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SKL

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SKL last won the day on February 19

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    Working Mom of 2

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  1. Hi, does anyone want to debrief? Today is my kids' first day of school, so I feel like thinking out loud about how the summer went. On one hand, I feel like we accomplished a lot. We were very busy much of the time. We touched on all of the areas we wanted to, to a greater or lesser degree. As usual, they did a lot of science, especially biology / zoology and engineering. We did 5 or 6 "road trips" that included visits to zoos, museums, natural wonders, or camping. We did all the recreational things and experienced the arts. We read some good books and watched movies together. We made pretty good progress on many scout requirements. We kept up a reasonably healthy level of activity, and the house ... well, it's not worse than it was when school let out. 🙂 On the other hand ... I am bummed about some things we did not finish. I wanted to do more academic review/prep. What got done: About half [5ish weeks] of their summer bridge books. (Mostly math & reading, a little vocab/spelling and geography.) Some mental math / basics review using a younger math book. Mostly daily journals. (But the entries are short.) A 2 week review course at a private school - math, language, and study skills. I am not sure what all was covered, but I'm sure it was better than nothing. 2 short Brave Writer courses, but they did not fully participate due to time constraints. 2 History Unboxed boxes, minus the projects. The goal was to get through 3 boxes before school started. Grammar review - using a couple of MCT books I had lying around. Parts of speech, parts of sentence, phrases, clauses, and a few other things. Spanish - an extremely small amount of review at culture camp & at home. I wanted to do about twice as much of everything. But that's how I am, year after year. I still plan on finishing up some of the goals that will feed into the school year, but I need to let the rest go. 😞 My kids did a lot of thinking about high school plans. They went from being almost sure they wanted to go to the Lutheran high school, to being mostly sure they want the public school. I have been 50/50, but I am now also leaning toward the public school. This will probably be helpful in placing my kids according to their strengths and interests, and I am hoping that may mean less intense review and study for one of them. Maybe. So now we embark on our last year at the Lutheran K-8 school. This will be a special year for them, as upperclassmen. The school does a variety of special things with the 8th graders, from pairing them with a KG child to mentor, to the 8th grade vs. faculty volleyball game, to the Washington D.C. trip. In addition, the majority of the kids will be "confirmed" in the spring (Lutheran first communion etc.), and they will of course have a big fuss over graduation. I hope my kids are able to really enjoy the special parts and not get too buried in the day to day slog. And I hope they won't get sucked into girl drama either. 🙂 We shall see.
  2. The kids did their swim test - both passed at the highest level. I wasn't sure since it's been a long time since they did any serious swimming. The kids are registered for TKD belt test prep camp & the test itself. I mentioned the 2 upcoming classes at the rec center in an earlier post. The one-time etiquette and money management classes. I had not mentioned these to my kids - I wasn't planning on giving them a choice & didn't need to argue about it for a month before the day of class. But my kid happened to notice the receipt. "Etiquette class?" LOL. Well waddya know. Maybe if they'd act like they know they should act, I wouldn't resort to something so humiliating. 😛 The aunties suggested going out to a restaurant of the kids' choosing to "celebrate" the last day of summer. My kids chose TGIF. The service was extremely slow, so we didn't get home until almost 10pm. Then the girls had to sort and pack their school supplies & take a shower/hair wash & whatever other grooming before bed. They didn't go to sleep until around midnight. Oh well. Now I had better go to bed, or I won't hear my alarms and the kids will miss their first school morning ....
  3. It is possible the parents do have limits but (a) they are different from yours and/or (b) kids are finding ways around them. I have told my kids to tell their friends that I read every single text message in and out every day. Yet some of the things their friends text would blow your mind. Makes me wonder whether my kids are not telling their friends what an uncool parent they have. And maybe other friends are doing the same - not wanting to say "my mom won't let me xyz" because that's not cool. I will say, one thing that is a problem with kids who don't have smart phones: they will borrow other kids' smart phones and use them inappropriately. This has happened to my kids on various occasions, despite my telling them to keep their passwords secret and never let their friends use their phones. Of course they always have an excuse for why it happened anyway. 😕 So a word to the wise - just because your child doesn't have a phone does not mean she is not doing the same stuff the others are doing, or maybe worse. My kids have told me one phoneless friend has a porn addiction - she allegedly uses the school chromebooks for this.
  4. Happy Tuesday! What are the levels of grief over summer vacation hopes that didn't materialize? For like the last month I've been saying we're going to do xyz every single day, and then I end up not having it in me to force it. The kids don't want it, other adults support them over me on that, and I'm working / tired. Plus, everything always takes 3x as long as I thought it would. Realistically, it will still be OK if we don't do anything much today. But I wanted it to be different. (And yes, I say this every August.) We did do a ton this summer. Not enough math, but probably more than enough of other subjects. We completed quite a few scout badge requirements. Had some valuable experiences. Kept healthy, read some good books, & had fun with friends & family. The personal habits ... well ... we will keep trying, LOL. Today - done: Was up in the wee hours ... watching some movies on youtube. Not my best choice ever. Read over the school papers I got last night. Slept in. Helped with an unexpected work emergency. Went to the dentist. Went to the rec center, got my membership file updated, registered my kids for one-time etiquette and money classes, and scheduled swim tests for my kids for this evening. Got some more work out. Got caught up on news, emails, social media. Told the kids what they need to do on their own today. (Practice music, write in journals, clean/declutter in their bedrooms, pick up leaves.) 2 cups of coffee. To do: More work. Some reading, exercise, housework. Look for used school books to order on Amazon or ebay. Laundry. Kid 2 to horse riding. Drop off application for upcoming TKD stuff. Kids to swim test. Kids pack school bags and get tomorrow's clothes ready, grooming, etc. Read-aloud. Kids to bed. Whatever else gets done.
  5. My kids got tracfones for their 10th birthdays. But they hardly sent or received any texts. They only had contact info for a few friends. I don't know if they were able to facetime on those phones, but I'm pretty sure they didn't do so with friends. At 12, I got my kids iphones. They use these a lot more for social purposes. I think it's mainly because all their friends do so. Although I know some kids were using and over-using phones around age 10, I don't think it was very wide-spread until the kids were closer to age 12. Now I can see some kids way over-doing it on the phones, while others do not. I have one of each. I have one of my kids' phones super locked down, but being smarter than me, she finds work-arounds. I don't know when I'll be able to lighten up - maybe on their 18th birthdays. My other kid doesn't text or facetime much, but she spends tons of time watching youtube videos and making videos - mostly of doing makeup and "ASMR." Whatever. I take the phones away each night and decide when (or whether) to give them back the next day. Otherwise sleep, homework, etc. would not happen. My kids don't have ipads. They do have computers, but again, I take them away at night.
  6. Well, the kids weren't very productive today, but then, neither was I. Though I seemed to be pretty busy most of the time. I started or finished a bunch of small things that nobody will appreciate. Better than nothing. The school open house wasn't too lame. I learned a few things: Bummer: the Washington DC trip is over Holy Week, followed by the confirmation ceremony [first communion for Lutherans] on Maundy Thursday. I had been hoping to take the kids to their birth country at that time to see the "Sawdust Carpets." I wanted to do it this year because I don't know if it is feasible to take the time off when they are in high school. And it has to be done over holy week. Ugh. 😞 Their homeroom teacher, whom they dislike, will also be their teacher for all the classes up to noon. Religion, literature, English, and history. The science teacher is new. The math teacher is a guy they like and respect. The schedule seems better this year. Spanish is on Monday instead of Friday, so weekend review will be more effective. The last two periods will be mostly non-brainy subjects - gym, art, music, band, choir. They have this new thing on the schedule called "stem." There is also a new room called the stem maker lab. We'll see what that's all about. I took photos of all the textbooks (so I can buy used copies on ebay) - except that the science teacher said she didn't have the science books. She says there will be a series of different short books. I will have to wait until Wednesday to get a clue about that. The kids came with and spent some time in the gym with a few of their classmates. Then we ate Burger King and finished our car audiobook. As they wound down for bed, I read a kiddy version of Romeo and Juliet to contrast with West Side Story, their latest Brave Writer musical. Then one chapter of their fun read-aloud. Now I just finished a cup of coffee and I am wondering what I should do. Sleep? Work? Plan tomorrow? What should I do with the 1 remaining day of "summer vacation"? Math and grammar review? Start Mr. D Math? Catch up on History Unboxed? Finish Brave Writer? Wrap up those scout badges? Clean the kids' messy rooms? How much can I accomplish between work, the dentist, activities, and preparing the clothes and supplies for Wednesday morning school?
  7. My kids were assigned written homework in 3yo preschool. I was like, um whatever ... I will let them do it if they want to. Interestingly, they did do it without any fuss, and it was something to keep them busy while I cooked dinner. If they would have refused, the teacher would have gotten it back unfinished. Actually I liked it better than the stuff the next teacher requested - send in a bag items that are in 4s, something yellow, something that begins with D, and something that is triangular in shape. Then next week it's 5s, orange, E, rectangle and so on. That was mom busywork. Then in KG (age 4.5) it was back to written homework 4 days per week. I sent my kids with a box of school supplies so they could do the work in aftercare. It was nice - they could do it without assistance, unlike primary school when the assignments got so weird that even I wasn't always sure what they wanted.
  8. I'm still in the first half of the Queen Bees and Wannabees book. I wanted to finish it before school started, but at the rate I'm going, it won't happen. It's actually not bad, just the beginning was kinda stupid. Maybe that should have been placed later in the book. We finished the audiobook Resistance. I did a bit of research and confirmed that this was essentially a true story (but fictionalized). All three of us really liked it. We visited Warsaw on one of our trips when the kids were 8yo. While they don't remember much of the trip, it does help to provide some context. My kids are doing a Brave Writer course related to musicals. The musical they just watched was West Side Story. I had ordered a kid version (book) of Romeo and Juliet earlier this summer, because the kids had done a Romeo and Juliet snippet for a theater camp earlier in the summer, and I wanted them to know the whole story (albeit dumbed down). So today I read this book to them in order to compare & contrast with West Side Story. I wasn't sure how that would go over, but they listened and discussed it, so I guess that was a good choice. We finished the previous Spy School read-aloud and started the next one. We have exactly 1 more day of summer vacation. Last night I went through the piles of books I had hoped we'd read over the summer. I gave up on some of them, but I still have a pile of things I want to read even as the school year starts. It might be wishful thinking, but we'll see. The kids are doing fewer sports this year, so hopefully there will be more time for reading.
  9. Finally got the school year Clarinet lessons figured out / scheduled. Yay! Got the trumpet lessons arranged last week.
  10. Oh, and I'm glad the dog was found. 🙂
  11. My kids also seem to treat their special toys as more than inanimate objects. Rationally, they know it isn't true, but they still will not come out and say it. One of mine, close to age 13, still says "they are real," even though she doesn't actually think they are live polar bears who are going to get up and move themselves. She says goodnight to all of her critters when she goes to bed. She makes sure she isn't giving any of her 3 bears preferential treatment over each other. I know this is not exactly rational, but I don't feel like it's a problem either. I think that deep down, they know, even though they still want to cling to the idea that they could be real. They don't want to be the ones declaring that the magic is gone. I never really thought about this before, but maybe it is related to the idea of hoping, wishing, that a person is permanent even though someone important in their past wasn't. It might be too scary to address the possibility that their loving parent (currently you and I) might leave. Deep down, they know that there is no actual guarantee that we won't. The ties holding us - are they strong enough? You and I would say, well of course, but to a child who has been through a disruption, it's not that simple. The same child who says her bears are "real" - she is also the one who worries about me dying. It may all be related. For now, I still play along with my kids. They know I am playing, but this gives them the freedom to give up the fantasy when they are ready.
  12. Well, I called to try to do several things on my list, but nobody is answering the phone. Also the quick Amazon order wasn't quick and the AHG registration ended up being a long process. Why can't anything be easy? 😛
  13. Howdy, did someone say it was Monday? Nobody asked my opinion on that .... Done: I was up until 4:something a.m.. Doing what? Well let's see ... I was organizing, doing yoga, doing registrations, sending scout emails, paying bills, and sending out one client task. I slept in, which was glorious, though I did have to keep waking up from 8:30 onward to check for client emails. Gave the kids a to-do list ... but they are busy making slime first .... I got a little more client work done. Made a phone call and got some more forms going. Finished 2 cups of coffee. To do: Call clarinet teacher. Shower & hair wash. More client work. Lots of it. Hopefully set up a swim test for my kids. Make an amazon order. Register the girls for AHG. Make a dentist appt for Kid 1 and a chiro appointment for me. Maybe swing by the rec center & TKD place to register/pay for stuff - or this can be done tomorrow. Maybe drop off some things at the library. Get kids to do some stuff - independently & with me.... School-worthy grooming (one kid in particular needs some work - hair and nails). Make lunch order for first week(s) of school. Practice instruments. Write in journal. Clean bedrooms. Leaf pickup. Some read-alouds for learning / personal development. Some grammar and math review work. Brave Writer. History Unboxed. Scout badge requirements. Open house / meet the teachers night at school. Fun read-aloud. Laundry. Whatever else gets done.
  14. Honestly, I think the bigger mistake they made was leaving you alone instead of having the nursery staffed with 2 or 3 people at all times. Some people just love other people's kids, so maybe they just assumed everyone has an unlimited store of energy for that. But it isn't so. Volunteering is a very individual thing. I dislike the tone of others telling you how you should feel about the task you spent 3 hours doing. Your organization needs to work with you to find the area you can assist without coming away drained and annoyed. And you are right to question what can be done to make the future service work more enjoyable and meaningful to you. In the long run, that will enable you to help more.
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