Back in March I introduced the beginning of a new series I am writing for Catholic Sistas – Diary of a Homeschool Mum and today we pick it up again with part two:
July 7th 1991 C.P. Ontario, Canada
Yesterday we went to the Block House to celebrate the ending of school as well as the joy we have that this fall we will start that crazy, scary adventure called homeschooling. The kids had a blast. We took tons of slides, can’t wait to watch them with the new slide projector we bought with our tax return this year.
We finished off with dinner out. We even let each kid have a glass of pop. Great memories except for that moment when I saw Alicia’s face as she tried to read the menu given to her by the waitress. She had asked the kids ‘who can read’ and Alicia excitedly put her hand up and proudly took one of the menus. I watched carefully because I had not been convinced the school had, in reality, imparted any reading skills to her. They just had the kids memorize and memorize all year long – convincing the kids they could read… I suppose a few connected the dots – but how many more are experiencing that moment when they are handed a bunch of words that they have not yet encountered and don’t have the phonetic skills to break them down and ACTUALLY read. My heart broke when Alicia’s expression of delight to be a big girl and read a menu like her big sister clouded over as she perused the menu and the realization of “I can’t read this” dawned on her. I had a lump in my throat when she handed the menu back to the waitress and mumbled “Never mind – I can’t read.” I can’t wait to start teaching her phonetics – as scared as I am with the enormity of it all. But I succeeded with Caroline – I can do it again. Next time she gets offered a menu she won’t be cheated of that moment of pride and victory!
Totally different note – I’m still having trouble with my hands. Now Hugo has to get up with Elizabeth at night when she wakes to nurse and hold her while I slap my hands together to get feeling back into them. I can’t even try to pick her up when my hands are like this because I can’t feel enough to be able to use them. SO strange.
July 10th… so tired. Just so tired. This evening I tried playing a game of solitaire on the new computer. Couldn’t focus enough to complete it. 5 yr old Erik finished it for me.
July 15th 1991
Despite feeling so tired I was able to get my order written out and mailed so our books should arrive soon – I just have yet to decide on a math text for Caroline, the principal for our little school has made some suggestions and gave me a catalogue to go through. I think I’m going to go with the Houghton Mifflin grade four book. And I’m going to spring the extra dollars to go with the coloured edition. I want Caroline to be inspired by this book. I always hated math as a child and I really want my kids to learn to enjoy it. Such a bright and enthusiastic looking book should surely help keep her engaged!
Strangest thing happened last weekend. I was visiting a friend and suddenly I had no idea who she was. One minute I was chatting with someone I know well. We see each other every Sunday at Mass and at our bi-weekly rosary gatherings and there I was – with no idea who she was. I was too embarrassed to interrupt her and say – umm hey – what’s your name? I knew where I was – I mean I recognized her kitchen I just didn’t know who SHE was. It was so disconcerting. I tried not to lose track of what she was saying while I tried to think of her husband’s name. I kept thinking that if I could just remember her husband’s name I would remember hers. It worked. Such a relief to remember who she was. I hope that doesn’t happen again.
That name thing happened again. I have to admit, it’s kind of tricky keeping a conversation going while you are trying desperately to remember the person’s name. Seeing the doctor this Monday for Elizabeth’s check up. I’ll mention to her how tired I am all the time – maybe I’m just too tired.
July 22nd – great check up for Elizabeth, great weight, on target for all her milestones. Such a mama’s girl – doesn’t want anyone to hold her but me – not even Daddy – this could be a challenge come September and it’s time to start school. Discussed my fatigue with the Doctor – she said I was expecting too much of myself – after all I had just had my fifth baby which is similar to the doctor said when I talked to the Dr about being tired even before I was pregnant with Elizabeth. (You have four babies what do you expect…) But so many friends have as many babies or more, and they are doing so much. They are painting their houses, helping build decks, and homeschooling. And me? I can barely get through the day. I feel like I’m pushing through water just to walk. I guess I’m just lazy. She did offer to request for home help for me. She thinks with five very young kids I should be able to get a few weeks worth of home help paid for through OHIP. That would be great – I still have not completely unpacked from the move here last summer. Being on bed rest most of Elizabeth’s pregnancy kind of made it impossible to get the house completely unpacked and organized.
I hope our books get here soon. With this fatigue (or incredibly bad habit of laziness?) I’m going to need lots of time to get them organized and lessons planned out.
YES! Dr’s office called and she was able to arrange for some part-time home help. An intake person will be calling me and discussing what I need from this. Apparently I have to decide whether I want someone who will sit with the kids and watch them or someone who will clean while I watch the kids. I’m totally going with someone who will help me clean. I have mountains and mountains of clothes to go through – we haven’t had a dryer since we moved here (or a stove either) and between tons of boxes in the sun porch still waiting to be unpacked I have a billion pieces of clothes to go through. Our new dryer arrives next week. Our school books will be here any day and once I get all of this organized with this lady – we will build the desks in the dining room. This is starting to get real – like when you have a shower for the first baby and the house fills up with baby furniture and clothes and you suddenly realize – it’s really happening.
Not sure how much help I’ll be to Hugo when we start building though. Lately I can’t even use the can opener. I have to get Caroline to open all cans for me these days. I seem to have lost all strength in my hands.
This concludes part two of Diary of a Homeschool Mum. Next time we get together I will share more about that last month of getting ready for ‘school’, the continuation of Alexander’s problems, as well as my growing health issues. Until then – have a great summer. See you in the fall.
Christi Gareis is a homeschooling mother of thirteen, with four children still at home. Her youngest child can boast that she was an aunt before she was born. Christi has been blogging since 2005 and has three blogs. In addition to blogging, Christi has been published on Catholicmom.com as well as in CCL’s magazine Family Foundations. She also wrote the section on How to ‘Prepare Your Child for First Reconciliation’ in the book ‘101 Stories of Reconciliation’ by Sister Patricia Proctor.