Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Homework Independence

For the last few weeks, Stinky and I have been working on homework independence. #thestruggleisreal He still needs to be able to see me while doing his homework but at least (for now) he doesn't glue himself to me. For this reason, our home office and the homework station in his room are a no-go. Instead, he seems to have adopted a corner of the entertainment center in the living room.

This is what I see most evenings while helping Blinky or cooking dinner:

While its not what I imagined, we're getting there. We are quite literally taking baby steps but we are leaps and bounds from where we were last year.

Here's to progress, albeit ever so slightly.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Updates and Quote of the Week

So I've been missing in blogland for a bit. It seems like every time I fall asleep and wake up, its the start of a new week. Lets see, what have you missed?

The four of us celebrated my birthday at Alabama Splash Adventure Labor Day Weekend. It was super fun! We typically celebrate at Shipwreck Island in Panama City Beach but bad weather forced us north. Both parks are nice so its hard to pick a favorite, but I will say that ASA has more "thrill" rides that the four of us can enjoy together.

Hands down, my favorite ride was upsurge. I am somewhat claustrophobic but the enclosed slide really wasn't that bad. Falling with such force that we could almost touch the top of the ramp was freaky scary. Needless so say Stinky and Blinky LOVED it!
My other favorite was Neptune's Plunge. Again with the enclosed slide but I had to try it. The dark fall made Blinky cry all the way down but she was brave enough to try again and the experience was much better once she knew what to expect. The DH lost his glasses in the drop but found them a few hours later when lifeguards did a sweep of the pool. Thankfully they didn't seem any worse for wear.
We never did make it to the dry side of the park with its roller coaster and other attractions but the kids didn't seem to mind. When the park re-opens next season, we will visit again and fit that into our schedule.
On my actual birthday, we received word that our former minister passed away. He'd been battling cancer, which apparently spread everywhere in spite of treatment. For a week after, I tried to prepare the kids for the news by reminding them where Christians go when they die. When we finally did tell them the day of the funeral (we opted not to take them), they took it as well as kids could I guess. I suppose I prepared them rather well as most of their questions were about my all black attire.
On to happier news, the kids both made all A's on their progress reports. This is as much for the DH and me as it is for them. Its very rewarding as a parent seeing those loooooong nights of homework and fighting pay off.
Our very good friends are moving back to India next month. We're trying to squeeze in as many play dates as we can. Stinky is not taking it very well. He's not as social as Blinky and his little buddy is not just his best friend but probably his only friend. It's very difficult watching many of our dear friends move away. Two houses on our street are for sale. We're praying for nice families with kids Stinky and Blinky's age to move in.
Speaking of Stinky, he's been having a rough few weeks. He had to see the Vice-Principal yesterday for wasting water and shooting toilet paper balls in the bathroom. When she asked why he did this, he said, "You have to wet the tissue to make it fly further."
On that note, I wish you all a happy weekend!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Quote of the Week

I celebrated my 38th birthday on Sunday.

Stinky: "Don't worry Mom, you're not old until you're 40."

Guess I have a few good years left.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Homework Help

Yesterday's post was a little bit of comic relief about homework. But in all seriousness, homework days (i.e. Monday - Thursday) can be rough. Luckily, this year, I discovered an app that makes one part of homework effortless. At least on my part.

I learned about Spelling City from a rival teacher's weekly newsletter at the start of the school year. (Yes, I'm that competitive!) On Mondays, I enter the kids' spelling words and Spelling City uses those lists to create games which test the kids on their spelling and vocabulary. Favorites are Hang Mouse, Word Unscramble and Test-N-Teach. The kids are being drilled on their spelling words without having to write and recite, and actually have fun while doing so. So far they've had two spelling tests (there's a third today) and scored 100 each time. It may be to early to call it, but I think its working.

One of the unforeseen benefits of using this app is that Stinky and Blinky are getting some experience working independently. They work on a section totally unsupervised, toward a goal of 100%. It has benefitted the three of us nicely and will hopefully pave the way for more independent work. Please. God.

There is a free version and a premium version. We had the premium version for a 30-day trial, however we didn't renew as the free version was sufficient for our purposes.

I have no affiliation with Spelling City, nor have I been paid for this post. Just thought I'd throw a bone to other Mamas who may occasionally find themselves overwhelmed with homework. 'Cause I'm nice like that. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Homework, Ugh! I Mean Homework, YAY!

What is it about homework that makes our somewhat normal household crazier than a run over dog? I don’t get it. By now the little people know that for 10 months out of the year, they’re going to have to sit in our highly organized and professionally decorated office at our cramped dining table four nights a week and get it done whether they want to or not. If only they would process and apply this little nugget of wisdom, how much simpler our lives could be.

Look, I’ve been eight and seven before and know that homework can be a drag sometimes. Especially when it’s pretty out and you’d rather be scaling the walls of the playhouse or bike racing down our hilly street. But even I’ve come to develop a love / hate relationship with homework. It’s a necessary evil little people, and the sooner you stop the whining and complaining, the sooner we can all be done with it. Especially me!
At parent-teacher night, our second-grade teacher mentioned that the kids are now old enough to do their homework unsupervised. Not sure which kids she was referring to but certainly not mine. I tried that last year, and for a brief moment, I thought I saw the light. I saw a light alright. I saw the blinding white light of a colossal migraine which followed an epic two-hour torture session of something that should have taken ¼ of the time. So it seems for the time being I’m glued at the hip to the little people.

I’ve tried multi-tasking by way of listening to spelling words being recited as I prepare dinner. It took about a full minute before I realized my son spells pumpkin t-h-i-s-s-u-c-k-s. Now, I prep dinner the night before or during my lunch break.

Like many of my other mom friends, I have unashamedly resorted to the occasional bribe. I learned that sweet treats work well for #2 but #1 is a shrewd little negotiator. He is clearly more skilled in this area than me and I was forced to find other methods when I was unable to decode the lengthy verbal contracts he would come up with detailing the conditions of the bribe. #whoisschoolingwhom

Already this year my alter-ego Homework Mommy made an appearance. I am not proud. She is quite different from the emotionally stable, patient and kind, regular version of myself. How so? Let’s not get into specifics. Suffice it to say I’m working on a way to dump her and am taking suggestions.
Talking with other Moms always makes me feel better. Some have eerily similar experiences (could this all be part of a bigger conspiracy) while others have their own issues to work through with their little people. In any event, we all love our children dearly, and because we do we are ready to go to war again tonight. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to Google some permutation of “How to Make Homework Fun While Keeping Your Cool.”