Thursday, January 27, 2011

Burn Out.

Right now the SOR house isn't a fun place for me to be. The kids are mutining against homeschooling with the simple- yet diabolical- method of dilly-dallying. They're driving me nuts, plain and simple. I have, what I feel, are basic daily school requirements; math, language arts, reading. Everything else is done in a unschooling type manner. We study what grabs our interest in music, art, history and science when it interests us. Yet, for some reason, the kids are opposed to even just a simple handwriting lesson.

They sit. They leave the table. They make silly noises. They look at the page. They leave the table. Then a bathroom break. They're thirsty. But she's not doing her work, why do I have to? They write three letters and their hand hurts. They chat. They pick up the pencil. They fold bits of paper. Is that blood? Maybe they should get a bandaid. They ask what we're having for dinner and then complain about food I haven't even made yet. They write a couple more letters. They leave the table. They make kissy noises. Repeatedly. They write another letter and have a meltdown that it's not perfect and we go into a discussion on how no one is perfect and just WRITE THE FRIGGING LETTER.

Four hours later handwriting still isn't done and nothing else has gotten accomplished except pissing me off.
I'm right there with you.

Part of the issue is the little ones. The babies that get to watch a show during school or (like right at this very second) climb the chair the big kid is on, take their pencil and run off. In the middle of a lesson I have to leave and change a diaper or rescue Max from climbing in the toilet, coloring on the wall, climing UP the refridgerator, pulling his sister's hair, climbing into the washing machine, coloring on the walls, dumping whatever food is in his reach onto whatever closest surface that is non-food acceptable, pooping on the floor (or like yesterday the futon), coloring on the walls or using the dishwasher as a ladder.

How I  feel most of the time.

I know that homeschooling can be a smooth venture. I know it won't be that way every day. But having to struggle over the tiniest things. Fight over insignificance. Battle to complete every single single-digit equation. Day after day, week after week.

Wears. Me. Out.

I get no break. No relief. My planning session for school are much the same as actually doing school. I get distracted with the myriad of crisises, every day I'm just fighting to get school completed and running between freak outs. Trying to temper a three year old and dissuade her from stealing food and eating it under her sister's bed and leaving the garbage behind, keep a two year old from maiming himself, stop the bigger girls from bickering and doing stupid things and working to get the oldest interested in something other than war machines and computer games where he holes himself up and rarely emerges for more than a potty break or sustinance (and even then I have to coerce him).

Then heft on the responsibility of miles of laundry, piles of dishes, three meals a day that need to be planned out, shopped for and made, bills to be budgeted, college to be learned, animals cared for and a husband to consider.

I feel like I'm failing. No matter what anyone else says.  

My life.

I get that part of it is our recent move, the fact that not everything is even over here yet doesn't help. We just took a 2 month break during November and December so another break really isn't going to work. I actually got to the point of applying my 3 year old for VPK next year and called a daycare for a spot for the baby. Neither of which I really want to do.

I'm just running out of options, trapped in a house with no local support and fairly certain I just can't take any more.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Strawberry state of mind

I've already started this year's canning escapades with 6 jelly jars of Strawberry Jam. I love the little labels I've made up but have noticed it's taking nearly as much time to create, print, cut and position the darling things as it was to make the jam. This time I smarted myself up a bit and made up labels with blank canning dates for more Strawberry Jam since I know I will be making a lot more in the very near future.

We're in a high-production strawberry state. While most of the berries sold around here have been coming out of Plant City (a place outside my 100 mile diet circumfrence) they're still pretty darn close. I'm researching u-pick places that fall within it but none are open this time of year and so far, I haven't been able to locate a farm closer that has the production levels Plant City has. I'm working on it though.

I've been allowing my brain to be more concious to what we eat, where it hails from and how it got to us. A lot of it is getting away from prepackaged foods and produce that has to be trucked in from thousands of miles away. This means eliminating things from our diet we've grown used to eating. Somethings though, I'm not sure I'll be able to do without -coffee for starters. There are a few pretty good sized CSA's in the area (community support agriculture) which have been calling my name. I think part of my grocery budget for February will be obtaining a membership somewhere. 

Making the switch from the abundance of convenience city life provided to the limited seclusion of the country has been hard for me. I'm detoxing. I can feel it. My body aches for trips to the store, Starbucks and easily obtainable day trips to cultural centers. I haven't really made any friends out here which adds to my rural depression. It's not bad, just a change.

Part of the solution is to keep busy. The strawberry jam has new friends in a jar of Almond butter and a few loaves of homemade whole wheat bread. I'm learning to rely on myself to make the things I would normally have hopped into the car to go "grab" from the store. I can now make real cheese crackers for a fraction of the price of cheddar bunnies or goldfish. I think I'm going to try fruit leather with the next batch of Strawberries I pick up from the farmer's market tomorrow.

All in all, while the changes are literally life-changing, I'm comfortable with the progression and happy with my ability to see where the problems lie and actively work to make those changes. Plus, the Jam is to die for.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I did not die.

You might have noticed that, while I haven't posted anything really significant, I did in fact post stuff after the Holidays that would indicate I did not die in a freak packing box incident. Which is good. I can only apologize now for the absence.

I've been working on lots of farm stuff which has been being posted on my other blog. Cause -like chips- you can't have just one. I have been thinking that this blog is going to be centered more around homeschooling, crafting and food. While I can't guarentee that farm stuff won't find it's way over here I want to focus the farm blog on well...farming.

So, after a nearly two month homeschooling hiatus, we got back in business on January 3rd. Schooling year round makes it easier to be lienient when you need to be. We schooled through most of the summer so this break didn't set us back. We still read and did things but I didn't keep track of anything.

I found this great desk/cabinet/drawer thing at a thriftstore in town and we're using this for our homeschool things now. This is such a better set up than we had at the old house.

One set of grandparent's gave the kids bookstore gift cards and after Christmas we stocked up on all new literature books for the next year (at least). Those holiday sales are awesome. The diningroom table is working out splendidly, I just have to remember I can actually sit with them now and can stop standing in the kitchen to eat.

(excuse the bed head)

Tax time is coming around which means I get to pick out the next year's school books. I'm really enjoying some of the online things like Headsprout, IXL and Brainpop. I do need to find a good art, music and history curriculum or unit studies or something. So, if you have suggestions let's hear them. 

Getting used to not having so many educational places to visit right at our fingertips is definately going to be a challenge. On difficult days I can't fall back to just taking the kids to the zoo. Though the backyard is begining to look like one.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My go to

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I get distracted with glossy pages, full color photos and hardcovers. My brain yells "ooh, ooh, ooh" and my hands itch to open up the cover and find the magical mysteries hidden inside.

And then, as I turn the pretty pages I get disillusioned. Disappointed. Disenchanted. Because I know that these eye-candy cookbooks don't compare to Fannie Farmer. 

She's priced right, no-nonsense and is nearly 1200 pages of recipes, techniques and cooking methods along with both traditional, simple meals and elegant dishes.

She covers what to do when you overbeat an egg, how to stuff tarts and diagrams on cuts of meat from every different animal. And entire section in the front discusses the use and function of herbs and kitchen tools.

I love this book so much I'm declaring it to be the gift to give for new parents, newlyweds and everyone else that I discover is lacking some Farmer in their house.