Monday, February 19, 2018

The dramatic novella of a homeschooling mother of four boys

Eegads. I kept a blog once.

Life at our house continues to up the ante.  I am chagrined to look at my previous Booklists, even from as recent as 2016.  I was reading.  And I am still reading, but almost everything is read aloud to my children. (Our school books are not listed.) (Just books for pleasure, though the school books are a pleasure.)

My time is filled up with what . . . ??
  • Kitchen work
  • School work
  • Orchestrating chore times
  • Delegating house work

Really, this is the bulk of my work.  Maintaining order fills in the cracks of everything else. If my attention is diverted in any way, on any task, all hell breaks loose at my house.  With four boys in the house, cooped up during the cold and snowy winter, when getting ready to go outside is a chore in and of itself . . . ALL HELL breaks loose regularly throughout the day.

Stampeding. Wrestlemania. Battle play run amok. Screaming. Crying.

I have been looking closely at the reasons why this happens. Most obviously, three of my four children are natural born agitators. There's a major crux of the issue right there. We are together day and night. Crawling the walls. Our neighbor boys are so busy that they aren't usually available to play, added to the fact that we don't have any other neighbors, so outside energy diversion is nil. A major drawback of living so rural. Our oldest is twelve and more than half-grown but he plays and body-slams like he's still eight years old. Another huge factor.

But I also believe that as they get older and louder and able to do more damage, our mode of being is is becoming outmoded. I am no longer allowing indoor battle play. It always ends in screaming and crying. Indoor stampeding is no longer allowed.  Flopping around in a giant wrestling ball is outlawed. They can do that stuff outside.

They are disappointed, naturally . . . but I simply can't handle it any longer. It is driving me over the edge. And if I have learned anything as I have gone through life, it is that crisis and/or feelings of upset and unrest are signs that something needs to change.


In other news, homeschooling is going very well. I have upped the ante in this arena as well.

This year I . . .
  • Started assigned reading for Diego.
  • Keep track of the days on our lovely Etsy-commissioned chalkboard.
  • Have assigned weekly chores for each day of the school week.
  • Started using clipboards for the boys to keep track of their daily/weekly work. 
  • Moved Circle Time to the kitchen table to a better end.
  • Assigned Nature Study to a particular day so it actually happened.

Diego is reading at level this year. I am so amazed and encouraged by this fact. Last year, at age 11, I would have classified him as a beginning-middle reader and two years ago, at age 10, absolutely a beginning reader. And now, he is reading with ease and fluency. It is AMAZING.

I followed the advice of so many educators before me . . . don't push it, read to them copiously, allow their development to be your guide, that reading readiness exists on a spectrum . . . not everyone is ready at the same time, especially boys, and that he will be reading with fluency in no time once the developmental requirements click into place.

Yes. Yes! YES.

This is what happened. If any moms happen to cross this post, take heart. Persevere. Slow down and don't force it. Allow him or her to develop naturally. It will happen. Read to that child every day, fill their heart with stories and amazing ideas. It will happen, slowly but surely.


I have the boys upstairs in the Lego Room listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets while the youngest brother naps.  Eliah is four years old and in that uncomfortable in-between spot in napping. He can make it through the day, but then dissolves in the evening hours; or when he does nap, might be awake until 11:00 PM.

It's difficult to navigate, but I've settled on reading and snuggling like usual. but moving into Quiet Time if I can tell he doesn't need to sleep. And that is a beast in and of itself: teaching two kids at once the rules and regulations of Quiet Time.

Jamie, age seven, discontinued his afternoon nap this winter as well. But that is another story that could fill an entire blog post. Long story short: The lymph nodes in his neck and groin were swollen for over a year. In November, our natural health practitioner found that his body was loaded down with heavy metals. (I believe it finally surfaced after years of work with our holistic practitioner.) (And the air purifiers we installed in our home.) (Layer after layer of issues, until his body was finally able to release.) We worked with her intensively for a number of weeks and then started giving him Himalayan Pink salt baths to detox.

And it worked. His bath water was brown and cloudy at the end of each bath, especially at the beginning of the process, lighter as we have progressed. His lymph nodes decreased in size with each bath. For the first time in over a year, his lymphs are NOT swollen. His behavior has improved. His ability to cope with stress has improved (such as putting on socks and shoes, wearing underwear, clothing with tags, resolving conflict, etc.). And he no longer needs a daily nap.

I felt the lymph nodes in his neck today; they were slightly puffy, nothing like they were, but another bath is in due order. It seems as if his body is releasing its toxins slowly and it is up to us to provide the channels for its release.

(He swallowed a watch battery when he was a baby.) (That is where we believe it came from.)

Over and out, I'll catch yeh next quarter.