Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Unfocused Lately

I've not felt right for the last month. This type of state of the mind is not quite as bad as when I had Lyme Disease before I got diagosed and treated. I am not sure if this is nutrition related or something else. I have had three diffferent illnesses in the last four weeks so maybe my body is just a mess.

I am sharing this because these symptoms are on the list for ADD but I do not have ADD. My first time with this as I said was with the Lyme #1. I then had it again with my second case of Lyme. I have not been 100% my normal after my first Lyme.

It is weird to know how you were before then see when you are not that anymore. It's different when it's thinking or mind based than just something like a good knee then you injure it and it is never quite right.

I figured I'd share this. Maybe those of you who know ADD people may learn some empathy.

I am having trouble getting started on things. I have a to do list and know my deadlines but sometimes I just cannot get started. Days can pass. I missed some deadlines. Sometimes I forget and other times I just cannot get started.

I have trouble with transitions. It is hard to do a lot of different things. It's easier to do one thing for a long time. For example the other day I did about ten loads of laundry. I do find it easier to do one load a day but I had felt stuck and it built up. I got it done in one day but my whole day had laundry infused in between everything else and I was kind of tied up at home waiting on the next load. So it's not convenient to do marathon laundry.

I have been forgetting a lot. I keep lists now but I forget to look at the list. I realize that sounds compeltely stupid but it is true. I also have multiple lists in different places. I should have one list. It is too much effort to put the list on my phone. That was what I was doing last month and prior and it was easy then. I realize this sounds crazy and dumb.

The to do list seems overwhelming. It is easier to do nothing on it and then just do something stupid to procrastinate instead like read Facebook. I completely realize I am procrastinating but I can't seem to stop myself.

When I finally do a thing I have been putting off it don't even feel satisfaction because I know there is so much else waiting to be done.

Last month I was doing a lot of house projects. It got to a point where daily mom life got busier and I was not able to juggle the big projects with family life. So all the projects got put on the back burner. The fact that they are undone bothers me.

My husband has been doing this also. We finished our taxes on April 14. Oh! I just realized my state taxes are due today. Okay I am getting off of blogger to go pay my business taxes online. SHOOT!

I have not done the Paleo Cleanse thing or gone Paleo yet as my doctor said I have to. Maybe it will clear up when I do that. I'll let you know. Or maybe this is aging or estrogen related? I don't know.

My mood is fine so this is not depression. I'm just unfocused and feel scattered and forgetful.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I Misunderstood the IB Grades

I met with the Headmaster of the IB school to discuss some things. One thing was the grading system. In our discussion I learned that my son did very well in Term 2 and I had not understood the grades.

The system is 7-1 not A-F. I was told that a 7 is impossible to achieve. A 6 is rare and means excellent, very very good. A 5 is to be celebrated as very good and if that is earned it is something to be happy about. A 4 is a more common "good" and is nothing to complain about, it's decent and to be lauded. A 3, 2, or 1 is a real problem.

In the 9 classes my son earned a 2 in art (!) - don't ask; two 6s, and the rest are 4s and 5s. So now apparently we can be joyful that he made a major improvement. I was told that we should be really happy about our son's performance.

On "The Big Question" essay he got a 2. I learned that he is not following the rubric at all including writing it as an opinion essay when it needs research and citations for examples to make the opinion statement he has taken. It needs a bibliography. That is not a class per se it is a grade on one essay that appears on the report card.

After having spent almost three weeks fretting over his Term 2 grades apparently now I should be celebrating. I sat and explained this to my son and we were both relieved.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Son Took The ISEE Test

The ISEE is a standardized high stakes test that is given by private schools to help make the admissions decision.

My younger son has applied to a secular college prep high school. This decision was made quickly and he had less than a week before he had to take the ISEE test. This prep time before the ISEE was his finals week for Term 2 in school so it was a high stress week. His last final was on a Thursday. He had school on Friday. The test was Wednesday morning.

I went to the local bookstore and bought an ISEE test prep book. I knew there was not much time to do anything but wanted him to take at least one practice test to get to know the test a little. He spent most of Saturday at sport practice then doing a project so he was not home. For Sunday-Tuesday he felt he needed a break and it was his spring break from school. So basically he took one test spread over those days.

All I kept saying was, "It is what it is, just let it go." I wanted to see him more driven, doing a full test (three hours) each day before the test and grading it and going over the answers to see where he was going wrong. That was not what he was willing to do.

I don't even know if I will find out the test results.

For those complaining about fees for the SAT, FYI this test cost me $100, made payable to the test company directly. Ouch. (There was also an application fee for the school.)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Scenes From My Town

Most are scenes from my walks in March: this is The Woodlands, Texas (a Houston suburb).

Thursday, April 16, 2015

More To Life Than Homeschooling

This is a response to Aya's comment which I read yesterday and pondered on from my post Overwhelmed. She wrote in part:

I don't think it is just homeschooling that's to blame. I think maybe it is making homeschooling -- or the children -- the main focus.

My father home-schooled me for three years, from age 13 to 16, after which I went to college full time. He did this because he felt the school system was not good enough, and he seemingly did not realize that had something to do with property values in our neighborhood. (He was fiscally responsible, and he just did not want to spend money on a bigger or fancier house than we actually needed.)

Now, my schooling at home was not as successful as my father had hoped, because I was not as talented at math as he had supposed. But it wasn't a failure, either. I learned more about history than most students in the US do, and my language and foreign language skills were very good.

I think the take home for me was that I needed to pursue my own interests -- whether outside the home or within -- and not make my children's achievements the sole measure of my self worth. That does not mean don't be a stay at home mom. It just means, there has to be much more to your life than that. And there have to be limits to how much of yourself you invest in your children. 
Pardon me while I go on the defensive.

Aya, you have made snap judgements about me which has given you a false impression of who I am and my lode as a woman, mother and homeschool parent/teacher. 

I don't think you have read my blog much, which is okay. But if you had been a reader of my blog when I was busy homeschooling two kids you would have known more about my life. In part, I am married for nineteen years and working to keep a good relationship, have at least two kids and I have homeschooled them yourself from birth. I had no nanny, no babysitters, no outsourcing of teaching for many years, and I have done and am still doing multiple roles in community work. I also started a small business in 2014 so I am no longer technically "just" a stay-at-home mom, I'm self-employed.

To explain a bit to make my point about living the life of a woman: My time has not been majorly spent in house cleaning and cooking and house maintenance or whatever it is that Americans think a mother does with her time when kids are in school.

I have watched and helped my two grandmothers during the dying process.

I was medical advocate and driver for my mother through her breast cancer battle as she is in my opinion, incompetent to be her own medical advocate.

Last year I helped her get right treatment for mental illness.

My husband helped his father intensely during a two year battle with cancer while I picked up the slack at home. My father-in-law lost that battle while we sat vigil and said our goodbyes as he took his last breath.

We coped through unemployment and underemployment.

I handled three major house repairs from water damage (in three different houses) with kids underfoot and homeschooling all the while.

I managed the sale of our house long distance. I orchestrated the entire move since my husband was gone at the new job already.

For eight years I did volunteer work for Cub and Boy Scouts with 2 groups, one for each kid, including intensive jobs like planning a weekly meeting, teaching and working with kids and sleeping at summer camp with the troop for a week for multiple years. I was a Cub Scout summer camp day counselor in 100+ degree heat with over a dozen hyper boys.

I taught other people's kids at homeschool co-ops.

I volunteered with a sport team and robotics team.

I helped found a 501(c)3 org. Which is my main volunteer thing right now.

I was a volunteer La Leche League Leader and lay breastfeeding counselor for seven years, running and planning monthly meetings, reaching and aiding mothers with struggles.

I was volunteer editor of a newsletter for at-home moms, a nationwide nonprofit.

I was a writer then editor for a column for a bi-monthly journal for an international audience of readers, a nonprofit.

I am a writer and blogger.

I review books and products (for no pay) and have been a top amazon reviewer since 2001.

I started a homeschool support group then passed the baton to a new leader.

I have been a speaker at parenting, breastfeeding and homeschooling conferences. Once I was the main coordinator for a parenting conference with over 400 attendees.

I have hobbies of photography, cooking, baking, wellness, drawing, knitting, and mixed media art.

I have helped one son with four learning disabilities plus ADHD, plus the eye trackimg problem that was cured for one son.

We have dealt with nine different Lyme Disease infections between the four of us and another tick infection with me as medical coordinator for the family.

I had to deal with food intolerance for one son with testing and elimination diets and now dealing with it for me.

I taught myself organic gardening of veg, herbs, and flowers and seed starting. I have done my own landscape design of shrub gardens and trees.

 I have done all kinds of projects to outreach for homeschooling (organize panel talks, etc). Right now I am helping with planning an event to be held 1800 miles away, a graduation ceremony and party.


Life is complicated and can be intense if you choose a non-sheltered, non-selfish life. Becoming a mother has helped me learn and empathize about priority setting. It is because I did the things that felt more important to me like being a present mother and homeschooling, that less important tasks like sorting garage clutter, putting photos into albums, and making neat files of paperwork were left to do  later, sometimes years later.  

I have been fulfilled and always am learning and growing in my own pursuits since leaving my career to raise and homeschool my kids. The only time I was bored was when my firstborn was a baby so after a month of boredom I took my first volunteer job doing newsletter publication, editing  and layout when he was just seven months old. I have not been bored since.

I formerly was an elected official in town government and after seeing what that was really like I have intentionally not gotten back into politics! I follow current events more than the average person but shield myself sometimes because it can give a sense of helplessness that is crazy-making and stress inducing.

My advice to people reading blogs or anything online is to realize what you are reading is just a snippet and to not make grand generalizations on who a person is based on just a little information.  This is done often by the media and by bloggers who write reactionary pieces, they hear one little thing and form lots of opinions from it. I used to blog in that reactionary that way but chose to stop.

One more thing, I think in general that my life having done all this and struggled with what we have lived through is pretty ordinary because lots of mothers I know have done the same things. They have helped family and kids through illness, juggled unemployment messy life, struggled to be an advocate for their kids, done volunteer work, while having a marriage and friends and doing hobbies for fun. I don't think I am extraordinary by any means but homeschooling from birth is more than a full-time job when taken seriously and not outsourced to paid tutors and teachers.

I don't know if I have homeschooling "as a main focus" in my life as Ada said she felt I did. Living the homeschooling lifestyle from birth through college entrance is more than a full-time job, it's both an unpaid job and a relationship. I am not sure where the mothering ends and homeschooling begins, it's all meshed together for me and always has been; perhaps this is something that can only be understood by those who have lived the homeschooling life.  Homeschooling is work made of up of tasks that requires thinking and it's all woven together with love and other messy emotions. I would not know how to homeschool my kids and not feel emotion. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Been Walking

So I have been walking for over a month now at the suggestion of my chiropractor and massage therapist. The purpose is to keep my muscles from being too tight which gets painful and limits my range of motion It is working. I have enjoyed the temperatures which have ranged in the 60s to mid-80s. Walking does not give me weight loss or "get me in shape" so I have not enjoyed that benefit unfortunately. I wish that walking did make me physically fit.

Here are some things I have seen lately. I have been exploring different parks in town.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Planning Homeschool Graduation Ceremony

My older son will graduate from homeschool high school in May. I suggested to a friend in Connecticut that my son graduate there with his friends. So now we are planning a graduation ceremony. I have volunteered to handle the food and catering staff.

I really appreciate this opportunity. There will be six kids, five of whom my son was very close to in eighth grade and prior before our sudden long distance move.

One reason we want to do this in Connecticut is that none of our family are willing to fly to Texas, ever. Even if my son were not doing a ceremony we had planned to visit family and throw a party for immediate family.

I have been busy coordinating this project with my Connecticut homeschool mom friends and acquaintences.

I can't believe this time has arrived. I remember when my son was little I could not imagine what he would look like as a young teen then as an older teen. Now I know.