Raw Talent From The Heart

I decided to make a blog post from a recent response I wrote here and here are my following thoughts.   

You hit the nail on the head when you said,

“And it is realizing this that we uncover a greater truth — the fact that we are currently an adult society of people putting money and wealth over helping others or fulfilling our truest emotional goals.  I have many peers and colleagues whom have selected careers based on not what they truly want to do, but because it provides them with a bigger paycheck.”

I was convinced that our society was broken during my high school days. As a child, I too answered the age-old question, “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up” and it was always a teacher or nurse. But I had no clue how to make it a reality.

My mother attended a business school to receive her degree. She become a manager at several Subways. That quickly became useless after countless trips to the hospital because of one thing or another. Since then, she has worked part-time at a bakery, mainly for the benefits.

My father has a small, but successful window cleaning business. It’s a one man show. It wasn’t unit he was laid off after 15 years of service at one of the top oil companies in California. The oil company was bought out and the new management required everyone to take an exam to “prove” you knew your job. He did not pass. Not for the lack of knowledge when it came to his job, but for the face that the majority of the  questions were geared for a college graduate. For my father has an 8th grade education,  which also resulted in another mark against him: the requirement of having a high school diploma or GED. Thankfully, by default, his part-time side business became his full-time income.

Discussing dreams, college or the future was not included in any family meeting. Maybe because they were so focused on the church going/prove to everyone that we love Jesus life, rather than the reality of what my future might actually be. Maybe because they never had that conversation with their parents, resulting in mirroring the same actions with their children. I really don’t know.

Our oldest daughter is 6 years old and now that I am a parent, we make it a point to have these types of conversations. I believe part of my role as a parent is to pay attention to the raw talents that my children have and learn ways to enhance them. For instance, my oldest daughter loves the fashion industry and drawing. She is enjoys creating new outfits out of my leftover scraps (material for sewing) and sometimes I am shocked and think, this is something I can see people wearing. Over the past year, I’ve picked out books to teach her step by step instructions on how to draw new and interesting things. By doing this, I feel like it teaches her about the “unknown” and allow her to also branch off by making it her own. As for the leftover scraps, she’s lucky to have a grandmother who can sew anything in the world. I called her and asked if she would be interested in teaching my daughter the basics. Of course she said yes and that she would love to teach her everything she knows. We start in two weeks!

In the end, I am more interested in investing the love, time and money into the dreams of my children– already enhancing the beautiful raw talent within them, than any fleeting fad that may come along and disappear.

Tech Woes

Online school has me going a little kooky the past couple days and — it’s only been 2 weeks!! I’m sure you’re thinking, um, that’s not a good sign…how are you going to make it to the end of the school year? Believe me, I’ve asked myself a million times, What in the WORLD am I doing?! I’m no super hero with magical powers that controls the online atmosphere or carry fairy dust to fix technology issues in a snap. I seriously thought having a 5 month old would be my biggest setback, but she’s been a trooper! Gold stars for my girls! 🙂

The Problem

My biggest hurdle is actually dealing with a computer system that is solely reliant on two main components: the Internet and old technology.

When we encounter a problem online or with the computer, it can really slow us down, sometimes setting us back several hours or even a day. You see, when a child enrolls in this online school, they are provided with a loaner laptop and printer for free, which seemed like a great incentive. They are small and lightweight, which provides a minimalist approach and your thinking, “It takes up so little space, this is a dream come true!” But minimal or not, these pesky technical issues still rear their ugly heads and continue to plague our learning time.

With little time on my hands, my daughter’s school work is time sensitive, as it should be. But time is something I can’t create or waste — especially when it’s my responsibility to guide our 1st grader in every subject. All the while taking care of a baby who demands a lot of my attention. This is my full time job. Then the house comes second. Thankfully, my husband is a fantastic house cleaner– not better than me, just more self motivated to get the job done, haha. So if I didn’t get something done before he gets home, he jumps in and helps me out.

I didn’t foresee all the complications that could possibly occur while attending online school. My thinking was, “This will be the easiest job, ever.” I assumed I would have master control; having the ability and time to get as much work done as possible. But I soon realized, I’m not in control– because a glitch is a glitch, with or without having control of the universe. I’ve had to make several calls to the school tech team because a video wouldn’t work inside their online portal, the log in page has the option to select one part but not the other, the computer freezes unexpectedly, buttons that should work don’t and the list goes on. I honestly feel sorry for the school tech team but I guess they are just doing their job. Thank you tech team!!

But beyond all the stress of not having the control to prevent most of these technology problems or having the knowledge to fix them– we seriously have wonderful teachers who are so patient and understanding. They’ve been down this road before and remind us constantly not to stress out about submitting something, until things get resolved. Sometimes the teachers are aware of a situation before we start our day and we receive an update through email. It’s nice to see that they genuinely care about their students and making sure that the tools are working properly for a great learning experience!

Soul Searching

Honestly, I feel like pulling my hair out most of the time, but I have a feeling God is teaching me more about patience and letting go of control. I have a hard time asking for help from others. Especially during stressful times in my life. I use to hide myself from those around me and hoped I survived the slay of the dragon, alone. The truth is, I really do need them. Overcoming fear of rejection is usually my first step before ever realizing that my friends and family really do care about me AND my struggles. Online school isn’t a death sentence, by no means. As time goes on, it will certainly get easier and a routine will start to form. In the end, I know this journey will only make me stronger!

The Countdown: Two weeks down, sixteen more to go — say a prayer, wish us good luck and please, don’t forget the chocolates and coffee next time (wink, wink)!

Reaching Out

If you’re a homeschooling parent or have been one in the past, I’d love to hear how you overcome your daily obstacles in the comments below.

The Last Backyard Affair

 

Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled. – Benjamin Spock

A few weeks ago, we were invited to a family backyard affair– the last of its kind at this address. Surprisingly, we’re not sad to see it go. We’re happy to see Mom and Pop move on to something smaller– something more suited for just the two of them.  A little over 7 years ago this house became our home. As my husband and I took to the basement apartment below Mom and Pop, we began our life together as newlyweds.

For the main event.

Nothing speaks summer living like sunflowers and potato salad at our family affairs. So, before we headed out, I made my famous potato salad– the kind Pop eats, without onions! When we arrived, there wasn’t a dark cloud in the sky. Pop fired up the grill. Dessert was plenty as usual. Afterwards, I took the pleasure of snapping a few pictures of the scenery around me.

Take a look…

 

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Totally Unprepared Was I

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In the movie, The Sound of Music, two young lovers sang a song to each other titled, Sixteen Going On Seventeen. As a young girl, I remember falling in love with the song as I watched the two lovebirds on-screen. Humorous as it was, I never knew all the words.  So I Googled them and read it in full for the first time. One particular line stuck with me:

Totally unprepared are you, to face a world of men, timid and shy and scared are you, of things beyond your ken

When my age was changing from 18 to 19, so was my identity from being a high school student to newlywed to mother. I was totally unprepared for what was in store.

It’s been over 6 years since our first daughter was born. I remember how eager I was to see her crawl, walk, talk and dress herself.  Now she acts like she’s a teenager. She even puts on her very own America’s Got Talent —every Tuesday and Thursday, in the middle of our living room. I’m such a lucky lady, lol. Boy, it seemed like yesterday we were taking her home from the hospital. Who’s to blame when we try to push the fast forward button? Was it because I was young and immature? I sometimes think every parent gets excited about the next step, the next phase of their newborn child.  We begin to focus on the future, rather than the present.

Lounging on the couch, I could hear the sway of the baby swing go back and forth. I smiled. Thinking how incredibly different life was when baby #1 come into this world. Hundreds of items can be written into notebooks of the changes we have undergone throughout the years, but here are some that come to mind:

  • I’m no longer in my teens
  • My husband has a stable job
  • We’ve made amends with both sides of the family (our parents)
  • We became homeowners in 2012
  • No longer a member of an organized religion
  • We hang out with people who don’t pretend to like us
  • I’m losing weight, instead of gaining (hooray)
  • My relationship with my husband has dramatically improved because we’ve worked our butts off

Yes, I was a teenage mother, who got married and moved 2,261 miles away from home (for the very first time).

  • My Main Objective: to live as far away from my parents are possible.
  • Why: young and dumb.
  • Longer Answer: I clashed with my parents because I needed more freedom to be independent. I thought life was hard and moving cross-country would fix all life’s problems. In the middle of it all, I met a boy and the rest is history.
  • Results: relationship issues, disconnected for years, mindsets stuck in the past
  • Current Date: reconciled and on the road to building a family relationship as I always hoped for

Thankfully time and people can be so forgiving. With all these life lessons behind me and many more to come, I am thankful we are walking a new and brighter path of life; able and willing to maturely provide a loving and secure home for our two beautiful girls.

The Next Wave: Online School for Kids

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The night before public school started, I can honestly say, I had my heart set on homeschooling my oldest daughter. When I refer to home-school, I mean “online school”.

When our daughter attended part-time kindergarten, she appeared to regress slowly. Her foundation I helped build in preschool began to disintegrate right before my eyes.

Back History

My mother-in-law taught high school for over 12 years and decided to open her house for childcare several years ago. When the right opportunity was presented, I gladly became her first employee to further build up the childcare center she had hoped for. Within 3 months, we enrolled 6 new children on top of the 7 she already had. Needless to say, she quickly hired her 2nd employee.

Each of us had a number of children within the same age group. Before each day, we had to prepare for a 10 hour day.

  • Lesson plans
  • Snacks
  • Exercises
  • Group activities
  • Hooked on Phonics
  • Lunch
  • Naps

I must confess: It was hard work, but an honor!

I had the freedom to act goofy like my father was with me as a child, decorate my room that best suited for my students and interact with the best group of children I could ever ask for. No wonder so many people wish to go into teaching; it is quite rewarding.  Since my husband and father-in-law worked at the public schools, we were able to get the state curriculum that preschoolers were expected to be taught– plus, gain information on what they should know before going into kindergarten. It was the road map to success!

At the end of the first year, we had 3 year old’s reading and writing, adding and subtracting, and understanding beyond your average 1st grader would know. Parents were astonished, as was I!

Kindergarten 2012-2013

The school year was pleasant. We met wonderful families. During the parent conferences, the teacher praised our daughter on many accomplishments.  Unfortunately, my daughter has the same shy gene I had growing up in school and her student participation was close to none. Her little bright mind didn’t come out to shine.

However, I put more blame on us: the parents.  I went back to work part-time, pregnant with our second child (with no honeymoon stages)and we moved in with my in-laws again, while waiting for our new house to close. Ugh ugh ugh!!

With all that said, her last report card presented some items she desperately needed work on and yet, it was the end of the year. Cricket-cricket.

Current Day

With the support of my husband, we made up our minds. I didn’t feel right about putting her into someone else’s care, when there was a lot of leg work that needed to be done before hand.  Therefore, we enrolled her in an online school provided free in our state. Online school has given us access to know how she is excelling and hitting difficult spots immediately. We meet with her teacher and her classmates online daily. In addition, communication with her teacher is smooth and I get a real sense that she cares.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a walk in the park. With a baby and having the responsibility of being a “parent helper” aka “teacher” full-time to a  1st grader isn’t something I could prepare for. It’s too early to predict how our first year will end (we started off to a bumpy start– more about that later), but I can say she is learning in a way that keeps her engaged.

Learning is exciting again and I can see it firsthand. This is our the next wave– I think we’ll be A-OK! 🙂

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