Monday, August 24, 2009

Not quite ready to start "school"

I always fantasize about starting our homeschool year with an organized plan, our bookshelves sorted, and clear, concise goals. This fantasy is very similar to my end of year goals of text books all finished, our bookshelves net and tidy, and our objectives clearly accomplished.

The reality looks more like an over ambitious scheduled followed by a midstream change of direction, and then out with a whimper. I never get to check all my little boxes, and I do so enjoy checking boxes.

This year is a bit worse than most.

The problem all started on the last day of May. That was the day we discovered our last foster child had given us lice. It took me 4 weeks, hundreds of hours of cleaning and head checks, a trip to a therapist who didn't appreciate the gravity of the situation, plus $1000 (lice removal products, the large water bill the resulted from all the extra loads of laundry, a special attachment for the vacuum, a black light, therapy, and cleaning service) to finally get rid of the problem.

Because of the lice, I had to reschedule a surgery I had been putting off (one of those female things). I rescheduled it yet again, so that we could sneak in a trip to visit our family back east. The day before the trip, I fell and injured my tailbone where I lost a few weeks in a fog of pain and pills.

The surgery is now scheduled for Wednesday. I'm expecting to lose another two weeks to pain and pills.

On June 1st we happily adopted our foster son, Baby Bop. His name change (not the Baby Bop part, but adding our last name) set in motion a nightmarish bureaucratic paperwork mess which costs me hours on the phone talking to different government agency who don't appear to talk to each other. California's budget mess with its subsequent Friday furloughs was a great help. As a result of the nightmarish bureaucratic paperwork mess, Baby Bop temporarily lost his medical coverage and access to all his medical specialists.

This wouldn't have been so bad, except the week before we left on our trip, Baby Bop displayed a repeated myoclonic jerk response triggered by exposure to a video screen (I let Baby Bop watch Dragon Tales while all the other kids were out so that I could get some work done on the computer. I noticed this his head would jerk to the far right every 5-20 seconds. After observing this pattern for 15 minutes, I realized it wasn't a voluntary movement.)

Lucky for us, I caught it on video and transferred it to my mp3 player. We paid out of pocket to take Baby Bop to the doctor who was quite impressed by the video and asked to run it down to pediatric neurology. Pediatric Neurology was also quite impressed and said Baby Bop needs an EEG and to please make an appointment to see us.

The good news is that as long as Baby Bop doesn't watch TV, he is symptom free. Of course, this means I can't take any parental shortcuts and use electronic babysitting. I finally got my wish to by a TV free household.

Theoretically, Baby Bop's insurance will be reinstated on September 1st and we will be off to the neurologists.

Soccer has already started and Henry is coaching our youngest daughter's team again. (That was a big mistake. I should have signed the kids up for martial arts so that they could all be at the same place at the same time.)

Our teenage daughter's 6 am scripture study class starts on Monday. All our music classes start the following week.

Oh, and my daughter's pet rat died this morning.

Our tentative start date for "school" is the second week of September. I wondering if I would be happier if I decided we were "unschoolers" and forgot all about schedules and my check boxes. But, I do so love check boxes.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education


Rachel said...

I totally understand this feeling. I've been in sink or swim mode for 9 years now - after 2 rapid moves - one because Dh got a job and we sold our house - the other because they layed off 1000 workers and there was no new job to be had. I don't think I've ever quite caught back up after living with Dh parents for almost 4 years. Last year was particually bad for us. I sent both of my older girls on grandparent vacations (seperate) and Dh lost his job and then I found out I was expecting again (3 kids and 4 miscarrages at that point). Things seemed to go well, until Mother's Day - when I started bleeding and a few days later ended up in the hospital and nearly died from blood loss. In the hot summer, I took a long time to feel normal again. After a very hectic Thanksgiving and Christmas, I was finally getting myself together again, only to discover I was again expecting. But I suffered from severe morning sickness, so didn't feel like much. Then my mother (a vital part of our family function - extended as well as immediate) suddenly went to the hospital and died - on Mother's Day. We've been reeling ever since. I'm now 34 weeks - and pushed school to start early so we can take a couple of weeks off when LaRue gets here. Right now, I consider any day we manage to go forward a good day.

Mrs. C said...

Oh, Janice, I hope things calm down for you guys soon! What an awful time!

I'm so glad Baby Bop is all yours now. I'm hoping to see more pics of the family on the blog. And that those insurance mixups are fixed soon. :]

A Mountain Mom said...

So sorry to hear of your dilemas. It is, however, reasuring to me that my summer hasn't been the only flop in the homeschool community!

Our prayers are with you for surgery and other incidentals. Congrats on the adoption!

Janine Cate said...


Wow. That reminds me to be thankful for my trials.

Mrs. C,
I would love to post family pictures, but with so much unknown traffic, I worry about the safety of our children. I wish when we had set up our BLOG that we hadn't used our full names.

A Mountain Mom,
I really struggled with what to call this post. You used the perfect phrase: Summer was a flop.

jugglingpaynes said...

I hope everything goes a little smoother from here on in!

Just a thought, why can't you check off boxes as an unschooler? We partially unschool every year because life just keeps getting in the way of our routines. Last school year we had three funerals. Because I felt like my plans were foiled all the time I decided to start with an effort and then gradually loosen into unschooling by Spring.

Oh, and I never tell the kids that's what we do. Shh, secret. ;o)

Peace and Laughter,