Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Did I say we weren't going to school...??

So three weeks into the school year, our oldest son Mack, states that he wants to return to school. Then, our second oldest son follows suit. Then, the requests to return don't stop. We meet with the principal, who lays the entire day out including the 1 hour spent on math everyday, and you couldn't get my boys to sign on the dotted line to return fast enough. So, just like that-my boys are in 1st and 4th grade.

The first week was tough. Lots of emotions running through me (and I think only me). Sadness: an era is over. Regret: I didn't do enough. Fear: I should have made them sit and do more worksheets. Guilt: I wasn't a good enough teacher. Curious: I wonder how this will all turn out. Excitement: Maybe everyone will adjust and this will just be the right time to return. Maybe, I'll have more time with my littlest guy Joe who's 2 1/2. Maybe I'll be able to keep the house cleaner. Maybe I'll be able to spend more time on my business. Maybe, I'll... miss... them. It was a tough weekend.

Monday rolled along and I promised myself that SuperMom had to show up and do everything that a supermom would do if her kids were going to school. I filled out papers, I made phone calls, I organized my calendar. I was ready for my boys.

Then, Zola decided that she wants to return. Thank goodness there were a few days between our boys deciding to return and Zola wanting to return. We filled out paperwork and just like that-she's a 5th grader.

The boys have adjusted quite well and Zola is on her path. Everyone is working hard and the school has been phenomenal. Seriously, phenomenal. Patient with their new students and the new students parents.

And so, a new chapter at the Regele house begins...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You are invited to our party

So yet another "Not back to school year" has begun. Sometimes, I think that phrase makes us seem like we don't agree with most of the world that is attending school but really, it's not true. We have just found a lifestyle that really works for us...for now. We continue to re-evaulate if someone wants to try school again and some of my kids have begum to contemplate whether they would like to try it out.

Admittedly though, this time of year has always felt a bit awkward since we began homeschooling. Everyone (so it seems) is buying cool new school supplies and talking about which teacher they have (for better of for worse) and you can just feel a buzz in the air for the new schedules that are about to begin. It kind of feels like everyone else was invited to the party except you. I know, we made a decision to homeschool, if you don't like it, you should send your kids back, of course you should send them back...blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...so the voice in my head says. And then, just when I have a flicker inside my head that feels like the outsider, we have something really hands on amazingly cool that happens and I remember why we have chosen and have been sticking to our path to homeschool so far. Please don't get me wrong, kids attending school have awesome hands on experiences as well-this is just all about little ole me needing some positive affirmations/sign/throw a bone my way post.

Tonight, was no exception. I was driving home from the mammoth dig for needed items from Costco when we drove into our neighborhood and saw salamanders and frogs jumping and slithering everywhere. My boys asked excitedly-"can we go on a frog walk when we get home?" I said yes but kept thinking of all the things I needed to still get done before I turned into a pumpkin. We unloaded the car as quickly as we could and tried to maneuver which parental chaperone should accompany the boys on the frog walk at 9:30pm. I kept unloading and was trying to sneak away to my enormous pile of laundry, paperwork, blogging, crafting, etc when I remembered how fantastic these "frog" walks have always been. Even our 10 1/2 year old Zola was becoming interested (just when I thought slimy creatures had become passe). So, off all 6 of us went, equipped with flashlights and old Reba (the digital SLR I received for too many holidays/celebrations to mention) to find frogs and salamanders.

And, as always, we had a terrific time and had our own little party. By the way, you're always invited to our "frog walk" parties but just be sure to bring those new school supplies that I'm still such a sucker for buying.

P.S: We are making a special school supply trip tomorrow. For mom perhaps or kids? Bottom line-I think we'll all be excited. Who wouldn't be about new erasers and pencils?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

2 luftballoons...

Alright, so lately I have been (and so have all of us including our beagles) adjusting to having more on my plate. In my previous post, I mentioned that my kids are adjusting just fine. Presently, however, I'm wondering about my own adjustment. Here's the story:

Friday was my littlest (and last baby!) guys 2nd birthday. The next day was the 2nd Market for Confectionique (feels like the newest baby). I was distracted by all of the things that needed to be done in order to get ready for our market that I inadvertently forgot about buying my little guy, Joe, the only things he requested-- whenever you asked him what he wanted for his 2nd birthday-a Momo (Elmo) cake and gacko (candy). It was late Friday afternoon when I finally had a chance to run to the store and buy the cake (to which I would add Elmo pre-made sugar faces or should I say pre-made cavity makers). It was at that moment I decided that Joe should have an Elmo mylar balloon and his birthday would truly be the best ever. The balloon would make up for all my moments of distraction and make me look like I had really thought of everything to make my little boy happy. So, I looked through the stacks of balloon packages, finding everything from a dancing margarita glass to a giant sun with sunglasses but no Elmo. After many minutes of deliberation, I finally decided that the giant jumping frog would suffice. I rushed home in order to have the shiny balloon by our mantle so that when Joe woke up from his nap with his dad, he would know immediately that it was in deed his magnificent 2nd birthday. I brought the giant balloon in, careful not to get his amphibious body caught in the van door and I set him down with his weighted balloon ribbon onto the floor. Suddenly, like bees to one's can of sticky soda, my older, and old enough to know better kids, began playing with the balloon. I mentioned from our kitchen that they shouldn't play with the balloon-it could easily pop. My voice rose as I heard the sound pfhg pfhg pfhg of the balloon being hit from one child to another. My voice got louder-"if you pop it, you owe me your allowance." PFGH, PFGH, PFGH-gregarious amount of laughter-"IF YOU POP IT YOU OWE ME ALLOWANCE AND YOU WILL LOSE A PRIVILEGE!" PFGH-PFGH-PFGH went the balloon until POP and hiss. Then silence. Absolute complete silence. I went over the deflated balloon with tears welling up in my eyes. "We're so sorry mom" "yeah mom, we really are" "I stopped when I thought it was going to pop" "It was her fault" It was his fault" "Do I really have to pay you my allowance?"

I ran up the stairs trying to hold back my tears of disappointment. I went in to tell my husband that it was time to wake up and to wake up the birthday boy. I also told him about the popping balloon. As I told him, I realized how much that damn balloon meant to me because I really thought that my 2 year old son would have the perfect birthday once he saw that sparkly mylar balloon. That stupid frog balloon marked the beginning of his birthday just as the lighting of the torch marks the start of the Olympics.

I recovered from the "balloon popping incident." My children did not discuss it. It was almost as if it had never happened. Was it really that pathetic that I cried over a popped balloon? How old am I right?

Now, one of the problems with me is that when I envision something a certain way, it is incredibly difficult for me to let go of that idea. So, today I decided that before we had our family birthday celebration for my little guy, I would drive over to Party City to get him the real deal-A giant Elmo balloon. This time, things would really be perfect. I left the house, my kids busy and Joe taking a nap with his Dad. I stopped at Starbucks for my Venti sized ice coffee, the sun was out, life was good. I arrived at Party City and bought the biggest Elmo balloon I could find. ( At least I didn't buy the one that sings) I even bought 3 additional small round mylar balloons so that all of my kids could play with their balloon. I drove home soaking in the sun, reflecting on how lucky I am to be a Mom and of course about how this balloon was going to make his family celebration absolutely perfect.

I arrived home and carefully carried Elmo's shiny mylar bloated body into the house. My daughter and her two friends saw the balloon bouquet and in unison said "Awwww". My daughter remarked that I was finally able to get the exact balloon I wanted to buy. I gingerly carried it through the living room when POP and hiss. Then silence. I could feel the life slipping from part of the balloon bouquet. Elmo was caught in the ceiling fan. I picked up his lifeless body and the audience of girls quickly scampered out the back door. With a very flat affect and no tears, I told my husband what had happened. He tried very hard not to laugh. That's a good hubby right?!

Today, I learned some very important lessons. Sometimes, no matter how you envision something and try to make it happen, it is meant to happen another way. And sometimes, as Mothers, we need to be ok with simplicity and to really think about why we are doing the things we do-where is that "need" for something to be a certain way coming from anyway? And, never, never, ever, bring mylar balloons in your house when your ceiling fan is on.

Wishing all of the incredible Mothers I know that at times put undo pressure upon yourself to do the amazing and even at times work miracles (it's all of you!)-a very very happy Mother's Day. All of you make me a better Mom.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Appreciating the Moment

You know that moment you reach when you amongst the chaos of your child/children and there's a calmness that settles? The calmness that reminds you how lucky you are to have such amazing people in your life? I was so very fortunate to have many little moments like this with my kids and my best friend/husband while on vacation. Sure, we spent too much money on Jelly Belly beans and ate way too much greasy food (the kids now know that "white castle" take on a whole new definition in the culinary world) but we had a blast. I won't have much time to blog here between today and Sunday (there's a Confectionique Market May 8th!) so I thought I'd take time to wish all of the Mum's I know a very Happy Mother's Day. May your day be filled with pampering and calm moments.

P.S: May be I will get a chance to stop back here before Mum's Day-did I mention that my littlest guy turns 2 on Friday? How did that happen?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surprisingly & amazingly, everyone is happy

So, I have been on a hiatus form blogging on this lonely site of mine. Ever since I started my business with my best friend, I have been all consumed with getting everything done-I've even been having dreams about our business-seriously. I started to get pangs of guilt about if my kids weren't getting enough attention, would my house maintain itself, would everyone remain sane through my new venture? And I think I can say with confidence that everyone seems very happy. Nothing much has changed really on our home front. Everyone has maintained their same interests and being able to be outside in warmer weather has been wonderful for us. It's funny how whenever I think/fear that my kids are bored/or not learning enough, when I ask them, they look at me with a strange look and tell me that they are busy.

On a side note, I have been reading Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar by James Marcus Bach and it is the perfect book for any of us who are taking the alternative approach to education and wondering how it will all pan out. Not that I have ever questioned our decision...

So, I hope to be back here more because I do love capturing the moments...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On the Right Path

Me and John Gatto

Yesterday, I attended the Unschooling Conference here in Madison and it was a great experience. I had a chance to to talk with some friends and meet some new homeschoolers/unschoolers. I also had a chance to sit back with a hot cup of good coffee and listen to John Gatto, author of Dumbing Us Down and Weapons of Mass Instruction. He is full of life and enthusiastic about every question he was asked. As well as very approachable. You really felt like you wanted to talk to him for hours. I only hope that I have that kind of passion when I'm 75.

The conference had a limited amount of participants which made for a lovely environment. I was also pleasantly surprised by the delicious and healthy food for breakfast and lunch. I was expecting a sub sandwich and some chips. Instead, there was a salad of mixed greens, homeade soups and homeade ginger cookies -delicious. (Thanks again to the amazing cooks!) A sure fire way to feed the soul while pondering big education questions.

What I walked away with was a sureness about what we are doing. I heard John Gatto and Jen Lynch (http://circletheworld.blogspot.com )another fellow unschooler speak and offer a lot of insight about the power of Play. I also gained a lot from asking and talking about my concerns (really talking, without a fear of being criticized for how we have or are doing things) I learned a lot from listening to other participants ask the same questions that had been rolling around in my brain. I only wish that I had asked these questions a few years ago. I may have not been ready for the answers then but right now, the answers fit perfectly for us.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Get to go to Gatto!

I am thrilled! I have been trying to get a ticket to the Unschooling Conference for a few weeks and earlier today, I received a call that there was a cancellation. One of the first home schooling, un schooling boks I ever read (even before we took our daughter out of kindergarten) was John Gatto's Dumbing Us Down. After much deliberation, and reading his book and John Holt, the deal was sealed. The philosophies from the books still resonate in me when I feel myself getting tugged into questioning our decision to home school. You know when you read something and it hits your inner core? That's Gatto & Holt for me. So, as you might suspect, I'm really excited to have this opportunity to hear him tomorrow. I'm also happy that I get to be immersed in the energy with other home schoolers. It will be a terrific day and some day, my son will learn to read Gatto the right side up.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I have a sweet tooth...

I'm so excited to announce the opening of my business with my dear long time friend and business partner, Anastasia. We have known each other for so long and always been so thrilled to share our creations with each other that we finally decided to share them with everyone! Confectionique is a confectionary of gifts re-imagined. In other words, we find trinkets and turn them into treasures that we hope bring a smile to someone. Our only caveat to having our business is that it has to be fun. Between you and I, I'm having a wonderful time! I would be so delighted if you'd check out our latest creations at www.confectionique.com.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Natural Process

After we started home schooling, we pulled away from signing up our kids for numerous activities. I would get pangs of guilt mixed with anxiety when I would over hear other parents (home schooled and not home schooled) talking about running their children to different classes (music, foreign language, gymnastics, sports, art...) Yet, whenever I asked my kids if they wanted to sign up for any classes, their response was always "no". Now, I am thrilled that my kids (on their own) are asking to take some classes. I think that I am most excited because they are finding interests of their own that they are genuinely (without bribery or threats on my part) wanting to try on. Don't get me wrong, I don't know which method is the best (introduce a child and they might like the activity-how will he or she know unless exposed to the activity? vs. wait until he or she picks their own interests) I just know that we couldn't continue to invest in classes that involved us bribing or threatening in order for our kids to attend regularly. It also put a very unrewarding dent in our checking account.

So, currently at our house, I have a young man taking fencing lessons and a young lady taking horse back riding lessons. On the horizon, I see electric guitar lessons and bongo lessons-oh and ramen noodles and ear plugs.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spacklings of Normalcy

I wondered out loud to my husband today-would our house ever look normal or will it always have spots here and there that reflect some sense of organization but not a firm theme of structure. In other words, we constantly have piles of various half done projects on our dining room table, a strange collection of various unmatched tiny toys on the counter and a looming tower of Pisa papers by our telephone. This is just the description of the first floor. I also asked him if it's a reflection of my poor housekeeping or lack of organization-(here's where the best part comes in) He hesitated briefly and then slowly uttered these words-"It is a reflection of your eclectic interests."

He sure is a keeper.

(I must give credit to my daughter who took the terrific photo above-thanks ZOzo.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy New Year!

The tree has been taken down (a few days past Christmas due to an intense allergy I had to it-does this mean I'm old now that I shared this medical issue?) Dust has been brushed from our math books and the use of "electronics" has been restricted again now that we have entered the new year. We had great intentions about sending out a Christmas card and then even better intentions about sending out a Happy New Year card-neither happened. Keep your eyes out for a Valentine's card...We're pulling out our roll of goals from last year and claiming our wishes for 2010. I'm trying to get my kids to think past- wanting more "gacko" (our 20 month old Joe's word for candy), wanting more Pokemon cards (our 6 year old Fisher's desire to get as many level X (?) cards) wanting more electronic gaming systems (that are edging closer to extinction-my 8 year old son ) and wanting more ipod game apps (that are free-our 10 year old daughter's wishes).
I sincerely hope to engage us in some sort of project that gives back to the community. We are so very lucky and I really want (and have been trying to figure this one out for the past few years) us to work together, as a family, in creating something that contributes to others. I've got my thinking cap on and I'm hoping my idea will pan out. I'll keep you posted...