Monday, May 23, 2011

Parties & Schoolwork

   ZoKo's 7th birthday party was Saturday. We had a good time. She got a few phone calls from family and friends, and had a few friends show up to guve her hugs. :) The weather was predicted as rain all day, then changed to rain after 4 pm. Well, we were out on the slip n slide and swingset until well after 7 with not a cloud in the sky. She was very happy about that!
   She got several phone calls, a few cards, some books, paperoni art sets, and a suction cup bow and arrow set. Turns out May is a busy month for birthdays. Two days after hers is my boyfriend's dad's birthday, and the day after that is her half-sister's mom's birthday. Yeah, I know, it gets complicated with us. Hey, it's all we know. :P
   Last week, ZoKo's schoolwork went well. She got to take her birthday off, and only did her reading assignments on Friday. She logged in a total of 22.5 hours last week, which means she only has 57.25 hours left this year, which averages out to 9.75 hours per week, or 1.5 hours a day. Her reading alone averages more than that!

Her completed assignment status* (as of May 22nd):
          Science Textbook 2: Discovery Works - lesson 46/150ish
          Science Reading: Burgess Bird Book For Children - chapter 36/45
          Math Workbook: Arithmetic 3 - lesson 82/170
          History Textbook 2: Neighborhoods And Communities - lesson 36/71
          History Reading: Viking Tales - chapter 3/21
          Grammar Workbook: Language 3 - 82/163
          Comprehension Workbook: Silly Things Happen - lesson 26/42
          Penmanship Workbook: Cursive 3 - lesson 100/175
          Health Textbook: Health, Safety, And Manners 3 - lesson 55/68
          Classic Literature: Outdoor Girls At Rainbow Lake - chapter 14/25
          Independent Reading: Ice Fire - chapter 27/35
          Independent Reading: Twilight - page 285/498
*This is the current status of her current books, this does not show books which she has already completed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday ZoKo!

   Seven years ago today I gave birth to my sweet baby. I know it's very cliche, but it doesn't seem like it's been that long. I was 18, in high school, and trying to figure out how to get by in this big world. Most of my friends bailed during the pregnancy, and I was of course labeled as "that kind of girl". But honestly, she was the best thing that had ever come into my life. And I thought that even then. I never did understand how so many people can walk away from something so wonderful. And I understand that even less today than I did back then. She still does ask me questions about relatives, trying to sort through this charade of genetics she was cast into. And she has a hard time comprehending that yes she does have two grandfathers, just like every else, even though she'll probably never meet either. And yes, as far as I know, they're both still alive. And it puzzles her why my father walked away from me. She periodically offers to hunt him down and tell him exactly how mean he's been, being absent half my life. I find this humorous considering she'd go that far to defend me and yet she has no notions to go to such drastic lengths for herself, having been left at a much younger age and in a much harsher way, and multiple times over these years. But that's just how she is.
    Yes, she has her bad days. The days that I have to threaten to tickle her to death to get a smile, or have to remind her that tomorrow will be a new day, and that she's just as wonderful and unique as anyone else she can think of. That at her age of course she isn't an expert artist, and her writing techniques will get better with practice, and that mommys typically can run faster than their children. That there's nothing wrong with her being her, and that's the best thing in this world for her to be. That sometimes being yourself is the only thing standing between you and your dreams, and that anything or anyone that expects you to give that up in their pursuit isn't worth the effort to even wave goodbye.
   Then she has her good days. And I wonder how the hell something so beautiful and wonderful and self-less could be borne of my flesh. And I'll never know this. Aside from the confirmation in her name's sake. She is "God's gracious gift of life", and I will never doubt that. She will go so far out of her way just to make a stranger (she's never even met) smile. She writes poetry in like form to mine, which I think is more her effort to pay tribute to me somehow than anything else. Of this, I know I am not worthy. She has such a strong bond with her brother, that I honestly believe no distance could ever sever it, short of the parting of their hearts from each other's paths. And God, I pray that never happens to her.
   Her dreams are the same they've been for years now - to be a singer and a cowgirl and a poet and a veternarian. And I realize those are the same as mine from my youth. It saddens me to see what I've become and think that maybe she'll never surpass that. Not for my sake, but for hers. This world is hers to pursue and to cherish and to partake of, and I hope that she sees that for what it is. Not some glorified dream of ego taking hold, but the chance to be anything that your heart can perceive. Your dreams taking flight and nothing but your own unsteadiness holding you back. I hope that somehow I can help her in her journey, I hope I can do enough to see her blossom more as the years go by.

me puella, me orba, me viva, me ama...te amo aeternum

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Homeschooling: Year's End?

   With homeschooling, the school year runs from July 1st to June 30th in the state of Missouri. This means that while the public schools are having their final week or two of schooling, we still have a little over a month of "this school year" left. I'm going to be revamping my methodology for the upcoming school year, including (hopefully daily) posts on what has been accomplished that day for school, in order to help everyone keep up with the current happenings around my house...
   That being said, ZoKo currently has about 65 hours of schooling left to fulfill the state's 1,000 hour requirement, meaning that if she averages 1.5 hours a day of schoolwork, she's good to go. The catch? One day's worth of work for her is about 6-8 hours, depending on what exactly she does and how long it takes her...
   At the official end of this school year, I will post an entry listing the books/materials she has covered this year, and a rough draft of the plan for next school year.

End Of School: 1st Grade

   The last day of first grade for B is next Friday, the 27th of May. She's been progress (off and on), and honestly I'm not sure what they're convinced they're teaching in public school for 1st grade anyway. Her grades vary drastically, and what it comes down to is that yes, she CAN do the work. And at home she does it with complete accuracy. But at school, there's no incentive for prompt or proper completion, and no penalty for improper completion. The point? Why bother?...
   This last week that attitude has spread to home as well, and we are having to undertake the task on a daily basis of reminding her that we expect her to do her work properly, regardless as to how many times she has to redo the same page. The girls have bothe been having trouble with this concept since the decrease of responsibily for Odie, due to his behavioral issues. So now we find it a daily challenge to remind both of them that they are still expected to uphold their end of the responsibilities within our household. Again, school is almost over.
   B is looking forward to this summer. We're staring Latin lessons shortly after school ends, and will be re-starting the Book of Virtues lessons I attempted to pursue with the girls last year. B is also doing daily reviews including math, vocab, geography, and  penmanship, as well as classic literature reading books...

End Of School - Preschool

   The last day of preschool for Odie is tomorrow. We'll be very glad to have him back home. Why? Because all of the behavioral problems we're having at this point are clearing up completely on the weekends, then re-manifesting when he returns to school. We've been making progress, as slow as it may be. He's now particpating in family activities such as the slip n slide, water squirters, and swing set, and is also interacting more with his siblings. We're occasionally even managing to sneak out a smile from him! This has been a long, hard road and I'm not sure how we got started on this path, but we're starting to see some improvements. Yes, the problems are present any time we're in public or have other people around, but to know that progress is being made (even if just in private), still makes a huge difference for our household.
   We're hoping that over the course of the summer he'll "normalize" enough that the next school year will be much easier and saner for everyone involved. In the mean time, we're still taking this day by day and very thankful that one phase is almost over. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Long Few Weeks

   Well, here I am again. I know, no one missed me anyway. Oh well, not your choice, I'm still back. Or not really back, since I never left technically, but more just back to the state of mind in which I believe myself to be at least semi-capable of writing something resembling a coherent message...
   The last few weeks have been very long, and seemed to drag on forever. Dealing with the school, behavioral issues at home, and a week's worth of unwanted visits from the state. But, we've managed to pull through and somehow are still kicking. So, today...
   The garden in the backyard is completely finished, we only altered the design three times in the process. The bird and wildlife station looks awesome and the birds in the neighborhood love it. So far we've had lots of visits from cardinals, grackles, robins, chickadees, golden finches, wrens, blue jays, and even a few woodpeckers. :)
   I'm going to post updates on the kids individually, so that it makes it easier to find info relating to a specfic issue/scenario, as well as just simplifying my life at the present time...
   I haven't written any new poems in half of forever, and the typing and sorting of them has come to a screeching stop for the time being, after way too many interruptions...
   We have a bday party planned for this weekend, and hopefully a trip out to Tennessee booked for the weekend following that.
   Time to resume the things that accumulate into the chaos known as my life. I'll be posting about the children shortly. :)