Big School Changes and Big Anxiety

I’m looking at the clock and it reads 4:26. In the morning. Ugh. I did fall asleep for a few minutes several hours ago, but that was short-lived. Since that initial night nap, I have tossed and turned in bed, cleaned out some old emails, read a book for awhile, and then stared out my bedroom window for a bit in search of nocturnal animals (whom I’m certain are close by but apparently don’t feel like making an appearance on this chilly night).

I want to sleep and the upcoming day will surely prove that I needed to sleep, but so far, that’s just not happening. I can’t seem to get to that place of calm surrender. Instead all I am doing is circling through potential steps I need to follow to get started with the new schooling protocol – not that I would have any real way of knowing this information given that our meeting with the new school won’t happen until later this week. But mental list making and overzealous organizing is my go to OCD response to high anxiety situations.

On the one hand, I am now certain that I’m committed to making a solid attempt at a tremendous educational change for my children. Although the pitiful strained camel’s back snapped several moons ago, I felt the need to add one more beast of a straw to his load as I did a quick mathematical basics test with my children yesterday. Given that my daughter takes advanced placement middle school classes and has achieved solid scores on the state standardized testing over the years, it would seem reasonable to expect that my little experiment would have been a no-brainer for her. But it proved anything but easy.

In case you might be wondering about the kind of complex test that I followed to be able to discover the limits of her proven mathematical abilities, I’ll tell you what I did. I ran through basic multiplication flash cards that I purchased when the kids were in second grade. Fast multiplication facts ranging from 0-12. And she bombed them.

I’m not telling you this to bag on my daughter. She is brilliant beyond description, and she has an incredible capacity to learn. But had you watched our few short minutes of total flash card failures, you would have never known that.

The most basic foundational components of our childrens’ education is being discarded and exchanged for an excess of learning that is ineffective and beyond student comprehension. I called a dear friend to tell her about my dismal discovery. My friend shared that she received an email the previous week from her middle school daughter’s teacher that requested that parents please stop teaching the children multiplication tables at home. Apparently it was hindering the way the teachers were trying to convey new material. What the crap are they talking about?!?!? On what planet does know fast facts screw up your ability to execute a math problem???

It’s crazy!!! All of it. You should see the writing errors that go completely unacknowledged. My children bring home A+ assignments that are rife with misspellings, non-existent or incorrect punctuation, partial sentences that just. Yeah – they just stop mid thought like the preceeding non-sentence thing. Seriously that’s not a sentence people, and it shouldn’t be accepted as such!

So once more I find myself gaining further confidence in our decision to make this huge educational. It’s still extremely unnerving, but hey – maybe my daughter will know her basic multiplication tables if she ultimately has to return to those advanced classes should homeschooling be a bust.

For now, I pray that we are on the right path. I hope that we are making the best best choice for our family. And I really look forward to getting some sleep.

Wishing calm and peace to all of you. Jo

Parenting Reality – Back to School Photo Fails

MOJO - 2018 - first day reality1 - what you see

I love it when I meet a parent who owns the reality that comes with raising kids. There’s the family life that we typically display on social media (image above).  And then there’s every other minute of the day that we constantly attempt to keep tucked away along with the rest of the crazy we are sporting (every other photo).

MOJO - 2018 - first day reality2 - what you DONT see

MOJO - 2018 - first day reality3 - what you DONT see

MOJO - 2018 - first day reality4 - what you DONT see

Are my kids the only ones who balk annually at first day of school and Xmas card pics? Where are everyone else’s crappy kid attitude photos? Let’s just go ahead and be honest with each other. Those are the ones most of us secretly want to see anyway.

Or again, maybe not. Perhaps I’m a twisted sister, and it’s just me and my photographically belligerent crew who can’t see to figure out a happy approach to these yearly rituals.

(But I don’t think so…)

😉  Jo

What I Would Have Missed

I originally posted this on my primary blog momentumofjo.com. My thoughts went to this entry earlier this evening when I read a post by Danielle at daniellemhttpsariecolucci.com/ regarding her own struggles with depression. If I could share anything at all, I would want her to know that there is always good stuff around you, but you simply can’t imagine the magic that will be heading your way if you can grant life the time to make that happen. All you have to do is stick around, trust that pain and anxiety won’t be a constant in your life (it really won’t), and let the wonders of the universe come to you. And you can’t fathom it now, but some of those wonders will absolutely melt your heart in the most unimaginably beautiful way. ❤️ Big hugs to you. Jo

Momentum of Jo

1a

Over the past couple of months, I have not written about my strong belief in angels.  I don’t ask or need for you to believe what I say in this entry, but I can’t share my experience without doing so here.  Not that I would want to anyway.  I owe them my life.

Twenty years ago, I almost died.  There was no accident.  I wasn’t suffering from a terminal illness.  I just didn’t want to fight against my tormented mind and my broken heart anymore.  It wasn’t worth it, and I wasn’t worth it.  I was lost, and I attempted to take my life.

1d

1b

When the roller coaster of emotions was climbing upward, I could recognize that everything would be alright.  I could see possibilities all around me.  But whenever the imminent crash would happen, my ability to perceive the relevance of my existence wouldn’t merely fade – it would…

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Is Our Parenting Style a Model of Dysfunction or a Reflection of a Normal Family?

We parent loudly. To be more clear, we yell. A lot. While I imagine that it would be wonderful to have more patience, I also know that my kids can be stinkers and oh em gee how many times did I already ask you to put away your personal mountain o’ laundry???

I’m not sure if it’s good or bad to be mostly okay with your personal family dysfunction, and what’s even worse is that I’m not fully confident that it actually is full-out dysfunction. Sometimes I think that we are raising our children to be permanent residents of Crazy town but then I get a peek into other people’s family lives. Based on those glimpses, it seems to me that everyone has their own version of weird.

My husband is from a family of master artists in the media of quiet anger coupled with overt passive aggression. My own family has always opted for outright hostility and total overreaction. Our approach is to get furiously mad but then get over it fairly quickly and move on down the road. As I won the parenting style debate, the screamy mom and dad approach in our household was adopted and has been in place for years.

At times I have worried that our open lack of patience would damage our children’s psyche as well as their hearing, but I have since recognized that public school and the local news will mess with their them far more effectively that we ever could.

We always try to become better, wiser, and more patient with each day that passes, and when we screw up, we say sorry and we mean it. Although I have no qualms with embarrassing my kids (in fact, I believe that you are leaving some major parent artillery in the discipline safe if embarrassment isn’t on your options list), but we would never physically harm our children. We aren’t perfect parents, but noise aside, I honestly feel like we do try. I have only had one “wire hangers!!!” meltdown this week, so life can’t be all bad here. We tell our kids that we love them constantly and we do as much as we can to show them that we mean it.

I wonder if this the way it goes in most of the families out there. I wonder if we are building stronger adults who are going to be more responsible or if we are just ensuring that therapists of the world will always have a job as long as my grown kids are around. Only time will tell.

But for now, my kids are asleep in an indoor tent in the living room. Maybe they are dreaming about the fireworks we took then to see this evening, or maybe they are just passed out into oblivion since we let them stay up waaaay too frickin late. All I know is that as much stuff as we get wrong, I think that we often get a lot of that right, too.

You can be critical of some of your shortcomings, but it’s healing to look for the positive side of that story, too. We aren’t perfect at anything, but we don’t tend to be all bad either. Release the guilt for the mistakes and focus on making more of the good stuff the main stuff. When you put more emphasis the positive side of your story, your tale will play out with a brighter tone altogether. Do better whenever you can and celebrate the good always.

Big hugs to you! Jo

*Thank you Janie at https://authentically50.wordpress.com/2018/06/27/7-day-bw-photo-challenge-day-four/ for tagging me to participate in the 7 Day Black & White Photo Challenge (7 days / 7 b&w photos / no people / no explanation / challenge a new person daily)

For day 4 of the challenge, I am tagging my partner in blogging friendship crime Maria at https://renewedhealingarts.wordpress.com. Maria and I have been blogging friends for years and began our new blogs simultaneously earlier this week. It was unplanned as always but that’s how Maria and I have always been on our coinciding random life choices. LLet’ see what you’ve got Maria!  😉

**The photo above was inspired by Cee’s Black & White Photography Challenge specific to birds. https://ceenphotography.com/