Monday, June 29, 2015

A Season of Change

Many bloggers have seasons in their lives when they just can’t update as much as they would like.  Generally, when there has been a noticeable absence the blogger returns with an explanation of sorts.  Well this would be my explanation if I had one.  The truth is it’s a season of change.  I am so busy trying to keep up with life that all the fun creative things like capturing our life in pictures has taken a backseat to cooking, cleaning, laundry, checking homework, writing papers. Honestly more like eating out, piling things up in corners for my attention at a later date and washing when I hear a little one say “Mmmmoooommm, I don’t have any socks,.”  To which I reply “What do you mean you don’t have any socks!”  Nothing fancy just plain ole day to day stuff. 
I was feeling a bit nostalgic over the weekend and decided to peruse my blog of former posts.  It was wonderful to see all the school activities, family vacations and other things that reflected a time when I lived more outside the box.  My current groove feels like a fast treadmill on a cold dreary day.  No frills just going through the motions begrudgingly.  How sad!
Updates! After a lot of prayer and tears I’ve decided to enroll all of the boys into traditional school next year.  Oh man was this a difficult decision.  Why you may ask!  Well the answer is sort of long but I will try to type a shortened version via bullet points.  So here are my reasons is no particular order:
  1. I’ve noticed I’m losing my patience with my boys.  The lack of patience has been ongoing for a while and after a year of it not going away I felt that I needed to change things up.
  2. My boys need more structure and activity then I can give at this time.  Yes our homeschool has structure and some activity but they need more than I can give at the moment.
  3. Somewhere along the way I lost the magic.  By magic I mean the heart of really tackling each day with passion.  My daily lessons unfortunately turned into a no frills let’s just get this done sort of thing.  There are seasons when you find yourself in a rut but it should not continue for long periods of time. In my case an entire school year. Sad I know.
  4. Didn’t know attending grad school part time would take up so much of my energy. 
  5. Education laws and rules are always changing and I got scared that I wouldn’t be able to cut it.  How I let the devil in my head with this one I don’t know. 
  6. I’m tired and suffering from major burn out.  I know that’s part of it.  We homeschool moms are always tired. We are always trying something new, attacking an area that needs work.   But I was feeling something different that I can’t easily explain.  I’m done, even though I don’t want to be.
  7. For the 2014-2015 school year I tried something different enrolling the boys in a university  model type school.  With this program I did not have to plan any curriculum I only needed to follow the guidelines and make sure the boys turned in their work.  I started the school year thinking this would be the answer for me.  It was not.  The boys did well, but the still small voice within me was still saying its time to let go.  (No I don’t want to.  I’m not ready. There are still so many things I want to do and share with them). The conversations with myself were endless.  But nothing changed.  No glimmer of hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.  Nothing signaled me that what I was feeling was just an emotional blip that would pass. 
  8. I need a break.  I need a space to hear my own thoughts and pursue other things. I would like to go to the doctor, the bank, etc. without carrying three boys with me.  Perhaps that sounds selfish, silly or petty.  I can’t believe I just typed that.  But in the spirit on standing in my truth I’m going to keep it there.
  9. The boys need a different environment.  Some of the character issues we have in our home stem from our setup.  It will be good for them to experience a different environment.  One where mom is not always the teacher.  The change will help them to appreciate what they have and be exposed to something different.
Really, I could go on and on but you get the gist.  The new school year will be the first where all of my boys are in school under someone else’s guidance.  It’s bitter sweet. When I started my homeschool journey it was my intention to see it through to completion. However, I strongly feel like I’m being led in a different direction.  Next year will be a trial year to see how the boys do and if traditional school is a match for our family.  Needless to say if its not a match for our family I will not hesitate to bring them back home or consider other options.
My younger two will be one campus and my oldest will be on the middle school campus.  I’ve registered everyone online but still have to go down for the formal registration and turn in shot records etc. 
Please keep us in your prayers as this is definitely a time of transition for all of us.  During this time there have been many, many tears for me and I’m sure many more to come but I know that God will see us through.  I’ve signed up at both campuses to be apart of the PTO.  When I was growing up it was PTA.  I figure I’ve been very involved in their education up till now I might as well keep that up. 
In the meantime, I hired a tutor (a teacher from our ISD) to work with Christopher over the summer.  I shared the boys yearly standardized test results with him and he feels that boys are each doing great.  That was a huge relief.  Christopher is a little behind with his writing but he is working on that. The tutor stated that Christopher has great ideas but translating them from thoughts in his head to words on a page need a little more developing.  He said that’s difficult for many kids especially boys.  I decided to hire a male tutor because I thought there might be a difference in the lessons.  And wouldn’t you know this tutor can get Christopher to do things that mommy can’t.  Thank God for help! Based on Emmanuel’s test scores the tutor feels that Emmanuel will be placed in gifted and talented when the year begins. 

So that’s an update on the happenings around here.  Talk to you soon.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 Off and Running

Grad school…

By the time you read this post I’m in the thick of it.  Spring semester has begun. I’m taking two classes/six hours, Counseling Diverse Populations and Assessments In Counseling.  This semester I have one online class and one class on campus.  What can I say about online classes?  I will have to hold my tongue until I have spent more time in my class.  Right now it feels strange.  I prefer my professor in class with me so that I can ask questions as we cover the material.  My degree plan is sixty hours and there are about five classes total that have an online option.  If you haven’t noticed technology has taken over every area of our life whether you want it to or not. Recently, I went to see my advisor to file my degree plan and he informed me that I should start my practicum this fall.  That means I will be counseling live bodies, helping real people with issues, at a field site in just a few months.  Although I am nervous, I am secure in the fact that I will be prepared when the time comes.

Tuesdays are very busy.  All the boys are in school on Tuesday which means lots of driving for me.  Dropping the boys off, going to study, picking the boys up, meeting my husband at our specified location so we can switch cars, he takes the boys home and then I’m off to campus for class then driving home. Rinse and repeat.  Lots. of. driving.  I’m hoping gas prices remain low.

Around my home…..

Well mostly I’ve been focusing on food prep and keeping my home clean.  When I say clean I don’t mean spotless but de-cluttered with dishes washed, bathrooms clean, floors mopped, and laundry done.  My goal this semester is to spend less eating out and somehow manage a cleaning schedule on our own. I fired the maid. Yes, I had a maid.  We’ll see how long we can manage.

Meal planning…

Throughout the years I have attempted many types of meal planning schemes.  I learned that I don’t have a problem with planning meals however carrying them out is another issue.  My current meal planning has been condensed and simplified.  Last year I started cooking meals based on what my family eats.  We sat down at the table and I wrote down all of our favorites, snacks, breakfasts, desserts, dinners, etc.  I have since broken the list down into ten different categories like beef meals, seafood meals, chicken meals etc. Once a week I pick five to seven meals, one from each category and that’s the meal plan. Currently, I’m not cooking meals for the month.  But I am batch cooking some of our favorites.  (For those of you who don’t know what batch cooking means.  Essentially you double or triple your recipe for your favorite meals.)  So when I cook a meal I split in half we eat half and the other goes into the deep freeze with a label for the month and year it was cooked.  These frozen meals can be pulled out during the busy times when mom doesn’t have time to cook.  

Home education….

My older boys are pretty much keeping to the schedule I created at the beginning of the year.   I’m not in love with the way things are but were getting things accomplished and that’s what matters.  Joshua on the other hand we don’t have a specific schedule and I feel bad about that.  We continue to work on phonics, handwriting and math with him.  Joshua comes after Emmanuel who was reading books at four so when I compare the two boys at times I feel bad because Joshua is not learning at the speed of Emmanuel.  Then I remember we are unique and there is no need to hold Joshua to the standard that worked for Emmanuel.  We will work at his pace.  This semester I will be stepping things up a bit with him.  I like to teach my boys to read early. Christopher was reading in Kindergarten and Emmanuel was reading at four So I’m hoping to get Joshua really reading before we start Kindergarten with him.  The boys are making A’s at their school which is great.  As far as homeschooling goes I think the end is near well sort of.  My husband has decided that each child will attend a regular school beginning seventh grade.  That means I only have two years left with my oldest, five years with Emmanuel and seven years Joshua.  Let’s hope I make it at home.  I may change my mind and send them all to school prior to the seventh grade. Its bitter sweet.  I’m grateful for the time we’ve shared and looking forward to what comes next. 

Birthdays…

Were in the midst of birthday season.  Each child has turned a year older, they are now 10, 7, and 5.  My sweet man will be 40 this month and I will be 36 in March. 

I will come back later with a post that includes pictures.

Until next time.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Years/ 2014 Wrap Up

Happy new year!  I’m thankful to see a new year but I can’t begin this new year without reviewing 2014.

2014 began with me attending a homeschool moms conference.  Many times along this homeschool journey my self confidence has taken many hits.  I decided to begin 2014 investing in myself as a confidence booster.  Coincidentally I choose to focus on one word for the year.  Instead of creating resolutions I chose to focus on that word and how the lack of self-confidence affected many other areas of my life.  That led me to read a book written by Roxanne Parks the organizer of the conference.  I memorized scriptures to remind me of God’s providence.  Each week I would write one scripture on my mirror in the bathroom to meditate on. One of the scriptures that sticks out to me was Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I can not recap all the years events but 2014 was eventful.  Joshua got pneumonia, we had home renovations, Christopher had two surgeries and Emmanuel was very sick twice, our fish died, lastly my mother’s side of the family  had a family reunion, I think its been over 20 years since our last family reunion. 

uzorhappenings2014

familyrenuion2014

Another area that stands out to me is my marriage. My marriage was really  stretched this past  year.   Marriage is a journey and the longer your united the more obstacles you’ll encounter along the way.  One area that has been a stressor between us is my desire to have more children.  Yes,I would like more children.  As crazy as that may sound I’ve always wanted a large family.  When we first got married my husband did not want as many kids as I however we agreed that we would have four and then decide if we would have any more children.  Well we never got to four kids because along the way my husband felt like we had reached our capacity.  This has been a very sad reality to live with.  My husband is the head of our home and trusting God that he is making the right choice when my heart believes we should go another direction has been extremely difficult.  Submission is not easy. Well this year I fell like I’m finally moving beyond that.  Oh it has been a journey filled with tears, anger, frustration and long talks.  Some people don’t understand my desire to have more children, while others are sympathetic to my situation.  Anyway I feel that I’m getting to a point where I can actually talk about it without breaking down into tears.  Most days I’m okay with our decision but whenever I see a little girl something happens to me.  Growing up as an only child, I just knew I would have a little girl.  I was certain of it.  My heart was prepared for a little girl and so when that day never came I was stuck on all the missed possibilities.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being a boys mom.  Boys are great and according to some they are a lot easier to raise than girls.  I don’t know but I’m grateful for my little guys I just always thought a little girl would be part of my lot.   

Aging parents has also been a pull on my marriage.  Both hubby and I only have our mothers left and both of them are well and vibrant women.  However there is a shift happening and determining which direction to go next has not been easy.  About a year ago my mother in law left Nigeria to retire in America.  We  are helping her get acclimated to life here in America but her being here has caused us to have some deep conversations like who should she live with, should we get a bigger house, what about health insurance etc. etc. etc..  Caring for an aging parent is a lot. I wish there were more literature on the subject for people my age.  There are so many things you don’t even think about until you are in the situation.  I always knew I would have to care for my parents but for some reason I always assumed that time would happen when my children were grown and gone not while I was in the midst of starting my own family.

If the above was not enough.  I applied and was accepted into graduate school.  My first semester is over and currently I have a 4.0 GPA.  My hopes are that I can maintain a 4.0 throughout graduate school. 

My children are growing and doing well.  Christopher turned 10, Joshua turned five and in a few days Emmanuel will be seven.  These boys are growing up too quickly.  They are doing well in school  and maturing into little men. 

birthdays2014

Last year my focus was on self confidence this year my word is marriage.  I am going to work on my marriage.  I feel that there are so many ways we can take our spouses for granted and we miss so many opportunities to connect.  2015 is going to be a year for me to really focus on how I can improve my perspective about my marriage.  Although I wouldn’t describe our relationship as in trouble I do see some areas that I can improve upon. 

I’m really looking forward to 2015 and all that it has to offer. 

The boys start back school on the sixth and I begin my second semester of graduate school on the 20th.  This winter break has been full of rest and relaxation for me.  I’ve been busy at the sewing machine and catching up on recorded television programs and getting my household ready for the next semester.  Can’t wait to catch up with you all and share what’s happening with us for 2015.

 

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One Semester Down Nine To Go

My first semester of graduate school is officially over.  Thank goodness I survived. No I did more than survive, I kicked some college butt. In the words of my eldest son.  On my first day of class he gave me a little note that he wrote to encourage me.  My mom also wrote a nice little note to me which I read from time to time during the semester to give me the extra push I needed to keep going.

words of encouragement gradschool

This journey has left me speechless, in awe of The Almighty,  and crying tears of joy.  One day when I have the time to really compose my thoughts about this journey I will share a little more about how I arrived here at this moment.  Over on my other host site I did post a graduate school series where I shared some of the reasons I decided to pursue a graduate degree at this time in my life.  Unfortunately, I did not save them before transferring my blog back to Blogger.  I will see if there is a way I can retrieve the data and add those posts here at a later date.  

My grades posted earlier this week and I made two A’s, which means I currently have a 4.0.  The sheer fact that I’m capable of making a 4.0 13 years post undergrad school while homeschooling is a testament that there is a God!  Honestly, this endeavor would not be possible without hard work on my behalf but mercy and grace bestowed on me from the most high.  Thank You Lord!

This semester was not without its setbacks.  My previous cooking and cleaning schedule all went down the drain and I went into survival mode pretty early in the semester. We spent so much money eating out, which I have justified because we have to eat.  Next semester hopefully, we can eat  more from food prepared ahead of time. To say this semester was a challenge is an understatement.   Two of my children got sick one week I had a test and a paper due. In total I wrote 12 papers this semester.  12 papers may not be a lot for some but it was a stretch for me adjusting to APA style coming from a journalist background.   My fears were screaming out you can’t do this! What were you thinking!  This is impossible!  But the devil is a liar and yes I can and will do this with determination, love and support for those near and dear to me. My first two classes were very interesting. I found that I was very intrigued with my studies.  I’m eager to continue my studies and follow this path. My professor shared with me that she was so happy to have me in her class.  She thought my insight into the reading forced others to think on a deeper level and as a result our class discussions were very deep. She also said that she hopes that our paths will cross in the future and if I need anything don’t hesitate to reach out to her.  I’m still trying to take it all in and digest this semester. 

My winter break is in full swing and you can find me at my home relaxing with my children binge watching Netflix and washing the endless pile of laundry.  My days are filled with snuggles from my boys while sipping hot chocolate.   I’m not ashamed to say I’m being lazy.    After Christmas I will begin revising and tweaking some of our daily routines and batch cooking in preparation for the Spring semester. 

This semester has been such a blessing, more than words could probably ever convey.  My hope is that each semester will be equally as gratifying. 

I will post more about how the boys are progressing soon. 

Happy Holidays

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