My Journey in Pounds

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm about to unschool y'all!

As I'm starting to write this I have no idea what I'm going to write about or title it.  But here I go!

This week has not been very successful in a lot of areas.  It's been a lot of driving from one end of town to another.  In all that driving any rhythym or semblance of a routine - as a homeschooling mom, as a healthy-ish mom, as a pet owner, as a wife, as a believer - vanished like the smoke from my exhaust.  Which stinks because I rely so heavily on a sense of routine.

Habits and routine relieves stress because it's less decisions I have to make.  Less of a conscious process - and therefore easier for me to focus and think about other things.  This week, the majority of my thinking has been focused on driving with a manual transmission (a skill I have not mastered), on figuring out what to eat between appointments so that the kids don't go starving for 12 hours straight the way I might be likely to.  On not forgetting appointments or forgetting to make follow up appointments at these appointments.  Fun times!

But life happens sometimes, and we all got through it time.  I didn't have any significant health/fitness related achievements and honestly I ate anything I could.  But the kids put their brain to the test with their assessments at school and blew everything out of the water.  I'm super proud of their hard work. I'm also super happy that they can go through these things without fussing and complaining. 

Their assessments covered their learning styles, emotional quotent, values, cognitive skills, and a few more I can't remember off the top of my head.  I'm happy that not a lot of things revealed were surprises - it all felt like confirmation to what God was showing me about my kids through prayer.  I'm also grateful that Frontier Charter School supported me by doing these assessments one on one and giving me practical tools that will help me help them.  The assessments are worth $400 per child + staff time.  I paid nothing out of pocket.

I learned that homeschooling was probably the best decision for my children.  Anakin is a tactile learner and has improved memory and critical thinking skills when he's engaging his large muscle groups, so sitting in a classroom for 7 hours straight is probably not the best place for him to reach is full potential.  Brielle is an auditory learners and very much a creative free-spirit - but our school system's curriculum is designed for visual learners and in a very concrete fashion.  Would they survive in public school - yes.  Would they thrive? Just enough.

I discovered that Anakin is really smart because he works 3 times as hard than the average kid to learn what they are learning.  I also discovered that he has a very harsh, unforgiving view of himself.  Things we can work on.

They both are so much further ahead than their grade level that we could, in theory, take a year off and they'd still be ahead.  However, in practice, I can't slow down learning.  My kids will always read.  They'll always work on math concepts and build on that.  They'll always explore and use scientific processes to understand biology and physics around them.  We can't turn it off - it could be at 7pm while we're watching TV.  It's the beauty of an open, non-pressure, non-testing perspective of learning.  And they still have chance to play and do chores.  Which both are so importants!  For their sanity and mine!

But I am considering going lighter on the bookwork and focusing more on our Bible studies, on sports/physical skills, and on crafts/hobbies.  Why not?  We all could use a little more living, a little less same ol' same ol.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm Not a Consistant Blogger

I've been off-line for the past 3 weeks or so when it comes to this blog.  My bad.  Part of it is I'm a little busy - or a little tired.  The other part is I didn't have anything new to share.

I lost a few more pounds and I'm 2 lbs away from 175!  And I ran a 5K faster than usual. My usual was 45 minutes, but I managed in 39 minutes!  And I've been doing very well - very consistant - in eating healthy and exercising. I've added weight training too, off and on, but now I think more regularly since there's snow on the ground.  I've also fallen in love with the treadmill (not really) since I can force myself to run 6mph and not my usual 4.5 mph pace (pathetic, I know.. But I'm improving!).

Kids are doing great!  All the first quarter assessments show that homeschooling since last December has them advancing by leaps and bounds.  And that I'm more intune than I give myself credit for - I wasn't surprised at what they are struggling with, or what I can do to help them... I was already working on it. 

Kids have a funny way of making you proud and embarrassing you on the same breath.  They do great academically in some things at home - and then, in church or in public, they'll make a really foolish decision and act like little monkeys raised by a pack of wolves.  But what this is teaching our home is the value of unconditional love - and loving as Christ loves us.  We're working with the kids and learning ourselves that we are not our actions or our mistakes but our identity is exclusively in what the Bible says we are.

I think you've been there too.  Or maybe it's my confession.  But your kids do something off the wall, and you say, "Why are you such a little heathen?!" But God has shown me in these moments that they are not heathen, they are precious, smart children!  It reminds me of a meme I saw on Facebook: "You are not fat.  You have fat.  You also have fingernails.  But you are not fingernails."  Same concept. 

You can develop an identity crisis from constantly hearing what you are.  Even the question, "Who do you think you are?" is putting an identity on you - because you answer it! And it's never a good answer.  I've been yelled that in a church lobby once, in full fury... "Who do you think you are?!"  You know the answer to this - rhetorically - the answer is "Nobody".  I'm "nobody" to be here doing anything.  That was the point that was being made and it stuck - for 7 years.  It stuck good.  Until I heard an anointed preacher proclaim who I really was according to the Bible.  It has messed with me for some time now and I can't do anything without hearing that. 

And I'm glad that the Lord was speaking to me in this area as it pertains to my kids.  But He has been all-encompassing that way; He communicates to me through His Word, and about my children, my marriage, my health, my friends.  He is there to guide you if you seek Him. Most people just don't want to hear all that He thinks.  You have to take Him all in - not the bits and pieces that you like or dislike.

So in 2013 I chaperoned youth conference and the Lord healed my knees.  I couldn't walk without my knee caps swelling and I had no synovial fluid.  My knees were starting to rub raw and deform.  Then God healed me and told me to run - quite literally, so I have.  To date, since then, I've run 160 miles.  And I would've run more but I didn't start till April because of snow on the ground.  This year, God healed me of Rheumatoid Arthritis altogether.  I had spent a month without my prescription medication because of being uninsured, but after being insured, I don't want to get back on.  There was a prayer session where the guest speaker asked all the youth leaders to come to the altar to pray, and he specifically asked for leaders and not aspiring leaders.  So Paul and I stayed in our seat.  As we prayed the leader said that God was going to heal wives who had debilitating illnesses or ailments that put a hindrance in the work they can do.  Paul came over and claimed that for me - and we weren't even the wives the preacher was talking about! (I kept saying, "Why would God heal me like this? I'm a nobody. I'm just hear to help man a hotel room.")  And then a little while later He did it.  I felt it in my joints, and I haven't taken pills since. I run faster, I feel lighter, and the only soreness I have is from the 75 pounds I put on my shoulder and squatted 25 times.  I'm going back to the rheumatologist end of November - can't wait to see that report.

It makes me a little melancholic because, while I know that I'm absolutely supposed to be homeschooling the kids, I have no idea what to do with the rest of me.  I know I have more to share than just watching teens and toddlers at church.  I just don't have any other opportunities.  I feel a little lost.  And I feel like for most of my life I've been sitting on potential (not kinetic) energy and my talents have been consistently under-used.  I've always been that team player that just "goes where you need me" whether at work or church.  And I regularly get put in places that I don't particularly care for, but I agree to stay for the sake of being a "team player".  Now I'm just asking God to show me what I'm supposed to do with all the unfulfilled dreams and desires in my heart - all those things I love to do but never do.  I'm waiting for Him to open my doors.  It's a sore subject, but I trust Him.  He knows my heart.

And while I wait on the "everything else" I'm at peace at home.  I won't lie, a lot of days it feels like I'm talking to the walls - I keep repeating myself, kids keep looking at me with a blank stare.  But every once in a while there's a break through... like this morning.  The kids read the story of Jonah and Caleb (age 5) goes, "Jonah didn't want to do what God said, and he ran away, but God saved him by sending a whale."  And I ask him, "What do you mean God saved him by sending the whale? I thought the whale swallowed him."  And he goes, "Yeah, but Jonah didn't know how to swim.  So the whale saved him, and gave him three days to pray to God and get his heart right.  Otherwise he would've drowned in a few minutes..."  Out of the mouth of babes!  When, ministry/vocationally, I feel stuck in the belly of the whale, I'll remember that I'm there because the Lord saved me from drowning trying to tread open water.