Thursday, December 1, 2016

Education woes

I know, this is a pathetic problem to have - I know I sound whiny.  However, our kids education is VERY important to us.  Get a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

With our first two, homeschool was never an option.  There were public schooled ALL the way.  I really did not like how more and more, the education became all about the test.  They were tested all the time - chapter test, unit test, benchmark test, pre-pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre Star Test, pre Star Test, Star Test, semester test, pop quizzes, pre-benchmarks, etc, etc. This is per class by the way.

Now, I am not against tests.  I test my homeschool children.  They get chapter quizzes, spelling quizzes, Unit tests, and I do test them once a year with a national testing company to make sure we are the right track.  (Maybe if I ask really sweetly or even demand, if the kids do good, hubs can give me a bonus - very sarcastic)

Besides that, I do not like how the teachers have their hands tied when it comes to educating the kids.  I am not a teacher basher, I am a system basher.

So, given all this and the issues I had with one particular teacher and my daughter, we decided to homeschool the younger two when they were going into 3 & 4th grades.  The first year was wonderful, we did so many things explored history - they learned all the countries of the middle east (amazing) and they both excelled.  The second year, I was worried about them not having enough friends, so we enrolled them in a one day a week class.  It was still going great!

Then pre-puberty hit, and my daughter was getting tired of homeschool, she missed her friends.  Darrell and I, at that time went a local private school that we LOVE!!!  We were going to make it work, but then ultimately decided that it was not the right choice at the time.  Which I am glad we did, because then, the oil industry tanked and we had to change jobs and take a pay cut.

They went back to public school.  It was awful!  They came home crying most days, Koen was beyond bullied, Laney was so bored, she was getting headaches and saying her stomach hurt, Koen sat alone at lunch for 1/2 of the time because of the bullying - he eventually found a group when he got to middle school and joined band.  By Christmas, Koen was begging to be homeschooled again.  When he got his teeth pulled out in March, I just took him out of school.  I was done.  Laney, said she was not sure whether she wanted to homeschool again.  I did not pressure her.  She asked to be homeschooled 2 weeks later.  School was not all it was cracked up to be.

They were happy as larks. 

Now, we are still homeschooling, but my business has completely taken off!  I am struggling to balance homeschooling them AND running my business.  The house has completely gone away - we even stopped having cleaners come in to help with the debt aspect.

OK, so a couple of months ago, I came across this school that is part private/part homeschool.  PERFECT COMBINATION!  I would not have to scourge the earth to find good curriculum and try to figure out how to use it, implement it, enhance it, adjust it, etc, etc.  Not to mention grade and track it.  This I could do!

So, we go to an informational meeting.  It is a little too Bible Thumping for us, but not overly so.  They taught following the Classical Method - the trivium - Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric with focus on the liberal arts - rich Literature, History, Latin, Logic along with Math and Science.  Exactly the way I am trying to homeschool them.  It seemed like a great fit.  They would go 2 days a week and I would homeschool (really just monitor since they are in the upper levels), so we could still do extra-curriculars. 

We filled out all their paperwork, I tested the kids - it was a long hard day!We had t get a reference from our minister, but since we don't g to church, we asked our best friend, which happens to be a lay-leader at an Episcopal Church.  Got a good reference from the educator at the small school we went to, in which I am a judge at the Houston Area Spelling Bee which this school sponsors.

Then, we sat back and waited.  Last night, I received an email.  No call, No interview - just we are not a good fit for their school and we will not be admitted.

Many have said, "Maybe it is a good thing."  I am sure, but this was how I was going to have my cake and eat it too.   My kids would get what we consider the best education we could possibly give them and I could still have my business.

Alas, that is not to be.

Are their other schools, not really.  There is another one just like it, and I will check to see what their policy is on the requirement of attending church.  Which, by the way, is the reason we were not admitted - we do not attend church.  But they sound very similar, so I am not holding my breath.

So, that leaves us with 3 choices.

1. They go back to public school.  I take valium and alcohol for the next five years, meditate to forget the education we planned for them, and continue with the business.

2. They can go to the wonderful, but pricey full time private school that has the same educational plan as us.  Knowing full well, that I'll need to work like a mad woman to be able to afford it.  Remember, we have one in college that we are trying to get through debt free.

3.  I stop the business, educate them myself.  Problem is, I am always the one to sacrifice and the work feeds a part of me that is very deep.  When I am not creating and making, I get very depressed and things do not go well.

I don't know we are going to do yet.  I am leaning toward #3, but I still do not know if it will work the entire 5 years.  Taking it one year at a time in elementary is fine, but homeschooling through high school is more difficult.  You have to track, carefully, they need this for college!

There are my educational woes.  I could be worse off, I know.  Many go through public just fine, I have one who is in engineering so I know!  People make the money work through private school, I know.  People make it through teaching their kids at home all the way through - I KNOW!!!

What makes it hard is choosing between my business and educating my children. 

Do I make enough to send them to private school?  Not both, one - yes.  Not two. 

Something we are possibly considering is sending my daughter this nest year since she is going into 9th grade.  I pay for it, then my son follows the next year when we are out of debt.

But again, we are getting older, we need to save more.

Ah, hell, I have no idea!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Presents

This year I/We have decided to give presents from the business to the extended family - brothers, sisters, parents, nieces, and nephews.

For our Dads, they are getting flannel pillows with scripture embroidered on them.  This flannel is so incredibly soft and sews like butter.  I am making Darrell and myself one as well!

For our Moms and my Sister, they are getting these gorgeous plaid scarves (blanket type scarves) with their monogram. 

For my Brother in Law - he is getting two key fobs - one Cowboys as a joke, then Houston Texans for him to really use (my sister's idea!)

For all other sibling sets - they are getting embroidered jute coozies.

For nieces and nephews under 18, they are getting sweatshirt cinch bags with the younger ones monogram and the older ones a patch of their liking.

For my sister's nephew - a hooded towels and possibly a Tooth Goblin.

We are MUCH closer to my sister's family than the rest of the family, so they get a little more personal and unique gifts.

All these items I bought through the business, blanks that are to be embroidered or heat vinyl pressed into them.  I don't use the heat vinyl, so embroidery it is!  Everything was under $8 each - most coming in around the $5 amount.

The pillow forms we bought we at 70% off through a Joann sale, they ended up about $5 each. The flannel I paid full price for @ $8.99 a yard (on a regular sale though), but it does not take much fabric for a pillow.

The scarves were $6.50 each.  The key fobs cost me about $2.00 to make.  The coozies were $2.50 each.  The cinch bags were $5 each!  (I love them they are awesome!)  The hooded towel is the most expensive coming in at $10.  Add about $10 total for thread and stabilizer.

4 Dads @ $7.50 each = $30.00

4 Moms and Sister @ $6.50 each = $26.00

2 Key fobs @ $2.00 each = $4.00

10 coozies for 5 couples @ $2.50 each = $25.00

6 Cinch Bags for nieces and nephews @ $5.00 each = $30.00

1 Hooded Towel @ $10

$10 for thread and stabilizer

Total spent for 26 people $135.00

I really don't think that is all that bad!  We love giving to everyone, we just keep it in the budget.  This year I think we have done fabulous!  I will post pictures when I get them all done!

Do you buy for extended family?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Overhaul

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, we woke up when we woke up - around 9:30 a.m.  We made sausage balls, had some coffee, then some more coffee, then another cup for good measure until about 11.  Then, we went for a slow, 2 mile walk.

Came back home, opened up the turkey to find it still frozen on one part.  Laughing, we steeped it in water to thaw quickly, why I jumped in the shower.

Once I was dressed, and discovered the turkey was now thaw, then I set that up while hubs got the potatoes started, then I got a glass of champagne and sipped while the kids and hubs set up the Christmas tree.

My son and his girlfriend came over, helped with the tree, visited while we cooked on and off.  They left for her house and we continued cooking.  My oldest son came and we were ready to go pretty soon.

We sat down and my daughter only wanted turkey, fruit salad, rolls and olives.  While others took only a couple of things as well.  After no one finishing and dinner being eaten inside of 10 minutes, we are done with Thanksgiving meals.  No one in my family really likes it anyway and I am tired of cooking all that much and it being lackluster at best.

We all talked about it afterward and decided that this was our last Thanksgiving.  What we all agreed is that is would be MUCH nicer, if we could go serve others, then come home to a simple meal - it would mean so much more.

SOOOO, that is what we are going to try to do next year. 

Now, that banana trifle was excellent!  That I just might keep.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone - I hope you were able to spend it with people you love!