I know posts from me have been a bit sporadic to say the least, but this has been a crazy time. This week, four kids went to public school, three of them for the first time. The three have never been in a classroom setting EVER. The closest they've come is their DVD classmates from A Beka.
Kristofer told me that he used to pause the DVD lesson and make faces at his DVD classmates, just because he was bored. It was really hard for him to sit still for that long and do his work. I've been most worried about how he would do in school because of that. As it so happens, he's the one that is loving it. He comes home full of stories about his teachers, the bus driver, the other kids. So far, his experience has been very positive. He especially enjoys his Spanish class, of all things, and practices diligently every night.
Keri Lynn and Kathleen, on the other hand, have come home in turn in tears because 1) Keri Lynn gets frustrated with herself and the difficulty of the material and 2) Kathleen gets discouraged about "not getting it." She says she lacks confidence. Both girls want to shine, and they're feeling like they're not even getting a spark going.
But I tell them, "Don't fret. You've only had four days of school. You still have 176 more to go!"
At which they roll their eyes at me, "Mom, that really doesn't help!"
Meanwhile, I have the three youngest here alone at home for NINE hours. NINE hours. I only need maybe two of those hours for school work. With this extra time, I've been able to spend inordinately wasteful time at the computer, I've started walking again, I'm nearly caught up with the laundry and dishes, and the house is in relative order!
I go on my walk at 8:00 AM and the kids come with me on their bikes. The earlier I start, the better right now, because it is blazing hot. It's supposed to go to 104 degrees today, possibly breaking temperature records. I worry about the kids coming home on the bus, but their ride home is much shorter than it is going and none of them complain about the heat. I think they're just happy to get home and relax a little.
However, when 4:00 comes around, then my game gets stepped up into high gear. First Kathleen comes home on her bus followed shortly by Keva. Thus ensues a flurry of paperwork to look through and sign, Keva's teacher's daily report, and Kathleen's fledgling start of her real homework. Last night, she had to write a five paragraph rough draft about her home town. Nothing like starting off easy, right?
At about 4:30, Kristofer comes bounding in, followed a few minutes later by a slower, much more heavily laden Keri Lynn. She has two history classes this semester with books the size of those giant library dictionaries. Good grief! She's feeling overwhelmed right now by the workload, but I've assured her that she'll get her rhythm going and do just fine. She's just got to figure out what each of her teachers are looking for in their testing. I've been able to help her in Algebra 2, but already it's starting to get beyond me. She explained the process of a particular problem that she was working on, and my eyes started to glaze over. Then, I was finally able to help her figure out the sign for absolutes, and then we laughed together about how now we had a concrete example that there are such things as absolutes that she could show her world history teacher! Which leads me to wonder why a world history teacher is so fired up about teaching kids that life has no absolutes. Wouldn't that be filed under philosophy? Just wondering.
Probably the one thing that surprises me most so far about public school is how tight their schedules are. They don't even have time to go to the bathroom most days. Keri Lynn told me how she was sitting in her first block class yesterday morning surprised at how fast she'd gotten there. Kristofer's classes are all in one building, but Keri Lynn only has about seven minutes to get from one building to the next for her classes. Kathleen's not sure she even wants to brave the cafeteria line because it's like a huge assembly line. She'd rather bring her lunch and have a little more time to eat.
As soon as kids start getting home, then my mind focuses on getting them all to bed! They are all pretty tired, but they still have to get some homework done. So, we're slowly tweaking our schedule to make it all work. I've started having some of them get showers before dinner, so that that is out of the way. I've had to send Kathleen to nap before attempting any homework, so she can look at the work without breaking into tears. I want everyone in bed by 8:00, or at the very latest 9:00, but it hasn't worked that neatly yet. I myself have wanted to be in bed by 10:00, but it's usually nearer midnight!
When we all homeschooled, I'd read the Bible to the kids in our group session time, then move on to other subjects. Now, since evening is the only time when we're all together anymore, I've moved Bible reading to bedtime. It has been a sweet time for us. We're reading in Hosea right now. (I have to edit that book quite a bit, though!). But the message of Hosea is so important to us today. God judges Israel for her sin. He releases harsh judgment on them to force them to call on Him.
I came across this verse that gave me pause for thought, "In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." Hosea 5:15
I reminded the kids, and even more, myself, that we need to call on Him when we are in trouble. When there isn't enough time to get to a class. When homework is to hard. When a teacher is an extremist evolutionist. When there wasn't enough time to get a decent amount of sleep. When the van's transmission has failed. When bills aren't getting paid. When (fill in the blank).
We forget to call on the One who can truly help us. Don't forget to call on Him first when things start to slide downhill. When we call on Him, He answers us.