I took a break from the job hunt today, at least the pounding of the pavement part, and actually got a little housework done. I feel better just having gotten a better handle on the laundry and dishes. I ran two loads of dishes, scrubbed and put away the pots and pans, and have kept the washing machine and dryer humming right along all day. I swept and picked up, too. Counters are clean. I stacked the bills in a nice neat pile in hopes of someday being able to pay them! I organized one of the laundry room shelves, and I went to the grocery store.
I suppose some of this time between the homeschooling life and work is a good opportunity to organize the transition. I've started doing a few things differently with housecleaning. For instance, I used to keep an ever-growing pile of dirty clothes in Keva's room. (And believe me, her clothes have their own special knock-out odor.) Then, I got to thinking, that it might not be a bad idea to actually take her clothes (along with her diaper) to the laundry room each time. This little tiny extra something has grown into a big deal. Her room smells better and it stays neater. Now, if I could just get her to keep her mattress on her bed. I'm about ready to have Keith bolt it down to the frame!
Another move toward transition is to get the kids to bring their dirty clothes down each time they change instead of just gathering them in their own laundry baskets in their rooms. That just is NOT working. The older kids are kind of doing their own laundry, but I had pulled back on that while they got used school. But once I start working, we'll all have to pool our resources and get laundry done. This transitional time is the perfect time to get that going.
Then, there's the meal preparation. My mom reminded me of crock-pot dinners, and I brought out the crock-pot for the first time in a long time. I made the yummiest venison stew. Even all the male members of our household were full after that dinner. It won't hurt, though, when I start working to set up menus so that each of the big kids can be responsible for a meal a week. We have dinner at church on Wednesday nights, and then that would leave just three meals for me. This would be a good thing to start implementing while I'm not yet working.
The kids just finished their first quarter of school. Already! I can't believe it. But when you think about it, a quarter -- at least for our school district -- is only nine weeks! About this time in homeschooling, I'm usually giving myself a stern lecture about catching up with our course of study! Anyway, the kids brought home their report cards, and I'm really proud of them. They are all doing well. The little kids are still in catch-up mode (Kylie and Kade especially), but the big kids are doing well above average. Whew!
Kathleen especially has at last found her stride. She was really struggling at the beginning of the year, working on homework until 10:00 or 11:00 every night. Now, she puts in one or two hours most nights and is getting mostly A's. She's more relaxed now, too, and her teachers like to give out candy for major achievements, so she works extra hard! She's also surprised me with how competitive she is with academics. This is unusual, I think, for a middle child, nevertheless, I guess she's inherited enough of my first-born competitive streak.
Kristofer was coasting earlier in the quarter, but Keith and I started to get on his case about too many poor test grades. He doesn't test well, but all of his other work is nearly perfect. He told me that he just doesn't want to put too much attention on himself by getting good grades. I told him, with as straight a face as possible, that it was okay to get good grades, that indeed he really ought to strive to get good grades. Then I reminded him about the Hope Scholarship. This is a Georgia scholarship that pays for college tuition for kids getting A's and B's all through high school. He said, "What's the Hope Scholarship?" And I nearly fell out of my seat. Keri Lynn has known and worried about it since we moved here two years ago! He, on the other hand, didn't have a clue! So, he says that now that he knows about this scholarship, that he will definitely work harder.
Kristofer also is paying more attention to his grooming, which relieves Kathleen to no end. So when I got up the other morning, and noticed that he was wearing pants that were flooding high enough to cause FEMA to come rushing in, I was surprised.
"Mom, I've got nothing clean!"
"Check on top of the dryer. You have a whole basket of clean clothes!"
A few minutes later, he was fluffing his collar, and told me, "Now I don't have the nerd look going, I have the guy-trying-to-be-cool look going!"
That boy makes my heart clinch for the love of him.
Keri Lynn has been working like a dog all through these last nine weeks, but she's relaxed some, too, in the second half as she's gotten used to how it's all done. She brought home all A's and enjoys a smart-kid reputation in her classrooms. The teachers all like her because she actually takes the classes seriously. Even Algebra 2, which was such a struggle the first half of the quarter, is not so hard anymore. This is a relief and gives her some confidence, since it's the high school class with the highest failure rate.