Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Doctors

I had a doctor appointment yesterday. 
ergh. 
He said that he might be able to get me to see a little bit better out of the right eye once the swelling has gone down more... the scarring is pretty bad. All the way through the layers of the retina. The left eye is still swollen as well, but it is much better. I actually was able to see the chart!  He thinks he will have a better chance of seeing some if I keep up with the meds, I am just wanting to be able to work some. 
one of the pieces I took to the doctor

I actually took some of my work to him. I just thought he should know that the past four years, I have been struggling for vision so I can work. Just so he would know what it is that I do. How do you explain to someone that you bead? I've told him what I do, but I don't think he understood until he held a necklace in his hands. 

So when I showed him my work, and I told him, this is what I do... I need to be able to see at least some... it was like... he got it. He finally acted like there was a purpose to my visits. I don 't know, maybe I just didn't communicate to him that I can't see... If I can't see.. I can't work... I can't work... none of us eat... This is what I do... 
the other piece I took to the doctor


So today there is very little vision, the driving, which I thought would be ok... was taxing. The bright lights and the scans took their toll. The boys were angels but they were, well, boys. I didn't even take my prescription to the pharmacy. We went home and I laied down in the dark room and rested.  One of the neighbor boys stayed over so there was no fighting but there was a lot of giggling and noise... so I knew everything was ok.  We had supper and then more resting... today, it is a little hard to do very much. 

I am restless, and need to have something to keep my hands busy, I can't sit still for long, I just feel that I need to do something. I thought I'd work on some sewing. I have a box of pattern pieces that I've cut out and never got around to sewing together... the sum of three dragons, two quilts and odds and ends like frogs, birds and a pillow... all needing to be stitched up.

 Now, I've never said I was bright. 

I sat with the box (actually a little suitcase) and sifted through the pieces of fabric, and decided that one of the dragons looked cheery as much as a dragon can. So that is what I started on. The machine was set up with the thread anyway, so it was the least work.... the truth sometimes is better than trying to explain why I decide on anything... 

The only thing was, it was the black material with blue/green/black/white scale-like material for the belly, top of head, scales and arms. Oh, and the eye lids... so I thought I'd work on the eyes first, which is logical, which I haven't been in a while.  So I sewed on the eyelids, and thought about giving up... but decided if I could just get the head and tummy on, I would be ok. The rest of the work would be handwork and I could do that. The arms and legs aren't that bad, I can see on that fabric ok. 

I just don't understand where I went wrong.

I pinned everything, went slowly, took out pins when I got to them... and was careful when I got to curves, sharp turns, and I thought I got all the bits and pieces out of the way...
When I turned the little bugger, I found his head was turned to the side. I couldn't get it to go straight. I have no idea why....
well
OK, so I sewed a little of the black fabric onto itself when I turned a sharp corner... but that isn't any reason that I ended up with a couple of inches extra fabric at the bottom. This is a mystery to me... how do you end up with extra fabric? Especially when you pin it all...
I don't know what I did.

The whole thing looks lumpy and bumpy and really odd. 

So I put it away for another day, and decided to help the boys draw dragons instead of sewing. The older of the two made a smelly dragon, that leaves gas clouds where ever he has been.  The younger boy drew a dragon eye.. and didn't want to draw anything else.He did finally draw swords and diamonds, and made several pages of drawings... I actually love his eye. it is pretty cool.
he ended up drawing a diamond, sword and some funky chicken feet?

 I promised we would get the clay and marbles out tomorrow and make some eyes for the stuffed toys. They thought that would be fun. They both love the pasta machine.  After that, I have some fairy houses that need painted. I know where to get day labor... cheap. 









Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hello, my name is...

Hello, my name is Marie and I am a bead hoarder.

Yes, I don't like that name, I would appreciate; collector, connoisseur, keeper of beautiful objects...

Oh, I jumped at the idea of this Blog Hop thinking it would be fun and a no brainer... I could do this even if I can't see. I won't be doing any tiny needle work, I'll tell you now, I had to make up my mind that if I want to do what I like, I have to back away a little and just do what I can... . I hadn't considered all the places that I have 'stashed' my jewels, where all I would have to climb, jump, crawl on hands and knees, Wow! ... I have them here and there and seemingly everywhere. I kind of want to sing that old Macdonald song... eieio. When I started out, I also thought doing the work would be ok, my eyes are a tiny bit better, well, the left eye is better, I can't stand having my right eye open for long. But back to the story, I didn't realize that it would be so long in making my first project, which is nothing like anything I've done before, well, I've made odd necklaces, and used the materials, but the techniques were totally governed by my eyes.  I also didn't think about taking pictures.
 Turritella communis fossil pendant
Thus far, I haven't taken a picture since I have gone into this ordeal with my eyes. Or if I did, it was on the little Nikon, which is hit or miss and usually it is just point it and shoot. I was amazed at how using the left eye is so much different in the picture outcome than I had realized, seems everything is thrown off to one side now!  I did get some pictures along the way, and I stayed up late thinking I would play around with the timer, lighting, and backgrounds... well, that didn't last long!

This first necklace is kind of a fun ode to summer. I found the heart shaped pendant at a little shop in Salado, Texas a couple of years ago. I had completely forgotten about it, I like it because it is a fossil, and it is pretty. When we lived in central Texas, I would dig in the yard for fossils and made different crafts out of them, now I live further West and there are still fossils, I just don't get out and dig in the yard anymore.
I wanted to make this very earthy and summery, and I kind of like it, a mixture of odds and ends, I found a piece of peyote stitch ribbon that I didn't like for whatever reason, but it matched just right, not very long, but I like it. I also used shells, crystal, glass beads, glass pearls, real pearls, and there is even a piece of jasper left over from the BSBP from Shannon Hicks, who is in this blog hop as well at Falling Into The Sky. Go see what she made!  Back to the ncklace... there are two types of yarn, bound by beads woven around. I like the light color. I was so impressed that I had finally made something with the pendant that I had forgotten, the day I bought it, I had this wonderful organic necklace in mind, with tons of seed beads and some pearls that I got from my grandmother, and some shells that we brought back from the Solway Firth, they would be perfect... now I can't find those shells, so I made do with these that I purchased for a totally different project!
I made another necklace. There is the picture in the blog below that shows the choices I had, but I had found so many more beads after that, I just couldn't decide... and I was getting kind of creeped out, thinking this is the first step, next I'll have a house full of cats and become a hermit... people will say, she was so nice, but we noticed that she was climbing out her window...

No, I'm not that bad yet, but you never know what sets that kind of behavior off. I do hoard, which is really saying, I do a lot of crafts and have every room full of my junk. So I say, we need to have a bi-monthly bead hoarder blog hop, so I can declutter.  Like I said, I thought this would be easy, how many beads could I have stashed away? hmmm, mmm, hm, I won't answer that. If my sewing machines haven't gotten me committed, the beads would.  I actually got kind of excited when I saw some of the beads that I have fondled and caressed and gently put away in drawers, cabinets, wardrobes... It was like seeing old friends, hello pretty bead, aw, you haven't aged a bit...
This is the second necklace I made. I don't know where I got any of the beads. I liked them, but never got further than putting them away in the dresser that serves as an overflow for my workbench.
 I do remember when I bought the beads I had in mind a very oriental feel for the necklace. I think I just got caught up in the day to day and forgot where I put them and just didn't give another thought about the beads, you know, out of sight, out of mind.?  I love the red beads, and I like the patina look in the big beads. They aren't expensive, I think I got them on half or more off... and that was cool with me ! I don't mind mixing my beads, some nice, some almost on the cheap side. I figure that no one else will use them, and they are kind of fun.  The clasp is from the Rebecca Nunn collection of Adorned Life. I love the pieces, they are so heavy and feel like they are expensive. The necklace is kind of long, the reason I can wrap it around the neck of the display.

 There are so many beads that I love, I buy these cool colors and stick them in a drawer...  I usually work with lighter colors, since my eyes have been so bad, that is the safest thing to do, but I hold out hope that something can be done so I can work on darker colors... These were really tough to string, the more I worked on them , the less I could see. I had to walk away time and time again, but I got them done

white or purple?
trying out colors with the mesh
I wasn't satisfied with just doing the two other necklaces, so I went ahead and made the black and white necklace (that nearly ended up as purple and black) that I had in mind when I found the black knit wire, which by the way, I love.  I bought some of the silver, gold, and copper Silversilk a couple of years ago and loved it. I have used it for bracelets, necklaces, even earrings. It is so pretty and versatile, and not as expensive as I thought it would be... but it wasn't something I would just play around with. I did take my torch to the copper, which I was kind of worried about, you never know what the content is of copper that you get now a days... but it was really nice copper. It made a nice patina and I used the piece in a rustic bracelet.
trying out beads, I didn't go with this clasp
 Finally the white pearl and black beads won out when I started this, I really thought about doing hot pink or fluorescent green... that would be cool, but this is nice... kind of plain, but I might add something else later on. I had thought about using the knit wire as a ribbon and winding it around the length of the necklace... but this is as far as I got, well, I got a bracelet done as well. I thought the bracelet needed something else so I used a red beaded head pin for the flower. I am tired, my eyes hurt every day after working on anything, but it was fun and I need to do some work to keep me out of trouble.. You see, I look at beading as therapy. I have time to think, to rest, and to curse if I want to, and there isn't anyone that will curse me back... Ha,
black mesh flowers on the necklace... bracelet on top with mesh flower
Sorry that the color on this isn't that great, I'll see if I can get a better picture, but it is really difficult for me to see the setup on the camera... maybe get the Nikon out and see if it will take a better pic. It has a screen to see what the picture looks like, ummmm, a display, which the Cannon doesn't show you the pic on the screen until after it's taken. Drives me kind of batty, trying to squint with the wrong eye!

So I hope you enjoyed the little goodies that I made for today. Please go over to Pretty Things Blog to see the list of reveals, and visit as many as you can. I haven't seen any yet, but I know there are a lot of really great talents on the list, and I am sure they will all deliver something great!  I hope that I get to see every blog, I know it will take a while, quite a while...  but I am willing to read one blog a day if that is what it takes!
Enjoy!!!


circular clasp, hinge on one side small clasp on opposite, seems sluggish
PS... has anyone used this kind of clasp? It has both side that are round, one side has a tiny hinge and a tiny clasp opposite the hinge. I love the look, but it isn't easy to open, Maybe I am just not doing it right????

close up of mesh flowers in natural light. I think they are prettier in person
 

here's another picture in natural light
Turritella communis fossil necklace
And be sure to go to the Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop to see the list of people that participated. There are so many pretty things!!!





Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Bead Hoarding

I stated in an earlier blog that I joined the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop (Hoard is such a perverse term, I prefer stash, it sounds normal to me... OK, that is the first part of having a problem isn't it?), and if you haven't seen the page, go to Pretty Things Blog and see about the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop and see what it is about. The registration is closed, but when the reveal comes around, you can go to all the blogs and see the amazing designs that these great bead crafty designers came up with!!

OK, so mine is going to be beads, but not bead weaving, the old eyes are still not cooperating very much, I am several types of drops into the therapy, or whatever they will call it, and it isn't much better. The drops are to help with the swelling of my retina, we will see where it goes after that. I can tell the difference in the way my eyes feel. I still  start to type and will get a few minutes into it and I can't see (we'll see how long it takes me to post this! ha) . I can't drive, or shouldn't, but have to get to and from the doctor and pharmacy, and grocery store, but that is my limit. I can't get in the sun, I can't watch tv, can't read, and I haven't done any jewelry really speaking of, for almost a full month..  I am pretty sure that  I am giving up with the notion of crochet, but... saying that...  I found this thread while I was in the work room, looking through the stash,  and I had a flash in my mind of the necklace that I had envisioned when I found the thread. I loved it at first sight, and I touched it....and I knew, It was mine...
 I found this in Penrith at a little charity shop while I was just killing time, waiting for a passing rain shower so we could go explore Penrith Castle. Thankfully the rain subsided quickly and I didn't buy too much!  I did get 6 skeins of this beautiful brown thread, made in England, very soft, and shiny. I envisioned this beautiful Victorian type necklace made with amber crystals and maybe pearls... someday it would be, but...  I say I'm giving up on the idea of a necklace right now, because I can't see to thread the beads onto this, however, if I can get my son to do the stringing......

So the second choice for my design might include this. I found it on sale once and bought some 'cause I love the idea of using the wire mesh to make everything from Christmas ornaments to necklaces... and I have some black and white beads that I really, really need to use. Every Fall, when we go to the football games,  I have people ask me where I get my necklaces or earrings from, and it would be nice to have a few made up ahead of time so I can say... "it just so happens... I have this" and pull out the samples of my wears... sigh....
There are so  many beads that I have that I could use in this... it will be really hard to choose. My first thought when I bought it, the main  thought was white beads or pearls, but... I have purple, pink, green, turquoise, neon green, neon orange that would look great as well... so I just will have to pick which one to use and go with it. Then I can make another with the white and black beads that it was intended for, ha, haha...

I really love this stuff... I have even thought about painting it to change the color, since I only bought black when it was on sale... I bought silver, copper and gold at BeadFest a couple of years ago and I tried heating the copper knit... it didn't ruin it, and it made a nice patina, but I didn't try to do anything else with it, it was kind of expensive. I just can't see paying so much for something so pretty and then ruining it... this mesh, it really wouldn't matter much. because it wasn't expensive... and it is just sitting here...

Then there is this... OK, tell me there is anyone else out there that has gone to Bead Fest and NOT bought something on impulse?
Yes, I said it, impulse.
That has to be the only reason that I bought these.

I don't know what I was thinking. I do love Tiger's Eye, and I have a lot of jewelry made from it, and i just thought the gold dragons were really nice... but... OK, tell me you haven't done this before.

So if that isn't enough to commit me... these might. They were pretty....... and if I don't ever use them for jewelry, I can hang them up in the window, they are that pretty, and yes, I know that it was foolish as well to buy them...but, hey, when I saw them, I was thinking of doing something so different with them, and then... I realized that I was really not ever going to make a wild necklace, so I toned down the idea, and put them away.

Now these, these are pretty, so I can't be blamed for buying them, and I can't say that I have ever regretted the purchase, even though they have been sitting in the drawer with my other nice  stones that I just haven't gotten around to using.

I love blue, I really love blue.. and anytime I find any, especially this color of blue, or the turquoise colors, or  Lapis Lazuli I will buy it. It has to be an illness. Has to be.
I do have a string of Lapis, I just have it already spoken for, so I am not even going to drool over it tonight. These are the candidates for this blog hop, and that is the only project that I will allow myself to think about right now.

 These... I don't even know what they are called, but I really like them, the way they are cut makes them look like they have these tribal designs, and that is why I bought them. I love that look, but I really don't have a lot that will "go" with them, and just don't know what to do with them. Oh, I know what I want to do, but I won't go out and buy anything else to do this project. I will not... see, I don't need therapy... really, I don't.
 Bone and some kind of pearl, maybe a brown, and maybe some wood would look nice with these. I have...somewhere, back in the back of my hoard  stash, a bunch of hand made wooden beads. I'm pretty sure they are what  I was thinking about when I bought these lovely stone beads...The wood beads came from a necklace that I bought one time, way back, at an estate sale. The necklace was dark wood, with  twisted brass wire, and some really pretty beads. Seems like it cost a whole dollar... It was calling my name. Anyway, I bought this handmade necklace, and I came home all inspired. I thought it was such a cool idea, and why can't I do something like that? well...I could and did. But... I had a new baby at the time, and I just didn't have the time or patience to make more than a few handmade beads, so they all got packed away, nice and neat, and it got put in a safe place. You know that place... the "it will never be found again" place? but if that place happens to be found in the next few days, I will for sure use those wooden beads with these.

The reveal is July 20th, and I can hardly wait, but I'll have to decide what I will do, or if possible, maybe two things to make, or three... ha, wish me luck! When decided, there will be updates, it isn't one of those that I have to keep secret what I come up with.


Monday, July 01, 2013

homeschooling insight

I just reread the blog from Ree Drummonde, who has this insightful blog on her homeschooling venture. She has great blogs, especially those about Twenty Interesting Things About...  But the blog I was interested in was about why she homeschools, it was written a few years ago, and I wonder if the same still holds true. How on earth does she do it? She is totally fun and funny and has the energy of ten people, and the skills it takes to keep you captivated with her writing and her cooking... when in the world does she find time to teach her kids?

I homeschooled my daughter way back when she was little. I didn't start out with the idea of home school. It kind of just jumped in there. We had just moved to a tiny town that had just decided to "integrate" the school system (and no, this wasn't that long ago) but the town had several elementary schools, why, I don't know, but instead of having just one larger school for everyone,  they closed one school and bused all the Kinder and 1st grades to East Elementary, 2nd and 3rd grades to North Elementary, and 4th, 5th, and 6th grades to South Elementary. I don't know what the name of the school was that was closed. It wasn't West, I know that for sure... Why they chose to close it and have the kids from that particular part of town bused every year, I don't know, maybe the school was older??? I didn't know anyone really in the town that would tell me about the school, other than drugs being a problem... really? in elementary? woah....I thought that having three elementary schools was stupid. One central school would have been so much more convenient, especially with families that had several children.
 When the kids went into the 7th grade, they all went to one Junior High and then all went into one High School. Simple?  I only  had one daughter and my husband had heard from his coworkers that the school system was a mess since they had just started busing, and that they needed a few years to work out the problems, and that there was a good private school that did a great job with the kids, and they weren't fanatic about the religion part of their curriculum, and my husband and I discussed putting her into the program. It ended up that we agreed that we would try it out for a year, and that we could decide on  public school if it didn't work out. I enrolled my little baby girl into the school... and my husband had a fit. I had enrolled her into the wrong school. How was I to know there was another school in this little bitty community? It was another church that had just started it's school, and one of the guys that my husband worked with had his daughter enrolled there. He wanted me to change her over to the "right" school.
I was a bit embarrassed, I had to go in and tell them that I had the wrong school... which maybe they didn't know there was another school in the county, because they kind of shook their heads and told me it was ok with them. I just had to sign the release form... and they gave me my check back.

I found that the new school was nice and clean, and the preacher of the school...I mean principle was really nice. He seemed to be genuine and wanted to give the kids a safe place to learn, an alternative to the chaotic public school system, and a chance to learn about the Bible as well, but he assured me that there would be no way that the kids were going to be forced to change religions or be converted in any way. The school was Baptist, I was raised in the Disciples of Christ, and had no intention of changing churches at that point. My husband was raised Baptist and had no intentions of attending any church at that time. So we agreed about the girl attending the school.
After a couple of weeks, someone at the school had lice... that should have been an indicator right there that something was going to happen. I don't know why, but I should have been worried. I deloused (never finding even a nit) my daughter's hair and washed her sheets, and mine just in case, and vacuumed everything. The school and church cleaned all the chairs, books, desks, pews, and whatever you disinfect when there is an outbreak of this sort. The kids were granted a long weekend in order to get everything clean. I think that must have been when one of the teachers quit.
I got a call from the principle asking if I would substitute for them and if I was interested in taking a teaching job... yes and no were my replies. I didn't want to be a teacher, but I would teach on a temporary basis. I was put in charge of the 1st-6th graders and they were angels, the 7-12 grades were horrid, they were rowdy and disorganized, and their teacher was away from her desk for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. The kids took this as their cue to go wild.
One day, the older kids teacher left her room, the kids went wild, I was going to go over and shut them up and make them sit down and behave, I finished the paper I was grading  and about that time, a group of women walked in, looking very church-lady like and smug. They asked me some questions, my students sitting quietly, across the way the older kids going wild... and they were very disgusted with what they saw. No organization... and they proceeded over to the room for the older kids... I don't know what went on there, but the women left pretty quick. I only taught off and on a few weeks after that. I figured they would find someone to fill the other teacher's position, and another person was filling in when I wasn't... I didn't want to be a teacher so I didn't really ask a lot, besides, my daughter was in the kindergarten class which was miles (halls) separate from the chaos, and the 1-6 were a good group...

just short of the halfway mark into the school year, the preacher/principle called a meeting, not only of the parents of the school children, but of all the congregation. There seems to have been a faction in the church that didn't want there to be a school of any sort within the walls of their church. Several of the women in the church I recognized as being the group that had come to observe our classes. They had these sour faces and their husbands did as well. the meeting started out with the preacher telling everyone how the school was doing, and about the prospects of a new teacher being hired, then he went on to the budget and the contributions that had been made, and the general being of the school. That is when he brought up that there were members that were unhappy about the school, and there were people that were angry with him, spreading rumors about him  misappropriating funds, and a host of complaints.
Now, I have never been involved with the politics in a church before. I have never known a preacher that had been fired, I had never really known of anyone being kicked out of a church before... I guess I was naive at that point, and didn't really know of things like this. I was really young I guess, not worldly, and this was kind of scary to me. To me, when the congregation started complaining, saying a lot of things, especially about the teachers in the school, I kind of got irritated. Yes, some of the kids were rowdy, but don't lump them all together, and don't insinuate that all the teachers were bad... and I had never seen anything in the school as being inappropriate, in any form other than a lax 7-12 teacher, but... replace the teacher was my motto...

So, it got heated in that church on this particular evening. Tempers flared and a group of people walked out, including my husband. I sat there, not wanting to move. I wanted to hear what was going to be said. I wanted to hear both sides. If I walked out, I would only ever hear one or the other version of the story. It wasn't pretty. One woman spoke up and said that she and her husband had built the church and they didn't like having a school there... another said that they had found a check in the preacher's desk drawer that hadn't been cashed... it was for the school... and he hadn't cashed it... why they were angry about that, I still don't understand, he replied that he was holding it, waiting for the right time to use the funds. That, I admired, he could have spent the money on something else for the school, but he didn't... Every accusation that was put forth was answered, and all I could hear was this small group of people attacking this man and the school he was fighting for, and there were a lot of silent people.

I don't know what came over me, really, I have never stood up in a congregation and said anything.. EVER. I don't remember all that I said, but it had to do with a pride of lions tearing apart the church. I was told that I didn't know what was going on, and they were right... I didn't. After hearing these people complain for another five minutes or more, I decided I had had enough, and walked out.
Now, I'm not proud of myself for saying anything, but... I said what I thought. When I walked out, there was a large group of parents and church members standing around and they asked me what was going on... I just said that it was nasty what was going on. I didn't have a reference to give them and I didn't want to go into what was going on inside, so I didn't. I just told my husband that I wanted to go home.

Needless to say, that was the last of the school, and the church broke up and they renamed it, and I guess that little group of people that "built" the church are still to this day sitting in that building. I ended up home schooling for the rest of the year.

I liked the togetherness that we had, but I had so many people tell me that I needed to get my daughter into school for her to have social interaction. We attended a church, she was in ballet and gymnastics, and we had neighbor kids that she played with, as well as cousins that visited a lot, I thought she was pretty socially active, but I just didn't have what it took to go against the grain, come Fall, I enrolled my daughter into the public school... East Elementary.  Her teacher reminded me of my first grade teacher. Strict, and without humor, she was a taskmaster and she didn't believe me when I told her that my daughter could already read, and had since she was three. She explained to me that most kids can recognize words, but that wasn't the same as reading  The first open house, she pulled me to the side, not allowing anyone else but my daughter to hear her when she apologized for doubting that, yes, the girl could read. After that, we got along pretty well, but when I would visit the class, and the kids were ordered to put their heads on the desk... I did as well. Yes, she was that scary.
Second grade was great, or so I thought. The lady teaching was a friend of mine, Cynthia, who's daughter was in my Girl Scout troop... yes, I was suckered into having a troop of Brownies. Anyway, Cynthia was a fun and funny and very smart lady. The kids adored her, and every Friday, she would don lipstick and kiss the cheek of every kid that would come up to her. It was kind of a status symbol if you had these bright red lips on your cheek. My daughter and her daughter were good friends, and I thought the year would go great. Thanksgiving week, my daughter was terribly sick with chicken pox. Really sick. I kept her home the whole week and then even a few extra days. She had them in her ears, mouth, eyelids, and she was miserable. When she returned to school, she was given homework (second grade remember) that she would never be able to complete. This was five days she missed, not a month. She had about 20 papers to finish and a ton of coloring pages to do, and I thought the workload was stupid. I know that the kids don't do that much work on a holiday week, and even missing a couple of extra days, there should have been no reason that she was so weighed down with this type of work. She was told she had two days to finish the work and to turn it back in, along with her daily homework, she was so swamped it was pitiful. She was still not feeling well, but she did the work. She had strepthroat several times over the next few months, and ear infections, and tummy troubles, and we had a scare with her blood sugar levels, and had to go to the doctor's office for a week straight, every morning. have her blood drawn. The teacher was annoyed with me. The school itself was annoyed with me... and I was annoyed with them. How could they encourage kids to go to school when they are clearly sick? I had a talk with our family doctor, knowing that one of the kids at school was a patient, and knowing that the kid was sick all the time, and her parent took the kid to the doctor, with strep, got her a shot, and took her to school and dropped her off. I told the doctor that I knew he couldn't talk to me about the situation, but he had no problem with hearing my complaint about the going to school with a temperature of 102 degrees.
OK, so that worked, and the incidence of illness was diminished by a bit, but really, the rest of the year was hard and I felt like Cynthia and I had a strained relationship after that...

 Third grade? it was terrible. The first thing was that my daughter was assigned an old teacher that everyone said... she's horrid... and my friend, Cynthia, told me that my daughter wouldn't do well in her class... I went to the principle's office to discuss the matter, since we didn't find out until the week before school that she would get that certain teacher. So, I thought I could find this new principle, who I hadn't met yet, and discuss the options for the school year. Ha! I found a woman that I didn't recognize in the office, I told her that I needed to speak with the principle, She told me that the principle wasn't there, but asked what I needed, she told me that the schedules had already been set, but I could come back up in a week or two after school had started and if my daughter was having problems they would see what could be done. 

I went home that day and stewed about the situation. Maybe I was over reacting. I called as many people that I knew in town, and discussed the problem with each of them, and they all concurred that I should call the school back and demand to speak to the principle. I did the next day, explained firmly what I wanted done, and it was done. My daughter got a different teacher. That was the beginning. 

The first day of school, I met the new principle. I hadn't recognized her voice when I spoke to her over the phone. She was the woman from the office who told me the principle was not in. 

Second problem. I ate at the school with my daughter as often as I could. The cafeteria wasn't that bad, and I enjoyed the time together, and wanted to make sure things were going smoothly, just as I had the two years previously. I visited the classroom as well. I was welcomed to do so, to come and go as I pleased. I wasn't the official room mother, but basically, that is what I was. For the past two years, if the room needed decorated, or the teacher needed something for a party, I was the go to person. I liked that, and loved seeing the kids, some of them were in my Brownie troop, some were from the bible class I taught, and some of them were from the day care that I helped out at (my friend Reggy asked me to... what can I say).  So basically, I knew most of the kids, and they were all sweet, and my daughter was young enough to allow me to visit anytime.  This was the second problem, when I visited the classroom, I noticed that the teacher never actually taught. She would sit at her desk, sometimes with her head down, and didn't say a word. The kids sat quietly, with their work before them, and they worked. Their lessons were on the board, and at the time that was appropriate, the teacher would announce it was time for ... science.. math.. whatever... and the kids would get out their books and start on their own.

 My daughter was having problems with the work, and I found out that she was looking in the wrong books, and was doing the wrong lessons off the board, It never occurred to me that she couldn't see.  The school had tested her eyes along with the other kids and never sent a notice about her not passing the test... and she had failed miserably...I thought she just wasn't paying attention.
 The kids were quiet in the classroom, but there was a lot of movement, one girl got up a half dozen times and wrote her name on the chalkboard, erasing it each time, writing in cursive, erasing, printing, erasing... They turned themselves in if they thought they were doing something wrong. Somehow this was wrong... 

Anyway, every time I visited, it was the same thing. I really didn't like this woman, oh, she was nice, but a lousy teacher. My daughter's grades slipped. not because she was not intelligent, but they dropped.  I was kind of upset. I talked to the teacher, she explained that it was a self paced class and that all the kids were smart enough to learn without instructions. Obviously not, but she went on to tell me that I was just seeing part of the class. Granted. But my daughter was only 8 years old, she wasn't very well disciplined in the fine art of self paced courses, turning in all her work and learning everything on her own... isn't' that why they have teachers in the first place?

The third problem was the worst. 

It wasn't a problem, but it was a crisis. I went up to school to pick up my daughter every day, some days I would stand and talk to several of my friends that were teachers, or I would help decorate classrooms, or just talk to other parents. My daughter would play with her friends, mostly their parents were teachers, and they would go into a classroom or out onto the playground. Now, this school (North Elementary) had been there a while, and the year before and into the  Summer before my daughter arrived there for 2nd grade it had been partially torn down and rebuilt, adding a new cafeteria, classrooms, and gymnasium. They had also built a new playground. One of the pieces of equipment on the playground was a... well, I don't know the name for it but it looked like a type of zip line. I guess that is what it was. Well, the teachers were tired of going out and pulling it across, and I guess the aids that helped on the playground were tired of it, too, so they tied a rope to it, kind of a loop, so the kids could grab it and pull it to one end or the other. 

I don't know what exactly happened, but my daughter and her friends Ashley, and Christi  and I think another child were playing outside on the playground. I stood in the hallway talking to Cynthia and a couple of other women, I was tired, it was cold and I needed to get home and start supper... I went to the back door and called my daughter. She came running in, but wanted to stay and play, I nearly had to drag her to get her to go home. Usual for her. She loved playing with her friends. We went home, which wasn't far, and Cynthia and her daughter left at the same time.  Juana stayed to finish some work, her daughter Christi stayed out on the playground alone.  Not long after we got home, I heard the sirens blaring in the distance. Odd. I wondered about what was going on, but didn't think much about it, I fixed supper and we ate, then Cynthia called me, . Juana went out to find her daughter, Christi, to go home, and found her  hanging from the loop on the zip line on the playground. She died. No one knew quite what had happened, how on earth she had gotten her head in that loop, but she had. 

I was so shocked. My daughter was devastated. 

I rethought about sending her back to school. They had counselors for the kids at the school after the funeral that weekend, and I felt that if she needed to talk, she would, but... I withdrew her from classes after that week and started homeschooling. I realized that could have been her. If we had stayed, maybe she wouldn't have been alone and maybe she wouldn't have died, but then again, it could have been my child... 
 I realized that I was spending way too much time at the school, doing things for other people, when I could have been teaching my precious daughter at home, and so we began our journey. It wasn't long, I had talked it over with other parents that were homeschooling in the community ( I found there was a large group and we had an association), they nearly all  agreed that they were sending their kids on to Junior High, and so did I, but for the 3 1/2 years, I enjoyed all that we did together. Some days were book days, some days were art gallery days, King Ramses, Dinosaurs, or Six Flags days, and they were all filled with learning.  When people were worried that my daughter wasn't socializing enough, I reminded them that she was in ballet, gymnastics, tap, Girl Scouts, church, and had tons of friends that came over. She went to summer camp, she helped out on days that I helped out at the day care, and she was normal. I didn't teach a lot of religion, I taught citizenship, and math, language, English, Spanish, and geography. We went on trips and all was well. By the way, she got glasses. After I had pulled her from school... they school system sent me a notice that she had failed TWO eye exams and they had never told me..... she was doing even better with her reading and writing... she could see. 

 When it was time for her to take the entrance test for Junior High, actually, the day I took her to enroll  for school, she was not prepared to go do an entrance test right then, we thought it would be scheduled... she had on shorts and a short sleeved shirt because it was really hot outside, they stuck her in an unused classroom and she froze in the room... but she made really high scores and they acted like she cheated or something. She was afraid she had done poorly, she said she was shivering couldn't concentrate... when they told me the results of her testing and her scores were higher than her class level I thought... good for her, she showed them. 

So we ended our home school journey all too soon for my liking. I missed having her around, but I went back to work full time and time flew past and she graduated and everything was so different in just a few years. Our lives were kind of turned upside down, but for good I thought...

I got divorced and remarried and had a baby brother for her... and put him in public schools, since I had several hard pregnancies in just a few years, I was physically not able to think about home schooling, though my husband was all for it, if I felt up to it, and would have supported me. He passed away in the summer after our son's kindergarten year. I felt that my son needed that stability of school to deal with the issues he would face. I would surely have to go back to work, and public school seemed really the only reasonable way to go. All in all, we have had good luck with his teachers. I don't think they have been bad, some were better than others (he's just out of the fifth grade now). There are some of the staff that I don't really like, and they will give me stares...I don't like their 'security' measures, and have had run ins with them over it.....  and don't get me started on the cafeteria.... but, all in all, it has been ok. 
 Fang  was tested in kindergarten and they asked if I wanted him to be interviewed for Gifted and Talented class. No. They did anyway, he wouldn't talk to them, so in first grade they asked if I wanted him interviewed? no... they did anyway, he wouldn't talk to them... Second grade, they tested him, and he scored so high, they took him into the class, even if he wouldn't talk. One of his teachers actually told me that it was really odd, they weren't looking to fill anything but a minority for the position open and that she didn't think he would get in, and when he did, she said that his score had been so high, they had to take him. 

All of a sudden, my son started talking. He started to interact with other kids, and he started to blossom. All his teachers and classmates liked him, but all of a sudden, they liked him more. He would actually talk!
So he's not straight A student all the time, but he's always getting awards, and he was asked to be in the Duke TIP program, which is cool.. but he just sees it as more schoolwork... he's just turned 11 and is starting to worry about Junior High. We have friends and relatives that have kids who have had problems with the school system here on the Jr. Hi level. My son wants to be homeschooled....

Yikes! What do I do now?

I don't know if 
one... I am up to it physically, 
two... If I can actually teach anything to him
three... If I know enough to actually even begin to teach him math...
four... and I can keep going on and on, but, really, do we want to do this? really teach him at home?

I don't know. 
I wish it was easy. Times have changed so much and we live in a larger town now, and he is already in the GT program, If I take him out will that screw up that? He will miss his friends. we don't live close enough to have a lot of kids over, I won't go driving all over town to pick up kids, and I'm getting old and tired, do I want to expend this much energy?

sigh
 huge sigh....