Phoenix Academy dorm room door!

Phoenix and DWYL

Phoenix and DWYL

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Memoir – all about me

I came across a link to Homeschool Memoirs and a new way to use blogs for homeschoolers to relate. The first one was Aug 20, write about myself, how long I’ve been homeschooling and why. Actually, they specifically refer to the Momma. I’m really the aunt but the rest is the same. Let’s start with why I’m homeschooling:

My nephew Connor moved in with us January 2008 and spent the last half of the school year going to Bailey Middle School near us. He finished 7th grade, barely. We agreed he’d go home for the summer and return in August. After an enlightening conversation with a friend at church I decided to try home schooling him for 8th grade to see if that environment works better. Given the time and effort spent working through his homework and then trying to figure out if he actually handed in the homework, I am not sure home schooling will be that much more effort.

We are now on day 3 of our homeschooling. I think things are going pretty well. I didn’t drop all subjects on him at once, and he’s going to stay with my mom next week so it will be a few weeks before we truly see how this schedule is going to work. But he’s doing pretty well so far.

In addition to homeschooling, I work full time from home. I spend a lot of time on conference calls so we built doors to my office so Connor and I don’t disturb each other. I am also in semester 4 of a 4 semester EMBA program. January should be a breeze after this year. I have been married to an absolutely wonderful man for 15.7 years and we are looking forward to many more years. I’m also active at church, sing in the choir, and play handbells. The full handbell choir is fun, and the quartet handbell choir is a blast.

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My shoulder

For anyone following this blog my shoulder started hurting in June, just before VBS, probably due to some major web surfing for home school information and ideas. I adjusted (moved the mouse over to the left, which mainly resulted in my using the pointer on my laptop with my right hand) and tried to do more with my left arm. I also had some wrist pain, then that went away. Shoulder hurt a lot one week and then didn’t hurt as much. But it kept hurting and every once in awhile I would whine about it (Anthony may dispute my use of the phrase “every once in awhile”). Anthony finally told me to do something about it or hush.

Last Wednesday I went to the doctor and he confirmed that I have strained my rotator cuff (the 4 muscles that make up the rotator cuff). But nothing is torn. Then I sent in pictures to Egoscue and we played phone tag. I finally called them today and signed up for 5 menus of exercises over the next 8 to 10 weeks. Anthony and I compared the pictures from mid-July when I first thought about contacting Egoscue and the pictures from mid-August after I had been doing some of the E-cises from the books and we can already see a difference. I also can feel a difference, but my shoulder still hurts. They do say it can take 12 to 18 months to recover from a strained rotator cuff, and you recover by torture doing exercises to strengthen it. I keep telling myself I don’t really know who “they” are, and I’m a wimp so I whine.

The doctor gave me anti-inflammatory medicine and offered PT or a cortisone shot. I will work with Egoscue first and see how that does. I have had a few people warn me away from the cortisone, but the doctor spent 5 minutes talking about how they aren’t bad and 95% of the people who get them have no problems and the shoulder is the easiest place to give one. I still think this is an opportunity to make a long-term change to my posture/structure and I’m not convinced that a shot can fix something that could take months to get better on its own.

The good news is that the pain is still there, but much better over the past week. I start my new Egoscue menu of exercises tomorrow morning and I’m still keeping up with my yoga in the evenings. Work and homework and homeschooling all fit in there somewhere!

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School has started!

Yesterday was our first day. It went pretty well. This week is “start whenever you get up” and that means that he gets up, makes his lunch and starts his day. Yesterday he went for a walk between lunch and school, but Fay is making it pretty wet here so no walk.

Yesterday he looked over the Kingfisher book and read the 4 introduction pages. He also worked on the poem writing assignment. He needed help with coming up with quality adjectives and I worked hard not to help him, but I could sympathize with him, I struggle with that myself (which means I wasn’t good help even when I made suggestions). He also did his Bible reading and surprised Anthony with some of his insights over dinner.

Today he will finish the grammar pre-test and start Algebra. I had been wavering between scheduling everything and being flexible and last night ‘schedule everything’ won. I entered the grammar and math assignments in the Homeschool Tracker, now I just need to get science and logic in there. It is nice to be able to print out his assignments, see what I need to copy for him to take to Mom’s next week, and also see what I should expect to have handed in for me to grade.

The other area I expected struggles with is that he has to read more than he plays his computer games. Walking or playing outside is good, schoolwork is great, time with friends is very good. But those are all separate. For any time he plays a video game that day, he has to do extra reading for longer. Yesterday he read at least 1/2 of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (his choice) and he got to play his PS2. Anthony found a good novel about Pompeii, which fits in with the visit next Saturday (9/6) to the Pompeii exhibit at Discovery Place and the Roman Army Festival down the street that weekend. We’re trying to convince him that it is fun to read (and that Naruto comic books aren’t bad but don’t count as reading).

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. I’ll post back progress and we’ll see how things go as we progress. This week should get us introduced to the schedule, then next week he spends with my mom. I have copied and organized all his assignments for next week so no textbooks will go and possible get left behind.

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Lefties of the World

I’m a lefty, have been all my life. That doesn’t explain why it’s my right shoulder that hurts. The world is definitely set up for right-handed people. That is why my right shoulder hurts.

Today I surfed a blog that led to another blog and found an entry about being a lefty that referred to a Left Hand store. Now, when I was in elementary school this would have been great. I really needed scissors, notebooks, and other things that I could use as a lefty instead of having to struggle to not smear my ink as I dragged my hand behind my pen or write close to the left edge of the notebook when my hand was resting on the spiral wire. And my mother was a trooper trying to find things for me and working with me to see if it would work. But, I’m 39 now and I’ve adapted. I eat and write with my left hand, but I do everything else with the right (did I mention it’s my right shoulder that hurts?. I think I’m too old to learn how to use a numeric keypad with my left hand. I’m struggling to use a mouse with my left hand (old habits die hard).

I missed my one day of the year though. Apparently Aug 13 was the official Left Handers day. I’ll have to put it on my calendar for next year.

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World Magazine

We discovered World Magazine a number of years ago. We’ve been very glad for the discovery. It is a bit like Time magazine, with current events and practical articles, but all from a Christian worldview. It is a very thoughtful magazine.

My favorite part of World is the weekly column by Andree Seu. She is good at seeing the spiritual battle, going outside of her comfort zone and reminding the rest of us we are too comfortable, and putting the struggles we all have into words and word-pictures. This entry from World On the Web is a great example. When you pray, do you expect an answer?

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Today was the annual meeting of our women’s ministries group under our Presbytery. The Presbyterial meeting is a blessing each year and this was no different. We had a speaker, Tracie Miles, from Proverbs31 Ministries. She had a wonderful and convicting message about responding to God when He calls us to do something. Her message was very personal and also tied in well with the theme of Presbyterial this year, Embracing the Call.

The positive side of this is that I felt reassured about my decision to home school Connor. I’ve said all along I can’t do it in my own strength and as long as I remember that, we’ll do fine. I was also encouraged to be more intentional about opening my heart and mind to hear God’s call in all areas of my life.

The imprecise status of the women’s ministries at our church is a challenge, though. I have to judge between what I am truly called to do and what is just my desire to fill a hole. It’s easy to look for others to step up, but much harder to state that it would be God’s will for them to step up. I think the answer is to make sure I’m in prayer for me to be clear on what I should do and for God to bless the ministries as He sees fit. If I have done that and I truly don’t feel led to step in and do it, then I’ll stay back and trust His timing. I’m writing this here on my blog so I can come back and remind myself of this often.

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Homeschooling and working

My husband and I both admit we originally didn’t consider homeschooling because we both work. But desperation over the amount of time I spent working with a child in public school convinced me that homeschooling couldn’t be more work, just different work. I am very happy that a friend who home-schools felt the same way and encouraged me to reconsider my options.

Here is a blog entry from the Washington Times Homeschool community that points out others are also realizing that the amount of time spent on public school isn’t negligible. And that other couples where both spouses work are finding ways to make homeschooling work.

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Wordless Wednesday, pics from Snail’s Pace

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Time apart

I’m heading to the mountains for a short retreat. A friend introduced me to The Snail’s Pace a few years back and I’ve been up a few times over the years. I know I’ll have good weather, good food, and time to be alone and time to talk with new people. I have been up there for the Creative Retreat and even did a Silent Retreat which was great.

But first, I have to get through 4 meetings in the next 5 hours.

See you in a few days!

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