Friday, June 6, 2008

Regrets in Amaretto

First, let me say that Godiva has a flavor almost exactly like I described. I added the amaretto to the truffle, but the rest is the same. I'd just make it a Ben n Jerry's flavor. I'm original that way.

Second, I'm having a great deal of fun with the Q&A. Thank you! Before I get to the next question, a few words about Connie and her husband Mark.

Connie was writing for the Boomer Babes blog this last year and recently took some time off. She and I email occasionally and I'd sent her a Mother's Day email with a cute picture of Fred and Bessie. My two favorite bovines! She emailed back, I responded, it escalated, we got into a shouting match, I used the new hold I'd learned for my job - wait, no, I'm confused. She emailed again to tell me about her horrid Mother's Day adventure. Click here for her version of the story (I just discovered that I can't click on the day's post, so scroll down and look for Friday, May 16). Brutal. But she's handling all of it with grace and a sense of humor. For that you've gotta love her!

Connie's husband, while cycle training for a triathlon, hit a pothole at 25 MPH and flew 20 feet. She's been caregiver for a couple of weeks now and will be for quite awhile. If any of you have done this for family, you know what a joy and a drain it can be to give full time care to someone you love, especially when it interrupts a busy life. Give her cyber hugs, will ya?

On to the questions! Mighty Morphin' Mama asks:
I am looking forward to reading all the responses, as I have just 'met' you!

I am going to ask you what your new job is like and if you are looking forward to it.

Whee! I'm not going to be able to talk much about my job, but I can give y'all a little descriptor now. More than that, I'll tell you about orientation, since I'm enjoying it so much!

My official job title is Psych Tech and I'll be working weekend night shift for the eating disorder clinic. Meaning I'll be doing I'm not sure what yet. But yesterday's training was Managing Aggressive Behavior and I learned to break holds, avoid injuring myself, and put someone in a safe, relatively painless but effective hold. Way cool! I'll be practicing later on the Hunny. Heh.

I never, ever thought I'd be working in the health field, have never been interested in nursing or medicine. Ew. But this is good. And I think I'll stop there. Sorry. Partly because I still don't know enough about it.

Next! Noble Pig keeps it simple:
What is your all-time favorite meal?

Just one all time favorite? The hot dogs I had for dinner last night? No? Probably - oh sugar. This is tough. I could say a crawfish dinner, with fresh boiled crawfish, new potatoes, corn on the cob. But then that would leave out the shrimp dish I loved growing up, the one I'd always have at the China Doll in New Orleans. Or Gretna or Metarie. Phenomenal. It would also leave out Christmas soup and kielbasa and pirogies with sour cream. I can't pick one all time favorite, Cathy! Don't make me!! Okay, now I'm hungry ...

Lil' Bro plays hardball:
What ever happened to that grey hat? You should post a picture.

Actually I planned to post this picture later, when I run the post on the Little Flea. I don't think those pictures are scanned yet, but stay tuned! The story will go with it. :)

And Karen's will have to be the last one today, because I know myself and this will take a bit to answer.
You may have mentioned this already and I may have missed it, but why did you decide to put the kids in school rather than keep homeschooling? I'm always curious about that. Do you have regrets?

I have so many regrets.

We homeschooled for nine years. I did it for many of the right reasons and many of the wrong reasons. I did it because I thought I could give my children the education they needed, because I feared many things - schools, immoral junk, some of my family, all kinds of things. I did it, in part, because I thought I had to. And because I wanted my kids there with me. And I thought I was capable. And I was.

Until Little Guy was school age. That's where it all fell apart. He's brilliant. The other two were reading by four and five, having used Hooked on Phonics, and were progressing steadily. They knew a lot of stuff! And we'd joined an excellent cooperative with a lot of good families, confirming our decision to homeschool. Florida was very friendly to us in that regard. We ALL learned a lot in those years.

Little Guy, however, just wouldn't learn to read. I used Hooked, then LeapFrog videos. Workbooks, hands-on learning, all while continuing to read his school work to him. And being frustrated, not doing school as many days as we did. Did I add that Little Guy is ADHD? And that he wasn't diagnosed till last fall? At age ten? Yeah. The last 4 years of homeschooling were brutal. And desperate.

I switched curriculum more often than I should have. I tried so many things. Finally admitted to myself and the Hunny that I HATED schooling the kids and wanted like anything to quit. By then the quality of my classroom had slipped so much that the other two weren't up to grade level and Little Guy still wasn't reading, even though he should have been going into third grade. Seriously, not even Hop on Pop reading, people. Frustrating.

So I'm afraid to put my kids in school in Florida (had a bad experience with the school near my house where they would have attended), Little Guy couldn't read, and I didn't see any way out. Couldn't teach my kids. Couldn't stop. Then I picked up a box of Dolch sight words. Little Guy learned to sight read. Hallelujah! But still A LOT of work to do.

Long story short, the Hunny and I found a good curriculum intended to bring the kids up to speed and our children did school for a year straight. In the middle of that year we moved to Tulsa. In moving to Tulsa we intentionally bought a home in what we were told was the best school district. Then finished out our last semester of homeschool! Woohoo!

The kids have all adjusted pretty well. They went into the grades they were supposed to. I pressed in a little for the ADHD diagnosis and to have Little Guy tested for learning disorders. Turns out he has a phonetic awareness issue and can't distinguish between vowel sounds (which I knew), so he has an individual education plan and goes to labs during his day. It's awesome. He's doing great. Just for good measure, his teachers recommended summer school, which he started this week. And enjoys. Oh, and he has the verbal vocabulary of a graduate student. Definitely an auditory learner who remembers every last blessed thing he hears. Much to my chagrin.

Regrets? I regret homeschooling the children as long as I did, when I knew that I was failing them miserably. At the same time, I don't regret having them home and the type of people they've become as a result. I regret not fighting harder for them, for curriculum I needed, for myself as mom. I regret not understanding that failing at teaching didn't mean I failed as mom.
I regret not getting tutors when I saw the weak spots. But then, a tutor might have meant I'd still be teaching them and hating it. I regret failing them, period. It is what it is. God has been gracious throughout.

Hope you enjoyed another segment of Q&A. I'll scan the questions and see if I can't knock out the rest this weekend. But today's going to be my longest day of training yet, so I'll save that scan for tonight, after I catch up on all of YOU. Thanks for hangin' in there with me.

Until I write again ...



Anonymous said...

Wow! What a powerful response to the question of homeschooling. I'm amazed how "well adjusted" you are. You just seem to deal with it -- your stuff, that is.

Not sure if I ever told you we homeschooled for two years when our kids were 10 and 8. We just got fed up one day and jerked them out of school. Mr. Mom was the teacher. I think he did a good job, but it was a process -- figuring out what it means to homeschool, figuring out what "works" and what doesn't, and letting go of assumptions, biases, and expectations that are all built on a "public school" mentality and that you don't even realize you have until you homeschool. Our kids are back in school now at their own request, but Mr. Mom and I still have a lot of angst over it and in many ways wish they were homeschooled again. I enjoyed hearing about your experience and sounds like you learned so much from it.

Mayberry Magpie

Anonymous said...

You thought it was a simple question but it's's impossible to pick something...but it made you think of a bunch of meals you love which was actually my intention. Now go make one of those and take a picture for us, okay? said...

Love your answer to the homeschooling question. There have been so many days when I have asked myself if I'm doing this because of some "principle" I have in mind or if it's because it's the right thing to do. Much prayer and careful consideration...still believe it's the right thing for now, but obviously open to a good school. :) you really like crawfish? I have a recipe for a crawfish etouffee you can have if you want it.

Trisha said...


I have so enjoyed reading the answers to your readers' questions! It is helping me learn more about you every day.

Good luck on your new job - it sounds . . . interesting!

Oh - if the bovine duo would like to visit Dallas - just let me know. I am sure my two kitties would love to play host to them!

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Your job sounds like it will definitely keep you on your toes!
Thank you for sharing your home school experience. It sounds like you were very successful in getting your children's needs met and getting them where they needed to be. I am glad that you feel that they are where they are supposed to be now too.

Mental P Mama said...

What a wonderful post! I feel like I know you so much better, and if you ever say you failed your children during the homeschooling time again, I am going to come there and spank you! They sound like they are just as amazing as their parents, and none of who they are would be possible without the foundation they have. I think you are being way too hard on yourself. I have never known any homeschooled children personally. Can you believe it?? But the more blogs I visit of mothers who do this wonderful thing for their children, the more admiration and respect I feel for them, and you are one of those!

I am excited to hear about the new job, and hope you stay safe...sounds a little edgy what with the self defense lessons and all.

By the way, Fred and Bessie are going to weigh-in on everything Monday... Pun intended. Have a wonderful weekend.

Mom Knows Everything said...


Karen said...

The whole homeschooling thing? Describes our experience exactly. Thank you for being so honest about it. I'm still struggling with the guilt of some things. Yeah for the little one reading, and a great school!

~ Straight Shooter ~ said...

Love your honesty Flea. But, reading your posts - I don't think you'd have it any other way. You're a true Straight Shooter!

CanadianMama said...

Hey Flea,
I'm loving question and answer time, I feel like I know you so well now!
I'd like to know how old you are, is that too personal?

Wineplz said...

Wow, what a struggle you went through with Lil Guy and his reading! good for you for sticking it out and working to get the kids up to grade level...that must've been really hard.
We just got the final word that Gavin has significant delays in his Expressive Language (what he says, how he says it), some in his Receptive Language (what he's hearing and how he's processing it), and he's recently developed some disfluency (stuttering). It's kinda nice (maybe not for you) for me to hear of someone else's son having some learning disabilities because it helps me feel like we're not the only ones with a challange to face.