Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Untitled Due to Lack of Funding

This has been my early week, so I've been dragging out of bed and showering with my eyes closed all so I can be ready to open the door by 7:15 a.m. I can't wait until winter solstice comes and goes and the daylight begins to lengthen. It's not right to be awake in the dark morning. And next week, no daycare kids and no school, so I'll be lolly-gagging as much as possible with a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 3-year old around.

I've been working with my boys this week on composition. Teaching them to compose a research paper or a book report pushes me to the very edge of my abilities. You know how they say "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."? (George Bernard Shaw said that, I'm told.) Well. I can write, but apparently I can't teach them to write.

I did find a graphic organizer from Inspiration Software, Inc. that I am using with them. This software seems to help them organize their thoughts and it automatically switches from diagram to outline. I am working closely with each of them. You'd think I'd be able to give them instructions and set them loose, but apparently they learned nothing about writing during their six years of public education.

I can imagine that a dancer would find similar frustration in attempting to teach me to dance. I have no natural ability, no inner rhythm, no instinct for movement. But a dancer might think I simply needed to try harder.

I think my boys need to try harder, but I'm coming to realize that they just don't have an aptitude for writing. Add to that their lack of desire and you end up with my nightmare. Oh, but it gets worse.

At 5:15 p.m., I held the last baby in my arms. She was finishing her bottle, albeit reluctantly. Then, mere seconds before my husband walked in the door, the baby began vomiting on me. Not spit-up, but Exorcist spewing. When it was all said and done, both the baby and I were covered in the fetid white bubbly puke. Regurgitated formula reeks. Her mother came in moments later and I was still cradling the baby and a bath towel, trying to figure out what to do next. I gingerly placed the baby on the floor on a different bath towel. When I stood, her mother began to apologize. I had to change everything I wore, except my socks.

Now that is a dramatic way to end the day.

Only the day didn't end. My mother stopped by, just as I started making gravy for the chicken and mashed potatoes. She'll be watching my kids on Sunday evening when my husband and I attend a Christmas party. Since she hasn't seen my kids for a long time, she thought she'd visit, especially for my daughter's benefit. So she stayed for dinner and left around 7:00 p.m.

My mother tells very long stories. She can go on for twenty minutes about a cookie recipe, giving the back story first, then several tangential stories and then finally, produce the actual recipe. I made my husband promise to stop me if I ever do that. More than I do already, of course. My stories can get detailed, but at least I hurry them along and notice if my audience begins to doze off with glassy eyes.

Yes, I noticed your eyes roll back in your head just then. Wipe that string of drool off your lips. I'm finished with this pointless tale.

Thank you and goodnight.


Anonymous Stacy said...

Your nightmare is why I decided not to homeschool my daughter. I really did give it serious consideration, but given how we butt heads over homework I was afraid of what a daily struggle over all things scholarly would do to our relationship.

7:02 AM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Hey, I dreamed last night that you lived in Seattle! and we went to a movie!

I hope this doesn't sound weird and stalkerish or anything. I think it means I need to go to more movies and see more friends.

11:40 AM  
Blogger dinodoc said...

Really Mel, you need to not mention preparing gravy right after detailing baby puke. *shudder* ;)

1:38 PM  
Blogger The Dung Beetle said...

I have my own preconceived notions about schooling-at-home, but even so, you have my complete respect on this matter.

I doubt that I would ever have the patience to do what you do... i get frustrated by just helping them with homework.

9:20 PM  
Blogger Jack-on-the-Lake said...

I have friends that tell the same story over and over and then forget that they've told you (and even when you remind them it doesn't matter)and tell it AGAIN.

That would be worse, I think :)

8:11 AM  
Blogger barbara curtis said...

Mel -

I'm homeschooling my seventh grade daughter this year and going through the agony of teaching her to truly write - for example, that a book report is not a three-page synopsis - and it is so HARD! And I've been here before as I homeschooled six other kids for at least part of their education. Struggled with writing - felt incompetent because I'm a writer for pete's sake, so why can't I teach them?

But reading you, I realized three of those six kids are very good writers, and one is decent. Two are pretty challenged - and so, you're right, it is a natural aptitude some people have. I can't dance and doubt that I could ever be taught to do so. I spent four hours with Maddy on "Moby Dick" the other day and felt like I got nowhere. But she can sing Broadway musicals like nobody's business. I wish I could do that.

Thanks for putting it in perspective!

6:28 AM  

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