grade to grade and class to class for the rest of Chi’s schooling and even she is worried about his ability to succeed in the future grades. Not because he isn’t smart enough or because he’s behind, but because not everyone can work with him and see all of his facets through the coating of his Aspergers PDD-NOS and SPD. He’s a kid who could use the extra help.

Is there a way I can transfer the help for Pynni to Chi?

So I think the system is broken. Ninety-two million is a lot of people who leave school either unable to read or are barely functionally literate. Neither of my kids will fall into that category and I will not be allowing them to fall behind in other subjects either, and so I’m wondering, “How often is this extra help misplaced? How many kids, like Pynni, receive extra help they don’t need? And how many who do need the help slip through the system’s safeguards?”

Plenty apparently.

Just an update or two.

**In September of last year, late in the month, I herniated a disk in my back while dealing with the recovery of throwing it out a month or so earlier. I am still struggling with this and dealing with pain. So, on Sunday, I will be heading off to the Radiologist to have an MRI of my lumbar spine. Woop! (/sarcasm) I’m not sure to hope for nothing to be wrong (in which case, wtf is up with the continued pain in my back/hips/legs, etc), or hope the MRI shows something wrong (in which case, does that mean surgery? ICK!). You get the picture. In the end, I want everything to be alright. I want this fixed. I want the pain to end.

 

**I decided mid-March that I needed to go talk to my doctor about this issue I’ve been having with exhaustion, depression, hair-loss, and loss of focus. Then, I hurt my back and spent the next two plus weeks lying down full-time again. Yay. Well, I went Wednesday and she ordered some ridiculous amount of blood drawn for tests which I went in to give them this morning. I’ll let ya know the verdict when it comes. I think it’s my thyroid.

 

**Here I talk about the issue Pynni began having at school.

Here I talk about the meeting I had with the Principal to discuss the above mentioned issues.

So, I had a parent-teacher conference with Pynni’s teacher this morning (after I gave blood to the lab people).

OH, her teacher came back a couple of weeks ago! Did I tell you? No? Well, she did.

Now this woman is one of those delicate, soft spoken gentle flowers who never raises her voice and is blessed with a bottomless reservoir of patience. If she weren’t so pleasant, I might want to punch her.

Anyway, she’s back and she’s angry. She is angry at the way her kids were taught while she was gone. She is angry at the way they were evaluated (piss-poorly, if I get my interpretation of the tightness around her mouth correctly). I’m thinking she must be livid considering that I got angry vibes from her and I get the feeling that she and angry aren’t good friends. According to her: my Pynni is fine. My Pynni is right where she is supposed to be and beyond in some cases because I have been spending an inordinate amount of time making sure Pynni isn’t behind at all.

What I got from this meeting: Pynni will go to first grade. Pynni might be required to go to summer school, but Mrs.S is gonna fight against that. (**grumbles** summer school?)

Did I mention that I’m homeschooling next year?

**My story that was just a short story? Right it’s longer. It’s about 36000 words right now, and I don’t see an end in sight. heh. That makes me happy. And whether it ever ends or not? I’m enjoying the process.

I bought my first homeschooling materials today. I am beyond excited.

If you had asked me three years ago whether I would ever consider homeschooling, I would have said, “Hell, no!” I thought people who homeschooled were crazy, and not live-in-a-“compound”-with-arsenals-on-the-fringe kind of crazy. Seriously-a-glutton-for-punishment kind of crazy. “Not me.” I thought. “Never me.”

Then, as school has gotten harder and Chi has struggled more and more, I began to see that, at the very least, I might have to homeschool through middle school. I’ve said it before, but I will say it again, the middle schools in our district are crap. CRAP! (Our elementary school is NOT crap and we have issues.)

Now, after the awful year that has been 2010-2011, I can barely see doing it any other way.

I’ve been researching what curricula I want to use and I’ve made some decisions. (Truthfully? I’ve made ALL the decisions. I KNOW how I’m going to start, but I’m trying to pace myself. heh)

So today, I purchased Writing with Ease by Susan Wise Bauer and  the workbook The Complete Writer by the same. I will also be using First Language Lessons for the Well-trained Mind by Jessie Wise. These two women are former teachers who specialize in home education consulting and they have some really great philosophies on why so many high school graduates have little to no idea how to write persuasively or creatively, and not just with grammatical accuracy.

The Future

Susan Wise Bauer writes “…In an effort to solve the problem of poor writing skills, schools are giving longer and more complex assignments to younger and younger children. They theory is that the more writing children do, the better they’ll get at it; as one proponent of it recently told me, “Give the children high-intrest assignments and have them write, write, write and revise, revise, revise.” First and second graders are told to write journal entries; third and fourth graders are assigned book reports and essays. Fifth and sixth graders are given research papers.

Meanwhile, writing skills continue to decline. And for the last ten years, at education conferences all across the country, I have heard the same refrain from the parents of these children: My child hates to write.”

Now, Chi hates to write, but he has ALWAYS hated it. He never liked to color or draw with any type of media. But Pynni LOVES to write. She draws, and colors, and writes words and letters and her name. When there is no pressure to write any one thing in particular, she will spend all day drawing in one manner or another. Even with all of that, she has developed a dislike for writing as pertains to school. Who wouldn’t, though?

She has barely learned to form the letters semi-correctly before she is asked to write SENTENCES. Not just words. She can’t tell you what a subject or a noun or a predicate or a verb is. She can’t SPELL the words they are asking her to write. The homework is generally something like: write a story about what you did this weekend. IN KINDERGARTEN. And now, I see, that maybe, just maybe, some of Chi’s dislike of writing (and now Pynni’s) is that they are asking TOO much TOO early in his development.

I look forward to starting over in this with him. I look forward to working through this curriculum (it’s very scripted and I NEVER thought I would be looking forward to something like that) and giving my kids the tools to be competent writers, and hopefully, at the very least, not hate writing.

I’ll let you know how this goes and what I think after we actually get into it.

Hmmm, now on to what to use for math.

And that is that. Homeschooling it is, then.

Now’s the time on sprockets when we

a) Dance a jig

then

b) Plan plan plan

followed closely by

c) Buy books and supplies

not to be put off is

d) Find out if Southside High School still knows who I am enough to send me my transcript.

but that can’t be the last thing because

e) Fill out the forms and await approval

BUT

FIRST THINGS FIRST

I gotta name my school. It can’t be something hokey because it will (potentially) go on my kids’ college applications.

I’ve already done tons of research and I know what curricula I’m going to start out with. I even have a general idea of how I’m going to ease into this by introducing only a couple of basic subjects before diversifying. I’m fairly certain that I have the yearly schedule all planned out in my head. Now, I just need to plot it on paper. THEN. Well, then I have to have the talk with my kids. I’m waiting until school is out, and I have a good reason for this.

Apparently (no surprise here), Chi hears EVERYTHING. He has heard the conversations his dad and I have been having “out of earshot” of the kids. (FAIL) I know this because Pynni told me a couple of weeks ago, in that teary sad voice she gets, that she misses me too much while she’s at school and really should be allowed to stay home with me all the time. I mean, really, couldn’t I teach her? After all, Chi said that they were going to learn at home soon, anyway, so why not now? (I couldn’t lie to her, so I told her no decisions had been made. We were still talking about possibilities. She had all the rest of kindergarten to worry about and she would be finishing that first, thankyouverymuch.)

And that isn’t the only time that this homeschooling thing has been brought up by my kids and I haven’t even TALKED to them about it yet. Huh. So, I’m holding to the explanation that they go to school NOW and they need to focus on that.

So, I will let them know the official changes at the end of the year. I don’t need any more shutdowns from that department than I’ve already got, thanks.

Yeah, so back to the naming. Any ideas?